Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 205

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.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. #MeToo Comes For Martin Luther King (Rod Dreher, The American Conservative): “I wish none of this were true, and perhaps we will learn when the recordings are eventually released that these claims are not true, but I very much doubt it. David Garrow’s reputation as a civil rights movement historian is beyond reproach, and as a Democratic Socialist, Garrow cannot be said to have political motives for trying to discredit King. “ This is very sad. I knew King was adulterous, but these allegations go far beyond that.
  2. Christopher Hitchens and his Christian friends (Jonathon Van Maren, The Bridgehead): “Christopher Hitchens is remembered by the godless as a man who truly hated Christians and wanted to utterly destroy Christianity. In public, in front of his admirers, he maintained that position even as the grave yawned at him. But as was always the case with Christopher Hitchens, there was quite a bit more to the story.”
  3. These two stories are very different and yet very similar.
    • Losing Religion and Finding Ecstasy in Houston (Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker): “I wonder if I would have stayed religious if I had grown up in a place other than Houston and a time other than now. I wonder how different I would be if I had been able to find the feeling of devoted self‐destruction only through God. Instead, I have confused religion with drugs, drugs with music, music with religion. I can’t tell whether my inclination toward ecstasy is a sign that I still believe in God, or if it was only because of that ecstatic tendency that I ever believed at all.”
      • Tolentino has a way with words and her article, though sad, is entertainingly written. Over at GetReligion, Douglas LeBlanc offers the observation: “Tolentino’s childhood experiences apparently left her thinking that the main point of Christianity is to live in an unbreakable bubble of bliss. If that’s the case, Ecstasy makes perfect sense as the most tempting substitute for God.”
    • Comedian Pete Holmes was a good Christian guy. Then his wife left him, and things got weird. (Daniel Burke, CNN): “…I thought that the lines were to God were closed, but they aren’t. We were taught that God spoke directly to his prophets and the authors of the New Testament, and then Paul, and then it was over. And then I took mushrooms, and I was like, ‘It ain’t over!’”
  4. Can We Believe? (Andrew Klavan, City Journal): “In any case, scientists used to accuse religious people of inventing a ‘God of the Gaps’—that is, using religion to explain away what science had not yet uncovered. But multiverses and simulations seem very much like a Science of the Gaps, jerry‐rigged nothings designed to circumvent the simplest explanation for the reality we know.”
    • This is the same Andrew Klavan who spoke on campus recently. I was unable to attend his talk (being busy preaching at the same time), but everyone I know who went found it quite compelling despite the controversy surrounding it.
  5. See the World Like a Title IX Bureaucrat (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic): “[The Princeton students’ proposals] illustrate an underappreciated tension in the approach of today’s student activists, who simultaneously express outrage at the bad behavior of administrative bureaucracies and fight to expand their size and power… Princeton bureaucrats have been focused on campus sexual assault for a quarter century now. And in the telling of the student activists, they’ve yet to meet even minimal ethical and procedural standards. So why pour millions more into the same hierarchies, expanding the might, measured in total staff, of their leaders?”
  6. Five Insights Christianity Brings to Politics (Michael Matheson Miller, Law & Liberty): “It is important to note that a Christian vision of government is not simply a secular vision of government with religion sprinkled on top. Secularism is not neutral. A Christian vision of government is grounded in key theological and philosophical ideas about the nature of God and reality, the importance of justice, the value of freedom, the role of the family, and a rich understanding of the human person as created in the image of God, made for flourishing, and called to an eternal destiny.” This article is a particularly Catholic way of thinking about this subject (one of several Catholic approaches, I should add).
    • On a different political note: The man who predicted Trump’s victory says Democrats may have to impeach him to have a chance in 2020 (Chris Cillizza, CNN): “Lichtman, a professor at American University in Washington, DC, was the most prominent voice predicting Donald Trump’s victory in the run‐up to the 2016 election. When Trump won, it marked the 9th(!) straight presidential election where Lichtman had correctly predicted the Electoral College winner. (That’s all the way back to 1984, for you math wizards.)”
      • Caveat lector. There are a lot of pundits, and at least one of them being right about the last 9 elections by chance isn’t that improbable (unless I’m missing something there are only 512 different outcomes if you are only considering the two major parties). Interesting nonetheless.
  7. Self‐censorship on Campus Is Bad for Science (Launa Marjola, The Atlantic): “Sadly, students do not seem to realize that their good intentions may lead them to resist learning scientific facts, and can even harm their own goal of helping women and ethnic minorities.” The author is a biology professor at Williams College.

