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, Jim Whiddon

221. JUDGING RIGHTLY “Why is it that those who are the quickest to judge are often those in possession of the fewest facts?”

Excerpt From: Wooden, John. “Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court.”


“Looking back it seems to me,

All the grief that had to be

Left me when the pain was o’er

Stronger than I was before.”


223. PHYSICAL APPEARANCE Human self-image thrives on physical attractiveness, athletic ability, a worthwhile occupation. But, paradoxically, any of those desirable qualities may raise a barrier against the image of God, for virtually any quality that a person can rely on makes it more difficult for that person to rely on the spirit of God. The beautiful, the strong, the politically powerful, and the rich do not easily represent God’s image. Rather, God’s spirit shines most brightly through the frailty of the weak, the impotence of the poor, the deformity of the hunchback. Even as bodies are broken, God’s image can grow brighter.”

“I do not say that a Miss Universe or a handsome Olympian can never show forth the love and power of God, but I do believe that such a person is, in some ways, at a disadvantage. Talent, a pleasing physical appearance, and the adulation of crowds tend to shove aside the qualities of humility and selflessness and love that Christ demands of those who would bear his image.”

“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight (Jeremiah 9:23 – 24).”

Excerpt From: Yancey, Philip. “In His Image.”

224. LONG TERM SUCCESS “Amos Alonzo Stagg. He was coaching football at the University of Chicago when they were a national power. After one very successful year a reporter said, “Coach Stagg, it was a great year! A really great year.”

Coach Stagg said, “I won’t know for another twenty years or so whether you’re correct.”

He meant that it would take that long to see how the youngsters under his supervision turned out in life.”

Excerpt From: Wooden, John. “Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court.”

225. TRY THIS IN A MEETING “Answer someone who expresses doubt about your idea with “Okay, let’s tweak it.” Now focus the argument on revising your idea as if the group had already accepted it. This move is a form of concession—rhetorical jujitsu that uses your opponent’s moves to your advantage.”

Excerpt From: Heinrichs, Jay. “Thank You For Arguing, Revised and Updated Edition.”

226. GOD SHAPES US “And when each of us looks back at all the turns and folds God has allowed in our lives, I don’t think it looks like a series of folded-over mistakes and do-overs that have shaped our lives. Instead, I think we’ll conclude in the end that maybe we’re all a little like human origami and the more creases we have, the better.”

Excerpt From: Goff, Bob. “Love Does.”

227. THE FUTURE “What is that key component and central question?

It’s simply this: Will you, or will you not, trust God for your future?”

Excerpt From: Farrar, Steve. “True Courage.”

228. JUSTICE “Blessed is the nation whose God is The Lord. Indeed I tremble for my country when I ponder that God is just and His justice cannot sleep forever.”

— Thomas Jefferson

229. COURAGE When given an opportunity to deny Christ and save his life: “There can be no deliberation in a matter so sacred.”

— early Christian Cyprian

230. CULTURE CLASH “Fault lines have shifted. As they move, we move, which is why all manner of clash is left behind.

In the end, the absence of clash becomes as telling as clash itself. In 1977, the year Queen Elizabeth II celebrated twenty-five years on the British throne, the Sex Pistols—remember them?—marked the occasion with the release of their dumb, if nasty, punk anthem “God Save the Queen,” prompting what were still predictable clucks of outrage from defenders of the British institution.

Given these seemingly natural cultural enmities, a golden jubilee invite to, for example, drug-addled, bleep-mouthed Ozzy Osbourne—at the time riding reality-show-high—should have struck a culturally significant spark or two somewhere in the realm. But no. As the aged Keeper of the Stiff Upper Lip and retinue prepared to receive the aging Advocate of Wild Abandon and mates at her own gala affair, there was no discernible tut-tutting, not a single letter to the editor wondering what the country was coming to. In the end, no one noted anything amiss about an event that brought together a man who bites bats with a woman who has a royal taster.

Which goes to show the cultural revolution isn’t just over; it’s been forgotten entirely. This explains why, flashing forward to the 2004 Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., Billy Joel could celebrate Sir Elton John’s Lifetime Achievement Award by performing “The Bitch Is Back” for a black-tie crowd including President Bush, his White House cabinet, and a national television audience.

This was another transgressive moment of pomp and punkiness, a mix of cultivation and coarseness, but no one noticed the clash because there wasn’t any.”

Excerpt From: West, Diana. “The Death of the Grown-Up.”

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8 replies
  1. moose says:

    “COURAGE when given the opportunity to deny christ and save his life: there can be no deliberation in a matter so sacred”

    many of us deny christ because we don’t find the whole story believable. regarding courage–if 3/4 youths are leaving the church, that means they are starting to think for themselves, instead of just accepting the amazing stories that were forced down their throats when they were toddlers. courage can be starting to think for yourself.

    • Frank Turek says:

      Moose, if atheism is true there is no such thing as courage or any other virtue. We are merely molecules in motion, our behavior and beliefs completely determined by the laws of physics. Which means “starting to think for yourself” is impossible. Moreover, without an unchangeable standard of Goodness (which is God’s nature), courage would be morally no different than cowardice.

      • Stephen B says:

        If Christianity is true, why is it courageous to sacrifice your life, if afterwards you go straight to paradise?

        “Moreover, without an unchangeable standard of Goodness (which is God’s nature), courage would be morally no different than cowardice”

        How do you get the notion that following God’s nature is better than defying God’s nature, without begging the question by assuming the former is superior?

        • Frank Turek says:

          “If Christianity is true, why is it courageous to sacrifice your life, if afterwards you go straight to paradise?”

          Stephen, that wasn’t the point of the post. The point was that there is no virtue without a standard, and atheism can’t provide that standard. But to address your question, dying isn’t the problem– it’s the pain that comes from the process of dying that is. It takes courage to go through a crucifixion regardless how great the reward is.

          With regard to defying God’s nature, you would be defying the ultimate source and standard of Good. By definition, that can’t be Good.

          • Stephen B says:

            “you would be defying the ultimate source and standard of Good”

            According to who and by who’s authority?

            “It takes courage to go through a crucifixion regardless how great the reward is”

            Seems a decent trade-off for an eternity in paradise. I’d say sacrifice from an atheist is more impressive, given that he doesn’t he’s going anywhere afterwards.

            “The point was that there is no virtue without a standard”

            Either you see something as intrinsically virtuous, in which case it is so regardless of whether there’s a God, or you make it conditional on God’s existence, in which case it’s not.

      • moose says:

        frank–that is beautiful philosophy–the same stuff that we have heard thousands of times, the “molecules in motion” stuff etc.

        i don’t call myself atheist-probably more agnostic–there may or may not be a god–what i was referring to is all the amazing things that christianity claims, not whether or not a god exists

          • moose says:

            frank–why talk about what’s possible? i can say it’s possible that i flapped my arms and flew to the moon yesterday. we can all say that all kinds of things are possible. all the amazing claims of the holy bible are just claims–why should anyone believe any of it? –the earth stopped turning on it’s axis for a day (joshua)–how about real evidence for that, instead of a philosophical argument?

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