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Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Soul of Science

The Soul of ScienceThe Soul of Science by Nancy Pearcey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I very much enjoyed this book. Nancy Pearcey is an excellent writer and a great mind. Her Biblical worldview makes reading her works worthwhile. The quotes below should challenge all of us. We need to know what we believe and why we believe it! When we or our children and grandchildren read science books are we (they) discerning. We need to train our minds to be aware of truth and discerning of non truth. Enjoy her quotes below:

In the spirit of the Reformation, the astronomer Johannes Kepler wrote of being “called” by God to use his talents in his works as an astronomer. In one of his notebooks, Kepler broke spontaneously into prayer: “ I give you thanks, Creator and God, that you have given me this joy in thy creation, and I rejoice in the works of your hands. See I have now completed the work to which I was called. In it I have used all the talents you have lent to my spirit.” ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

In the same spirit [of Kepler], the early chemist Jean-Baptiste van Helmont insisted that the pursuit of science is “a good gift,” given by God. This broad concept of calling lent spiritual and moral sanction to science as a legitimate way of serving God. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

The mathematical laws sought by science were legislated by God in the same manner as a king ordains laws in his realm. ~Rene’ Descartes

One of the most distinctive aspects of modern science is its use of mathematics – the conviction not only that nature is lawful but also that those laws can be stated in precise mathematical formulas. This conviction, too, historians have traced to Biblical teaching on creation. The Biblical God created the universe ex nihilo and hence has absolute control over it. Genesis paints a picture of a Workman completely in charge of His materials. Hence in its essential structure the universe is precisely what God wants it to be. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

Matter in the Platonic sense, which must be ‘prevailed upon’ by reason, will not obey mathematical laws exactly: matter which God has created from nothing may well strictly follow the rules which its Creator has laid down for it. In this sense I called modern science a legacy, I might even have said a child, of Christianity. ~Physicist C.F. von Weizsacker

Johannes Kepler first major book sought to demonstrate that the planetary system could be inscribed within a series of three-dimensional geometrical shapes. Although he later had to abandon the schema, it reveals his Pythagorean conviction that numbers and geometry are the key to unlocking the secrets of the universe. As Kearney puts it, Kepler believed “God created the cosmos upon the basis of the divinely inspired laws of geometry.” In fact, it was his intense commitment to mathematical precision that led Kepler through failure after failure until he finally hit upon elliptical orbits for the planets. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

The reason Newton felt free to avoid ultimate causes was, of course, that for him the ultimate cause was God. He viewed gravity as an active principle through which God Himself imposes order onto passive matter – as one of the avenues through which God exercises His immediate activity in creation. As Kaiser puts it, for Newton things like gravity “depended on God’s immediate presence and activity as much as the breaching of an organism depends on the life-principle within.” Like breathing, these active powers were regular and natural, and yet they could not be explained in purely mechanical terms. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

Today we are conditioned to think of the history of science as a warfare between science and religion. In the development of classical physics, however, what we see is not a battle between science and Christiany but a debate among Christians over the best way to conceptualize God’s role in the world – a debate over how to construe divine action in a world increasingly understood to operate by natural law. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

These ideas breathed life into scientific work, especially after the Protestant Reformation. The Reformers rejected the nature/grace dualism of the medieval church and taught that one could honor the Creator by studying His creation. Scientific work acquired great dignity. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

Science became, as Kline explains, a “religious quest”: “ The search for the mathematical laws of nature was an act of devotion which would reveal the glory and grandeur of His handiwork. … Each discovery of a law of nature was hailed as evidence of God’s brilliance rather than the investigator’s. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

We find these convictions expressed, for example, in the writings of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) and Johannes Kepler (1571-1630). They conceived of God as the Cosmic Lawgiver, who created the world according to mathematical laws. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

Listen to Kepler: “The chief of all investigations of the external world should be to discover the rational order and harmony which has been imposed on it by God and which He revealed to us in the language of mathematics.” This was not mere religious piety, incidental to Kepler’s scientific contributions. His convictions about God and mathematics were in fact the central inspiration for his scientific work. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

… for Kepler it was a “law of creation” that “just as the eye was made to see colors, and the ear to hear sounds, so the human mind was made to understand … quantity.” Many of the early scientists like to cite a passage from the apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon 11:20, “Thou hast arranged all things by measure and number and weight.” ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642 summed up the new worldview in his well-known statement that the book of nature is written by the hand of God in the language of mathematics. Today this idea has become so familiar that it strikes us as a platitude. But in Galileo’s day it was, as philosopher R.G. Collingwood puts it, “a fighting speech” – a declaration of war on Aristotelian philosophy and a ringing endorsement of the conviction that God had created the world on a mathematical plan. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

God had designed the universe, and it was to be expected that all phenomena of nature would follow one master plan. One mind designing a universe would almost surely employed one set of basic principles to govern related phenomena. ~Mathematician, Morris Kline

God, who founded everything in the world according to the norm of quantity, also has endowed man with a mind, which can comprehend those norms. ~Kepler

Certain laws which God has so established in nature and of certain notions which He has impressed in our souls. ~Rene’ Descartes

For the early scientists, there had been no epistemological dilemma. They believed that the Biblical God had created the world according to an intelligible pattern – and that He had designed the human mind to apprehend that pattern. God provided the link between the natural world and the human mind. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science

If the history of mathematics reveals anything, it is the crucial role that the Christian faith has played, and must play, in the world of science and scholarship. The history of mathematics was decisively shaped by its interaction with Christianity. This is not to assert that the early mathematicians were evangelicals in the modern sense of the term. Yet they did assume a broadly Christian worldview – that the world has an ordered structure because God made it; that humans made in God’s image can decipher that order; that in studying the creation, we honor its Creator. The notebooks of such giants as Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton overflow with praises to God for His orderly creation. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

The earliest attempts to formulate a mechanistic theory of life’s origin leaned heavily on chance – on random interactions of chemicals in a warm pond on the early earth. Given the complexity of life, its chance origin was a highly unlikely event, of course. But biologists hoped to vault that barrier by injecting immense quantities of time. Given enough time, they said, the most improbable event becomes not only possible, not merely probable, but inevitable.
However, at a symposium held in 1966 at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, the computer revolution caught up with the biologists. Using high-speed computers, mathematicians simulated the trial-and-error methods of chance. The outcome was devastating. Computers showed that the probability that life arose by chance processes is essentially zero, no matter how much time is allotted.
Since that time, there has been a gradual shift away from chance models of life’s origin to models that rely on some force inherent in matter. Chance has proved to be the materialist’s God-of-the-gaps, continually pushed back by advances in scientific knowledge.
As chance theories lost credibility, they were replaced by theories that rely on some inherent self-ordering force within matter. ~ Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

