Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 37

On Fridays I share articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

Also, I normally include articles from a variety of sources, but this week I noticed that I’m including a bunch from GetReligion. I guess they’ve been on fire lately. 

  1. Death, The Prosperity Gospel, and Me (Kate Bowler, NY Times): This piece is moving and funny and also not quite right… despite her study she still misunderstands some aspects of the Charismatic and Pentecostal world. All in all well worth reading. “No word of a lie: I once saw a megachurch pastor almost choke to death on his own fog machine. Someone had cranked it up to the Holy Spirit maximum.”
  2. Think Pieces on Justice Scalia, Funeral Sermons, Humility, and the First Amendment (Terry Mattingly, GetReligion): Scalia was such a fascinating man.I like what one of our lawyer alumni posted on Facebook: “Justice Scalia! You wrote your opinions with so much life, I guess I thought you’d never die. The world has lost a great grumpy conservative. Rest easy.”
  3. Why Is The Atlantic Surprised That Early Pro-Lifers Were, Uh, Liberals? (Julia Dulin, GetReligion): This is an article about some articles about a book. Meta but fascinating.
  4. Little Sisters of the Poor on Supreme Court case: Why we can’t “just sign the form” (Constance Veit, Catholic Review): Mother Theresa’s compatriots explain their conscientious objection in their own words.
  5. Vote For Trump! Vote For Hilary! Vote For Jesus At This Racially Diverse S.C. Megachurch! (Bobby Ross, GetReligion): Interesting. Also, a reminder that reporters’ perspectives on churches often miss significant details.  “None of the roughly 1,300 words in the Times report is ‘Jesus.’”
  6. Causes and Consequences of the Protestant Reformation (Becker, Pfaff & Rubin, a working paper): There’s a lot here. Recommended for social scientists. One cool bit: “They argue that the spread of university students from Protestant strongholds (Wittenberg and Basel, the intellectual homes of Luther and Zwingli) and orthodox Catholic strongholds (Cologne and Louvain) had a significant impact on whether a town ultimately adopted the Reformation.” Which is a very fancy way of saying God uses university students.
  7. On the random side:

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).

Also, remember that I’m not reporting news — I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it.

Past emails are archived at

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