Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 143

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’m a scholar of the “prosperity gospel.” It took cancer to show me I was in its grip. (Kate Bowler, Vox): “Every day I pray the same prayer: God, save me. Save me. Save me. Oh, God, remember my baby boy. Remember my son and my husband before you return me to ashes. Before they walk this earth alone. I plead with a God of Maybe, who may or may not let me collect more years. It is a God I love, and a God that breaks my heart.” The author is a professor at Duke Divinity School.
  2. Two intriguing articles on the transgender movement in America:
    • The Disappearance of Desire (Sohrab Ahmari, Commentary Magazine):  “Sexuality is a bodily experience. It stretches credulity to suggest that a trans person’s decision to alter his or her sexed body has nothing to do with what he or she wishes to do with that body—and whom he or she wishes to attract. Yet, as with gender itself, the trans activists treat sexual desire as an abstract and disembodied thing.”
    • Divorcing The Transgender Community (Gretchen Rachel Hammond, Tablet Magazine): the language in this one is uncouth. “It was then that I began to notice that those transgender people who started to speak out as an activist, journalist, celebrity, organizer, commentator or even via a social media post were coming under attack, not just from the usual crowd of Evangelical Conservative hysterics, but increasingly and unnervingly from their own community.”
  3. For the lawyers: Disagreement is Not Always Discrimination: On Masterpiece Cakeshop and the Analogy to Interracial Marriage (Ryan Anderson, Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy): “Colorado is part of a larger national trend in which authorities are using antidiscrimination statutes as swords to punish already marginalized people (such as supporters of the conjugal understanding of marriage), rather than as shields to protect people from unjust discrimination (such as African Americans in the wake of Jim Crow and today).… support for marriage as the union of husband and wife is essentially different from opposition to interracial marriage, and that the status of African Americans is importantly different from that of Americans who identify as gay. As a result, First Amendment protections for people who act on the belief that marriage unites husband and wife differ in critical ways from hypothesized First Amendment protections for racists—and the courts can distinguish the two cases…. protections for citizens who support the conjugal understanding of marriage bear much more similarity to protections for pro-life citizens.”
  4. The Ignoble Lie (Patrick Deneen, First Things): “This helps explain the strange and often hysterical insistence upon equality emanating from our nation’s most elite and exclusive institutions. The most absurd recent instance was Harvard University’s official effort to eliminate social clubs due to their role in ‘enacting forms of privilege and exclusion at odds with our deepest values,’ in the words of its president. Harvard’s opposition to exclusion sits comfortably with its admissions rate of 5 percent (2,056 out of 40,000 applicants in 2017). The denial of privilege and exclusion seems to increase in proportion to an institution’s exclusivity.” The author is a professor of Constitutional Studies at Notre Dame.
  5. Sex, Lies, and Spies (Darrell Cole, Providence): “Once the case for employing a spy in the first place has been made, the question of how to spy comes into focus, and thus one of the major moral problems for spies is trying to make a case that lying and sex are just (combat) tactics…. We can make a clear and convincing case that the Christian tradition may support the idea that lies told for the public good are justifiable. When spies tell such lies in the line of duty, their deceptions fall into that category and, so, are justifiable. Can the same be said for sex in the line of duty? Can manipulative sex for the public good be justifiable?” A fascinating discussion of a question that had never crossed my mind. The author is an ethics professor at Drew University.