But this particular form of predestinist theory has lost its initial plausibility. To begin with, it has not been confirmed experimentally. Experiments designed to simulate conditions on the early earth have not revealed any significant ordering effects due to differences in chemical bonding forces. Dean Kenyon, one of the authors of Biochemical Predestination, has since rejected the theory on experimental grounds. “If you survey the experiments performed to date designed to simulate conditions on the early earth,” he said in an interview, “ one thing that stands out is that you do not get ordered sequences of amino acids. Nor do you get ordered sequences of nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA. These simply do not appear among the products of any experiments. If we thought we were going to see a lot of spontaneous ordering, something must have been wrong with our theory.”
What the experiments do yield is primarily a sludge of gummy brown tar. Or as Kenyon expresses it more elegantly: “The dominant trend in simulation experiments is the formation of non-biological materials. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

The design argument rests on an analogy between the order found in nature and the order exhibited by objects of human manufacture. The best-known formulation is by William Paley in 1802. Piling detail upon detail, Paley described the intricate adaptations found in living things. Ascribing these marvels to physical causes, he argued, would be like finding a watch on the heath and ascribing it to natural forces such as wind and erosion. The kind of order we see in watches indicates clearly that they are the products of human intelligence; and since we see an analogous order in living things, Paley argued, they are products of divine intelligence. If we are to believe the recent Gallup Poll, a great many Americans still agree with Paley.
The crux of Paley’s argument was the analogy between living things and watches. But today molecular biology has given us a much more striking analogy – between the base sequence in DNA and a written message. Updating Paley, we could say that ascribing DNA to physical-chemical causes would be like finding a book or computer disk on the heath and ascribing its contents to the effects of wind and erosion. If books and computer programs require an intelligent origin, so too does the message in the DNA molecule. Though no one has actually witnessed the creation of life, creationists argue, still we recognize the distinctive complexity that in our experience results only from intelligent activity. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

In our experience, a written message is always the product of an intelligent agent; hence we can construct a positive argument that informational structures such as DNA are likewise the result of an intelligent agent. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

The most common objection to any notion of design is that it falls outside the range of science – that any theory involving reference to an intelligent agent is unscientific. But this objection assumes a particular definition of science. It assumes that there exists what some philosophers of science call a “magic fence” that enables us to divide real science on one side – astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, geology – from pseudoscience like acupuncture, astrology, parapsychology, and the writings of Velikovsky. In this scheme, any concept of a designer, an intelligent cause, falls on the side of pseudoscience.
But philosophers of science have been notoriously incapable of specifying acceptable criteria for delimiting these two realms – for mapping the dividing line where the magic fence should be erected. Observability, testability, repeatability, falsifiability, and a host of other criteria have been offered, but none has been universally accepted. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

In fact, many philosophers of science now recognize that proposed principles of demarcation are themselves philosophically charged – that they reflect the metaphysical presuppositions of the person proposing them. Larry Laudan writes that the principles offered for defining science really function as weapons in philosophical battles. “No one can look at the history of debates between scientists and ‘pseudo-scientists’ without realizing that demarcation criteria are typically used as machines de guerre in a polemical battle between rival camps,” Lauden writes. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

It is well known, for instance, that Aristotle was concerned to embarrass the practitioners of Hippocratic medicine; and it is notorious that the logical postivists wanted to repudiate metaphysics and that Popper was out to get Marx and Freud. In every case, they used a demarcation criterion of their own devising as the discrediting device. Larry Laudan

Philosopher of biology David Hull writes that he is “highly skeptical” of proposed methodologies for delimiting true science. “They tend to be self-serving,” Hull writes, “designed to put one’s opponents at a disadvantage while shoring up one’s own position.

If Laudan and Hull are right, what can we say about definitions of science that exclude any theory referring to intelligent cause of life? Do they simply reflect many scientists’ philosophical opposition to the idea? It appears so. For when evaluated from a purely logical point of view, the case for design is identical to the case one might build for any other explanation of the past. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

Historical science is guided by the principle of uniformity – that the present is a key to the past. We postulate causes for past events by seeking an analogy among present events. Similar events warrant the assumption of similar causes. For example, when we observe the effects of water erosion in the present, we conclude that the same process explains the cutting of a river bed in the past. The surface of Mars has long, narrow trenches or rills, yet the planet has no water. Reasoning by analogy to phenomena observed on earth, scientists have concluded that at some time in the past there must have been running water on the surface of Mars. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

The principle of uniformity is open to either natural or intelligent causes. As philosopher David Hume wrote in 1748, “from causes which appear similar we expect similar effects.” And later: “The same rule holds whether the cause assigned be brute unconscious matter or a rational intelligent being.” In other words, the principle of uniformity is neutral in regard to the king of cause invoked. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

Applied to the origin of life, the principle of uniformity requires us to find an analogy in the present to the creation of information-rich structures such as DNA molecules. As we have seen, there are no known examples of information-rich structures created by natural processes. However, experience gives us a wealth of examples created by intelligent agents – books, poems, musical scores, computer programs. Even houses and automobiles present information. Hence, the principle of uniformity suggests that the origin of life may likewise be attributed to an intelligent agent. Rejecting that conclusion as beyond the bounds of science gives rise to the suspicion that the deck is already stacked in favor of mechanistic materialism – that one’s definition of science is nothing more than a machines de guerre in defense of a materialist worldview. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

If our definition of science is informed by actual scientific practice, certainly it will not be so narrow. Throughout the history of science, from Copernicus to quantum mechanics, science has been deeply implicated in metaphysical and religious questions. For example, Newton argued explicitly for the validity of drawing religious implications from science (then called Natural Philosophy). In the General Scholium, Newton wrote” And thus much concerning God, to discourse of whom from the appearance of things, does certainly belong to Natural Philosophy. ~Nancy Pearcy in “The Soul of Science”

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Friday, April 14, 2017

When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box

When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the BoxWhen the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box by John Ortberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

John Ortberg is becoming one of my favorite authors. A friend, Butch Hicks, recommended this wonderful book. John relates the Christian life to playing a game. When he was small John used to play board games with his grandmother. He learned a lot more than just how to play a board game, he also learned how to live life. As you will learn through his quotes below his grandmother had lots of wisdom. I trust you will enjoy reading quotes from his book!

Pawn and king alike, they all go back in the bag. ~Ancient Italian Proverb

Wherefore play the game of life warily, for your opponent is full of subtlety, and take abundant thought over your moves, for the stake is your soul! ~anonymous

This is our predicament. Over and over again, we lose sight of what is important and what isn’t. ~Epictetus

The biggest lesson life has to teach is the absolute necessity of arranging our life around what matters in light of our mortality and eternity. ~John Ortberg

When the game is over, it all goes back in the box. ~John Ortberg

To me, if life boils down to one significant thing, it’s movement. To live is to keep moving. Unfortunately, this means that for the rest of our lives we’re going to be looking for boxes.

