Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 461



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.

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). 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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 460



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 460, a largely uninteresting number. It’s a multiple of 23, so I guess that’s kinda cool (for a certain definition of cool).

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Your Constitutional Right to Be a Pirate (A.J. Jacobs, The Free Press): “It may not get much publicity, but there it is, smack-dab in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution: Congress has the power to grant citizens ‘letters of marque and reprisal.’ Meaning that, with Congress’s permission, private citizens can load weapons onto their fishing boats, head out to the high seas, capture enemy vessels, and keep the booty. Back in the day, these patriotic pirates were known as ‘privateers.’ ”
  2. the Pentateuch in brief outline (Alan Jacobs, personal blog): “As Robert Alter has pointed out, the long-time obsession with sources among scholars of the Hebrew Bible — their slightly mad-eyed teasing out of the contributions of their posited authors J, E, D, and P — led them to the assumption that ‘the redactors were in the grip of a kind of manic tribal compulsion, driven again and again to include units of traditional material … for reasons they themselves could not have explained.’ Yet if that were true, why does an outline of the Pentateuch look so orderly — indeed, almost excessively so?”
  3. The Codger-in-Chief (Dan Drezner, Substack): “[We are seeing] coverage that bears more of a passing resemblance to what I saw during the Toddler-in-Chief days. In other words, there are some disturbing parallels in how Biden’s staffers are talking about him to the press when compared to Trump’s White House staffers. Furthermore, I strongly suspect the staffers now talking to the press are higher-ranking than, say, the deputy director of photography.”
    • I read a lot of post-debate articles, most of them strongly partisan one way or the other. This one summarizes a lot of threads well. The author is a political science professor at Tufts.
    • Not directly related, but also related to the upcoming presidential election — My Unsettling Interview With Steve Bannon (David Brooks, New York Times): “I should emphasize that I wasn’t trying to debate Bannon or rebut his beliefs; I wanted to understand how he sees the current moment. I wanted to understand the global populist surge from the inside.”
    • Fascinating. Unlocked.
  4. Notes From a Formerly Unpromising Young Person (Rebecca Snyder, New York Times): “My situation was this: I was finishing my sophomore year of high school and had probably attended fewer days than I’d missed. I’d failed nearly all my classes, and my transcript boasted a 0.47. (I say ‘boasted’ because you really do have to miss quite a lot of school to fail so spectacularly.) Then there were the fistfights. The weed. The acid.… [Yet] someone had taken the time to meet me, to listen and to ultimately believe I had potential. When Mr. Spencer sat in the admissions office of North Central College and said, ‘I’m going to take a chance on you, Rachel Snyder,’ those were probably the most important words of my life.”
  5. Why a New Conservative Brain Trust Is Resettling Across America (Ruth Graham, New York Times): “The idea was a ‘fraternal community,’ as one leader put it, that prioritized in-person meetings. The result was the all-male Society for American Civic Renewal, an invitation-only social organization reserved for Christians.… Members must be male, belong to a ‘Trinitarian Christian’ church, a broad category that includes Catholics and Protestants, but not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members must also describe themselves as ‘unhyphenated Americans,’ a reference to Theodore Roosevelt’s speech urging the full assimilation of immigrants.”
    • Both the existence of this movement and the way it is reported on are interesting. Unlocked.
  6. Loving America Means Expecting More From It (Esau McCaulley, New York Times): “Too often we worry that if we tell our children about our complex and sometimes dark history, their response will be debilitating shame. But instead of lying to our youth, we can give them a task that demands the best of them. We can call upon them to close the often-gaping chasm between our ideals and practices. This is the gift the past offers us, a chance to flee old evils and pursue new goods.”
  7. Revival and Revolution (John Fea, Commonweal): “Since Evangelicalism is an inherently populist and anti-intellectual movement, most born-again Christians do not trust academics and rely instead on such ‘experts.’ When they need to know something about science, they turn to Ken Ham, host of the popular radio show Answers in Genesis and founder of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. They get their psychology and social philosophy from James Dobson, the longtime culture warrior and founder of the lobbying organization Focus on the Family. Their political philosophy comes from sources like Fox News’s Sean Hannity, the Liberty University Standing for Freedom Center, or the Robertson School of Government at Pat Robertson’s Regent University. And for American history, conservative Evangelicals turn to David Barton, the founder and CEO of WallBuilders, an Evangelical organization in Aledo, Texas.”
    • The author is a history prof at Messiah University, an evangelical school.

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). 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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 459



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 the 459th installation, a number I find interesting simply because 4 + 5 = 9.

