The Wisdom Chronicle

The Wisdom Chronicle, posted every Monday, is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from myriad sources. I read 75-100 books per year in all genres. My goal is to share the best of what I come across each week. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, Jim Whiddon

11. HARD WORK “There is no elevator to success—you have to take the stairs.” — Unknown

12. MAN’S BEST FRIEND “A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.” — Ogden Nash

13. SERENDIPITY “The story of 3M’s Post-it! Notes was well chronicled in Tom Peter’s classic book, In Search of Excellence. What was (and is) fascinating about the story is not merely the success of the sticky notes, it’s the fact that 3M, well known for its strong adhesives, screwed-up during research and development and created an unusually weak and seemingly useless adhesive. In fact, the glue was so weak that it couldn’t hold paper together permanently. Voila!

Velcro was developed in the 1960s by NASA to hold things down so they wouldn’t float all over the place in outer space.

Preparation H is used by actors to remove the puffiness under their eyes.”

Excerpt From: Avrin, David. “It’s Not Who You Know — It’s Who Knows You!.”

14.SELF EDUCATION “Most great men in history have become great because they aggressively pursued knowledge. They overcame gaps in their early education. They studied to understand the world at a level well beyond their years. They took responsibility for their education and did not wait for the knowledge they needed to come to them.

There isn’t the space here to list all the great men who set themselves apart through self-education. Winston Churchill read so ravenously when he was a young officer in India that a biographer later wrote that “he became his own university.” Lincoln was also enflamed by a hunger to learn. He read every book he could buy or borrow.

Devotion to self-education is unquestionably one of the marks of an exceptional man. Passive men wait for knowledge to come to them. Weak men assume what they need to know will seek them out. Men of great character and drive search out the knowledge they need. They take responsibility for knowing what they must know to live effectively in their generation and to prosper. I know this sounds old school. I know this sounds like a lesson meant for the barefoot boy born in a dirt-floor cabin in the 1800s. I assure you it is a lesson for men today. In fact, it may prove to be one of the most important lessons for men today.”

Excerpt From: Mansfield, Stephen. “Mansfield’s Book of Manly Men.”

15. COMFORT  “Our Heavenly Father has provided many delightful inns for us along our journey, but He takes great care to see that we do not mistake any of them for home.” — C.S Lewis

16. HISTORY WRITTEN BY THOSE WITH BEST PRESS AGENTS “It was Amerigo Vespucci, an acquaintance of Columbus, who is credited with America’s discovery in 1497, five years after Columbus landed in the Caribbean Islands while searching for a new route to the spice-rich Far East. Chinese Admiral Cheng Ho, who visited the Americas in 1421, could lay claim as well — and there is also evidence that Scandinavian explorer Leif Erikson reached the Americas hundreds of years before any of these other explorers.” Excerpt From: Ben Carson, M.D. “America the Beautiful.”

17. COMMITMENT “Some people want to master every corner of the God question before they make a commitment to believe in Him, and they miss the heart of the issue—the issue of the heart.”

Excerpt From: Jeremiah, David. “Searching for Heaven on Earth.”

18. RESPONSIBILITY OF OUR GENERATION “If there must be trouble,” said American revolutionary Thomas Paine, “let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”

Will our grandchildren enjoy the freedom and prosperity we enjoy, or will they ask us, “Where were you when freedom died?”

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Not to stand is to stand. Not to speak is to speak.”

Saint Catherine of Siena said, “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire.”

Excerpt From: James Robison & Jay W. Richards. “Indivisible.”

19. LAWS AND MORALS “Did the abolition of slavery and the passage of civil rights laws affect people’s attitudes about slavery and race? Did Roe v. Wade, which struck down state restrictions on abortion, influence people’s views on abortion? If same-sex “marriage” is made the law of the land, do you think that will affect the sexual attitudes and actions of schoolchildren? If suicide for the terminally ill becomes widely accepted, do you think this will affect how we view the sick and the elderly? If the sale of marijuana is legalized, will that influence views on the morality of smoking pot? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.”

Excerpt From: James Robison & Jay W. Richards. “Indivisible.”

