Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 50

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

  1. What are the most-cited publications in the social sciences (according to Google Scholar)? (Elliot Green, London School of Economics Impact Blog): I am familiar with many of them, but some I have never even heard of. Apparently I am less well-read than I thought.
  2. The False Promise of DNA Testing (Matthew Shaer, The Atlantic): DNA testing exonerates some but falsely implicates others.
  3. Good Citizenship as Barack Obama and Clarence Thomas See It (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic): “There are real divergences in the ways that Obama and Thomas view citizenship, but their approaches are more complementary than contradictory. Taken together, their advice encompasses the personal and the political, affording a better portrait of the whole citizen than either offers in isolation.”
  4. The culture wars play out in the most fascinating ways:
    • Media Want To Make Sure You Never Hear About The Little Sisters of the Poor (Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist): “A case of “Little Sisters of the Poor” vs. “Powerful Men in Government” is a gift from the editorial gods…. If any Republican president went to war against a group called Little Sisters of the Poor, that editorial gift would be unwrapped on every front page of every newspaper in the land.” (additional commentary at GetReligion)
    • Related: Professor Michael McConnell on Zubik v. Burwell (Michael McConnell, Volokh Conspiracy): “the decision was basically a quiet, face-saving, non-precedent-setting defeat for the government.”
    • How The Fight Over Transgender Kids Got A Leading Sex Researcher Fired (Jesse Singal, NY Mag): this is a very long piece which I found utterly fascinating. It shows that for some people 90% agreement is not enough: “And if you look closely at what really happened — if you read the review (which CAMH has now pulled off of its website), speak with the activists who effectively wrote large swaths of it, examine the scientific evidence, and talk to former GIC clinicians and the parents of patients they worked with, it’s hard not to come to an uncomfortable, politically incorrect conclusion: Zucker’s defenders are right. This was a show trial.”
    • Yes, my sexuality is a choice: Why I reject the “born this way” narrative (Marcie Bianco, Salon):  “The progressive move away from identity categories negates the need for the normative, ‘born this way’ narrative that has been used to socially validate them…. if sexuality is socially constructed and expressed through culture, then there is no norm, nor is there deviance.”
    • State-Mandated Mourning for Aborted Fetuses (Emma Green, The Atlantic): I am somewhat baffled that this story doesn’t mention the Center for Medical Progress videos from last year. There is clearly a relationship.
  5. Quick Links:

Why Do You Send This Email?

In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world. I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.

Disclaimer

Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and we are not about the elephant’s agenda – we are about the Lamb’s agenda. Having said that, I read widely (in part because I believe we should aspire to pass the ideological Turing test and in part because I do not believe I can fairly say “I agree” or “I disagree” until I can say “I understand”) and may at times share articles that have a strong partisan bias simply because I find the article stimulating. The upshot: you should not assume I agree with everything an author says in an article I mention, much less things the author has said in other articles (although if I strongly disagree with something in the article I’ll usually mention it).

Also, remember that I’m not reporting news – I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 49

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

  1. The Experiment Experiment (Planet Money): a consistently excellent podcast. This episode is the best explanation I’ve heard about the replication crisis that plagues many disciplines.
  2. The Faithful: René and Juan Carlos set out to convert their Colombian megachurch to Orthodox Judaism. This is what happened. (Graciela Mochkofsky, The California Sunday Magazine): this is a very sad story. The temptations Paul warned the Galatians about are real.
  3. A Confession of Liberal Intolerance (Nicholas Kristof, NY Times): “This bias on campuses creates liberal privilege. A friend is studying for the Law School Admission Test, and the test preparation company she is using offers test-takers a tip: Reading comprehension questions will typically have a liberal slant and a liberal answr.”
  4. Facebook is going to get more politically biased, not less (Ezra Klein, Vox): “The bad press Facebook has received for political bias in recent days is likely to push it away from human curation and toward yet more algorithmic curation. The irony is that will make Facebook more of an echo chamber, not less of one. Facebook’s human curators are under pressure to present both sides, but its algorithmic curators are not.” The article Klein is responding to is Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News (Michael Nunez, Gizmodo).
  5. World Hunger Is At Its Lowest Point In 25 Years. Thank Democracy. (Libby Nelson, Vox): and as I never tire of pointing out, for widespread democracy thank Bible-believing Christians. You’re welcome.
  6. Ravi Zacharias On The Christian View Of Homosexuality (YouTube): the clip is 11 minutes long.
  7. Where John Piper and Other Evangelicals Stand on Black Lives Matter (Morgan Lee, Christianity Today): “Piper also encouraged white evangelicals to ‘pause’ before saying anything like, ‘All lives matter.’ ‘Because if you quickly add that, it sounds like a rebuke,’ he said. ‘It sounds like a minimizing of what was just said. It sounds like the point that was trying to be made isn’t worth being made,’ he said. ‘… Of course that is true, all lives matter, but oh how timing matters and how context matters.’”
  8. How Bathrooms Became the New Legal Battleground of the Religious Right (Michelle Goldberg, Slate): Very slanted but interesting piece. “Polls suggest that a slight plurality of Americans believe people should have to use the bathrooms that match the sex on their birth certificate. To a liberal, this is evidence that more education is needed. To a conservative, it’s proof that average people’s preferences are being trampled on.”
  9. Amusing:

Why Do You Send This Email?

