Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 422

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 422, a number which feels like it should have a lot of prime factors but which only has two: 422 = 2·211.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Why religious belief provides a real buffer against suicide risk (David H Rosmarin, Psyche): “The scientific world in general, and the disciplines of behavioural health in particular, tend to be biased against matters of spirituality and religion. The existing literature is enough to show that these factors have large protective effects against suicide. If another variable had even half the value for any major public health concern, I suspect it would receive substantially more attention.”
    • The author is a professor at Harvard Medical School.
  2. Being There (David French, New York Times): “I’ve never met a person who wants to lose friends. But I’ve met many, many people who suffer from loneliness and say that they just ‘lost touch.’ What happened? I ask. ‘Life happened,’ they say. At each new stage of life it was easier to say no to a friend than to say no to work, to a spouse, to one’s kids. And while each individual no can be understandable and even justifiable, the accumulation of noes suffocates friendships, even without an argument, a breach or a betrayal.”
  3. Unable to Find Ultimate Truth in Zen Buddhism, I Turned to Jesus (Sita Slavov, Christianity Today): “In Zen, I often felt alone in the trenches with my darkest thoughts and feelings. And even the most beautiful moments I experienced during meditation—those moments of delight in God’s creation—were useless without a compelling framework to process and integrate them into my life. In contrast, when I meditate on God’s Word and presence, the Holy Spirit sustains me in the trenches, and Scripture provides the framework to understand my experience.”
    • Unlocked.
  4. Winners don’t do irony (Janan Ganesh, Financial Times): “People who deal in higher stakes have to insulate themselves from the archness and cynicism of the wider culture. Irony gets nothing done. It is the creed of the passive observer. Not everyone who is incapable of irony is a winner, no. But lots of winners are incapable of irony.”
  5. New atheism has collapsed. The tide is turning on belief in God (Justin Brierly, Premiere Christianity): “Science and reason alone won’t buy you meaning, purpose and value. Apart from its internal squabbles, the real reason that New Atheism stalled as a cultural movement was that it failed to give people a story to live their life by, so people went looking for a story elsewhere.”
  6. A green card processing change means US could lose thousands of faith leaders from abroad (Giovanna Dell’Orto, AP News): “A sudden procedural change in how the federal government processes green cards for foreign-born religious workers, together with historic highs in numbers of illegal border crossers, means that thousands of clergy like him are losing the ability to remain in this country.”
    • This observation was interesting to me: “Those from religious orders with vows of poverty, like Catholic nuns and Buddhist monks, are especially hard hit, because most other employment visa categories require employers to show they’re paying foreign workers prevailing wages. Since they’re getting no wages, they don’t qualify.”
    • Sentences like that are precisely why religious exemptions are needed for some laws — the law on its face seems reasonable and is designed to protect workers, but it has the effect of harming religious workers of multiple faiths because the totally fine way they do things doesn’t map onto the way most of society works.
  7. Drones Everywhere: How the Technological Revolution on Ukraine Battlefields Is Reshaping Modern Warfare (Yaroslav Trofimov, Wall Street Journal): “ ‘It’s a question of cost,’ said Phillips O’Brien, a professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. ‘If you can destroy an expensive, heavy system for something that costs much much less, then actually the power differential between the two countries doesn’t matter as much.’… When it comes to tanks, in particular, the lesson of the Ukrainian war is that tank-on-tank battles have become a rarity—which means that the relative sophistication of a tank is no longer as important. Fewer than 5% of tanks destroyed since the war began had been hit by other tanks, according to Ukrainian officials, with the rest succumbing to mines, artillery, antitank missiles and drones.”

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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