The lady asked, “How did you learn to summarize large bodies of thought?” It happened not by my design, but by Another. Following is my answer, but first why I began this path.

The Founders of this country believed that to learn to think like great people one had to read, reread, contemplate and discuss the thoughts of great people. The Founders read the Bible, including the law and the prophets. They read the classical Greek works, as well as those of the Romans. They read about the reformation in Europe, particularly in Britain during the 17th and 18th centuries. They wrote countless letters to all who had, and might, provide ballast to their own understanding. All in all, they were trying to find two things; the order of the soul and the order of a commonwealth (a democratic republic). They were trying to create a way of living never known to humanity, and they figured it out. 

Men like George Washington and John Adams meant it when they agreed with Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” Washington and Adams simply ran out of time implementing this new order to all men in the commonwealth.

The Founders left the hope of their hearts in that we would find and protect the vision they had laid to order the soul and society, and keep the vision throughout our lives. To find and protect this previously unknown order takes the largest effort and vigilance of a life. In many ways Washington and Adams accomplished that, something few in the commonwealth have been able to maintain.


            For such order to live, there must be an unmovable anchor and teachability. When our system of ideas and ideals (ideology) is persuaded through shallow images and debates (a small group of friends, the news, radio or social media), such ideology is a menace to the order of the soul and the commonwealth. For even light is like darkness where there is disorder of soul and society, Job 10:18-22. But, the opposite is true. Where there is this order, darkness is like light, Psalm 139:7-12.

Hence, I have revealed the unmovable anchor of the Founders, their belief in the Providence of God. They believed there is a God whose order is throughout the universe, One who has an order for life that first brings order to the soul. They acknowledged there is right and wrong that comes from such belief, a right and wrong transcending circumstances. They lovingly labored to see through life to God and do as they must in obedience to Him.


            Evidence of their teachability came in the reading and subsequent value they placed on the ideas of great people, and what these people had learned working out their ideas. The Founders valued what they themselves read through face-to-face debate, and through writing hundreds of letters one to another in an effort to work out their own thinking. To read their letters is to get a sense of their compulsion, or kind obsession, to improve their ideas through the input of another who also sought the order of the soul and society.

The fact that the Founders established a democratic republic also speaks to their teachability, as well as their unmovable anchor. A democracy is to give all people a voice, a vote, a forum to share ideas in the public square. A republic (the legislative branches of government) is to give the ideas of the public square a place of further debate until what surfaces is what is best for the commonwealth. 

While a democracy can be plagued with bad ideas, to allow the possibility of bad ideas is evidence of the anchor of the Founder’s souls. For they believed all men heard from God, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. Democracy made a way to listen to all men, to listen for God. While working out the ideas from the public square, the Founders pressed one another to understand the root of ideas. They resisted the actions of those among them who would spring to action from shallow ideas and debates. The republic was to sift the democratic ideas through their providential belief that to do right and wrong transcends what is before the eyes.


Learning to summarize large thoughts

I read some of the same proven works as did the Founders. I read and listen to others several times a week (people who believe in Providence, and those who do not). I make note of what piques my curiosity. I pay attention to patterns of thought, both in the writing and speaking, and in what piques me. I look up keywords and phrases among these thoughts. I search out the context of what is written or said. I rewrite the learning in my own words. I discuss the learning with others. In truth, this describes the ever expanding pattern of my life since 1989. I am always doing these things regardless of who or what I read or hear. I do so only because I believe in Providence as the order of the soul and the society. He speaks to me and to you. He speaks through you to me.

Father God has all the ideas of order. He completes them all through and in Christ Jesus. He communicates them all by His Spirit. There is no other Name.


  1. Keep this coming! Right on!

  2. Good thoughts Rick.I will read again.It piques my interest 😉

  3. Thanks for putting the truth out there! So many are so very misinformed!

  4. Thanks for sharing it. It’s worth the time you took.

  5. Thanks for sharing. I am proud of you.

  6. Well said, my friend. I wonder if any of the founders drew a parallel between the Creator and the Redeemer who endowed us Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Joy? — yes, we know John Adams did as he sometimes quoted the Apostle Paul of the Scriptures when instructing others.

  7. Well said Rick! Love the thoughts and processing and the work and time to get there. Press on brother!

  8. Amen Rick so well said! Thank you for sharing these encouraging words. There truly is no other Name.