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These are volatile times. Fear, suspicion, and cynicism are chronic. A mere tweet inflames the passions of millions while click-bait “hot takes” stoke the amygdalas of everyone with an Internet connection. We treat those not in our tribe as a threat and deem anyone with a different opinion as evil. Mistaking myopia for measure, we lack all sense of proportion in our judgments. We are shortsighted, mired in the present, ignorant of history, and blind to the future. We thought that technology would save us by connecting us to each other and the world’s information. Instead, it enticed our vices, encouraged our biases, and eroded the one virtue we need now more than ever: wisdom.
A Time for Wisdom is for readers who feel beleaguered by the incivility of the modern world, dispirited by its coarse rhetoric and toxic partisanship. It is an invitation to escape the shallow cacophony and restore peace and perspective to our daily lives. Written by two psychologists, the book takes the best scientific research on wisdom and integrates it with timeless concepts that have, for ages, guided troubled souls through life’s hardships. From this foundation, the authors present four steps we can follow to practice wisdom in the 21st Century:
- Receiving knowledge.
- Practicing detachment.
- Experiencing tranquility.
- Cultivating transcendence.
These are profound and spiritual principles that can bring us immense satisfaction when we aspire to live by them.
In A Time for Wisdom, the authors show us how. They commend a course of action towards the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, towards calm and clear moral reasoning. They lead us out of the circus of contemporary life and show us a path beyond our petty self-centeredness. By journeying along that path, we can, like the great sages and scientists before us, rise above the immediacy of the moment and partake of the numinous and the infinite.
About the Author
Paul McLaughlin (PsyD, George Fox University) graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a bachelor’s degree in religious studies and a minor in philosophy. He received a master’s degree in theology and Christian ministry from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, before obtaining a doctorate in clinical psychology from George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon.
McLaughlin has coauthored several published journal articles to include his dissertation in the Journal of Positive Psychology. His research interests include the integration of psychology, religion and spirituality, depth psychology, and positive psychology. He is currently a licensed clinical psychologist in Salem, Oregon.
Mark McMinn (PhD, Vanderbilt University) is faculty emeritus and Scholar-in-Residence at George Fox University. McMinn is a licensed psychologist in Oregon, a fellow and former president of APA’s Division 36, Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, and board-certified in clinical psychology through the American Board of Professional Psychology.
McMinn has authored or coauthored 14 books, coedited 4 books, and published over 130 book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles. His books Finding Our Way Home and The Science of Virtue received Awards of Merit in the annual Christianity Today book awards. He also is the author of Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling, which has sold approximately 100,000 copies over a 24-year span.
“McLaughlin and McMinn provide a sound review of what wisdom is and the context in which wisdom is understood. We live in an age of data and information, but little is written on the value of wisdom. For decades I have heard supervisors say that you manage people with data. There is some truth to that, but you make decisions about people with wisdom. We need more wisdom in our culture today. If you work with people (manager, teacher, supervisor, coach, pastor, etc.), you could benefit from this book. It will help you understand the importance of wisdom, what it is, and how to apply it in various ways.”
—Clark D. Campbell, PhD, senior associate provost and professor of psychology, Biola University
“When night falls, it is certain that I will be a day older. Does it follow that I will be one increment wiser? The likelihood of this desirable outcome increases when the virtue enhancing strategies collected in A Time for Wisdom are absorbed and applied. There are pathways to train our inner selves—embodied souls—to humbly embrace timeless principles of wisdom. McLaughlin & McMinn supply an accessible primer on the psychological structures and processes to grow wiser no matter what the day brings. Why be satisfied with merely growing older? The time before us is to deepen our wisdom layers.”
—Rev. Stephen P. Greggo, PsyD, author of Assessment for Counseling in Christian Perspective (IVP)
“Integrating modern research with insights from the world’s religious and philosophical traditions, A Time for Wisdom shows us how to live ethically satisfying lives in a world that can at times cater to our worst instincts. The principles that McLaughlin and McMinn present are ageless and universal, making their book a resource you can turn to whenever you need a restorative perspective on the ups and downs of life.”
