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Silicon Valley, psychedelics, and double standards


WORLD Radio - Silicon Valley, psychedelics, and double standards

What is microdosing? And what does it have to do with industry leaders of Silicon Valley? We’re using the SOAR method to break down a Wall Street Journal article on psychedelics in the world of tech.

KELSEY REED: Hello, welcome to Concurrently: The News Coach Podcast from WORLD Radio and God’s WORLD News. Our mission is to come alongside you, learning and laboring with you as you disciple kids and teens through culture and current events. I’m Kelsey Reed. I’m here with Jonathan Boes.


KELSEY: Together, we want to model conversation and apply tools you can use at home or in the classroom. We invite you to record or email in your questions for us to address in future episodes. Please send them to newscoach@wng.org.

JONATHAN: Speaking of which: Today, we have a listener question, or really it’s more of a listener request. So Molly sent an article to us from the Wall Street Journal, and she has asked us to apply the SOAR method to unpack it. Here’s Molly:

I would love for you to SOAR the article I sent to you, the Wall Street Journal article about “Magic Mushrooms, LSD, Ketamine, the Drugs That Power Silicon Valley.” I thought it was particularly provocative in terms of how it was covered, journalistically, and perhaps some of the perspectives [it] lacked, and then also just the overall cultural implications of drug use, “microdosing.” And I probably am referring more to marijuana in that term “microdosing,” because I’ve just been made aware of the medicinal use of microdosing for anxiety and depression related illnesses. So I thought that was particularly interesting as well. So there’s a lot there, and I would love to hear you guys interpret and analyze and respond. Thanks so much.

So as Molly mentioned, the article she sent our way is called “Magic Mushrooms. LSD. Ketamine. The Drugs That Power Silicon Valley.” And this is written by Kirsten Grind and Katherine Bindley. And as we mentioned before, it comes from The Wall Street Journal. So we are excited to dive into this article with our SOAR method today. But for those listeners maybe joining us for the first time, who maybe aren’t familiar with the SOAR method—Kelsey, do you want to reintroduce this method for us today?

KELSEY: That seems wise. So SOAR method: SOAR is an acronym that stands for Survey, Observe, Analyze, Respond. And each of those words, they really deserve a good amount of unpacking. I’ll try to give a little bit of that before we launch into using the method. But just as an overarching principle—which is actually, funnily enough, a way of using Survey, the very first part of that method—SOAR is used in an overarching way as a tool for teaching and learning through media, though it was actually originally used as an inductive Bible study method. So when I say “media,” it’s a pretty broad thing. It can be used for film; it can be used for Bible study.

So back to the four words—Survey, that’s giving us our big picture. Observe is where we get into the little details of how the story is told, what words they even use—or, if we’re watching a film, what music and color filters or any number of things that help to convey a story. Analyze is the A. That’s where we start getting into, what does this all mean? Why is the story even being told this way? And what should we consider when we come to look at that story through the “capital S” Story of the Redemptive Narrative? And I think there are some tools that I really want to point towards even now that help with that analysis that we’ve done in previous episodes, where we talk about the Redemptive Narrative. We’re looking through the lens of the Father’s story when we look at any story we’re analyzing. And then lastly, R is for Respond, where we are seeking to coach a mature discipleship response, a godly response to an aspect of culture. So, S-O-A-R. SOAR.

JONATHAN: And we have actually done an entire episode just exploring the SOAR method. We will link to that down in our show notes. If you are listening on a podcast app, you can find those in the podcast description. If you’re listening on our website, you can find them at the bottom of the transcript. We will also link to the article we are exploring today. Because what we’re doing today, again, is looking at one specific news article through the SOAR method. This is something we’ve really loved to do, to narrow our focus on a specific article and really model these tools, show what it looks like to use this SOAR method to explore a specific piece of media. So the show notes—you can find our deeper explanation of the SOAR method, as well as the article from The Wall Street Journal that we are exploring today.