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago

Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have If I Were 22 Again (John Piper, Desiring God): “There have been about 18,340 days since I turned 22, and I think I have read my Bible on more of those days than I have eaten. I have certainly read my Bible on more of those days that I have watched television or videos.… Read your Bible every day of your life. If you have time for breakfast, never say that you don’t have time for God’s word.” This whole thing is really good. Highly recommended. First shared in volume 151.

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). 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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 180

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 week was especially hard for me to put together. I stumbled upon so much insightful writing this week! I had to ruthlessly eliminate some that I really liked, so I hope you enjoy these gems that survived my ruthless winnowing process.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Slain missionary John Chau prepared much more than we thought, but are missionaries still fools? (Ed Stetzer, Washington Post): “…Mary Ho, who leads All Nations (the agency that sent Chau on missions), indicated that he was heavily vaccinated and even quarantined before going on the mission. The Washington Post reported Tuesday night that Chau also undertook linguistic and medical training to prepare for the outreach. These new reports at a minimum challenge the simplistic image of an adventure‐seeking zealot willing to recklessly risk the lives of a remote group of islanders.” By far the best article I’ve read on this subject.
  2. Liberal Parents, Radical Children (David Brooks, New York Times): “In the age of social media, virtue is not defined by how compassionately you act. Virtue is defined by how vehemently you react to that which you find offensive. Virtue involves the self‐display of a certain indignant sensibility, and anybody who doesn’t display that sensibility is morally suspect.” An insightful column — this excerpt does not do it justice.
    • Related but not obviously: The Question Without A Solution (Alan Jacobs, The Weekly Standard): “You read all this with a feeling of rising horror, and not just because of the physical and mental and spiritual suffering. You feel that horror also because it becomes increasingly difficult, as the story progresses, to imagine how the even the worst of the pain could have been avoided. Not one man, or woman, knew a prudent remedy.” Haunting and highly recommended.
    • More clearly related: Debate ends when we label views we simply disagree with as ‘hatred’ (Kenan Malik, The Guardian): “‘It is better to debate a question without settling it,’ observed the 18th‐century French writer Joseph Joubert, ‘than to settle a question without debating it.’ How naive that sounds today.”
  3. My New Vagina Won’t Make Me Happy (Andrea Long Chu, New York Times): “Until the day I die, my body will regard the vagina as a wound;as a result, it will require regular, painful attention to maintain. This is what I want, but there is no guarantee it will make me happier. In fact, I don’t expect it to.”
    • See also this response piece: The New York Times Reveals Painful Truths about Transgender Lives (Ryan T. Anderson, Public Discourse): “Why should a doctor perform surgery when it won’t make the patient happy, it won’t accomplish its intended goal, it won’t improve the underlying condition, it might make the underlying condition worse, and it might increase the likelihood of suicide?” Anderson was mentioned in Chu’s op‐ed.
  4. American Exorcism (Mike Mariani, The Atlantic): “If neither the mental‐health evaluation nor a subsequent physical exam turns up a standard explanation for the person’s affliction, the priest starts to take the case more seriously. At this point he may begin looking for what the Church considers the classic signs of demonic possession: facility in a language the person has never learned; physical strength beyond his or her age or condition; access to secret knowledge; and a vehement aversion to God and sacred objects, including crucifixes and holy water.”
  5. What If The Placebo Effect Isn’t A Trick? (Gary Greenberg, New York Times Magazine): “The findings of the I.B.S. study were in keeping with a hypothesis Kaptchuk had formed over the years: that the placebo effect is a biological response to an act of caring; that somehow the encounter itself calls forth healing and that the more intense and focused it is, the more healing it evokes.”
  6. For Californians living in their cars, a church parking lot can briefly be home (Kimberly Winston, Washington Post): “As they often do in hard times, houses of worship stepped in. In Chico, a hub for Paradise refugees, churches have opened their buildings and parking lots as temporary shelters. But while those churches have been lauded, congregations in other areas that open their parking lots to those they sometimes refer to as ‘vehicle residents’ face hurdles and hostility. Many Bay Area municipalities, including the tech centers of San Francisco and San Jose, have outlawed sleeping in a car parked on the street overnight, while neighbors speak out against having the homeless next door.”
  7. A Time To Fast (Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution): “Over one hundred years ago researchers demonstrated that calorie restriction in rats increased lifespan, sometimes by as much as 50%. Since that time, the finding has been replicated and extended to primates. A few humans have taken up the diet but for most of us easy access to delicious food trumps willpower. A new paper in Science reviews the literature on calorie restriction and also offers some evidence that less restrictive regimes such as intermittent fasting may have similar effects.” A secular perspective on the benefits of certain types of fasting (this is a summary of an article in the journal Science).

