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.

 

 

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 43

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. Middle Knowledge and the Calvinist-Arminian Debate (Craig Blomberg, personal blog): This is what I was talking about in my sermon this week. Also see the YouTube video where Dr. William Lane Craig explains it to a Sunday School class.
  2. What Apple’s Encryption Fight Has To Do With Religious Freedom (Chelsea Langston, Christianity Today): “[Apple’s] example reminds us of the broad importance of protecting organizations—both secular and religious, for-profit and non-profit—from compulsion to act against their most foundational values.”
  3. How To Hack An Election (Jordan Robertson, Michael Riley, and Andrew Willis, Bloomberg Businessweek): this is a fascinating and unsettling article. ‘On the question of whether the U.S. presidential campaign is being tampered with, he is unequivocal. “I’m 100 percent sure it is,” he says.’
  4. Is Islam a Religion of Peace? A Former Muslim Weighs In. (Dargan Thompson, Relevant Magazine): “What I’m saying is the foundations of Islam—I’m talking about the Quran and the life of Muhammed—are very violent. Islam can be formulated in non-violent ways, but to do so, you have to depart from its foundations, as many Muslims do.”
  5. Religion is the Foundation of Democracy and Prosperity (Clayton Christensen, Mormon Perspectives): the author, a Harvard professor, talks about a conversation he had with a friend, “I learned the importance of religion for the strength of democracy and capitalism in a conversation 12 years ago with a Marxist economist from China who was nearing the end of a Fulbright Fellowship in Boston. I asked my friend if he had learned here anything that was surprising or unexpected. His response was immediate and, to me, quite profound: ‘I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy and capitalism.'”
  6. Personal Love and the Call to Chastity (Samantha Schroeder, The Public Discourse): there is a lot I like and a lot I don’t like about this article.
  7. Here’s Every Biblical Reference in ‘Hamilton’ (Alissa Wilkinson, Christianity Today): of interest to the Hamilton fanatics who seem to abound in Chi Alpha.

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.

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 that site)