KELSEY: So as we connect with our very first initial, Survey, we often say, when we pronounce the title and the theme of an article, that that’s really covering the big picture. But along with that survey work, I want to talk about today how important it is for us to even take a survey of our initial impressions towards whatever piece of media we’re looking at. Because right out the gate, we can read a title, and it can evoke a response in us. So we—when you and I were talking earlier—we immediately acknowledged our emotional responses to this topic area. So I want to invite you, as a part of our Survey work, to identify those impressions that you had of this piece, because sometimes we have to name them to be able to acknowledge, categorize, and kind of put them aside so that everything we read isn’t tainted by those first impressions. We name them, we kind of bring them into a logic area of our brain, and then we can move into careful observation work that isn’t colored by those impressions. So, Jonathan, when you first sat down to read this article, how did it make you even feel, or what impressions did it give you?

JONATHAN: So again, our Survey, big picture, this is magic mushrooms, LSD, ketamine, all the different drugs, the drugs that power Silicon Valley. And the impression that left with me on my first quick read, before I really dove deeper into it—two main impressions. The first one, I just kind of thought it was sad. That was the word that came to mind, just “sad.” And also, perhaps, overwhelmed, just by the different terminology at play, the different drugs at play, the different levels of dosage people use. We’ll get more into that in our observation section. But I would focus in on those two broad initial emotional responses from my survey: sad and overwhelmed.

KELSEY: “Overwhelmed” I completely resonate with. And like you said, that overwhelm came with just the abundance of names and terminology that was brought up in this article. And I think, listener, as you engage an article like this, or any other article, this can prime us for that observation work. It can remind us that we don’t have to know everything right from the get-go. This helps to whet that appetite, if we are careful with it—whet that appetite for our learning and for our process of research, and maybe refining terms by going to other articles and other stories.

We’ll talk some more about that. But I want to give a little bit more of the impressions that I had too. I mean, I told you, I was kind of full of horror, kind of almost choked with the level of intense response that I had to seeing culture-shapers really leading out on action that I find to be horror-filled type action. Let me unpack that just a little bit more before we pivot into observation. To me, to see a group of men, maybe even women in this instance, playing with dangerous substances, seemingly without consequence, and the way that as you read an article, and you see some of the ways that they are innovators, they’ve been shaping of technology, of so many systems that we use, and that we even laud as pretty amazing innovations, great technology—to see those beautiful things that they’ve created, this culture that they have made, go hand-in-hand with usage of things that, all of my life, I’ve learned to be dangerous things to avoid, things to be—you know, the “just say no,” that was definitely a part of my culture growing up. And so I have these triggers, emotionally, that are related to seeing leaders engage with no consequences, or maybe even a lack of accountability. So we’ll talk a little bit more about each of those things.

JONATHAN: Yeah, and I definitely also bring some of my personal perspective to the table. My dad is involved in drug- and alcohol-related ministry. He actually preaches at a rehabilitation facility. And so growing up, I was always aware of the dangers of drug use very intimately.

KELSEY: So I love that you’re bringing that richness into our conversation, that acknowledgement of what we’re bringing to the table. And honestly, listener, this is something that can create a richness. If we engage that well, we have the opportunity to learn from the person across from us at the table, in the podcast booth, in our home environment. Depending on what relationships our children are making outside of the home, we get to learn from them. And one of those first places is just, how did this make you feel? Let’s acknowledge that and put a pin in that as we move deeper into this learning process. So thanks for sharing.

So moving into some observation work, where we try to add some logic into even our emotional impressions, or maybe some of our triggers that have come from past experiences: What do we observe? I love to use, in this specific section of our method, I love to use the five W’s and an H of journalism, which we’ve mentioned before. Let me see if you’ve got them.

JONATHAN: I didn’t know it was going to be a quiz, haha. Okay, okay, here we go: Who, what, when, where, why, and how.

KELSEY: And in this one—I think some of those can feel like they’re moving towards the analytical. So sometimes it helps to create a complete sentence with them. And for this, because we’re talking about drug use, I might say: Who is using? What are they using? Where are they using it? When are they using it? And maybe, why are they using? And even how much? Or how are they using it? So that helps refine the question a little bit.

