Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 97

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

  1. The benefits and harms of marijuana, explained by the most thorough research review yet (German Lopez, Vox): “the bottom line is that marijuana does pose some harms — particularly for people at risk of developing mental health disorders, pregnant women, those vulnerable to respiratory problems, and anyone getting into a car. And while some of these harms may be overcome by marijuana’s benefits or curtailed by consuming pot without smoking it, the evidence shows that weed’s reputation as a safe drug is undeserved.”
  2. What do slaveholders think? (Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, Aeon):  “The contemporary traffickers and slaveholders I spoke with are not motivated by a love of injustice. They are instead driven by cultural inertia, a desire for profit or, more frequently, a need for basic sustenance…. The terms used here – slavery and slaveholder – never crossed the lips, nor perhaps even the minds, of the men I spoke with.” The author is a sociologist at the University of San Diego.
  3. The Crisis of Western Civ (David Brooks, NY Times): “These days, the whole idea of Western civ is assumed to be reactionary and oppressive. All I can say is, if you think that was reactionary and oppressive, wait until you get a load of the world that comes after it.”
  4. Charles Murray’s ‘Provocative’ Talk (Wendy M. Williams and Stephen J. Ceci, NY Times): two Cornell professors “transcribed Mr. Murray’s speech and — without indicating who wrote it — sent it to a group of 70 college professors (women and men, of different ranks, at different universities)… the 57 professors who responded to our request gave Mr. Murray’s talk an average score of 5.05, or ‘middle of the road.’” This, of course, is the speech which faced a backlash resulting in a professor needing a neck brace. Fascinating.
  5. This Is About That (Andrew Wilson, Vimeo): this 3.5 minute video starts slow but ends strong. A meditation on the relationship between marriage and the gospel. Recommended.
  6. Intersectionality Is a Political Football; Here’s Why It Doesn’t Have to Be (Chris Martin, Heterodox Academy): “Progressives have adopted an overambitious model of intersectionality in which everyone lies on axes of oppression, and I will explain this model’s three flaws. Conservatives generally believe that intersectionality is useless, but I explain how intersectional scholarship can be useful to researchers, regardless of whether they are liberal, centrist, conservative, libertarian, or eclectic.”
  7. Here’s the Million-Dollar Answer to How Persecuted Christians Persevere (Sarah Zylstra, Christianity Today): “Researchers grouped responses to persecution into three categories: survival, association, and confrontation…. ‘Evangelicals are divided between those who are willing to take up arms and those who view witness and non-retaliation as the responses to which the Bible calls Christians,’ the report stated. They tend to be more skeptical of the interreligious dialogue favored by Catholics and mainline Protestants, and more likely to pursue evangelization.”

Things Glen Found Amusing

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.

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 (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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 94

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

  1. Sorry, but if you’re a Christian, you need to go to church. Regularly. (Paul Prather, Lexington Herald-Leader): “You might see yourself as a terrific baseball pitcher. But if you only throw baseballs in your backyard at a plywood cutout, you won’t progress. You’re not even really playing baseball. To discover the full extent of your abilities, to understand the true game, you need a catcher, a coach, infielders and outfielders — and even someone standing in the batter’s box ready to swat your best fastball right back at you.”
  2. Reviewing Rod Dreher’s “The Benedict Option” (Jake Meador, Mere Orthodoxy): The Benedict Option is a much-discussed book which lays out a strategy for Christians in the modern world – deliberate withdrawal from some aspects of culture, deliberate engagement with others. This is one of the most insightful reviews I’ve read.
  3. Just Who Are These ‘People of Faith’ Anyway? (John Stackhouse, Christianity Today): “The Theravada form of Buddhism, still the dominant version of that religion in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, does not venerate a deity. The Chinese traditions of Confucianism and Daoism do not, either. Many forms of belief in the supernatural do not require faith so much as knowledge of the divine and of the correct practices to align oneself with it in order to best negotiate the world.”
  4. Can Religious Charities Take the Place of the Welfare State? (Emma Green, The Atlantic): “Keister [a professor of sociology at Duke University] has argued that religious engagement is closely associated with financial generosity—in a recent paper, for example, she found that those who attend religious services every week give nearly three times as much as those who don’t.”
  5. Read the above in conjunction with How Utah Keeps The American Dream Alive (Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View): “The vast welfare infrastructure from the Mormon Church naturally makes it easier to have smaller government. Perhaps that could be replicated by other communities. But the values of the Mormon Church may create a public that simply needs less help. That’s harder for another community to imitate. I’m not sure this key ingredient is available in a secular version; I think religion might only come in religion flavor. How the heck is some state government supposed to get people to marry, and stay married?”
  6. In Europe, cohabitation is stable…right? (Brad Wilcox and Laurie DeRose, Brookings): “It is easy to see why some conclude that marriage per se does not matter. But here’s the thing: marriage is itself strongly associated with family stability. U.S. children born to cohabiting parents are twice as likely to see their parents’ relationship end compared to children born to married parents…”
  7. Does it pay to get a double major? (Christos Makridis, Quartz): our very own Christos analyzes whether getting a techie plus a fuzzy major yields a higher salary than getting either alone.
  8. Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware (Jason Koebler, Vice): “It’s quite simple, really. John Deere sold farmers their tractors, but has used software to maintain control of every aspect of its use after the sale.”

