On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues, with a preference for content from academics and influential voices. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.
A QUOTE I COULDN’T GET OUT OF MY HEAD
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” — Cardinal Francis George (1937–2015)
Including a quote may or may not become a recurring thing. Feedback welcomed.
LINKS WHICH CAUGHT MY INTEREST
- Some helpful articles about processing the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando:
- After Orlando Can We Still Weep Together? (Russell Moore, blog)
- Orlando — Grief In A Time Of Culture War (David Ould, Gospel Coalition)
- Tears For Orlando (Vince Vitale, RZIM)
- 5 Ways Christians Can Respond To The Orlando Shooting (Joe Carter, Gospel Coalition)
- A brief commentary on how confounding the situation is (reddit): I am not sure all these claims are confirmed. Still — wow.
- Anderson Cooper’s Orlando Ranting Is Bad For America (Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist): one of the most surreal things for me is that many people are blaming Christianity for the actions of a Muslim shooter. This is definitely not the most important angle to the story, but it is worth considering.
- A History of the Second Amendment in Two Paintings (Ezra Klein, Wonkblog): In the wake of Orlando, a lot of people are talking about guns. This brief article from a few years ago is still one of the most insightful things I’ve read about firearms in America. The Yale professor interviewed, Dr. Amar, also wrote a lengthier article about this for Slate.
- A handful of facts which taken together make both sides uncomfortable: FBI homicide data by weapon, violence against gay people is common, guns deter violence against gay people, some gun control laws do seem to reduce gun deaths, civilians with guns sometimes stop mass shootings, and the leading causes of gun deaths are suicide followed by homicide with police shootings and accidental shootings coming in way behind (shockingly far behind if you extrapolate from what you see on the news).
- Two comedians take opposite views. Both are vulgar, hilarious, and informative — Bill Burr buys a shotgun and Jim Jeffries on why Americans are nuts.
- See also the theological debate about guns I featured in volume 48.
- Why there is a “gay ban” on blood donations (reddit): also something people are talking about since Orlando. This is a very simple explanation. The comments are informative. I find it particularly interesting that describing the situation accurately practically forces a focus on behavior and not orientation. The fact-driven explanation winds up framing things similarly to the way evangelicals talk when discussing LGBT issues.
- Epic Correction of the Decade (Steven Hayward, Powerline): the authors of a widely-reported study about personality types and political affiliations accidentally coded their data backwards. Their real results are the literal opposite of what you remember seeing in the news. Regardless of your political propensities, this is kinda hilarious. More at RetractionWatch.
- Study: schools that give away condoms see more teen births, not fewer (Sarah Kliff, Vox): “A new research paper suggests that [giving away condoms] may have backfired. It finds that access to condoms in school led to a 10 percent increase in teen births.”
- The Sphinx Was Disappointed In Them (G.K. Chesterton): “Now the mistake of critics is not that they criticise the world; it is that they never criticise themselves. They compare the alien with the ideal; but they do not at the same time compare themselves with the ideal; rather they identify themselves with the ideal.” Chesterton was one of the most important Christian intellectuals of the 20th century. This almost became the quote of the week.
- Nation’s Radicalized Christians Praying For Orlando (Babylon Bee)
- Final exam dream (SMBC): in honor of all our graduates
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.