I should probably mention that I’m not sharing any articles about last night’s presidential debate today because I want to wait and see how people are thinking about the race after a few days. The reactions right now are too raw.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. A slap in the face for psychobabble (Janan Ganesh, Financial Times): “I can’t be the only foreigner in the US who has been chided for not having a therapist by someone who — choosing my words carefully here — seems to be getting uneven results from theirs. If psychobabble were confined to actors going up to collect their big certificates, I’d leave it alone. But, like sand, it gets everywhere.”
    • Older but gold.
  2. Rebels with a religious cause: Meet New York’s avant-garde conservatives (Leonardo Bevilacqua, Christian Science Monitor): “Originally from Philadelphia, Salomé has been a devout Catholic since she was young. She wears a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat around town sometimes as an act of ironic defiance. And even though she’s a transgender woman, she prefers the term of an earlier age: castrato.  But first and foremost, she says, she’s a child of God.”
    • Interesting and full of surprises.
  3. A Partial Explanation of Zoomer Girl Derangement (Zinnia, Substack): “Why are young women today so deranged? Because no one is honest with them and they cannot be honest with themselves. Parents lie to you, teachers lie to you, friends lie to you, everyone lies to you. If anyone dares tell you the truth, they are ostracized. My teenage self could only find truth smuggled away in the dark recesses of obscure online communities; usually couched in layers of ironic (and sincere) bigotry. And while I did not enjoy the bigotry (at the time), I found value in engaging with the transgressive material I came across because I felt that it expressed truths otherwise unavailable to me. Today, truth lies within the domain of internet ghettos, siloed away from the rest of polite society. At best, what society tells you is entirely unhelpful: ‘You’re beautiful just the way you are.’ At worst, what society tells you is entirely destructive: ‘If you feel alienated by your body, you should maybe consider a mastectomy.’ ”
    • A bit vulgar in places, but interesting. Kinda long.
  4. Elite misinformation is an underrated problem (Matt Yglesias, Substack): “…all this sloppy work and misleading rhetoric is both more impactful than a lot of people realize, and also a lot less tactically savvy than those doing it think. The problem is that it’s about a million times easier to persuade a highly engaged member of your team of something than it is to persuade a swing voter (who is probably skeptical, cynical, and not that engaged with politics) or a member of the opposition (who instinctively assumes you’re lying about everything). So when you put something out there that’s false or misleading, you’re about a million times more likely to confuse people who are friendly to your cause than to actually persuade anyone worth persuading.”
  5. It Is Time for Radical Candor (Kevin D. Williamson, The Dispatch): “It’s another little Battle of Stalingrad: It’s a pity somebody has to win; all a decent person can do is pray for casualties.… Because we are governed by imbeciles and thieves and miscreants and degenerates and people who are willing to put up with all that imbecility and thievery and miscreance and degeneracy if it gets them even such a pathetic prize as a temporary seat in the U.S. House of Representatives…”
  6. How (and How Not) to Wait (Mark Vroegop, Crossway): “Focus. Adore. Seek. Trust. That’s how you wait on the Lord. It’s how you live on what’s true about God when you don’t know what’s true about your life.… Rather than allowing strong emotions to hold you hostage, you can embrace a strategy (FAST) that welcomes God’s grace into your uncertainty.”
    • Recommended by a student.
  7. I feel awkward sharing this, but I was interviewed for a podcast. I did not choose the title (nor even the topic): Why I am NOT a Calvinist: Breaking Down Everything from Calvinism, to Can We Lose Our Salvation (Kingdom Come Podcast, YouTube): one hour long.

Less Serious Things Which Interested Glen

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). 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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 458



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 458, a number with very few factors. 458 = 229 · 2.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. America’s Top Export May Be Anxiety (Derek Thompson, The Atlantic): “We’re seeing the international transmission of a novel Western theory of mental health. It’s the globalization of Western—and, just maybe, American—despair.… According to the podcast search engine Listen Notes, more than 5,500 podcasts have the word trauma in their title. In celebrity media, mental-health testimonials are so common that they’ve spawned a subgenre of summaries of celebrity mental-health testimonials, including ’39 Celebrities Who Have Opened Up About Mental Health,’ ‘What 22 Celebrities Have Said About Having Depression,’ and ’12 Times Famous Men Got Real About Mental Health.’ ”
    • Polymath Tyler Cowen called this “one of the best and most important pieces of the year.” Unlocked.
  2. How to get 7th graders to smoke (Adam Mastroianni, Substack): “Nobody thinks they can whip up an iPhone in their garage over the weekend, but most people think they know how to save the children, fix the schools, reform the prisons, overhaul healthcare, repair politics, restore civility, and bring about world peace. Perhaps that’s why we have iPhones and we don’t have any of those other things.”
    • This is a humbling essay.
  3. ChatGPT is bullshit (Michael Townsen Hicks, James Humphries & Joe Slater, Ethics and Information Technology): “The machines are not trying to communicate something they believe or perceive. Their inaccuracy is not due to misperception or hallucination. As we have pointed out, they are not trying to convey information at all. They are bullshitting.”
    • The authors are at the University of Glasgow. Apologies for the language, but the language is at the heart of the point the authors are making.
  4. No Longer Pitiable (Jared Hayden, Mere Orthodoxy): “For Paul, what makes singleness ‘better’ is not the absence of sex as such, for neither sex nor marriage is a sin, as he is at pains to show. Rather, singleness is the ‘happier’ state because it provides believers the opportunity to be ‘anxious about the things of the Lord’ rather than ‘worldly things’ because the ‘appointed time has grown very short.’ For Paul, all singles should live devoted to the Lord… one either leverages singleness for the Lord, like Paul; or one leverages it for worldly or sinful purposes, like idle widows (1 Tim 5:13).”
    • A theologically rich essay about singleness.
  5. Evolution May Be Purposeful And It’s Freaking Scientists Out (Andrea Morris, Forbes): “Noble is neutral on religious matters. Yet he sees compelling evidence that purpose may be fundamental to life. He’s determined to debunk the current scientific paradigm and replace the elevated importance of genes with something much more controversial. His efforts have enraged many of his peers but gained support from the next generation of origins-of-life researchers working to topple the reign of gene-centrism.”
  6. Some articles about the war in Gaza:
    • Israelis Are Not Watching the Same War You Are (Ezra Klein, New York Times): “We got used to Israel’s calmest decade, in terms of security and casualties. And all of a sudden, people understand that this was not feasible for the long run. That is to say that we will probably have to see more soldiers fighting in the north and in the south for the coming years, maybe decades. And there will be a death toll. It’s not going to be a permanent war but maybe a permanent state of ongoing operations.”
      • A fascinating (albeit a tad long) interview with an Israeli intellectual.
    • Getting Aid Into Gaza (German Lopez, New York Times): “Israel has enforced opaque rules that turn back trucks meant for Gaza, citing security concerns. Egypt has blocked aid to protest Israel’s military operations. Hamas has stolen, or tried to steal, aid shipments for its own use.”
      • A reasonably fair-minded article. Examines multiple perspectives.
  7. Abused by the badge (Jessica Contrera, Jenn Abelson, John D. Harden, Hayden Godfrey & Nate Jones, Washington Post): “A Washington Post investigation has found that over the past two decades, hundreds of law enforcement officers in the United States have sexually abused children while officials at every level of the criminal justice system have failed to protect kids, punish abusers and prevent additional crimes… The Post identified at least 1,800 state and local law enforcement officers who were charged with crimes involving child sexual abuse from 2005 through 2022.”
    • I have long said that the people throwing stones at the Roman Catholic Church for their sexual abuse crisis would be stunned with the far worse numbers on child sexual abuse in the public school system (and I stand by that). But I did not foresee this one and I should have. There is authority, therefore there is abuse of authority.
    • Unlocked.

