Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 59

1 Chronicles 12:32 - they "understood the times"
1 Chronicles 12:32 – they “understood the times”

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues, with a preference for content from academics and influential voices. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

A Pastoral Exhortation

Another senseless shooting. In Matthew 24:12, Jesus warns that “because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” Wickedness causes love to grow cold by two means: allure and despair. The church tends to focus on those forms of wickedness which entice us as a temptation, but there is also a wickedness that demoralizes. It leaves Christians feeling drained and helpless. This wickedness, with which we are all too familiar, can make a Christian’s love grow cold. Do not be deceived. Recognize this for the demonic work that it is and do not let it lead you astray. Cling to Christ. Let Him be your comfort, your peace, and your wisdom. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21).

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. The Battle For Religious Liberty (George Wood, PE News): Dr. Wood is the leader of the Assemblies of God, which sponsors Chi Alpha. See also this GetReligion piece on religious liberty – highly recommended
  2. Of interest to academics
  3. Trump: Tribune of Poor White People (Rod Dreher, The American Conservative): “And I’m always left thinking: if this is the quality of thought of a Harvard Law graduate, then our society is truly doomed.” This is an interview with the author of Hillbilly Elegy and is much more wide-ranging and insightful than the title leads you to believe . Both the journalist and the interviewee are Christians.
  4. In Defense of Third-Party Voting (Zac Crippen, personal blog): recommended, difficult to excerpt
  5. Amusing: This Is How We Work (Owlturd Comix): apologies for the publisher’s title.

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.

If you have a non-Stanford friend who might be interested in these emails, they can sign up at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/subscribe, and if you want to view the archives they are at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 58

Issachar
1 Chronicles 12:32 – they “understood the times”

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues, with a preference for content from academics and influential voices. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

Articles I Found Interesting

  1. China’s Christian Future (Yu Jie, First Things):  Wow. This is very much worth your time.
  2. The ISIS Correspondent (Isaac Chotiner, Slate): this is timely in light of the terrorist attack in Nice, France. “I think there is an enormous amount of misunderstanding about this question that we get asked over and over again: Does ISIS direct this attack or does ISIS inspire this attack? ISIS-inspired attacks are part of their strategy; are part of their design; are part of what they’re trying to do. That’s what people miss.”
  3. Ten Thoughts On Speaking (And Not) In A Digital World (Kevin DeYoung, Gospel Coalition): “A pastor does not have time to be a professional pundit. And even if he did, it’s fair to wonder whether he should be.” DeYoung’s thoughts parallel many of my own. If you wonder why I am often silent on social media, read this.
  4. How Highly Religious Americans’ Lives Are Different From Others (Michael Lipka, Pew Research): interesting – both the differences and similarities.
  5. Two Kinds Of Voting, Two Kinds Of Disruption, and Two Kinds of Righteousness (Senator Ben Sasse, Medium): “To us, voting is not merely about 1/130-millionth of deciding who should preside over 1/3 of the federal government from 2017 to 2021. To us, the act of voting is also a civic duty that tells people what we think America means, what we want to teach our kids about moral leadership, what face we want America to present to the world, and what sort of candidates we want more of in coming years.” I know nothing about Senator Sasse’s voting record – I just know this is an outstanding essay.
  6. When Correlation Does Imply Causation (Joshua Krisch, Vocativ): “Additive noise model testing is based on the simple assumption that there is always some statistical noise clinging to the key variables in any experiment—areas where the data becomes fuzzy and unreliable due to measurement errors. Regardless of any link, each variable will have its own unique noise signature, with one caveat: If X causes Y, then the noise in X will be able to contaminate Y, but the noise in Y will not able to do the same to X. Because a cause can affect an effect, but an effect cannot affect a cause (read that last line a few times). … The key, then, is to follow the noise contamination.” See the underlying paper.
  7. These essays by an English professor at Emory are full of practical advice for those of you considering academia. Read them regardless of your politics or your discipline.

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.

If you have a non-Stanford friend who might be interested in these emails, they can sign up at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/subscribe, and if you want to view the archives they are at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 57

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues, with a preference for content from academics and influential voices. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

Articles I Found Interesting

This has been a depressing week. Shootings by police, shootings of police, the ISIS bombing in Baghdad, religious-liberty infringements, disgraceful political behavior and more. If you’re feeling down, the first few links will be especially helpful to you.