  6. The Last Temptation (Michael Gerson, The Atlantic): “In a remarkably free country, many evangelicals view their rights as fragile, their institutions as threatened, and their dignity as assailed. The single largest religious demographic in the United States—representing about half the Republican political coalition—sees itself as a besieged and disrespected minority. In this way, evangelicals have become simultaneously more engaged and more alienated…. It is true that insofar as Christian hospitals or colleges have their religious liberty threatened by hostile litigation or government agencies, they have every right to defend their institutional identities—to advocate for a principled pluralism. But this is different from evangelicals regarding themselves, hysterically and with self-pity, as an oppressed minority that requires a strongman to rescue it. This is how Trump has invited evangelicals to view themselves.” The author worked in the Bush White House and describes himself as an evangelical.
    • In response: The True Sin of American Evangelicals in the Age of Trump (David French, National Review): “it matters exactly how Evangelicals arrived where they are today. It wasn’t the hysterical reaction of a self-pitying people. For most it was the sad result of a series of tough choices — made in response to difficult and unreasonable challenges. Even today there are millions of Evangelicals — people who still count themselves reluctant Trump supporters — who are deeply uneasy with the president and the state of their own religious movement. It serves no one’s interests to minimize the legitimacy of their deep political concern.”
    • My take: Gerson’s essay is very good and French adds a needed perspective. Bonus quote from Gerson’s essay: “The banishment of fundamentalism from the cultural mainstream culminated dramatically in a Tennessee courthouse in 1925. William Jennings Bryan, the most prominent Christian politician of his time, was set against Clarence Darrow and the theory of evolution at the Scopes ‘monkey trial,’ in which a Tennessee educator was tried for teaching the theory in high school. Bryan won the case but not the country. The journalist and critic H. L. Mencken provided the account accepted by history, dismissing Bryan as ‘a tin pot pope in the Coca-Cola belt and a brother to the forlorn pastors who belabor half-wits in galvanized iron tabernacles behind the railroad yards.’ Fundamentalists became comic figures, subject to world-class condescension. It has largely slipped the mind of history that Bryan was a peace activist as secretary of state under Woodrow Wilson and that his politics foreshadowed the New Deal. And Mencken was eventually revealed as a racist, an anti-Semite, and a eugenics advocate.” Emphasis mine. I consider myself fairly well-informed about American religious history and found the bolded details surprising.
  7. The real Down syndrome problem: Accepting genocide (George Will, Washington Post): “Iceland must be pleased that it is close to success in its program of genocide, but before congratulating that nation on its final solution to the Down syndrome problem, perhaps it might answer a question: What is this problem? To help understand why some people might ask this question, meet two children. One is Agusta, age 8, a citizen of Iceland. The other is Lucas, age 1, an American citizen in Dalton, Ga., who recently was selected to be 2018 ‘Spokesbaby’ for the Gerber baby food company. They are two examples of the problem. Now, before Iceland becomes snippy about the description of what it is doing, let us all try to think calmly about genocide, without getting judgmental about it. It is simply the deliberate, systematic attempt to erase a category of people. So, what one thinks about a genocide depends on what one thinks about the category involved. In Iceland’s case, the category is people with Down syndrome.”
    • Related: a Facebook post from one of our sophomores (shared with his permission): “My parents were told that I would be born with down syndrome and advised to abort me. In response my father pulled us out of the hospital’s mandatory counseling program, spent a lot of time in prayer, and decided emphatically that I would be born. I had no say in the matter, as I was too small to communicate or understand. I couldn’t cry or plead for my life. I couldn’t even look the people in the eyes who wanted to kill me. 20 years later, I have my God and my parents to thank for defending me, defending an unborn child wrongly accused of a crime that carried a death sentence: a defect. My parents had no idea exactly where God wanted to take me, but because of their defense, I’m here, down syndrome free, sitting in a classroom at Stanford University.” (source) By the way, he was was not only admitted to Stanford. He was admitted to every single Ivy League school.