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). 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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 457



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 457, the sum of three consecutive primes (149 + 151 + 157) and also apparently the index of a prime Euclid number, but I would be lying if I said I knew what that is.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. The case for showing up to church—even if you don’t believe in God (Emma Camp, America): “But despite my regular church attendance for almost two years now, I still haven’t developed a rock-solid faith. I’ve joked—and said as much on Twitter—that I only believe in God about 30 percent of the time on a good day. My ambivalence does set me apart from most of my friends from church, a group that includes a few seminarians. But it doesn’t keep me from coming back.”
  2. The Weird Nerd comes with trade-offs (Ruxandra Teslo, Substack): “To formalize this: ‘Any system that is not explicitly pro-Weird Nerd will turn anti-Weird Nerd pretty quickly.’ That is because most people, while liking non-conformism in the abstract and post-facto, are not very willing to actually put up with the personality trade-offs of Weird Nerds in practice. There is an increasing number of people right now who are thinking about how to build better intellectual institutions… it’s worth thinking about what kind of people one wants to attract in these institutions and how to keep them there. And I believe the conversation here starts with accepting a simple truth, which is that Weird Nerds will have certain traits that might be less than ideal, that these traits come ‘in a package’ with other, very good traits, and if one makes filtering or promotion based on the absence of those traits a priority, they will miss out on the positives.”
  3. An Object Lesson From Covid on How to Destroy Public Trust (Zeynep Tufekci, New York Times): “If the government misled people about how Covid is transmitted, why would Americans believe what it says about vaccines or bird flu or H.I.V.? How should people distinguish between wild conspiracy theories and actual conspiracies?… As the expression goes, trust is built in drops and lost in buckets, and this bucket is going to take a very long time to refill.”
    • Unlocked.
  4. ‘Sham’ Surgery Can Actually Fix Our Bodies. So Why Are Some Against It? (Jeremy Howick, Science Alert): “More broadly, a review of 53 placebo-controlled surgery trials found that sham surgery was as good as the real thing in over half of the studies. Sham knee and back surgery works as well as real surgery for pain. Pretending to put brain implants works as well as real implants for reducing migraine attacks. Fake laser surgery works as well as real laser surgery to stop gastrointestinal bleeding. And fake surgery works as well as real surgery for making sphincters function more efficiently.”
  5. The Day My Old Church Canceled Me Was a Very Sad Day (David French, New York Times): “When I left the Republican Party, I thought a shared faith would preserve my denominational home. But I was wrong. Race and politics trumped truth and grace, and now I’m no longer welcome in the church I loved.”
    • Unlocked.
  6. Alito’s ‘Godliness’ Comment Echoes a Broader Christian Movement (Elizabeth Dias and Lisa Lerer, New York Times): “It’s a phrase not commonly associated with legal doctrine: returning America to ‘a place of godliness.’ And yet when asked by a woman posing as a Catholic conservative at a dinner last week, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. appeared to endorse the idea.… Now, Supreme Court justices have become caught up in the debate over whether America is a Christian nation. While Justice Alito is hardly openly championing these views, he is embracing language and symbolism that line up with a much broader movement pushing back against the declining power of Christianity as a majority religion in America.”
    • This caveat is significant and should perhaps be higher placed in the story: “The Times has not heard the full unedited recording and has reviewed only the edited recording posted online, after the woman who recorded them, a liberal activist, declined to send the Times the full recording.” 
    • Related: What Exactly Did Justice Alito Say That Was Wrong? (Marc O. DeGirolami, New York Times): “Where was the justice’s error? He did not mention any pending case or litigation. He did not name any person or party. He did not discuss any specific political or moral matter. Most of the exchange consists of the filmmaker’s own goading remarks, followed by the justice’s vague and anodyne affirmations and replies. About what you might expect when cornered at a boring cocktail party.”
    • Related: Wild Distortions of ‘Secret Recording’ of Alito (Ed Whelan, National Review): “You are welcome of course to disagree with Alito.… But it’s beyond bizarre to find it newsworthy that Alito made a private comment that mirrors public speeches he has been giving.”
  7. Against Ambition (Grace Carroll, Stanford Daily): “Wineburg walked into his classroom intending to make a brief opening comment about the scene outside. What followed — a tirade against a culture of careerism so blatantly profit-motivated that students were being lured, literally, to flashing salaries like moths to flame — ‘sort of took on a life of its own,’ he recalled recently. It’s known colloquially among some students as ‘the rant.’ I was one of the frosh sitting in Wineburg’s class that fall. I remember the rant.… mostly I remember feeling like someone was lifting something very heavy off of me, a weight I hadn’t realized I was carrying until it was gone.”

