Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 452

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.

452 is a product of 113. Specifically, 452 = 4 · 113. A website informed that it is also the closest integer to 7π, but that’s a weird fact.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. I Knew I Would Pay a Price for My Faith’: China Releases Missionary After Seven Years (CJ Wu interviewing John Cao, Christianity Today): “I did not have a Bible while in prison. Although both my mother and my lawyer brought Bibles to my prison, the correctional staff refused to hand them over to me. My mother would write down Bible verses in her letters to me. Yet the police checked our correspondence: If faith was mentioned in my letters, they would not be delivered. Both prisons had small libraries with hundreds of books. I would search for Leo Tolstoy’s books, since there are some Bible verses in his books. When I found them, I’d be very, very happy and copy the verses in my notebook. In the four years I was there, I copied dozens of verses.”
  2. The adolescent mental health mess (Lucy Foulkes, Medium): “We are in a situation where some adolescents are very legitimately experiencing mental health crises, without decent treatment, while others are inaccurately describing typical developmental stress with the language of disorder.… The whole thing is a mess, and a thousand miles away from the original goal of mental health awareness.”
    • The author is a psychologist at Oxford.
    • Amplified by the New York Times: Are We Talking Too Much About Mental Health? (Ellen Barry, New York Times): “[The] training could encourage ‘co-rumination,’ the kind of long, unresolved group discussion that churns up problems without finding solutions.… Co-rumination appears to be higher in girls, who tend to come into the program more distressed, as well as more attuned to their friends, he said. ‘It might be,’ he said, ‘that they kind of get together and make things a little bit worse for each other.’”
  3. Perspectives and news about the college protests
    • The People Setting America on Fire (Park MacDougald, Tablet Magazine): “In fact, it is a mistake both to view the campus protests as a ‘student’ movement and to regard the outsiders as ‘infiltrators’ or somehow separate from the movement. Rather, student activists have been working together with outsiders, with whom they are linked via overlapping activist networks and nationwide organizations.… wealthy donors have been subsidizing months of rolling disruptive street protests by a grab bag of revolutionary and anti-Israel radicals. That leads naturally to a question: To what end?”
    • An Inside Look at the Student Takeover of Columbia’s Hamilton Hall (Sharon Otterman, New York Times): “[The maintenance worker] said he tried to block them and they tried to reason with him to get out of the way, telling him ‘this is bigger than you.’ One person, he recalled, told him he didn’t get paid enough to deal with this. Someone tried to offer him ‘a fistful of cash.’ He said he replied: “I don’t want your money, dude. Just get out of the building.” … Both Mr. Torres and Mr. Wilson said they strongly objected to the tactics of the occupiers, which they said had taken a toll on them. Neither man ever wants to work in Hamilton Hall again.”
      • A pretty wild story told from a unique perspective
    • How Counterprotesters at U.C.L.A. Provoked Violence, Unchecked for Hours (EIGHT JOURNALISTS!, New York Times): “A New York Times examination of more than 100 videos from clashes at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that violence ebbed and flowed for nearly five hours, mostly with little or no police intervention. The violence had been instigated by dozens of people who are seen in videos counterprotesting the encampment.… Fifteen people were reportedly injured in the attack, according to a letter sent by the president of the University of California system to the board of regents.”
    • Behind the Ivy Intifada (Musa al-Gharbi, Compact Magazine): “Contrary to earlier claims by university and city officials about a large proportion of ‘outside agitators,’ more than 70 percent of those arrested at Columbia had a direct institutional tie to the university. This was reflected in how they were treated after arrest. Most of those swept up were released without charges. Among Columbia affiliates who were formally charged, none faced more than a single misdemeanor charge. Meanwhile, those who faced charges at City College, the nearby public university raided by police the same night, were all hit with felonies. While it’s possible that the City College kids just engaged in more extreme and unlawful activity, it seems more likely that belonging to the elite paid criminal-justice dividends for the Columbia arrestees.”
