Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 455



On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom. I welcome your suggestions. If you read something fascinating please pass it my way.

This is volume 455, which is the result of 15 choose 3 — how many ways you can select three objects from a collection of fifteen.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. What I’ve Learned From a Decade on the Dating Apps (Katelyn Beaty, Substack): “Dating apps are not a neutral tool for finding love. Like all technologies, they act on us, even as we think we are in control, acting on them. They shape how we see other people, and ourselves, and romantic love itself. According to the apps, love is the optimization of traits that yield the highest rates of mutual satisfaction and personal growth for two atomized individuals. This self-expressive model of romance may be fine as far as it goes, but it’s a major departure from the basis of love in previous eras.”
    • Emphasis in original.
    • I also liked this bit: “It’s as if these apps don’t want users to find romance, because they are incentivized, to the tune of $5.3 billion in 2022, to keep us swiping and searching.”
  2. Are Gaza Protests Happening Mostly at Elite Colleges? (Marc Novicoff & Robert Kelchen, Washington Monthly): “Using data from Harvard’s Crowd Counting Consortium and news reports of encampments, we matched information on every institution of higher education that has had pro-Palestinian protest activity (starting when the war broke out in October until early May) to the colleges in our 2023 college rankings. Of the 1,421 public and private nonprofit colleges that we ranked, 318 have had protests and 123 have had encampments. By matching that data to percentages of students at each campus who receive Pell Grants (which are awarded to students from moderate- and low-income families), we came to an unsurprising conclusion: Pro-Palestinian protests have been rare at colleges with high percentages of Pell students. Encampments at such colleges have been rarer still.”
    • Contains interesting charts.
  3. Spying Arrests Send Chill Through Britain’s Thriving Hong Kong Community (Megan Specia, New York Times): “This month, three men were charged in London with gathering intelligence for Hong Kong and forcing entry into a British residence. While the men have not yet been found innocent or guilty — the trial will not begin until February — the news of the arrests threw a spotlight on many activists’ existing concerns about China’s ability to surveil and harass its citizens abroad, particularly those who have been critical of the government.”
  4. Two articles about surviving cancer:
    • Marital Status and Survival in Patients With Cancer (Aizer et al, Journal of Clinical Oncology): “For five cancers studied (prostate, breast, colorectal, esophageal, and head/neck cancers), the survival benefit associated with marriage was larger than the published survival benefit of chemotherapy. The importance of this study is that it highlights the consistent and substantial impact that features of marriage, particularly social support, can have on cancer detection, treatment, and survival.”
      • From 2013. Marriage is better than chemotherapy. To be clear: if you have cancer also receive medical treatment even if you’re married.
    • Trial results for new lung cancer drug are ‘off the charts’, say doctors (Andrew Gregory, The Guardian): “Lung cancer is the world’s leading cause of cancer death, accounting for about 1.8m deaths every year. Survival rates in those with advanced forms of the disease, where tumours have spread, are particularly poor. More than half of patients (60%) diagnosed with advanced forms of lung cancer who took lorlatinib were still alive five years later with no progression in their disease, data presented at the world’s largest cancer conference showed. The rate was 8% in patients treated with a standard drug, the trial found.”
      • Amazing!
  5. Two articles about the job market:
    • Why Can’t College Grads Find Jobs? Here Are Some Theories — and Fixes. (Peter Coy, New York Times): “Even though the unemployment rate is low, fewer people are quitting, so fewer jobs are becoming available, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. LinkedIn’s estimate of the national hiring rate was down 9.5 percent in April from a year earlier.”
      • The article contains other substantive insights, but that one stood out to me.
    • The case of the angry history postdoc (Noah Smith, Substack): “Why is no one hiring historians? There are four basic reasons. The first and most important — which almost no one ever talks about, because it’s supposed to be so obvious — is that the U.S. university system is largely done expanding. The 20th century saw a massive build-out of universities, which required hiring a massive number of tenure-track professors. Then it stopped. And because tenure is for life, the departments at the existing universities are clogged with a ton of old profs who will never leave until they age out. New hires must therefore slow to a trickle, since as long as the number of profs is roughly constant, they can only be hired to replace people who retire or die.”
  6. Live by the Law or Die on the Cross (Jeremy England, Tablet Magazine): “What would Jesus do if a Hamas fighter held a Gazan Arab child up as a shield while firing? Hard to say for sure, but anyone who argues that a properly humane response is to die rather than to try to shoot around the child has ample basis in Christianity. The image of the Crucifixion may mean many things, but part of what it means is that accepting corporeal defeat in this world can be a path to God-like virtue and spiritual victory in the world of tomorrow. You will not hear Jesus mentioned when Western leaders speak on how important it is that Israel adhere to international laws of war, but the concept of the innocent civilian enshrined in these laws grew practically out of wars fought within Christendom during the last several hundred years.”
    • Recommended by a student who does not endorse all of the argument but found it fascinating.
  7. A Redemptive Thesis for Artificial Intelligence (Andy Crouch with others, Praxis Labs): “Like the Internet, electricity, and agriculture, AI is a general-purpose technology that can be harnessed to many ends. Redemptive entrepreneurs can lead the way in demonstrating that AI can be deployed — in fact, is best deployed — in ways that dethrone pride, magic, and Mammon and that elevate the dignity of human beings and their capacity to flourish as image bearers in the world.”