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago

Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have Every Place Has Detractors. Consider Where They’re Coming From.(Megan McCardle, Bloomberg 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). (first shared in volume 62)

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 this was forwarded to you and you want to receive future emails, sign up here. You can also view the archives.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 142

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. A Quiet Exodus: Why Black Worshipers Are Leaving White Evangelical Churches (Campbell Robertson, NY Times): As the headlines of the outside world turned to police shootings and protest, little changed inside majority-white churches. Black congregants said that beyond the occasional vague prayer for healing a divided country, or a donation drive for law enforcement, they heard nothing. The dynamic described is real and one I have personally witnessed.  All in all a pretty good article although it has a few glaring blind spots, mostly because it focuses almost exclusively on those who chose to leave and doesn’t tell the story of those who chose to stay.
  2. And while we’re talking about race: “I Hope We Have No Crackers Here”: EBF Staff Sanction Racial Slur (Anna Mitchell & Philip Clark, Stanford Review): “You would think that residents of a supposedly progressive and racially conscious house would jump to remove a racial epithet from house property.”
  3. This is also relevant to the first article: In Donald Trump, Evangelicals Have Found Their President (David Brody, New York Times): “In fact, evangelicals take the long view on Mr. Trump; they afford him grace when he doesn’t deserve it. Few dispute that Mr. Trump may need a little more grace than others. But evangelicals truly do believe that all people are flawed, and yet Christ offers them grace. Shouldn’t they do the same for the president?”
  4. This Is How To Pay College Athletes (Patrick Hruby, Deadspin): “Because here’s the thing: nobody asks how’s it going to work when it comes to, say, paying dentists. Or investment bankers. Or programmers. Or professors. Or for that matter college coaches, athletic directors, and school presidents. There are no master compensation plans for those and hundreds of other lines of work because there’s no need for a plan. The very notion of coming up with a complicated, centralized set of rules dictating how much plumbers can earn and under what circumstances they can earn it would be un-American…” 
  5. Was the apostle Paul married? Yes, he was. Here’s how we know. (Denny Burk, Personal Blog):  “It may be that Paul’s words have implications for all who are unmarried, but I think Paul’s reference to the unmarried refers to widowers specifically. There are a number of reasons for this. Not the least of which is the fact that the Greek word for ‘widower’ was rarely used in ancient Greek and was never used in the Koine period…. Paul uses the term ‘unmarried’ two other times in this chapter to refer to those who were previously married.” The author is a professor of Biblical studies.
  6. Leaving Blokesworld: Why You Can’t Have Your Porn and #MeToo (Meagan Tyler, Australian Broadcasting Company: Religion and Ethics): “In one of the few attempts to link #MeToo and porn culture, two Dutch filmmakers asked men to try and differentiate between women’s accounts of sexual assault and scripts from porn films. The comparison highlights the difficultly in discerning any difference…. So, for all the men who have been asking what they can do in light of #MeToo, here’s a place start: stop linking your sexual arousal to women’s sexual subordination. Stop watching porn.”
  7. The Center Left Is On Life Support (Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review): “As liberals backed away from the hard politics of material redistribution, they found themselves trying to redistribute the honorific resources of society. Instead of dramatically expanding day care, you could talk about single mothers as heroes.” The author is on the right and is diagnosing a problem he sees across the aisle. His comments about redistributing honorifics are insightful and remind me of Tyler Cowen’s observation that politics is often more about raising or lowering some group’s social status than actually solving pressing problems. 
  8. What’s an Inclusion Rider? Let the Professor Who Helped Invent the Concept Explain (Rebecca Keegan, Vanity Fair): Smith said that an inclusion rider is a provision added to actors’ contracts to ensure that casting on productions is more representative. ‘It stipulates that in small and supporting roles, characters should reflect the world we live in,’ she said. That includes 50 percent gender parity, 40 percent inclusion for people of color, 5 percent L.G.B.T.Q., and 20 percent disabled.” This is a clever maneuver. Unsurprisingly, there does not seem to be a provision for highlighting evangelical Christians according to our proportional representation in society. What if in every sitcom there was a Ned Flanders character?

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago

Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have 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. (first shared in volume 51)

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 119

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. I welcome your suggestions, so if you read something fascinating please pass it my way.

A note to our new students: no, you don’t have to read the whole thing. What a lot of Chi Alphans do is skim the list and find one or two that seem interesting to them and open them in new tabs.

Be sure to read the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Views among college students regarding the First Amendment: Results from a new survey (John Villasenor, Brookings Institution): “Students act as de facto arbiters of free expression on campus. The Supreme Court justices are not standing by at the entrances to public university lecture halls ready to step in if First Amendment rights are curtailed. If a significant percentage of students believe that views they find offensive should be silenced, those views will in fact be silenced.” The author is an  absurdly accomplished Stanford grad: he is a simultaneously a professor of electrical engineering and public policy while also serving as a visiting professor of law (all at at UCLA) as well as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
  2. I Went To North Korea: What You’ve Heard vs What I Saw (Mark Hill, Cracked): “Seven carefully controlled days isn’t enough time to become an expert in any country, let alone one this complicated, and the best people to tell the story are Koreans themselves. But they’re not really available right now…” The article is interesting and mostly confirms my impressions of North Korea.
  3. Is Internet Porn Making Young Men Impotent? (EJ Dickson, Rolling Stone): “A number of factors have been speculated as being behind this trend, from eating processed foods to taking psychotropic drugs. Yet it’s porn that is most frequently cited as the likely culprit, prompting the creation of the term ‘porn-induced erectile dysfunction,’ which was coined by Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, an associate clinical professor of urology at Harvard Medical School.”
  4. Protestants: The Most ‘Catholic’ of Christians (Caleb Lindgren, Christianity Today): “The ‘Reforming Catholic Confession,’ released today, aims to demonstrate that—despite “denominationalism”—Protestants are remarkably unified.” See A Reforming Catholic Confession for the text of the statement.
  5. Big Data Surveillance: The Case of Policing (Sarah Brayne, American Sociological Review): “In some instances, it is simply easier for law enforcement to purchase privately collected data than to rely on in-house data because there are fewer constitutional protections, reporting requirements, and appellate checks on private sector surveillance and data collection.… Moreover, respondents explained, privately collected data is sometimes more up-to-date.” (hat tip: Big Data Surveillance by Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution). The author is a sociologist at UT Austin.
  6. The Academic Reason Why There Are So Few Conservatives In Academia (George Yancey, Patheos): “…over the last several years, I have been doing empirical work in anti-Christian bias in society and academia. The way my work has been treated has changed dramatically although I became better, not worse, in doing research. Reviewers are clearly more hostile to my work on anti-Christian bias than my work in race and ethnicity, and some of their critiques are almost laughable. Those who want to state that we can trust science because it enables an open search for the truth have never tried to publish work that violates the political and moral sensibilities of academics.” The author is a professor of sociology at the University of North Texas.
  7. A Third of Vegetarians Eat Meat When They’re Drunk (Phoebe Hurst, Vice):  this research does not appear to be of the highest quality, but I found it intriguing nonetheless.

