Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 127

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.

Also, next issue is volume 128, an important computer science number. I should do something to make it special. If you have an idea, let me know.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. The Enduring Appeal of Creepy Christianity (David French, National Review): “The Bible doesn’t have a clear, specific prescription for every life challenge. But rather than seeking God prayerfully and with deep humility and reverence, we want answers, now. And thus we gravitate to those people who purport to offer more than the Bible.”
  2. China Tells Christians to Replace Images of Jesus with Communist President (Kate Shellnut, Christianity Today): “‘Many poor households have plunged into poverty because of illness in the family. Some resorted to believing in Jesus to cure their illnesses,’ the head of the government campaign told SCMP. ‘But we tried to tell them that getting ill is a physical thing, and that the people who can really help them are the Communist Party and General Secretary Xi.’”
  3. She led Trump to Christ: The rise of the televangelist who advises the White House (Julia Duin, Washington Post): This is an amazing profile. “White insists that lecturing Trump is not her job. ‘I don’t preach to anyone on behavior modification,’ she says. ‘There are things I can speak, but that’s not anyone’s business what I say. Why would I as a pastor expose that relationship? Everyone needs a safe place in life, and pastors can be people’s safe place. That’s why I have this relationship, because I don’t talk about it.’”
    • Speaking of Trump’s evangelical advisors… What Trump’s Evangelical Advisers Took Out of Egypt (Jayson Casper, Christianity Today): “Rosenberg thanked [Egyptian President] Sisi for rescuing Egypt and its Christians from the Muslim Brotherhood. He commended the president for reaching out to Jews and to Roman Catholics. ‘But there is one group I don’t see: evangelicals,’ he told Sisi. ‘It’s not your fault; probably we haven’t asked. But would you like us to bring a delegation of leaders to come and visit you?’”
  4. A Harvest Of Witnesses (William Mumma, First Things): “The fight for religious liberty is not a sub-category of the electoral contest between Republicans and Democrats. It is a struggle over whether the state has the authority to banish the greatest rival to temporal power that exists. It is the age-old contest between the King and the Church, between Caesar and the Truth. It is a contest over who gets to decide: ‘What is truth?’” The piece is a little partisan, but makes an important point.
  5. The Politicization of Motherhood (James Taranto, Wall Street Journal): “The premise of Ms. Komisar’s book—backed by research in psychology, neuroscience and epigenetics—is that ‘mothers are biologically necessary for babies,’ and not only for the obvious reasons of pregnancy and birth. ‘Babies are much more neurologically fragile than we’ve ever understood,’ Ms. Komisar says.”
  6. Stanford Students Pretend to Support Free Speech, Stumble at Final Hurdle (Stanford Review, Sam Wolfe): “…at 8:40 p.m., 20 minutes after he began his talk, over 150 members of the crowd ostensibly gathered to hear him speak promptly stood up and left, while Arabic music blared from Bluetooth speakers concealed around the hall. The students, planted by SAI, had arrived at the event early to clog up the venue. As a result, dozens of students, many of whom were presumably interested in starting a genuine dialogue with Spencer about his views and rebuffing him, were turned away. I myself arrived at about 7:20 for an event scheduled to begin an hour later, and was one of the last people admitted… imagine if they had, instead of occupying the seats and subsequently vacating them, simply blocked others from entering, and left the seats unfilled that way. The result would have been the same, the intention largely the same, and their actions rightly condemned. This was better than violence, yes, better than shouting Spencer down. But the protest was a deliberate attempt to block students from engaging with Spencer in any capacity.”
  7. Police: ‘Every 16-year-old girl in Fresno’ has been targeted by sex trade recruiters (Rory Appleton, Fresno Bee): the entire story is horrifying. This segment caught my eye: “It is rare for boys to be trafficked, Chastain said, but it does happen. It is even more difficult for detectives to discover these victims because it is almost always done in total secrecy, as even criminal gangs believe trafficking boys goes too far.” The instinct to consider yourself an okay person because at least you don’t do _______ is present even in very wicked people.
  8. Solar eclipse of 1207 BC helps to date pharaohs (Colin Humphreys and Graeme Waddington, Astronomy and Geophysics): “However, a plausible alternative meaning [to the sun and moon standing still in Joshua 10] is that the Sun and Moon stopped doing what they normally do: they stopped shining.” File under speculative – I am not convinced. If true, however, this would be evidence for the later date of the Exodus (13th century vs 15th century). The authors have been using astronomy to study the Bible for some time (see, for example, The Date of the Crucifixion written back in 1985).

