Culture/Ideas Videos

Wisdom in a World of Sound & Fury

My singular call these days is to try to get people under my influence to turn down the volume on the worldly voices (social media, cable news, etc.), and to turn up the volume on wiser voices. David Brooks is one of the wise voices in public life.

I will begin a sabbatical next week, and spend this summer trying to fill the empty places in my soul, and water the dry places in my life. As I type this, I’m feeling inner peace and vocational purpose and direction, but emotional and spiritual depletion.

Just wrapped up a busy semester of teaching a full load of college classes at two schools, pouring everything I got out to 70 students. I tossed TONS of Kingdom seed onto varied soil, and now it’s up to God to water and bring any growth He sees fit. I do not take these teaching opportunities for granted, and there’s nothing more rewarding in life for me than getting feedback like the following from a student:

“Jeremy’s humility in the way he teaches has spoken to me and I am extremely grateful to have been one of his students these past two semesters. His passion for the Bible and Theology is evident and encourages me to go forth and become more like Jesus.” 

— IAN, student at Solid Rock School of Discipleship

Hopefully I’ll be able to share more about the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of my long overdue sabbatical soon, but for today I wanted to say a brief word just as a set-up for a TED Talk video below with David Brooks. My brief is this: the greatest weight I have carried as a pastor the past few years hasn’t been long hours, burdensome tasks, organizational decision-making, or interpersonal relationships. Most pastors I know carry a far heavier load than me in those areas.

For me, I feel called first and foremost to be a teacher of Jesus-soaked, Biblically informed wisdom in a world running after folly and captivated by partisan perspectives. I’m a teacher first, a leader second. I’m into growing souls before growing a church. I’m depleted and disillusioned because I know the loudest voices are getting a hearing over the wisest voices in this moment.

My singular focus these days is to try to get people under my influence to turn down the volume on the worldly voices (social media, cable news, etc.), and to turn up the volume on wiser voices…and older voices, like the cumulative wisdom of the church ages going back 2,000 years. Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, yes, but also destined to be very shortsighted and shallow and woefully ignorant of the larger picture and much longer human story that’s been unfolding for millennia.

“Stop Tweeting, and go read a book for a change. Stop scrolling FB or watching TikTok videos, and listen to one of The Great Courses on Audible. Stop striving to be relevant and influential, and devote your energies to become wise and good instead.” These are the words of my tired, depleted, hoarse voice crying out from the wilderness where divine wisdom is found to a world often too content with shiny things void of substance, toxic candy that tastes good on the first lick, but eventually kills a soul by the time you lick it to the core. 

With that personal word and cranky old man rant behind us, let me invite you to listen to one of the wise voices I enjoy, David Brooks. I’m currently reading his The Road to Character, and also recommend his The Second Mountain. But for those in a hurry and on the go, here’s a 14 minute TED Talk packed with wise cultural insight.

Walk with Jesus on the good path in these days where so people are walking toward a cliff. Be blessed!

Dr. Jeremy Berg is the founding and Lead Pastor of MainStreet Covenant Church in Minnetonka Beach, MN, where he has served since 2010. He is an Adjunct Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Bethel University, University of Northwestern—St. Paul, North Central University, and Solid Rock Discipleship School. Jeremy earned a doctorate in New Testament Context under Scot McKnight at Northern Seminary (Chicago). He and his wife, Kjerstin, have three kids, Peter, Isaak and Abigail.

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