      • Wow. Well worth reading. Full of snarky insight. The author is a professor of communication at Stony Brook and is pro-Palestinian.
    • Check Your Privilege (Nick Catoggio, The Dispatch): “Academia could select for kids who show intellectual humility and curiosity, to borrow a point from my colleague Sarah Isgur. Instead they’ve selected for kids who feel not merely entitled to demand that their elders ‘check their privilege’ but morally justified in acting aggressively to make sure they do. All told, one might say that progressives, the great enemies of colonialism, have … colonized higher education over the past half-century. And you know how settler-colonialists are. They can be very defensive when you demand that they vacate territory they regard as rightly theirs. The behavior of campus progressives this month has radiated the sense that American universities are ‘theirs’ in a way that isn’t true of other students. It’s been pointed out repeatedly but can’t be emphasized enough that the sort of disruption in which they’ve engaged wouldn’t be tolerated from those whose political beliefs offended the administration’s leftist orthodoxy.”
  4. Perspectives and news about the war in Gaza
    • One Photo That Captures the Loss in Gaza (Nicholas Kristof, New York Times): “An American surgeon who volunteered in Gaza sent me a photo that sears me with its glimpse of overwhelming grief: A woman mourns her young son.… The nurses and other doctors who were in the I.C.U. that day said that Karam died of complications from malnutrition.”
    • Israel orders Al Jazeera to close its local operation and seizes some of its equipment (Tia Goldenberg and Jon Gambrell, AP News): “The extraordinary order, which includes confiscating broadcast equipment, preventing the broadcast of the channel’s reports and blocking its websites, is believed to be the first time Israel has ever shuttered a foreign news outlet operating in the country.… While including on-the-ground reporting of the war’s casualties, its Arabic arm often publishes verbatim video statements from Hamas and other regional militant groups.… Al Jazeera has been closed or blocked by other Mideast governments.”
    • Kol Hakavod (Russ Roberts, Substack): “Israel going to the finals really shouldn’t float my boat and make my heart sing. But it did. Because here’s the thing. The decision about who advanced to the Eurovision finals tomorrow night was done by a popular vote. There’s no panel of judges in the semifinal round.… Golan advanced. Despite the thousands who marched in the streets and the dozens who booed Golan in the rehearsal hall, probably millions, from the safety of their homes, were able to cast an anonymous vote for Israel.”
  5. The Heresy of Christian Buddhism (Anonymous, Substack): “…while many men can easily recognise the moral evil of debauchery and worldliness, not many see the danger of an ascetic puritanism that pushes too far. Too much emphasis on sin, too much emphasis on humility, too much emphasis on heaven and even too much emphasis on Christ to the exclusion of man soon leads to a Christianity that hates the individual, individuation and the created world. Christianity starts to resemble Buddhism.”
    • Follow-up: The Buddhist Mood in Evangelicalism (Aaron Renn, Substack): “…the de facto definition of idolatry is wanting anything so much that, if you don’t get it, you are very upset. Hence, the path to avoiding sin and idolatry, the way to please God, is to purge oneself of desires. This is Buddhism. Undoubtedly it would be possible for someone to be engaged in idolatry in some of these cases. But there are a lot of things in this world you should be upset about.”
  6. When Intrusive Thoughts Come (John Beeson, The Gospel Coalition): “Nurture mental playgrounds of gospel creativity.Many of us expend so much energy trying to knock down destructive intrusive thoughts that we have no energy to build constructive imaginations. We believe our minds are dangerous and need to be shut down. But your mind is a gift God intends to be leveraged for his glory. He desires to reshape your mind to become a factory of God-glorifying curiosity.”
    • Recommended by a student

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

  • Cruise ship sails into New York City port with 44-foot dead whale across its bow (ABC News): “A cruise ship sailed into a New York City port with a 44-foot dead whale across its bow, marine authorities said. The whale, identified as an endangered sei whale, was caught on the ship’s bow when it arrived at the Port of Brooklyn on Saturday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries spokesperson Andrea Gomez said.”
    • I guess it’s the nautical equivalent of a car hitting a deer. Yikes.

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.

Leave a Reply