Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 437

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 the 437th compilation, and I was pleased to discover that 437 is the product of 19 and 23, two of my favorite prime numbers.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. A new global gender divide is emerging (John Burn-Murdoch, Financial Times): “Gen Z is two generations, not one. In countries on every continent, an ideological gap has opened up between young men and women. Tens of millions of people who occupy the same cities, workplaces, classrooms and even homes no longer see eye-to-eye. In the US, Gallup data shows that after decades where the sexes were each spread roughly equally across liberal and conservative world views, women aged 18 to 30 are now 30 percentage points more liberal than their male contemporaries.”
  2. Two compelling personal stories
    • The 2016 Election Sent Me Searching for Answers (Carrie Sheffield, Christianity Today): “People laugh when I admit this, but my conversion to Christianity resulted from two powerful forces: science and Donald Trump. But before that journey began, I needed distance from extreme religious trauma. I grew up within an offshoot Mormon cult, living with seven biological siblings in various motor homes, tents, houses, and sheds. Besides time spent in homeschooling, I attended 17 different public schools. When I took my ACT test, we lived in a shed with no running water in the Ozarks.”
      • A remarkable testimony. Recommended.
    • ‘I should be in prison or dead’: Cameron Black on his journey from cult to campus (Lauren Boles, Stanford Daily): “Born into a cult led by his father, who proclaimed himself to be God, Black’s early life in Sedona, Ariz. was anything but ordinary. This familial cult consisted of nine people and operated under unconventional religious and sexual practices, deeply entangled in manipulation and abuse, Black said. ‘Don’t try to make sense of it because it doesn’t make sense,” he said as he explained the cult’s philosophy. “It’s like my father combined the Bible, sci-fi books and ‘The Matrix’ into one big ball of crazy.’ ”
      • Not Christian but fascinating.
  3. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Church Attendance and Voting for Trump (Ryan Burge, Substack): “look at Trump’s two elections. Now, Cultural Evangelicals rise in importance. Three percent of all Trump voters were never attending evangelicals and another eight percent were seldom attenders. In both 2016 and 2020, 11% of the Trump coalition were Cultural Evangelicals. It was just 6% in 2008, representing a near doubling [from McCain’s campaign]. Also note that 31% of all McCain voters were weekly attending evangelicals. For Romney, this dropped to 28%. In 2016, it went even lower to 25% of all Trump voters. However, this figure rebounded in 2020 to 29% of all Trump voters being weekly attending evangelicals.”
  4. Visiting the Most Important Company in the World (Nicholas Kristof, New York Times): “…Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or T.S.M.C., is the only corporation I can think of in history that could cause a global depression if it were forced to halt production.”
    • What a stunning sentence.
  5. Is Gender Too Troubled? (Abigail Favale, Church Life Journal): “Gender is not part of a person, contra the Gender Unicorn, but rather encompasses the whole person. Thus, gender includes one’s sexed biological structure, as well as the psychological, spiritual, and historically-situated dimensions of human personhood. What is arguably lost in the dichotomy of sex and gender is the wholeness, the completeness of the human person.… because gender cannot be separated from sex, in ordinary speech we can use these terms as synonyms. Yes: I am suggesting that we intentionally and enthusiastically violate the taboo against conflating sex with gender, as a strategy of reintegration.”
    • The author is a professor of women’s studies at Notre Dame. If the excerpt is not clear, the author is advocating that Christians deliberately use gender and sex interchangeably as a way of resisting some of the nonsense in our culture.
  6. What We Might Mean by “Liberal Bias” (Freddie deBoer, Substack): “There’s no notion within Confessore’s piece that left critics of DEI exist. I imagine he and the paper would cite space constraints. But even accepting that explanation, the omission is convenient for the NYT’s fundamental financial model: it leaves the piece depicting a simplistic and purely binary contrast of values, where there are on one side the valiant Associate Vice Presidents of Student Experience and on the other the wicked racism-perpetuating Republicans.”
    • A critique of NYT bias from someone on the socialist left.
    • Somewhat related: What Did Top Israeli War Officials Really Say About Gaza? (Yair Rosenberg, The Atlantic): “In this perilous wartime environment, it is essential to know who is saying what, and whether they have the authority to act on it. But while far too many right-wing members of Israel’s Parliament have expressed borderline or straightforwardly genocidal sentiments during the Gaza conflict, such statements attributed to the three people making Israel’s actual military decisions, the voting members of its war cabinet—Gallant, Netanyahu, and the former opposition lawmaker Benny Gantz—repeatedly turn out to be mistaken or misrepresented.”
  7. Follow the Money to the After Party (Megan Basham, First Things): “…during its germination phase, the project hit a roadblock. Evangelical donors had little interest in funding an explicitly political Bible study. Thus, to get The After Party off the ground, the trio (all frequent critics of evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump) turned to ‘predominantly progressive’ ‘unbelievers.’ In fact, they turned to secular left-wing foundations.… To offer a politics curriculum backed by the secular left as the church’s solution to idolatrous co-optation by the right is like suggesting that a man who became obese eating cake and ice cream will lose weight by gorging on pizza and potato chips. As a friend told me, ‘If you want the church to be less political, start by focusing less on politics yourself.’?”
    • Recommended to me by a student. Stories like this make me sad. I’m reminded of 3 John 1:7–8, “For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.” (ESV)
    • To be clear, I don’t think that ministries should always reject funding from non-Christian sources any more than Nehemiah should have refused supplies from the empire for rebuilding Jerusalem, I just think we should always do it with our eyes open and with transparency about it. It’s risky.

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

  • A Real Superpower (Pearls Before Swine)
  • Despite Negative Reviews, ‘Trump Vs. Biden’ Renewed For Second Season (Babylon Bee)
  • You just met a beautiful girl at church (Matthew Pierce, Substack): “Fellas, it’s not easy to be a Christian woman! Every time they choose what to wear, they have to navigate between fashion trends, purity culture, comfort, and peer pressure! Validate her feelings with gentle words of affirmation, such as ‘I can’t see even a little bit of your bosoms, which is good, because I bet they’re super nice,’ and then make, like, a motion of a rocket launching into outer space and do the sound effects with your mouth, to show how your respect for her is going super high right now.”
    • This substack is hit or miss, but this installation is a solid hit.

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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