  1. How To Pray In Our Time Of National Crisis (Joe Carter, Gospel Coalition): “Many of us are anxious and hurting. All of us are confused. When faced with this type of national crisis we may find it difficult to turn to our Comforter in prayer. We are used to going to God with our requests, but this time seems different. We are mired in sorrow and pain…”
  2. Lamentations: A Bottle For The Tears Of the World (Christopher Wright, Christianity Today): “So much of our worship is cover-up: pretending to have emotions we don’t really feel, or smothering the emotions we do. That is not praise. It simply leaves us to pick up our suffering again on the way out—without bringing it into God’s presence or hurling it at him in questioning (but trusting) protest. Spending time in Lamentations helps us learn how to plumb the depths of lament as well as scale the heights of rejoicing.”
  3. What Shootings And Racial Justice Mean For The Body of Christ (Russell Moore, personal blog): “If we believe that every person will stand before a Judgment Seat, we cannot then stand silently when we see injustice. But many—including evangelicals of all ethnicities—wonder what we can really do? Some are reluctant to speak because they do not wish to reduce these issues to a hash-tag and they don’t know what to do.”
  4. End Needless Interaction With Cops During Traffic Stops (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic): a shrewd, easy-to-implement suggestion.
  5. My Four Months As A Private Prison Guard (Shane Bauer, Mother Jones): a very long but very engaging essay. “I started applying for jobs in private prisons because I wanted to see the inner workings of an industry that holds 131,000 of the nation’s 1.6 million prisoners. As a journalist, it’s nearly impossible to get an unconstrained look inside our penal system. When prisons do let reporters in, it’s usually for carefully managed tours and monitored interviews with inmates. Private prisons are especially secretive.” See also Wounds From Incarceration That Never Heal (Tony Brown & Evelyn Patterson, The New Republic)
  6. Two stories on the religious-liberty front:
  7. A group of our summer Chi Alphans had a conversation about how the books of the Bible got selected. If you’re curious, here are two resources by Michael Kruger, a scholar in the field, that should prove helpful: Ten Basic Facts About the NT Canon That Every Christian Should Memorize and 10 Misconceptions About the NT Canon

A Quote To Ponder

Think before you act; think twice before you speak; think thrice before you post to social media.

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.

If you have a non-Stanford friend who might be interested in these emails, they can sign up at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/subscribe, and if you want to view the archives they are at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links.

Christianity and Patriotism

Many Stanford students feel ambivalent about celebrating America because of her great flaws. If that’s you, I urge you to consider these three articles. They are listed in order of helpfulness.

And if you’re an international student, I hope these articles encourage you to love your own homeland – patriotism rightly understood is a good thing and it encompasses people from all nations.
  • American Jesus (Douglas Wilson, personal blog): I debated whether to include this one or not. I agree with enough of it to invite you to wrestle with it.
And so, should it be legal in your jurisdiction, blow something sparkly up tonight.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 56

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues, with a preference for content from academics and influential voices. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

