Thursday, January 02, 2020

Give the Value of Reading a Book Another Look

Abraham Lincoln once said his education occurred “by littles.” That means - a little here, a little there - so much so that all his formal schooling did not amount to one full year of formal schooling. 

Lincoln mostly educated himself by borrowing books and newspapers. Abraham Lincoln loved Robinson Crusoe and the tales of The Arabian Nights, a biography of Washington, and the poetry of Shakespeare and Burns. Abraham Lincoln was a highly educated man because he read. 

A youthful friend of Abraham would later recall, “I never saw Abe after he was twelve that he didn’t have a book in his hand or in his pocket. It didn’t seem natural to see a feller read like that.” 

At 18, Lincoln discovered a book called Lessons in Elocution and began practicing public speaking from a tree stump. He would later become America's 16th President

Give the value of a reading a book another look. 

Chris Hedges, author of the book Empire of Illusion, believes that widespread functional illiteracy is cutting off Americans from reality and creating a cultural state of delusion. 
"Believe it or not, the United States is currently experiencing an illiteracy epidemic. This serious educational failure is helping make Americans the most illusion-prone people in the world.

In North America, functional illiteracy – the inability to accomplish everyday reading and writing tasks – is rising to alarming levels. In fact, approximately one-third of the US population is barely literate or entirely illiterate. For instance, one study found that 7 million Americans are illiterate, another 27 million can’t read enough to complete a job application and 50 million read at a fifth-grade level!

Americans generally aren’t interested in books. Research has shown that after graduation, about one-third of high school students don’t read another book for the rest of their lives. And the same goes for 42 percent of those with a college degree.

This trend was actually foreshadowed by two classic works of dystopian fiction. In the first book, 1984, George Orwell painted a picture of a totalitarian regime in which books were off-limits and information strictly controlled.

But it was one of his contemporaries that really hit the mark. His name was Aldous Huxley and his novel Brave New World portrayed a future society obsessed with entertainment, one in which banning books wasn’t necessary because nobody wanted to read anyway.

However, a lack of interest in reading doesn’t mean that Americans don’t get enough information; the only problem is that the country’s primary form of mass communication, television, is excellent at manipulating images and distorting reality.

One study found that a TV is on for approximately seven hours a day in any given American home. The average American watches TV for about four hours a day – so, by the time a US citizen is 65, they’ll have spent nine years of their life in front of a television!

TV continues to be hugely popular because
it communicates through familiar clich├ęs, presents predictable and easy-to-digest content, such as reality shows and sitcoms, and gives viewers the illusion of an exciting life while comforting them in their passivity."
Give the value of reading a book another look.


Rex Ray said...


As Bob Cleveland has said, “It’s the bit dog that hollers”, so I’m hollering. :)

As far as TV goes, it depends on what you watch. We like “Highway to Heaven”. It’s not based on truth; such as people that die can be sent to earth as an angel that can perform miracles. When they come back, they have a different body and cannot be recognized.

Yesterday, was about a new angel that was sent to earth with the main angel to accomplish a task. The new angel met his wife who was falling in love with a man that was courting her. The angel was angry and did bad things to the man to break them up. The main angel had to straighten the new one out. This TV show always shows how Christians are to live.

Lincoln did the best with what he had, but there are educational tools such as a computer that are far superior than a book. Books are like comparing a candle to a light bulb in finding information. Google can give the information faster than a person can get to a library.

Kids today, know ten time more than when I was growing up. Three of my grandkids were taking a college class. The teacher asked the youngest a hard question that he answered very precise. Teacher said, “That’s pretty good for you being 15.”

“No sir; I’m 13.”

As far as TV for us old folks; it sure beats a rocking-chair.

Yesterday, we visited the home of my Great-grandchild, Lydia in Grapevine, Texas. I told them if Lydia was ever kidnaped, Judy would have her.

Anonymous said...

There is a patent for TV and mind control:

“That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough. . . . as a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power. . . . Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the word alone, the old constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the original dogma of democracy; that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception, and to forms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience, or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach.”
–Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion

Too bad the Incarnation wasn't timed when there was TV. A lot more people would believe if they saw the miracles Jesus did.


Christiane said...

Hello Wade,

most communities have volunteer services for those who want to help with adult literacy ... and yes, there is plenty of work to be done

As for BOOKS to read, I'm starting this as soon as the public library calls and says it is in for me:
“Love and Quasars: An Astrophysicist Reconciles Faith and Science” by Paul Wallace

I was startled by the clarity and beauty of his writing. Here's a sample:

"” We belong in the universe no less than electrons and galaxies, after all, and we simply cannot stop living our lives as if love is real and as if it matters ultimately. So maybe it is real and it does matter ultimately.
We are not freaks. Instead, we express a core cosmic reality when guided by love, we make even the tiniest of choices. We are drawn by love toward a world we can’t quite see but occasionally glimpse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . a world Jesus called the kingdom of God.” (Paul Wallace)

those glimpses of unexpected kindness . . . yes, this resonates

Wade Burleson said...


As usual - I AGREE with you (please someone, clip this response and save it for me!) :)

One thing I've learned over the years is that Rex Ray is a thinker - and his views are spot on!

Christiane said...

REX RAY tells great stories!

Wade Burleson said...


Ain't that the truth!

Rex Ray said...

Wade and Christiane,

News flash: “Rex Ray in hospital suffering from head swelling.”

Anonymous said...

My community’s public library sponsors sending books to preschool children through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. An age-appropriate book is sent every month to any child from birth to their fifth birthday. This places 60 books in homes which otherwise couldn’t afford them and offers early literacy opportunities for them before they enter kindergarten. It also allows parents reading materials that would not be available in many households. The program is free to the families and is provided through donated monies to the library. So far over 5,000 children have taken advantage in our town. Hopefully we can help one child and family at a time.

Bob Cleveland said...

I have heard the following: "Your education is what you remember after you forget what you learned". I think there's a lot of truth in that.

I do not remember much stuff I learned in school .. I'm sure it's somewhere among all that other stuff ... but I remember a whole lot of things I didn't learn in school. Up to and including what I learned from the book and the film named "The Shack".

Rex Ray said...


How about the “Cross and the Switchblade”?

Judy starts her day with Church of Christ, Max Lucado, who writes like a Baptist.

Yesterday: “…Let Him live long enough in a heart, and that heart will begin to change…Walls of anger will be demolished, and shaky foundations restored. God can no more leave a life unchanged than a mother leave her child’s tear untouched. Remodeling of the heart is not always pleasant. We don’t object when the Carpenter adds a few shelves, but he’s been known to gut the entire west wing. He won’t stop until he is finished…He wants you to be just like Jesus.”

RB Kuter said...

Perhaps TV was once the priority concern for the control of America's brain and intellect. I believe that it has met a more formidable foe called the "I" phone.

Bob Cleveland said...

Rex: "The Cross and the Switchblade played a BIG part in my early Christian pursuit of what God wanted me to do.

I had presented the Gospel to about 20 youth in a boy's prison in Indiana. It was 50 years ago this year. I got to the end of the presentation, but did not know how to finish, as we had not learned about the Sinner's Prayer, or what to do next. When the man who took me there was asked how to proceed, he said "You're doing fine." So I remembered something I'd read in that book, and proceeded accordingly.

6 kids prayed to be saved.

As you might imagine, I will never ever forget that!

Victorious said...

The Cross and the Switchblade has fond memories for me.

A neighbor gave me David Wilkerson's book as she knew I was searching to find out if God was real. Strangely enough, the book angered me. I remember thinking that God wasn't so real that he actually talked to David Wilkerson!! I threw the book across the room and it landed behind the sofa. It stayed there until about two weeks later when I was moving it for some reason (to clean behind it perhaps?)