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago

Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas (Joseph Bottum, The Weekly Standard): many modern political ideas are derived from Christian theological concepts. (first shared in volume 1)

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). 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.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 103

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.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Praise & Questions: How Kendrick & Chance Talk to God in Different Ways (Miguelito, DJ Booth): “I’ve encountered two different kinds of religious believers, generally speaking. The first are those who focus on the gifts of God and the blessings in their life and take an optimistic approach to humanity. The other group is made up of those who become gripped by the mystery surrounding such a figure and keep an air of skepticism about them.”
  2. How Oxford and Peter Singer drove me from atheism to Jesus (Sarah Irving‐Stonebraker, Veritas): “I grew up in Australia, in a loving, secular home, and arrived at Sydney University as a critic of ‘religion.’  I didn’t need faith to ground my identity or my values…. [however, while at Oxford] I began to realise that the implications of my atheism were incompatible with almost every value I held dear.” The author is a history professor at Western Sydney University.
  3. Listening: An Antidote to the Modern University’s Incoherence (Dominic Burbidge, The Public Discourse): insightful breakdown of the three sub‐universities we dwell within: the university of rationalism, the university of revolution, and the university of subjectivism. The author is an administrator at Oxford.
  4. Wonder Woman and the Gender Wars (Russell Moore, personal blog): “Wonder Woman does indeed represent power, but she also is, in every iteration, designed to be sexually attractive to men. The 1970s‐era television series noted in its theme song, ‘Fighting for your rights, in your satin tights, and the old red, white, and blue.’ The rights and the tights were both part of the package—and, from the looks of things, still are.” This piece is quite good.
  5. The Marines Can Treat Women Honorably Without Putting Them in the Infantry (David French, National Review): “The women‐in‐infantry debate is the luxury of a society that hasn’t fought a large‐scale ground war in generations, and a serious mixed‐gender experiment wouldn’t survive first contact with a well‐equipped and well‐trained opposing force.” The author is both a veteran of the Iraq war and a graduate of Harvard Law School. A short but thoughtful response to the widely‐shared Vox article The Marine Corps has a “toxic masculinity” problem
  6. If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s quite the controversy at Evergreen College. There’s a good summary at The blasphemy case against Bret Weinstein, and its four lessons for professors (Jonathan Haidt, Heterodox Academy): “I generally oppose zero‐tolerance policies, but if we are to have one, it should be for violence and intimidation on campus.” And this is a good op‐ed on the situation: When the Left Turns on Its Own (Bari Weiss, NY Times): “Liberals shouldn’t cede the responsibility to defend free speech on college campuses to conservatives. After all, without free speech, what’s liberalism about?”
  7. I’ve seen lots of opinions about Trump pulling America out of the Paris climate agreement. I was most struck by these two reactions that both grant that the agreement was in some sense just for show but arrive at different conclusions from that premise:
    • From the right: The Placebo Politics of Paris (Jason Willick, The American Interest): “President Trump’s repudiation of the agreement… delights his nationalistic base and sends his internationalist‐minded critics into paroxysms of rage and despair—all without actually doing anything, because the Paris agreement consists simply of voluntary, unenforceable emissions pledges that are already being flouted.”
    • From the left: The Odd Kabuki of the Climate Pact Withdrawal (Eric Posner, personal blog): “[the pact] was meaningful‐symbolic rather than meaningless‐symbolic. Meaningful‐symbolic means that the countries were taking a first step toward actually reducing greenhouse gases rather than a first step toward pretending to reduce them.”

Things Glen Found 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.