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 413

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom. I welcome your suggestions. If you read something fascinating please pass it my way.

This is issue 413, which I have been told is a structured hexagonal diamond number. I don’t know what that means, but it sounds very impressive. I also know that 413 = 7 · 59, which I find both cool and understandable.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. I’m a Continuationist with Cancer. I Still Believe in Healings. (Tim Shorey, The Gospel Coalition): “I live my life and face my cancer somewhere between seemingly sincere ‘namers and claimers’ who expect healing every time and seemingly surrendered ‘if-the-Lord-willers’ whose prayers affirm God’s healing power but whose caveats and qualifiers make it sound like he’s not likely to use it. God alone knows the heart. But the tone of the former party can sound like presumption masquerading as faith, while the tone of the latter can sound like doubt masquerading as humility.”
    • Recommended by a student who appropriately asks, “if you read this, please also pray for the author, Tim Shorey.”
  2. Date to marry, not to have fun (Bethany Mandel, The Spectator): “A lot of things are important in a marriage: love, respect, trust, laughter. But perhaps most important is to remember that it’s a partnership for life; and as such, dating should not be considered fun, but instead like a job interview for the most important role you’ll ever have, that of a spouse. If you were interviewing for a job, would you allow the process to drag on, long after you know it’s the right fit (or not)?”
    • Broadly agree, with the provision that this is advice about dating relationship and not just about going on dates. In other words, go on dates to have fun and then carefully discern who is a good match for progressing into a serious dating relationship. Too many Christians want to know they want to marry someone before they go out for coffee with them, and that’s a lot of pressure to put on a latte.
    • Related: Swiping and Dating Preferences (Rob K. Henderson, Substack): “Here’s a sketch of what might be happening: Men high on the Dark Triad (psychopathy, narcissism, Machiavellianism) use dating apps. They might make up 10–20% of users. They go on a rampage, sleeping with lots of women, playing games with them, leading them on, ghosting them, lying to them, etc. Dark Triad men are excellent impostors; they are good at mimicking desirable romantic qualities, and are thus able to procure lots of sex partners. The women they sleep with become disillusioned. These women begin to behave in psychopathic and narcissistic ways to protect themselves from emotional vulnerability and pain, and perhaps as a way to even the score with ‘men’ as a category. They learn to avoid Dark Triad men and exploit normal men. These men become confused and upset, and begin to treat other women the same way to ‘get even.’ In short, Dark Triad men mistreat women, who then mistreat ordinary men, who then mistreat ordinary women. Bad behavior drives out the good. A system tailor-made for psychopathic males (dating apps facilitate anonymity, superficiality, and deception) predictably gives rise to a defect-defect equilibrium.”
    • Full of interesting data.
  3. Study of Elite College Admissions Data Suggests Being Very Rich Is Its Own Qualification (Aatish Bhatia, Claire Cain Miller and Josh Katz, New York Times): “Elite colleges have long been filled with the children of the richest families: At Ivy League schools, one in six students has parents in the top 1 percent.… For applicants with the same SAT or ACT score, children from families in the top 1 percent were 34 percent more likely to be admitted than the average applicant, and those from the top 0.1 percent were more than twice as likely to get in.”
  4. Why won’t Indiana Jones convert to something after all he has seen in his life? (Terry Mattingly, On Religion): “What we want to know is why he is always back to square one at the start of every adventure – a skeptic, or even a scoffer. I mean, think about it: He has seen the Ark of the Covenant opened and the destroying angels pour out God’s vengeance on his enemies. He has seen the sacred Hindu stones come to life. …He has seen the true cup of Christ heal his own father from a fatal gunshot wound – on screen, with no ambiguity.”
    • It’s revealing about modern assumptions that almost no one thinks to ask this question.
  5. Are We Living Through ‘End Times’? (Bari Weiss interviewing Peter Turchin, The Free Press): “Elite overproduction turns out to be the best predictor of a crisis to come. It is essentially ubiquitous in the pre-crisis periods of all societies. I used the game of musical chairs to illustrate it, except in the usual game, you start with 11 players and ten chairs, and one person loses. Here, instead of removing chairs, you keep chairs constant, and we add more players. You can imagine the amount of chaos that is going to happen. Now let’s connect this to the overproduction of wealthy people in the United States. As more and more of them become players in politics, they drive up the price of getting into office. And more importantly, the more people are vying for these positions, the more people are going to be frustrated. They’re going to be losers. But humans don’t have to follow rules. This is the dark side of competition: if it’s too extreme, it creates conditions for people to start to break rules.”
    • Turchin is a social scientist at U Conn. Recommended by a student.
    • The author explains the relationship between what he does and the science fiction we see in the Foundation series: Psychohistory and Cliodynamics (Peter Turchin, personal blog): “Prediction is overrated. What we really should be striving for, with our social science, is ability to bring about desirable outcomes and to avoid unwanted outcomes. What’s the point of predicting future, if it’s very bleak and we are not able to change it? We would be like the person condemned to hang before sunrise – perfect knowledge of the future, zero ability to do anything about it.”
  6. Bad Definitions Of “Democracy” And “Accountability” Shade Into Totalitarianism (Scott Alexander, Astral Codex Ten): “You could, in theory, define ‘democratic’ this way, so that the more areas of life are subjected to the control of a (democratically elected) government, the more democratic your society is. But in that case, the most democratic possible society is totalitarianism — a society where the government controls every facet of life, including what religion you practice, who you marry, and what job you work at. In this society there would be no room for human freedom.”
  7. The Importance Of Saying “Yes” To The “But” (Andrew Sullivan, Substack): “One of the enduring frustrations of living in a politically polarized country is the evaporation of nuance. As the muscles of liberal democracy atrophy, and as cultural tribalism infects everyone’s consciousness, it becomes more and more difficult to say, ‘Yes, but …’ Everyone hates the but. It complicates; it muddles; it can disable a slogan; and puncture a politically useful myth.”

