Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 99

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. Porn Star James Deen’s Crisis of Conscience (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic): “In any case, he now feels there is an ethical dilemma in porn. On one hand, the industry’s success depends on its being accessible to mass audiences online. On the other hand, Deen is convinced that the accessibility of porn is harming young people.” This article is graphic.
  2. This Black Pastor Led A White Church – In 1788 (Thabiti Anyabwale, Christianity Today): “He was licensed to preach on November 29, 1780 and five years later became the first African-American ordained by any religious body in America. In 1804 Middlebury College awarded Haynes an hon­orary Master’s degree—another first for an African-American.”
  3. Trump’s Executive Order On Religious Liberty Is Worse Than Useless (David French, National Review): “the order has three main components: 1) a promise to ‘protect and vigorously promote religious liberty,’ 2) a directive to ‘ease restrictions on political activity by churches and charities,’ and 3) an order to ‘federal agencies to exempt some religious organizations from Affordable Care Act requirements that provide employees with health coverage for contraception.’ Those directives are respectively 1) meaningless, 2) dangerous, and 3) meaningless.” The ACLU agrees, saying in their press release that the order was “an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome.”
  4. It’s Basically Just Immoral To Be Rich (A.Q. Smith, Current Affairs): “We can define something like a ‘maximum moral income’ beyond which it’s obviously inexcusable not to give away all of your money. It might be 50 thousand. Call it 100, though. Per person. With an additional 50 allowed per child. This means two parents with a child can still earn $250,000! That’s so much money. And you can keep it. But everyone who earns anything beyond it is obligated to give the excess away in its entirety.” Recommended by an alumnus. Compare and contrast with 1 Timothy 6:17-19.
  5. How Two Mississippi College Students Fell in Love and Decided to Join a Terrorist Group (Emma Green, The Atlantic): “Theoretically, when the Bureau comes across two kids like Jaelyn and Moe—lost, in love, and grasping toward a dark future—agents could try to set them on another path, reaching out to their families and communities. In reality, though, that’s not what the country has asked them to do.”
  6. The Reactionary Temptation (Andrew Sullivan, NY Mag): “Within the space of 50 years, America has gone from segregation to dizzying multiculturalism; from traditional family structures to widespread divorce, cohabitation, and sexual liberty; from a few respected sources of information to an endless stream of peer-to-peer media; from careers in one company for life to an ever-accelerating need to retrain and regroup; from a patriarchy to (incomplete) gender equality; from homosexuality as a sin to homophobia as a taboo; from Christianity being the common culture to a secularism no society has ever sustained before ours.”
  7. Letter To My Younger Self (Ryan Leaf, The Player’s Tribune): “Congratulations. You officially have it all — money, power and prestige. All the things that are important, right?… That’s you, young Ryan Leaf, at his absolute finest: arrogant, boorish and narcissistic. You think you’re on top of the world and that you’ve got all the answers. Well I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but the truth is….” Such a gripping letter. Highly recommended.

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 79

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. First Dinosaur Tail Found Preserved In Amber (Kristin Romey, National Geographic): this is awesome. And yo, it’s got feathers. Feathers! I’ve heard for years that dinosaurs likely had feathers, but seeing them is super-cool. Quick, someone redo the CGI in Jurassic Park.
  2. Requiem For A Despot (Carlos Eire, First Things): some of you have asked what I thought of Fidel Castro. This sums it up well. He was a cartoonishly wicked man. The author is a professor of history at Yale.
  3. The Necessity Of Credibility (Nathan J. Robinson, Current Affairs): “Currently, people don’t trust the mainstream media. And the first thing the media must do is acknowledge that part of that mistrust is entirely rational and reasonable” (emphasis in original). An insightful critique of the media from the left.
  4. The Media Kowtow (Mark Hemingway, The Weekly Standard): this is an older piece but still very relevant.  “For the last several years, a hugely influential portion of the American media has vacillated between openly admiring the Chinese government and providing a forum for its apologists.” With that in mind, read this – Tsai calls Trump, World Commentariat IQ drops 50 points (Michael Turton, personal blog). The author lives in Taiwan and has a unique perspective. His follow-up is also worth reading.
  5. Seven Reasons You Should Not Indulge In Pornography (Andy Naselli, Themelios): “You should not indulge in pornography for at least seven reasons: (1) It will send you to hell. (2) It does not glorify God with your body. (3) It is a poisonous, fleeting pleasure. (4) It foolishly wastes your life. (5) It betrays your wife and children. (6) It ruins your mind and conscience. (7) It participates in sex slavery.”
  6. Contra Robinson on Schooling (Slate Star Codex): like all Slate Star Codex articles, this is long, thoughtful, and well-researched. The follow-up post is extremely informative.

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 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 62

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, with a preference for content from academics and influential voices. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

A Quote That Grabbed Glen’s Attention

“I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least” – Dorothy Day

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. California Lawmaker Drops Controversial Proposal to Regulate Religious Colleges (Sarah Zylstra, Christianity Today): this was a goofy bill and I’m happily surprised it has been substantially amended. For one influential take on it, see www.sb1146discriminates.org
  2. Every Place Has Detractors. Consider Where They’re Coming From. (Megan McCardle, Bloomerg View): “There is grave danger in judging a neighborhood, or a culture, by the accounts of those who chose to leave it. Those people are least likely to appreciate the good things about where they came from, and the most likely to dwell on its less attractive qualities.” Bear this in mind when listening to conversion testimonies (both secular and religious).
  3. In Defense Of The Gun Emoji (John Brownlee, Fast Co Design): “They’re sending a symbolic message about gun control through emoji. The problem, though, is that messing with the way that people communicate with one another isn’t symbolic. It’s deeply literal.”
  4. What’s Missing From The Conversation About Transgender Kids (Jesse Singal, New York Magazine): this one is an important read – the pro-LGBT author is concerned with the way science is being ignored when trying to help kids who think they were born the wrong gender. I shared a related article by the same author back in volume 50.
  5. It’s O.K., Liberal Parents, You Can Freak Out About Porn (Judith Shulevitz, NY Times): “Left-leaning parents shy away from a cause they identify with right-wing culture warriors, but I challenge any parent to affirm that it’s O.K. for her kids to become digital porn consumers at 11, the average age of a child’s first encounter.”

