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 in all genres. Each week, I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, Jim Whiddon

March 17, 2014

41. GENERATIONS “The most considered and balanced statement of politics’ place in the hierarchy of human disciplines came, naturally, from an American. “I must study politics and war,” wrote John Adams, “that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”

Adams saw clearly that politics is the indispensable foundation for things elegant and beautiful. First and above all else, you must secure life, liberty and the right to pursue your own happiness. That’s politics done right, hard-earned, often by war. And yet the glories yielded by such a successful politics lie outside itself. Its deepest purpose is to create the conditions for the cultivation of the finer things, beginning with philosophy and science, and ascending to the ever more delicate and refined arts.”

Excerpt From: Krauthammer, Charles. “Things That Matter.”

42. TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY “Like other tyrannies, the tyranny of the majority was at first, and is still vulgarly, held in dread, chiefly as operating through the acts of the public authorities. But reflecting persons perceived that when society is itself the tyrant–society collectively, over the separate individuals who compose it–its means of tyrannizing are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries. Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself. Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling; against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development, and if possible, prevent the formation, of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own.

There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence; and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs, as protection against political despotism.

Excerpt From: John Stuart Mill. “On Liberty.” (1859)

43. TRY AGAIN “I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot….and I have missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is precisely why I succeed.”

— Michael Jordan

44. KNOWING “Most of us know what to do. We fail because we don’t do what we know.”

Excerpt From: Jim Stovall & Tim Maurer. “The Ultimate Financial Plan.”

45. BIAS “Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.” –Warren Buffett

46. COST OF WEALTH “The poorest man would not part with health for money, but the richest would gladly part with all their money for health.”

— Charles Caleb Colton

47. PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN “When doctors inoculate children, they give them a less dangerous form of a pathogen, such as a virus. Billions of children, for instance, have received the smallpox vaccine. They don’t get the full-blown smallpox virus, but the much less virulent cowpox virus injected under their skin. This causes their immune system to kick in and build up a resistance to the virus.

Millions of parents, including Christians, expose their children to deadly ideas and influences for dozens of hours every week. They assume that an hour or two of church a week plus some short conversations at dinner should be enough to counteract thirty-five hours of TV per week, another thirty-five hours of secular schooling—a place where God is “He who must not be named”—another few hours of Internet surfing, and several more hours breathing in the ambient secular culture, not to mention the often unwholesome influence of classmates and friends.

“Christian” education didn’t take. They read a book by an atheist such as Richard Dawkins or Stephen Hawking, or got to graduate school or seminary, and realized they had been given caricatures of what their parents called “worldly ideas.” They were recruited by the very cultural forces that their parents tried to protect them from.

In some cases, the parents thought they were inoculating their kids; but they lacked discernment and taught things about science or history that fell apart when exposed to the evidence or intelligent objections. It was as if the parents opted for mysterious herbal remedies rather than a real smallpox vaccine.

In other cases, the parents spent so much of their energy helping their kids see the flaws in other Christian traditions that they neglected to help them see the glories of Christian history and the debilitating intellectual weaknesses of secularism and atheism. The ranks of prominent atheists are filled, not just with people who were raised in liberal mainline denominations, but with people who were raised in sheltered homes as conservative Christians. They tend to be the angry ones. Some even lost their faith during their time at Christian colleges that cost their parents a hundred thousand dollars.

Inoculation means that we expose our children to the best and strongest ideas that the world has to offer, but expose them in a way, and in an environment, that allows them to build up intellectual immunity.”

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

48. GOD’S WILL “During World War II, a man in Sussex, England, sent some money to the Scripture Gift Mission. He enclosed a letter saying that he longed to give more, but the harvest on his farm had been very disappointing because of a lack of water. He was also fearful because German bombs were being dropped in the area, and his family and farm were at risk. He asked the workers of Scripture Gift Mission to pray that no bombs would fall on his land.

Mr. Ashley Baker wrote back from the mission and said that while he didn’t feel led to pray that exact prayer, he had prayed that God’s will for their lives would prevail. Shortly after, a huge German missile crashed down on the farm. None of the man’s family or livestock were harmed, but the bombshell went so far into the ground that it liberated a submerged stream. The stream yielded enough water to irrigate the man’s farm as well as neighboring farms. The next year, due to a bountiful harvest, the man was able to send a large offering to the mission.

Sometimes even bombs are blessings. They fall from heaven, make a lot of noise, and liberate something wonderful within us—streams of living water that refresh us and draw us closer to Christ.”

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

49. PUNS “PEOPLE MAY CLAIM TO HATE PUNS, but most true word lovers have groaned to like them. Every parent should consider punning to be an essential part of good child rearing, if only because kids’ social hierarchy tends to slot young punsters in the nerdy, bookish, law-abiding, sexually late-blooming, high-SAT-score category. In other words, an appreciation for puns practically guarantees your child entry into a prestigious college and a career that supports you in your dotage.”

Excerpt From: Heinrichs, Jay. “Word Hero.”

50. DADS Obviously, being around is better than not being around, but being engaged is invaluable. One simply fills a role. The other anchors a life. It’s obvious when a dad is merely tolerating his kid. No one knows this more than the kid. At the same time, nothing so enlivens the life of a child as a dad who cares. When dad is listening and tracking and caring for his son’s soul, the world is a safer place.

Most dads never notice the deep need for approval their sons carry around. It’s potent. One word of encouragement can have a lifetime of effect. It only takes one sentence to change a son’s life forever, “Son, I’m proud of you.” Those men who’ve never received this type of approval spend a lifetime working for it. Those who get it have a sense of assurance the rest don’t.”

Excerpt From: Byron Forrest Yawn. “What Every Man Wishes His Father Had Told Him.”

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