It’s not just a phrase; it’s a lifestyle.

Recently I came across a little book with that title Keep Calm and Carry On (Andrews McMeel Publishing). The title is based on a poster produced by the British government in 1939, during the dark days of World War II. More than two million copies were printed to be used in the event that Germany invaded the island nation as an encouragement to keep that famous British stiff upper lip in place if the worst-case scenario came to fruition.

Only a few of the posters were distributed; most were destroyed after the war. About 10 years ago, one was discovered in a secondhand United Kingdom bookstore and was hung on a wall of the shop, where it attracted interest from customers. Because the copyright had expired on the poster—putting the art and phrase in the public domain—the store’s owners began reproducing copies for their customers. In time, a variety of other products were created with the distinctive look, and the posters have shown up in a variety of settings, including the Prime Minister’s home and office at 10 Downing Street.

At any rate, through this little book, I discovered this story contains an assortment of common sense wisdom to inspire readers to “keep calm and carry on.” Some of my favorites:

“There is no education like adversity.” (Benjamin Disraeli)

“It isn’t so much that hard times are coming; the change observed is mostly soft times going.” (Groucho Marx)

“Let us all be happy and live within our means, even if we have to borrow the money to do it with.” (Artemus Ward)

“The darkest hour in any man’s life is when he sits down to plan how to get money without earning it.” (Horace Greeley)

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” (Winston Churchill)

“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.” (Swedish proverb)

“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune, most of which never happened.” (Michel de Montaigne)

“The greatest mistake a man can ever make is to be afraid of making one.” (Elbert Hubbard)

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” (Robert Louis Stevenson)

“I am an optimist. It doesn’t seem too much use being anything else.” (Winston Churchill)

Of course, my favorite reminder to “keep calm and carry on” wasn’t in that book. It is in my favorite book: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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