On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues, with a preference for content from academics and influential voices. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.
Articles I Found Interesting
- Britain voted to leave the European Union.
- I was intrigued to learn that Christians were particularly likely to vote to leave, and so I found R. R. Reno’s theological rationale for leaving fascinating (First Things): “…the impulse to opt out of ever‐greater union reflects an intuition, not a rational plan. The intuition is that loyalty, not prosperity, is the foundation of a healthy society. To my mind, it’s a sound intuition.”
- Related: Faith matters as UK votes on whether to remain in EU (Arthur Keefer, Religion News): skim down to the bit that begins “In June 2013”
- Citizens Of the World? Nice Thought, But… (Megan McCardle, Bloomberg): “In many ways, members of the global professional class have started to identify more with each other than they have with the fellow residents of their own countries. Witness the emotional meltdown many American journalists have been having over Brexit.”
- Related To Orlando:
- Omar Mateen’s Multiple Motives (Kirsten Powers, USA Today): “Almost as quickly as the massacre of innocents in Orlando unfolded, Americans retreated to their ideological corners to interpret the motivations of the mass murderer, Omar Mateen.”
- FBI Investigators say they have found no evidence that Orlando shooter had gay lovers (Molly Hennessy‐Fiske, LA Times): huh. This is still a developing story, do not assume this is the final word.
- The Gun Control We Deserve (Patrick Blanchfield, n+1): “As many critics have observed, we would be naïve to think that heavy‐handed gun control measures would not involve the same disproportionate racial targeting and police violence we rightly condemn in the War on Drugs and in everyday encounters in places from Baltimore to Ferguson to Cleveland to Oakland.” A very thoughtful piece.
- Elon Musk Is Wrong. We Aren’t Living In A Simulation (Riccardo Manzotti and Andrew Smart, Vice): “The world we live in is made of real stuff. Simulations are things made of the same stuff. Musk’s argument does not show that we are getting any closer to producing an alternative reality. Rather it shows that we are getting better and better at shaping the physical world.” The authors take unwarranted pot shots at dualism, but make very good points overall. Related: SMBC “Heap Problem.”
- The Sotomayor and Kagan Dissents in Utah vs Strieff (Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution): “If outstanding warrants were few and far between and distributed more or less randomly the case would have been wrongly decided but of little practical importance. Outstanding warrants, however, are common and much more common in some communities than others. As I wrote in 2014, in Ferguson, MO a majority of the population had outstanding warrants and not because of high crime:”
- Ban the Box or Require the Box? (Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution): “Sadly, a policy that was intended to raise the employment prospects of black men ends up having the biggest positive effect on white men with a criminal record…. Policies like ban the box try to get people to do the ‘right thing’ by blinding people to certain types of information. But blinded people tend to use other cues to achieve their interests and when those other cues are less informative that often makes things worse.”
- I’m A Single‐Issue Voter On Multiple Issues And So Are You (Denny Burk, personal blog): “Single‐issue voting is not the idea that being right on any single issue qualifies a candidate for office. Single‐issue voting is the idea that being wrong on a single issue may disqualify a candidate from office.”
- My Holy Land Vacation (Tom Bissell, Harpers): “I excuse myself and stroll outside. I notice that someone else has also walked out early: Pastor Marty. He tells me that he was troubled by the violence of the Israeli Redneck’s speech. I tell Pastor Marty that I don’t fault a man who’s fought in four wars for sounding like a lunatic. What bothers me is the way people were applauding him.” Highly recommended.
A Quote To Ponder
“Stanford students are good at being good at things. Your Christianity can’t just be one more thing you’re good at. To be good misses the point. The point is not what you do but what Jesus has done.” Seth Villegas
Something Amusing To End On
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.