Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Unintended Consequences

In all major and most minor decisions that are not well thought through, there will always be unintended consequences.

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Resolutions

As some know, I have been reading Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton for several months. It is over 800 pages and a difficult read.  However, it has generated a lot of interest in the history of our country and those men and women that we consider our founders.   Some of you may know how the story of Hamilton ends.   He got into an argument with Vice President Aaron Burr that ends up in a duel where Hamilton is killed.

More on that below.

At the same time as our country was forming politically, economically and socially it was also experiencing a religious reformation.  One of the early well known theologian active in the religious reformation was Jonathan Edwards. Although he died before the revolution, he influenced religious thought for several years through his writings.

From Wikipidia
Jonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703 – March 22, 1758) was a revivalist preacher, philosopher, and CongregationalistProtestant theologian. Like most of the Puritans, he held to the Reformed theology. His colonial followers later distinguished themselves from other Congregationalists as "New Lights" (endorsing the Great Awakening), as opposed to "Old Lights" (non-revivalists). Edwards is widely regarded as "one of America's most important and original philosophical theologians". Edwards' theological work is broad in scope, but he was rooted in Reformed theology, the metaphysics of theological determinism, and the Puritan heritage. Recent studies have emphasized how thoroughly Edwards grounded his life's work on conceptions of beauty, harmony, and ethical fittingness, and how central The Enlightenment was to his mindset.[3] Edwards played a critical role in shaping the First Great Awakening, and oversaw some of the first revivals in 1733–35 at his church in NorthamptonMassachusetts.[4][5]
Edwards delivered the sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", a classic of early American literature, during another revival in 1741, following George Whitefield's tour of the Thirteen Colonies.[6] Edwards is well known for his many books, The End For Which God Created the World, The Life of David Brainerd, which inspired thousands of missionaries throughout the 19th century, and Religious Affections, which many Reformed Evangelicals still read today.[7] Edwards died from a smallpox inoculation shortly after beginning the presidency at the College of New Jersey (Princeton).[8] 

In addition to his many works and preaching, he is also known for his long list of resolutions (there are 65) that he developed as a young minister.   You can read the entire list of resolutions here but this is the first one:
Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

It is a new year and is a time for resolutions.   I like the way Edwards thought about resolutions.   As a guide for one's life to be read and reviewed weekly.   I would guess that he continually updated the list until the day he died.

With that in mind, I am adding a page to my website to list MY resolutions.  It will be similar to my list of Leadership Maxims but will be life principles that I will be resolved to follow.  Let me know what you think.

One last thing about Jonathan Edwards.  He was Aaron Burrs granddad.