Archives at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 97

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.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. The benefits and harms of marijuana, explained by the most thorough research review yet (German Lopez, Vox): “the bottom line is that marijuana does pose some harms — particularly for people at risk of developing mental health disorders, pregnant women, those vulnerable to respiratory problems, and anyone getting into a car. And while some of these harms may be overcome by marijuana’s benefits or curtailed by consuming pot without smoking it, the evidence shows that weed’s reputation as a safe drug is undeserved.”
  2. What do slaveholders think? (Austin Choi‐Fitzpatrick, Aeon):  “The contemporary traffickers and slaveholders I spoke with are not motivated by a love of injustice. They are instead driven by cultural inertia, a desire for profit or, more frequently, a need for basic sustenance…. The terms used here – slavery and slaveholder – never crossed the lips, nor perhaps even the minds, of the men I spoke with.” The author is a sociologist at the University of San Diego.
  3. The Crisis of Western Civ (David Brooks, NY Times): “These days, the whole idea of Western civ is assumed to be reactionary and oppressive. All I can say is, if you think that was reactionary and oppressive, wait until you get a load of the world that comes after it.”
  4. Charles Murray’s ‘Provocative’ Talk (Wendy M. Williams and Stephen J. Ceci, NY Times): two Cornell professors “transcribed Mr. Murray’s speech and — without indicating who wrote it — sent it to a group of 70 college professors (women and men, of different ranks, at different universities)… the 57 professors who responded to our request gave Mr. Murray’s talk an average score of 5.05, or ‘middle of the road.’” This, of course, is the speech which faced a backlash resulting in a professor needing a neck brace. Fascinating.
  5. This Is About That (Andrew Wilson, Vimeo): this 3.5 minute video starts slow but ends strong. A meditation on the relationship between marriage and the gospel. Recommended.
  6. Intersectionality Is a Political Football; Here’s Why It Doesn’t Have to Be (Chris Martin, Heterodox Academy): “Progressives have adopted an overambitious model of intersectionality in which everyone lies on axes of oppression, and I will explain this model’s three flaws. Conservatives generally believe that intersectionality is useless, but I explain how intersectional scholarship can be useful to researchers, regardless of whether they are liberal, centrist, conservative, libertarian, or eclectic.”
  7. Here’s the Million‐Dollar Answer to How Persecuted Christians Persevere (Sarah Zylstra, Christianity Today): “Researchers grouped responses to persecution into three categories: survival, association, and confrontation…. ‘Evangelicals are divided between those who are willing to take up arms and those who view witness and non‐retaliation as the responses to which the Bible calls Christians,’ the report stated. They tend to be more skeptical of the interreligious dialogue favored by Catholics and mainline Protestants, and more likely to pursue evangelization.”

Things Glen Found 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.

Archives at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 89

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.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Are Gender Feminists and Transgender Activists Undermining Science? (Debra Soh, LA Times): “Distortion of science hinders progress. When gender feminists start refuting basic biology, people stop listening, and the larger point about equality is lost.” The author has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and considered herself transgender as a child.
  2. The Masada Mystery (Eric Cline, Aeon): some fascinating insights on one of the most famous tragedies that occurred shortly after the events described in the New Testament. The author is a professor of classics and anthropology.
  3. Use Of Weaponized Drones By ISIS Spurs Terrorism Fears (Joby Warrick, Washington Post): “They’re now showing that these devices can be effective on the battlefield,” said Steven Stalinsky.… “With the way these groups use social media, my worry is that they’re also putting the idea into people’s heads that this is something you can now do.”
  4. 4 Recent Examples Show Why Nobody Trusts Media ‘Fact Checks’ (Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist): “The upshot is that the article does a nice job of proving Mark Twain’s point that the three types of lies are lies, damn lies and statistics, as it uses a statistical analysis of questionable merit to ‘disprove’ a statement that was literally true.”
  5. I Ignored Trump News For A Week. Here’s What I Learned. (Farhad Manjoo, NY Times): “On most days, Mr. Trump is 90 percent of the news on my Twitter and Facebook feeds, and probably yours, too. But he’s not 90 percent of what’s important in the world.”
  6. 4 Ways To Make Sure Your Protest Really Makes A Difference (David Christopher Bell, Cracked): “But what if I told you that if you follow the rules history has laid out, protests and boycotts absolutely can work? For when you look down the annals of successful civil disobedience, a clear pattern emerges.” This being Cracked, language warning. Also, the URL is funny: the slug is a‐beginners‐guide‐to‐overthrowing‐government
  7. Two articles that I did not expect to find fascinating but did: Sportswriting Has Become A Liberal Profession: Here’s How It Happened (Bryan Curtis, The Ringer): “I’m a liberal sportswriter myself. The new world suits me just fine. Would it be nice to have a David Frum or Ross Douthat of sportswriting, making wrongheaded‐but‐interesting arguments about NCAA amateurism? Sure. As long as nobody believed them.” This article led to the conservative followup The Arrogant Thinking Of Liberal Sports Writers (Michael Brendan Dougherty, The Week): “Has no one stopped to notice there is something odd about an anti‐racism that will cause an evermore diverse country to declare rooting for white‐faced mascots the only safe thing to do? How will this deletion of all non‐white faces look in 50 years?”

