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.
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- Brazil’s Evangelicals Flex Political Power In Impeachment Drama (Catherine Osborne, NPR): I recommend listening to the audio rather than merely reading the transcript.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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?
- “What Has God Ever Done For Me?” Asks Man Breathing Air (The Babylon Bee).
- Man Capitalizes On Death Of Prince To Clarify He Wasn’t Prince Of Peace (Babylon Bee): this is actually wonderful. For something more substantive, check out the GetReligion piece The Artist Named Prince: Was He Ultimately A Rebel For, Or Against, The Sexual Revolution?
- Dove Awards Announce Realistic New Categories (Babylon Bee): painfully true
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.
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.