Something Glen Found Amusing

  • What I Love About The Olympics (Ultra Spiritual Life): this is a video. 3.5 minutes of brutal commentary. “Race walking. Now this is a sport that makes sense. Who can go the fastest at not going their fastest? It’s like who can be the best at mediocrity. So paradoxical. I love it.”

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.

If you have a non-Stanford friend who might be interested in these emails, they can sign up at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/subscribe, and if you want to view the archives they are at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 45

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.

This week there are a few more links than normal. Enjoy!

  1. New Evidence On When The Bible Was Written: Ancient Shopping Lists (Isabel Kershner, New York Times): “One of the longstanding arguments for why the main body of biblical literature was not written down in anything like its present form until after the destruction and exile of 586 B.C. is that before then there was not enough literacy or enough scribes to support such a huge undertaking. But if the literacy rates in the Arad fortress were repeated across the kingdom of Judah, which had about 100,000 people, there would have been hundreds of literate people, the Tel Aviv research team suggests.” – also check out the AP/Guardian on this.
  2. Is Porn Immoral? That Doesn’t Matter: It’s a Public Health Crisis (Gaile Dines, Washington Post): “After 40 years of peer-reviewed research, scholars can say with confidence that porn is an industrial product that shapes how we think about gender, sexuality, relationships, intimacy, sexual violence and gender equality — for the worse…. just as the tobacco industry argued for decades that there was no proof of a connection between smoking and lung cancer, so, too, has the porn industry, with the help of a well-oiled public relations machine, denied the existence of empirical research on the impact of its products.”
  3. Facebook Employees Asked Mark Zuckerberg If They Should Try To Stop A Donald Trump Presidency (Michael Nunez, Gizmodo): “Facebook has toyed with skewing news in the past. During the 2008 presidential election, Facebook secretly tampered with 1.9 million user’s news feeds. An academic paper was published about the secret experiment, claiming that Facebook increased voter turnout by more than 340,000 people. In 2010, the company tampered with news feeds again. It conducted a 61-million-person experiment to see how Facebook could impact the real-world voting behavior of millions of people. In 2012, Facebook deliberately experimented on its users’ emotions.  The company, again, secretly tampered with the news feeds of 700,000 people and concluded that Facebook can basically make you feel whatever it wants you to.
  4. I Was A Closeted Christian At The Pentagon (Matthew Spence, Washington Post): “I feared how coming out as a practicing Christian would define me. I worried that my bosses, peers and subordinates might associate me with American officials who have spoken of U.S. military engagements in the Middle East as ‘crusades’ or with the Islamic State’s declaration of holy war. I feared that talking about my faith would detract from the logic of my arguments. And, as a relatively young person in a senior position, I needed every scrap of credibility I could claim.”
  5. Why Jesus’ Skin Color Matters (Christena Cleveland, Christianity Today):  “While Christ the Lord transcends skin color and racial divisions, white Jesus has real consequences.”
  6. Houston police officer presents a few “double-edged sword” scenarios regarding body cameras (reddit): unintended consequences are always difficult to predict.
  7. Was It Wrong To Hack and Leak the Panama Papers? (Tyler Cowen, blog): surprisingly stimulating.
  8. Onward Christian Soldiers: In the Era of Trump-Style Politics, Evangelical Voters Are Not a Monolith (Julie Lyons, Houston Press): this is a very insightful and data-rich article.
  9. The Tensions Threatening the Future of Religious Freedom Law (Kelsey Dallas, Deseret News): this is a very good summary of the current state of religious freedom legislation.
  10. Christianity and Korea (Dave Hazzan, The Diplomat): “Evangelical zeal to send missionaries to places most others would never go – including Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, and Yemen – have caused headaches for the government. In 2007, after ignoring the government’s advice, 27 Korean missionaries to Afghanistan were kidnapped by the Taliban, and two were killed. In 2009, the Korean foreign ministry warned Korean Christians to stop missionizing in Arab countries, fearing it was making Koreans terrorist targets.”9
  11. Kinda Random

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 2

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). I’m thinking I’ll send these roughly once a week. May these give you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.

  1. From the depressing department: Hot Girls Wanted (Kenneth Morefield, Christianity Today): a sobering review of a Netflix documentary (from Sundance) about the “amateur” porn industry. Read it if you have a hard time explaining why pornography is a bad thing. Prepare to be bummed.

  2. From the faith and politics department: Is Obama Really a Christian? (David French, National Review): this is the most detailed article I have read about President Obama’s faith.

  3. From the higher education department: I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me (Edward Schlosser, Vox): the article is better than you might expect from the clickbait title. It’s a critique of the current practice of identity politics at American universities by someone sympathetic to identity politics.

  4. From the learning to think clearly department: The Land of We All (Richard Mitchell, The Gift of Fire): this essay teases out the implications of this insight: “Thinking can not be done corporately. Nations and committees can’t think. That is not only because they have no brains, but because they have no selves, no centers, no souls, if you like. Millions and millions of persons may hold the same thought, or conviction or suspicion, but each and every person of those millions must hold it all alone.” Warning: the formatting is horrid. It is worth reading anyway. Either use the Readability bookmarklet, an app like Pocket, or just cut and paste it into a text document on your computer.

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.