When you’re moving, your whole world is boxes. That’s all you think about. “Boxes, where are the boxes?” You just wander down the street going in and out of stores, “Are there boxes here? Have you seen any boxes?” It’s all you think about.

You could be at a funeral, everyone around you is mourning, crying, and you’re looking at the casket. “That’s a nice box. Does anybody know where that guy got that box? When he’s done with it, you think I could get it? It’s got some nice handles on it. My stereo would fit right in there.”

I mean that’s what death is, really – the last big move of your life. The hearse is like the van, the pallbearers are your close friends, the only ones you could really ask to help you with a big move like that. And the casket is that great, perfect box you’ve been looking for your whole life. ~Comedian Jerry Seinfeld

Then one day it stops. For you, the game is over. Did you play wisely? ~John Ortberg

The Talmud teaches that every person should fully repent one day before death. When a visitor asked, “But how will I know when that day is?” He was told: “Treat every day as it were the day before your last.” Arrange your life around what matters most. Starting today. The box will wait. ~John Ortberg

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. ~Dave Toycen

“He looks so peaceful.” Rigor mortis will do that. Death is nature’s way of telling you to slow down. They ask the same foolish question people ask when somebody rich dies: “I wonder how much he left.” He left it all. Everybody always leaves it all. ~John Ortberg

You can be rich toward God. Your life – with God’s help – can be a source of pleasure to the God of the universe. You can make God smile. ~John Ortberg

When the game is over, all that will matter will be God’s assessment of our lives. John Ortberg

Being rich toward God means growing a soul that is increasingly healthy and good. ~John Ortberg

Being rich toward God means loving and enjoying the people around you. ~John Ortberg

Being rich toward God means learning about your gifts and passions and doing good work to help improve the world. ~John Ortberg

Being rich toward God means becoming generous with your stuff. ~John Ortberg

Being rich toward God means making that which is temporary become the servant of that which is eternal. ~John Ortberg

Being rich toward God means savoring every roll of the dice and every trip around the board. ~John Ortberg

Being rich toward God begins with giving to God that which He desires most of all. And what He desires most from you is you – your heart and devotion. Just as God can give us many gifts but the best gift is Himself, so we can offer God our resources and acts of service, but the gift He desires most is us. ~John Ortberg

The reason God created people is so He could be with us. ~John Ortberg

Love is a by-product of knowing. ~John Ortberg

In the West, you measure a man’s wealth by his possessions. In this country, we measure his wealth by his friends. ~A man from Ethiopia

One of the main reasons we are tempted to get more invested in our work than in our relationships is that in our vocations it’s easier to keep score. ~John Ortberg

But how can we track the well-being of the part of us that will last? This may look a little different for everyone, but there are a few mirrors and scales that we all will probably need:
Self-examination and confession
Friends who love you enough to speak truth to you
Time to be alone and listen to God
Examination of your calendar and checkbook
Key questions, such as: How easy discouraged do I get these days? How easily irritated am I compared to six months ago?
Attention to your secret thought life. What is your mind drawn toward – really? Where do envy or blaming or judging or lusting rob your inner person of life and joy? ~John Ortberg

Spend as much time caring for the inner you as you send on the outer you. ~John Ortberg

Caesar thought his throne in Rome was secure. But the kingdom was lying in a manger in Bethlehem. ~John Ortberg

Surrender is not passivity or abdication. It is saying yes to God and life each day. It is accepting the gifts he has given me – my body, my mind, my biorhythms, my energy. It is letting go of my envy or desire for what He has given someone else. It is letting go of outcomes that in reality I cannot accept anyway. I surrender my ambitions, my dreams, my money, my relationships, my marital status, my time, and my desires to God. ~John Ortberg

When I try to control something too tightly based on my own little ideas, I miss all the creativity and serendipity of life. ~John Ortberg

If you think you have free rein over things that are naturally beyond your control, or if you attempt to adopt the affairs of others as your own, your purpose will be thwarted and you will become a frustrated, anxious, and faultfinding person. ~Epictetus

Jesus taught that we should speak truth without using words to manipulate, intimidate, deceive, or flatter. ~John Ortberg

Jesus taught many times about this strange truth that power comes to us not when we seek control but when we freely yield our little centers of control to God. He said that if a grain of wheat remains alone, it bears no fruit, but if it is placed in the ground and dies, then it lives. He said that if we deny ourselves, we are fulfilled. He said that if we seek to save our lives, we lose them, but when we lose them for His sake, we come alive. ~John Ortberg

We actually receive greater power by surrendering … There is only so much that willpower can accomplish. ~John Ortberg

Everyone must carry two pieces of paper with him and look at them every day. On one it is written: “You are as dust and ashes.” And on the other: “For you the universe was created.” ~Rabbinic Saying

A game is at its heart the creation of a challenge against which one tests oneself. What makes a good game, he argues, is that it embodies well-crafted problems. And it is in the owning and embracing of the problem that players are able to grow in what the Greek Olympians called arĂȘte: excellence of will and character. ~Bernard Suits

God has given to you a tiny measure of what he has without limit – the ability to choose. Psychologists use words like initiative or being proactive or taking responsibility. But these are not just psychological concepts. They are deeply connected to what it means to be made in the image of God. ~John Ortberg

In nursing homes, such trivial choices as getting to decide when to see a movie or how to arrange their rooms made seniors’ health and emotional well-being improve and the death rate drop. Daniel flourished because even in exile he refused to believe he was helpless. ~John Ortberg

Smart players are clear on what lasts and what doesn’t. It is wise to store up treasure in what’s eternal: God and people. ~John Ortberg

It’s not that such treasures are bad. It’s that they won’t last long. It’s all going back in the box. ~John Ortberg

When we give casually, we receive casual joy. When we effortfully, thoughtfully, creatively, we get immense joy. ~John Ortberg

Richness of having usually means getting more stuff; richness of being is generally associated with giving more stuff. Jesus’ goal of “richness toward God” always involves richness of being. ~John Ortberg

I’ll do it someday, I tell myself, when my life is not so full. And then the day is gone. ~John Ortberg

Creeping commitments are the crabgrass on the lawn of life. They multiply without our permission or even our awareness. ~John Ortberg

Our truth is certain: time will not slow down, and we will never be able to redo yesterday. ~John Ortberg

