Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 426

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 426, and I am absurdly pleased that 4+2=6. In some regards I am very easy to amuse.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Keeping the Faith at Stanford (Isabella Griepp, The Stanford Review): “Staying true to your faith is a serious undertaking at a place like Stanford, but it can also be the most rewarding part of your time on campus. It is vital that you use your first quarter in college to get plugged into Christian community.”
    • The author is in Chi Alpha.
  2. How Rich Donors and Loose Rules Are Transforming College Sports (David A. Fahrenthold and Billy Witz, New York Times): “One player at Michigan State University now makes $750,000 a year, according to the group that pays him. At Ohio State University, some players not only get a paycheck — they get a free car lease to boot, courtesy of a donor collective.… The New York Times identified more than 120 collectives, including at least one for every school in each of the five major college football conferences. The average starter at a big-time football program now takes in about $103,000 a year, according to Opendorse, a company that processes payments to the players for the collectives.”
  3. 15 Reasons Why Mass Media Employees Act Like Propagandists (Caitlin Johnston, personal blog): “Just because a lot of the mass media’s propagandistic behavior can be explained without secret conspiracies doesn’t mean secret conspiracies aren’t happening. In 1977 Carl Bernstein published an article titled ‘The CIA and the Media’ reporting that the CIA had covertly infiltrated America’s most influential news outlets and had over 400 reporters who it considered assets in a program known as Operation Mockingbird. We are told that this sort of covert infiltration doesn’t happen anymore today, but that’s absurd.”
    • Recommended by an alumnus in response my commentary last week on how to think about journalism. Most of the 15 reasons seem to revolve around this insight: journalists respond to incentives and the system provides rewards that benefit them but not their readers/viewers. We should remain mindful of this.
  4. Two articles about manhood:
    • Understanding the Young Male Syndrome (Rob K Henderson, Substack): “In his cross-cultural research, the psychologist Martin J. Seager has found 3 consistent requirements to achieve the status of manhood in various societies around the world. First, the individual must be a fighter and a winner. Second, he must be a provider and protector. And third, he must maintain mastery and control of himself at all times. Across cultures, there seems to be an implicit understanding of what being a man is… Indeed, masculinity is widely considered to be an artificially induced status, achievable only through testing and careful instruction. Real men do not simply emerge like butterflies from their boyish cocoons. Rather, they must be carefully shaped, nurtured, counseled, and prodded into manhood.”
      • This is long and worth reading for anyone who has an interest in gender dynamics.
    • News Men Can Use (Aaron Renn, Substack): “I also do these practical posts because it’s important for those of us Christian lay people who have skills and knowledge to step up and share them. The truth is, pastors aren’t life coaches and often don’t know what they are talking about in areas outside of their core competency in preaching the Bible and theology. So it’s unfair and even dangerous to rely on them to be general purpose guides to life. That means lay people have to be willing to step up in the areas where they have real insight and experience.”
      • I cannot endorse the point Renn makes in this excerpt strongly enough. There’s a lot pastors don’t know. I get nervous when I hear a minister opining publicly on a topic I know the Bible says very little about.
      • When you look for pastors, look for those with enough humility to know that they are not an expert in things like business, law, politics, leadership, international relations, consulting, biology, astrophysics, investment banking, immigration policy, etc. There may be specific statements in some of those fields that pastors can make with God’s authority, but they are surely limited.
      • You want a pastor who speaks confidently where the Bible speaks clearly and speaks cautiously where the Bible is silent. But as a Christian layperson, you should feel empowered to speak confidently when you have relevant knowledge in your field of expertise.
  5. Two Christians — one on the left and one on the right.
    • On the left: Shawn Fain’s Old-Time Religion (Elizabeth Bruenig, The Atlantic): “ ‘One of the first things I do every day when I get up is I crack open my devotional for a daily reading, and I pray. Earlier this week, I was struck by the daily reading, which seemed to speak directly to the moment we find ourselves in,’ Fain explained in his speech. The commentary Fain read observed that great acts of faith are rarely born of careful calculation, and most often include an element of fear. ‘When I made the decision to run for president of our union, it was a test of my faith, because I sure as hell had doubts,’ Fain said. ‘So I told myself: Either you believe it’s possible to stand up and make a difference, or you don’t. And if you don’t believe, then shut up and stay on the sideline.’ ”
