Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 103

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. Praise & Questions: How Kendrick & Chance Talk to God in Different Ways (Miguelito, DJ Booth): “I’ve encountered two different kinds of religious believers, generally speaking. The first are those who focus on the gifts of God and the blessings in their life and take an optimistic approach to humanity. The other group is made up of those who become gripped by the mystery surrounding such a figure and keep an air of skepticism about them.”
  2. How Oxford and Peter Singer drove me from atheism to Jesus (Sarah Irving-Stonebraker, Veritas): “I grew up in Australia, in a loving, secular home, and arrived at Sydney University as a critic of ‘religion.’  I didn’t need faith to ground my identity or my values…. [however, while at Oxford] I began to realise that the implications of my atheism were incompatible with almost every value I held dear.” The author is a history professor at Western Sydney University.
  3. Listening: An Antidote to the Modern University’s Incoherence (Dominic Burbidge, The Public Discourse): insightful breakdown of the three sub-universities we dwell within: the university of rationalism, the university of revolution, and the university of subjectivism. The author is an administrator at Oxford.
  4. Wonder Woman and the Gender Wars (Russell Moore, personal blog): “Wonder Woman does indeed represent power, but she also is, in every iteration, designed to be sexually attractive to men. The 1970s-era television series noted in its theme song, ‘Fighting for your rights, in your satin tights, and the old red, white, and blue.’ The rights and the tights were both part of the package—and, from the looks of things, still are.” This piece is quite good.
  5. The Marines Can Treat Women Honorably Without Putting Them in the Infantry (David French, National Review): “The women-in-infantry debate is the luxury of a society that hasn’t fought a large-scale ground war in generations, and a serious mixed-gender experiment wouldn’t survive first contact with a well-equipped and well-trained opposing force.” The author is both a veteran of the Iraq war and a graduate of Harvard Law School. A short but thoughtful response to the widely-shared Vox article The Marine Corps has a “toxic masculinity” problem
  6. If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s quite the controversy at Evergreen College. There’s a good summary at The blasphemy case against Bret Weinstein, and its four lessons for professors (Jonathan Haidt, Heterodox Academy): “I generally oppose zero-tolerance policies, but if we are to have one, it should be for violence and intimidation on campus.” And this is a good op-ed on the situation: When the Left Turns on Its Own (Bari Weiss, NY Times): “Liberals shouldn’t cede the responsibility to defend free speech on college campuses to conservatives. After all, without free speech, what’s liberalism about?”
  7. I’ve seen lots of opinions about Trump pulling America out of the Paris climate agreement. I was most struck by these two reactions that both grant that the agreement was in some sense just for show but arrive at different conclusions from that premise:
    • From the right: The Placebo Politics of Paris (Jason Willick, The American Interest): “President Trump’s repudiation of the agreement… delights his nationalistic base and sends his internationalist-minded critics into paroxysms of rage and despair—all without actually doing anything, because the Paris agreement consists simply of voluntary, unenforceable emissions pledges that are already being flouted.”
    • From the left: The Odd Kabuki of the Climate Pact Withdrawal (Eric Posner, personal blog): “[the pact] was meaningful-symbolic rather than meaningless-symbolic. Meaningful-symbolic means that the countries were taking a first step toward actually reducing greenhouse gases rather than a first step toward pretending to reduce them.”

