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
- The gun debate has flared up again in the wake of a school shooting.
- Here is an excellent Twitter thread on school shootings by journalist Ari Schulman: “Strategies with a chance of doing anything must, like past efforts to stop hijacking, terrorism, and assassinations, understand mass shootings as a distinct form of self-perpetuating violence, and strategically target them as such.”
- A Gun-Control Measure Conservatives Should Consider (David French, National Review): “Just since 2015, the Charleston church shooter, the Orlando nightclub shooter, the Sutherland Springs church shooter, and the Parkland school shooter each happened after federal authorities missed chances to stop them. For those keeping score, that’s four horrific mass shootings in four years where federal systems failed, at a cost of more than 100 lives. In other words, proper application of existing policies and procedures could have saved lives, but the people in the federal government failed. And they keep failing. So let’s empower different people. Let’s empower the people who have the most to lose, and let’s place accountability on the lowest possible level of government: the local judges who consistently and regularly adjudicate similar claims in the context of family and criminal law.” This article has received notice from places like NPR and Slate and is worth reading whatever you think about the fundamental issues about guns.
- Guns are something I’ve shared links on before. Back in issue 54 I gave a handful of facts which taken together make both sides uncomfortable: FBI homicide data by weapon, violence against gay people is common, guns deter violence against gay people, some gun control laws do seem to reduce gun deaths, civilians with guns sometimes stop mass shootings, and the leading causes of gun deaths are suicide followed by homicide with police shootings and accidental shootings coming in way behind (shockingly far behind if you extrapolate from what you see on the news). Also, I found clips of two comedians taking opposite views. Both are vulgar, hilarious, and informative – Bill Burr buys a shotgun and Jim Jeffries on why Americans are nuts.
- Lying to Investigators Shouldn’t Be a Crime (Stephen Carter, Bloomberg View): “Prosecutors want to catch you in a lie because, when they can’t prove an underlying crime, it’s often easy to prove that you lied to them. That’s where the problem arises. I’ve been telling my astonished law students for decades that except in certain well-defined circumstances, lying to investigators shouldn’t be a crime.” Carter is a law professor at Yale. I strongly endorse this view.
- Let’s Fix Peer Review (Ray Truant, personal blog): “When we apply for a grant or want to publish our science, we secretly get the work reviewed by our peers, some of which are competing with us for precious funding, or a bizarre version of fame. Under the veil of anonymity, a reviewer can write anything, included false statements, or incorrect statements to justify a decision. The decision is most often, ‘do not fund’ or ‘reject’, even if the review is based off of inaccuracies, lack of expertise, or even blatant slander. There are no rules, there are no repercussions.” Truant is a biochemist at McMaster University in Canada.
- Jane Stanford’s Speech (Jane Stanford, stanford.edu): A student had to read this for a class a while back, and was struck by how selectively it is quoted by the university. The original document is thoroughly religious. “An impression has gone forth that we were indifferent to religious influences and instructions being taught here. I am quite sure that if all could be made to understand that this project was born from a great sorrow, the greatest that parents can endure, that the Creator has led us through the deep waters out into the sunshine of faith and and belief in a future life; that we have wholly and entirely as far as possible given our lives to Him; and only ask that He will guide us to do His will; that every stone that has been laid into the buildings of this University but numbers the prayers that have been offered up to our Heavenly Father for strength, guidance, and help. That we should forget His love and mercy and be indifferent as to the Christian influence to be used among the students, it would be an impossibility.”
- [Harvard] Places HCFA On ‘Probation’ After Group Barred Student in Same-Sex Relationship from Leadership (Caroline Engelmayer & Michael Xie, Harvard Crimson): “The Office of Student Life has placed religious group Harvard College Faith and Action on ‘administrative probation’ for a year after the organization pressured a female member of its student leadership to resign in September following her decision to date a woman.… College administrators told them HCFA is the first-ever campus group to be placed on administrative probation.”
- Meanwhile on the Farm, Lonely Men and Women of Faith: The Experience of Religious Students at Stanford (Ben Simon, Stanford Review): “It may be unreasonable to expect a secular institution like Stanford to fully accommodate each student’s religious needs. With that said, Stanford goes far beyond the letter of the law when it comes to ethnic or racial diversity, but it does little to go out of its way to help religious students.”
- As more journalists report on Iceland’s circumcision saga, the country gets a rabbi (Julia Duin, GetReligion): “As Robert George of Princeton University – former chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom – noted in a series of tweets recently, a country banning circumcision effectively bans Jews from living there. Ditto for Muslims…. [However] Gunnarsdóttir told the newspaper she ‘didn’t think it was necessary to consult’ with the island’s small Jewish and Muslim population before proposing the anti-circumcision bill, adding ‘I didn’t see it as a religious matter.’” That last detail is telling. Religious illiteracy causes real harms.
- Read My Lips: No New Administrators (Berber Jin, Stanford Review): “Though administrative offices are obviously necessary for the university’s operation, their self-serving incentives should make us wary of their expansion. Unlike faculty, who gain prestige through quality teaching and innovative research, administrators move up the career ladder by expanding bureaucracy.” The Review has been on fire lately.
Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen
- Man Only Serving In Church Sound Booth To Avoid Greeting Time (Babylon Bee): with the Bee the headline is usually sufficient. With this one, the full text is worth a read.
- Dilbert Listens to a Millenial — unfair, but funny
Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago
Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have a debate between two pastors on guns I shared back in volume 48 – both are very thoughtful and are skillful debaters. Here is the conversation so far. All the posts are pretty short.
- Q Denver (Doug Wilson)
- The Bible On Self-Defense: A Response To Doug Wilson (Preston Sprinkle)
- The Apostle Peter and Open Carry (Doug)
- The Only Way To Stop A Bad Guy With A Gun Is A Good Guy With A Gun(Preston)
- Who You Gonna Call? (Doug)
- The Only Way To Stop A Bad Guy With A Statistic Is a Good Guy With A Statistic (Preston)
- Ring Up The Devil? (Doug)
- The Killer At The Door (Preston)
- Guns and Covenants (Doug)
- Nonviolence: In Brief (Preston)
- Your 2am NPR Voice (Doug)
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.