Things Glen Found Amusing

Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago

Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we’re going back to an article first shared in volume 95, the long and amazing Book Review: Seeing Like A State (Scott Alexander, Slate Star Codex): “Peasants didn’t like permanent surnames. Their own system was quite reasonable for them: John the baker was John Baker, John the blacksmith was John Smith, John who lived under the hill was John Underhill, John who was really short was John Short. The same person might be John Smith and John Underhill in different contexts, where his status as a blacksmith or place of origin was more important. But the government insisted on giving everyone a single permanent name, unique for the village, and tracking who was in the same family as whom. Resistance was intense.”

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 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 80

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. Rage and Heartbreak: Required Reactions to Aleppo (Richard Stearns, ERLC): “Let your heart be broken for the suffering in the Middle East and around the world. Pray it stays broken as long as any mother anywhere pleads for help and any child fears this night will be her last.” For some context, read 9 Things You Should Know About Aleppo and the Syrian Crisis (Joe Carter, Gospel Coalition). And this is an interesting Muslim take on Aleppo (Omed Safi, Washington Post).
  2. The Crisis of Christians in Egypt (Gabriel Reynolds, First Things):  “It is telling, for example, that almost no such attacks have taken place in majority Shi’ite Iran against the Christian minority there. What, then, distinguishes Egypt and Pakistan from Iran?”
  3. My President Was Black (Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic): this is a long, beautifully-written piece. The Atlantic is publishing response pieces. The first one is intense: “My president was black and I still am.”
  4. Why Hillary Clinton Bombed With White Evangelical Voters (Ruth Graham, Slate): “It was as if she was trying to alienate evangelicals… and it worked.” This article nails a big part of the dynamic.
  5. With Jesus’ Birth, Why Does The Bible List Two Different Family Trees? (Richard Ostling, Patheos): “The general consensus on the differences is that Matthew depicted Jesus’ legal descent from David, on the assumption Joseph adopted him. If Mary had no brothers, by common custom Joseph would have been his father-in-law’s legal ‘son’ and heir through the marriage. Luke defined Jesus through Mary as a blood descendant of David.” (for some other possible explanations, see Mark Strauss at Zondervan Academic)
  6. The Defense of Liberty Can’t Do Without Identity Politics (Jacob Levy, Niskanen Center): “Identity politics… is about fighting for political justice by drawing on the commitment that arises out of targeted injustice…. It lets us spot the majority group’s identity politics rather than treating it as the normal background state of affairs, and to recognize the oppression and injustice that it generates.” The author is a professor of political science at McGill.
  7. The Right Shuts Down Free Speech, Too (Catherine Rampbell, Washington Post): it’s almost as though human nature is the same regardless of what one thinks about the tax code. 
  8. On the academic/research side of things:

Things Glen Found Amusing

  • Indulgences  (Pearls Before Swine): theological warning – this form of recursion does not actually work 
  • Local Man Relieved After Spiritual Gift Test Comes Back Negative For Giving (Babylon Bee): “According to sources, Shepherd ripped open his results packet Thursday, and after nervously perusing the cover letter, jumped for joy upon discovering he had no desire or responsibility to be generous whatsoever.”
  • Band Offers Administration $60,000 To Drop Accusations (The Flipside): brutal and well-deserved (if you don’t get the joke, check out two recent editions of the Fountain Hopper (dirty language ahead): about the $60,000 and about the band. In case you’re wondering, I do think the band is being treated unfairly (and I have not been a huge fan of the band’s culture historically). 
  • How To Get Vindication (Basic Instructions): if you are squeamish, this one may not be for you. I found it hilarious. There is a video in the notes below the comic and I recommend it – if you are not squeamish.

