Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 51

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

  1. Why America Spends So Much On The Military (reddit): this was a surprisingly educational read. It was written in response to the claim that “next year’s proposed military budget could buy every homeless person a $1 million home.”
  2. Chewbacca Laughter Brings Unexpected Platform (Dan Van Veen, PE News): “On Wednesday night before making the video, she felt that the Holy Spirit had directed her to a specific restaurant for supper just prior to church. There, God had a ‘divine opportunity’ waiting.”
  3. Making Sense of the Numbers of Genesis [pdf link] (Carol Hill, Perspectives on Science and the Christian Faith): “Joseph and Joshua were each recorded as dying at age 110—a number considered ‘perfect’ by the Egyptians. In ancient Egyptian doctrine, the phrase ‘he died aged 110’ was actually an epitaph commemorating a life that had been lived selflessly and had resulted in outstanding social and moral benefit for others. And so for both Joseph and Joshua, who came out of the Egyptian culture, quoting this age was actually a tribute to their character. But, to be described as ‘dying at age 110’ bore no necessary relationship to the actual time of an individual’s life span.” You will not agree with everything in this article, but it is full of fascinating insights.
  4. Unsafe Cars Can Save Lives (Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution): “Safety is relative so cars judged unsafe by global standards could save lives in India. The bigger lesson is that it’s always dangerous to impose global standards without taking into account the differing circumstances of time and place.”
  5. The Big Uneasy (Nathan Heller, The New Yorker): “A [university] president’s job is to push past contradictions, while an activist’s duty is to call them out. The institutions that give many people a language and a forum to denounce injustice are, inevitably, the nearest targets of their criticism.” Bonus points for quoting Tocqueville. 
  6. The Transgender Bathroom Debate and the Looming Title IX Crisis (Jeannie Suk, New Yorker): “Whether or not the federal government acted unlawfully, it has now set in motion a potential Title IX collision course between its directives on sexual violence and on bathrooms…. The discomfort that some people, some sexual-assault survivors, in particular, feel at the idea of being in rest rooms with people with male sex organs, whatever their gender, is not easy to brush aside as bigotry.“ The author is a professor at Harvard Law School.
  7. Claims by transgender schoolteacher (who wants to be called ‘they’) yield $60,000 settlement, agreement to create disciplinary rules regulating ‘pronoun usage (Eugene Volokh, Volokh Conspiracy): the second half is what captured my attention. “When the government is acting as sovereign, telling us what we must or must not say on pain of coercively imposed legal liability, the First Amendment is at full force. That force, I think, should preclude government commands that we start using new words — or radical grammatical modifications of old, familiar words — that convey government-favored messages about gender identity or anything else.”
  8. Peter Thiel’s funding of Hulk Hogan-Gawker litigation should not raise concerns (Eugene Kontorovich, Volokh Conspiracy):  “if the lawsuit is not frivolous, it is hard to see how the motivations of funders are relevant (or discernible). One would not say a civil rights organization could not accept donations from philanthropists angered by a personal experience with discrimination.” Also see Tyler Cowen’s take.
  9. Amusing: Other Promises of God (xkcd)

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.

If you want to view the archives they are at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links.

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