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.
- From the sexuality department: in light of the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples I’ve got some suggested readings.
- Thinking as a Christian:
- Don’t Hate (Adam4d — a webcomic). This one comes through the recommendation of a student.
- Hoping For Love (Wesley Hill, a celibate gay Christian). Hill has also written a short and helpful book called Washed and Waiting. If you experience same-sex attraction, I highly recommend Hill’s book to you.
- Same Sex Marriage and the Tyranny of the Christian Majority (Seth Villegas, Thoughts From The Whale): Seth is an alumnus of our ministry who is currently studying at Fuller Theological Seminary.
- So-Called Same-Sex Marriage (John Piper, a pastor).
- How I Wish The Homosexuality Debate Would Go (Trevin Wax, The Gospel Coalition): if you find yourself having conversations with your friends about this, the article will be helpful as long as you remember how much messier conversations are in real life.
- You may come across articles claiming that the Bible does not consider same-sex erotic relationships sinful. After studying this issue, I am convinced such revisionist claims are not tenable. The most thorough book I have read on the subject is The Bible and Homosexual Practice by Robert Gagnon. For a much shorter (and online) option, read Homosexuality: Speaking The Truth In Love by Mardi Keyes.
- Thinking as a citizen:
- Why These Four Justices Rejected Marriage Equality (Sunnivie Brydum, The Advocate): these excerpts from the dissents are worth reading. You’ve likely seen them caricatured, but they are worth investigating. If that piques your interest, you could go so far as to read all 103 pages of the opinion and the dissents.
- In conjunction, read Shotguns and Weddings (Scott Adams, personal blog): Adams is the creator of Dilbert a fascinating public intellectual. In this essay he points out that while he personally likes the ruling of the court he believes it is grounded in dangerous principles.
- Thinking as an ambitious person: How Gay Marriage Became A Constitutional Right (Molly Ball, The Atlantic): this is an excellent study in how cultural change happens. If you want to change the world, there are lessons for you here. For a striking reminder of how quickly elite opinion has shifted, read Three Cheers For Bill and Hillary Clinton (Justin Taylor, blog).
- Thinking as a Christian:
- From the something-completely-different department: On Obstinacy In Belief (C.S. Lewis, The Sewanee Review): I was not aware of this C.S. Lewis essay before this week. It was rewarding.
- From the if-it-is-not-news-can-it-be-disappointing-news department: How Academics View Conservative Protestants (Yancey, Reimer, and O’Connell, Sociology of Religion): The lead author, a sociologist, blogs at Black, White and Gray and I frequently benefit from what he shares there.
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.