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 82

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. The new year is upon us. Consider reading through the entire Bible in 2017 (doing so will take around 10 minutes a day). Here’s a thorough and helpful article from last year about reading the whole Bible. If you want an app to make it easier, take a look at readscripture.org 
  2. Varieties of Religious Experience (Ross Douthat, NY Times): “One of my hobbies is collecting what you might call nonconversion stories — stories about secular moderns who have supernatural-seeming experiences without being propelled into any specific religious faith.”
  3. Mark Zuckerberg says he’s no longer an atheist, believes ‘religion is very important’ (Julie Zauzmer, Washington Post): Somewhat related to the above. Also, if you happen to bump into him or his wife then please let them know they are welcome at Chi Alpha. 🙂
  4. The Evangelical Scion Who Stopped Believing (Mark Oppenheimer, NY Times): “Atheists and agnostics have long tried to rebottle religion: to get the community and the good works without the supernatural stuff. It has worked about as well as nonalcoholic beer. As with O’Doul’s, converts are few, and rarely do they end up having a very good time.” Interesting article, although Oppenheimer misreads some background details (in particular, I think he was unfair to Stetzer’s comment).
  5. In Praise of Ignorance (Simon Cullen, Quillette): “Those with the audacity to admit that they have nothing intelligent to say about a difficult topic should be praised for refusing to further erode our common epistemic standards, not scorned for failing to toe some party line.”
  6. Campus Identity Politics Is Dooming Liberal Causes, a Professor Charges (Evan R. Goldstein, Chronicle of Higher Education): an interview with Columbia’s Mark Lilla – “identity politics today isn’t about group belonging; it’s about personal identity. From the ’70s into the ’90s, there was a shift in focus from group identity to the self as the intersection of different kinds of identities…. It’s extraordinary how much time and thinking [students] devote to exactly what they are as the subtotal of other identities, rather than seeing their time at the university as an opportunity to leave those things behind, or overcome them, or become something that’s actually themselves and autonomous in some way.” This is sort of a sequel to an article I shared back in volume 77.
  7. Houses of Worship Poised to Serve as Trump-Era Immigrant Sanctuaries (Laurie Goodstein, NY TImes): “Churches, schools and hospitals are considered ‘sensitive locations,’ according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Immigration officers are supposed to avoid those locations, unless they have advance approval from a supervisor or face ‘exigent circumstances’ that require immediate action, said Jennifer Elzea, an agency spokeswoman.”
  8. Here’s Who Will Pray at Trump’s Inauguration (Kate Shellnut, Christianity Today): it’s not obvious from the article, but a surprising number of them are Pentecostal of one sort or another: Wayne Jackson, Paula White, Sammy Rodriguez.

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 53

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.

  1. Why I Believe Again (A.N. Wilson, The New Statesman): this piece is about seven years old, but I don’t remember seeing it before. “one thing that finally put the tin hat on any aspirations to be an unbeliever was writing a book about the Wagner family and Nazi Germany, and realising how utterly incoherent were Hitler’s neo-Darwinian ravings, and how potent was the opposition, much of it from Christians; paid for, not with clear intellectual victory, but in blood.”
  2. The Evangelical Roots of American Economics (Bradley Bateman, The Atlantic): “One unlikely example of the Protestant influence on American culture is the formation of economics as an academic discipline in the United States.” Fascinating and highly recommended.
  3. Evangelicals like me can’t vote for Trump — or Clinton. Here’s what we can do instead. (Alan Noble, Vox): This is a long and thoughtful piece. “unless a third-party candidate with broad appeal emerges, evangelical Christians would be better served by abstaining from [the presidential] vote and shifting their energy toward electing people to Congress and local and state governments who have the opportunity to restrain whichever candidate is elected as needed.“  
  4. Here Is The Powerful Letter The Stanford Victim Read Aloud To Her Attacker (Katie J.M. Baker, Buzzfeed): many of you have seen this. If not, it’s worth reading. Powerful and insightful.
    • In relation to this case, an anonymous alumna contacted me recently to say: “I’m frustrated [that people] are not making an effort or recognizing the role that alcohol and the culture surrounding the whole situation had. What they’re calling for is greater punishment on college kids who commit sexual assault but I think that kinda misses a huge point. They refuse to recognize the sin in being ok with college drinking and the whole frat party thing.” I replied with a suggestion that she read something I shared way back in issue 25 titled Alcohol, Blackouts, and Campus Sexual Assault, which I still believe is the most thoughtful secular analysis I’ve read of the issue.
    • Many people feel that to criticize the party scene is to exculpate rapists. That seems odd to me, because we recognize that when someone drives drunk they accept moral responsibility for any accidents they cause. Their inebriation is not a defense – it is an admission of culpability. And we also recognize the principle does not flow in both directions – if you stab me while I am drunk, the fact that I am drunk does not provide you with any excuse. The same principle holds here: Brock Turner’s drunkenness is no defense and the victim’s drunkenness is no justification. Furthermore, our convictions about drunk driving hint at a broader principle: drunkenness is a sin because over time it predictably leads to deplorable outcomes. This means that Brock Turner is to blame – and so are the parts of campus culture which encourage drunkenness. The party scene is no excuse for Brock’s wickedness, but that does not make the party scene a virtuous one. 
    • In fact, the party scene on our campus abounds with sin even when it fails to make national news. The worst sin that night (that we know of) was the sexual assault committed by Brock Turner. But it was far from the only sin. There were numerous consensual nonmarital sexual encounters that night – each of them also sinful (although less so). There were many people drunk that night – they too sinned, every one of them. There was arrogant posturing, envy, lust, anger, lying, betrayal, gossip, slander and a whole host of sins exacerbated by alcohol and the social scenario. Our alumna’s instincts are correct – the system itself makes sin likely and it should not be embraced by Christians.
    • In case you stumbled over the “worst sin/less sinful” judgments I made, you should read All Sins Are Not Equal (J.I. Packer, Christianity Today).
    • Thank you for your patience. I rarely add lengthy editorial comments, but my words ran away with me today.
  5. My Life as a ‘Sex Object’ (Jessica Valenti, The Guardian): this is powerful, slightly vulgar piece. I am always intrigued by authors who embrace the sexual revolution and are dismayed by some of its manifestations.
  6. 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.

