Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 49

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

  1. The Experiment Experiment (Planet Money): a consistently excellent podcast. This episode is the best explanation I’ve heard about the replication crisis that plagues many disciplines.
  2. The Faithful: René and Juan Carlos set out to convert their Colombian megachurch to Orthodox Judaism. This is what happened. (Graciela Mochkofsky, The California Sunday Magazine): this is a very sad story. The temptations Paul warned the Galatians about are real.
  3. A Confession of Liberal Intolerance (Nicholas Kristof, NY Times): “This bias on campuses creates liberal privilege. A friend is studying for the Law School Admission Test, and the test preparation company she is using offers test‐takers a tip: Reading comprehension questions will typically have a liberal slant and a liberal answr.”
  4. Facebook is going to get more politically biased, not less (Ezra Klein, Vox): “The bad press Facebook has received for political bias in recent days is likely to push it away from human curation and toward yet more algorithmic curation. The irony is that will make Facebook more of an echo chamber, not less of one. Facebook’s human curators are under pressure to present both sides, but its algorithmic curators are not.” The article Klein is responding to is Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News (Michael Nunez, Gizmodo).
  5. World Hunger Is At Its Lowest Point In 25 Years. Thank Democracy. (Libby Nelson, Vox): and as I never tire of pointing out, for widespread democracy thank Bible‐believing Christians. You’re welcome.
  6. Ravi Zacharias On The Christian View Of Homosexuality (YouTube): the clip is 11 minutes long.
  7. Where John Piper and Other Evangelicals Stand on Black Lives Matter (Morgan Lee, Christianity Today): “Piper also encouraged white evangelicals to ‘pause’ before saying anything like, ‘All lives matter.’ ‘Because if you quickly add that, it sounds like a rebuke,’ he said. ‘It sounds like a minimizing of what was just said. It sounds like the point that was trying to be made isn’t worth being made,’ he said. ‘… Of course that is true, all lives matter, but oh how timing matters and how context matters.’”
  8. How Bathrooms Became the New Legal Battleground of the Religious Right (Michelle Goldberg, Slate): Very slanted but interesting piece. “Polls suggest that a slight plurality of Americans believe people should have to use the bathrooms that match the sex on their birth certificate. To a liberal, this is evidence that more education is needed. To a conservative, it’s proof that average people’s preferences are being trampled on.”
  9. Amusing:

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.

Disclaimer

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).

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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 38

On Fridays I share articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

  1. From The Theology Side:
    • Was Jesus Neither a Democrat Nor a Republican? (Michael Kruger, blog): Kruger argues that this is a misleading and trivially true statement.
    • The Mega Churches of Lagos (Andrew Esiebo, The Guardian): this is a collection of pictures. The third picture is mind‐blowing.
    • Transcript: Rev. Paul Scalia’s Eulogy for His Father Justice Antonin Scalia (Paul Scalia, USA Today): it’s rare to find a funeral sermon for a famous person that is this theologically rich. Being Protestant there are bits I would quibble with, but wow.
    • What Conservative Gay Christians Want (Dan Hitchens, The Spectator): a perspective rarely heard in mainstream media: “When Shaw writes in praise of the ‘real elements of beauty’ in gay relationships, or laments how the C of E’s ‘hypocrisy’ has ‘hurt a lot of people’, he sounds like a liberal Anglican. At other times, he sounds like anything but. Sex is ‘not a small issue that we can afford to disagree on’, he says; ‘marriage between a man and a woman, union in difference, sex within that’ is one of the most important ‘pictures of God’s love for us’. The Bible starts with a marriage in Eden and ends with a marriage between Christ and the Church. ‘It’s not just a couple of verses in Leviticus that we need to change,’ Shaw argues: reconstructing marriage would mean ‘ripping out the heart of almost every part of scripture’.”
    • Three Lies Every Campus Minister Must Silence (Paul  Worcester, Campus Ministry Today): this article has an amazing close. Even if you skim the article, devour the testimony at the end. You never know the impact you have.
    • An Economist’s Rational Road to Christianity (Eric Falkenstein, personal blog): one man’s journey to conversion. It’s a bit long. The author’s Ph.D. is from Northwestern University, he works in industry, and has published two well‐received books. My favorite line is “in the words of a famous short green deist, ‘Do, or do not, there is no try.’”
  2. From The Political Side
  3. God Loved Alexander Hamilton (Susan Lim, Christianity Today) — history nerds pay attention — there’s some good stuff here.
  4. Random Research

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.

