Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 19

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.

To that end, on Fridays I’ve been sharing articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural and societal issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). May these give you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar. Past emails are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links

Without further ado, I give you the interesting things:

  1. There was a shooting at a college in Oregon yesterday. There’s a religious angle to this story, but the details are still not clear.
  2. For completely different news, read Googling For God (NY Times, Seth Stephens‐Davidowitz): file under “interesting but not that surprising” (although I am surprised at the relative positions of questions 1 and 2  — I assumed they were swapped)
  3. Pope Francis and the Not‐Quite‐Secular West (NY Times, Ross Douthat): Secularism’s grip on America is weaker than it appears.
  4. Stop The Robot Apocalypse (Amia Srinivasan, London Review of Books): the title is misleading — this is an insightful critique of the effective altruism movement from the left.
  5. Huh. The Correlations Between Arts and Crafts and a Nobel Prize (Rosie Cima, Priceonomics).

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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 13

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.

To that end, on Fridays I’ve been sharing articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural and societal issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). May these give you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar. Past emails are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links

  1. From the provocative‐but‐not‐fully‐explained department: Marissa Johnson, Part of a New, Disruptive Generation of Activists (Nina Shapiro, Seattle Times): turns out that Marissa Johnson (the Black Lives Matter activist famous for disrupting a Bernie Sanders speech) attends an evangelical church and studied theology in college. Fascinating profile, although it leaves me with many questions.
  2. From the friends‐in‐high‐places department: The Late, Great Stephen Colbert (Joel Lovell, GQ): Colbert has deep faith, and it really comes out in this interview. It’s long, so if you just want the faith bit search for the phrase “He lifted his arms as if to take in the office” and start reading there.
  3. From the spiritual insight department:
    • Faithfulness in College Is “Life‐Wide” (Stephen Lutz, Gospel Coalition): what good does it profit a person to get a 4.0 and lose their soul? This one comes recommended by an alumnus.
    • Keep Your Enthusiasm In Check (George Wood, personal blog): very short but helpful. The author is the leader of the Assemblies of God, the group which sponsors Chi Alpha (and which I am ordained by).
  4. From the people‐of‐this‐world‐are‐shrewd department: Effective Altruism: Where Charity and Rationality Meet (Tyler Cowen, NY Times): there is nothing overtly Christian about this piece, but the subject should be of great interest to Christians. We are called to give to spread the gospel and help the poor — and the Church can do better at both.
  5. From the politics‐and‐the‐pulpit department: Ten Things To Remember As the Presidential Campaign Season Gets Into Full Swing (Kevin DeYoung, personal blog): DeYoung is a well‐known pastor and author. Points 6, 7, and 8 are especially good.
  6. From the unexpected bedfellows department: Scalia Gets It Pretty Much Right (Stanley Fish, Huffington Post): I share this mostly because famed postmodern (or anti‐foundationalist) theorist Stanley Fish is one of the most unlikely defenders of the famed originalist Justice Scalia I can imagine. The world is an odd place. Be sure to read the follow‐up Respond To The Column That Was Actually Written.

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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 3

In the time of King David, the Bible says that 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.

To that end, I share articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural and societal issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). May these give you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.

  1. From the everyone’s a critic department: The Media Loves The Gates Foundation — These Experts Are More Skeptical (JuliaBelluz, Vox). This piece never mentions God, but I found it theologically fascinating for three reasons:
    1. This article reminds me that no matter how much good you do there will always be critics. Jesus was perfect and the world nailed him to a cross.
    2. This article reminds me that it is far easier to criticize than to accomplish. The article left me far more impressed with the Gates than with their critics. And I reflected upon the fact that the critics are unwittingly storing up judgment for themselves in heaven where they will be measured by the same standards they apply to Bill and Melinda Gates (Romans 2).
    3. But Bill and Melinda do not get off scot‐free. This article also reminds me of Isaiah 64:6 — our righteous deeds are like filthy rags before the Lord. These criticisms (at least those which are well‐founded) are mere hints of the limitations God sees in the righteous deeds of Bill and Melinda Gates. All of us need Jesus — even our most moral friends.
  2. From the responding to criticisms department: On Conservative Religious Activism, The Numbers Speak For Themselves (originally Washington Post, but better‐formatted at RNS)  People sometimes claim that Christians spend too much of their time and money fighting political battles rather serving the poor. This op‐ed provides numbers to rebut the claim. A related article by a non‐Christian journalist explains why many people believe the charge despite the data:  Verily I Say Unto You: Christians Care About the Poor (Megan McArdle, Bloomberg  View).
  3. From the self‐deception department: If You Use Facebook to Get Your News, Please — For the Love of Democracy — Read This First (Caitlyn Dewey, Washington Post): Nancy sent me this interesting article about how Facebook’s filtering algorithms subtly reinforce our biases. In related news, Ezra Klein at Vox explains Why The Most Informed Voters Are Often The Most Badly Misled.
  4. From the laughter is good department: Dilbert meets an Internet star. The last panel kills me. Yesterday’s strip about brainstorming was insightfully funny as well.

Suggestions for a better title/frequency/best day to send the email on/articles to consider/etc are welcome. My current plan is to send out an email with 3–5 topics every Friday.

Disclaimer

Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and 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 will 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.