Other tools that I like to use in this observation section: I really enjoy the Big Five here. Those are the Five Common Topics that were drawn out of Aristotle’s work. How do we locate our conversation in specific spaces? And there are two that really line up well in the observation work, and that’s Definition and also maybe Context. That helps us to define the where maybe a little bit more thoroughly as we think of context, or “circumstances,” the other way that that’s named. So let’s start with just the who. Who is using, or who is this article about?

JONATHAN: So as the title suggests, we’re talking about Silicon Valley, which—you know, that’s a place, but it’s people. It’s tech industry leaders. We’re talking about figures like Elon Musk. That’s the first two words in the article, “Elon Musk.” And we’re talking about—I’m going to try to pronounce this correctly—Sergey Brin. We’re looking at just a whole group of these high-ups in the tech industry, in Silicon Valley, companies like SpaceX and Facebook, who are using psychedelic drugs. And we’ll get more into that in different aspects of observation, but using it for different reasons in different ways.

KELSEY: I even noticed Steve Jobs was mentioned, I noticed some varied life coaches. We talk in this place of the who about the stakeholders in this process. So some of those are the people that are using, and that was the way I originally framed that question. But some of these are the people who are even coaching use, or who might be—I mean, there’s a head of a nonprofit company that wants to promote the use of psychedelics and even the expansion and experimentation on psychedelics. So he’s another stakeholder in the process, and his name is Doblin. That’s his last name. Rick Doblin. He’s the founder of an advocacy nonprofit group called Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS. So many different stakeholders here. I urge you—find the rest of them. We’re not going to actually name them all, because we want you to do some of the treasure hunting.

JONATHAN: Yes. And also, we only have so much time, haha.

KELSEY: We’re going to try to make sure that we get into good analytical work, because there’s so much that needs to be done there. And we realize, as we’re teaching these tools, a lot of that needs to be unpacked, to be able to give those to you well. So we’re going to try to keep going through our who, what, when, where, why, and how. What’s being used? This is really where it starts getting, I think, profoundly challenging to the reader. What are these substances?

JONATHAN: Yeah. Again, the article’s headline gets into that: magic mushrooms, LSD, ketamine—you can kind of group these all under the category of “psychedelic drugs” that purport to open the mind to new experiences, that are known to cause hallucinations.

KELSEY: And some of those, they’ve gotten their medical field names or scientific names, and you might need to actually name them from their street names, because sometimes the slang is more familiar to us than their terms. Like “MDMA”—we don’t know that as a common usage term. But we have probably heard of ecstasy. Ketamine—it’s becoming more and more familiar, but I originally heard of that as “Special K.” It was something that we needed to learn about, because it’s—unfortunately—it’s known as a date rape drug, is the basic way that I learned about it in the first place. So learning about them, sometimes through their street names, gives us better insight.

So as I did some digging on the what of these substances, I had to actually find them according to their medical names in order to get a deeper sense of how they work. That’s another part of the how, like how do these substances affect the user? And you can find some of them by their street names. But often, you actually need to know the medical terminology in order to get an accurate description of what is going on and what to be concerned about. We’ve talked about the who, and we talked about what they’re using. We’ve talked about the fact that it’s an overall category of psychedelics. Although ecstasy is also known as something called an empathogen. And they’re categorized by the certain effects they have on the human mind and body. We’re going to actually connect a resource that helps to show each of those different categories of drug as well. But for the most part, we’re talking about hallucinogenic drugs.

JONATHAN: And I think we’ve already even touched on the where with Silicon Valley. We’re looking at these big tech companies, Silicon Valley, California, largely speaking,

KELSEY: A little bit of New York. The thing that is interesting to me, in terms of defining context a little bit more carefully, is that I’m noticing some usage in the sense of “I do this to improve my work expression.”

JONATHAN: And are we even getting to the why here?

KELSEY: So we start hinting at the why when we talk about some of those refined contexts, for sure. But we’ll answer some more of the why as we even note—sometimes, we’re seeing this in recreational use in parties. We see in the article that these parties can be very micromanaged, to allow for those people to use recreationally without consequence. But even some of the usage is in context with a life coach, or the context before work. So we’re noticing varied contexts that these folks are using. And why? I think why is a great place to go next.

