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 and societal 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:
- From the Glen-alluded-to-this-in-his-sermon department:
- The David Foster Wallace commencement address I quoted: This Is Water (pdf, the bit I quoted is on page 7). There is also a youtube version — jump to 17:54.
- The researcher I quoted is Justin Barrett. The quote I read was from Children Are Born Believers in God, Academic Claims, with a fascinating follow-up: Let’s Stick To The Science (which is a rebuttal to criticism of Barrett’s research).
- From the current events department
- Boy, 12, among dozen tortured and crucifed by ISIS in latest atrocity, says aid group (Fox News). Bad stuff is happening.
- South Carolina Churches Are Doing More Than Praying For Flood Victims (Huffington Post). Good stuff is happening in the midst of bad stuff.
- ‘Embrace This Pain,’ Pastor Urges After Oregon Shootings (LA Times). The pastor’s daughter was one of the shooting victims (she was not killed, merely wounded).
- From the all-things-sexual department:
- I assume you have already seen the Stanford study. You might not have looked at the similar national study which came out recently. You can read a summary (Nearly 1 in 4 College Women Say They Have Been Sexually Assaulted, Survey Finds, Inside Higher Ed) or the full thing: Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct (it’s a PDF). The authors state in the article that they have likely overestimated the prevalence of sexual assault because of self-selection bias in the responses and do not know by how much. On a related note (from before this study was released), Megan McArdle — What We Don’t Know About False Claims of Rape.
- Homosexuality May Be Caused By Chemical Modifications to DNA (Science News, Michael Balter). The study is not conclusive, but is the kind of finding I would expect based on the research to date.
- The Downfall of the Ex-Gay Movement (The Atlantic, Jonathan Merritt). Towards the end the article assumes that rejecting a technique is equivalent to rejecting a hope. I know many ministries that don’t believe in reparative therapy that nonetheless believe in transformation. See, for example, No ‘therapy’, but Jesus can change LGBT lives, say evangelical leaders (Religion News Service, Cathy Lynn Grossman).
- Worth reading — Evangelicals Won’t Cave (First Things, Russell Moore): The second through sixth paragraphs are especially good. I see people making the mistake he refers to constantly.
- From the Stanford department: this Daily op-ed caught my eye: Petition To Student Activities and Leadership to End Open Membership. There was a swift nuh-uh from the administration. The petition itself is on change.org. For the record, Chi Alpha has no desire to exclude people from our ministry. I do, however, think that Stanford’s open membership policy needlessly abridges students’ constitutional right to freedom of association. As a private institution, Stanford is allowed to do that… but it is unwise to do so.
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.