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.

[minor edit for clarity shortly after posting]

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 51

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

  1. Why America Spends So Much On The Military (reddit): this was a surprisingly educational read. It was written in response to the claim that “next year’s proposed military budget could buy every homeless person a $1 million home.”
  2. Chewbacca Laughter Brings Unexpected Platform (Dan Van Veen, PE News): “On Wednesday night before making the video, she felt that the Holy Spirit had directed her to a specific restaurant for supper just prior to church. There, God had a ‘divine opportunity’ waiting.”
  3. Making Sense of the Numbers of Genesis [pdf link] (Carol Hill, Perspectives on Science and the Christian Faith): “Joseph and Joshua were each recorded as dying at age 110—a number considered ‘perfect’ by the Egyptians. In ancient Egyptian doctrine, the phrase ‘he died aged 110’ was actually an epitaph commemorating a life that had been lived selflessly and had resulted in outstanding social and moral benefit for others. And so for both Joseph and Joshua, who came out of the Egyptian culture, quoting this age was actually a tribute to their character. But, to be described as ‘dying at age 110’ bore no necessary relationship to the actual time of an individual’s life span.” You will not agree with everything in this article, but it is full of fascinating insights.
  4. Unsafe Cars Can Save Lives (Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution): “Safety is relative so cars judged unsafe by global standards could save lives in India. The bigger lesson is that it’s always dangerous to impose global standards without taking into account the differing circumstances of time and place.”
  5. The Big Uneasy (Nathan Heller, The New Yorker): “A [university] president’s job is to push past contradictions, while an activist’s duty is to call them out. The institutions that give many people a language and a forum to denounce injustice are, inevitably, the nearest targets of their criticism.” Bonus points for quoting Tocqueville. 
  6. The Transgender Bathroom Debate and the Looming Title IX Crisis (Jeannie Suk, New Yorker): “Whether or not the federal government acted unlawfully, it has now set in motion a potential Title IX collision course between its directives on sexual violence and on bathrooms…. The discomfort that some people, some sexual-assault survivors, in particular, feel at the idea of being in rest rooms with people with male sex organs, whatever their gender, is not easy to brush aside as bigotry.“ The author is a professor at Harvard Law School.
  7. Claims by transgender schoolteacher (who wants to be called ‘they’) yield $60,000 settlement, agreement to create disciplinary rules regulating ‘pronoun usage (Eugene Volokh, Volokh Conspiracy): the second half is what captured my attention. “When the government is acting as sovereign, telling us what we must or must not say on pain of coercively imposed legal liability, the First Amendment is at full force. That force, I think, should preclude government commands that we start using new words — or radical grammatical modifications of old, familiar words — that convey government-favored messages about gender identity or anything else.”
  8. Peter Thiel’s funding of Hulk Hogan-Gawker litigation should not raise concerns (Eugene Kontorovich, Volokh Conspiracy):  “if the lawsuit is not frivolous, it is hard to see how the motivations of funders are relevant (or discernible). One would not say a civil rights organization could not accept donations from philanthropists angered by a personal experience with discrimination.” Also see Tyler Cowen’s take.
  9. Amusing: Other Promises of God (xkcd)

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 want to view the archives they are at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 47

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. China Reveals What It Wants To Do With Christianity (Brent Fulton, Christianity Today): “how China’s atheistic regime plans to deal with the country’s growing Christian population, projected to become the world’s largest within the next couple decades.”
  2. After Pastor’s Wife Buried Alive, Chinese Church Wins Land Battle (Sarah Zylstra, Christianity Today): useful to read in conjunction with the preceding article.
  3. Radiant Zinc Fireworks Reveal Quality of Human Egg (Marla Paul, Northwestern University News): you were formed in a burst of light. For real. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14)
  4. You’re More Likely To Die In A Human Extinction Event Than A Car Crash (Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic): but did they factor in the return of Christ?
  5. Relating To The Skeptics (Robert Mims, PE News): short and encouraging.
  6. Are History’s “Greatest Philosophers” All That Great? (Gregory Lewis, Daily Nous): interesting but misses a huge point. Socrates is not famous merely for the words he used – he is famous for the life he lived. Greatness is not a matter of cleverness alone. 
  7. Things that tickled me:

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 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.