The journey to integrity requires the cultivation of a desire: I must want to be good more than I want to do well. It requires a decision: I will choose to play with integrity and lose rather than cheat and win. It requires a belief: I cannot succeed in what I do and fail in who I am. ~John Ortberg

Developing a reputation for integrity is not the same as having it. ~John Ortberg

In a strict sense, I cannot break the rules. They endure, for they reflect the way things are. I can only break myself against them. ~John Ortberg

Integrity is much bigger than simply avoiding breaking the rules. It is becoming the kind of person who does the right thing. Integrity does not mean I get really good at not doing the things I really want to do. It is not using lots of willpower to override my desires. It means I become the kind of person who actually wants to do what is right. ~John Ortberg

My problem is not just my lack of character; it is that I can’t even see how badly I lack it. ~John Ortberg

The way back home for rule breakers is the way of grace through repentance. ~John Ortberg

If you wait for days to get easier before you get around to what matters, you may wait a long time. ~John Ortberg

If the devil cannot make you bad, he will make you busy. Either way you miss out on the life God intended for you to lead. ~John Ortberg

Here’s the radical idea: take the jar that is your life, and empty out all the sand. Start your day with an empty jar. ~John Ortberg

God never gives anyone too much to do. ~John Ortberg

Boredom ought to be one of the seven deadly sins. ~Frederick Buechner

That little amoeba had no stress, no problems, no challenges. Know what happened to it? It died. Too much comfort is lethal. ~John Ortberg

Whether it’s a special assignment or just living in a fallen world, people all the time are given burdens they cannot handle. ~John Ortberg

When God calls people to do something, their initial response is almost always fear. If there is a challenge in front of you, a course of action that could cause you to grow and that would be helpful to people around you, but you find yourself scared about it, there’s a real good chance that God is in that challenge. Take it a step further. If you’re not facing any challenges too big for you, if it has been a while since you have felt scared, there’s a real good chance that you’ve been sitting in the chair too long. ~John Ortberg

What really matters when God calls you to do something is not whether or not you feel inadequate. Of course you will; you are inadequate. So am I. That’s why God promises to go with us. What matters is your decision. Only people who say yes to challenge, demand, and risk are ever fully alive. ~John Ortberg

Where proof is possible, faith is impossible. ~John Ortberg

We would all like to be people of faith, but we would prefer a guarantee up front. ~John Ortberg

Gratitude is the ability to experience life as a gift. It opens us up to wonder, delight, and humility. It makes our hearts generous. It liberates from the prison of self-preoccupation. ~John Ortberg

Having too much can make a person ungrateful. ~John Ortberg

Sometimes we do not realize how much we have to be grateful for until it is threatened. ~John Ortberg

Our souls need to be fed, just as our bodies do. Bodies are fed by protein and carbs; souls are fed by words. What people need from us the most is not more information. They just need words that will feed their souls. Sometimes words as simple as “thank you” or “I hope you have a really good day” can feed a soul. ~John Ortberg

Sometimes we’re tempted to think that our current position/job/situation is a barrier to our mission, but in fact it is where it starts. ~John Ortberg

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth.”

Salt’s calling is to lose itself in something much bigger and more glorious; and then it fulfills its destiny. We were made to count. We were made to be salt. ~John Ortberg

If I do it by myself for myself, it’s death. If I do it with God for others, it’s life, because whatever I do with God for others does not go back in the box. ~John Ortberg

Sometimes people think they are robbed of any chance at having a significant mission in life because of their weaknesses. In fact, the opposite is true. God never wastes a hurt. Part of what makes a human life most powerful is the struggle. ~John Ortberg

If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Esther had no idea what the future would hold for her. Neither do you or I. ~John Ortberg

What is your position? Maybe it involves your job, your marriage, your tasks as a parent, or your friendships. Maybe your position includes going to school. Maybe it involves the neighborhood where you live, or volunteering, or your church. One thing is for sure: this is your time. Not some other situation. Not tomorrow or yesterday. We are often tempted to think that we are treading water right now, waiting for some other time, some more important position. You don’t get to choose your time; your time chooses you. You are what and who you are for a reason. ~John Ortberg

We play games to win. But merely winning doesn’t mean we have always achieved this inner excellence, and losing doesn’t mean we have neglected it. There is a score inside us, a measure of determination and heart and courage under pressure that matters more than the points on the board. Winning and losing apart from this inner score do not matter much. We play games to test ourselves. ~John Ortberg

Competitive greatness is a love for the battle, because it is in the struggle and the challenge that you are offered the opportunity to be your best when your best is required. ~John Ortberg

Men have succeeded in accumulating a greater mass of objects, but the joy in the world has grown less. ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky

That’s the world in which we live: we sell what nobody needs. But the problem of the human heart is: we need what nobody sells. ~John Ortberg

Contentment does not come when we acquire enough. It is a product of the way we think. ~John Ortberg

A pastor wants his church to change in ways that the people do not embrace. He wants it to look like his ideal of what a church should look like. Mostly this means he wants it to look big. But people sense that his desire has more to do with his ego than anything else. So they vote no in a hundred subtle ways. Still, he cannot bring himself to admit the truth. So he preaches angry sermons that chastise them for not following his leadership. He tries to pressure the elders. He threatens, he whines, he manipulates. Eventually the elders ask him to leave the church. Because he cannot lose and learn from his losses, he loses everything. ~John Ortberg

I recommend this book to everyone!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017



The Math Video Challenge empowers students to take their math and problem-solving skills to the next level with a creative video project. Students work together in teams of 4 to create a video that explains the solution to a MATHCOUNTS handbook problem and demonstrates a real-world application of the mathematics concept explored in the problem.

Recently, a group of 7th grader and 8th graders created their own video. Team GEOfreaks has already won a prize. Together, Aakriti, Elaine, Diya and Harin created a video called "No More Detention". Now, it is up to YOU to help them win. The more votes a video gets, the higher chance the team has of being a semi-finalist. Also, each person can vote once every day !!!! They need all the help they can get, so help them by voting as many times as you can!! Voting starts Feb. 22, and ends March 14th. Please help the team by voting!

Please consider taking a couple of minutes and vote for our Scholars' Academy students' math challenge video. Once you set up an account (which only takes a minute) you can vote every 24 hours! After clicking the image, follow these instructions:
1. Click on "My Account"
2. If you have already created an account just enter your info
3. If you have not created an account click "click here" and create your account (please remember your user name and password so you can vote every 24 hours).
4. Next Click the tab "Leaderboard" to find our students' video "No More Detentions." We are currently on page two in tenth place.
Click on our video, then click on "Vote For This Video."
5. You may vote every 24 hours.

Thank you for your help. I know the students really appreciate it! Also, encourage others (family members and friends) to vote!

