Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 67

1 Chronicles 12:32 - they "understood the times"
1 Chronicles 12:32 — they “understood the times”

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

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Icebreakers Are Terrible. They Also, Unfortunately, Work Really Well (Cari Romm, NY Magazine): “Is there any value to making a roomful of people miserable with false cheer? Psychologist Anton Villado is adamant that the answer is yes, and that icebreakers don’t have to be pleasant to be effective.” Relevant for the start of the school year.
  2. Religion in US ‘worth more than Google and Apple combined’ (Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian): “the sums spent by religious organisations on social programmes have tripled in the past 15 years, to $9bn. Twenty of the top 50 charities in the US are faith-based, with a combined operating revenue of $45.3bn.” There’s some excellent commentary on this at Crux.
  3. The First Country to Officially Defend Christians Persecuted by ISIS (World Watch Monitor at Christianity Today): It’s Hungary. Hungary’s Minister for Human Resources said, “Today, Christianity has become the most persecuted religion, where out of five people killed [for] religious reasons, four of them are Christians.… In 81 countries around the world, Christians are persecuted, and 200 million Christians live in areas where they are discriminated against.”
  4. Why Not a College Degree in Sports? (Roger Pielke Jr., NY Times): “Beyond our cultural biases, what really is the difference between a Shakespeare play, an orchestra concert and a basketball game? Each performance requires some high-level combination of physical ability and mental acuity, developed through years of training and study, and for which only a select few reach elite levels.” There is a similar article back in issue 44.
  5. Time For A Realignment (NY Times, David Brooks): “There’s a good chance many of you will be switching political parties over the next 15 years.” This is true both for the reasons Brooks mentions and also because some of you will change your minds.
  6. The world will only get weirder (Steven Coast, personal blog): “We fixed all the main reasons aircraft crash a long time ago. Sometimes a long, long time ago. So, we are left with the less and less probable events.” The piece is a few years old so the examples are dated, but it remains very intriguing.

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.

Archives at

Leave a Reply