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

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). 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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 456



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 456, a very satisfying number: each digit increases and I like it.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Holy Haggling: Learn to Pray like Abraham (Justin Dillehay, The Gospel Coalition): “We’re often ready to write off an otherwise good church or organization because of a few bad apples within it. But Abraham is the exact opposite—he asks God to spare an entire city of bad apples for the sake of a few good apples within it.”
    • Recommended by a student.
  2. The Nonprofit Industrial Complex and the Corruption of the American City (Jonathan Ireland, American Affairs): “Whoever came up with the idea of calling these organizations ‘nonprofits’ was a marketing genius on the level of Steve Jobs. When someone hears the word nonprofit, they assume that such an organization is working for the public good; that it serves the homeless, protects the weak, exists for the benefit and the betterment of society at large.… Consequently, nonprofits receive a benefit of the doubt that would not be granted to any other form of private corporation. Yet nonprofit organizations are frequently the exact opposite of what they appear to be.”
    • Stunning stories in here. 100% worth your time.
  3. Why the Pandemic Probably Started in a Lab, in 5 Key Points (Alina Chan, New York Times): “Ultimately, a never-before-seen SARS-like virus with a newly introduced furin cleavage site, matching the description in the Wuhan institute’s Defuse proposal, caused an outbreak in Wuhan less than two years after the proposal was drafted.…”
    • Unlocked. Emphasis removed for readability. The author is a molecular biologist at a joint MIT/Harvard institute.
  4. Men Only Want One Thing (Nathan Beacom, Comment): “Over a hundred years ago, William James, the father of American psychology, argued that men need a ‘moral equivalent of war.’ To retain virtue, James thought, men needed the soul-shaping force of military life without war’s destructive consequences.”
    • This is a solid article, especially recommended for guys. Ladies, you can eavesdrop if you like.
  5. Why No One Will Save Sudan (Cameron Hudson, Persuasion): “For those tracking events in the country, a seemingly endless thread of headlines and editorials lament this ‘forgotten conflict.’ But this is the wrong framing. The crisis in Sudan is neither forgotten nor ignored. It is de-prioritized. And that is worse.… Over the past several weeks, a new Benghazi-like slaughter has been taking shape in the North Darfur city of El Fasher. With nearly one million internally displaced already taking refuge there and more than one million more awaiting a coming onslaught by the Rapid Support Forces militia, which has promised to take the city and complete their takeover of all of Darfur, the specter of genocide once again hangs over the region. Egress out of the city has been cut off, as have aid flows into the city, leading analysts to refer to the city as a ‘kill box.’ ”
  6. Does Divorce Make You Hotter? (Kat Rosenfield, The Free Press): “…[celebratory stories about divorce are] a product of a popular ‘woman empowered by everything woman does’ paradigm, where all choices made by women are a product of liberation, hence feminist, hence good. There is no error or disappointment that can’t be yass-kweened away.… It’s only women who are seen as requiring this particular brand of cheerleading, who are relentlessly encouraged to reframe all their negative experiences as the best thing they ever did.”
    • Straight fire throughout. Recommended.
  7. Speech Under the Shadow of Punishment (Jeannie Suk Gersen, New Yorker): “…administrators have become accustomed to using punishment as a go-to solution rather than as a last resort. The emphasis on disciplinary action became particularly pronounced in the twenty-tens, when universities were under urgent pressure to address campus sex discrimination and harassment.… [furthermore] some students may have been disciplined not merely for participating in an encampment but for violating discrimination, harassment, or bullying policies. The pressure to enforce those policies cannot be overstated. In the twenty-tens, the Department of Education investigated many schools, including Harvard, for failing to adequately address allegations of sexual misconduct; universities today are once again under federal scrutiny, which threatens their federal funding and tax-exempt status, for failing to address allegations of antisemitism.”
    • The author is a law prof at Harvard.

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

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). 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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 455