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 have A History of the Second Amendment in Two Paintings (Ezra Klein, Wonkblog): this brief article from a few years ago is still one of the most insightful things I’ve read about firearms in America. The Yale professor interviewed, Dr. Amar, also wrote a lengthier article about this for Slate. (first shared in volume 54)

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 109

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. How We Are Ruining America (David Brooks, NYT): “To feel at home in opportunity-rich areas, you’ve got to understand the right barre techniques, sport the right baby carrier, have the right podcast, food truck, tea, wine and Pilates tastes, not to mention possess the right attitudes about David Foster Wallace, child-rearing, gender norms and intersectionality.” This column spawned much derision on social media, but I strongly agree with Brooks — and so do many commentators. Here are sympathetic reactions from Freddie deBoer on the left and from Rod Dreher on the right. Dan Drezner takes it in a different direction, and the Monkey Cage says “duh” while Alan Jacobs calls people unwilling to acknowledge Brooks’ observation “willfully blind”.
  2. Luther’s Revolution (The Nation, Elizabeth Bruenig): “Theology is morality is politics is law—and whether or not it’s immediately obvious, the world is steeped in theology. In contemporary America, and especially in the more secular precincts of Western Europe, it seems unlikely that one could look at a property deed or a government budget and find, just beneath its explicit reasoning, traces of old theological disputes and their resolutions. But they’re there…”
  3. I’ve Worked with Refugees for Decades. Europe’s Afghan Crime Wave Is Mind-Boggling. (Cheryl Benard, The National Interest): “Europeans were predisposed to be positive towards Afghan refugees. But it quickly became obvious that something was wrong, very wrong, with these young Afghan men: they were committing sex crimes to a much greater extent than other refugees… It took a while for the pattern to be recognized because, until recently, western European media deliberately refrained from identifying an assailant’s refugee or asylum status, or his country of origin.”
  4. Personality, Gender, and Age in the Language of Social Media: The Open-Vocabulary Approach (Schwartz HA, Eichstaedt JC, Kern ML, Dziurzynski L, Ramones SM, Agrawal M, et al., PLOS One) — This one is from 2013. Pay particular attention to Figure 6 and notice the cluster of words associated with emotional stability. #blessed #on_my_way to #church
  5. No Retreat: Lecrae’s Approach to “Culture-Making” (Jemar Tisby, Christ and Pop Culture): “But Lecrae couldn’t fulfill his mission if his beats only banged in Christian ears, though not because Christians aren’t important to him. It was Christian fans who propelled him to popularity and still continue to support him. Nevertheless, having testified in Jerusalem, so to speak, Lecrae felt compelled to testify also in Rome (Acts 23:11).” This is related to what we’re covering in our summer reading project, and you’re welcome to join us. 
  6. In Praise of Extreme Medicine (Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution): “It’s odd that we allow some crazy things and ban others—even more that the crazy things we allow are sometimes socially useless while the crazy things that we ban are sometimes socially valuable. The case for banning extreme sports, for example, is much stronger than the case for banning extreme medicine.”
  7. ‘Born this way’? It’s way more complicated than that (Alia E. Dastagir, USA Today): “Getting America to believe that people are born gay — that it’s not something that can be chosen or ever changed — has been central to the fight for gay rights. If someone can’t help being gay any more than they can help the color of their skin, the logic goes, denying them rights is wrong. But many members of the LGBTQ community reject this narrative…”
  8. Why Roman concrete still stands strong while modern version decays (Nicola Davis, The Guardian): recommended by an alumnus. I sometimes hear people state it like a self-evident truth that we are smarter than the ancients. I see no evidence we are any more intelligent than them. We just have more accumulated knowledge in certain domains.