Disclaimer

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).

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.

Past editions are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links (you can also sign up to receive them via email at that site)

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 34

Here are some things I found interesting this week. See the bottom for context.

  1. On The Viability of Conspiratorial Beliefs (David Robert Grimes, PLOS One): Oxford physicist Grimes came up with an equation that shows how likely a conspiracy will be to succeed under ideal conditions. Of particular interest is the chart on the bottom of page 11, showing that a conspiracy with more than 502 people has a 95% likelihood of exposure after just 25 years. Reading that puts 1 Corinthians 15:3–6 in a new light: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.” Please note that there are all kinds of assumptions in the paper that are subject to challenge… but if one of your friends brings this study up you should mention this passage to them. 🙂
  2. Certitude And Seeking The Truth (Peter Wehner, Commentary). Recommended by an alumnus (the recommendation was actually for a blog post excerpting this article, but I thought the whole thing was worth reading — it aligns nicely with my disclaimer at the bottom).
  3. My Major, Myself: (Olga Khazan, The Atlantic). What does your major reveal (probabilistically) about your personality?
  4. Why Humans Find It Hard To Do Away With Religion (John Gray, The New Statesman): Gray is himself an atheist. My favorite line: “The inveterate human inclination to religion is, in effect, the atheist problem of evil.” This isn’t quite right but it is amusing.
  5. People Can Be Convinced They Committed A Non‐Existant Crime In Just Three Hours (Bec Crew, Science Alert). Disturbing. This is a summary of the findings of an academic paper: Constructing Rich False Memories of Committing Crime (Shaw & Porter, Psychological Science).
  6. How Religion Is Shaping the 2016 Presidential Race (Pew Research). If politics is your thing, this article will be interesting.
  7. Are Academics Disproportionately Gay? (Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Education). The tl;dr version is yes.

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.

To that end, on Fridays I’ve been sharing articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural, societal and theological issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.

Disclaimer

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).

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.

Past emails are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 32

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.

To that end, on Fridays I’ve been sharing articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural, societal and theological issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). May these give you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar. Past emails are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links

Without further ado, I give you the interesting things:

  1. This Is What Makes Republicans and Democrats So Different (Vox, Ezra Klein): I was skeptical of this piece, but it’s insightful.
  2. Recognition: How A Travesty Led to Criminal‐Justice Innovation In Texas  (New Yorker, Paul Kix): this is a powerful article with a heartbreaking story at its center.
  3. North Korea Gets Competition: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Now Hardest To Be A Christian (Christianity Today, Sarah Zylstra). Sobering and sadly unsurprising. “2014 was the world’s worst year for the persecution of Christians in the modern era. Until 2015 surpassed it.”
  4. College Party Culture and Sexual Assault (NBER, Lindo, Siminksi, Swensen): “We find significant and robust evidence that football game days increase reports of rape victimization among 17–24 year old women by 28 percent. Home games increase reports by 41 percent on the day of the game and away games increase reports by 15 percent.” They propose parties associated with the game as a causal mechanism.
  5. Inside Graduate Admissions (Inside Higher Ed, Scott Jaschick): if you plan to apply to grad school, read this. There is one revealing anecdote about how an admissions committee treated an application from a Christian college student. My takeaway: the professors tried to be fair but found it hard to do, and their stated concerns were mostly about the quality of the institution rather than the faith of the applicant. Troubling nonetheless.
  6. Shorter Pieces:

Disclaimer

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.

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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 30

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.