Watch the video at: this link

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Boy Born Dead: A Story of Friendship, Courage, and Triumph

The Boy Born Dead: A Story of Friendship, Courage, and TriumphThe Boy Born Dead: A Story of Friendship, Courage, and Triumph by David Ring

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent, excellent book. If you have never heard David Ring preach, you are missing a blessing. This is his story told from his childhood best friend. I don't have many quotes but I do have a video or two to share. I highly recommend this book to everyone. I trust you will enjoy the quotes and videos below:

"You know, boys, people are like tea."

"Tea doesn't just appear. It is made through a process of steeping. First of all, the water must be boiling hot. Heat changes things, whether they want to change or not. The cuddles rise, and the steam heats the air. Anything that goes into that water is going to come out different."

"Then a tea bag is dropped into boiling water - like I said, it immediately begins to change. All that is dry and compact begins to seep out of the bag and liquefy. At first, you can even see a brown cloud begin to expand throughout the water - like the winding boundary of two territories: water and tea. They are separate."

"But the longer that bag is in the water, the more the two boarders disappear into each other. The brown takes over, and if you wait long enough, the water is no longer water. Now the whole pot is filled with nothing but tea."

"David, people are like tea. When they are thrown into hot water - whether of their own doing or not - they are changed by their circumstances. How can they not be? And the longer they stay in the heat, the more they become one with their difficulty. It begins to define them. Pretty soon they are just tea. They are just bitter. They are just depressed. They are just angry. They become steeped in their situation. Lost until it consumes them."

"Only God can cool the heat - separate the tea back from the water. Sometimes he even puts other people near the heat. People who can endure it. People equipped to help that person regain hope again."

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Friday, November 25, 2016

How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life

How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your LifeHow to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life by Pat Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an excellent book. I recommend it to everyone. after you read the quotes below just remember that the book is 400 pages, so there is so much more! Enjoy and be inspired:

“We are all born to be who we are. What was the genetically unique individual who was going to be himself. His job, and ours as well, is to finish the job on earth that we were created for.” ~Ray Bradbury writer

Now more than ever, we need people with the qualities Walt had: optimism, imagination, creativity, leadership, integrity, courage, boldness, perseverance, commitment to excellence, reverence for the past, hope for tomorrow and faith in God.

But that’s just the point of this book. Walt was unique – – and so are you! The attitudes and traits we learn from Walt’s life teach us how to be more uniquely who we are and who we were meant to be. If each of us would dream big dreams, approach life with hope and confidence, and persevere until our dreams come true, then we would not only be more like Walt, but we would become the people God created us to be.

“They called Walt a genius, and he was. But in a real sense, while Walt was just an average man who could relate to other average people. So what is a genius, really? If we could learn the lessons of Walt’s life, maybe we could all be geniuses.” ~John Kimball, son of animator Ward Kimball

When Walt Disney was just a boy, his father put him to work in the harsh conditions of a Kansas City blizzard – – and kept the money Walt earned. Even so, Walt embraced the nostalgia for his early years while dreaming big dreams of the future.

Walt once said, “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.” In reality, it all started with a boy. Here is that boy’s story.

Walt chose to emulate his father’s best traits: faith in God, faith and his fellow man, a strong work ethic, honesty and integrity, perseverance, a tolerance for risk, compassion for people, love of music, and love for family.

“His parents were plain people who moved from one section of the country to another in fertile search of the American dream. Young Walt showed no brilliance as a student; he daydreamed through his classes. Cartooning proved his major interest, but his drawings were uninspired; as soon as he could hire better cartoonists, he gave up drawing entirely. It seems incredible that the unschooled cartoonist from Kansas City… could have produced works of unmatched imagination. ~Bob Thomas, Disney Biographer

A fourth-grade teacher once scolded Walt for exercising his Disneyesque imagination on a class assignment. The students were shown a bowl of flowers to sketch. Walt drew the flowers with faces – – a foretaste of the humanize flowers in the Silly Symphonies and Alice in Wonderland. “Flowers,” the teacher sternly admonished, “do not have faces!”
The two twenty year-olds, Walt and Ub were the “old men” at Laugh-O- Gram. The other employees were still in their teens. (Two of them, Hugh Harmon and Rudolf Ising, would later create the Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies series for Warner Brothers.)

“Walt was not afraid to surround himself with the best artist he could hire. He was not threatened by having better people around him. Eventually all his old Laugh-O- Gram animators from Kansas City came out to California to work for him.” ~Brian Burnes, co-author, Walt Disney’s Missouri

“Walt’s older brother Roy devoted his life to helping Walt finance his dreams. Outside of Watt’s on personal drive and creativity, Roy O. Disney was the single most important factor in Walt’s ultimate success.” ~Ken Annakin, Disney Movie Director

“Walt was the best salesman in the world because he felt he wasn't selling." Wolfgang Reitherman, Disney Animator

Build these qualities into your life and you can sell like Walt. Those five qualities are honesty, enthusiasm, confidence, courage and persistence. Let's take a closer look:

1. Honesty. The best salesmen are people of integrity. A great salesman lives on repeat business. The key to repeat business is trust, and the key to trust is integrity.

Always tell the truth about your product. Never promised more than you can deliver. It's better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around.

2. Enthusiasm. All great salesmen are fired up about their product. Enthusiasm is contagious; it affects everyone around you.

3. Confidence. Great salesmen always brim with confidence, even in tough times.

Selling is all about attitude. You must believe you can sell your product even in a down economy, even in an off-season, even if you've been in a slump. Confidence is not a feeling; it's an attitude choice. Even if you don't feel confident, you can still adopt an attitude of confidence.

You may not be comfortable selling yourself or your product, but so what? Nobody is comfortable selling. Nobody ever became successful by staying within their comfort zone. If you want to succeed, you have to do what Walt did: take a big, confident step outside your comfort zone, and start selling your dreams.

4. Courage. The biggest obstacle every salesman faces the fear of rejection. Psychological studies show that high-achieving, successful people are not overly concerned about what others think.

5. Persistence. The most important part of selling his persistence. Nothing that is worthwhile comes easy.

“Walt Disney worked hard and sold his ideas from the earliest days of his career. He had no MBA, not even a college degree. But Walt had the right idea and the right spirit, and he was willing to go out and sell his ideas. He was a world-class salesman." ~Peter Clark, Retired Disney Executive

“Actually, it’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” ~Walt Disney

“Walt was in the business of believing the impossible,” Lynn told me. “To him, the impossible was always possible. Now, of course, we are getting into the realm of God and faith, because God is in the business of making the impossible possible in our lives. As Jesus once said, ‘All things are possible to him who believes.’