—Lisa Miller, PhD, professor of psychology at Columbia University, director of the Spirituality & Mind Body Institute, and author of The Awakened Brain
“McLaughlin and McMinn weave together the best ideas from religion, psychology, and philosophy to engage the reader in wisdom. They do it with the lessons of wise mentors, sage spiritual leaders, gems of famous quotes, cutting-edge research, and current events that alone make the book worth reading. But then there are practical ideas for developing wisdom, broken down in simple ways for anyone to follow. From the scenarios the authors describe, I gained insights for applying concepts of wisdom to my life and relationships, and I learned how wisdom fits with other character traits like humility, joy, and peace. This book is not limited to the ivory tower; it is fully embodied in the real world. This is a wise book on wisdom.”
—Jennifer Ripley, PhD, professor of psychology & Hughes Chair of Christian Integration, Regent University
“In A Time for Wisdom, McLaughlin and McMinn bring a sober, careful, and hospitable study of wisdom that gathers folk intuition, philosophical reflection, and spiritual tradition and holds them up to the findings of psychological science. The result is a field guide for readers who seek wisdom. There are no false promises, no stepwise programs, and no simplistic answers. Instead, the authors suggest a definition of wisdom that takes long-standing religious traditions seriously, offering evidence-based interventions for guiding true philosophers—lovers of wisdom—along their journey.”
—Evan Rosa, assistant director for public engagement, Yale Center for Faith & Culture
“I applaud McLaughlin and McMinn for their outstanding and aptly titled book, A Time for Wisdom. They make a lively and compelling case for cultivating the virtue of wisdom during these highly anxious and polarizing times. Drawing on an amazing array of disciplines and literary voices—both ancient and contemporary—this highly textured book makes the development of wisdom an inspiring and practical goal. As a psychologist, I have read many books on this general topic, but A Time for Wisdom makes a wonderfully unique contribution that weaves together some of the best science, philosophy, and spirituality. The authors invite us to become grounded, quiet our egos, gain perspective and accurate understanding, and grow in compassion, humility, and other strengths of human wholeness. The insights and practices they offer will foster healthier individuals and communities.”
—Steven J. Sandage, PhD, Albert and Jessie Danielsen Professor of Psychology of Religion and Theology, Boston University
“In a historical period of deep political and religious polarization, what is desperately needed is wisdom. That is exactly what McLaughlin and McMinn give us in their new book. They bring together the best of scientific research alongside ancient sources to both define wisdom and to model how to become wise. Their wisdom model (Knowledge, Detachment, Tranquility, and Transcendence) is neither simple nor easy, but it is immediately practical and implementable. This book is like a training manual on becoming wise, and it should be read in academic, religious, and political settings. Engaging with the model presented in A Time for Wisdom might make us not only a wiser culture, but a kinder, humbler, and more hospitable one as well.”
—Brad D. Strawn, PhD, Evelyn and Frank Freed Chief of Spiritual Formation & Integration, Fuller Theological Seminary
“In our time of divisiveness and polarization, this book is a clarion call for wisdom. Wisdom is perspective—the ability to identify what matters most—and I believe this volume provides a way for its readers to do just that. It encourages an attitude of tranquil listening, even to those voices that make us feel uncomfortable. As the authors point out, ‘Wisdom sees common ground for a common good,’ and I believe this book can help readers identify what matters most in their lives and in the lives of others. In ‘such a time as this,’ we ought to listen to the lessons A Time for Wisdom offers us with a quiet and receptive heart.”
—Philip Watkins, PhD, professor of psychology, Eastern Washington University
“A Time for Wisdom, by Paul McLaughlin and Mark McMinn is simply a great book. Excellent treatment of research. Practical suggestions. New insights. Fresh metaphors. Fantastic writing. Buy and read this book. It is a wise choice.”
—Everett L. Worthington, Jr., PhD, Commonwealth Professor Emeritus, Virginia Commonwealth University