Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 135

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. Match Made in Marrow (Jad Abumrad & Robert Krulwich, Radiolab): this is a podcast featuring someone we’ve brought to campus before: a magician named Jim Munroe. Several alumni emailed/texted me to ask if I had heard it. Jim is a good model in this podcast of how to interact with the media — he is forthright about his faith while remaining likable. He’s not perfect in all of his responses, which in some ways makes him even better as a role model.
  2. Another podcast episode you might find interesting: Is miracle healing for real? Ken Fish vs Frances Janusz (Justin Brierly, Unbelievable): Unbelievable is a weekly radio program in the UK that brings two people, usually a Christian and a skeptic, together in dialog about a specific topic. FYI: I’ve posted a list of podcasts I listen to.
  3. How ‘Cheap Sex’ Is Changing Our Lives – and Our Politics (Park MacDougald, New York Magazine): “Virtually no one… is happy with the state of maleness today, and yet the male behavior we witness today seems a rational, if short-sighted, response to their circumstances.”
    • See also Jordan Peterson’s interview on BBC Channel 4 (YouTube). It’s long but quite interesting and parts of it are relevant to the state of masculinity in North America. Peterson is a clinical psychologist at the University of Toronto. He is controversial — see What’s So Dangerous About Jordan Peterson (Tom Bartlett, Chronicle of Higher Education): “He’s also heard the criticism, including from some longtime colleagues, that he fails to couch his language carefully and as a result naïvely wades into fraught conversations about gender and race.”
  4. Bolivia Makes Evangelism a Crime (Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, Christianity Today):  “As always, the level of enforcement will determine how harmful to religious freedom the new restrictions prove to be.”
  5. Today was the annual Rally for Life in Washington, DC so there have been a lot of articles about abortion this week.
    • Does the Pro-Life Movement Have Science on Its Side? (Emma Green, The Atlantic): “When Colleen Malloy, a neonatologist and faculty member at Northwestern University, discusses abortion with her colleagues, she says, ‘it’s kind of like the emperor is not wearing any clothes.’ Medical teams spend enormous effort, time, and money to deliver babies safely and nurse premature infants back to health. Yet physicians often support abortion, even late into fetal development. As medical techniques have become increasingly sophisticated, Malloy said, she has felt this tension acutely: A handful of medical centers in major cities can now perform surgeries on genetically abnormal fetuses while they’re still in the womb. Many are the same age as the small number of fetuses aborted in the second or third trimesters of a mother’s pregnancy. ‘The more I advanced in my field of neonatology, the more it just became the logical choice to recognize the developing fetus for what it is: a fetus, instead of some sort of sub-human form,’ Malloy said. ‘It just became so obvious that these were just developing humans.’”
    • Trump Backs Health-Care Workers Who Object to Providing Abortions (Emma Green, The Atlantic): “All of these laws are already on the books. But now, HHS is promising to enforce these statutes more aggressively. ‘For too long, governments big and small have treated conscience claims with hostility instead of protection,’ said Severino in the press release. ‘But change is coming and it begins here and now.’”
    • Why Trump is targeting health workers’ religious objections (Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Washington Post): “A concern among many is that religious freedom is becoming a partisan issue dependent on whoever sits in office, said Michael Wear, who did religious outreach for Obama. The Trump administration, he said, has done little on religious freedom issues that will have much lasting change. ‘The next administration could scrap this office their first day in,’ Wear said. ‘It’s not necessarily putting [religious conservatives] in a better situation when they’re not in a favorable position politically.’”
    • No, Politico, Conscience Protections Are Neither ‘So-Called’ Nor ‘Controversial’ (Casey Mattox, The Federalist): “Government shouldn’t force people to violate their consciences. Until recently, that opinion hasn’t been particularly controversial, even where actual controversial issues like abortion were involved. One can support abortion and still think government shouldn’t discriminate against medical professionals who don’t perform abortions.” This article is a response to Trump to overhaul HHS office, shield health workers with moral objections (Dan Diamond And Jennifer Haberkorn, Politico)
  6. The Church Needs a Masterclass in How to Apologize for Sexual Assault (Abby Perry, Christ and Pop Culture): “Abuse of power, refusal to admit sin in its fullness, and grasping authority with clenched fists have no place in God’s kingdom. His is an economy of intertwined justice and grace, one that looks sin in the face and is repelled by it, not minimizing its grotesque nature but covering it with true grace. True grace does not thinly veil gross moral failure and allow those who commit it to continue wielding power, but offers discipline, discipleship, care, wise counsel, and friendship as means of walking with a person who has fallen.”
  7. Wow. Asiz Ansari. First a summary, then links to commentary. The controversy around’s Aziz Ansari story, explained (Caroline Framke, Vox): “The report is markedly different from any of the others that have come out since the New York Times broke the story of Harvey Weinstein’s decades of alleged abuse in October. It is not about workplace harassment; nor does it interview multiple victims to portray a pattern of abuse. It is about a single woman who was excited to go out to dinner with a comedian she liked, before quickly becoming uncomfortable with the tenor of his aggressive advances once they went back to his apartment.”
    • The Humiliation of Aziz Ansari (Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic):  “I thought it would take a little longer for the hit squad of privileged young white women to open fire on brown-skinned men. I had assumed that on the basis of intersectionality and all that, they’d stay laser focused on college-educated white men for another few months. But we’re at warp speed now, and the revolution—in many ways so good and so important—is starting to sweep up all sorts of people into its conflagration: the monstrous, the cruel, and the simply unlucky.”
    • The Aziz Ansari debacle proves it’s time for a new sexual revolution (Elizabeth Bruenig, Washington Post): “In fact, it seems we have these sorts of public airings of female sexual misery all the time now, which suggests to me that something is wrong with our sexual culture that can’t simply be explained by positing that women are insufficiently aware of their rights and liberties.”
    • Listen to the ‘Bad Feminists’ (Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View): “How has the most empowered generation of women in all of human history come to feel less control over their bodies than their grandmothers did?”
    • Purity and Prejudice (Samuel D. James, First Things): “If nothing else, the failure of contemporary sexual politics to deliver a better experience for women should make us reconsider our assumptions about progress. Why have decades of porn and pills failed to snuff out male privilege?”
    • If I may interject my unsolicited opinion: boy, wouldn’t it be great if there were clear rules governing sexual behavior? And imagine how much clarity would ensue if they were connected to public declarations of consent. That would be wonderful! #ifonly #ohwait #backtothebible

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago

Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have Alcohol, Blackouts, and Campus Sexual Assault (Texas Monthly, Sarah Hepola): I think this is the most thoughtful secular piece I’ve read on the issue. “Consent and alcohol make tricky bedfellows. The reason I liked getting drunk was because it altered my consent: it changed what I would say yes to. Not just in the bedroom but in every room and corridor that led into the squinting light. Say yes to adventure, say yes to risk, say yes to karaoke and pool parties and arguments with men, say yes to a life without fear, even though such a life is never possible… We drink because it feels good. We drink because it makes us feel happy, safe, powerful. That it often makes us the opposite is one of alcohol’s dastardly tricks.” (first shared in volume 25)

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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