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 417, which is clearly not prime because 4+1+7=12, but the prime factorization is surprising: it’s 3·139.
Things Glen Found Interesting
- Advice for Students Entering College (Robert P. George, Mirror of Justice): “As the new academic year begins, I have some advice for conservative and religiously observant students who are entering colleges and universities in which their beliefs will place them in the minority, and perhaps make them feel like ‘outsiders.’ ”
- Glorifying God and Glorifying Mountains (Tim Challies, personal blog): “As I drove along the road I couldn’t help but notice how many people put themselves between the camera and the mountain so that the mountain was merely a prop, the backdrop for a photo that featured themselves. Often these influencers would be doing something showy or wearing something skimpy that was meant to draw the eye to themselves rather than to the mountain behind. They made themselves the focus of the photograph rather than the mountain. They stole the glory of the mountain by using it to glorify themselves. And this helps us understand how we can fail to glorify God. We place ourselves in the foreground so that God winds up in the background.”
- A single reform that could save 100,000 lives immediately (Ned Brooks and ML Cavanaugh, LA Times): “The head of the National Kidney Foundation testified in March that Medicare spends an estimated $136 billion, nearly 25% of its expenditures, on the care of people with a kidney disease. Of that, $50 billion is spent on people with end-stage kidney disease, on par with the entire U.S. Marine Corps budget.… The National Organ Transplant Act prohibits compensating kidney donors, which is strange in that in American society, it’s common to pay for plasma, bone marrow, hair, sperm, eggs and even surrogate pregnancies. We already pay to create and sustain life. Another way to think about this, as one bioethicist points out: ‘Every person in the chain of living organ donation, except one, profits.’ The hospital gets paid, the doctors and nurses and staff get paid, the pharmaceutical industry gets paid and the recipient is the main beneficiary. Everyone benefits except the donors, who get reimbursed only for their expenses.”
- Without Belief in a God, But Never Without Belief In A Devil (Rob K. Henderson, Substack): “Personally, I saw this when I first arrived at Yale. I recall being stunned at how status anxiety pervaded elite college campuses. Internally, I thought, ‘You’ve already made it, what are you so stressed out about?’ Hoffer, though, would say these students believed they had almost made it. That is why they were so aggravated. The closer they got to realizing their ambitions, the more frustrated they became about not already achieving them.”
- Why are Charismatics so Weird? (Sam Storms, personal blog): “There are approximately 645 million people in the world today who identify as either Pentecostal or charismatic. Among them there are certain leaders and popular voices who believe ‘weird’ things and have amassed a considerable following among those who are gullible and undiscerning. But for every one misguided teacher or internet personality there are thousands of faithful and biblically rooted, gospel-centered pastors and professors in the charismatic community. And for every one of those who naively falls for the ‘weird’ things said and done there are, again, thousands who do not.”
- Should I Offer My Pronouns? (Kara Bettis Carvalho, Christianity Today): “Earlier this year, Atlantic journalist George Packer argued against what he called ‘equity language’ and the often unreasonable pressure it puts on the culture. It is polite and dignifying to ‘address people as they request,’ Packer wrote, but equity language isn’t organic; it’s being ‘handed down in communiqués written by obscure ‘experts’ who purport to speak for vaguely defined ‘communities,’ remaining unanswerable to a public that’s being morally coerced.’ New language makes ideological claims, he wrote. ‘If you accept the change—as, in certain contexts, you’ll surely feel you must—then you also acquiesce in the argument.’ ”
- Unlocked. Allows people from multiple perspectives to make their arguments.
- When few do great harm (Inquisitive Bird, Substack): “Another notable fact: approximately half of violent crime convictions were committed by people who already had 3 or more violent crime convictions. In other words, if after being convicted of 3 violent crimes people were prevented from further offending, half of violent crime convictions would have been avoided.… The fact that a small minority is responsible for a large chunk of crime is true for shoplifting and burglaries as well, perhaps to an even greater extent. Data from New York City finds that a tiny number of shoplifters commit thousands of theft. The police stated that nearly a third of all shoplifting arrests in the city in 2022 involved just 327 people, who collectively were arrested and rearrested more than 6,000 times. Thus 0.00386% of New York City’s population (327 out of 8.468 million, 1 in ~26,000) accounted for nearly a third of all shoplifting arrests in the city.” Emphasis in original.
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.