Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 87

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. I welcome your suggestions. If you read something fascinating please pass it my way.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. I Helped Create the Milo Trolling Playbook. You Should Stop Playing Right Into It (Ryan Holliday, The Observer): “It was a masterful bit of trolling that admittedly felt a lot more meaningful and exciting when I was younger than it does to me today: We encouraged protests at colleges by sending outraged emails to various activist groups and clubs on campuses where the movie was being screened. We sent fake tips to Gawker, which dutifully ate them up.” Fascinating. Highly recommended.
  2. Meet the Pastor Who Challenged Africa’s Oldest Dictator with Surprising Success (Ann Thompson, Christianity Today): “Last summer, Mawarire led national protests against the government, including calling for everyone to stay home from work for a day; hundreds of thousands did. Mawarire was arrested in July and charged with inciting public violence. After thousands rallied to support him and a court tossed the charges, Mawarire and his family fled to America. The pastor returned to Zimbabwe alone last week.”
  3. Remind me what was so great about trade? (Tim Harford, Financial Times): “…there are two ways to make cheese in the UK: the obvious way, using cows, and the indirect way, by making cars and then trading the cars in exchange for cheese. The British cheese industry is, in a very real sense, directly competing with the British car industry. Protect one with a tariff, and you hurt the other.”
  4. The Preacher and the Sheriff (Nathaniel Rich, NY Times): “The police said that Victor White III, while detained in the back seat of a locked police car, his hands shackled behind his back, had committed suicide by shooting himself in the back with a handgun that an officer had not found during an earlier search.”
  5. Not ‘Lone Wolves’ After All: How ISIS Guides World’s Terror Plots From Afar (Rukmini Callimachi, NY Times): “Investigation documents from Europe show that a growing share of attacks bear signs of contact with the Islamic State’s stronghold, even though the attacker was initially described as acting alone.”
  6. The Comforts of the Betsy DeVos War (Ross Douthat, NY Times): “It’s not that liberals aren’t genuinely worried about everything that makes Trumpism potentially abnormal and un-republican and authoritarian. But a more normal threat to a deep-pocketed interest group’s preferences still turned out to be a more natural rallying point than the specter of creeping Putinism.”

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 69

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. How To Pray A Psalm (Justin Taylor, Gospel Coalition): prayer life need a boost? Give this a try. 
  2. A College Is A Community But It Cannot Be A Home (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic): forget college. This whole world is not your home – 1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 13:14.
  3. Is Plagiarism A Sin? (Gervase Markham, personal blog): this is well-argued and raises issues I had not considered before.
  4. Split Over Donald Trump and Cut Off by Culture Wars, Evangelicals Despair (Laurie Goodstein, NY Times): an unusually perceptive piece from the often oblivious-to-religion New York Times.
  5. Science Denialism: Pot. Kettle. Black. (David Heddle, personal blog): a nuclear physicist gives an stimulating summary of cosmological fine-tuning and how both theists and skeptics often misunderstand it.
  6. Economic Freedom and Religion: An Empirical Investigation (SSRN): “Our cross-sectional dataset includes 137 countries averaged over the period 2001-2010. Simple correlations show that Protestantism is associated with economic freedom, Islam is not, with Catholicism in between.”
  7. Can Islam and Liberalism Coexist? (Isaac Chotiner, Slate): an absolutely fascinating interview with Shadi Hamid. “During the course of our conversation… we discussed why liberals have trouble taking religion seriously, the future of Islamist politics in Turkey and Egypt, and what the rise of Donald Trump has meant for American Muslims.”

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 52

On Fridays I share articles/resources about cultural, societal and theological issues, with a preference for content from academics and influential voices. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