JONATHAN: And I think there’s a direct connection between the why and the how, so I’m going to mix them a bit.

KELSEY: I like it, go for it.

JONATHAN: Because when we’re talking about the how, there are two things that really stand out to me, which is that this article specifically addresses two types of drug use: microdosing and macrodosing. And they have different reasons, they have different why’s.

So microdosing is these smaller amounts of the drug that people take—I think Elon Musk is noted as a microdoser primarily, and in his instance, the why is really about mental health. It’s a treatment for anxiety and depression, these small doses. Other times people take these microdoses of a drug just to kind of give themselves an edge, to increase their awareness. Whereas macrodosing, which is essentially—the article defines it as taking a full dose of the drug to achieve a high—the why is given as, in one instance, connecting with nature. In other instances, people are doing this to try to open their consciousness and achieve industry breakthroughs, to basically come up with the “next big idea.”

KELSEY: I’m noticing about that there are high pressure situations. Some of those might be causing actually the anxiety that they’re trying to ameliorate with these substances. Sometimes they’re using these substances in order to get an edge in that high pressure, high speed context. So we definitely see how the who, the what, the when, the where, and the why all seem to have some interconnection in these.

I want to mention one other why that I noticed, which was a need for healing. And this becomes important later on, when we ground our analyses in these observations. So I’m noticing that one person talked about past wounds in even relationship, and that he was motivated to use one of these psychedelics to understand more about that wound and process towards healing in it. So what an interesting thing to observe. We talked about, in that last section, that we try to ground our analysis in those observations. So as we kind of pivot a little bit, we want to first assess how this story was told. We’ve talked about the five W’s and an H of journalism, that to tell a complete story, we track through those different questions. So how well did these guys do in telling a complete story?

JONATHAN: Yes, that is something Molly specifically brought up in her recording. How is this article reported? What perspectives maybe do these journalists miss? And, you know, of course, these journalists are reporting facts. They’re reporting details. This isn’t an editorial piece where they’re outright coming forward with an opinion. So some of what may seem to be missing perspective might just be journalists sticking to the facts. But we can look at the ways that journalists frame a story, frame the facts, even the way they order and structure in order to give some perspective without outright coming out and providing an opinion, without turning it into an editorial piece. What stuck out to me was the question of, what gets the last word in this story? And what they give the last word is this anecdote about an employee of one of Elon Musk’s companies.

Now you might hear paper shuffling. Again, we like to print these out and do this on physical paper and make notes. So the story ends here with a Tesla employee named Swanson, who sees: “Oh, Elon Musk is doing drugs; Elon Musk is smoking pot and using psychedelics. I’m going do that too—me, I’m just a Tesla employee at a factory.” And this guy gets fired for his drug use.

KELSEY: And even for his offering of, you know, trying to pass on drugs to others. I’m not sure if he was selling or not. That was why I hesitated.

JONATHAN: So there are some other interesting analytical places to go just in that story. But the whole article, without going into editorial mode, ends with this anecdote about an employee at Tesla looking up to his boss, his CEO, emulating that behavior, and getting whacked for it. And so this article ends on a place of highlighting that hypocrisy. So even though they don’t come right out with an opinion, I am left with the sense that these authors are at least somewhat condemning the drug culture at the top of these companies.

KELSEY: I love that they provide for us—and the reason I’m saying that I affirm this is because they provide for us a lens through which we can actually look at some discipleship concepts later. Because they’re highlighting and emphasizing that these guys are leaders. Leadership is a big thing in terms of discipleship, in terms of what we see in the pattern of scripture. And so they provided us that lens through what they emphasize, through how they organize their storytelling. We won’t dip into that lens yet, but I want to just say, this is something that I can affirm in their storytelling process.

So we’re going a little bit into analysis, when we assess, when we affirm, and when we also move into some challenge. I would say some of what I might challenge in how the story was told: There was a presupposition maybe that you were familiar with some of these terms they use. Maybe they assume that you’re following enough about drug and substance use to be aware of these different types of drugs. I know for me, I had to do some deep diving into definition. I mentioned that before. I needed to look up those scientific terms for these drugs so I could get an accurate picture of what we’re even talking about.