Things Glen Found 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.

Archives at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 86

1 Chronicles 12:32 - they "understood the times"
1 Chronicles 12:32 — they “understood the times”

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.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Here are the two articles I alluded to in this week’s message: Why The Best Thing This Generation Can Do Is Put Down The Drink (Alexia LaFeta, Elite Daily) and The Alcohol Blackout (Sarah Hepola, Texas Monthly). The latter is particularly insightful. I have shared these both before (see volume 18 and volume 25).
  2. Who Is To Blame For The Greatest Myth In The History Of Science And Religion? These Two Guys (Justin Taylor, Gospel Coalition): “The so‐called ‘war’ between faith and learning, specifically between orthodox Christian theology and science, was manufactured…. It is a construct that was created for polemical purposes.”
  3. Homeless Find Rest In Faith‐Based Shelters More Than Others (Adelle Banks, Religion News Service): “In a preliminary study of 11 U.S. cities, 58 percent of emergency beds for the homeless were at faith‐based organizations. That percentage ranged widely across the cities, with 90 percent of emergency beds in Omaha, Neb., provided by faith groups and 33 percent in Portland, Ore.”
  4. How To Protest Better (Leah Sargeant, First Things): excellent subtitle, “light hearts, not trash cans, on fire.” Related perspective from the opposite side of the ideological aisle: And Now It’s Time To Do The Real Work (Frederik deBoer). Also worth noting, Anarchists, NOT Cal students, responsible for violence in UC Berkeley protests.
  5. The biggest news since last Friday’s email is Trump’s immigration action. The two pieces I saw shared most by my thoughtful friends on social media are Malevolence Tempered by Incompetence: Trump’s Horrifying Executive Order on Refugees and Visas (Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare) and Trump’s Executive Order on Refugees, Separating Fact from Hysteria (David French, National Review). Two insightful follow‐ups are What Conservatives Get Wrong About Trump’s Immigration Order (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic) and Tallying Up Trump (Peter Leithart, First Things). George Wood, the leader of my denomination, penned a Response To The Executive Order on Immigration.
  6. An Evangelical Christian Defends Trump’s First Week In Office (Emma Green, The Atlantic): “I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt thus far because I, and many Americans, have been unfortunately trained by the press in recent years not to take their side automatically anymore. They have tremendously undermined themselves.” It’s interesting to read Fake News and Evangelicals (Alex Wilgus, Common Vision) in conjunction with this.
  7. Neil Gorsuch belongs to a notably liberal church — and would be the first Protestant on the Court in years (Julie Zauzmer, Washington Post): He is Episcopal, yet many Episcopals (especially clergy) are opposed to his nomination, whereas evangelicals and Catholics are mostly delighted. 

Things Glen Found Amusing/Entertaining

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.

Archives at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 61

1 Chronicles 12:32 - they "understood the times"
1 Chronicles 12:32 — they “understood the times”

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues, with a preference for content from academics and influential voices. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Church Worship Music You Need To Know About (Greg Atkinson, personal blog): “I… probably experience music and worship in more churches yearly, than just about anyone else…”
  2. Divorce Continues To Take A Psychological Toll on Kids (no byline, Guardian): ponder anew Malachi 2:13–16 and Matthew 19:1–8.
  3. ‘There isn’t really anything magical about it’: Why more millennials are avoiding sex (Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post):  Your peers are less sexually active than you assume. They “are more than twice as likely to be sexually inactive in their early 20s as the previous generation was.” 
  4. Are Soaring Levels of Income Inequality Making Us A More Polarized Nation? (Christos Makridis, The Conversation): “We all realize that greater inequality has tangible implications for who wins and loses in society. However, all these pieces of evidence suggest it may also induce more extreme political attitudes and ideologies.” Note the author — one of our own Chi Alpha students! It’s also on AP’s the Big Story, so it might get syndicated. Get your selfies with Christos now before he becomes famous.
  5. College Students Protest, Alumni’s Fondness Fades, and Checks Shrink (Anemona Hortocollis, NY Times): we should not be surprised when things that polarize students also polarize alumni.