To that end, on Fridays I’ve been sharing articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural and societal issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). May these give you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar. Past emails are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links

Without further ado, I give you the interesting things:

  1. A Carved Stone Block Upends Assumptions About Ancient Judaism (NY Times, Isabel Kirshner): I find the title amusing (the finding lines up perfectly with my assumptions about Judaism before the destruction of the temple).
  2. Jesus’ Leftward Bias (Pacific Standard, Tom Jacobs): warning — this is not about what you think it probably is. It is based on the study Did Buddha Turn The Other Cheek Too? A Comparison of Posing Biases Between Jesus and Buddha and weaves together art, selfies, and the role of emotions in Christianity. Really.
  3. Shutting Down Conversations About Rape at Harvard Law (New Yorker, Jeannie Suk): a Harvard Law prof comments on how campuses should handle rape accusations, and points out that a rigid “believe the accuser” stance will result in great injustice against black men.
  4. American Christians Could Take A Lesson From Angela Merkel (Religion News Service, Guthrie Graves‐Fitzsimmons): I did not know Merkel (German Chancellor and Time Person of the Year) was pious. See the comments for clarification about what tribe of Christianity she belongs to. As always, take claims about the faith of public figures with a grain of salt, especially when they are from another culture. I was also interested by Multiculturalism Is A Sham, Says Angela Merkel (Washington Post, Rick Noack)
  5. Beyond Fight or Flight: $1 Million Reveals How Christians Cope with Persecution in 30 Countries (Christianity Today, Sarah Zylstra): Fascinating research on what Christians actually do when they face intense persecution. Related: Globally, Religious Persecution is Christian Persecution (Crux, John Allen): I appreciated the selection of stories in this article. They avoided the crazy, gory stories that make you put this into a special place in your brain and chose much simpler anecdotes that make you see what this is a like on a day‐to‐day basis in certain parts of the world. See also, The Biggest Apology For Christian Persecution of Other Christians Ever. (Christianity Today, Sarah Zylstra).
  6. Quick Links

Disclaimer

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.

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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 29

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.

To that end, on Fridays I’ve been sharing articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural and societal issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). May these give you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar. Past emails are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links

Without further ado, I give you the interesting things:

  1. C.S. Lewis Was A Secret Government Agent (Christianity Today, Harry Lee Poe): It’s not as exciting as the title sounds, but it’s still cool. C.S. Lewis did some work for MI6. That’s the same agency as James Bond.  JAMES BOND.
  2. Why I worry experimental social science is headed in the wrong direction (Chris Blattman, personal blog). This is an excellent piece by a political science professor at Columbia.
  3. Utah Reduced Chronic Homelessness By 91 Percent. Here’s How. (NPR, Kelly McEvers). Props to the Mormons. It reminds me of an old piece by Malcolm Gladwell: Million Dollar Murray.
  4. Philanthropy Should Be Controversial (Bloomberg View, Justin Fox): Fascinating throughout — the last two paragraphs were quite surprising to me.
  5. John Kerry Should Recognize Christian Genocide (USA Today, Kirsten Powers): I’ve posted about this before and will likely keep doing so. The situation is insane.
  6. Why Christians Must Speak Out Against Donald Trump’s Muslim Remarks (Washington Post, Russell Moore). Related: Is An Immigration Ban on Muslims Unconstitutional? (Eric Posner, a law prof at U Chicago).  Moore has been on a tear lately, see also his What We Lose When We Prayer Shame Politicians After A Mass Shooting (Washington Post, Russell Moore). “The first response to a word of our fellow citizens in peril should be a human response of empathy. For religious people, that means a call to pray for them, and to encourage others of like mind to do so…. When that becomes just another culture war battlefield, we’ve lost more than a set of policy proposals. We’ve lost the social cohesion we need to do anything.”
  7. How Obama’s Gun‐Control Push Inverted the Politics of the No‐Fly List (The Atlantic, David Graham): this is a depressing commentary on the polarization of American politics. See also Eric Posner’s comments: The Republican‐Democratic Divide on Civil Liberties. Related — Partyism Now Trumps Racism (Bloomberg View, Cass Sunstein) and Political Identity Is Now Fair Game For Hatred: How Republicans and Democrats Discriminate (Vox, Ezra Klein).
  8. Quick Links:

Disclaimer

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.

