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.
This is volume 401, the 79th prime number.
Things Glen Found Interesting
- The Other Half of Discipleship (Mike Glenn, Scot McKnight’s Substack): “The test of every great recipe is, does the dish taste good when it’s prepared? The test of truth for every disciple is, did the teaching of Jesus prove true when it was lived out? Paul was confident of Jesus’ faithfulness because he had lived out the teachings of Jesus in the most trying of circumstances. That’s why he was able to write, ‘I know in whom I have believed.’ Most of us lack this kind of true life confidence in God’s Word because we’ve never tried to live out what we know. A memorized discipleship is only half known.”
- Homeless in the City Where He Was Once Mayor (Mike Baker, New York Times): “The words jolted Mr. Martin with a mix of recognition and disbelief. He had known Craig Coyner for more than 50 years, watching with admiration as the man from one of the most prominent families in Bend, Ore., rose through an acclaimed career — as a prosecutor, a defense lawyer and then a mayor who helped turn the town into one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities. Now, at age 75, Mr. Coyner was occupying a bed at the shelter on Second Street, his house lost to foreclosure, his toes gnarled by frostbite, his belongings limited to a tub of tattered clothing and books on the floor next to his bed.”
- Recommended by a student, this is a wild and heartbreaking story. I have unlocked the paywall.
- The Long Road to Confronting China’s War on Religion: Part I (Carl M. Cannon & Susan Crabtree, Real Clear Politics): “The impulse [to restrict religion is rooted in the truth] that the major faiths observed in China are not indigenous to the world’s oldest civilization. Buddhism was imported from India and Tibet. Islam arrived in overland trading routes and human migration from the Middle East, while Christianity, another Abrahamic faith, came across the ocean from Europe and America. To Communist leaders, and many Han Chinese civilians, these traditions represent potentially destabilizing foreign influence. The paradox, of course, is that Marxism was also a foreign import, one imposed on Chinese society – in Mao Zedong’s own words – from ‘the barrel of a gun.’ It not only destabilized China’s existing social structures and spiritual traditions, but as Marxist-Leninism morphed into Maoism, also became a kind of national religion itself – with Mao Zedong in the role of savior.”
- There is No Christian Argument for Protecting Pornography (Samuel D. James, Substack): “This chart reveals that at the exact same time there’s been a significant decline in overall sexual activity, there’s been a significant increase in young adults who’ve had a same-sex encounter. Now let’s ask a question: What could be true of a generation that would cause it both to 1) have a lot fewer sexual encounters than generations before it, but also 2) be much more willing than previous generations to experiment? I think I have one plausible answer.… Could it be that a sex recession and a blurring of the lines between male and female are consistent consequences of young people who have experienced a pornographic staging of the human body since before puberty? Given all this porn, why have sex, and why not have it with whomever?”
- From the Comments (Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution): “Professional medical ethics are bogus. There is no consistency and the entire profession serves to pander to the prejudices of the educated.”
- Brief but brutal perspective on the medical resistance to human challenge trials.
- Raise Your Threshold For Accusing People Of Faking Bisexuality (Scott Alexander, Astral Codex Ten): “Suppose someone (let’s say a woman) has exactly equal sexual attraction to both men and women. Their male dating pool is all heterosexual and bisexual men (95%+ of men), and their female dating pool is all lesbian and bisexual women (about 5–10% of women). So their potential dating pool is about 90% male. So this ‘perfectly’ bisexual woman could be expected to date about 10x as many men as women, just by numbers alone. The average person dates about seven people before marriage (yes, this seems low to me too). So if our bisexual woman samples exactly evenly from her male vs. female dating pool, we would expect about a 50–50 chance (0.90^7 = 0.478) that all seven of her relationships would be with men.”
- A fascinating breakdown of some things I had rarely considered.
- The Cost Disease of the Populist Sector (Daniel W. Drezner, Substack): “The commingling of the rich and the powerful is a story as old as civilization, but in the current era of capitalism the dynamic has become even more problematic. David Brooks warned about ‘status-income disequilibrium’ in Bobos in Paradise: those who possess status but not wealth live first-class lives during the day but middle-class lives in the evening. Over time, these folks start to resent the middle-class aspects of their existence.”
- This is a different perspective on political corruption scandals than I had considered before.
Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen
- Noah Starting To Think The Woodpeckers Were A Bad Idea (Babylon Bee)
- Sunrise (Pearls Before Swine)
- This is like an AI-driven Canva. Definitely worth playing around with: https://designer.microsoft.com/
- Compliments (Pearls Before Swine)
Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago
Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have My White Privilege Didn’t Save Me. But God Did (Edie Wyatt, Quillette): “Not long after, I walked into a suburban Baptist church, full of strange, unfashionably dressed, conservative Christians. I was a Marxist, a feminist, foul-mouthed, a chain-smoker, and desperate. The love I received in that place is the reason that I will defend the rights of fundamentalist Christians to my dying breath.”
This is amazing. Reminder: titles are rarely chosen by the author and often do not reflect the essence of an article. From volume 279.
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). And to the extent you can discern my opinions, please understand that they are my own and not necessarily those of Chi Alpha or any other organization I may be perceived to represent. 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. If this was forwarded to you and you want to receive future emails, sign up here. You can also view the archives.