The Wisdom Chronicle

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The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

441. LIGHT AFFLICTION “Paul’s poignant words to Timothy—“the time of my departure is at hand” (2 Timothy 4:6) —were echoed by Ronald Reagan in his November 1994 letter to the American people revealing his Alzheimer’s diagnosis:

“In closing, let me thank you, the American people, for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your president. When the Lord calls me home, whenever that day may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future. I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.”

“Lord, teach me to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom (see Psalm 90:12).”

Excerpt From: Lee, Richard. “In God We Still Trust: A 365-Day Devotional.”

442. EINSTEIN AND EVOLUTION Albert Einstein’s powerful metaphor: “The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe.  We are like a little child entering a huge library.  The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues.  The child knows that someone must have written these books.  It does not know who or how.  It does not understand the languages in which they were written.  But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books—a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects.” Thanks to Jesus, we can do more than “dimly suspect” the mystery of creation: we can know the Creator himself.  In a universe filled with wonders we cannot begin to understand, the greatest miracle is you.

— Unknown

443. THE JOURNEY “It’s better to travel hopefully than to arrive.”

— Robert Louis Stevenson

444. FREEDOM

We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.

— WILLIAM FAULKNER

Have we too much freedom? Have we so long ridiculed authority in the family, discipline in education, rules in art, decency in conduct, and law in the state that our liberation has brought us close to chaos in the family and the school, in morals, arts, ideas, and government? We forgot to make ourselves intelligent when we made ourselves free.

— WILL DURANT

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

–MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.”

445. LOSTNESS “Nassim Taleb points out that a map is very helpful for getting around Paris. But not if the map you’re using is a map of New York. Using the wrong map unknowingly is worse than no map at all—it leads you to overconfidence that can be more harmful than confronting the reality that you’re lost.”

Excerpt From: Roberts, Russ. “How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life.”

446. WEALTH “Who is rich? asks the Talmud. He who is happy with his lot.”

Excerpt From: Roberts, Russ. “How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life.”

447. GODLESS NATION “The most perfect machinery of government will not keep us as a nation from destruction if there is not within us a soul. No abounding material prosperity shall avail us if our spiritual senses atrophy. The foes of our own household shall surely prevail against us unless there be in our people an inner life which finds its outward expression in a morality not very widely different from that preached by the seers and prophets of Judea when the grandeur that was Greece and the glory that was Rome still lay in the future. . . .”

— Teddy Roosevelt

“A churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoff at or ignore their Christian duties, is a community on the rapid downgrade.”

— G. Washington

448. MARXIST GRADING SYSTEM “My New Spread the Wealth Grading Policy.”

I suggested that people who made an “A” on the first test really did not need the four grade points associated with a grade of “A,” since it only takes a 2.0 average to graduate. So my column suggested that those with an “A” should give a grade point away to students making an “F” in order to facilitate a more equal grade distribution—one with just three levels: “B”, “C”, and “D.”

“My column also suggested that additional modifications could be made after the second exam. I specifically proposed taking a grade point away from those with a “B” test average and giving that point to those with a “D” average. That would mean everyone would have a grade of “C,” which is worth the two grade points everyone needs to average in order to graduate.

Any undergraduate is capable of figuring out the point of my satire. If every student were guaranteed the exact same outcome, no student would put forth any kind of effort on class assignments or tests. Put simply, “My New Spread the Wealth Grading Policy” would destroy academic productivity and create a shoddy and embarrassing academic work product. Academic standards would plummet under such a system.”

“Socialism, of course, would do exactly the same thing to our economy. If every worker is guaranteed the exact same outcome—via the redistribution of wealth—then no worker will put forth a strong effort on the job. The average standard of living for the nation as a whole will plummet—or, rather, actually has plummeted wherever Marxist economics has been tried.

As a conservative, I take a far different approach to the subject of equality. I believe that our only obligation is to provide people with equal opportunity. We are not obliged to guarantee everyone an equal outcome. We cannot do so. Nor should we even try.”

Excerpt From: Adams, Mike. “Letters to a Young Progressive.”

449. ACHIEVEMENT “Those to whom a lower standard is applied cannot possibly grow to their full height.” — Larry Purdy

450. TAKE ACTION “[Booker T. Washington gave] a speech called “The Force That Wins.” Standing proudly on the windy day of the commencement, Booker proclaimed, “There is a force with which we can labor and succeed and there is a force with which we can labor and fail. It requires not education merely, but also wisdom and common sense, a heart bent on the right and trust in God.” Feeling perhaps the flow of this force within him as he spoke, he moved to the heart of his message. “There is a tide in the affairs of men,” he said, challenging the sea of largely black faces with the words of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and it is taken “not in planning but in doing, not in talking noble deeds, but in doing noble deeds.”

Excerpt From: Mansfield, Stephen. “Then Darkness Fled.”

 

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