20. WORRY ABOUT FUTURE  “We would rather have the security of our yesterday than the uncertainty of our tomorrow.

But it’s the uncertainty of our future that really strengthens our faith. I mean, if we knew what it was all about, then it would take no faith. All it would take is obedience. If you knew what was going to happen in the next ten years of your life, what kind of faith would it take to walk that path?

It’s the mystery of it all that gives it the power, the mystery of the whole process called God’s working that makes the power so magnificent.”

Excerpt From: Charles R. Swindoll. “Wisdom for the Way.”

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11 replies
  1. Robert says:

    Wisdom is another word that Christianity distorts the meaning of in order to distort reality. The definition of wisdom in this system of religion is a bogus tautology: Since wisdom is the special province of God, anything God does is “just,” “wise,” and, “righteous,” even though it seems wrong, often very wrong to humans. God is defined in terms of these words and they are all redefined in terms of God. Any wisdom that comes from other sources is declared null and void. People who have contributed to art, science, politics, literature are absurdly called “foolish and “wicked” because they brought something other than the Christian gospel to the table. Again, the believer’s thoughts are controlled by the redefining of key words.

    • Ken says:

      What God does may “seem” wrong to humans, but what standard are humans pointing to for ethical standards? If there is no God, then Relativism is what you are left with. And so what one human considers “good” another considers “bad”, so why should I care what humans think about nay of God’s attributes, since they will differ so widely amongst themselves int he first place, and in the second, since ether is no standard for absolutes for right and wrong, good and evil, what one Relativist considers good or evil is irrelevant in the sense that it does not and cannot apply to what everyone else thinks, including the Christian. So the atheist cannot take away in one hand what it offers in the other. If there is no God, and Relativism is the case, then it does not matter what anyone anywhere thinks is wrong, right, good, or evil. All that matters is if they have the political or military/physical power to enforce their ethic on everyone else. We are left with natural selection, and the survival of the fittest. We are, as Dawkins and others have said, “meat machines”, right or wrong is just what we call ideas that are conducive to the survival of the species and the propagation of DNA.

      Atheist William Provine said

      ‘Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.’ Provine, W.B., Origins Research 16(1), p.9, 1994.

      If this is true, then all atheists should be consistent with their own worldviews and not make moral pronouncements about any one else’s actions, including God’s.

      As far as this statement: “Again, the believer’s thoughts are controlled by the redefining of key words.”
      The first answer is “so what?” The unbeliever’s thoughts are controlled by their worldview, be it materialism, or secular humanism every bit as much as the believer’s thoughts are affected by their worldview. No one is neutral…. no one is unbiased.

      Secondly, Christians do not impede science, nor do they all say that whatever someone outside of Christianity calls true is “absurdly wicked and foolish”. All truth is God’s truth, wherever it is found. So its simply not true that “Any wisdom that comes from other sources is declared null and void.” If a claim refutes our preexisting worldview, we have good reason to reject it., Thats just being rational and internally self consistent. IF we find that the claim does in fact have enough supporting evidence to be a defeater for a particular belief, we should change our belief, but until then. And this is exactly the moral obligation for the atheist.

    • Jim Whiddon says:

      Robert, thanks for reading. I would first have to understand what you mean by “Christianity” in your first sentence and “The definition of wisdom in this system of religion” in your second to adequately address your concerns. While I have never posted a definition for “wisdom” on this blog, I think this is a pretty good one: “knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action.” With this in mind, wouldn’t you agree that wisdom can and does come from various sources – including scripture? Notably, seven of the ten entries in this week’s Wisdom Chronicle do not mention God or Christianity. As I state in my intro, I am using many resources from which to bring wise excerpts to the readers.

      Full disclosure: I am a Christian (I know you must be shocked 🙂 and I believe the bible is inspired by our Creator and is thus infallible in its contents. And if you have a predisposition against entries which may contain biblical or “Christianity” content – however you define it – my hope is that you can still find some insights and guidance from all the excerpts provided. Best, Jim

    • Jeff says:

      Robert- You have it all backwards. It is unbelievers who distort word meanings to distort reality. For example, the unbeliever Lawrence Krauss changes (attempts to) the meaning of the word “nothing” to explain how the universe came from nothing.