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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 27

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.

To that end, on Fridays I’ve been sharing articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural and societal issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). May these give you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar. Past emails are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links

To be frank, most of what I found interesting this week was turkey. The pickings are little slimmer than other weeks:

  1. The Christian Century No One Predicted (Justin Taylor, personal blog): “it was also a reversal in that Christianity moved from being centered in Christian nations to being centered in non‐Christian nations. Christendom, that remarkable condition of churches supporting states and states supporting Christianity, died. The idea of Christian privilege in society was all but killed. And yet the religion seemed stronger than ever at the end of the twentieth century.”
  2. Ross Douthat on The Joy of ISIS (NY Times): “But if the West’s official alternative to ISIS is the full Belgium (basically good food + bureaucracy + euthanasia), if Western society seems like it’s closed most of the paths that human beings have traditionally followed to find transcendence, if Western culture loses the ability to even imagine the joy that comes with full commitment, and not just the remissive joy of sloughing commitments off — well, then we’re going to be supplying at least some recruits to groups like ISIS for a very long to come.”
  3. Why Tolerate Religion? (First Things, Rafael Domingo):  “The right to religion is different from freedom of conscience. Conscience is a sort of protective shell around people’s privacy: it safeguards them from abusive intrusions by the law. Conscience marks a private limit of the legal system, not a public one.… The right to religion demands toleration; freedom of conscience demands accommodation.”
  4. Fear and Voting on the Christian Right (CNN, Thomas Lake). “They called her a bigot, a homophobe, even a racist, which was strange, because the two gay men were white and so was Betty Odgaard. The angry people on the Internet told Betty she would die soon, that her death would be good for America, and then she would probably go to hell. Betty had other ideas about her final destination, but she agreed it was time to go.”
  5. There’s an Awful Cost To Getting a Ph.D. That No One Talks About (Quartz). Also of interest to Christians considering a doctoral program, The Illusion of Respectability (Christianity Today, Allen Guelzo).
  6. Chicago School of Free Speech (Wall Street Journal, L. Gordon Crovitz): one school’s response to the tumult sweeping college campuses. (may be behind a paywall)

Disclaimer

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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 25

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.

To that end, on Fridays I’ve been sharing articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural and societal issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). May these give you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar. Past emails are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links

There’s a lot of heavy content in this one. Buckle your seatbelt. Without further ado, I give you the interesting things:

  1. Alcohol, Blackouts, and Campus Sexual Assault (Texas Monthly, Sarah Hepola): I think this is the most thoughtful secular piece I’ve read on the issue. “Consent and alcohol make tricky bedfellows. The reason I liked getting drunk was because it altered my consent: it changed what I would say yes to. Not just in the bedroom but in every room and corridor that led into the squinting light. Say yes to adventure, say yes to risk, say yes to karaoke and pool parties and arguments with men, say yes to a life without fear, even though such a life is never possible… We drink because it feels good. We drink because it makes us feel happy, safe, powerful. That it often makes us the opposite is one of alcohol’s dastardly tricks.”
  2. Fatal Flaws In That Religion And Generosity Study (The Stream, George Yancey). Yancey is a sociology prof. Related: Are Religious Kids Really Meaner Than Their Counterparts? by a social psychologist.
  3. Now for a ton of links related to the racial incidents and responses at Yale and Mizzou (which seem different to me but which happened in such close proximity that they are linked in the national dialog).
  4. In global news: On The Brink: Christianity Facing Middle East Purge Within Decade, Group Says (Fox News). Stories like this have led one lawmaker to introduce a bill to Prioritize Refugee Status For Christians Fleeing ISIS (The Hill). See also Islam Is A Religion Of Violence by Joel Miller, wherein he argues that the lack of Trinitarian doctrine corrupts the Muslim conception of God.
  5. Christian Belief Cost This Man His Job: (Wall Street Journal, Jason Riley): apparently the fire chief of Atlanta was fired because of something he said in a book he wrote. Note that this is an op‐ed, not a news story.
  6. Hating Queerness Without Hating The Queer (The Atlantic, Emma Green): basically an article‐length interaction with Albert Mohler’s book We Cannot Be Silent.
  7. Quick Links:

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 21

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.

