Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 91

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom. I welcome your suggestions. If you read something fascinating please pass it my way.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. The Crisis of Liberty In The West (Ryan Anderson, Heritage Foundation): “Freedom today is understood as a matter of indifference—a freedom from constraint. But freedom rightly understood is a freedom for—a freedom for excellence.” This. Read this.
  2. Gender Reversal Teaches Uncomfortable Lessons (Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution): “How would the Trump-Clinton debates have been perceived if the genders had been reversed? Two professors worked with trained actors to duplicate not just the words but also the mannerisms of Trump and Clinton–only with a female actor playing Trump, now called Brenda King, and a male actor playing Clinton, now called Jonathan Gordon.” The professors found the opposite of what they expected. There is a video clip so you can judge for yourself. A little mind-blowing.
  3. American Carnage (Christopher Caldwell, First Things): “Calling addiction a disease usefully describes certain measurable aspects of the problem—particularly tolerance and withdrawal. It fails to capture what is special and dangerous about the way drugs bind with people’s minds. Almost every known disease is something people wish to be rid of. Addiction is different. Addicts resist known cures—even to the point of death.” A powerful article.
  4. There’s Enough Time To Change Everything (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic): “If I were loosely gathering topics of study into categories, I might call them arts, religion, scholarship, and science. As important as scholarship and science are, arts and religion are more important” A wide-ranging and fascinating interview with Yale professor David Gelernter. This one is long.
  5. Faith Is Changing The Way People Think About Music (Marc Barnes, Relevant): “The creative arts have a long history of taking to what is taboo in the public square. It is no surprise that they are taking religion, the ugly duckling of modern secular life, under their wing.”
  6. North Korea Is Practicing For Nuclear War (Jeffrey Lewis, Foreign Policy): “Whatever restraint Kim or Trump might show — and let’s be honest, our expectations here are not high — each will face enormous pressure to start the attack lest his opponent beat him to the punch.” Ouch.
  7. 10 Questions for Shadi Hamid (Razib Khan, personal blog): “It’s not so much that [devout Muslims] want to die; it’s more that they are ready to die, and it doesn’t frighten them as much as it might frighten someone else, because they believe there’s a pretty good chance that they’ll be granted paradise especially if they happen to killed while they’re in the middle of an act that they consider to be in the service of God and his message.” The interviewer is a doctoral candidate in genetics at UC Davis and the interviewee is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Also worth reading is Rod Dreher’s reaction piece Islam: The Last Badass Religion.

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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