  1. Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life (Nicole Cliffe, Christianity Today): “I emailed a friend who is a Christian, and I asked if we could talk about Jesus. I instantly regretted sending that email and if humanly possible would have clawed it back through the Internet.”
  2. The Sun Is Always Shining In Modern Christian Pop (Leah Libresco, FiveThirtyEight): interesting, although the author is comparing contemporary performance songs to older worship songs, and I suspect the genre difference accounts for some of her findings. Doing some research on the author I discovered that she wrote a fascinating article at First Things called Statting While Catholic – you should read it if you’re a social scientist.
  3. Why Americans Don’t Trust Government (Larry Summers, Washington Post): “I’m a progressive, but it seems plausible to wonder if government can build a nation abroad, fight social decay, run schools, mandate the design of cars, run health insurance exchanges, or set proper sexual harassment policies on college campuses, if it can’t even fix a 232-foot bridge competently.“ Summers is, of course, the former president of Harvard.
  4. Could a neuroscientist understand a microprocessor? (Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution): “Could the tools of neuroscience be used to understand the much simpler Atari brain? The answer is mostly no. The authors, for example, looked at three ‘behaviors’, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and Pitfall (!) and they are able to find transistors which uniquely crash one of the games but not the others. ‘We might thus conclude they are uniquely responsible for the game – perhaps there is a Donkey Kong transistor or a Space Invaders transistor.’ Of course, this conclusion would be very misleading but what are we then to make of similar brain lesion studies?”
  5. Study: Same-sex experiences are on the rise, and Americans are increasingly chill about it (Rachel Feltman, Washington Post): nothing to see here, folks. Everything is 100% genetic. There are no moral choices involved at any point on the journey. Move along, please.
  6. The Return of Bernard Lewis (Martin Kramer, Mosaic): “Forty years ago, nobody foresaw the rise of radical Islam—except for the preeminent historian who both predicted and explained it, and much else besides.”
  7. Under Attack (editorial, The Economist): “…when progressive thinkers agree that offensive words should be censored, it helps authoritarian regimes to justify their own much harsher restrictions…“
  8. Like A Prayer: Is Social Justice The New Campus Religion? (Ana Marie Cox, MTV News): Cox came out as a Christian (her words) last year. She has a much more enthusiastic take on campus activism than many of the articles I share (such as the ones above and below).
  9. The amazing 1969 prophecy that racial preferences would cause the exact grievances of protesters today (Jonathan Haidt, Heterodox Academy): the disclaimers at the bottom apply to this one most of all. I at first wondered if it was based upon a hoax, but it seems legitimate. If you have a strong negative reaction to this piece, you’re welcome. Thinking through why will help you be more persuasive.
  10. 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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 43

On Fridays I share articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

  1. Middle Knowledge and the Calvinist-Arminian Debate (Craig Blomberg, personal blog): This is what I was talking about in my sermon this week. Also see the YouTube video where Dr. William Lane Craig explains it to a Sunday School class.
  2. What Apple’s Encryption Fight Has To Do With Religious Freedom (Chelsea Langston, Christianity Today): “[Apple’s] example reminds us of the broad importance of protecting organizations—both secular and religious, for-profit and non-profit—from compulsion to act against their most foundational values.”
  3. How To Hack An Election (Jordan Robertson, Michael Riley, and Andrew Willis, Bloomberg Businessweek): this is a fascinating and unsettling article. ‘On the question of whether the U.S. presidential campaign is being tampered with, he is unequivocal. “I’m 100 percent sure it is,” he says.’
  4. Is Islam a Religion of Peace? A Former Muslim Weighs In. (Dargan Thompson, Relevant Magazine): “What I’m saying is the foundations of Islam—I’m talking about the Quran and the life of Muhammed—are very violent. Islam can be formulated in non-violent ways, but to do so, you have to depart from its foundations, as many Muslims do.”
  5. Religion is the Foundation of Democracy and Prosperity (Clayton Christensen, Mormon Perspectives): the author, a Harvard professor, talks about a conversation he had with a friend, “I learned the importance of religion for the strength of democracy and capitalism in a conversation 12 years ago with a Marxist economist from China who was nearing the end of a Fulbright Fellowship in Boston. I asked my friend if he had learned here anything that was surprising or unexpected. His response was immediate and, to me, quite profound: ‘I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy and capitalism.'”
  6. Personal Love and the Call to Chastity (Samantha Schroeder, The Public Discourse): there is a lot I like and a lot I don’t like about this article.
  7. Here’s Every Biblical Reference in ‘Hamilton’ (Alissa Wilkinson, Christianity Today): of interest to the Hamilton fanatics who seem to abound in Chi Alpha.

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.

Past emails are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links (you can also have your non-Stanford friends sign up to receive them at that site)

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 28

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. Paying, Praying It Forward (Houston Chronicle, Maggie Gordon): an inspiring story – also not very long. If you just want a boost as finals draw near, read this one and skip down to the quick links.
  2. San Bernadino Victim Was Upfront About Politics and Religion — With Farook Too (LA Times, Veronica Rocha): one of the shooting victims had been witnessing to one of the shooters in the days before the carnage. See some reflection on this issue at Another First Amendment Ghost: Did Debate With Evangelical Trigger Farook? (GetReligion, Terry Mattingly).
  3. Why The Pro-Life Movement Opposes Violence (NY Times, Ross Douthat). “Given anti-abortion premises, why is it not obviously reasonable to take up arms against abortion providers? Why isn’t the pro-lifer who shoots an abortionist just like a man or woman who uses deadly force against a would-be child murderer — a vigilante, yes, but also a heroic one?” See also Russell Moore for a more theological approach in Is Pro-Life Rhetoric Deadly?
  4. Related to the stories that inspired the pieces in the two previous bullet points: How Many Mass Shootings Are There, Really? (NY Times, Mark Follman). It turns out that there’s not a commonly accepted way to quantify the data. I found this piece fascinating. Follman is the national affairs editor of Mother Jones.
  5. Who Influences Whom? Reflections on U.S. Government Outreach to Think Tanks (Brookings Institute, Jeremy Shapiro): this is an engaging peek behind the curtains at a world some of you will wind up entering.
  6. Why The Public Can’t Read The Press (The Atlantic, John Heltman): this piece is a bit long for my taste, but the subject is important. There’s a lot of good journalism you will never be given the chance to see.
  7. Quick Links:

