By Melissa Wuske
Teen Bible Reading Today
A survey of practicing Protestant teens yields encouraging results about teens’ relationship with the Bible, says the American Bible Society and Barna Group. About 75 percent say they read the Bible at least once a week and 91 percent hear the Bible read each week in worship services.
Nearly all of the teens surveyed (96 percent) said they wished they read the Bible more, and 39 percent said their Bible engagement increased in the last year. When asked about reasons for their increased reading, teens cited going to a church that made the Bible more accessible, accountability from someone, or a Bible app.
The Bible brings out personal responses for many teens. Around 76 percent of those who read the Bible weekly say they’re influenced by it significantly. Teens mentioned the following feelings in response to reading the Bible: encouragement or inspiration (30 percent) and a sense of purpose (25 percent), but also confusion (23 percent) and being overwhelmed (21 percent).
Teens also think that the Bible has relevance beyond their own lives: 44 percent say that the Bible should have more influence on American society and 62 percent said politics would be more civil if politicians read the Bible regularly.
Successful Education for Kids in Poverty
“Schools can do so much to really impact poverty.” This is a controversial statement that Tiffany Anderson, superintendent of Jennings School District in Jennings, Missouri, backs up with her work every day. In her three-and-a-half years in the low-income district, she’s instituted major changes to help students succeed, such as Hope House, a shelter that gives students in need a stable place to live, and a college prep program that pays for students to take college courses so they can have an associate’s degree by the time they graduate high school.
Anderson does it all with a positivity and focused mission, often telling students they’re awesome and telling teachers she appreciates them. “She’s made Jennings School District a place where students and teachers want to be,” said Michael McMurran, president of the Jennings National Education Association.
Through closing underused school buildings, cutting extraneous administrative positions, and gathering grants and donations, Anderson has moved the district from deficit to balanced budget. “This work is faith-filled work,” she said. “You have to believe that your presence makes a difference, that your effort makes a difference in someone’s life. Whether you wrap that in Christianity or not.”
Examining Price Discrimination
Researchers for the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found significant price discrimination along gender lines. Products for women and girls cost more than products for men and boys 42 percent of the time, and the cost difference was an average 7 percent more.
For example, a child’s scooter in “sport red” at Target costs $24.99, but the “pink sparkle” version costs $49.99 (Target has since fixed the “system error”); the group also found that Walgreens charged $14.99 for Schick razors for men, but $18.49 for the equivalent product marketed to women.
Jam Partners for Aging Musician
Edward Hardy played with a jazz quartet for nearly four decades. Now, the 95-year-old pianist is in a nursing home in the United Kingdom. A staff member at the home helped Hardy post an online advertisement requesting musicians to come play together. Little did he know he’d get more than 80 responses, including three of his former band mates, with whom he’d been out of touch for many years. “I have missed playing, and when I do play now it makes me feel better and young again,” said Hardy.
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).