On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom. I welcome your suggestions. If you read something fascinating please pass it my way.
Things Glen Found Interesting
- ‘You Can’t Give In’: Monty Williams On Life After Tragedy (Chris Ballard, Sports Illustrated): “He puts on a good face, but talking about what happened, as he does over the course of the next three days, often pausing for minutes at a time, remains difficult. ‘I just couldn’t understand it,’ he says. ‘And never will. But my faith in God never wavered. Just, sometimes your faith and your feelings don’t line up.’” This is the pick of the week. Very powerful.
- When Character No Longer Counts (Alan Jacobs, National Affairs): “What is required of serious religious believers in a pluralistic society is the ability to code-switch: never to forget or neglect their own native religious tongue, but also never to forget that they live in a society of people for whom that language is gibberish. To speak only in the language of pragmatism is to bring nothing distinctive to the table; to speak only a private language of revelation and self-proclaimed authority is to leave the table altogether. For their own good, but also for the common good, religious believers need to be always bilingually present.” Including for the summary paragraph. That’s gold.
- Counting The Cost: DR Congo Demonstrates Difficulty of Measuring Martyrdom (Sarah Zylstra, Christianity Today): “Why do calculations of Christians killed for their faith worldwide each year range from 1,000 to 100,000? The reason largely comes down to one country: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).” Many surprising pieces of information. Worthwhile.
- Book Review: Seeing Like A State (Scott Alexander, Slate Star Codex): “Peasants didn’t like permanent surnames. Their own system was quite reasonable for them: John the baker was John Baker, John the blacksmith was John Smith, John who lived under the hill was John Underhill, John who was really short was John Short. The same person might be John Smith and John Underhill in different contexts, where his status as a blacksmith or place of origin was more important. But the government insisted on giving everyone a single permanent name, unique for the village, and tracking who was in the same family as whom. Resistance was intense.” This is long and amazing.
- China’s Success Explains Authoritarianism’s Allure (Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg View): “…if there is a powerful system on the world stage, many of us will be drawn to it and seek to emulate it, without always being conscious of the reasons for those attractions. This process is actually not so different from how neoliberalism attracted greater support during the 1990s, when it was perceived as the major victor on the world stage.”
Things Glen Found Amusing
- Writing Worship Music With AI — Recurrent Neural Networks (John Dyer, personal blog): both interesting and amusing. On a more serious note, The Queen Of Repetition by Doug Wilson has some good insights about worship music.
- Captain America Uses Snapchat (Texts From Superheroes).
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 http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links.