Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 451

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 451, which feels like it is maybe a prime number but it turns out that 451 = 11 · 41.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Was Paul a Slave? (Mark R. Fairchild and Jordan K. Monson, Christianity Today): “Reconciling the Pharisee, Hebrew of Hebrews, Aramaic-speaking zealot Paul with the Roman citizen, globetrotting, Greek-speaking Paul seems impossible. Unless, that is, we consider the early church’s recollection of Paul’s upbringing as a child in an enslaved family. ‘The manumission of Paul’s father solves these problems,’ Riesner told me.”
    • The title is a little misleading — the question is really whether Paul was born a slave and later freed (they do explain Acts 22:28, “When Paul told the commander in Acts 22:28 that he was ‘born’ a Roman citizen, that word, gennao, can refer to birth or adoption. Freed Roman slaves were often adopted into their master’s family and given a Roman name and citizenship.”
    • The authors are scholars with relevant expertise. The middle section of the article is where all the meat is and makes some good points. The opening and closing felt like fluff to me.
    • Unlocked.
  2. Stuff about the college protests
    • For most people, politics is about fitting in (Nate Silver, Substack): “People are trying to figure out where they fit in — who’s on their side and who isn’t. And this works in both directions: people can be attracted to a group or negatively polarized by it.… Notice what’s missing from my list? The notion of politics as a battle of ideas.”
    • College protesters seek amnesty to keep arrests and suspensions from trailing them (Jocelyn Gecker, AP News): “Petocz said protesting in high school was what helped get him into Vanderbilt and secure a merit scholarship for activists and organizers. His college essay was about organizing walkouts in rural Florida to oppose Gov. Ron DeSantis’ anti-LGBTQ policies. ‘Vanderbilt seemed to love that,’ Petocz said.’ ”
    • What Students Read Before They Protest (Ross Douthat, New York Times): “[Reading the syllabus explains] the two things that seem so disproportionate in these protests and the culture that surrounds them. First, it explains why this conflict attracts such a scale of on-campus attention and action and disruption, while so many other wars and crises (Sudan, Congo, Armenia, Burma, Yemen …) are barely noticed or ignored. Second, it explains why the attention seems to leap so quickly past critique into caricature, past sympathy for the Palestinians into justifications for Hamas, past condemnation of Israeli policy into anti-Semitism.”
    • In an Online World, a New Generation of Protesters Chooses Anonymity (Nicholas Fandos, New York Times): “On campuses from New England to Southern California, students leading one of the largest protest movements in decades have increasingly strapped on face masks and checkered Palestinian kaffiyehs in a polarizing bid to protect their anonymity even as they demand universities and governments be held to account. The choice represents a sharp break by many, though not all, of these students from earlier generations of university activists, who gained their moral force in part by putting their words on record and their futures in jeopardy for a larger cause.”
    • How Protesters Can Actually Help Palestinians (Nicholas Kristof, New York Times): “…this may sound zany, but how about raising money to send as many of your student leaders as possible this summer to live in the West Bank and learn from Palestinians there (while engaging with Israelis on the way in or out)? West Bank monitors say that a recent Israeli crackdown on foreigners helping Palestinians, by denying entry or deporting people, has made this more difficult but not impossible. Student visitors must be prudent and cautious but could study Arabic, teach English and volunteer with human rights organizations on the ground. Palestinians in parts of the West Bank are under siege, periodically attacked by settlers and in need of observers and advocates.”
  3. Some stuff about gender:
    • The Battle of the Sexes Needs a Truce (Thomas Adamo and Isabella Griepp, Stanford Review): “We must acknowledge how society has lied to both men and women since they were boys and girls—lies that have done nothing but bring about disharmony between the sexes. In seeking to empower young girls, parents and teachers have de-emphasized the innate differences between the sexes. And, any differences between the sexes were explained in terms of how men had historically oppressed women, rather than the unique and valuable characteristics that men and women inherently possess.”
      • The authors are students in Chi Alpha.
    • The Masculinity Pyramid (Seth Troutt, Mere Orthodoxy): “A man who is overly concerned with how he is different from women is missing the holy instinct of Adam, who first notices the sameness of Eve and second notices their differences (Gen 2:23).”
    • Scripts for Healthy Masculinity (Seth Troutt, Mere Orthodoxy): “…men ought to be differentiated from God, animals, boys, and women. When properly considered, those four distinctions yield the four core masculine virtues of humility (in our differentiation from God), discipline (in our differentiation from animals), responsibility (in our differentiation from boys), and chivalry (in our differentiation from women).”
  4. There’s Really No Good Reason to Use TikTok (Samuel D. James, Substack): “TikTok is, in my view, a social media platform devoid of positive benefit. I do not mean by that that it is wholly evil or cannot be used except sinfully. Rather, I think TikTok simply lacks any merit as a platform and is only useful in the sense that it is passively entertaining. This is also how I would describe things like soap operas, professional wrestling, and the national hot dog eating contest. The difference, though, between TikTok and those things, is that TikTok is 1) addictive, 2) actively corrosive to thinking, and 3) marketed to and consumed by an enormous number of children.”

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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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