An Evangelical Free Church in Cary, NC

What makes you wise, or unwise?

A summary of Brett McCracken’s The Wisdom Pyramid

A person’s diet needs the right proportions of vitamins, carbohydrates, vegetables, protein, dairy, and fats.  In years past, the “Food Pyramid” was the suggested way to make sure people had the proper intake of each category.  Author Brett McCracken uses the analogy of the “Wisdom Pyramid” to teach about the importance of our spiritual diet.  The internet age of 24-hour news and constant live streaming is not making us any wiser.  First, McCracken identifies a couple ways in which our culture is making us unwise. 

  • Information Gluttony– the sheer amount of information keeps us from prioritizing what is most important.  Instead, we become sponges absorbing bits of trivial information.
  • Perpetual Novelty– the obsession with anything new, along with “trending now” mentality, prevents people from slowing down and reflecting more deeply on God.
  • “Look Within” autonomy– with the onset of social media, we spend a large amount of time posting, commenting, and thinking about “how do other people see me?”  Not only does this self-focus make us more anxious and insecure, but it also makes us less empathetic and less concerned for others.

What is the Wisdom Pyramid?

McCracken argues convincingly from scripture as well as recent studies and surveys that the Bible and Church (fellowship of other Christians) should form the largest part of our spiritual diet, while technology should take up the smallest portion. (The studies he cites emphasize that technology, especially, is making people more isolated, less empathetic, and more anxious.)

Why is it so difficult to make the Bible, church, relationships, and enjoyment of creation the larger portions of our spiritual diet?  I think one reason is that all these endeavors—reading scripture, involvement in church, time with people, and time spent outdoors—require more extended periods of time away from technology.  A person does not become wise quickly.  We must plan to spend time without digital notifications or alerts! 

Another reason we have trouble gaining wisdom is because there is a difference between leisure and refreshment.  Many leisure activities involving technology such as movies, video games, and streaming shows, are a form of temporary escape from the regular settings of life.  For example, which is more likely to bless our lives with refreshment—a Netflix series ten-episode binge, or reading a biography of one of your favorite historical figures?  Some leisure activities do not help to refresh our souls.  We need to examine how we spend our “down time”.

The Wisdom Pyramid gives a simple, yet thorough grid by which to evaluate our spiritual diet. Then we should ask Jesus what we should change.  

“For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,” Proverbs 2:6-7

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7


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