Things Glen Found Entertaining

Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago

Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have On Obstinacy In Belief (C.S. Lewis, The Sewanee Review). Lewis explains why Christians are justified in continuing to believe even when they encounter an argument they can’t immediately answer (first shared in volume 6).

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 101

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 Curious Rise Of The ‘White Left” As A Chinese Internet Insult (Chenchen Zhang, Open Democracy): “If you look at any thread about Trump, Islam or immigration on a Chinese social media platform these days, it’s impossible to avoid encountering the term baizuo (白左), or literally, the ‘white left’.… Criticisms of the ‘white left’ against the background of the European refugee crisis fit especially well with the ‘rising China’ versus ‘Europe in decline’ narrative.”
  2. The True Heartbreak Of Reading The Bible (Rebecca McLaughlin, Veritas): “When we humans make metaphors, we’re noticing connections.  Love is a sickness. Life is a marathon. Parents can be helicopters.  But if the message of the Bible is true – if there is a God who created the universe  – then biblical metaphors are different. God did not notice how human fathers love their children and decide to call himself our Father (e.g. Isaiah 63:16, Matthew 6:9).  Rather, God created fatherhood, so that the best of human fathers could give us some small glimpse of how he loves us.”
  3. Beauty sleep is a real thing, research shows (Michelle Roberts, BBC): “Beauty sleep is a real thing, according to researchers who have shown that people who miss out on sleep do appear less attractive to others. A couple of bad nights is enough to make a person look “significantly” more ugly, their sleep experiments suggest.” Bad news for Stanford students.
  4. Way More Americans May Be Atheists Than We Thought (Daniel Cox, Five Thirty Eight): I suspect that even the highest estimate in the article is lower than what many at Stanford assume.
  5. The Damage We Would Do To Each Other If We Had “The Explanation”  (Richard Beck, personal blog): “Imagine, if you will, that the Bible gave us an explanation for why there is so much pain and suffering in the world. Imagine that the Bible gave us ‘The Explanation’ in a specific text, something we could easily quote and share…. Then imagine how The Explanation would be used.”
  6. What Makes A Parent? (Ian Parker, New Yorker): “…at the end she stood to make a skeptical point or two. In her view, the speakers had underestimated the legal consequences of making a person a parent. The panel’s chair, a judge, asked Rabin to stop lecturing the room. It was a peculiar moment. Rabin—who is gay, and a parent, and who has no argument with Barone’s victory, and who is admired for her own challenge to Alison D., in 2010—seemed to have been cast as a reactionary, intruding on a celebration.” This is a long, fascinating piece which (in my view but not the author’s) highlights some of the negative consequences of the LGBT revolution in society.

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 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 36

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. The Weight of Glory (C.S. Lewis): this is a PDF of the 9 pages of thoughtful goodness I referenced in my sermon this week. It was originally preached as a sermon and then printed in a theology magazine. Related: see the C. S. Lewis Doodle YouTube channel — it’s really good!
  2. Leave China, Study In America, Find Jesus (Han Zhang, Foreign Policy) — “U.S. universities are the first places that hundreds of thousands of educated young Chinese are exposed to different religious ideas, and invited to consider them freely. Sensing an opportunity, on-campus Christian fellowships and churches have gone out of their collective way to help those fresh from China.”
  3. Uncovering the Assemblies of God’s Black Heritage (Darrin Rodgers, Vital Magazine): the Assemblies of God is Chi Alpha’s sponsoring denomination and the group with which I am ordained. Some neat anecdotes here.
  4. Why Nepal Has One of the World’s Fastest Growing Christian Populations (Danielle Preiss, NPR): my favorite bit, “a team were also in Nepal in October helping rebuild the earthquake-damaged house that belongs to the family of Sumitra Pariyar, a young woman who believes she was healed from paralysis and seizures by her acceptance of Christ.” I find the choice of words funny: she “believes” she was healed from paralysis by Christ. I’m pretty sure she knows whether she was paralyzed or not. How about “a young woman who says she was healed from paralysis and seizures by her acceptance of Christ.” That’s just better journalism.
  5. Religious Freedom Keeps Us Strong (Barack Obama, Religion News Service): yes, this is by President Obama. The thing I am most pleased about is his use of the phrase “freedom of religion” as opposed to the much less expansive “freedom of worship.”
  6. What A Super Bowl Ad Reveals About Our Abortion Culture (Russell Moore, personal blog): this went in a different direction than I assumed it would. Recommended.
  7. Some humor:

