Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 416

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 416, which is mildly interesting in the following equation: ‑4162+7682 = 416,768 (note the negative in front of 4162)

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. To Be Happy, Marriage Matters More Than Career (David Brooks, New York Times): “My strong advice is to obsess less about your career and to think a lot more about marriage. Please respect the truism that if you have a great career and a crappy marriage you will be unhappy, but if you have a great marriage and a crappy career you will be happy. Please use your youthful years as a chance to have romantic relationships, so you’ll have some practice when it comes time to wed. Even if you’re years away, please read books on how to decide whom to marry. Read George Eliot and Jane Austen. Start with the masters.”
    • Unlocked. I am sure the comments section on this article will explode with outraged New York Times readers, but Brooks is correct and obviously so.
    • Related: He’s The One (Bryan Caplan, Substack): “The woman who discards the traditional ‘Men have to ask me’ social norm has a superpower. Just profile guys who meet your standards and take the initiative, and you generate a menu of prime options. Yes, conventional wisdom says that a woman can subtly let a guy know that she likes him. But this overlooks men’s abject cluenessness and timidity. Instead, be forthright. Crazy as it seems, earnestly telling your first choice, ‘I should be your girlfriend’ will almost never be mistaken for ‘throwing yourself’ at a guy.”
      • Caplan’s follow-up to his earlier post helping guys screen gals. This one helps gals screen guys. Most of his insights ring true to me.
    • Related: You Don’t Have Plenty of Time (Abby Farson Pratt, Substack): “There’s an odd preoccupation in our culture with ‘readiness,’ as if it were a universal truth. But ‘readiness’ is never defined. We’re given the vague, unhelpful advice to ‘wait until we’re ready’ to get married or have kids. What would that even mean? How do you know when you’re ‘ready’ for that kind of responsibility? You won’t. You’ll never be ready. Aside from choosing a good partner, there’s no amount of preparation that will make child-rearing easier or smoother or simpler. You become ready through the very act of being married and raising children. Lord willing, this is the time in your life to rise to the occasion and put fears of ‘readiness’ to rest.”
  2. Does God Control History? (Ross Douthat, New York Times): “Indeed, while allowing for the complexity of debates about what God wills as opposed to what God merely permits, providentialism is basically inescapable once you posit a divinity who made the world and acts in history. Which is why providentialist interpretations endure among the most liberal Christians as well as the most traditional, with both progressive and conservative theologies justifying themselves through readings of the ‘signs of the times,’ the seasons of history, the action of the Holy Spirit and the like.”
    • Unlocked. I really liked this one.
  3. What Rise of Christian Nationalism? (Jesse Smith, Current): “What has surged in recent years isn’t Christian nationalism so much as the rejection of religion in the public square. The percentage of Americans reporting no religious affiliation has skyrocketed in the 21st century, from little over 5% in 1990 to nearly 30% in 2021. Most of these people belonged to a religious community at some point. Many did not part on the best of terms and would be happy to see the status of American religion taken down a peg.”
    • The author is a sociologist at Benedictine College.
  4. The Man Who Knows What the World’s Richest People Want (and How To Get It) (Maxwell Strachan, Vice): “To Flemings, the concept that the world’s richest people are conspiring together to rig the game in their favor seems foolish. He believes the closest the rich have come to assembling as an illuminati-like clan is in St. Barts between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, because he’s been there. ‘I gotta tell you, some of the richest people in the world are struggling to talk to a girl,’ he said. ‘There is no way these people are leading some fucking global conspiracy.’ ”
    • Overall quite interesting. From back in June.
  5. Legacy admissions are crucial to America’s higher education dominance (Jamie Beaton, The Hill): “Oxford was founded in 1096. Despite its storied history, it has a far smaller donation culture and less engaged alumni. Its biggest donors — among them Bill Gates and Steven Schwarzman — didn’t even attend the university. It has no legacy admissions, and at points in its history, it has struggled financially. In contrast, Harvard cultivates an amazingly engaged alumni community with frequent, well-attended reunions, advisory boards featuring all of their prominent alumni and an aspirational message that once you are a part of this community, it will become your community for life. Legacy admissions — the practice of preferentially admitting the children of alumni — is one of the powerful, tangible characteristics that helps foster that sense of community.”
    • I have never seen someone contrast the elite US schools with their international counterparts this way. I am sure there is a counterargument to be made, but this made for fascinating reading and I find his argument plausible.
  6. Stanford WBB Star Cameron Brink Opens Up On How NIL Wealth Allowed Her Stay In School Over WNBA (Grayson Weir, Outkick): “NIL has made it so that Brink can earn just as much money as an ‘amateur’ as she can in the WNBA. It is probably more lucrative to stay in school than to go pro.… Brink said that her NIL wealth has set her up for the rest of her life. If basketball didn’t work out, she could be self-sufficient. She would ‘continue to live comfortably.’ ”
  7. The real reason the highest-paid doctors are in the Dakotas (Andrew Van Dam, Washington Post): “Overall, the average U.S. lawyer can expect about $7.1 million in lifetime income, a bit higher than a primary-care doctor ($6.5 million) but well behind the broader physician average of $10 million, according to a sophisticated analysis of about 2 million tax records from lawyers and more than 10 million tax records from doctors.”

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

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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.

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