JONATHAN: I’ll note that, even in our observation, where we try to stick to the text, we found ourselves drawing from some other sources for these definitions of drugs. Not all that information we shared in observation was contained in this article.

KELSEY: So when you go to look through a specific article and seek to be able to grapple with it well, definition—while it belongs in some of our primary categories of observation—sometimes you have to pull out another resource. Maybe that’s a dictionary. Maybe that’s another article. But taking great care to not do compare and contrast work between those articles before you’ve really observed what is or maybe isn’t there in the original material.

So is there anything more you would want to assess?

JONATHAN: There is one other thing that I might—I struggle with whether to call this a “missing perspective,” because again, maybe this goes beyond the scope of this specific story. You could argue that this would stray into editorialization. But in my mind, it’s such a glaring part of the overall context that I would have loved to have seen it mentioned, which is just the broader drug problem in America. And of course, this is broader than just psychedelics. We’re also getting to other types of drugs. But I’m thinking about the opioid crisis. Even bringing in my personal experience, I think I’ve shared on the podcast before, maybe I did, I worked at a church for about six years. And some people might not realize that when you work at a church, you end up working through a lot of funerals. And I think, more than once, it was a drug-related death, and you see the devastation caused in families by drug use, by people who do not have the resources of these tech CEOs who can hire a specialist to get the dosage just right. Not that that makes it okay—that’s not what I’m saying. But just that, you know, these people with lots of money can emulate this behavior in a way where they don’t have to necessarily face the same consequences as somebody without that money, without those resources.

And then even just the War on Drugs, and how many people, disproportionately people of color, are in prison simply for drug possession, while men like Elon Musk can talk openly about using illegal drugs and really face no consequences for it. There is a moral double standard that this highlights in our society, where this problem of drug use, if you have the money, if you have the fame, if you have the resources, you can do it without necessarily overdosing, without being arrested for it, and even talk about it openly. But if you don’t have that fame, if you don’t have that money, if you don’t have those resources, you can easily end up in a very bad place—in a hospital, in a prison, in a grave. And so there’s this double standard that is just screaming out from this whole article.

KELSEY: I love that you really rooted that entire assessment in a careful observation of what was there and what wasn’t there. So naming the fact that it’s almost glaringly absent, the entire opioid crisis, and just the context of a war on drugs that has been multiple decades in the making. So one of the things that Jonathan did, so solid, is that he viewed what was there, as a part of his comment making, and brought to the conversation other knowledge that he has. That’s a part of what we do in that analytical phase of our discussion. We think about what else we know, what other resources we bring to bear in order to broaden our understanding. We know that there are different types of drugs that are more easily gotten ahold of on the street or that have become particular problems in certain socioeconomic situations, classes. This is kind of the designer drug kind of idea, or a drug problem—we would name it as a problem, maybe they aren’t naming it as a problem—it is a drug usage that seems to belong to an elite class, and that it’s an insulated class that doesn’t also reap the same consequences as those whom you’ve named.

I’m thinking of my experience in Dublin, Ireland. I’ve mentioned before that I was in Dublin as a teen, and I was there in the ’90s. This, you know, it just highlights that different decades have had their different drug problems. We’re kind of doing some observation work of the when of the drug problems, noticing that it’s not just a 2023 thing. This is many decades in the making, and each decade had its own flavor, its own problems. Dublin, Ireland, in the stage I was there, in the ’90s, it was still faltering in its, you know, movement towards a fully modern country. It was, you know, even in that kind of “two-thirds” category, when it was still trying to find those categories between first world or second world. It was a part of the world that hadn’t really quite made it economically yet. And so the drugs that were in play, definitely alcohol, a good amount of those depressive type drugs that are in another one of our sections. So there’s a whole other world out there, many, many other sections of this drug problem that are not considered in this story.

