Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 76

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

  1. Some thoughts about slavery and the Bible — Does The Bible Support Slavery? (a lecture given by the warden of Tyndale House at Cambridge University, the link is to the video with notes) and Does God Condone Slavery In The Bible? (Part One — Old Testament) and also Part Two — New Testament (longer pieces from Glenn Miller at Christian Thinktank). All three are quite helpful.
  2. Structural Racism (John Piper, Desiring God): “if your mind is Bible-saturated, you would consider it absolutely astonishing if structural racism were not pervasive wherever sin is pervasive. In other words, Bible-shaped people should expect to see structural racism almost everywhere in a fallen world.”
  3. How Methodists Invented Your Kid’s Grape Juice Sugar High (Luke Harrington, Christianity Today): why many churches use grape juice for communion.
  4. More post-election thoughts:
    1. Why Can’t I Mourn? (Kyle James Howard, personal blog): “For many, it appears that it is unacceptable for me to grieve racism and abortion equally. That for many, a Christian only has the capacity to grieve one or the other but not both.”
    2. No, the Majority of American Evangelicals Did Not Vote for Trump (Joe Carter, Gospel Coalition): you may recall that I suggested something similar in last week’s email — here’s a wide-ranging explanation. There is no doubt more to be said on this.
    3. You Are Still Crying Wolf (Scott Alexander, SlateStarCodex): “I realize that all of this is going to make me sound like a crazy person and put me completely at odds with every respectable thinker in the media, but luckily, being a crazy person at odds with every respectable thinker in the media has been a pretty good ticket to predictive accuracy lately, so whatever.” This is a long and detailed argument that Trump is not racist (or at least not more racist than lots of people). I was surprised at how well it held my interest. See also Ross Douthat’s insightful twitter critique of the article. For a contrary point of view (sort of — it’s less about Trump and more about what Trump signifies), see Racism Probably Is Getting Worse. (I Hope I’m Wrong.) (Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg View). If you read one, read all three.
    4. Stunned By Trump, The New York Times Finds Time For Some Soul-Searching (Michael Cieply, Deadspin): “By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called ‘the narrative.’ We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.” This piece is important and depressing.
    5. The coalition for diversity whose diversity did diversity just win? (Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution): do not let the confusing title put you off. Cowen argues that the Republicans are in some senses significantly more diverse than the Democrats.
    6. #NeverTrump And President Trump (Jake Meador, Mere Orthodoxy): “The church’s greatest theologians have long said that a properly Christian commonwealth will be concerned not with the greater good—the most good for the most people—or with the private good of Christians alone, but with the common good.”
    7. How covering the Redskins name debate prepared me for Donald Trump’s win (Dan Steinberg, Washington Post): “They told me that media Twitter wasn’t the real world, that it created a phony idea of consensus for a stance that wasn’t actually ascendant. And they argued that a politically correct onslaught from big-city elites would only strengthen their convictions.”
    8. Donald Trump can absolutely ban Muslims from entering the US, without Congress (Zack Beauchamp, Vox): “I [asked] several experts on US immigration law. Their answer was unanimous: Trump would be able to implement his ban. In fact, he would be able to do it easily.” I didn’t know the president had this power. Surprising given our system of checks and balances.
    9. The Culture That Created Donald Trump Was Liberal Not Conservative (Jim Lewis, The Intercept): “Liberals were sure the devil would come slouching out of Alabama or Texas, beating a bible and shouting about sodomy and sin. They didn’t expect him to be a businessman who lives on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street.” This is something I saw alluded to in the primaries but haven’t seen mentioned in a while. 

Things Glen Found Amusing

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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