Things Glen Found Interesting — Election Edition (vol 75)

1 Chronicles 12:32 - they "understood the times"
1 Chronicles 12:32 — they “understood the times”

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

Things Glen Found Interesting — Election Edition

Before I say anything else, I feel the need to say I didn’t have an agenda when selecting these articles other than trying to understand what happened and what it means. I’m not trying to make a case for or against anyone — I just want some insight.

The Election: What Happened?

  1. Few predicted Trump had a good shot of winning. But political science models did. (Andrew Prokop, Vox). Social scientists — believe in your discipline! 
  2. How Half Of America Lost It’s F**king Mind (David Wong, Cracked): If you can’t understand how people voted for Trump, read this. Apologies for the language, but I seriously think this piece should be considered for a Pulitzer. 
  3. The smug style in American liberalism (Emmitt Rensin, Vox): “If the smug style can be reduced to a single sentence, it’s, Why are they voting against their own self-interest? But no party these past decades has effectively represented the interests of these dispossessed. Only one has made a point of openly disdaining them too.” This is an older piece which turned out to have strong predictive value. Shared by a student. There is one factual error I feel obliged to point out: Kim Davis won. She got what she wanted. It’s revealing that even someone sympathetic like Rensin doesn’t seem to realize that. 
  4. Further Thoughts: How Social Justice Ideology Fuels Racism and Sexism (Alastair Roberts, blog): “the overreach of progressive liberals, who are chronically out of touch with social and natural reality, has played a prominent part in provoking the rise of a movement that is resistant to shame and guilt, as these had formerly been weaponized to control them.”
  5. What This Means, How This Happened, What To Do Now (Nathan Robinson, Current Affairs): “Progressives need to understand how people who are different from them think. No more writing them off as racist and deplorable. Even if they are, what good does that do? You need to understand racists not so you can sympathize with them, but so you can figure out what shapes people’s beliefs, and help them reach different beliefs.”
  6. The Age Of Acceptable Lies (Mike Cosper, Gospel Coalition): “In other words, we don’t want Trump to be a misogynist, since it undermines our ability to vote for him. So his words find new interpretations. Or we don’t want Hillary to have a record of disregard for both the rule of law and policies that protect national security. So we don’t believe her email scandal means anything. Or we don’t want the Bible to say hard things about sexuality. So we don’t believe it does.” This article is about something broader than but germane to the election. Read this one even if you skip most articles in this section.

Thoughts From People Who Voted For Trump
I have overheard several people asking how anyone could have voted for Trump. Here are a few first-person accounts.

  1. Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson: Why I Voted For Donald Trump (Bill Johnson, Gospel Herald) 
  2. Donald Trump Key To Isaiah 45 Prophecy? (Lance Wallnau, Charisma News): I’ve heard more than one person reference this idea.
  3. After much prayer and soul-searching, I have reluctantly decided to vote for the Trump-Pence ticket. Here’s why. (Joel Rosenberg, personal blog)
  4. I Am  (Cassie Hewlett, personal blog). The title is not a religious reference. A student shared this one with me.

Implications / Consequences Of The Election

  1. What Trump Might Mean For The Economy (Christos Makridis, Fast Company): yes, that’s our Christos. Proud of the way you put your scholarship out there for the public, man. Keep it up!
  2. Two Concerns for the Religious Right Under President Trump (Colin Hansen, Gospel Coalition): “First, many evangelical leaders had lost touch with the rest of the movement. And second, the rest of the movement had lost touch with the concerns with their minority brothers and sisters.” If you only read one thing in this section, read this.
  3. 4 Problems Associated With White Evangelical Support Of Donald Trump (Thabiti Anyabwile, Gospel Coalition): one significant caveat about both this and the previous article — I expect that the 80% statistic will dwindle under more careful investigation. Consistently in the polls before the election there was a marked difference between people who self-identified as evangelical and those who actually attended evangelical churches. The 80% number is about the former. We don’t yet have data on the latter.
  4. A rash of racist attacks have broken out in the US after Donald Trump’s victory (Heather Timmons, Quartz): very distressing. Serious question: how many racist attacks are there on a daily basis in America? I’m wondering what the comparative uptick is.
  5. Why some fear this election’s lasting damage to American Christianity (Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Washington Post): “When reports emerge about whom evangelicals voted for, they usually mean ‘white evangelicals,’ glossing over a growing racial division within Christianity.”
  6. Trump Won. Here’s How 20 Evangelical Leaders Feel. (Christianity Today): this is well worth reading and not that long.
  7. Don’t Expect The Supreme Court To Change Much (Cass Sunstein, Bloomberg View): Sunstein is a Harvard Law professor.
  8. The Election Is Over. Let’s Get Political (Jonathan Leeman, Gospel Coalition): “Every week, our congregations gather as embassies of heaven. Every week, our pastors make a political speech, and we go out as ambassadors with a political message. ‘The King offers pardon for every rebel who would repent!’”

Other News That Caught My Eye

  1. China’s plan to organize its society relies on ‘big data’ to rate everyone (Simon Denyer, Washington Post): this is the most terrifying thing I’ve read all week. I mentioned this to a Chinese citizen and she said she’d only heard about it from Americans and was skeptical it would happen as described.
  2. Vatican Blinded to Reality in Venezuela (Francis Rooney, Real Clear Religion): “As the crisis spirals out of control, Venezuela is in danger of becoming this hemisphere’s Syria.”

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.

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