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

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 35

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. The Grounds Of Our Assurance (D. A. Carson, YouTube): Dr. Carson is one of my favorite scholars. This youtube clip is definitely worth three minutes of your time.
  2. Hallelujah College (Molly Worthen, NY Times): “The thing you’ll run into with any of the campus activists that I’ve encountered is this idea that human nature is a collection of identity categories, that I as a human being am composed of a gender identity, a sexual identity, a racial identity and so forth,” he said. “Their perception of Christians, or of religious people more generally, is: ‘O.K., these are people who have this one identity category, religion, and the religion they identify as is overstepping its bounds. It’s telling my gender or sexual identity how to act.’ The Christian response has to be: There’s something more to what a human being is than just these collective attributes.”
  3. Pastor Of China’s Largest Church Jailed For Protesting Removal of 1,500 Crosses (Morgan Lee, Christianity Today). Note that he is the pastor of China’s largest official church — there are underground churches that are much larger. The Communist Party must be getting nervous about the strength of Christianity in China if they are oppressing the state-sanctioned church as well.
  4. Christians In Latin America Are Numerous But Still Vulnerable (John Allen, Crux): a very strong article about Christian persecution in the western hemisphere. “Chilito was executed by a right-wing paramilitary and Castilla by a left-wing guerrilla group, proving that martyrdom in Colombia is an equal-opportunity enterprise. Globally, the two women are chapters in one of the most widespread human rights scourges of the early 21st century, which is lethal anti-Christian persecution. Though estimates vary widely, even low-end counts suggest that one Christian is killed for motives related to the faith somewhere in the world every hour of every day.”
  5. Mainstreaming “Animal Personhood” (Wesley J. Smith, First Things): this is something you should do some thinking about. Start by reflecting on Genesis 1:26–30, Genesis 9:1–6, Numbers 22:21–34, Proverbs 12:10, Jonah 4:10–11, and Matthew 6:26.
  6. Meyer vs Nebraska: As Told By The Lawyer Who Won It (David Kopel, Washington Post): this story of a 1922 Supreme Court decision absolutely sucked me in. It touches on issues of parental rights, public education, religious liberty, and nationalistic prejudice.
  7. 3 Ways To Work For The Glory of God (Christos Makridis, The Rebelution). Yes, this is written by our very own Christos. Good thoughts, Christos!
  8. Some comics that amused 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 33

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, societal and theological 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. What Would Cool Jesus Do? ( Taffy Brodesser-Akner, GQ): this is a long and amazing piece. Jewish reporter goes to Hillsong in NYC, likes it but doesn’t buy it. Fun to read and interesting throughout.
  2. When Abortion Suddenly Stopped Making Sense (Frederica Matthews-Green, National Review): unusually insightful. Today is the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Vaguely related: 43 years later, a look at Norma McCorvey, the Roe of Roe v. Wade, the pro-choice poster child turned abortion opponent (Keri Blakinger, NY Daily News). The latter article is a useful reminder that people are complicated.
  3. Is “Slave” A Good English Translation? (Andy Naselli, personal blog): there is a 4 minute BBC video embedded at this link which is worth watching about the complexities of Bible translation, followed by many good links for digging deeper.
  4. No Food Is Healthy. Not Even Kale. (Michael Ruhlman, Washington Post): People can be healthy. Food can be nutritious. This is a wonderful essay about how we misuse language to our detriment. If you’re surprised I included this, I believe that our culture has a quasi-religious relationship to health and to food, and I also believe that the use of language is profoundly moral and that our culture is a linguistic mess (to which I know of no finer guide than The Underground Grammarian).
  5. To The Person Who Tried To Pray My Disability Away (Madylin Ullmin, The Mighty): a minister friend of mine with cerebral palsy  shared this on Facebook. He prays for the sick and has seen miracles. He added this when he shared the article: “I have also experienced more than a few times in my life where a person asked to pray for my healing and if it didn’t happen, they felt they had to explain to me why God didn’t heal me right there and then. It got to the point where the person praying for me was often more disappointed than I was , which made me wonder if the person cared about me as a person, or were more concerned about a certain result. I have no doubt almost everyone means well and wants to see God heal but the way that it happens is sometimes jarring for a person who needs healing.”

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.