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 455, which is the result of 15 choose 3 — how many ways you can select three objects from a collection of fifteen.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. What I’ve Learned From a Decade on the Dating Apps (Katelyn Beaty, Substack): “Dating apps are not a neutral tool for finding love. Like all technologies, they act on us, even as we think we are in control, acting on them. They shape how we see other people, and ourselves, and romantic love itself. According to the apps, love is the optimization of traits that yield the highest rates of mutual satisfaction and personal growth for two atomized individuals. This self-expressive model of romance may be fine as far as it goes, but it’s a major departure from the basis of love in previous eras.”
    • Emphasis in original.
    • I also liked this bit: “It’s as if these apps don’t want users to find romance, because they are incentivized, to the tune of $5.3 billion in 2022, to keep us swiping and searching.”
  2. Are Gaza Protests Happening Mostly at Elite Colleges? (Marc Novicoff & Robert Kelchen, Washington Monthly): “Using data from Harvard’s Crowd Counting Consortium and news reports of encampments, we matched information on every institution of higher education that has had pro-Palestinian protest activity (starting when the war broke out in October until early May) to the colleges in our 2023 college rankings. Of the 1,421 public and private nonprofit colleges that we ranked, 318 have had protests and 123 have had encampments. By matching that data to percentages of students at each campus who receive Pell Grants (which are awarded to students from moderate- and low-income families), we came to an unsurprising conclusion: Pro-Palestinian protests have been rare at colleges with high percentages of Pell students. Encampments at such colleges have been rarer still.”
    • Contains interesting charts.
  3. Spying Arrests Send Chill Through Britain’s Thriving Hong Kong Community (Megan Specia, New York Times): “This month, three men were charged in London with gathering intelligence for Hong Kong and forcing entry into a British residence. While the men have not yet been found innocent or guilty — the trial will not begin until February — the news of the arrests threw a spotlight on many activists’ existing concerns about China’s ability to surveil and harass its citizens abroad, particularly those who have been critical of the government.”
  4. Two articles about surviving cancer:
    • Marital Status and Survival in Patients With Cancer (Aizer et al, Journal of Clinical Oncology): “For five cancers studied (prostate, breast, colorectal, esophageal, and head/neck cancers), the survival benefit associated with marriage was larger than the published survival benefit of chemotherapy. The importance of this study is that it highlights the consistent and substantial impact that features of marriage, particularly social support, can have on cancer detection, treatment, and survival.”
      • From 2013. Marriage is better than chemotherapy. To be clear: if you have cancer also receive medical treatment even if you’re married.
    • Trial results for new lung cancer drug are ‘off the charts’, say doctors (Andrew Gregory, The Guardian): “Lung cancer is the world’s leading cause of cancer death, accounting for about 1.8m deaths every year. Survival rates in those with advanced forms of the disease, where tumours have spread, are particularly poor. More than half of patients (60%) diagnosed with advanced forms of lung cancer who took lorlatinib were still alive five years later with no progression in their disease, data presented at the world’s largest cancer conference showed. The rate was 8% in patients treated with a standard drug, the trial found.”
      • Amazing!
  5. Two articles about the job market:
    • Why Can’t College Grads Find Jobs? Here Are Some Theories — and Fixes. (Peter Coy, New York Times): “Even though the unemployment rate is low, fewer people are quitting, so fewer jobs are becoming available, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. LinkedIn’s estimate of the national hiring rate was down 9.5 percent in April from a year earlier.”
      • The article contains other substantive insights, but that one stood out to me.
    • The case of the angry history postdoc (Noah Smith, Substack): “Why is no one hiring historians? There are four basic reasons. The first and most important — which almost no one ever talks about, because it’s supposed to be so obvious — is that the U.S. university system is largely done expanding. The 20th century saw a massive build-out of universities, which required hiring a massive number of tenure-track professors. Then it stopped. And because tenure is for life, the departments at the existing universities are clogged with a ton of old profs who will never leave until they age out. New hires must therefore slow to a trickle, since as long as the number of profs is roughly constant, they can only be hired to replace people who retire or die.”
  6. Live by the Law or Die on the Cross (Jeremy England, Tablet Magazine): “What would Jesus do if a Hamas fighter held a Gazan Arab child up as a shield while firing? Hard to say for sure, but anyone who argues that a properly humane response is to die rather than to try to shoot around the child has ample basis in Christianity. The image of the Crucifixion may mean many things, but part of what it means is that accepting corporeal defeat in this world can be a path to God-like virtue and spiritual victory in the world of tomorrow. You will not hear Jesus mentioned when Western leaders speak on how important it is that Israel adhere to international laws of war, but the concept of the innocent civilian enshrined in these laws grew practically out of wars fought within Christendom during the last several hundred years.”
    • Recommended by a student who does not endorse all of the argument but found it fascinating.
  7. A Redemptive Thesis for Artificial Intelligence (Andy Crouch with others, Praxis Labs): “Like the Internet, electricity, and agriculture, AI is a general-purpose technology that can be harnessed to many ends. Redemptive entrepreneurs can lead the way in demonstrating that AI can be deployed — in fact, is best deployed — in ways that dethrone pride, magic, and Mammon and that elevate the dignity of human beings and their capacity to flourish as image bearers in the world.”

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). 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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 454



