News • December 10, 2021

Leadership seminar focuses on understanding wisdom

Leadership seminar focuses on understanding wisdom

Dr. Troy Hinrichs (from left), Dr. Jacqueline Gustafson and Dr. John Shoup talk about wisdom at the Leadership Seminar Series at CBU.

Riverside, Calif. (Dec. 9, 2021) — Speakers discussed the pursuit of wisdom at a California Baptist University seminar Dec. 7.  

The event was part of the Leadership Seminar Series, a community service event designed to enhance the effectiveness of leaders. The Dr. Paul & Annie Kienel Leadership Institute at CBU hosted the seminar. 

Philosophy, theology and science agree certain perpetual truths govern the universe, said Dr. John Shoup, the executive director of the leadership institute. Wisdom leads to people flourishing through their better decisions. 

“Once wisdom is better understood, the easier it will be to acquire it, to practice it and even to teach it,” Shoup said during the seminar. 

Shoup; Dr. Troy Hinrichs, professor of criminal justice; and Dr. Jacqueline Gustafson, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, spoke at the seminar. They co-wrote the book “Pursuing Wisdom: A Primer for Leaders and Learners.”

“In this construct of wisdom, there is this concept of telos. What is the endgame?” Shoup said. “Wisdom is the pursuit of fulfilling a particular telos, a particular end.” 

To find the common denominators among philosophy, theology and science, he and his colleagues researched and compared numerous sources. 

Hinrichs listed Aristotle, Plato, Confucius and a number of Islamic philosophers as sources of philosophical wisdom. He also described wisdom from the point of view of several theological texts, including the Bible and the Quran. 

“Wisdom is the metanarrative that makes sense of life on both sides of the grave,” Hinrichs said. “The dominant motif across the wisdom literature is the law of harvest. People reap what they sow.”  

Gustafson described the approaches of contemporary psychologists and sociologists. 

“The empirical tradition treats wisdom as having expert levels of understanding of the pragmatics of life and successfully navigating competing values and priorities to live ethically,” Gustafson said.  

Understanding what makes wisdom is key to learning, applying and teaching wisdom to others, Shoup said.  

“It is both an intellectual and a moral virtue. If you have some understanding and fail to act on it, it stops short of being wisdom,” Shoup said. “It’s not about us, it’s not about me, it’s about the bigger picture.”

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