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 Religious Community and Human Flourishing (Tyler J. VanderWeele, Psychology Today): “In some cases, our results closely replicated past work. For example, we found that, even after controlling for the factors above, individuals who attended religious services weekly or more were 16% less likely to become depressed, and saw a 29% reduction in smoking and 34% reduction in heavy drinking. These results match reasonably closely results from several prior studies, including the prior meta-analyses mentioned above. Somewhat strikingly, but again in line with prior analysis, weekly service attendees were 26% less likely to die during the follow-up period.” VanderWeele, himself a Christian, is an epidemiologist at Harvard and I have shared some of his work before. From volume 290.

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 412

On Fridays (Saturdays when I feel ill on Friday) 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.

412 is the sum of twelve consecutive primes: 13 + 17 + 19 + 23 + 29 + 31 + 37 + 41 + 43 + 47 + 53 + 59

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. If Satan Took Up Marriage Counseling  (Tim Challies, personal blog) : “If Satan took up marriage counseling, he would want people to believe marriage is so risky that it is best to postpone it almost indefinitely, that it is so significant and perilous an undertaking that people should not even consider it until they have completed their education, begun a career, and become well established in life. He would especially want young people to anticipate it with a sense of dread instead of excitement.”
    • Recommended by a student. Well worth your time.
  2. Spirits of the Cloud: A Demonology of the Internet (Thomas Harmon, The American Mind): “…there is much wisdom that can be gained by turning to ancient sources to understand how these mysterious forces operate and how to resist them. In brief, they operate by preying on our imaginations and desires, which are oftentimes obscure even to us, especially when we try to penetrate the veil between present and future or between human and divine by some sort of magical or technical means. James Lindsay zeroes in on this aspect: ‘Demons influence people through their emotions and their interpretations of features of their lives.’ Since they are airy, and proud of their elevation over our earthiness, they have a weakness: humility and an embrace of our earthbound bodies (as a matter of fact, the word ‘humility’ is derived from a Latin word meaning ‘dirt’ or ‘earth’, humus).”
    • The author is a Catholic theologian.
  3. Many on dating apps are already in relationships or aren’t seeking actual dates, new study finds (Angela Yang, NBC News): “Hopeful swipers looking to find their next partners on dating apps have grown increasingly disillusioned in recent years, and a new study reveals the potential root of their difficulties: Many dating app users aren’t seeking romantic meetups at all. Half of nearly 1,400 Tinder users surveyed said they weren’t interested in actually finding dates, according to research published last month. Nearly two-thirds reported they were already in relationships, and some were married while they were using the app.”
    • Just meet someone cute and flirt with them in real life. Like, say, in your campus ministry or church.
  4. What’s Wrong With the “What’s Wrong With Men” Discourse (Conor Fitzgerald, Substack): “…men find therapy and the therapeutic worldview alien and unhelpful. Even the flimsiest male specimen has psychological needs related to accomplishment, strength, usefulness and capability; an atmosphere of unconditional empathy and unrestrained emotional disclosure can be poisonous to those things. Whatever the reason, men understand that therapy (the practice) is mostly just the medical codification of a typically female worldview as objectively true and correct. Most men aren’t going to be interested in joining a conversation conducted in that spirit.”
    • This is very well put. The whole essay is interesting. Ignore the typos and dig in!
