The Wisdom of Crowds:
I would normally be the first to roll my eyes at the title. You know the old saying “A person is smart but people are dumb”. Clearly crowds routinely make some whopper of bad decisions. Runs on banks, the French revolution, crucify him and so forth. But give the right circumstances the author shows again and again how crowds make wiser decisions then the so called “experts”.
Experts scope is limited they also show an inability to look at things from new angles. “Groups that are too much alike find it harder to keep learning” P 31
Experts are also surprisingly bad at what social scientists call “calibrating” their judgments… experts are much like normal people: they routinely overestimate the likelihood that they’re right”
Great upshot quote from P 34 “seer sucker theory: No matter how much evidence exists that seers do not exist, suckers will pay for the existence of seers.”
Anyway the scope of the book seems to be about right. Seek differing opinions, diversify your portfolio, work as a team, Captialism rocks etc.
Disciplines of a Godly Man:
I was told to teach the college group at my church from this book. Pretty good. I like best the list of other books we should read found in the back of this one. HA! But seriously a very good book.
James Madison: A Biography by Ralph Ketcham
Yeah that is right I put this under Baptist stuff. Actually Madison (father of our constitution) graduated from Princeton (though it was not named that at the time) and had many Calvinist friends who were out trying to win over souls to Christ. (And applied their Calvinism to the destiny of an independent nation called "America") Madison had great respect for them and the role of religion in civil society though as he grew older and passed the age of “introspection” was not more than a nominal believer. Interestingly though what did move him was non-licensed “Baptist” who were being arrested for preaching. He saw them as:
- Only preaching their conscience to those would listen
- Bringing zeal to morbid Anglicans and Southern Christianity P 58
- As not all that different as the Presbyterians who seemed to preach a similar message.
So for better or worse the Baptists plight seemed to have a large role in forming Madison’s views of religious liberty and his desire to fight for it.
Adoniram Judson on Christian Baptism
William Carey who Baptized Judson after he delivered this as a sermon called it the greatest defense for believer’s baptism he had ever heard. According to the preface and forward this was republished in 2000 because as one said he “thanks God” for the reemergence of Reformed theology it also sparked the need for Judson’s detail of his conversion from paedobaptist to believers baptism. So far so good. He will cover the nature of Abraham's convenant and the differences with the New Convenant. I am not far but enjoying it. As the preface put it while many are discovering Reformed theology for the first time…: "As wonderful as this new discovery is and its subsequent effects upon a man of God, it does not relinquish his need to still examine everything carefully (1 Thess 5:21), even from men whose feet you would feel unworthy to wash. In other words, we must always be on guard so as to not feel that we have to buy the whole bag of a theological system or of a man’s teaching without having first allowed it to simmer for a good while in our thinking.”
Upshot, Baptists are bleeding members and leaders to Reformed churches and they call upon the Ghost of Judson to save them. But so far not a bad “Hail Mary” at all! Guess I will throw it out there to all you DTS guys who have gone the same way. :-)