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 435, a triangular number.
Things Glen Found Interesting
- The Ground of Our Assurance (D. A. Carson, YouTube): three and a half excellent minutes
- No, Not Everyone Needs Therapy (Freya India, Substack): “… there are people who now feel pressured to get professional help for normal negative emotions—teens and pre-teens convinced the reason they’re sad sometimes is because they’re broken and haven’t paid enough to be healed. Now not going to therapy is a red flag. Seeking support from friends and family is exploiting their ’emotional labour’. And men are shamed for preferring to chat to their mates about their problems than pay a stranger, like that one BetterHelp ad where a woman dismisses a guy she’s dating because he ‘doesn’t do therapy’. Think about that! How have we reached the point where we’re stigmatising people for not needing mental health support?”
- What If There Is No Such Thing as ‘Biblical’ Productivity? (Brady Bowman, Mere Orthodoxy): “…the ‘productivity mindset’ seems to me, at least in some ways, deeply incongruent with the Bible’s vision of reality. To say it more simply, to adopt an outlook dominated by speed and efficiency and productivity is to adopt a perspective that is alien to the writers of Scripture.…”
- New technology interprets archaeological findings from Biblical times (Tel Aviv University, Phys.org): “Applying their method to findings from ancient Gath (Tell es-Safi in central Israel), the researchers validated the Biblical account, ‘About this time Hazael King of Aram went up and attacked Gath and captured it. Then he turned to attack Jerusalem’ (2 Kings 12, 18). They explain that, unlike previous methods, the new technique can determine whether a certain item (such as a mud brick) underwent a firing event even at relatively low temperatures, from 200°C and up.”
- US Intelligence Shows Flawed China Missiles Led Xi to Purge Army (Peter Martin and Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg): “The corruption inside China’s Rocket Force and throughout the nation’s defense industrial base is so extensive that US officials now believe Xi is less likely to contemplate major military action in the coming years than would otherwise have been the case, according to the people, who asked not to be named discussing intelligence.”
- This may be the most important bit of geopolitical news you read this year.
- The Misguided War on the SAT (David Leonhardt, New York Times): “With the Supreme Court’s restriction of affirmative action last year, emotions around college admissions are running high. The debate over standardized testing has become caught up in deeper questions about inequality in America and what purpose, ultimately, the nation’s universities should serve. But the data suggests that testing critics have drawn the wrong battle lines. If test scores are used as one factor among others — and if colleges give applicants credit for having overcome adversity — the SAT and ACT can help create diverse classes of highly talented students. Restoring the tests might also help address a different frustration that many Americans have with the admissions process at elite universities: that it has become too opaque and unconnected to merit.”
- Not the main point of the essay, but worth commenting that politics poisons whatever it polarizes.
- The Peculiar Story of C. S. Lewis and Janie King Moore (Bethel McGrew, First Things): “Lewis’s letters from this period are marked by an understated deep relief. He wrote to a frequent correspondent that he was only just beginning to appreciate ‘how bad it was’ in hindsight. And yet, though we miss the works he might have written under different circumstances, we might also wonder whether the books we have would have been the same, had duty not compelled him to die to self every day for the sake of one fragile, impossible old woman. In the end, his own words rang as true for himself as they did for everyone else: ‘Whether we like it or not God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want.’”
Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen
- Supernova (xkcd)
- ‘You Know, These Fine Citizens May Really Have A Point And I’d Like To Learn More About Their Cause,’ Thinks Driver Blocked By Protesters For 3 Hours (Babylon Bee)
- Men, Women, and Christmas Presents (Text From Superheroes)
- Philospohy (SMBC)
- 2024 Election Year (xkcd)
- Like This One (xkcd)
- Real (SMBC)
- Unbeliever Converted To Christianity After Seeing Christians Bicker With Each Other Online (Babylon Bee)
- The Generation Gap (YouTube): three funny minutes
- SpaceX Escalating Launch Cadence (Hazegrayart, YouTube): five minutes that drives home just how wild this is. You can love Musk or hate him, but you can’t deny that the companies he helms are transformative.
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.