King’s Forum Addresses the Current State of America
In an interview with Prof. Brian Brenberg, James Pannell asks the question, “What’s going on in America?”
On November 4, The King’s College hosted a King’s Forum at the home of James and Amy Pannell in Corsicana, Texas. The event was part of an ongoing series of conversations around the country designed to explore the relationship between faith and culture and inspire a deeper grasp of goodness, truth, beauty, and freedom.
After sharing the mission and vision of The King’s College, President Tim Gibson introduced host and moderator James Pannell, who is managing principal at Riverfront Capital Strategies, and interviewee Prof. Brian Brenberg. (In the featured photo, Brenberg is on the left and Pannell is on the right.)
Brenberg serves as executive vice president and associate professor of business at King’s. Before joining the faculty, he worked in the financial services and medical device industries, as well as in public policy research and philanthropy. Brenberg is also a contributor on Fox News and Fox Business. He’s written for a variety of publications, including USA Today, Newsweek, Forbes, and the New York Post, and his speeches have been covered by Time and The Washington Post.
Pannell began with the broad question, “What is going on in America?” Brenberg responded with observations of citizens across the country “punching back” after reeling for the last few years from a tsunami of unprecedented events. Pointing to recent state election results that saw upsets in party affiliation—such as Virginia, Minnesota, Washington, and New Jersey, Brenberg said, “This is not a partisan point, by the way. I’m simply holding up a mirror and saying this country has an incredible amount of fight left in it—even now.”
Brenberg underscored the importance of entrepreneurship and self-governance to the American way of life. He also acknowledged that “there’s an ideology operable in American politics that is rooted in division and grievance.” As an example, he cited several false binary labels: racism vs. permissive border policies, anti-science vs. vaccinations, greed vs. socialism. “This bifurcated way of thinking is destructive,” Brenberg asserted. “We should not look at all of life through binary lenses.”
“Given the alignment of mainstream media, political parties, and corporate America smothering the voice of individual citizens,” Pannell asked, “how do we push back on that way of thinking?” Brenberg pointed to the importance of individuals and states modeling self-governance. He prompted: America’s Founding Fathers intended the individual states to be laboratories for experimentation when it comes to self-governance. Pointing to how Texas is dealing with border issues, Brenberg went on to say, “various efforts across the country should give us hope.”
Building on that hope, Brenberg reminded the audience that “The Bible is filled with stories of unlikely people in crummy times doing remarkable things. That’s God’s pattern.”
Brenberg shared with attendees that “King’s is not trying to just fill students’ heads with good ideas, but rather trying to give them a firm foundation to believe that ultimately God is working all things together for good. He is ushering in a new heaven and a new earth. He is restoring creation. And as crazy as that sounds—that’s the hope we look forward to.”
Pannell then delivered a rapid-fire of topics which Brenberg quickly addressed: bitcoin, stock market volatility and inflation, the value of higher education, cancel culture, taxes, as well as what grounds Brenberg and animates his work in New York City. The interview concluded with questions from the audience on topics such as abortion, vaccine mandates, and the kind of students that King’s is seeking.
Lastly, both Brenberg and Gibson addressed questions about how King’s educates students to integrate their faith and morality into their lives and careers. “We are not a college for the faint of heart—we call our students to be good, brave, and ready.”