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 454, a number whose symmetry pleases me.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. The Nones Have Hit a Ceiling (Ryan Burge, Substack): “The rise of the nones may be largely over now. At least it won’t be increasing in the same way that it did in the prior thirty years. Of course, the question is why? I don’t know if I have a bulletproof answer. I think the easiest explanation is that a lot of marginally attached people switched to ‘no religion’ on surveys over the last decade or two. Eventually, there weren’t that many marginally attached folks anymore. All you had left were the very committed religious people who likely won’t become nones for any reason. The loose top soil has been scooped off and hauled away, leaving nothing but hard bedrock underneath.”
    • Emphasis removed for readability.
  2. ‘Loud-mouthed bully’: CS Lewis satirised Oxford peer in secret poems (Dalya Alberge, The Guardian): “Joking that an infuriated Lewis had perhaps composed them during one of Wyld’s lectures, Horobin noted that one of them identifies Wyld through an acrostic with the initial letters spelling out the name ‘Henry Cecil Wyld’. He added: ‘On the remaining blank pages he penned a series of additional satirical verses lampooning Wyld – one in English, alongside others in Latin, Greek, French and even Old English.’ ”
    • Even Lewis’s shade was epic and erudite. I love this story. Also, a reminder that every word will be brought into judgement — even words uttered (or penned) in secret. I should mention he would not yet have been a Christian when these poems appear to have been composed.
  3. What Do Students at Elite Colleges Really Want? (Francesca Mari, New York Times): “…everyone arrived on campus hoping to change the world. But what they learn at Harvard, he said, is that actually doing anything meaningful is too hard. People give up on their dreams, he told me, and decide they might as well make money. Someone else told me it was common at parties to hear their peers say they just want to sell out.”
    • Unlocked
  4. Redefining the scientific method: as the use of sophisticated scientific methods that extend our mind (Alexander Krauss, PNAS Nexus): “This study reveals that 25% of all discoveries since 1900 did not apply the common scientific method (all three features)—with 6% of discoveries using no observation, 23% using no experimentation, and 17% not testing a hypothesis. Empirical evidence thus challenges the common view of the scientific method.”
    • From the abstract because it is so succinctly put, but the article itself is easy to read. Recommended. The author is a philosopher of science at the London School of Economics.
  5. American Missionaries Killed in Port-au-Prince (Daniel Silliman, Christianity Today): “Criminal gangs killed nearly 5,000 people in Haiti last year. Then, in 2024, the gangs banded together, turned against the politicians who had once collaborated with them for power, and launched coordinated attacks on the government. The gangs set police stations on fire, shut down the main airport and seaport, and broke open two prisons, releasing an estimated 4,000 inmates. They vandalized government offices, stormed the National Palace, and took control of about 80 percent of the capital.”
  6. Group chats rule the world. (Sriram Krishnan, personal blog): “Most of the interesting conversations in tech now happen in private group chats: Whatsapp, Telegram, Signal, small invite-only Discord groups.… The great culture wars of 2020 meant people, especially in tech, weren’t comfortable sharing their views in public lest they get various online mobs after them.”
  7. What ‘Tradwives’—and Some of Their Critics—Miss (Hannah Anderson, The Dispatch): “But women haven’t been uniquely lied to. Families have been lied to about what their homes can and should be. Men and women alike have been told that their greatest achievements lie outside of it. And yet, a marriage reduced from two ‘careerists’ to one is still serving corporate interests. At best, a woman sacrificing her career to enable her husband’s career (as Butker asserts his wife does and as he counseled new female graduates) misses the point. At worst, it enables the very marketplace that desires nothing more than to creep into our homes and commodify every expression of goodness and beauty that happens there—even if what we’re selling is traditionalism.”

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

  • Stanford University Tour by Drone (YouTube): six minutes (it’s a little long, but the first bit is nice to watch)
  • Will 18 year old Emma Olson FOOL Penn & Teller with a Rubik’s cube? (Penn & Teller Fool Us, YouTube): nine minutes
  • When an Eel Takes a Bite Then an Octopus Might Claim an Eyeball (Joshua Rapp Learn, New York Times): “In each video, the common octopus may sacrifice arms, much as lizards drop their tails to distract predators, Dr. Hernández-Urcera said. In the first video, the octopus loses three arms while the one in the second video loses two — but they can fully regrow limbs in about 45 days, some lab tests show.”
    • Rarely do I find that news articles are improved by embedded videos. This is one of the exceptions. Very cool.
  • Are Plants Intelligent? If So, What Does That Mean for Your Salad? (Elizabeth A. Harris, New York Times): “Obviously we’re animals that need to eat plants. There’s no way around that. But there is a way of imagining a future with agricultural practices and harvesting practices that are more tuned into the life style of the plant, the things it’s capable of and its proclivities. This opens up the world of plant ethics.”
    • The article itself is interesting. The title made me laugh.

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). 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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 453

