Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 438

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 438, which is 666 in base 8. 👀

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Don’t Forget About Nigerian Christians (Samuel Sey, personal blog): “Over the last 15 years, More than 50,000 Nigerian Christians have been killed for their faith, 18,000 churches have been destroyed, and millions more have been displaced. In 2023, around 5,000 Christians were killed worldwide because of their faith—90% of them were Nigerians.  Nigeria is the deadliest country for Christians. Every Christian in northern (and some central states) Nigeria is probably grieving the loss of a spouse or a child (or both) from persecution.”
  2. As Kids, They Thought They Were Trans. They No Longer Do. (Pamela Paul, New York Times): “Studies show that around eight in 10 cases of childhood gender dysphoria resolve themselves by puberty and 30 percent of people on hormone therapy discontinue its use within four years, though the effects, including infertility, are often irreversible.… Trans activists often cite low regret rates for gender transition, along with low figures for detransition. But those studies, which often rely on self-reported cases to gender clinics, likely understate the actual numbers. None of the seven detransitioners I interviewed, for instance, even considered reporting back to the gender clinics that prescribed them medication they now consider to have been a mistake. Nor did they know any other detransitioners who had done so.”
    • Unlocked. The main point is horrifying and one I’ve shared many times in this channel before. A secondary point which is quite interesting is how intent the author is on making this the fault of her political opponents. Her audience needs to know that her tribe is still trustworthy despite massive mistakes on this issue. Partisanship poisons the things it touches.
  3. Birth rates are falling in the Nordics. Are family-friendly policies no longer enough? (Henry Mance, Financial Times): “…childlessness is also rising among those who are in a relationship. Many couples are waiting too long. ‘People call me a lot in Finland. [They say] ‘I’m 42, my partner has had three miscarriages and she says she will not continue. And I understand I will never be a father. I’m the only child of my parents, and there’s nobody left, and help me.’ Rotkirch is wary of an emphasis on fertility treatments. Women’s fertility drops in their late thirties and forties: society has to adapt. ‘If you do everything that typical ministers of finance tell you to do, you are 45 — you have a house and a doctorate and it’s too late. The idealised life course is really at odds with female reproductive biology.’”
  4. Some Israel/Hamas articles:
    • The UN’s Terrorism Teachers (Hillel C. Neuer, The Free Press): “UN Secretary General António Guterres said he was ‘horrified’ to discover that UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] employees participated in the invasion and massacre of October 7.… UNRWA employees have held Israeli hostages captive in their homes, using UNRWA facilities to move them from place to place.… It was only after Israel’s government provided evidence that 12 of the agency’s employees were actually involved in the October 7 massacre that UNRWA and the Biden administration took some action.”
      • Wowsers.
    • How Palestine Hijacked the U.S. Civil Rights Movement (Gil Troy, Tablet Magazine): “The differences between the Palestinian national movement and the American civil rights movement are obvious and fundamental. Palestinians have played no role in American history or the history of slavery. Palestinians played no role in the civil rights struggle. The Palestinian-Israeli clash, which is occurring a world away from America, is national not racial. Most Israelis are dark-skinned, while some Palestinians are light-skinned. Nonviolence fueled the civil rights struggle, while the Palestinian movement keeps perfecting new forms of political violence and terror-porn, from hijacking to suicide bombing.”
  5. The Meaningless Incoherence Of “LGBTQ+” (Andrew Sullivan, Substack): “The trouble is that words have meanings, and the term ‘LGBTQ+’ — like the term ‘Hispanic’ or ‘Latino’ — is not like NATO. It doesn’t refer to a single, identifiable group, experience, or community. It refers to multiple ones. And each is distinct, discrete and often very different. When you examine its component parts, you realize that the Ls and Gs and Bs and Ts, let alone the Is and the +s, differ dramatically in basic things like psychology, lifestyle, income, geography, education, and politics.… We’re constantly told, of course, that all gays and lesbians have collectively co-opted and destigmatized the q‑word. But polling shows that only 3 — 4 percent of the entire LGBTQ+ world call themselves ‘queer’. So the MSM routinely uses a word for the entire ‘LGBTQ+’ world that 96 percent of this community rejects. It’s up there with ‘Latinx’ as an accurate descriptor.”
    • Sullivan is one of the most influential gay public intellectuals. There are a lot of things he and I disagree about, but I nearly always find his perspectives illuminating.
  6. Two articles about a weirdly intense controversy about Alistair Begg:
    • Throw-Away Culture is the Spirit of the Sexual Revolution, Too. (Samuel D. James, Substack): “A person who interprets their sexual desires to be some sort of immovable identity that must be verified and actualized is in a very lamentable state. But what about the person who interprets their quick temper, their suspicion of other Christians, and their desire to build a platform atop the ruins of others’, as likewise an immovable identity— ‘I just know what time it is’? Theirs is hardly better. The Christian life doesn’t work like that.”
    • Alistair Begg Meets the Politically Correct (Russell Moore, Christianity Today): “Might Begg be drawing the line in the wrong place—too much in the direction of showing grace? Sure. Might I be drawing it in the wrong place—too much in the direction of maintaining truth? Again, yes. He risks confusing people. I risk hurting people. That’s why I think we both attempt to sort these out with fear and trembling and a willingness to be corrected.”
  7. Religious people coped better with Covid-19 pandemic, research suggests (Fred Lewsey, Cambridge Research News): “Where mental health declined, it was around 60% worse on average for the non-religious compared to people of faith with typical levels of ‘religiosity’. Interestingly, the positive effects of religion were not found in areas with strictest lockdowns, suggesting access to places of worship might be even more important in a US context. The study also found significant uptake of online religious services, and a 40% lower association between Covid-19 and mental health for those who used them.”
    • How horrible the pandemic must have been for those without faith. I hated it and I’m a minister!

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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