In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world. I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.

Disclaimer

Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and we are not about the elephant’s agenda – we are about the Lamb’s agenda. Having said that, I read widely (in part because I believe we should aspire to pass the ideological Turing test and in part because I do not believe I can fairly say “I agree” or “I disagree” until I can say “I understand”) and may at times share articles that have a strong partisan bias simply because I find the article stimulating. The upshot: you should not assume I agree with everything an author says in an article I mention, much less things the author has said in other articles (although if I strongly disagree with something in the article I’ll usually mention it).

Also, remember that I’m not reporting news – I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 48

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom. The disclaimers are especially relevant for many of today’s links.

  1. This first section is a lot – buckle up if you’re interested. Two pastors recently debated guns – both are very thoughtful and are skillful debaters.  Here is the conversation so far. All the posts are pretty short.
  2. The Mercy Girls (Jennifer Miller, Slate): a very interesting piece about a Christian counseling ministry. One significant bit buried within it: “Ninety-four percent of respondents on 2013 surveys (commissioned by Mercy and conducted by independent firms) answered ‘yes’ to the question, ‘Did Mercy Ministries help you transform your life and restore your hope?’ Eighty-two percent said they were ‘well adjusted to life’ after leaving the program. And 85 percent said they had spent time at other treatment centers before Mercy, without long-term results.” Those statistics should have been even more central to the story.
  3. Spirituality May Help HIV Patients Survive Longer (Emma Green, The Atlantic): interesting. The last paragraph is a reminder that one’s assumptions greatly influence one’s interpretations.
  4. Why Has There Been An Exodus Of Black Residents From West Coast Liberal Hubs? (Aaron Ren, LA Times): “Though results vary to some extent, the broad trend is clear: West Coast progressive enclaves are either seeing an exodus of blacks or are failing to attract them. Midwestern and Northeastern urban areas are attracting blacks to the extent that they are affordable or providing middle class economic opportunities. And Southern cities are now experiencing the most significant gains.” I expect wildly divergent reactions to this. I found it very interesting. A related line of thinking: why colleges are the way they are.
  5. Amusing:

Why Do You Send This Email?

In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world. I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.

Disclaimer

Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and we are not about the elephant’s agenda – we are about the Lamb’s agenda. Having said that, I read widely (in part because I believe we should aspire to pass the ideological Turing test and in part because I do not believe I can fairly say “I agree” or “I disagree” until I can say “I understand”) and may at times share articles that have a strong partisan bias simply because I find the article stimulating. The upshot: you should not assume I agree with everything an author says in an article I mention, much less things the author has said in other articles.

Also, remember that I’m not reporting news – I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it.

Past emails are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links (you can also have your non-Stanford friends sign up to receive them at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/subscribe)

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 47

On Fridays I share articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

  1. China Reveals What It Wants To Do With Christianity (Brent Fulton, Christianity Today): “how China’s atheistic regime plans to deal with the country’s growing Christian population, projected to become the world’s largest within the next couple decades.”
  2. After Pastor’s Wife Buried Alive, Chinese Church Wins Land Battle (Sarah Zylstra, Christianity Today): useful to read in conjunction with the preceding article.
  3. Radiant Zinc Fireworks Reveal Quality of Human Egg (Marla Paul, Northwestern University News): you were formed in a burst of light. For real. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14)
  4. You’re More Likely To Die In A Human Extinction Event Than A Car Crash (Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic): but did they factor in the return of Christ?
  5. Relating To The Skeptics (Robert Mims, PE News): short and encouraging.
  6. Are History’s “Greatest Philosophers” All That Great? (Gregory Lewis, Daily Nous): interesting but misses a huge point. Socrates is not famous merely for the words he used – he is famous for the life he lived. Greatness is not a matter of cleverness alone. 
  7. Things that tickled me:

Why Do You Send This Email?

In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world. I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.