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 76

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. Some thoughts about slavery and the Bible – Does The Bible Support Slavery? (a lecture given by the warden of Tyndale House at Cambridge University, the link is to the video with notes) and Does God Condone Slavery In The Bible? (Part One – Old Testament) and also Part Two – New Testament (longer pieces from Glenn Miller at Christian Thinktank). All three are quite helpful.
  2. Structural Racism (John Piper, Desiring God): “if your mind is Bible-saturated, you would consider it absolutely astonishing if structural racism were not pervasive wherever sin is pervasive. In other words, Bible-shaped people should expect to see structural racism almost everywhere in a fallen world.”
  3. How Methodists Invented Your Kid’s Grape Juice Sugar High (Luke Harrington, Christianity Today): why many churches use grape juice for communion.
  4. More post-election thoughts:
    1. Why Can’t I Mourn? (Kyle James Howard, personal blog): “For many, it appears that it is unacceptable for me to grieve racism and abortion equally. That for many, a Christian only has the capacity to grieve one or the other but not both.”
    2. No, the Majority of American Evangelicals Did Not Vote for Trump (Joe Carter, Gospel Coalition): you may recall that I suggested something similar in last week’s email – here’s a wide-ranging explanation. There is no doubt more to be said on this.
    3. You Are Still Crying Wolf (Scott Alexander, SlateStarCodex): “I realize that all of this is going to make me sound like a crazy person and put me completely at odds with every respectable thinker in the media, but luckily, being a crazy person at odds with every respectable thinker in the media has been a pretty good ticket to predictive accuracy lately, so whatever.” This is a long and detailed argument that Trump is not racist (or at least not more racist than lots of people). I was surprised at how well it held my interest. See also Ross Douthat’s insightful twitter critique of the article. For a contrary point of view (sort of – it’s less about Trump and more about what Trump signifies), see Racism Probably Is Getting Worse. (I Hope I’m Wrong.) (Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg View). If you read one, read all three.
    4. Stunned By Trump, The New York Times Finds Time For Some Soul-Searching (Michael Cieply, Deadspin): “By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called ‘the narrative.’ We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.” This piece is important and depressing.
    5. The coalition for diversity whose diversity did diversity just win? (Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution): do not let the confusing title put you off. Cowen argues that the Republicans are in some senses significantly more diverse than the Democrats.
    6. #NeverTrump And President Trump (Jake Meador, Mere Orthodoxy): “The church’s greatest theologians have long said that a properly Christian commonwealth will be concerned not with the greater good—the most good for the most people—or with the private good of Christians alone, but with the common good.”
    7. How covering the Redskins name debate prepared me for Donald Trump’s win (Dan Steinberg, Washington Post): “They told me that media Twitter wasn’t the real world, that it created a phony idea of consensus for a stance that wasn’t actually ascendant. And they argued that a politically correct onslaught from big-city elites would only strengthen their convictions.”
    8. Donald Trump can absolutely ban Muslims from entering the US, without Congress (Zack Beauchamp, Vox): “I [asked] several experts on US immigration law. Their answer was unanimous: Trump would be able to implement his ban. In fact, he would be able to do it easily.” I didn’t know the president had this power. Surprising given our system of checks and balances.
    9. The Culture That Created Donald Trump Was Liberal Not Conservative (Jim Lewis, The Intercept): “Liberals were sure the devil would come slouching out of Alabama or Texas, beating a bible and shouting about sodomy and sin. They didn’t expect him to be a businessman who lives on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.” This is something I saw alluded to in the primaries but haven’t seen mentioned in a while. 

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.