    • On the right: Evangelical Mike Johnson ‘Raised Up’ as House Speaker (Jack Jenkins, a Religion News Service wire story reprinted in Christianity Today): “Johnson has been tied to multiple Baptist churches over the years and currently attends Cypress Baptist Church in Benton, Louisiana, according to the Louisiana Baptist Message. He is also a former lawyer and communications staffer with the Alliance Defense Fund, which later became known as Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal firm.”
  6. What “Latino” Misses (Luis Parrales, Persuasion): “Latinos are proud of their ancestry, especially when it’s related to national origin. But most don’t accept the significance or the weight of ethnoracial identity that our discourse projects onto them. It’s an attitude that’s not exactly color-blind or post-racial; it simply recognizes how race, ethnicity, national origin (or whatever label we use to categorize people) often blend together.”
  7. More commentary on the Israel/Gaza war:
    • I Don’t See a Better Way Out (Ned Lazarus, The Atlantic): “I have dedicated much of my professional life to seeking peaceful change in this conflict, trying to listen to and understand Israelis and Palestinians and find ways to work toward peace or justice or coexistence or mutual understanding or anything better than what there is now.… I see no way out of the nightmare so long as Hamas continues to rule the Gaza Strip, and no viable way to remove it from power without an Israeli ground offensive.”
      • The author is a professor of international affairs at George Washington University.
    • The Problem of West Bank Settlements (Tomas Pueyo, Substack): “You can’t understand the Palestinian perspective without understanding the issue of settlements in the West Bank. It’s their biggest source of irritation, it makes many Palestinians’ lives insufferable, and it’s probably Israel’s most contentious policy. So let’s understand why Israel is there in the first place, why it’s building settlements there, and what will happen to them.”
      • Looking over his Substack, the author has written several articles about Israel and Palestine lately and they seem to be well-researched and are also trying to present the strongest, fairest arguments from both sides. Recommended.
    • Debunking Myths About Israel & Palestine (Gurwinder, Substack): “Israel must curb its fanatical elements — its bombs are hitting too many civilians, its settlement-building is out of control, its Supreme Court is under attack by its own government, and its ultra-orthodox citizens are rapidly outbreeding its secular ones. But Israel’s excesses are Hamas’s norms. Further, it’s the only liberal democracy in a sea of autocracies, and unlike all of them it’s willing to openly criticize itself and set high humanitarian standards even if it can’t always meet them.”
    • Holocaust Memorial Day (Antonin Scalia, C‑SPAN): eleven minutes of now-deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaking about the Holocaust and the highly-educated and refined society that produced it.
    • For Israel, There Are No Good Options Now (Andrew Sullivan, Substack): “I wish I had some sane idea of what happens now. We can only grieve for all those innocents trapped in this hell. All I can say is that if Israel continues to wage war in Gaza with this level of civilian casualties, and continues to expand its footprint on the West Bank this aggressively at the same time, and responds to Western requests to take a pause and think things through with anger and defiance, it will be hard to sustain Western support indefinitely.”
    • A War Against the Jews (Michael Oren, Substack): “…dead Jews buy us only so much sympathy. In fact, there is probably a formula. Six million dead in the Holocaust procured us roughly 25 years of grace before the Europeans refused to refuel the U.S. planes bringing lifesaving munitions to Israel during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Fourteen hundred butchered Jews bought us a little less than two weeks’ worth of positive coverage.”
      • The author is a former Israeli politician and served as Israel’s ambassador to the US.

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

  • Wrong Psalm (Tim Hawkins, YouTube): four amusing minutes
  • AI Humor (SMBC): the mouseover text on this one is actually wise
  • Self-Esteem (SMBC)
  • The Florida Man Games: including such gems as “EVADING ARREST OBSTACLE COURSE: Jump over fences, through back yards, and away from actual police officers to earn your freedom!” and “A CATALYTIC CONVERTER, 2 BIKES, AND A HANDFUL OF COPPER PIPES: RACE AGAINST TIME: Compete head to head in a race that lets you live a day in the life of a Florida man headline” 
  • A store let customers steal shoes — if they could outrun a pro sprinter (Kyle Melnick, Washington Post): “Some customers thoughtthe managers were joking, but they still took the chance. Most did not recognize Zeze — who has run the 100-meter dash in 9.99 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 19.97 seconds — or know he was a professional sprinter. Zeze wore a black polo and a band on his left arm that said ‘SECURITY.’ Zeze easily caught the first runner, who grabbed a pair ofblack shoes around 11:30 a.m. and ran away on a busy sidewalk. Zeze said he sprinted at about 35 percent of his maximum speed to catch most customers.”

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.

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