    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.

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 (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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 66

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. “Me too” social science is not fighting inequality (Kevin T. Leicht, Work in Progress): an article about how academics can improve society. The author is a sociologist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
  2. U.S. investigating potential covert Russian plan to disrupt November elections (Dana Priest, Ellen Nakashima and Tom Hamburger, Washington Post): “U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating what they see as a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions, intelligence and congressional officials said.” The 2016 elections will make an amazing television series a generation from now. 
  3. The Idle Army: America’s Unworking Men (Nicolas Eberstadt, Wall Street Journal): the author doesn’t say it here, but video games and pornography are huge enablers of this phenomenon. This is one of those trends that everyone will be talking about in 10-15 years.
  4. You are not your brain: Why a head transplant is not what you think it is (Charles Camosy, Religion News Service): this was mind-blowing. Pun intended. With me, the pun is always intended.
  5. How A Cakemaker Became An Enemy Of The State (David Harsyani, The Federalist): “Christians are regularly compared to Southern segregationists and racists, when in reality the comparison is best reversed. Yes, the power of Jim Crow reflected popular will, but it was sanctioned by the state. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission is similarly empowered by the state to use its arbitrary power to destroy the reputations, businesses, and lives of those who happen to offend their sensibilities.” See also the alarming comments of the US Commission on Civil Rights Chairman.
  6. Reverse Voxsplaining: Drugs vs. Chairs (SlateStarCodex, the author is a doctor who writes under pseudonym). This was a stimulating piece about the EpiPen controversy to which Vox had a rejoinder to which the author offered a surrejoinder.  Informative and full of provocative statements such as “prescription drug price regulation would cost one billion life-years, which would very slightly edge out Communist China for the title of Worst Thing Ever.” For an interesting unrelated-yet-related companion piece, see the brief Two “The Rest of the Story” Stories (Alex Tabbarok, Marginal Revolution).
  7. What Does The Bible Say About Transgenderism? (Kevin DeYoung., Gospel Coalition): “We understand that following Christ means dying to ourselves (Matt. 16:24), being renewed in our minds (Rom. 12:2), and no longer walking as we once did (Eph. 4:17-18). Being ‘true to ourselves’ is always a false choice when it means going against God’s Word.”
  8. Porn Is Bad (Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, The Week): “It took decades to recognize smoking for the public health disaster that it is, and to finally get a grip on it societally. Although porn doesn’t cause cancer, there’s good evidence that it does destroy lives and families.”

Things Glen Found Amusing

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.

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 (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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 17

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. Fear (Marilynne Robinson, NY Review Of Books): I don’t often find overtly theological pieces in the New York Review of Books, much ones whose opening lines are, “America is a Christian country. This is true in a number of senses.” She’s gonna get some hate mail.
  2. Some things that made me chuckle:
  3. Why Do Good Universities Tend To Be Good At Everything? (Quora question): Short but insightful.
  4. What Stanford Taught Me About Grace (Seth Villegas, personal blog): Seth is an alumnus of our ministry who is currently doing grad work at Fuller Theological Seminary.
  5. Religion and the Republic (David Forte, Witherspoon Institute): the author (a law professor) explains the importance of religious speech in the public square. This seems like a good place to mention one of my favorite academic papers: The Missionary Roots of Liberal Democracy.
  6. From the I-know-I-shared-this-last-week-but-want-to-share-it-with-the-new-students department: How To Stay Christian On Campus (David Mathis, Desiring God): I expected something very different than what I got. Recommended.

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.