In the time of King David, the Bible says that 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.
To that end, I share articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural and societal issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). May these give you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.
Heads up: in light of today’s Supreme Court decision I’ll likely include some articles about marriage and same-sex relationships in next Friday’s update. If you see anything you find helpful, please send it my way.
- From the ongoing reflections on Charleston department: Persecution and the Black Church (Ross Douthat, NY Times) — Douthat is a NY Times columnist who consistently talks about issues of faith (he is a devout Catholic).
- These next two articlesare linked in that they are about people driven by their Christian faith. One is an outspoken liberal and the other an outspoken conservative. If you only have time to read about one, read about the one you probably disagree with.
- From the possible Christian role model (liberal) department: Kirsten Powers is an antiabortion, antiwar evangelical liberal who works for Fox News. Got a problem with that? (Krissah Thompson, Washington Post): If you don’t know who Kirsten Powers is, you should read about her conversion to Christianity.
- From the possible Christian role model (conservative) department: Prison Revolt (Bill Keller, The New Yorker): It’s always a pleasant surprise when an article in The New Yorker quotes Scripture.
- From the backstory department: Palestinian BDS Movement: Getting a Handle on a Complicated Story Ahead of Deadline (Ira Rifkin,GetReligion): this is an article for journalists helping them prepare for coverage of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement as it comes to the awareness of the American public (it hit Stanford last year, as you no doubt recall).
- Incidentally, it’s really hard to get a good understanding of this or of most topics related to Israel, especially as it connects to Palestine. For an eye-opening (and dismaying) experience, read What The Media Gets Wrong About Israel (Mattie Friedman, The Atlantic).
- From the Chi Alpha worldwide department: Georgia Couple Defend Their Love After Bouquet Selfie Gets Negative Comments: Our Relationship ‘Is Not About Looks’ (Caitlin Keating, People): I include this only because it is about two Chi Alpha student leaders at Columbus State University, which I know because I know their campus pastor. On a related note — if you are ever in the news please feel free to wear your Chi Alpha t‑shirt.
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.