Things Glen Found Diverting

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.

If you have a non‐Stanford friend who might be interested in these emails, they can sign up at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/subscribe, and if you want to view the archives they are at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 52

On Fridays I share articles/resources about cultural, societal and theological issues, with a preference for content from academics and influential voices. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

  1. Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life (Nicole Cliffe, Christianity Today): “I emailed a friend who is a Christian, and I asked if we could talk about Jesus. I instantly regretted sending that email and if humanly possible would have clawed it back through the Internet.”
  2. The Sun Is Always Shining In Modern Christian Pop (Leah Libresco, FiveThirtyEight): interesting, although the author is comparing contemporary performance songs to older worship songs, and I suspect the genre difference accounts for some of her findings. Doing some research on the author I discovered that she wrote a fascinating article at First Things called Statting While Catholic — you should read it if you’re a social scientist.
  3. Why Americans Don’t Trust Government (Larry Summers, Washington Post): “I’m a progressive, but it seems plausible to wonder if government can build a nation abroad, fight social decay, run schools, mandate the design of cars, run health insurance exchanges, or set proper sexual harassment policies on college campuses, if it can’t even fix a 232‐foot bridge competently.“ Summers is, of course, the former president of Harvard.
  4. Could a neuroscientist understand a microprocessor? (Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution): “Could the tools of neuroscience be used to understand the much simpler Atari brain? The answer is mostly no. The authors, for example, looked at three ‘behaviors’, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and Pitfall (!) and they are able to find transistors which uniquely crash one of the games but not the others. ‘We might thus conclude they are uniquely responsible for the game – perhaps there is a Donkey Kong transistor or a Space Invaders transistor.’ Of course, this conclusion would be very misleading but what are we then to make of similar brain lesion studies?”
  5. Study: Same‐sex experiences are on the rise, and Americans are increasingly chill about it (Rachel Feltman, Washington Post): nothing to see here, folks. Everything is 100% genetic. There are no moral choices involved at any point on the journey. Move along, please.
  6. The Return of Bernard Lewis (Martin Kramer, Mosaic): “Forty years ago, nobody foresaw the rise of radical Islam—except for the preeminent historian who both predicted and explained it, and much else besides.”
  7. Under Attack (editorial, The Economist): “…when progressive thinkers agree that offensive words should be censored, it helps authoritarian regimes to justify their own much harsher restrictions…“
  8. Like A Prayer: Is Social Justice The New Campus Religion? (Ana Marie Cox, MTV News): Cox came out as a Christian (her words) last year. She has a much more enthusiastic take on campus activism than many of the articles I share (such as the ones above and below).
  9. The amazing 1969 prophecy that racial preferences would cause the exact grievances of protesters today (Jonathan Haidt, Heterodox Academy): the disclaimers at the bottom apply to this one most of all. I at first wondered if it was based upon a hoax, but it seems legitimate. If you have a strong negative reaction to this piece, you’re welcome. Thinking through why will help you be more persuasive.
  10. 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 51