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. Reconciling Christianity with intellectual curiosity (Nadia Jo, Stanford Daily): “One of the values Jesus emphasized most is humility, and I strive to implement that value in my intellectual life in addition to my personal life. My ethos of intellectual curiosity involves curiosity, challenging and wrestling with claims and lines of reasoning, flexible thinking and respect for people who put in the same effort. I hope that my nonreligious peers can come to understand and appreciate Christianity’s deep intellectual tradition, even if they don’t agree with its conclusions. And, I encourage more Christians to live up to that tradition and examine their own belief. You’ll probably find it more rewarding than you expect.”
    • Nadia is a student in Chi Alpha.
  2. Homeless man is brought to church and starts CURSING right in the middle of the sermon while the pastor is preaching on the parable of the lost sheep. (Twitter): the link title is clickbaity, but the video is really good. 17 minutes but 100% worth your time.
  3. The Single Christian (Alexandra DeSanctis Marr, Religion & Liberty Online): “Rather than offering sympathy to those who are single for reasons outside their control, Broadway argues, Christians often send the message that singleness is an affliction endured by those who simply aren’t trying hard enough to find a spouse. But, as she explains, there isn’t an easy answer to what is ultimately a problem of numbers: ‘When women outnumber men in the church, that leaves three options: polygamy, marrying a non-Christian or staying single. Which would you like us to choose?’”
    • That’s a great line by Broadway.
  4. The Scholar of Comedy (David Remnick interviewing Jerry Seinfeld, The New Yorker): “Every artist is only showing you his best. When you watch a movie, every scene—they only show you the one take that worked. Seventeen times, they missed it. You’re only seeing the peak of it. But in standup you gotta make it happen every night. That’s the difference. That’s why actors, I think, like to do the theatre. They want to be honest. They want to be held to account. And only a live audience holds you to account.”
  5. Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker says Pride Month is example of ‘deadly sin’ during commencement speech (Lukas Weese, New York Times): “Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker, speaking during a commencement speech at Benedictine College, referred to Pride Month, the events in June demonstrating inclusivity and support for the LGBTQ+ community, as an example of the ‘deadly sins’ as he advocated for a more conservative brand of Catholicism.”
    • I am always surprised when people seem surprised when religious people say religious things.
    • Related: Harrison Butker jersey sales increase in aftermath of Benedictine College address (Greg Dailey and Ryan Hennessy, KCTV 5): “Amid reaction to Harrison Butker’s now-viral commencement speech at Benedictine College on Saturday, the placekicker seems to have gained several new fans in the process. According to NFL.com, Butker’s jersey sales are among the most popular online. Only Travis Kelce rated higher than Butker, with Mahomes coming in right behind the star from Georgia Tech.”
    • This is common enough that there is probably a term for it: high-status people denounce something and or pretend it doesn’t exist, whereas many lower-status people really like it. This is a good example of this, as is the New York Times bestseller list compared to actual sales numbers.
  6. Campus protest-related:
    • Seeing the University More Clearly (David Pozen, blog): “To simplify somewhat, we might say that professors are granted a number of basic rights within the university, including rights to free speech and due process and quasi-property rights in the job itself. Students and staff are granted a partially overlapping, though weaker, bundle of rights. What none of us have are governance rights against the trustees who really run the place. We enjoy various individual privileges and protections, but not the franchise. Legal scholars and political scientists have a term for this sort of arrangement, too: liberal autocracy.”
      • The author is a law prof at Columbia and has some insightful thoughts about how shifts in university governance in recent years have provided the context for how campuses are responding to protests.
    • Modern Protest Culture is Crippled by Internet-Brain (Samuel D. James, Substack): “A transformational protest is one that bears the brunt of reality and, in so doing, convinces others to join in changing it. The inability to bear this reality is not just fragility, it is precisely the way computer systems work; when the autonomous system fails to yield a pleasant or smooth solution, it must be fixed, not endured. Contemporary student activism reflects the assumptions and habits of the digital era.”
      • Emphasis in original.
  7. Belgian Government Will Intervene In Cases Where Prostitutes Refuse Sexual Acts Too Often (Amy Hamm, ProPublica): “Prostitutes are to be granted ‘rights’ to refuse sexual acts, stop sexual acts, perform sexual acts in the manner they prefer, and refuse to sit behind Amsterdam-style windows (public facing windows where prostitutes are on display). However, should a prostitute use these ‘rights’ 10 times within six months, their pimp can then call on a government mediator to intervene.”
    • Pimps used to have to beat their prostitutes. Now they can have the government use force on their behalf. #progress
    • This is the logic of “bake the cake, bigot” taken to its ultimate conclusion — conscience is nothing and the market is everything and personal convictions are inconveniences to be trampled upon.
    • If, as some feminists tell us, sex work is real work then you can’t be shocked at stuff like this. If, on the other hand, prostitution is both a tragedy and a vice you can get outraged.

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

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). 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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 452

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.