Wendell Warner told me, “I heard Walt say, many times, ‘I’m not interested in what man can’t do. I want to know what he can do.’

"Today, you hear people talk about ‘thinking outside the box.’ But Walt would say, ‘No! Don't think outside the box!’ Once you say that, you've established that there is a box. Walt would refuse to accept the existence of the box.”

Walt chose to respond creatively. He responded with imagination instead of retaliation. He said, in effect, "I'll solve this problem by creating something new, something the world has never seen before." So Walt created Mickey Mouse.

“Mickey was the first cartoon character to stress personality. I thought of him from the first as a distinct individual, not just a cartoon type or symbol going through a comedy routine.” ~Walt Disney.

Creativity is the ability to unleash the imagination so that we can envision what has never existed before.

Some people believe that creativity is a talent that you are either born with or not. I'm convinced that creativity is a skill that can be learned and nurtured. All people are essentially creative because we are all made in the image of a creative God.

Here are some creative insights drawn from Walt’s life:

1. Draw on all of your life experiences. Everything that has ever happened to you is grist for the mill of your imagination. Don’t waste your experiences. Remember them, reflect on them, and let them inspire you.

“Ideas percolated in Walt’s memory for years, from his childhood to the trips he made to South America and Europe. On one European vacation, he bought an arm load of mechanical toys – – birds, poodles, and so forth– – and these toys inspired him to build a system of robotics called Audio-Animatronics. That invention changed entertainment history.” ~Stacia Martin, Disney Artist and Historian

2. Remove the limits from your imagination. Most of our limitations are actually self-imposed. We limit ourselves by worrying about the “right” or “proper” way to do things. The moment we place limits on imagination, creativity shuts down.

Sometimes creative thinking demands that we set aside the rules of logic and make an intuitive leap to a completely new range of ideas.

3. Consider all possible solutions to every problem. Creative people look at the problems and challenges from every angle. They don’t want one solution they want hundreds.

4. Silence your inner critic. We all have that little voice inside us that criticizes our ideas and inhibits our inner creativity. Our inner critic nags at us and warns us not to take chances or color outside the lines. Creative people learn to shut off that critical voice so they can explore the outer limits of their imagination.

5. To be creative, be courageous. “People called Walt a dreamer, and he was,” said Bob Thomas. “But he was so much more, because he dared to risk everything to make his dreams come true.”

6. Work hard. Authentic creativity doesn't just dream; it builds. It turns fairytale dreams into castles. "If you can dream it," Walt said, "you can do it."

7. Ask yourself, “What if –?” Creative people don’t say, “I always do it this way.” They question assumptions. They ask, “what if we could find a better way?”

“There was a moral foundation to Walt’s movies that people tapped into—a basic moral foundation. In Disney films, you see strong values and role models. You see the importance of being kind to others, of serving others, of finding joy even in adversity. All of this reflects the Judeo-Christian worldview that Walt was raised in.” ~Les Perkins, Video Producer and Disney Historian

In the author’s book, “The Paradox of Power,” he distilled the art of leadership down to seven essential components. Walt Disney perfectly exemplifies every one of them: Vision, Communication Skills, People Skills, Good Character, Competence, Boldness, and a Servant’s Heart. Let’s take a closer look at each one:

1. Vision
Great leaders are people of vision. Your vision is your definition of success. Not all visionaries our leaders, but all leaders are visionaries. You can't lead people without a vision of where you are taking them.

“Think beyond your lifetime, if you want to do something truly great. Make a fifty-year master plan. A fifty-year master plan will change how you look at the opportunities in the present.” ~Walt Disney

2. Communication Skills
A great leader is also a great communicator.

What made Walt such an inspiring communicator? He understood that communication is more than words – – we communicate with their eyes, are smile, our hands, our posture and our bearing.

“I was stumped one day when a little boy asked, ‘Do you draw Mickey Mouse?’ And I had to admit I do not draw anymore. ‘Then you think of all the jokes and ideas?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘I don’t do that.’ Finally he looked up at me and said, ‘Mr. Disney, just what do you do?’ ‘Well’ I said, ‘sometimes I think of myself as a little bee. I go from one area of the studio to another, and I gather pollen. I sort of stimulate everybody. I guess that’s the job I do.’” ~Walt Disney

Walt was a great communicator in part because he listened so well.

3. People Skills
Walt once said, “You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it requires people to make that dream a reality.” Everything Walt achieved, he achieved through people. Not one of Walt’s accomplishments was a solo effort. To be a leader, you must have people skills: the ability to delegate; the ability to manage the results; the ability to inspire loyalty; the ability to create an atmosphere of creative freedom and informality; the ability to turn a collection of talented individuals into a team; and the ability to create an atmosphere of teamwork.

"Walt wanted to manage the creative process without intruding on it. So, after work, he would go study the artists’ desk, bulletin boards, and even the wastebaskets. Janitors would say he'd sit there and study at his artists’ work for hours." ~Harriet Burns Disney Imagineer

4. Good Character
A leader must have good character in order to inspire other people with his vision for the future. As leadership guru John Maxwell observed, "people buy into the leader before they buy into the leader’s vision."

“He created Mickey Mouse and produced the first full length animated movie. He invented the theme park and originated the modern multi media corporation. … But the most significant thing Walt Disney made was a good name for himself.” ~Richard Schickel, Film Critic, TIME MAGAZINE

5. Competence
The word competence means “the state or quality of being well-qualified, skilled, knowledgeable, and able to perform a given roll.” Noticed that the first seven letters of the word “confidence” C-O-M-P-E-T-E. Your people need to know that you are a competent and competitive leader. If they know you will fight hard to win, they will follow you anywhere.

6. Boldness
Boldness is courage, confidence, and adventurous spirit, and a willingness to take risks. Bold leaders master their fears, act decisively, and except the consequences of their decisions.

7. A Servants Heart
I believe the ultimate test of leadership is this: Does this person have the heart of a servant? If you don’t have a servants heart, you are not a leader just a boss.

In 1936, Disney’s distribution agreement with United Artist came up for renewal. This time around, the UA attorneys inserted the strange clause in the contract, asking Walt to sign over all rights to exhibit his film on experimental new technology called “television.” Walt refused to sign. “I don’t even know what television is,” he said, “so I’m not going to sign away my rights to something I know nothing about.” After negotiations with UA broke down, Walt cut a deal with RKO Radio Pictures, giving Disney seventy percent of the gross while permitting Disney to retain all television rights. Though no one could have imagined the future importance of television, Walt’s decision to retain TV rights for his films would prove to be a stroke of brilliance.