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. Why America Spends So Much On The Military (reddit): this was a surprisingly educational read. It was written in response to the claim that “next year’s proposed military budget could buy every homeless person a $1 million home.”
  2. Chewbacca Laughter Brings Unexpected Platform (Dan Van Veen, PE News): “On Wednesday night before making the video, she felt that the Holy Spirit had directed her to a specific restaurant for supper just prior to church. There, God had a ‘divine opportunity’ waiting.”
  3. Making Sense of the Numbers of Genesis [pdf link] (Carol Hill, Perspectives on Science and the Christian Faith): “Joseph and Joshua were each recorded as dying at age 110—a number considered ‘perfect’ by the Egyptians. In ancient Egyptian doctrine, the phrase ‘he died aged 110’ was actually an epitaph commemorating a life that had been lived selflessly and had resulted in outstanding social and moral benefit for others. And so for both Joseph and Joshua, who came out of the Egyptian culture, quoting this age was actually a tribute to their character. But, to be described as ‘dying at age 110’ bore no necessary relationship to the actual time of an individual’s life span.” You will not agree with everything in this article, but it is full of fascinating insights.
  4. Unsafe Cars Can Save Lives (Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution): “Safety is relative so cars judged unsafe by global standards could save lives in India. The bigger lesson is that it’s always dangerous to impose global standards without taking into account the differing circumstances of time and place.”
  5. The Big Uneasy (Nathan Heller, The New Yorker): “A [university] president’s job is to push past contradictions, while an activist’s duty is to call them out. The institutions that give many people a language and a forum to denounce injustice are, inevitably, the nearest targets of their criticism.” Bonus points for quoting Tocqueville. 
  6. The Transgender Bathroom Debate and the Looming Title IX Crisis (Jeannie Suk, New Yorker): “Whether or not the federal government acted unlawfully, it has now set in motion a potential Title IX collision course between its directives on sexual violence and on bathrooms…. The discomfort that some people, some sexual‐assault survivors, in particular, feel at the idea of being in rest rooms with people with male sex organs, whatever their gender, is not easy to brush aside as bigotry.“ The author is a professor at Harvard Law School.
  7. Claims by transgender schoolteacher (who wants to be called ‘they’) yield $60,000 settlement, agreement to create disciplinary rules regulating ‘pronoun usage (Eugene Volokh, Volokh Conspiracy): the second half is what captured my attention. “When the government is acting as sovereign, telling us what we must or must not say on pain of coercively imposed legal liability, the First Amendment is at full force. That force, I think, should preclude government commands that we start using new words — or radical grammatical modifications of old, familiar words — that convey government‐favored messages about gender identity or anything else.”
  8. Peter Thiel’s funding of Hulk Hogan‐Gawker litigation should not raise concerns (Eugene Kontorovich, Volokh Conspiracy):  “if the lawsuit is not frivolous, it is hard to see how the motivations of funders are relevant (or discernible). One would not say a civil rights organization could not accept donations from philanthropists angered by a personal experience with discrimination.” Also see Tyler Cowen’s take.
  9. Amusing: Other Promises of God (xkcd)

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.

If you want to view the archives they are at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 46

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. The Danger Of A Single Story (David Brooks, NY Times): “stories have become identity markers. This is a phenomenon borrowed from campus political correctness. In order to express your solidarity with the virtuous team, you have to embrace the socially approved story. If you differ from the official story.… it is a sign that you have false allegiances. You must embrace the approved story to show you are not complicit in a system of oppression.”
  2. How To Fix Politics (David Brooks, NY Times): “People put politics at the center of their psychological, emotional and even spiritual life. This is asking too much of politics. Once politics becomes your ethnic and moral identity, it becomes impossible to compromise, because compromise becomes dishonor.”
  3. Ohio State Turns The Concept of ‘Safe Space’ Against Student Protesters (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic): “speech codes implemented in the late 1980s and early 90s with the intention of protecting black students were ultimately used to charge and punish more black students than white students. Insofar as campus concepts like safe spaces, microaggressions, and claims of trauma over minor altercations spread from activist culture to campus culture, the powerful will inevitably make use of them.” See his follow‐up The Tools Of Campus Activists Are Being Turned Against Them.
  4. Fired For Preaching: Georgia Dumps Doctor Over Church Sermons (Todd Starnes, Fox News): “First, they silenced the sheep – and now they are trying to silence the shepherds.”
  5. More From Michael McConnell On The Supplementary Briefing In ‘Zubik vs Burwell’ (Eugene Volokh, Washington Post): the title is a little snore inducing, but the content is quite stimulating. It’s a Stanford law professor’s thoughts on the nuns suing the government.
  6. Brazil’s Evangelicals Flex Political Power In Impeachment Drama (Catherine Osborne, NPR): I recommend listening to the audio rather than merely reading the transcript.
  7. Harriet Tubman: The “Moses” Of Her People (Christianity Today): “If a slave wanted to quit in the midst of a rescue, Tubman would hold a revolver to his head and ask him to reconsider.” Note that this article is not a response to Tubman appearing on the $20 bill, this is from an old series called 131 Christians Everyone Should Know (FYI — the related articles are quite interesting). For something more recent, check out the GetReligion post Honoring Harriet Tubman, a Methodist, Republican, Evangelical Woman For the Ages.
  8. The Absurd Primacy of the Car in American Life (Edward Humes, The Atlantic): “If U.S. roads were a war zone, they would be the most dangerous battlefield the American military has ever encountered.”
  9. Trust Us: Politicians Keep Most Of Their Promises (Timothy Hill, FiveThirtyEight): Interesting article, although I note that “most” is a very key word. A friend who keeps ⅔ of the promises they make to you keeps most of their promises — but would you call that friend trustworthy?
  10. 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.