452 is a product of 113. Specifically, 452 = 4 · 113. A website informed that it is also the closest integer to 7π, but that’s a weird fact.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. I Knew I Would Pay a Price for My Faith’: China Releases Missionary After Seven Years (CJ Wu interviewing John Cao, Christianity Today): “I did not have a Bible while in prison. Although both my mother and my lawyer brought Bibles to my prison, the correctional staff refused to hand them over to me. My mother would write down Bible verses in her letters to me. Yet the police checked our correspondence: If faith was mentioned in my letters, they would not be delivered. Both prisons had small libraries with hundreds of books. I would search for Leo Tolstoy’s books, since there are some Bible verses in his books. When I found them, I’d be very, very happy and copy the verses in my notebook. In the four years I was there, I copied dozens of verses.”
  2. The adolescent mental health mess (Lucy Foulkes, Medium): “We are in a situation where some adolescents are very legitimately experiencing mental health crises, without decent treatment, while others are inaccurately describing typical developmental stress with the language of disorder.… The whole thing is a mess, and a thousand miles away from the original goal of mental health awareness.”
    • The author is a psychologist at Oxford.
    • Amplified by the New York Times: Are We Talking Too Much About Mental Health? (Ellen Barry, New York Times): “[The] training could encourage ‘co-rumination,’ the kind of long, unresolved group discussion that churns up problems without finding solutions.… Co-rumination appears to be higher in girls, who tend to come into the program more distressed, as well as more attuned to their friends, he said. ‘It might be,’ he said, ‘that they kind of get together and make things a little bit worse for each other.’”
  3. Perspectives and news about the college protests
    • The People Setting America on Fire (Park MacDougald, Tablet Magazine): “In fact, it is a mistake both to view the campus protests as a ‘student’ movement and to regard the outsiders as ‘infiltrators’ or somehow separate from the movement. Rather, student activists have been working together with outsiders, with whom they are linked via overlapping activist networks and nationwide organizations.… wealthy donors have been subsidizing months of rolling disruptive street protests by a grab bag of revolutionary and anti-Israel radicals. That leads naturally to a question: To what end?”
    • An Inside Look at the Student Takeover of Columbia’s Hamilton Hall (Sharon Otterman, New York Times): “[The maintenance worker] said he tried to block them and they tried to reason with him to get out of the way, telling him ‘this is bigger than you.’ One person, he recalled, told him he didn’t get paid enough to deal with this. Someone tried to offer him ‘a fistful of cash.’ He said he replied: “I don’t want your money, dude. Just get out of the building.” … Both Mr. Torres and Mr. Wilson said they strongly objected to the tactics of the occupiers, which they said had taken a toll on them. Neither man ever wants to work in Hamilton Hall again.”
      • A pretty wild story told from a unique perspective
    • How Counterprotesters at U.C.L.A. Provoked Violence, Unchecked for Hours (EIGHT JOURNALISTS!, New York Times): “A New York Times examination of more than 100 videos from clashes at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that violence ebbed and flowed for nearly five hours, mostly with little or no police intervention. The violence had been instigated by dozens of people who are seen in videos counterprotesting the encampment.… Fifteen people were reportedly injured in the attack, according to a letter sent by the president of the University of California system to the board of regents.”
    • Behind the Ivy Intifada (Musa al-Gharbi, Compact Magazine): “Contrary to earlier claims by university and city officials about a large proportion of ‘outside agitators,’ more than 70 percent of those arrested at Columbia had a direct institutional tie to the university. This was reflected in how they were treated after arrest. Most of those swept up were released without charges. Among Columbia affiliates who were formally charged, none faced more than a single misdemeanor charge. Meanwhile, those who faced charges at City College, the nearby public university raided by police the same night, were all hit with felonies. While it’s possible that the City College kids just engaged in more extreme and unlawful activity, it seems more likely that belonging to the elite paid criminal-justice dividends for the Columbia arrestees.”
      • Wow. Well worth reading. Full of snarky insight. The author is a professor of communication at Stony Brook and is pro-Palestinian.
    • Check Your Privilege (Nick Catoggio, The Dispatch): “Academia could select for kids who show intellectual humility and curiosity, to borrow a point from my colleague Sarah Isgur. Instead they’ve selected for kids who feel not merely entitled to demand that their elders ‘check their privilege’ but morally justified in acting aggressively to make sure they do. All told, one might say that progressives, the great enemies of colonialism, have … colonized higher education over the past half-century. And you know how settler-colonialists are. They can be very defensive when you demand that they vacate territory they regard as rightly theirs. The behavior of campus progressives this month has radiated the sense that American universities are ‘theirs’ in a way that isn’t true of other students. It’s been pointed out repeatedly but can’t be emphasized enough that the sort of disruption in which they’ve engaged wouldn’t be tolerated from those whose political beliefs offended the administration’s leftist orthodoxy.”
  4. Perspectives and news about the war in Gaza
    • One Photo That Captures the Loss in Gaza (Nicholas Kristof, New York Times): “An American surgeon who volunteered in Gaza sent me a photo that sears me with its glimpse of overwhelming grief: A woman mourns her young son.… The nurses and other doctors who were in the I.C.U. that day said that Karam died of complications from malnutrition.”
    • Israel orders Al Jazeera to close its local operation and seizes some of its equipment (Tia Goldenberg and Jon Gambrell, AP News): “The extraordinary order, which includes confiscating broadcast equipment, preventing the broadcast of the channel’s reports and blocking its websites, is believed to be the first time Israel has ever shuttered a foreign news outlet operating in the country.… While including on-the-ground reporting of the war’s casualties, its Arabic arm often publishes verbatim video statements from Hamas and other regional militant groups.… Al Jazeera has been closed or blocked by other Mideast governments.”
    • Kol Hakavod (Russ Roberts, Substack): “Israel going to the finals really shouldn’t float my boat and make my heart sing. But it did. Because here’s the thing. The decision about who advanced to the Eurovision finals tomorrow night was done by a popular vote. There’s no panel of judges in the semifinal round.… Golan advanced. Despite the thousands who marched in the streets and the dozens who booed Golan in the rehearsal hall, probably millions, from the safety of their homes, were able to cast an anonymous vote for Israel.”
  5. The Heresy of Christian Buddhism (Anonymous, Substack): “…while many men can easily recognise the moral evil of debauchery and worldliness, not many see the danger of an ascetic puritanism that pushes too far. Too much emphasis on sin, too much emphasis on humility, too much emphasis on heaven and even too much emphasis on Christ to the exclusion of man soon leads to a Christianity that hates the individual, individuation and the created world. Christianity starts to resemble Buddhism.”
    • Follow-up: The Buddhist Mood in Evangelicalism (Aaron Renn, Substack): “…the de facto definition of idolatry is wanting anything so much that, if you don’t get it, you are very upset. Hence, the path to avoiding sin and idolatry, the way to please God, is to purge oneself of desires. This is Buddhism. Undoubtedly it would be possible for someone to be engaged in idolatry in some of these cases. But there are a lot of things in this world you should be upset about.”
  6. When Intrusive Thoughts Come (John Beeson, The Gospel Coalition): “Nurture mental playgrounds of gospel creativity.Many of us expend so much energy trying to knock down destructive intrusive thoughts that we have no energy to build constructive imaginations. We believe our minds are dangerous and need to be shut down. But your mind is a gift God intends to be leveraged for his glory. He desires to reshape your mind to become a factory of God-glorifying curiosity.”
    • Recommended by a student

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

  • Cruise ship sails into New York City port with 44-foot dead whale across its bow (ABC News): “A cruise ship sailed into a New York City port with a 44-foot dead whale across its bow, marine authorities said. The whale, identified as an endangered sei whale, was caught on the ship’s bow when it arrived at the Port of Brooklyn on Saturday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries spokesperson Andrea Gomez said.”
    • I guess it’s the nautical equivalent of a car hitting a deer. Yikes.

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). 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.