To that end, on Fridays I’ve been sharing articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural and societal issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). May these give you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar. Past emails are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links

Without further ado, I give you the interesting things:

  1. How big of a deal do you have to be for POTUS to interview you? President Obama & Marilynne Robinson: A Conversation In Iowa (NY Review of Books). You might recall that Robinson is speaking at Stanford soon and also that I mentioned her essay “Fear” a few emails back.
  2. Wondering why people are fleeing Syria? Check out Syria’s War: A Five Minute History (a Vox video). This is really well‐done. 
  3. There is also violence erupting in Israel. Foreign Policy asks Can Anyone Prevent A Third Intifada?  Incidentally, if you wonder why people are skeptical of the way news concerning Israel is reported, take a look at Returning to the Copy Desk, Briefly (Kevin Williamson, National Review). It is a takedown of a NY Times article showing how much bias can creep into an apparently objective article (this is from the right critiquing the left — for counterexamples search for clips from the Daily Show). Bottom line: it’s really hard to find trustworthy news about Israel.
  4. Lying About Our Religion, and Other Problems With Polling (Religion Dispatches). There really is a problem developing with polling, which is bad news because we rely upon polling in our national life to tell us what the public thinks. Nate Silver is also worried about this — Polling Is Getting Harder, But It’s A Vital Check On Power (FiveThirtyEight).
    • An insightful observation from the “Lying About Our Religion” article: “In a democracy with hundreds of millions of people, how do you know what the public thinks and wants? How do you figure out what binds them together, besides an annual obligation to the IRS and a love of fireworks? In short: how do you know what the public is? Like many hard questions, these problems have been rendered largely invisible, in no small part because “The Public” and “The American People” are favorite fictional characters for politicians and journalists, who speak of them without a trace of precision. So let’s indulge in a quick reality check. The Super Bowl—that national spectacle that unites us around the flickering LCD hearth—had 115 million viewers in the United States last February; in other words, nearly two‐thirds of us weren’t watching it. The most‐viewed political spectacle of the year, the State of the Union address, draws around 10% of the population. Barack Obama won the 2012 presidential election with 62 million votes, meaning that fewer than 20% of us voted for him. The people have spoken…kind of.”
  5. Quick links:

Disclaimer

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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 18

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.

To that end, on Fridays I’ve been sharing articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural and societal issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). May these give you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar. Past emails are archived at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links

Without further ado, I give you the interesting things:

  1. Downwardly Mobile For Jesus (Lawrence Lanahan, Al Jazeera): this is a really well‐written and engaging story that weaves together faith, race, poverty and justice.
  2. If you are in the social sciences, read this journal article from Behavioral and Brain Sciences: Political Diversity Will Improve Social Psychological Science (summary by one of the authors here). There is an article with related insights at The American Sociologist: How Ideology Has Hindered Sociological Insight. There are many implied religious issues at play besides the political ones which are the focus of these two pieces.
  3. Sad truths: The Decline and Fall Of American Political Debate (John Davidson, The Federalist). Davidson says “our fragmentation and insularity has reached a dangerous tipping point: we no longer agree on what’s real.” Read especially the section labeled “Take Two Recent Examples.”
  4. A surprisingly fascinating article: More Titillated Than Thou: How the Amish Conquered the Evangelical Romance Market (Ann Newumann, The Baffler). Really.
  5. An unexpected perspective: Why The Best Thing This Generation Can Do Is Put Down The Drink (Alexia LaFeta, Elite Daily): the comments section, unsurprisingly, is filled with vitriolic objections. Some of the language in the article, incidentally, is less than refined and genteel.
  6. This is Timi’s mom: Funke Opeke: Nigeria’s Cyber Revolutionary (Femke van Zeijl, Al Jazeera). I hope her name is pronounced the way I am pronouncing it in my head, because that would be awesome. Also, Timi’s mom is a boss.

Disclaimer

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.