After three years of work and $2.6 million, Pinocchio premiered in New York City on February 7, 1940. Artistically, it is regarded as one of Disney’s finest productions. Commercially, however, Pinocchio was a flop. The person responsible for undermining Pinocchio’s success was an Australian-born dictator by the name of Adolf Hitler.

Disney’s film budgets were partly based on earnings from European distribution. On September 1, 1939 – – five months before Pinocchio opened – – Hitler sent his Nazi storm troopers into Poland, igniting World War II. The outbreak of war closed the lucrative European markets to Disney’s films and Pinocchio failed to earn back its production cost in its initial release.

“People mistakenly think of Walt as a creator of children’s entertainment. When Walt was at the top of his artistic form, he made movies for everyone, not just children. Snow White and Pinocchio were suitable for children but tremendously sophisticated. It was filmmaking at its best. ~J.B. Kaufman, FILM HISTORIAN, COAUTHOR OF WALT IN WONDERLAND

“My dad would quote Walt Disney: ‘Do a good job. You don’t have to worry about the money; it will take care of itself. Just do your best work then try to trump it.’” ~Don Iwerks, Son of UBS Iwerks, Longtime Disney Employee and Founder of Iwerks entertainment

Walt Disney, Leopold Stokowski, and the Disney engineers broke new ground with Fantasia’s revolutionary Fantasound multi-track sound system. It was not only the first film with stereophonic sound; it was the film that invented stereophonic sound. Though The Sorcerers Apprentice was recorded in California, the rest of the music was recorded by Stokowski's Philadelphia Orchestra in the historic Philadelphia Academy of Music.

Walt Disney teaches us to do what you love. Fall in love and stay in love with and what you’re doing. With Walt, cartoons started it. They said Snow White wouldn’t work, but Walt did it because he loved it. The same with Fantasia—a commercial failure at the time, but what a magnificent failure! Fantasia set the standard. Walt lived his loves. His life shouts to us, ‘Don’t try to please others! Be yourself!’” ~Ray Bradbury, Writer

Walt committed his studio to producing films for the government at cost – – Disney’s contribution to the war effort.

“Walt had a burning desire for excellence in everything he did. He was always thinking, ‘we can do it better’. That’s a common trait of all successful people.” ~Royal “Mickey” Clark, Former Treasurer of WED Enterprises

"Walt Disney was adamant about quality. He always found new ways to ‘plus the experience.’ He wanted to give people more than they anticipated. ~Dan Viets, Disney Historian and Co-author, WALT DISNEY’S MISSOURI

“If Walt made one million from one picture, he didn’t retire to Miami. He’d take that million, borrow another million and make another picture.” ~Charles Shows, Disney Writer-Director

“Walt Disney taught me to always go for the highest quality and never settle for less. Nothing but the best quality products ever left a studio, no matter what it cost.” ~Bob Brunner, Disney Composer

“We make movies that children are not embarrassed to take their parents to.” ~Walt Disney

“Fantasy, if it’s really convincing can’t become dated, for the simple reason that it represents a flight into a dimension that lies beyond the reach of the time.” ~Walt Disney

“Our goal at Disneyland is to always give the people more than they expect. As long as we keep surprising them, they’ll keep coming back. But if they ever stop coming, it’ll cost us ten times that much to get them to come back.”

No matter what business you’re in, your success depends on your commitment to excellence and attention to detail. If you deliver more than people expect, you will turn clients into fans. If you go out of your way to make people feel special, they will go out of their way to buy your product.

“Lillian used to say, ‘But why do you want to build an amusement park? They’re so dirty.’ I told her that was just the point – – mine wouldn’t be.’” ~Walt Disney

“Walt loved the story of Davy Crockett, and he lived by Davey’s motto: ‘Be sure you are right, then go ahead,’ That’s why Walt put Davy Crockett on TV. He made the kind of entertainment he liked to watch.” Stacia Martin, Disney Artist and Historian

The Disneyland opening ceremonies were scheduled for live coverage on the ABC television network. Walt chose his friend, Art Linkletter, to host the show.[It was determined they needed two co-hosts]

Linkletter didn’t hesitate. “I know two fellas who would be the perfect for the job: Bob Cummings and Ronnie Reagan.” So Walt had his broadcast team – – genial TV host Art Linkletter, popular actor Robert Cummings, and future President Ronald Reagan.

Walt’s nephew, Roy E. Disney told me, “If Walt had one great gift, it was that he kept his head down and kept trying.

“When things are going good, I’m afraid something’s going to crack under me any minute. A kick in the pants can be the best thing in the world for you.” ~Walt Disney

“Walt wanted everything done right. He’d walk around the park in old clothes, so that people wouldn’t recognize him. If he saw a carpenter doing careless work, he’d say, ‘You know, that looks a little sloppy. You should take more pride in your work.’ The carpenter would wonder. ‘Who does that guy think he is? Walt Disney?’”   ~John Kimball, son of Ward Kimball and Longtime Disney Employee

“At the opening ceremonies for the Disneyland Monorail, when Richard Nixon attended, Walt and Nixon took a test ride on the Monorail. Round and round they went. Finally, we had to shut the power off to get Walt to stop at the station.”  ~John Catone, Longtime Disneyland Empolyee

Disney produced yet another innovation: the first TV broadcast and simulcast stereo. On January 30, 1959, Disney aired “The Peter to Tchaikovsky Story.” In some cities, the audio portion was broadcast buy a pair radio stations. If you had two radios, you could tune one to receive the right channel and the other to receive the left.         

Walt’s friend, Art Linkletter, shared a memory with me that reveals Walt’s heart for young people. “Walt gave me a gift on my birthday one year,” he said. “It’s a four by six photo of a small boy looking off in the distance. There is a single word across the bottom of the photo – – ‘Priorities’ – – and below that word is this statement: ‘A hundred years from now it will not matter what is in your bank account, or what kind of car you drive. It will only matter that you made a difference in the life of a child.’

“Think beyond your lifetime if you want to accomplish something truly worthwhile.”   ~Walt Disney

He envisioned nothing less than a planned community in which thousands of people would live, work, play and dream. It would be his gift to the human race – – a clean, healthy, crime-free community where new technologies could be tested and showcased.” What I’m talking about,” he said, “is an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. What does that spell? E-P-C-O-T. And that’s what we we’ll call it: EPCOT!”

He later described his utopian vision. “In EPCOT,” he said, “there will be no slum areas because we won’t let them develop there will be no landowners and therefore no voting control. People will rent houses instead of buying them, and at modest rentals. There will be no retirees; everyone must be employed. One of the requirements is that people who live in EPCOT must keep it alive.” Science-fiction writers have dreamed of such and community only Walt Disney dared to build it.