Remembering the little prayer at the end of the book, I decided I'd give it a try. Couldn't hurt. I waited until the kids and my husband were in bed, knelt down by the sofa and read the prayer of repentance at the end of the book. I remember very vividly prefacing the prayer with, “God, if there is a God, I'm turning my life over to you cause I've made a mess of it.” My life changed dramatically. A couple days later, my husband asked me what in the world was going on with me? He noticed a difference before I did. I told him I didn't know for sure. But I didn't know where were others in the world who had experienced anything like I had and honestly thought I was "favored" somehow. I developed an almost immediate desire to read the Bible which I didn’t even own. I was hungry for truth. I saturated myself with the Word every free moment I had.

Later, one of Wilkerson's converts. Cookie Rodriquez, wrote a book called "Please Make Me Cry" and eventually started a place for girls called "New Life for Girls." I was able to send my sister-in-law to that place in Dallas when she was in need of help.

I'm a firm believer that the Lord knows how to reach each one and what we will respond to. In keeping with that belief, I think He honors the scripture that encourages us to, "Ask, Seek, Knock."

Rex Ray said...


On some post I read where you said something about W.A. Criswell, but I can’t find it. Would you tell me which post it was?

Christiane said...

Good Morning REX RAY,

well, let me check

I know I originally found it on SBCtoday but that site went belly up, in any case they put me out on the curb for, well, being me, I guess;
but I've shared it many other places . . .

here's one . . . a couple of years ago, I commented this to Burro over on Internetmonk site:

" “Thank God I invested the time to get to know my neighbors.”


‘And who is my neighbor’? I suppose we have a problem in our darkness recognizing the eyes of a brother, a neighbor, another human person to whom we can relate. There is a story in Judaism about ‘when’ we will know that the light has come . . . . when we can look into the eyes of a person and recognize in them that they are formed in the image of God and are also our friend, our neighbor, our brother.. . . . . then, we will know that the Light has come.

Perceptive hearts are needed. So that we will recognize our own humanity in the faces of one another as creatures made in the image of God.

I learned something over on SBCtoday about a famous evangelical minister who was for most of his life, a racist. Then something happened to him. Here are his own words in a testimony that moved me greatly and gave me hope:

” “I never had a battle in my heart, I’ve never faced one in my life, and I never thought I’d have to go through it, as I have these last several years. Nobody in this earth knew that was going on in my soul, but I came to the firm conclusion that I had to change. And this man who needs me, whoever he is, is my brother, and my hand is outstretched. ”
(W.A. Criswell)

‘Salvation is created
in midst of the Earth
O God, O Our God

Christiane said...

Hey REX RAY, me again

THIS might be the site you are referring to:

"Christiane said...
Mr.Kuter, thank you for sharing this.

"Depending upon where you were raised in terms of your family upbringing and social environment, you could very well have been conditioned to believe there was nothing wrong with belittling, demeaning and discriminating against others due to their color. I mean, when you attend one of those many, perhaps most, of the white churches where the pastor preaches that blacks would never be allowed in your church and that segregation was God’s divine order of creation and were raised by parents who forbade you to call an African American lady a “lady” but only refer to her as a “woman” because she was black and beneath the social level and undeserving to be given respect, then you adapt to that mindset. At least for awhile."

so it was in my maternal great-grandmother's time in the South, sadly, but I also know that after the Civil War, some of the elderly black people who had been with the family since their birth were taken in as beloved 'aunts' and 'uncles' and were lovingly cared for in their last days . . . that is something I have to hold on to that I can be proud of for my own blood relatives who lived in those times, yes. . . . the stories of grace that still bless.

There are many stories. Some horrible. Some touched with the grace that heals wounded people. But for those people of faith who struggle with the past, here is one story that shows us all that when the Holy Spirit comes near and heals the human heart, it can change and this miracle of grace exists in our world still . . .

