Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 418

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 418, and 418 has the interesting property that the sum of its prime factors is equal to the products of its digits. In other words, 2+11+19=32=4·1·8

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. This 5 minute TikTok on Twitter is very much worth your time: — it gets better and better. I’m strongly tempted to show it during a worship service.
  2. Daniel’s 3 Tips for Surviving the University of Babylon (Catie Robertson & Andrew M. Selby, The Gospel Coalition): “Trying to feel vaguely close to God and fraternizing frequently with the lost (in the name of winsome love) may be nice, but it likely won’t be effective as a long-term strategy for evangelism, let alone for the health of our own faith.…If we form pockets of resistance with believers, the university itself will be saved.”
    • Recommended by a student.
  3. Nutrition Science’s Most Preposterous Result (David Merritt Johns, The Atlantic): “Back in 2018, a Harvard doctoral student named Andres Ardisson Korat was presenting his research on the relationship between dairy foods and chronic disease to his thesis committee. One of his studies had led him to an unusual conclusion: Among diabetics, eating half a cup of ice cream a day was associated with a lower risk of heart problems. Needless to say, the idea that a dessert loaded with saturated fat and sugar might actually be good for you raised some eyebrows at the nation’s most influential department of nutrition.”
    • Unlocked. Fun to read, and with implications beyond diet.
  4. Everyone’s tired of politics (Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette): “If you spent your time watching the news or trolling social media every day — which is literally the job description for many national journalists — you might assume that nearly every person in the country is invested in either Trump or Biden. However, when you drive to places where the speed limit is 35 miles an hour, you find a different reality. And that’s the problem with how the country too often is covered these days. Our politics would likely improve — somewhat at least — if more in the media checked their assumptions and listened to the people they purport to cover.”
    • I certainly feel this. I haven’t been sharing articles about the Trump indictment or the Biden family corruption or the age of politicians or the Republican debate because I simply don’t find the articles I read about them interesting.
  5. An anguished ‘nothing in particular’ believer shakes up country music establishment (Terry Mattingly, GetReligion): “As for faith, Anthony added: ‘I spent a long time being an angry little agnostic punk. … I had sort of perverted what my vision of God was, because I looked at the religion of man as God and not God Himself. But there is a Divine Creator who loves you and sometimes it takes falling down on your knees and getting ready to call things quits before it becomes obvious that He’s there. But He’s always there.’ It would appear, said Watson, that this hillbilly songwriter is – to use a popular research term – a ‘nothing in particular’ believer, one without ties to organized religion. This is precisely the kind of American that many church leaders are struggling to understand.”
    • I think many of you have heard me say that the delight of some secular pundits over the rise of the “nones” is misplaced. They aren’t atheists. They’re just not really churchgoers.
    • Related to the “nones”: Fresh off a Supreme Court Win, the Praying Coach Takes the Field (Julia Duin, The Free Press): “He has also left his church—Newlife South Kitsap in Port Orchard—chiefly because then-school superintendent Leavell also attended the congregation. The pastors at the church ‘kind of distanced themselves from the very beginning,’ Kennedy said. They met with Kennedy and Leavell separately ‘and asked if we could get along and work this out. They didn’t want to choose sides.’ Though Kennedy said he wasn’t fully supported by his church, he feels ‘bad’ for Leavell and his kids, because ‘they were asked, ‘Why doesn’t your dad like praying?’ and ‘Why don’t they like Christians?’’ People, Kennedy said, ‘don’t understand this was a big political and Constitutional thing.’ Kennedy said he and his wife have been ‘spiritually homeless’ since 2020.”
      • Fascinating details in here I’ve not seen anywhere else.
      • Note that as a “spiritually homeless” non-church attender this guy would now qualify as one of the “nones” in most surveys, and he was at the heart of a major religious liberty case. The “nones” are not always who people think they are.
  6. No human remains found 2 years after claims of ‘mass graves’ in Canada (Dana Kennedy, NY Post): “Tom Flanagan, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Calgary, told The Post Wednesday that he sees the issue as a ‘moral panic’ similar to the hysteria over repressed memories and alleged Satanic cults in schools in the US in the 1980s and ’90s.”
    • Related: 2021 Canadian church burnings. (Wikipedia): “A series of vandalizations, church arsons, and suspicious fires in June and July 2021 desecrated, damaged, or destroyed 68 Christian churches in Canada. Coincident with fires, vandalism and other destructive events damaged churches in Canada and the United States, primarily in British Columbia. Of these, 25 were the results of fires of all causes. Canadian government officials, church members, and Canadian Indigenous leaders have speculated that the fires and other acts of vandalism have been reactions to the May 2021 reports of alleged discovery of over 1,000 unmarked graves at Canadian Indian residential school sites.”
  7. Driverless cars may already be safer than human drivers (Timothy B. Lee, Substack): “For this story, I read through every crash report Waymo and Cruise filed in California this year, as well as reports each company filed about the performance of their driverless vehicles (with no safety drivers) prior to 2023. In total, the two companies reported 102 crashes involving driverless vehicles. That may sound like a lot, but they happened over roughly 6 million miles of driving. That works out to one crash for every 60,000 miles, which is about five years of driving for a typical human motorist. These were overwhelmingly low-speed collisions that did not pose a serious safety risk. A large majority appeared to be the fault of the other driver.”

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

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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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