Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 108

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. Should Tyler Cowen Believe In God? (Ross Douthat, NYT): this is delightful. “There: I’ve probably blasphemed, weakened my Catholic credentials, endangered my soul, insulted my religious brethren, picked pointless fights with Muslims and Calvinists, and betrayed a juvenile understanding of statistics.”
  2. Desperation and Service in the Bail Industry (Joshua Page, Contexts): “…industry advocates confidently assert that bail companies and agents are service providers helping needy people. As my research shows, this claim is based in reality. But it is a constructed reality. Political and legal decisions make the services necessary in the first place.”
  3. “High” Achievers? Cannabis Access and Academic Performance (Olivier Marie & Ulf Zölitz, The Review of Economic Studies): The authors studied “an exceptional policy introduced in the city of Maastricht in the Netherlands that discriminated access via licensed cannabis shops based on an individual’s nationality…. We find that the academic performance of students who are no longer legally permitted to buy cannabis substantially increases.” In other news, water is wet. You can find a PDF of the full paper at SSRN)
  4. The Case Against Cardinal Pell (Julia Yost, First Things): this is fascinating and distressing and full of all sorts of indirectly-related asides, such as “the McMartin Preschool case generated 321 charges from forty-one children. We now know that every charge was a lie and every child was a liar. Yet today, with the children now well into their thirties, many of them still insist that their charges were true.”
  5. Stranger In A Strange Land (Francis J. Beckwith, Inside Higher Ed): “A little over four years ago, the University of Colorado at Boulder began a three-year pilot program that I believe has no precedent in American higher education. With the help of private donors and the support of the university’s board, president and chancellor, the school created the position of Visiting Scholar of Conservative Thought and Policy.”
  6. I Am Not a ‘Paki,’ Not a Terrorist. I Am Nobody but Myself. (Omar Aziz, NY Times): recommended by a student. “Here is the basic conundrum the child of immigrants faces as he goes through school. Until now, he has safely assumed the identity provided to him by his family, but as he encounters innocent white faces, he is confronted with an interrogation about who he really is.”
  7. Would Your Dog Eat You if You Died? Get the Facts. (Erika Engelhaupt, National Geographic): “There’s no way to guarantee that your pet won’t eat you if you die, apart from not having any pets. Even hamsters and birds have been known to scavenge on occasion.” Hamsters? Really? Who has hamsters roaming freely through their house?

Things Glen Found Amusing

Something Glen Found Interesting A While Ago

Every week I’ll highlight a link I shared before which is still worth your consideration. This week we have  The Land of We All (Richard Mitchell, The Gift of Fire): this essay teases out the implications of this insight: “Thinking can not be done corporately. Nations and committees can’t think. That is not only because they have no brains, but because they have no selves, no centers, no souls, if you like. Millions and millions of persons may hold the same thought, or conviction or suspicion, but each and every person of those millions must hold it all alone.” Warning: the formatting is horrid. It is worth reading anyway. Either use the Readability bookmarklet, an app like Pocket, or just cut and paste it into a text document on your computer. (first shared in volume 2)

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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