Disclaimer

Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and we are not about the elephant’s agenda – we are about the Lamb’s agenda. Having said that, I read widely (in part because I believe we should aspire to pass the ideological Turing test and in part because I do not believe I can fairly say “I agree” or “I disagree” until I can say “I understand”) and may at times share articles that have a strong partisan bias simply because I find the article stimulating. The upshot: you should not assume I agree with everything an author says in an article I mention, much less things the author has said in other articles (although if I strongly disagree with something in the article I’ll usually mention it).

Also, remember that I’m not reporting news – I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 46

On Fridays I share articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

  1. The Danger Of A Single Story (David Brooks, NY Times): “stories have become identity markers. This is a phenomenon borrowed from campus political correctness. In order to express your solidarity with the virtuous team, you have to embrace the socially approved story. If you differ from the official story…. it is a sign that you have false allegiances. You must embrace the approved story to show you are not complicit in a system of oppression.”
  2. How To Fix Politics (David Brooks, NY Times): “People put politics at the center of their psychological, emotional and even spiritual life. This is asking too much of politics. Once politics becomes your ethnic and moral identity, it becomes impossible to compromise, because compromise becomes dishonor.”
  3. Ohio State Turns The Concept of ‘Safe Space’ Against Student Protesters (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic): “speech codes implemented in the late 1980s and early 90s with the intention of protecting black students were ultimately used to charge and punish more black students than white students. Insofar as campus concepts like safe spaces, microaggressions, and claims of trauma over minor altercations spread from activist culture to campus culture, the powerful will inevitably make use of them.” See his follow-up The Tools Of Campus Activists Are Being Turned Against Them.
  4. Fired For Preaching: Georgia Dumps Doctor Over Church Sermons (Todd Starnes, Fox News): “First, they silenced the sheep – and now they are trying to silence the shepherds.”
  5. More From Michael McConnell On The Supplementary Briefing In ‘Zubik vs Burwell’ (Eugene Volokh, Washington Post): the title is a little snore inducing, but the content is quite stimulating. It’s a Stanford law professor’s thoughts on the nuns suing the government.
  6. Brazil’s Evangelicals Flex Political Power In Impeachment Drama (Catherine Osborne, NPR): I recommend listening to the audio rather than merely reading the transcript.
  7. Harriet Tubman: The “Moses” Of Her People (Christianity Today): “If a slave wanted to quit in the midst of a rescue, Tubman would hold a revolver to his head and ask him to reconsider.” Note that this article is not a response to Tubman appearing on the $20 bill, this is from an old series called 131 Christians Everyone Should Know (FYI – the related articles are quite interesting). For something more recent, check out the GetReligion post Honoring Harriet Tubman, a Methodist, Republican, Evangelical Woman For the Ages.
  8. The Absurd Primacy of the Car in American Life (Edward Humes, The Atlantic): “If U.S. roads were a war zone, they would be the most dangerous battlefield the American military has ever encountered.”
  9. Trust Us: Politicians Keep Most Of Their Promises (Timothy Hill, FiveThirtyEight): Interesting article, although I note that “most” is a very key word. A friend who keeps ⅔ of the promises they make to you keeps most of their promises – but would you call that friend trustworthy?
  10. Amusing:

Why Do You Send This Email?

In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world. I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.

Disclaimer

Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and we are not about the elephant’s agenda – we are about the Lamb’s agenda. Having said that, I read widely (in part because I believe we should aspire to pass the ideological Turing test and in part because I do not believe I can fairly say “I agree” or “I disagree” until I can say “I understand”) and may at times share articles that have a strong partisan bias simply because I find the article stimulating. The upshot: you should not assume I agree with everything an author says in an article I mention, much less things the author has said in other articles (although if I strongly disagree with something in the article I’ll usually mention it).

Also, remember that I’m not reporting news – I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 45

On Fridays I share articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

This week there are a few more links than normal. Enjoy!