We’ve spoken in the past about how fiction can give you a full arc of history, and fill in some places in your imagination, and really inform your question asking, So what other works of literature, or other pieces of history, or things that you’ve studied in school, helped to inform your understanding in this area? What literature do you know that has explored drug problems, or people living fast and furious lifestyles who have finally kind of come to the end of their rope? What did that look like for these characters? Those are going to be ones that we leave with you. We’re going to move into some other parts of analysis that are grounded in our observation. And we went to point towards some of the other tools that you would use during analysis. This section is where we would dive into further definition, for sure, but also comparing and contrasting between those things that you have learned in other places—the relationship in history, what brought us to this place in history? What are the effects that we’re seeing now that were rooted those decades in the past? And what might these situations right now cause to happen in the future? What effects might we see from these practices of being coached towards microdosing, you know, having chemists on hand to create a certain recipe for us so that we would not have harms?

And then we also start asking some questions about authority in this place. We’ve begun to knock on those doors, when we’ve even talked about accountability, or whether these elites experience an exercise of authority over them, or if they’ve become, as an elite might, the highest authority in their world. We also use worldview tools to guide us in our analysis. We ask those questions that come out of the four chapters of the Redemptive Narrative. What is glorious about man? And what is broken about us?

Related to this circumstance, I’m thinking about our broken tendency of trying to either be God, or connect the dots towards anything that is not God but that still gives us that feeling, you know, that sense of healing, like I said in the observations, when we’re pursuing healing through any other means besides the one who has ultimate authority over us head, heart, mind, body, spirit.

I want to go ahead and just dip in a little bit into that, because we’ve talked about this triad of relationships, that the creation order is set up for us to have a perfect balance between our relationship with God, other men, ourselves and creation. And to me, this is a great analytical tool for understanding how, when we abuse drugs, we’re actually putting something of creation into a place that only God can be in our lives. So using those different chapters of the Redemptive Narrative to discern what’s really in play here in this story. It also helps guide our response, because I think we want, as believers, to restore that balance, that healthy tension between those players in that triad.

So Jonathan, I’m going to turn that to you. What does it look like for us to move into a healthy tension or balance in those relationships regarding these things that we’re seeing in this article, things like relationship with those that we lead, relationship with the things of the world? How do we move back into a place that is a godly place?

JONATHAN: So I’m thinking specifically in the context of talking with kids and teens. The two things that come to mind for me, specifically—the leadership question, as we’ve touched on. Not just how we lead, but as we’re talking to our kids and teens or students, how do we view leaders? Whom do we put in authority in our lives? Whom do we emulate? I guess, whom do we consider a role model? Men like Elon Musk have a great deal of success. And even the way he carries himself on social media, you know, there’s a lot of people who find him somewhat obnoxious. But I think also his kind of bro-iness, his, you know, his “edgelording,” whatever you want to call it, there’s a certain demographic of especially younger people who might find that more attractive, and might see his wealth and success and think, “Man, that’s something I want to emulate.” And so in response, to be showing our kids and teens and students what godly leadership looks like, to be providing better examples—you know, to be pointing them towards the saints. Not just strictly using that in the traditional terminology of what the Catholic Church would consider saints, but you know, Christian leaders who emulate good characteristics and emulate characteristics of Christ—who are Christlike, would be a much simpler way to say that.

KELSEY: There’s something about every saint, that there’s a glorious and ruinous aspect. So when we’re talking about the saints, we’re not talking about those who have like, this untouchable presence that isn’t accessible to us in our discipleship growth. So I like what you’re saying about those that we would seek to emulate as they emulate Christ, and also recognize that tension of the “now and the not yet,” or the “already but not yet,” that they’re found in Christ. But they’re also on a pathway towards growth as well. So I like what you’re saying there.

