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I publish WendellNotes for significant books I read to make their perspective available to friends and GIN subscribers who may not otherwise have time for them. Before I started writing WendellNotes in 2011, book notes were part of my Journal. [Brackets separate my comments from the author's.]

Capitalism remains the most moral choice among the world’s economic systems. By allowing individuals to experience the full range of outcomes produced by their choices, capitalism advances the virtue of responsibility for the entire society. The New Testament commends self-interest but mandates that it be balanced by concern for the interests of others. Every time a profit is made wealth is created.  God does not hate inequality, but injustice and oppression. Economic matters are moral issues that deserve our attention and passion in the same way that abortion captures our focus. Certain conditions and social structures must be present in a society in order for capitalism to flourish, as well as some virtues for capitalism to function as intended to introduce free-market capitalism.

Failure is one of God’s greatest gifts to me. The people I was trying to show Jesus’ love to were better at showing love than I was. An active hope is the greatest indicator of an individual or community’s potential success. Helping from a distance is different from helping from within. If we were to place education as our highest value, there would be no way any of us would put our children in local area schools. Being a mother means protecting life in a community. Healing is usually something we notice in the rear-view mirror. Blending in with the local people allowed me to experience what it was like to be overlooked, ignored, and hidden in plain sight.

Download this file (Voices Rising.pdf)Voices Rising.pdf175 kB

It is God alone who began the work of redemption; it is God alone who continues and carries it on each moment in each individual believer. Just as much as it was God’s work to create, it is His work to maintain. Judgment punishes the sin while mercy saves the sinner. Our being kept waiting on Him is the only way for our learning, to find our life and joy in Himself. We have as little power to increase or strengthen our spiritual life as we had to originate it. We were seeking gifts; He, the Giver, longs to give Himself and to satisfy the soul with His goodness.

Download this file (Waiting on God.pdf)Waiting on God124 kB

Capitalism creates abundance precisely because of its moral foundations and depends on a golden rule of enterprise: The good fortune of others is also your own. Entrepreneurs can only keep what they give away. Capitalism is a system that begins not with taking, but with giving to others. The essence of giving is not the absence of all expectation of return, but the lack of a predetermined return. Giving is the vital impulse and moral center of capitalism.  Capitalism offers a practical way of living a life of effective charity, transforming the gift impulse into a disciplined process of analysis of the needs of others. The spirit factor is best elicited by ownership. Free will is ultimately self-ownership. The very conscience of capitalism is the awareness that one must give to get, supply in order to demand. “Give and you will be given unto.” This is the secret not only of riches but also of growth. The central secret of capitalistic success is its ability to convert the search for security, embodied in savings, into the willingness to risk, embodied in enterprise. The greater aggressiveness of men accounts for much of their earnings superiority. All creative thought is thus in a sense religious, initially a product of faith and belief. The essence of the universe is creative consciousness, continually generating new energy and thought. Capitalism succeeds because it is founded on giving, which depends on sensitivity to the needs of others.  Success is always unpredictable and thus an effect of faith and freedom.

Download this file (Wealth and Poverty.pdf)Wealth and Poverty195 kB

{This major work is a narrative curation of the history of the world which traces how geography influenced culture, which influenced relative processes of prosperity—including both their rate and their lack.} The discomfort of heat exceeds that of cold. A law against property is a law against industry. The persecutor’s greatest loss is self-inflicted. Literate mothers matter. The best clue to a nation’s growth and development potential is the status and role of women. Europe’s development difference was culture, values, and initiative. Good government is not to be had for the asking. It took Europe centuries to get it. Motive matters less than consequences. Reason will triumph because reason pays. If we learn anything from the history of economic development, it is that culture makes all the difference. Temptation marks all societies, and only moral training and vigilance can hold it in check.

Download this file (Wealth and Poverty of Nations1.pdf)Wealth and Poverty of Nations 371 kB

Your culture is how your company makes decisions when you’re not there. Virtues are what you do, while values are merely what you believe. What you are is what you do. What you do is who you become. The required amount of communication is inversely proportional to the level of trust. Most people can absorb new information several times faster and more effectively by reading information than listening to it. A culture is a set of actions. When you take an action that’s inconsistent with your culture, the best fix is to admit it, then move to overcorrect the error. The “why” of every decision is what gets remembered. The samurai are the taproot of Japanese culture to this day--a system not of values but of virtues. Culture is a consequence of actions rather than beliefs. Nothing signals the importance of an issue like daily meetings about it. If you want to change who you are, you have to change the culture you’re in. You can’t change reality, but you can assign it a new meaning. The shining example of assigning meaning was what Abraham Lincoln did in his Gettysburg Address.

Download this file (What you do is Who you are2.pdf)What you do is Who you are263 kB

Sickness is to the body what sin is to the soul. The natural realm is the anchor of unbelief. I now pray until I come into a place of faith for a situation. Contentment short of God’s purposes would mean having to learn to live with the enemy. A religious spirit is a demonic presence that works to get us to substitute being led by our intellect. Form without power creates Christians without purpose. Jesus, the model teacher, never separated teaching from doing. Most of what is recognized as a Christian lifestyle can be accomplished by people who don’t even know God. Teaching MUST be followed with action Anything I can get from the Word without God will not change my life. Unless I do the works of the Father, do not believe me. Real learning comes through doing. They were commanded to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons. Wise men have always been willing to travel. God wanted to make an exchange—His increased presence for my dignity. If the gospel is powerless, it is because human wisdom has had its influence. A primary purpose of the miracle realm is to reveal the nature of God. Nothing thrills the heart more than knowing God. Even the Son of God stated it was the miraculous that validated His ministry on earth. Something happened in me that won’t let me accept a gospel that isn’t backed with signs and wonders. Ignorance asks for understanding; unbelief asks for proof. Our main battle in spiritual warfare is not against the devil. It is against the flesh. We miss God when we live as though we have Him figured out.

Innovative systems gravitate toward the “edge of chaos," the fertile zone between too much order and too much anarchy. I have been curating a private digital archive of quotes that I’ve found intriguing, my 21st century version of the commonplace book. It fosters private serendipity. [My (Wendell) 50+ years of journaling are a version of this.] Physical proximity makes space rich with exaptation. 2 structuring metaphors govern: the complex interdependencies of the tangled bank, and the war of nature. The market has been a great engine of innovation. But so has the reef.

Download this file (Where Good Ideas Comr From.pdf)Where Good Ideas Comr From.pdf164 kB

Wilberforce was the greatest social reformer in the history of the world. He vanquished the very mind-set that made slavery acceptable and allowed it to thrive for millennia. The "Broken Window" argument (which transformed New York City in the 1990s) was the lever by which Wilberforce replaced an entire world of brutality and misery with another of civility and hope, one that we now refer to as the Victorian era.

Download this file (Wilberforce.pdf)Wilberforce88 kB

Our tongue is the rudder for our lives. God’s heart for us is to yearn to grow into a place of profoundly influencing others. Life is released by right words that agree with God. Hope is the soil that faith puts its roots in. Hope is the confident expectation that good is coming. Focus prime attention on the unseen realm of the spirit. Our tongue works like a rudder for us, taking us wherever our words are directed. Whatever we continuously talk about, we will begin seeing an increase of in our lives. Jesus turned the logos into his personal rhema.

Intercession is carrying a spiritual burden for an individual or situation until God’s Kingdom plan is released or fulfilled. Prayer does not fit us for the greater work. Prayer is the greater work. All believers are called to pray and to intercede. As we continue to seek a lifestyle of holiness, hatred for sin arises within us. God will only share and reveal prophetic prayer burdens with those He can trust.