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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 17

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

  1. Fear (Marilynne Robinson, NY Review Of Books): I don’t often find overtly theological pieces in the New York Review of Books, much less ones whose opening lines are, “America is a Christian country. This is true in a number of senses.” She’s gonna get some hate mail.
  2. Some things that made me chuckle:
  3. Why Do Good Universities Tend To Be Good At Everything? (Quora question): Short but insightful.
  4. What Stanford Taught Me About Grace (Seth Villegas, personal blog): Seth is an alumnus of our ministry who is currently doing grad work at Fuller Theological Seminary.
  5. Religion and the Republic (David Forte, Witherspoon Institute): the author (a law professor) explains the importance of religious speech in the public square. This seems like a good place to mention one of my favorite academic papers: The Missionary Roots of Liberal Democracy.
  6. From the I‐know‐I‐shared‐this‐last‐week‐but‐want‐to‐share‐it‐with‐the‐new‐students department: How To Stay Christian On Campus (David Mathis, Desiring God): I expected something very different than what I got. Recommended.

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 16

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

  1. From the recommended‐by‐a‐student department: How To Stay Christian On Campus (David Mathis, Desiring God): I expected something very different than what I got. Recommended.
  2. From the perilous times department:
  3. From the unexpected‐insights‐from history‐department: Morals Legislation, Revisited (Books and Culture, David Skeel): Books and Culture is an evangelical version of the NY Times Review of Books. This article is written by a law prof at Penn reviewing a Harvard University Press book about the evangelical origins of the living constitution approach to law.
  4. From the everybody‐is‐quoting‐it department: Microaggression and Moral Cultures (Campbell and Manning, Comparative Sociology): I have seen so many people pumping this academic article I am astounded. Three to take a look at: Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic, Megan McArdle in Bloomberg View, and Jonathan Haidt on his personal blog. The original article is descriptive — the response pieces tend to be evaluative.
  5. From the principles‐you‐will‐probably‐need‐to‐know‐one‐day department: When Does Your Religion Legally Excuse You From Doing Part of Your Job? (Washington Post. Eugene Volokh): this one came out right after my last email update. Volokh is a law prof at UCLA.

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 12

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, I share 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

  1. From the too‐close‐to‐home department: The Coddling of The American Mind (Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, The Atlantic): the thesis of this essay is that a “campus culture devoted to policing speech and punishing speakers is likely to engender patterns of thought that are surprisingly similar to those long identified by cognitive behavioral therapists as causes of depression and anxiety.” This is a long piece but is worth reading even if you suspect it will infuriate you. There is some insightful commentary on Reddit arguing that it’s not students who have changed but administrators.
  2. From the race‐and‐religion department: A Year After Ferguson, Have White Christians Learned Anything? (Russell Moore, Washington Post)
  3. From the contemporary events department:
  4. From the ISIS department:
  5. From the eat‐your‐wheaties department: Want ‘Sustained Happiness’? Get Religion, Study Suggests (Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Washington Post): if you have the desire, check out the original study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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 6

In the time of King David, the Bible says that 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, I share 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.

  1. From the sexuality department: in light of the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage to include same‐sex couples I’ve got some suggested readings.
  2. From the something‐completely‐different department: On Obstinacy In Belief (C.S. Lewis, The Sewanee Review): I was not aware of this C.S. Lewis essay before this week. It was rewarding.
  3. From the if‐it‐is‐not‐news‐can‐it‐be‐disappointing‐news department: How Academics View Conservative Protestants (Yancey, Reimer, and O’Connell, Sociology of Religion): The lead author, a sociologist, blogs at Black, White and Gray and I frequently benefit from what he shares there.

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 2

In the time of King David, the Bible says that 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, I share articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural and societal issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). I’m thinking I’ll send these roughly once a week. May these give you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.

  1. From the depressing department: Hot Girls Wanted (Kenneth Morefield, Christianity Today): a sobering review of a Netflix documentary (from Sundance) about the “amateur” porn industry. Read it if you have a hard time explaining why pornography is a bad thing. Prepare to be bummed.

  2. From the faith and politics department: Is Obama Really a Christian? (David French, National Review): this is the most detailed article I have read about President Obama’s faith.

  3. From the higher education department: I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me (Edward Schlosser, Vox): the article is better than you might expect from the clickbait title. It’s a critique of the current practice of identity politics at American universities by someone sympathetic to identity politics.

  4. From the learning to think clearly department: The Land of We All (Richard Mitchell, The Gift of Fire): this essay teases out the implications of this insight: “Thinking can not be done corporately. Nations and committees can’t think. That is not only because they have no brains, but because they have no selves, no centers, no souls, if you like. Millions and millions of persons may hold the same thought, or conviction or suspicion, but each and every person of those millions must hold it all alone.” Warning: the formatting is horrid. It is worth reading anyway. Either use the Readability bookmarklet, an app like Pocket, or just cut and paste it into a text document on your computer.

Disclaimer

Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and 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 will 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.