      • toby says:

        Why do you assume that the philosophical definition of “nothing” is correct? Perhaps reality does not comport with our idea of nothing. Because if I say a box has “nothing” in it . . . in this universe at least, it never has nothing in it. So the old question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” is presuming that our idea of nothing is accurate. The question that should have come before this is, “Given that all we know and have experience of is “something”, is “nothing” possible.” Physics may indicate that the answer is no.

  2. Stephen B says:

    “Will our grandchildren enjoy the freedom and prosperity we enjoy, or will they ask us, “Where were you when freedom died?””

    I fear they’re more likely to ask us why we wasted all the fossil fuels, ruined the environment, warmed up the climate, and killed off so many species that we currently take for granted.

    • Jim Whiddon says:

      Stephen, It is clear that you have a place in your heart for preserving the environment. That is commendable. I think we all should be good stewards of what God has given us. Let’s look at the argument for man-caused destruction of the Earth – namely Global Warming, or in recent more convenient parlance, “Climate Change”.
      There are four questions to ask. The first is simply: Is climate change real? Since I believe no one really knows for sure. Let’s assume “Yes” so we can continue our discussion. The next three questions are:
      2. What can we do about it?
      3. How much will it cost?
      4. Can we be assured our solution will work?
      So what CAN we do about it? Let’s say money is not an issue for the moment. And let’s assume that the good ole US of A completely cleans up its act. Will China, and India et al do their part? They have said unequivocally that they will not. Have you seen scenes from China lately? So if we – the US – do all we possibly can and spare no expense, it won’t matter if the other 95% of the world’s population does not join us.
      How much will it cost? You have heard that “time is money”? Here is another, “Freedom is money.” Without economic freedom, there is no other kind of freedom. (Just take a look at the latest NASA photo of North and South Korea at night and see how the lack of freedom results in literal darkness to the point they literally cannot even keep the lights on.) The cost of really cleaning up the supposed environmental issues has already cost our economy trillions and it is destined to cost even more if we continue down this road. Handing over more taxes or fines to the government so they can squander it in a diaspora of inefficiency makes no sense. Especially when we understand the great strides we have made in cleaning up our water and air already. (Take a look at old photos of LA in the 1970s.) Let’s continue prudent efforts but not at the risk of the economic system that the world rightly so envies.
      Finally, do we even have the where-with-all to solve the problem? There are so many varying opinions of what needs to be done. Europe – Spain in particular – has been down the road of energy credits and the like and they are retreating from the policy as fast as possible based on the negative impact it has had on their economy without commensurate environmental advantage. I believe they have seen that the effort was a scheme to raise government revenue through harsh taxation and nothing more. This last question, if you can get through the first three, conjures up scenes in my mind of us scratching our heads asking, “Why didn’t it work?” with our collective hats in our hands as our economy lies in shambles around us. “Nice try.” won’t soothe us when that happens.
      Finally, I don’t think man can destroy the world. God has promised He will. He also holds all things together according to scripture – including the seasons and the climate. It really all comes down to one’s world view. Either you believe God is in control and rest in this truth, or you look for answers only on the surface of the planet which becomes a strange, painful pace full of disappointment and unpleasant business.

      • Stephen B says:

        Jim, with regards cost, we can’t really afford NOT to do something. A lot cheaper to avoid the problem now than deal with the consequences later. Trust me, dealing just with the consequences of heavy flooding (alone) is very expensive, and damaging to your ‘economic freedom’. Take a look at NASA pics of post-flood areas of the past month – they can be just as dark as North Korea!

        As for ‘no point in us doing something if China doesn’t – whatever happened to taking the lead? And given its population the US contributes disproportionately to Climate Change, so very much has the moral responsibility to take the lead in cutting back on its causes.

        And sure, Man can’t destroy the world. The planet will keep on ticking. But we can destroy ourselves. Even if you deny THAT, in the face of evidence, you can’t deny we can destroy other species, so I don’t see what confidence you can draw from ‘Man can’t destroy the world’. You should be careful what conclusions you draw from that belief with regards to the risks you’re willing to take!

  3. Klampp says:

    Robert, Other than your opinion, what is the evidence that supports your claim that “Atheist Ethics are a higher caliber than religious morals”?

    • Stephen B says:

      Klampp, I’ll follow your lead by giving a recommendation: Check out Matt Dillahunty’s lecture “The superiority of secular morality’. You can find videos of it easily online.


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