    • Related: Gender crisis is really a marriage crisis (Inez Stepman, Tribune-Democrat): “…women with few or no ties to the opposite sex in the form of marriage and family are diverging sharply not only from the views of men, but also from those of their married sisters. Married men, unmarried men and married women are registering primarily the same political preferences, with only small gaps in voting patterns between them, while single women are running fast in the opposite direction from the rest. For example, a poll in the past round of midterms found married people of both sexes and single men all going for Republicans by majority margins within a handful of points of each other (52% to 59%). Single women, on the other hand, went strongly Democratic by a landslide of 68% to 31%.”
  5. Stanford President Will Resign After Report Found Flaws in His Research (Stephanie Saul, New York Times): “Dr. Tessier-Lavigne, 63, will relinquish the presidency at the end of August but remain at the university as a professor of biology.”
    • Tessier-Lavigne matter shows why running a lab is a full-time job (H. Holden Thorp, Science): “I had seen many researchers who had taken big administrative jobs struggle with overseeing their research group. Many incidents similar to those involving Tessier-Lavigne arose because the principal investigators were too busy attending to their other high-profile jobs. David Baltimore had to resign as president of Rockefeller University when scientific misconduct in his laboratory was uncovered (he later became the president of the California Institute of Technology, and like Tessier-Lavigne, was not found to have direct knowledge of the misconduct). In a different set of problematic interactions related to research, José Baselga resigned as head of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center because he failed to disclose (intentionally or not) industry relationships in papers published by his research group. These examples reflect how tending to a major administrative position and running a laboratory at the same time are simply too much for one person.”
    • Richard Saller to take over as interim president in September (Oriana Riley, Stanford Daily): “Stanford University is a huge operation with a $9 billion budget — about 10 times larger than the first Roman emperor Augustus had for the whole empire,” Saller wrote. “I have a steep learning curve ahead of me.”
  6. Religion as a Cultural and Political Identity (Ryan Burge, Substack): “People like the *idea* of religion, without the actual trappings of said religion. They are the kind of folks that talk about concepts like biblical values without every stepping foot inside a church. They want (primarily) Christian values to be protected, but they don’t actually want to spend much time understanding the theology around the values. For them, religion has become a social and cultural marker — not a spiritual one. It’s basically become another cudgel in the culture war. So, when the debate heats up over issues of sexuality, gender, or abortion these are the kind of folks who will post memes on Facebook that include references to scripture verses, despite the fact that they themselves never read the Bible.”
    • Emphasis in original.
  7. The Consuming Fire of Love (Peter J. Leithart, First Things): “God isn’t terrifying because he’s unloving. He’s terrifying because Love is terrifying—undiluted love, love that refuses compromise with evil, love that will not negotiate away the good of the beloved by allowing the beloved to set the terms of her love, love that promises a good and a future beyond all the beloved can ask or imagine.”

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 “Majority-Minority” Myth (Andrew Sullivan, Substack): “Most demographic estimates of the ‘white’ population are based on the Census definition: ‘non-Hispanic white.’ But what of ‘Hispanic whites’ — those whose lineage may come from South or Latin America in ethnicity but who also identify racially and socially as white? If you include them in this category, America remains two-thirds ‘white’ all the way through 2060 and beyond.” A fascinating read. From volume 289

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 390

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom. I welcome your suggestions. If you read something fascinating please pass it my way.

This is volume 390, which is the number of unique ways to sum up to 32 (in other words, 32 has 390 distinct partitions).

