Glen Davis
Glen, an ordained Assemblies of God minister, is the adviser to Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship at Stanford University. He blogs and maintains a database of quotes.

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Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 461

Fri, Jul 12th 2024

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.

This is volume 461, a prime number.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. So You’ve Decided to Vote for an Unfit Candidate (O. Alan Noble, Substack): “Come November, most voters will choose between two presidential candidates, neither of whom are fit for office, as I have previously argued. I’m not just arguing that they are sinners and therefore ‘evil’ in the sense that everyone is fallen; I’m arguing that they are specifically unjust and immoral and unfit for positions of national leadership.… There are many issues to take into account when voting for a candidate, but one of them is how your vote will form your own soul.”
  2. Articles making observations rarely heard in high-status society:
    • New Research Finds Huge Differences Between Male and Female Brains (Leonard Sax, Psychology Today): “As you can see, there wasn’t a continuum: the female fingerprints of brain activity were quite different from the male fingerprints of resting brain activity, with no overlap. These findings strongly suggest that what’s going on in a woman’s brain at rest is significantly different from what’s going on in a man’s brain at rest.”
    • How divorce never ends (Bridget Phetasy, The Spectator): “All of this is to say something you don’t hear that often: divorce will affect your kids for the rest of their lives, well into adulthood. They will have split holidays and summers. They will have stepparents. Their kids will have step-grandparents. Whatever inheritance they would have been entitled to is often being divvied up with other spouses and their kids. More important than the money, however, is the attention they’ll never get because their parents are dating or remarrying or whatever. They will only be with one parent half of the year — if they’re lucky: we only saw my dad twice a year. They will have to choose who gets Christmas, forever. Or they will be bouncing around at holiday time with their kids, just like the old days.”
    • The Real Problem With Legal Weed (Charles Fain Lehman, New York Times Magazine): “While marijuana may not be as bad as some critics claim, the medical evidence is clear that it can do substantial harm. Marijuana is addictive — around 30 percent of users use compulsively, even as their use harms themselves and the people around them.… Marijuana does hurt a substantial portion of its consumers, often quite badly. And there is no reason to think that businesses won’t sell marijuana to those it hurts, if they’re allowed to. What the alcohol and tobacco markets show us, rather, is that addiction and profit don’t mix well.”
      • Unlocked.
    • We deserve a more nuanced conversation about working moms (Rachel M. Cohen, Vox): “After the essay on motherhood dread was published, I heard from Sharon Sassler, a Cornell University sociologist who studies relationships and gender. She had recently published a paper on gender wage gaps in the computer science field and found that mothers in computer science actually earned more than childless women (though this ‘wage premium’ was significantly less than what fathers earned). ‘It was difficult for me to find a home for the attached article because reviewers cannot fathom that mothers might out-earn single women, though there is a growing body of evidence that [they] do,’ she wrote in her email to me. ‘It might be selection [bias] … but given that folks have found this across disciplines suggests that the motherhood penalty really needs to be reassessed.’ I was curious about Sassler’s suggestion that moms might actually earn more and that we don’t often hear that because gatekeepers ‘seem to like the narrative that women are always screwed by family.’”
  3. This Is What Elite Failure Looks Like (Oren Cass, New York Times): “Taking the majority’s preferences seriously, even when they conflict with the preferences of more sophisticated experts, is often disparaged as populism. But while elected officials and their technocratic advisers may have special insight into how the people’s goals are best achieved, only the people can determine what those goals should be and whether they are being met…. While policy initiatives so often seek to maximize efficiency and growth, move people to opportunity and redistribute from the economy’s winners to the losers, the typical American has an attachment to place, a focus on family, a commitment to making things, and would accept economic trade-offs in pursuit of those priorities.… The important feature of all these preferences is that they are inherently valid. No set of facts or statistical analyses, to which an expert might have superior access, overrides what people actually value and what trade-offs they would choose to make. Leaders might seek to shape public opinion and alter preferences — indeed, that is part of leading — but they must yield to the outcome. Their obligation is to pursue the community’s priorities, not their own.”
  4. Missionaries Have Gone to Thailand for 200 Years. Why Aren’t There More Christians? (Rebecca Brittingham, Christianity Today): “Yet the freedom that Christians enjoy in Thailand hasn’t translated into a wide acceptance of Christianity by local Thais. Despite nearly 200 years of Protestant missions, only about 1.2 percent of the population are Christians. The question of why Thailand is such difficult soil for the seed of the gospel to grow has plagued missionaries, as many have seen little fruit for the years they’ve spent learning Thai, building relationships, and trying to introduce locals to the gospel.”
  5. I Went From Foster Care to Yale. This Is What I Learned About ‘Luxury Beliefs.’ (Rob K. Henderson, New York Times on YouTube): six minute video.
    • This is worth watching even if you’re familiar with his ‘luxury beliefs’ concept.
    • I actually had dinner in a group with Rob on Sunday night. We’re not friends — I just saw that he was in town and willing to meet up with people so I DMd him on Twitter. Nice guy.
  6. How Liberal College Campuses Benefit Conservative Students (Lauren A. Wright, The Atlantic): “Conservative culture warriors argue that education at highly selective colleges is worthless, and recommend that conservative students who don’t want to be silenced or indoctrinated opt out. I disagree. Conservative students experience what higher education has long claimed to offer: exposure to different perspectives, regular practice building and defending coherent arguments, intellectual challenges that spur creativity and growth. Liberal academia has largely robbed liberal students of these rewards.”
    • The author is a political science professor at Princeton. No paywall.
  7. Reliable Sources: How Wikipedia Admin David Gerard Launders His Grudges Into the Public Record (Tracing Woodgrains, Substack): “Wikipedia’s job is to repeat what Reliable Sources say. David Gerard’s mission is to determine what Reliable Sources are, using any arguments at his disposal that instrumentally favor sources he finds agreeable.… From there, it’s simple: Wikipedia editors dutifully etch onto the page, with a neutral point of view, that Huffington Post writers think this, PinkNews editors think that, and experienced Harvard professors who make the mistake of writing for The Free Press think nothing fit for an encyclopedia.”
    • This is a long, wild article about internet minutiae. But if you’ve ever wondered about bias on Wikipedia, dive in.

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.


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). And to the extent you can discern my opinions, please understand that they are my own and not necessarily those of Chi Alpha or any other organization I may be perceived to represent. 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.

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Paula Davis
Paula, a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God, also serves with Chi Alpha.

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