Articles I Found Interesting

  1. Your Unchurched Friends Want to Know About Your Faith (Bob Smietana, Christianity Today):  “Almost half [of unchurched Americans] say they discuss religion freely if the topic comes up (47%). A third say they listen without responding (31%), while 11 percent change the subject. Only about a third say someone has explained the benefits of being a Christian to them (35%).”
  2. Obergefell and the New Gnosticism (Sherif Girgis, First Things): “For decades, the Sexual Revolution was supposed to be about freedom. Today, it is about coercion. Once, it sought to free our sexual choices from restrictive laws and unwanted consequences. Now, it seeks to free our sexual choices from other people’s disapproval.” Sherif has spoken for Chi Alpha before.
  3. As a Psychiatrist I Diagnose Mental Illness. And, Sometimes, Demonic Possession (Richard Gallagher, Washington Post): “Questions about how a scientifically trained physician can believe ‘such outdated and unscientific nonsense,’ as I’ve been asked, have a simple answer. I honestly weigh the evidence.”
  4. Most American Christians Believe They’re Victims of Discrimination (Emma Green, The Atlantic): “Almost half of Americans say discrimination against Christians is as big of a problem as discrimination against other groups, including blacks and minorities.”
  5. Nine Prayers For The Not-Yet-Married (Marshall Segal, Desiring God): recommended by a student, relevant to many of you.
  6. Man Seeks Euthanasia To End His Sexuality Struggle (Jonathan Blake, BBC): sanctioning euthanasia is unwise and leads to unexpected outcomes. For a theological argument see Is There No Moral Law? (Douglas Farrow, First Things).
  7. Russia’s Proposed Law: No Evangelizing Outside of Church (Kate Shellnut, Christianity Today): “To share their faith, citizens must secure a government permit through a registered religious organization, and they cannot evangelize anywhere besides churches and other religious sites. The restrictions even apply to activity in private residences and online.
  8. Some more on Brexit:
    • Why Brexit Happened And What It Means (Tyler Cowen): “The actual practical problems with immigration are much greater here in Brussels, but the country is much further from ‘doing anything about it,’ whether prudently or not, and indeed to this day Belgium is not actually a mature nation-state and it may splinter yet.  That England did something is one reflection of the fact that England is a better-run region than Belgium, even if you feel as I do that the vote was a big mistake…. Most of all, I conclude that the desire to preserve the English nation [sic] as English is stronger than I or indeed most others had thought.  There is a positive side to that.  And if all along you thought there was no case for Leave, probably it is you who is the provincial one.” Oddly, the [sic] is in the original.
    • A great piece from shortly before the vote: Reflections Of A Referendum Fence-Sitter (David Goodhart, Prospect Magazine)
    • An interesting piece on the theology of Brexit: For hard-line Protestants, leaving Europe is a matter of eschatology (“Erasmus”, The Economist)

Interesting Research Findings

  • Why People With No Religion Are Projected To Decline As A Share Of The World’s Population (Michael Lipka, Pew Research): “These projections, which take into account demographic factors such as fertility, age composition and life expectancy, forecast that people with no religion will make up about 13% of the world’s population in 2050, down from roughly 16% as of 2010.”
  • The Data On Children In Same-Sex Households Get More Depressing (Mark Regnerus, Public Discourse): “…during adolescence the children of same-sex parents reported marginally less depression than the children of opposite-sex parents. But by the time the survey was in its fourth wave—when the kids had become young adults between the ages of 24 and 32—their experiences had reversed. Indeed, dramatically so: over half of the young-adult children of same-sex parents report ongoing depression, a surge of 33 percentage points (from 18 to 51 percent of the total). Meanwhile, depression among the young-adult children of opposite-sex parents had declined from 22 percent of them down to just under 20 percent. A few other findings are worth mentioning as well. Obesity surged among both groups, but the differences became significant over time, with 31 percent obesity among young-adult children of opposite-sex parents, well below the 72 percent of those from same-sex households.”
  • Church Attendance Linked With Reduced Suicide Risk, Especially For Catholics, Study Says (Melissa Healy, LA Times): “Compared with women who never participated in religious services, women who attended any religious service once a week or more were five times less likely to commit suicide between 1996 and 2010, says a study published Wednesday by JAMA Psychiatry.” See the underlying study in JAMA Psychiatry.
  • Researchers Have Found That War Has A Remarkable and Miraculous Effect (Jeff Guo, Wonkblog): “the experience of wartime violence somehow changes people for the better, making them more cooperative and more trusting.”
  • Concrete Problems in AI Safety (multiple impressive authors, arXiv.org): CS people please read this, especially in conjunction with AI Downs Fighter Pilot.

A Quote To Ponder

“Being part of community takes time and involves restrictions. Merely having an identity doesn’t. In our cultural emphasis and life, we’ve gone from a community focus to an identity focus.” David Brooks (source)

Something Amusing To End On

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.

If you have a non-Stanford friend who might be interested in these emails, they can sign up at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/subscribe, and if you want to view the archives they are at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 55

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues, with a preference for content from academics and influential voices. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