JONATHAN: The other thing there in response that comes to mind for me is somewhat related to that. It’s helping our kids set right priorities, value the right things. So a lot of the why behind this drug use is these tech leaders wanting to have the next big disruptive idea, the next breakthrough. It’s so related to this idolization of success, maybe profit, wanting to be the biggest and best. If that is our driving goal, then of course we are going to use whatever substance we need to try to have that next great idea, to try to be the next big thing. We’ve talked about the idea of disruptiveness specifically on our podcast before, the idea that disruption in itself is not a value we want to convey to our kids and teens. Again, that Christlikeness—it’s not about being the biggest and best and the most profitable, it’s about pursuing the things of the Kingdom. And these inner experiences brought about by psychedelic drugs, you know, those are not going to bring about the things of the Kingdom. They might, I don’t know, maybe they even if they do help these people achieve earthly success—that is not the goal that we should be seeking after.

KELSEY: I’m thinking again on just what you brought up about the saints as well. I think about those people in the hall of faith from Hebrews, that group of people in the Lord’s word, whom the Lord chose to be in His scripture, as patterns of those who follow after Him. And so many of those had—like, Paul’s thorn in the flesh, or who went through sufferings and trials, who had their faith tested in some way or another—they were not in a place of being completed. Often they were not completely healed. They went through painful circumstances as a part of what it meant for them to bear the mark of Christ in their lives, but also to grow in that faith and towards something greater than themselves, greater than their own comfort, greater than their own success, greater than the success of an earthly kingdom or enterprise. So I was just crunching on that, as such a great example of what you’re talking about in our own path of discipleship, to be acquainted, again, with those thoughts of suffering as a part of this. Failure is a part of this. Growth is always a part of what we’re doing in this earthly time that we have been ordained to have, however many days He’s ordained for us.

And that reminds me of Psalm 90. We need [to be] taught to number our days that we would get a heart wisdom. I think that the Psalms are a great way to actually end up, as we think about shaping a discipleship response to this. The Psalms, they are famous for covering all the bases, all the chapters of the Redemptive Narrative. And today, I’ve chosen to pull something out of Psalm 78. I mentioned before that you can use SOAR to look at scripture, to help you see it in a different way, to go deeply into it. So I’m recommending that maybe you even SOAR Psalm 78. It could be used to frame this entire discussion.

Since it’s longish, I want you to know I’ve arranged the verses in a little bit of a unique way to line up with the four chapters of the Redemptive Narrative. And they remind the reader of what’s good, what’s broken, what’s redemptive, and what brings us hope. So starting from somewhere in the very beginning of the chapter, but I’m not even going to name the verses as I read and highlight some of this story:

“Tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord and His might, and the wonders that He has done, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children. The people did not keep God’s covenant but refused to walk according to His law. They forgot His works and the wonders that He had shown them. They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved. Therefore, when the Lord heard, He was full of wrath. They did not believe in God, did not trust His saving power. Their heart was not steadfast towards Him. They were not faithful to His covenant. They did not remember His power, or the day when He redeemed them from the foe. Fire devoured their young men and their young women had no marriage song. Yet He, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them. He restrained His anger often, and did not stir up all His wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again. He chose David His servant and took him from the sheep folds with upright heart. He shepherded them, and guided them with His skillful hand.”

I love the way that this poetry interfaces with what we hear in our strivings in the world and the strivings that we see in this specific media piece. We know that the Lord is the only one who has saving power, and He has equipped us for the work.

Show Notes

What is microdosing? And what does it have to do with industry leaders of Silicon Valley? We’re using the SOAR method to break down a Wall Street Journal article on psychedelics in the world of tech.

Check out The Concurrently Companion for this week’s downloadable episode guide including discussion questions and scripture for further study.

We would love to hear from you. You can send us a message at newscoach@wng.org. What current events or cultural issues are you wrestling through with your kids and teens? Let us know. We want to work through it with you.

See more from the News Coach, including episode transcripts.

Further Resources:

Concurrently is produced by God’s WORLD News. We provide current events materials for kids and teens that show how God is working in the world. To learn more about God’s WORLD News and browse sample magazines, visit gwnews.com.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Covenant College.

Looking for an unapologetically Christian College Experience? Pursuing knowledge transformed by faith, Covenant College prepares students for their callings and careers. Covenant is located on top of Lookout Mountain, Georgia, 20 minutes from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Students who visit are eligible to receive a grant of $1,200. More at Covenant.edu/world.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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