Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 94

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. Sorry, but if you’re a Christian, you need to go to church. Regularly. (Paul Prather, Lexington Herald-Leader): “You might see yourself as a terrific baseball pitcher. But if you only throw baseballs in your backyard at a plywood cutout, you won’t progress. You’re not even really playing baseball. To discover the full extent of your abilities, to understand the true game, you need a catcher, a coach, infielders and outfielders — and even someone standing in the batter’s box ready to swat your best fastball right back at you.”
  2. Reviewing Rod Dreher’s “The Benedict Option” (Jake Meador, Mere Orthodoxy): The Benedict Option is a much-discussed book which lays out a strategy for Christians in the modern world — deliberate withdrawal from some aspects of culture, deliberate engagement with others. This is one of the most insightful reviews I’ve read.
  3. Just Who Are These ‘People of Faith’ Anyway? (John Stackhouse, Christianity Today): “The Theravada form of Buddhism, still the dominant version of that religion in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, does not venerate a deity. The Chinese traditions of Confucianism and Daoism do not, either. Many forms of belief in the supernatural do not require faith so much as knowledge of the divine and of the correct practices to align oneself with it in order to best negotiate the world.”
  4. Can Religious Charities Take the Place of the Welfare State? (Emma Green, The Atlantic): “Keister [a professor of sociology at Duke University] has argued that religious engagement is closely associated with financial generosity—in a recent paper, for example, she found that those who attend religious services every week give nearly three times as much as those who don’t.”
  5. Read the above in conjunction with How Utah Keeps The American Dream Alive (Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View): “The vast welfare infrastructure from the Mormon Church naturally makes it easier to have smaller government. Perhaps that could be replicated by other communities. But the values of the Mormon Church may create a public that simply needs less help. That’s harder for another community to imitate. I’m not sure this key ingredient is available in a secular version; I think religion might only come in religion flavor. How the heck is some state government supposed to get people to marry, and stay married?”
  6. In Europe, cohabitation is stable…right? (Brad Wilcox and Laurie DeRose, Brookings): “It is easy to see why some conclude that marriage per se does not matter. But here’s the thing: marriage is itself strongly associated with family stability. U.S. children born to cohabiting parents are twice as likely to see their parents’ relationship end compared to children born to married parents…”
  7. Does it pay to get a double major? (Christos Makridis, Quartz): our very own Christos analyzes whether getting a techie plus a fuzzy major yields a higher salary than getting either alone.
  8. Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware (Jason Koebler, Vice): “It’s quite simple, really. John Deere sold farmers their tractors, but has used software to maintain control of every aspect of its use after the sale.”

    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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