  1. New Evidence On When The Bible Was Written: Ancient Shopping Lists (Isabel Kershner, New York Times): “One of the longstanding arguments for why the main body of biblical literature was not written down in anything like its present form until after the destruction and exile of 586 B.C. is that before then there was not enough literacy or enough scribes to support such a huge undertaking. But if the literacy rates in the Arad fortress were repeated across the kingdom of Judah, which had about 100,000 people, there would have been hundreds of literate people, the Tel Aviv research team suggests.” – also check out the AP/Guardian on this.
  2. Is Porn Immoral? That Doesn’t Matter: It’s a Public Health Crisis (Gaile Dines, Washington Post): “After 40 years of peer-reviewed research, scholars can say with confidence that porn is an industrial product that shapes how we think about gender, sexuality, relationships, intimacy, sexual violence and gender equality — for the worse…. just as the tobacco industry argued for decades that there was no proof of a connection between smoking and lung cancer, so, too, has the porn industry, with the help of a well-oiled public relations machine, denied the existence of empirical research on the impact of its products.”
  3. Facebook Employees Asked Mark Zuckerberg If They Should Try To Stop A Donald Trump Presidency (Michael Nunez, Gizmodo): “Facebook has toyed with skewing news in the past. During the 2008 presidential election, Facebook secretly tampered with 1.9 million user’s news feeds. An academic paper was published about the secret experiment, claiming that Facebook increased voter turnout by more than 340,000 people. In 2010, the company tampered with news feeds again. It conducted a 61-million-person experiment to see how Facebook could impact the real-world voting behavior of millions of people. In 2012, Facebook deliberately experimented on its users’ emotions.  The company, again, secretly tampered with the news feeds of 700,000 people and concluded that Facebook can basically make you feel whatever it wants you to.
  4. I Was A Closeted Christian At The Pentagon (Matthew Spence, Washington Post): “ I feared how coming out as a practicing Christian would define me. I worried that my bosses, peers and subordinates might associate me with American officials who have spoken of U.S. military engagements in the Middle East as ‘crusades’ or with the Islamic State’s declaration of holy war. I feared that talking about my faith would detract from the logic of my arguments. And, as a relatively young person in a senior position, I needed every scrap of credibility I could claim.”
  5. Why Jesus’ Skin Color Matters (Christena Cleveland, Christianity Today):  “While Christ the Lord transcends skin color and racial divisions, white Jesus has real consequences.”
  6. Houston police officer presents a few “double-edged sword” scenarios regarding body cameras (reddit): unintended consequences are always difficult to predict.
  7. Was It Wrong To Hack and Leak the Panama Papers? (Tyler Cowen, blog): surprisingly stimulating.
  8. Onward Christian Soldiers: In the Era of Trump-Style Politics, Evangelical Voters Are Not a Monolith (Julie Lyons, Houston Press): this is a very insightful and data-rich article.
  9. The Tensions Threatening the Future of Religious Freedom Law (Kelsey Dallas, Deseret News): this is a very good summary of the current state of religious freedom legislation.
  10. Christianity and Korea (Dave Hazzan, The Diplomat): “Evangelical zeal to send missionaries to places most others would never go – including Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, and Yemen – have caused headaches for the government. In 2007, after ignoring the government’s advice, 27 Korean missionaries to Afghanistan were kidnapped by the Taliban, and two were killed. In 2009, the Korean foreign ministry warned Korean Christians to stop missionizing in Arab countries, fearing it was making Koreans terrorist targets.”9
  11. Kinda Random

Why Do You Send This Email?

In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world. I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.

Disclaimer

Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and we are not about the elephant’s agenda – we are about the Lamb’s agenda. Having said that, I read widely (in part because I believe we should aspire to pass the ideological Turing test and in part because I do not believe I can fairly say “I agree” or “I disagree” until I can say “I understand”) and may at times share articles that have a strong partisan bias simply because I find the article stimulating. The upshot: you should not assume I agree with everything an author says in an article I mention, much less things the author has said in other articles (although if I strongly disagree with something in the article I’ll usually mention it).

Also, remember that I’m not reporting news – I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 44

On Fridays I share articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

  1. How Covenants Make Us (David Brooks, NYT): “A contract protects interests, Pally notes, but a covenant protects relationships. A covenant exists between people who understand they are part of one another. It involves a vow to serve the relationship that is sealed by love: Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. Your people shall be my people. People in a contract provide one another services, but people in a covenant delight in offering gifts.”
  2. When Religious Groups Do What the Government Won’t (Alana Semuels, The Atlantic): interesting throughout.
  3. Let’s Make Football A College Major (David Johnson, Aeon): I am largely persuaded. If a performance art can be a major, then why not a sport such as football? At least give athletes academic credit for the work they put in.
  4. Is It Time for American Christians to Disobey the Government? (David Koyzis, Christianity Today): the piece is much less alarmist than the title suggests. Worth reading.
  5. PIN Analysis (Nick Berry, blog): this is a pretty cool analysis of the distribution of four digit PIN codes.
  6. Finally, some articles by students in or alumni from our ministry. If you get something published, be sure to let me know!

Why Do You Send This Email?

In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world. I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.

Disclaimer

Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and we are not about the elephant’s agenda – we are about the Lamb’s agenda. Having said that, I read widely (in part because I believe we should aspire to pass the ideological Turing test and in part because I do not believe I can fairly say “I agree” or “I disagree” until I can say “I understand”) and may at times share articles that have a strong partisan bias simply because I find the article stimulating. The upshot: you should not assume I agree with everything an author says in an article I mention, much less things the author has said in other articles (although if I strongly disagree with something in the article I’ll usually mention it).

Also, remember that I’m not reporting news – I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it. Your suggestions are welcome.