Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 434

On (most) Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. I skipped last week due to the holidays.

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 434, a number which is a palindrome. It is also the sum of consecutive primes: 434 = 61 + 67 + 71 + 73 + 79 + 83

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Our Godless era is dead (Paul Kingsnorth, UnHerd): “I grew up believing in things which I now look on very differently. To put career before family. To accumulate wealth as a marker of status. To treat sex as recreation. To reflexively mock authority and tradition. To put individual desire before community responsibility. To treat the world as so much dead matter to be interrogated by the scientific process. To assume our ancestors were thicker than us. I did all of this, or tried to, for years. Most of us did, I suppose. Perhaps above all, and perhaps at the root of all, there was one teaching that permeated everything. It was to treat religion as something both primitive and obsolete. Simply a bunch of fairy stories invented by the ignorant. Simply a mechanism of social control. Nothing to do with us, here, now, in our very modern, sexually liberated, choose-your-own-adventure world.”
  2. Part of a Christian’s Job is to Point Out that Modern Life Stinks (Samue D. James, Substack): “Part of the evangelical witness right now should be to point out that modern life stinks. Its technology makes us lonely. Its sexuality makes us empty. Its psychotherapy makes us self-obsessed. Many people are on the brink of oblivion, held back in some cases only by medication or political identity. We struggle to articulate why we should continue to live. Evangelicals should jump in here.”
    • The end is straight fire.
  3. Universities Are Not on the Level (Josh Barro, Substack): “I personally have also developed a more negative view of colleges and universities over the last decade, and my reason is simple: I increasingly find these institutions to be dishonest. A lot of the research coming out of them does not aim at truth, whether because it is politicized or for more venal reasons. The social justice messaging they wrap themselves in is often insincere. Their public accountings of the reasons for their internal actions are often implausible. They lie about the role that race plays in their admissions and hiring practices. And sometimes, especially at the graduate level, they confer degrees whose value they know will not justify the time and money that students invest to get them. The most recent debacle at Harvard, in which large swathes of academia seem to have conveniently forgotten what the term ‘plagiarism’ means so they don’t have to admit that Claudine Gay engaged in it, is only the latest example of the lying that is endemic on campus.”
    • Related: Harvard Couldn’t Save Both Claudine Gay and Itself (Ross Douthat, New York Times): “The Ivy League believes in its progressive doctrines, but not as much as it believes in its own indispensability, its permanent role as an incubator of privilege and influence.”
    • Also related: The Claudine Gay Affair (Frederick M. Hess, American Enterprise Institute): “Higher ed doesn’t have many friends on the right. In my experience, elite college leaders aren’t all that bothered by this (some seem perversely proud of it). Well, when publicly-supported, highly visible institutions choose to take sides in political and cultural fights, there are consequences. With the right having lost faith in higher ed and becoming increasingly comfortable pushing back on the college cartel, campus leaders had better strap in for a bumpy ride.”
      • Brief and interesting, especially the personal connection to Claudine Gay.
  4. My Bible Reading Feels Flat — What Can I Do? (John Piper, Desiring God): “Is there something you can do to move from ears attending to words and minds grasping for knowledge to hearts experiencing pleasantness of what is within? Is there anything you can do? [The writer of Proverbs 22 says] yes, and the words he uses go like this: ‘Apply your heart to what your ear has heard and the knowledge that’s forming in your mind.’”
    • Recommended by a student
  5. Did Islamic beliefs trigger the use of rape in Hamas attacks? If ‘yes,’ reporters should say so (Julia Duin, GetReligion): “Well, what happened to these Israeli women was off the charts and it’s about time reporters called it out for what it was. The attackers believed that their violence was sanctioned by religion, just as much as it was driven by revenge. Hindu human-rights activists have no illusions about these realities. I chanced upon a political Hindu site that compares the Hamas brutalities against Jewish women with Muslim invasions of India and the mass rapes of Hindu women as recently as 1971.… [it blames] the whole rape-and-sex-slavery emphasis of invading Islamic hordes on Islam allowing each man four wives and limitless slaves and concubines. The latter really aren’t in vogue in the 21st century but ISIS had a huge sex slave system going among captive Yazidi women in Iraq and Syria roughly from 2014–2017.”
    • This is a disturbing read. Also, this is not an indictment of Islam as a whole, but it is certainly an indictment of some Muslim theologies.

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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