“Everybody can make their dreams come true. It takes a dream, faith in it, and hard work. Yet, the work isn’t all that hard because it is so much fun you hardly think of it as work.”  ~Walt Disney

“After Walt’s death, the EPCOT project fell apart because no one had the vision to carry it on. The whole company was lost without him.”  ~Randy Thornton, Award-Winning Producer Walt Disney Records

Like his heroes, Abe Lincoln, Thomas Edison, and Charlie Chaplin, Walt was largely a self-education man.  Though Walt’s formal education only went as far as his freshman year in high school, he was a brilliant and well-educated man. At an early age, Walt mastered the art of self-education. While most people view education as something they passively receive from teachers, Walt viewed education as something to be aggressively pursued. He exemplified an important life principal: successful people are those who have learned how to learn.

The genius of Walt Disney, I have boiled it down to six factors:

First, curiosity. Walt was intensely curious about everything life has to offer.

Second, knowledge. Walt had a thirst for knowledge. He tried to impart this level of knowledge to everyone around him.

Third, experimentation. Walt was always pushing the envelope and testing new ideas. He was on a continual quest for discovery, and he encouraged that same spirit in his staff.

Fourth, quality at all cost. His philosophy was, ‘Whatever you do, do it right.’ He was always reaching for perfection, and his eye never missed a detail.

Fifth, control. Walt hired the best people and gave them a lot of creative freedom. But he always had control of the final results.

Sixth, vision. He had a unique sense of what would sell, what the public wanted to see.

On July 17, 1955, Walt unveiled a radically innovative form of three-dimensional art. Some people called it a “theme park,” but it was actually a full-immersion multi-media experience combining motion, light, color, texture, sound, music, taste, smell, story, adventure, thrills, nostalgia, futurism, fact, fantasy, and audience participation. It was, that a time, the world’s largest art object, for it covered 160 acres of California real estate.

“We are not trying to entertain the critics. I’ll take my chances with the public.”   ~Walt Disney

“Once a man has tasted freedom he will never be content to be a slave. That is why I believe that this frightfulness we see everywhere today is only temporary. Tomorrow will be better for as long as America keeps alive the ideals of freedom and a better life. How men will want to be free and share our way of life.   ~Walt Disney March 1, 1941

“I thank God and America for the right to live and raise my family under the flag of tolerance, democracy and freedom.”   ~Walt Disney March 1, 1941

In matters of faith, as is so many other areas of his life, Walt was full of surprises – – and paradoxes. He was a deeply religious man who never went to church. He drank and smoked and swore, but he was also a man of faith and prayer.
Raised in a strongly religious home, the son of a Congregational deacon, Walt got a heavy dose of Christianity in his early years. He was required to attend Sunday school and church every week until he was old enough to leave home. He was named Walter after the Congregational minister Reverend Walter Parr.

Though Walt’s belief in God never wavered from childhood until death, his strict religious upbringing left him with a distaste for institutional religion and sanctimonious churchmen. The fact that Walt’s own father could often be dogmatic, narrow minded, and a severe disciplinarian and was undoubtedly a factory Walt’s alienation from the church. Walt rebelled against his strict religious upbringing – – but he didn’t become a nonbeliever, as many rebels do. Instead he became a non-practicing believer. He had faith in God, he lived Christian principles, but he avoided church involvement.

“I believe firmly in the efficacy of religion, and it’s powerful influence on a person’s home life. It helps immeasurably to meet the storms and stress of life and keep you attuned to the Divine inspiration. Without inspiration, we would perish.”   ~Walt Disney

“He was a very religious man, but he didn’t believe you had to go to church to be religious. . . . He respected every religion. There wasn’t any that he ever criticized. He wouldn’t even tell religious jokes.”   ~Sharon Disney Lund, Walt’s Daughter

Though not a church-goer, Walt was a moral, Christian man who lived out what he believed.

We’ve already looked at Walt’s compassion, his humility and servant-hood, his commitment to being an involved and loving father, and his utopian vision for a better world for all people everywhere. These qualities all spring from Walt’s Judeo-Christian worldview. And there is one more of Walt’s Christian qualities that needs to be mentioned: his Christian view of morality. Walt was a moral and upright man.

“I ask of  myself, ‘Live a good Christian life.’ Towards that objective I bend every effort in shaping my personal, domestic and professional activities and growth.”   ~Walt Disney

“He was also tolerant when an animator was arrested on a homosexual charge. Let's give him a chance; we all make mistakes,’ Walt said. The animator continued at the studio for years afterward.”   ~Bob Thomas Disney Biographer

How to be like Walt – – Lesson 17: Be the Person God Made You to Be

“Walt is ageless and timeless. He just got stopped in time when he died in 1966. I’m over 70 now, and people still think I'm Walt’s brother. My goodness, if I was Walt's brother, I’d have to be a hundred and twelve years old by now.   ~Roy E. Disney, Walt’s Nephew

You have been brought into this world by the grace of God. He has given you irreplaceable gifts and talents, and a personality that is uniquely you. As Ray Bradbury told me, “We are all born to be who we are.”

God has given each of us a mission in life, and the gifts and talents with which to accomplish that mission.

“My dad’s life teaches all of us to dream big dreams and believe in ourselves. When times get tough, don’t be discouraged – – keep working, keep trying. Be fair, generous, and compassionate in your dealings with others. Whatever you do, do it as excellently as you can. Be humble. Love your family. Trust God. And try to leave the world a better place than you found it.”  ~Diane, Walt’s daughter

Be that wonderful, genetically unique individual you were born to be, the person God created you to be – – then go out and change the world

For three decades, Thelma Howard was the cook and house keeper for the Disney family. For Christmas and birthdays, Walt gave her bonuses consisting of shares of Disney stock. He told her, "hang onto the stock, because it's going to grow in value." So Thelma Howard clung to that stock. She lived a modest lifestyle for the rest of her life, and she kept those stock certificates tucked away in a safe place. She died in the early 1980s, seemingly very poor. In her will, she left half of her belongings to her only son Michael who was in a home for the developmentally disabled. The other half she left to help poor and disabled children.

 After her death, as her possessions were being itemized, the executor of Thelma Howard’s estate found the stock certificates. The market value of those certificates was found to be $4.5 million. Thelma Howard died completely unaware that she was a millionaire.

Walt’s life challenges us to dream bigger, reach higher, work harder, risk more, and persevere as long as it takes.

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The opening of Disney Land Part 1:

The opening of Disney Land Part 2:

The opening of Disney Land Part 3:

The opening of Disney Land Part 4:

The opening of Disney Land Part 5:

The opening of Disney Land Part 6:

The opening of Disney Land Part 7:

The opening of Disney Land Part 8:

The Family

The Family
Braves Game 2012