Articles I Found Interesting

  1. Britain voted to leave the European Union.
  2. Related To Orlando:
    • Omar Mateen’s Multiple Motives (Kirsten Powers, USA Today): “Almost as quickly as the massacre of innocents in Orlando unfolded, Americans retreated to their ideological corners to interpret the motivations of the mass murderer, Omar Mateen.”
    • FBI Investigators say they have found no evidence that Orlando shooter had gay lovers (Molly Hennessy-Fiske, LA Times): huh. This is still a developing story, do not assume this is the final word.
    • The Gun Control We Deserve (Patrick Blanchfield, n+1): “As many critics have observed, we would be naïve to think that heavy-handed gun control measures would not involve the same disproportionate racial targeting and police violence we rightly condemn in the War on Drugs and in everyday encounters in places from Baltimore to Ferguson to Cleveland to Oakland.” A very thoughtful piece.
  3. Elon Musk Is Wrong. We Aren’t Living In A Simulation (Riccardo Manzotti and Andrew Smart, Vice): “The world we live in is made of real stuff. Simulations are things made of the same stuff. Musk’s argument does not show that we are getting any closer to producing an alternative reality. Rather it shows that we are getting better and better at shaping the physical world.” The authors take unwarranted pot shots at dualism, but make very good points overall. Related: SMBC “Heap Problem.”
  4. The Sotomayor and Kagan Dissents in Utah vs Strieff (Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution): “If outstanding warrants were few and far between and distributed more or less randomly the case would have been wrongly decided but of little practical importance. Outstanding warrants, however, are common and much more common in some communities than others. As I wrote in 2014, in Ferguson, MO a majority of the population had outstanding warrants and not because of high crime:”
  5. Ban the Box or Require the Box? (Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution): “Sadly, a policy that was intended to raise the employment prospects of black men ends up having the biggest positive effect on white men with a criminal record…. Policies like ban the box try to get people to do the ‘right thing’ by blinding people to certain types of information. But blinded people tend to use other cues to achieve their interests and when those other cues are less informative that often makes things worse.”
  6. I’m A Single-Issue Voter On Multiple Issues And So Are You (Denny Burk, personal blog): “Single-issue voting is not the idea that being right on any single issue qualifies a candidate for office. Single-issue voting is the idea that being wrong on a single issue may disqualify a candidate from office.”
  7. My Holy Land Vacation (Tom Bissell, Harpers): “I excuse myself and stroll outside. I notice that someone else has also walked out early: Pastor Marty. He tells me that he was troubled by the violence of the Israeli Redneck’s speech. I tell Pastor Marty that I don’t fault a man who’s fought in four wars for sounding like a lunatic. What bothers me is the way people were applauding him.” Highly recommended.

A Quote To Ponder

“Stanford students are good at being good at things. Your Christianity can’t just be one more thing you’re good at. To be good misses the point. The point is not what you do but what Jesus has done.” Seth Villegas

Something Amusing To End On

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 54

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues, with a preference for content from academics and influential voices. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

A QUOTE I COULDN’T GET OUT OF MY HEAD

“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” – Cardinal Francis George (1937-2015)

Including a quote may or may not become a recurring thing. Feedback welcomed.

LINKS WHICH CAUGHT MY INTEREST

  1. Some helpful articles about processing the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando:
  2. A History of the Second Amendment in Two Paintings (Ezra Klein, Wonkblog): In the wake of Orlando, a lot of people are talking about guns. This brief article from a few years ago is still one of the most insightful things I’ve read about firearms in America. The Yale professor interviewed, Dr. Amar, also wrote a lengthier article about this for Slate.
  3. Why there is a “gay ban” on blood donations (reddit): also something people are talking about since Orlando. This is a very simple explanation. The comments are informative. I find it particularly interesting that describing the situation accurately practically forces a focus on behavior and not orientation. The fact-driven explanation winds up framing things similarly to the way evangelicals talk when discussing LGBT issues.
  4. Epic Correction of the Decade (Steven Hayward, Powerline): the authors of a widely-reported study about personality types and political affiliations accidentally coded their data backwards. Their real results are the literal opposite of what you remember seeing in the news. Regardless of your political propensities, this is kinda hilarious. More at RetractionWatch.
  5. Study: schools that give away condoms see more teen births, not fewer (Sarah Kliff, Vox): “A new research paper suggests that [giving away condoms] may have backfired. It finds that access to condoms in school led to a 10 percent increase in teen births.”
  6. The Sphinx Was Disappointed In Them (G.K. Chesterton): “Now the mistake of critics is not that they criticise the world; it is that they never criticise themselves. They compare the alien with the ideal; but they do not at the same time compare themselves with the ideal; rather they identify themselves with the ideal.” Chesterton was one of the most important Christian intellectuals of the 20th century. This almost became the quote of the week.
  7. 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.