There was a famous evangelical minister who was for most of his life, an avowed racist. Then something happened to him.


Here are his own words in his testimony that moved me greatly and gave me hope:

” “I never had a battle in my heart, I’ve never faced one in my life, and I never thought I’d have to go through it, as I have these last several years. Nobody in this earth knew that was going on in my soul, but I came to the firm conclusion that I had to change. And this man who needs me, whoever he is, is my brother, and my hand is outstretched. ”

(W.A. Criswell)

‘Salvation is created in midst of the Earth
O God, O Our God, Alleluia’

Sun Dec 22, 10:45:00 PM 2019 "

Christiane said...

and REX RAY,

From the sacred Scriptures came the prophetic inspiration for that phrase: 'Salvation is created in the midst of the Earth', this:
"But God is our King before ages: He hath wrought salvation in the midst of the earth."
(Psalm 74:12)

so here is the Advent hymn again, now that you have the sound system to hear it :)

Rex Ray said...


Sorry, but that’s not my kind of singing. I understood about one word.

Thanks for showing me where to find Criswell saying:

“I never had a battle in my heart, I’ve never faced one in my life, and I never thought I’d have to go through it, as I have these last several years. Nobody in this earth knew that was going on in my soul, but I came to the firm conclusion that I had to change. And this man who needs me, whoever he is, is my brother, and my hand is outstretched.”

The link states what Criswell used to think about Blacks:

“W. A. Criswell, in a discussion of racial integration, stated that he expressed astonishment at the cowardice of ministers whose forebears and predecessors were martyrs and were burned at the stake, but who themselves refuse to speak up about "this thing of integration". True ministers, he argued, must passionately resist government mandated desegregation because it is "a denial of all that we believe in.”

The link also states:
“In 1944, Dr. W. A. Criswell became the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. Under Dr. Criswell, the membership grew from 7,800 to 26,000, with weekly Sunday School attendance in excess of 5,000. During his tenure, the church expanded to multiple buildings covering five blocks in Downtown Dallas, eventually becoming the largest Southern Baptist church in the world.”

My brother and I met Criswell when we were 12 where he was preaching at an encampment. It was there a pulpit committee heard him preach and called him as their pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas in 1944.

Rex Ray said...


Have you seen new pictures of Epstein’s neck that proves something besides a bed sheet caused his death. Today, I took some pictures that were shown on TV of the Hannity news show. The link below, also shows the pictures.

Christiane said...


no, not seen any pictures. . . would rather not, actually;
but so many characters out there would have been 'threatened' by Epstein if he were subpoenaed as a witness in a Congressional investigation,
that I'm afraid the man did not die voluntarily . . . and then if he DID commit suicide, he would not have been 'of sound mind'.

Sad story of something with money and connections who chose the darkness, but only God can see what is really important in order to judge him . . . so sad, all the young victims.

Christiane said...

sorry, 'something' should be 'SOMEONE'

Rex Ray said...


Teddy Roosevelt said, “Walk softly but carry a big stick”. I believe when Trump took out the ‘BAD GUY’, Iraq now believes American has a big stick; whereas the former administration carried a toothpick.

Anonymous said...

Ok, boomer.

It’s actually the older generation that has the worst literacy rates (1/3 of them) and they get better generation by generation.
The generation ACTUALLY keeping the book market afloat? Millennials.
The generation it is that ACTUALLY absorbs the most Cable TV? Yours.
Your post is nothing but anecdotal “attack the millennial” nonsense.

Rex Ray said...


On the subject of books. This is a great book that tells some of the history of Southern Baptists: “Glimpses of a Seminary Under Assault” written by Russell H. Dilday.

He was president of ‘South Western Baptist Theology Seminary’ (SWBTS; also known as Southwestern) for 16 years. (1994-1977)

Statements in quotes are from his book.