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.

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. 

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 27

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

To be frank, most of what I found interesting this week was turkey. The pickings are little slimmer than other weeks:

  1. The Christian Century No One Predicted (Justin Taylor, personal blog): “it was also a reversal in that Christianity moved from being centered in Christian nations to being centered in non-Christian nations. Christendom, that remarkable condition of churches supporting states and states supporting Christianity, died. The idea of Christian privilege in society was all but killed. And yet the religion seemed stronger than ever at the end of the twentieth century.”
  2. Ross Douthat on The Joy of ISIS (NY Times): “But if the West’s official alternative to ISIS is the full Belgium (basically good food + bureaucracy + euthanasia), if Western society seems like it’s closed most of the paths that human beings have traditionally followed to find transcendence, if Western culture loses the ability to even imagine the joy that comes with full commitment, and not just the remissive joy of sloughing commitments off — well, then we’re going to be supplying at least some recruits to groups like ISIS for a very long to come.”
  3. Why Tolerate Religion? (First Things, Rafael Domingo):  “The right to religion is different from freedom of conscience. Conscience is a sort of protective shell around people’s privacy: it safeguards them from abusive intrusions by the law. Conscience marks a private limit of the legal system, not a public one…. The right to religion demands toleration; freedom of conscience demands accommodation.”
  4. Fear and Voting on the Christian Right (CNN, Thomas Lake). “They called her a bigot, a homophobe, even a racist, which was strange, because the two gay men were white and so was Betty Odgaard. The angry people on the Internet told Betty she would die soon, that her death would be good for America, and then she would probably go to hell. Betty had other ideas about her final destination, but she agreed it was time to go.”
  5. There’s an Awful Cost To Getting a Ph.D. That No One Talks About (Quartz). Also of interest to Christians considering a doctoral program, The Illusion of Respectability (Christianity Today, Allen Guelzo).
  6. Chicago School of Free Speech (Wall Street Journal, L. Gordon Crovitz): one school’s response to the tumult sweeping college campuses. (may be behind a paywall)

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 25

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

There’s a lot of heavy content in this one. Buckle your seatbelt. Without further ado, I give you the interesting things:

  1. Alcohol, Blackouts, and Campus Sexual Assault (Texas Monthly, Sarah Hepola): I think this is the most thoughtful secular piece I’ve read on the issue. “Consent and alcohol make tricky bedfellows. The reason I liked getting drunk was because it altered my consent: it changed what I would say yes to. Not just in the bedroom but in every room and corridor that led into the squinting light. Say yes to adventure, say yes to risk, say yes to karaoke and pool parties and arguments with men, say yes to a life without fear, even though such a life is never possible… We drink because it feels good. We drink because it makes us feel happy, safe, powerful. That it often makes us the opposite is one of alcohol’s dastardly tricks.”
  2. Fatal Flaws In That Religion And Generosity Study (The Stream, George Yancey). Yancey is a sociology prof. Related: Are Religious Kids Really Meaner Than Their Counterparts? by a social psychologist.
  3. Now for a ton of links related to the racial incidents and responses at Yale and Mizzou (which seem different to me but which happened in such close proximity that they are linked in the national dialog).
  4. In global news: On The Brink: Christianity Facing Middle East Purge Within Decade, Group Says (Fox News). Stories like this have led one lawmaker to introduce a bill to Prioritize Refugee Status For Christians Fleeing ISIS (The Hill). See also Islam Is A Religion Of Violence by Joel Miller, wherein he argues that the lack of Trinitarian doctrine corrupts the Muslim conception of God.
  5. Christian Belief Cost This Man His Job: (Wall Street Journal, Jason Riley): apparently the fire chief of Atlanta was fired because of something he said in a book he wrote. Note that this is an op-ed, not a news story.
  6. Hating Queerness Without Hating The Queer (The Atlantic, Emma Green): basically an article-length interaction with Albert Mohler’s book We Cannot Be Silent.
  7. Quick Links: