Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 30

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.

To that end, on Fridays I’ve been sharing 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. Past emails are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links

Without further ado, I give you the interesting things:

  1. A Carved Stone Block Upends Assumptions About Ancient Judaism (NY Times, Isabel Kirshner): I find the title amusing (the finding lines up perfectly with my assumptions about Judaism before the destruction of the temple).
  2. Jesus’ Leftward Bias (Pacific Standard, Tom Jacobs): warning – this is not about what you think it probably is. It is based on the study Did Buddha Turn The Other Cheek Too? A Comparison of Posing Biases Between Jesus and Buddha and weaves together art, selfies, and the role of emotions in Christianity. Really.
  3. Shutting Down Conversations About Rape at Harvard Law (New Yorker, Jeannie Suk): a Harvard Law prof comments on how campuses should handle rape accusations, and points out that a rigid “believe the accuser” stance will result in great injustice against black men.
  4. American Christians Could Take A Lesson From Angela Merkel (Religion News Service, Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons): I did not know Merkel (German Chancellor and Time Person of the Year) was pious. See the comments for clarification about what tribe of Christianity she belongs to. As always, take claims about the faith of public figures with a grain of salt, especially when they are from another culture. I was also interested by Multiculturalism Is A Sham, Says Angela Merkel (Washington Post, Rick Noack)
  5. Beyond Fight or Flight: $1 Million Reveals How Christians Cope with Persecution in 30 Countries (Christianity Today, Sarah Zylstra): Fascinating research on what Christians actually do when they face intense persecution. Related: Globally, Religious Persecution is Christian Persecution (Crux, John Allen): I appreciated the selection of stories in this article. They avoided the crazy, gory stories that make you put this into a special place in your brain and chose much simpler anecdotes that make you see what this is a like on a day-to-day basis in certain parts of the world. See also, The Biggest Apology For Christian Persecution of Other Christians Ever. (Christianity Today, Sarah Zylstra).
  6. Quick Links

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.

Praying With Scripture

(the following is adapted from an email I sent to our students and to our prayer team recently):

I encourage you to make it your goal to grow spiritually as we celebrate the birth of Christ. Come back to school more on fire than when you left!

Here are some resources to help you grow in your prayer life by rooting your prayers in God’s Word. Tim Kerr explains the power of this very well in his book Take Words With You (available online as a free PDF).

There are two words that are very powerful when used in prayer. These words are simply, “you said”. In Genesis 31:2, God makes a promise to Jacob. Involved in that promise is one of the most faith-giving promises in Scripture—“I will be with you”. A promise that means God will do us good and pour out his favour upon us! Then later, when in deep crises, Jacob cries out to God in prayer and reminds God of his promise to him. Listen to what he says:

But you said,‘I will surely do you good’… and Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD who said to me,‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good.’ Gen 32:12, 32:9

The fuel of an intercessor is the promises of God.

The fuel of an intercessor is the promises of God. Wow. Isn’t that inspiring? Here are three articles that have helped me root my prayers in the Word.

I hope these articles (and Kerr’s book) are as much of a blessing to you as they were to me.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 29

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.

To that end, on Fridays I’ve been sharing 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. Past emails are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links

Without further ado, I give you the interesting things:

  1. C.S. Lewis Was A Secret Government Agent (Christianity Today, Harry Lee Poe): It’s not as exciting as the title sounds, but it’s still cool. C.S. Lewis did some work for MI6. That’s the same agency as James Bond.  JAMES BOND.
  2. Why I worry experimental social science is headed in the wrong direction (Chris Blattman, personal blog). This is an excellent piece by a political science professor at Columbia.
  3. Utah Reduced Chronic Homelessness By 91 Percent. Here’s How. (NPR, Kelly McEvers). Props to the Mormons. It reminds me of an old piece by Malcolm Gladwell: Million Dollar Murray.
  4. Philanthropy Should Be Controversial (Bloomberg View, Justin Fox): Fascinating throughout – the last two paragraphs were quite surprising to me.
  5. John Kerry Should Recognize Christian Genocide (USA Today, Kirsten Powers): I’ve posted about this before and will likely keep doing so. The situation is insane.
  6. Why Christians Must Speak Out Against Donald Trump’s Muslim Remarks (Washington Post, Russell Moore). Related: Is An Immigration Ban on Muslims Unconstitutional? (Eric Posner, a law prof at U Chicago).  Moore has been on a tear lately, see also his What We Lose When We Prayer Shame Politicians After A Mass Shooting (Washington Post, Russell Moore). “The first response to a word of our fellow citizens in peril should be a human response of empathy. For religious people, that means a call to pray for them, and to encourage others of like mind to do so…. When that becomes just another culture war battlefield, we’ve lost more than a set of policy proposals. We’ve lost the social cohesion we need to do anything.”
  7. How Obama’s Gun-Control Push Inverted the Politics of the No-Fly List (The Atlantic, David Graham): this is a depressing commentary on the polarization of American politics. See also Eric Posner’s comments: The Republican-Democratic Divide on Civil Liberties. Related – Partyism Now Trumps Racism (Bloomberg View, Cass Sunstein) and Political Identity Is Now Fair Game For Hatred: How Republicans and Democrats Discriminate (Vox, Ezra Klein).
  8. Quick Links:

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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 28

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.

To that end, on Fridays I’ve been sharing 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. Past emails are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links

Without further ado, I give you the interesting things:

  1. Paying, Praying It Forward (Houston Chronicle, Maggie Gordon): an inspiring story – also not very long. If you just want a boost as finals draw near, read this one and skip down to the quick links.
  2. San Bernadino Victim Was Upfront About Politics and Religion — With Farook Too (LA Times, Veronica Rocha): one of the shooting victims had been witnessing to one of the shooters in the days before the carnage. See some reflection on this issue at Another First Amendment Ghost: Did Debate With Evangelical Trigger Farook? (GetReligion, Terry Mattingly).
  3. Why The Pro-Life Movement Opposes Violence (NY Times, Ross Douthat). “Given anti-abortion premises, why is it not obviously reasonable to take up arms against abortion providers? Why isn’t the pro-lifer who shoots an abortionist just like a man or woman who uses deadly force against a would-be child murderer — a vigilante, yes, but also a heroic one?” See also Russell Moore for a more theological approach in Is Pro-Life Rhetoric Deadly?
  4. Related to the stories that inspired the pieces in the two previous bullet points: How Many Mass Shootings Are There, Really? (NY Times, Mark Follman). It turns out that there’s not a commonly accepted way to quantify the data. I found this piece fascinating. Follman is the national affairs editor of Mother Jones.
  5. Who Influences Whom? Reflections on U.S. Government Outreach to Think Tanks (Brookings Institute, Jeremy Shapiro): this is an engaging peek behind the curtains at a world some of you will wind up entering.
  6. Why The Public Can’t Read The Press (The Atlantic, John Heltman): this piece is a bit long for my taste, but the subject is important. There’s a lot of good journalism you will never be given the chance to see.
  7. Quick Links:

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.