“During 1980, the Patterson/Pressler organization stepped up the pace of its assault on the Seminary and the larger goal of gaining control of the convention. (page 37)

“Page Patterson said, Russell, you’re a conservative all right, but you’re not a ‘courageous’ conservative.” (Meaning you haven’t supported our campaign.) (page 299)

Patterson would eventually take Dilday’s job as President of SWBTS in 2003.

“1984 was the year the Patterson/Pressler assault on Southwestern reached its full cruising speed. They had succeeded in planting 15 hard-core fundamentalists on our board of trustees.” (page 89) “I believe the reason I was dismissed, was because I had vigorously opposed the fundamentalists takeover of the SBC.” (Page 297)

Written elsewhere: When Trustees were asked why they fired Dilday: “We don’t have to have a reason. We got the vote.”

“Southwestern trustee, Ollin Collins expressed his dismay: Why has there been a such a strange silence from you men who have been in leadership of the SBC concerning the action taken by our board in terminating Dr. Dilday? We finally did what you men have been telling us to do for ten years, and yet once it was done it was though we had leprosy and nobody wanted to associate with us. We received over 450 letters, bombarded from every news media telling what reprobates we are, and told us there are special places in hell reserved just for us.” (Page 283)

Christiane said...


the war planes are practicing their carrier landings all night now, so I guess more carriers are heading for the Middle East . . .

I guess we are in that region now for some time to come. Better our presence to be a strong one than to turn that critical area over to the Russians and the Iranians . . . the oligarchy system of the Russians would raise oil prices to the max and hurt the West most certainly. I think our Navy is needed to keep the water ways so that tankers can move through without harassment. Just some thoughts, from someone whose family has three serving military, and who is very concerned about instability and problems with communications between nations that we are calling our 'mistakes'. I'm worried, you bet.

Rex Ray said...


Below is part of 10 pages that I’ve written that Walmart may be selling soon.

Robert Kennedy Jr. wrote:

“On June 5, 1968, Thane Eugene Cesar, an employee in a classified section of Lockheed’s Burbank facility, was moonlighting as a security guard at the Ambassador Hotel. He had landed the job about one week earlier. Cesar waited in the pantry as my father spoke in the ballroom, then grabbed my father by the elbow and guided him toward Sirhan.

With 77 people in the pantry, every eyewitness said Sirhan was always in front of my father at a 3-6 feet distance. Sirhan fired two shots toward my father before he was tackled. From under the dog pile, Sirhan emptied his 8-chamber revolver firing 6 more shots in the opposite direction; 5 of them striking bystanders and one going wild.

By his own account, Cesar was directly behind my dad holding his right elbow with his own gun drawn when my dad fell backwards on top of him. Cesar repeatedly changed his story about exactly when he drew his weapon.

According to the Coroner, Dr. Thomas Noguchi, all 4 shots that struck my father were “contact” shots fired from behind my dad with the barrel touching or nearly touching his body. As my dad fell, he reached back and tore off Cesar’s clip on tie.

Cesar was a bigot who hated the Kennedys for their advocacy of Civil Rights for Blacks. Kennedy Jr concluded: “Police have never seriously investigated Cesar’s role in my father’s killing.”

Rex wrote:
“LBJ knew he would be facing criminal indictments because Robert Kennedy had files of his kickbacks from Bobby Baker, Billie Sol Estes, and his $100,000 kickback from General Dynamics. I believe Robert kept his files secret with a plan to become President and then he would prosecute LBJ.

Sirhan was found guilty because someone with influence like President LBJ:
1. Had Sirhan hypnotized.
2. Kept jury from seeing autopsy that would prove Sirhan innocent.
3. Kept jury from seeing Sirhan’s mushroom bullets. (All bullets looked the same.)
4. Furnished lawyers for Sirhan that tricked him to plead guilty.
5. Also, the Pruszynski tape recorder that recorded 13 shots was not available.

Anonymous said...