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Concerning Asbury:
    • Asbury Professor: We’re Witnessing a ‘Surprising Work of God’ (Tom McCall, Christianity Today): “By Thursday evening, there was standing room only. Students had begun to arrive from other universities: the University of Kentucky, the University of the Cumberlands, Purdue University, Indiana Wesleyan University, Ohio Christian University, Transylvania University, Midway University, Lee University, Georgetown College, Mt. Vernon Nazarene University, and many others.… In previous revivals, there has always been fruit that has blessed both the church and society. For instance, even secular historians acknowledge that the Second Great Awakening was pivotal to bringing about the end of slavery in our country. Likewise, I look forward to seeing what fruit God will bring from such a revival in our generation.”
    • a quirky but positive take on Asbury by Lyman Stone (Twitter)
    • Another interesting take by a PhD student at Asbury Seminary (Twitter)
    • A nonstop Kentucky prayer ‘revival’ is going viral on TikTok, and people are traveling thousands of miles to take part (Jake Traylor, NBC News): “The setup is simple. No projector screens or high-tech integrations, just wooden sanctuary chairs filled with people, and an open altar call with an invitation to prayer that still hasn’t ended. That equation has been a powerful recipe on social media. On TikTok and Instagram, videos hashtagged ‘Asbury Revival’ are racking up millions of views. At the time this article was published, the hashtag #asburyrevival had 24.4 million views on TikTok.”
    • The Revival at Asbury (Thomas Lyons, Substack): “For what it’s worth, it’s my initial evaluation that this is the real deal. None of the hallmarks of manufactured revival are present. And I’m not alone in this evaluation. As Lawson Stone, an Old Testament Professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, recently stated on social media, ‘The old saints know.’ Arguably more significant for the evaluation of the revival’s authenticity than the opinions of revival scholars are the testimonies of the prior generations who were present at similar moves of God within the community.”
    • The author is a scholar whose dissertation focused on revivals.
  2. No Hookups, No ‘Talking,’ and No Breakups: A Better Way to Date (Charles E. Stokes, Institute for Family Studies): “My wife and I have served as relationship mentors now for 10 years, and as a family scholar and professor, I’ve paid attention to every nugget of wisdom I could glean—not only from academics but from many of my students. I have been able to craft a better approach to dating that I believe improves the chances of success for singles desiring a lifelong monogamous relationship.”
    • The author is a sociologist at Samford. I am deliberately not including his proposed solution in the excerpt because it’s worth reading in full. If you read his suggestion out of context you’ll probably form an opinion about it too quickly.
  3. ‘Honoring’ Your Father and Mother Isn’t Always Biblical (Karen Wong, Christianity Today): “But does the Chinese understanding of filial piety really mean exactly the same as the biblical description of honoring parents? And can an emphasis on obeying the fifth commandment overlook or even rationalize parent-child relationships characterized by contention, pain, disrespect, and suffering?”
    • Not paywalled — I have unlocked it for you.
  4. Why America Needs Football. Even Its Brutality. (Ethan Strauss, The Free Press): “Modern life might be unfulfilling, but the fact remains you’re unlikely to die on a beach separated from your entrails. Still, the old imperatives remain. We have war within us, whether or not there’s one to wage. And the NFL gives Americans that war, as spectacle, week after week.”
    • Recommended by an alumnus. I am still skeptical American football can survive moms pulling their kids out of the sport and directing them to safer athletic exploits.
  5. Contra Kavanagh On Fideism (Scott Alexander, Astral Codex Ten): “In a free society, at one or another point in your life, you’ll actually have to form your own opinion about something. You’ll do better at that if you have some practice forming opinions. When experts have strong opinions on something, this is a good opportunity to practice your opinion-forming skills, see whether you get the same result as the experts, and, if not, figure out where you went wrong. This requires people to have some tolerance for others doing this.”
    • Started off quite uninteresting and then quickly ramped up. The question under consideration: how to balance deferring to experts with investigating things on your own.
    • A follow-up Trying Again On Fideism (Scott Alexander, Astral Codex Ten): “I come back to this example again and again, but only because it’s so blatant: the New York Times ran an article saying that only 36% of economists supported school vouchers, with a strong implication that the profession was majority against. If you checked their sources, you would find that actually, it was 36% in favor, 19% against, 46% unsure or not responding. If you are too quick to seek epistemic closure because ‘you have to trust the experts’, you will be easy prey to people misrepresenting what they are saying.”
  6. McCullough’s Mistake, and Ours (Adrian Gaty, Substack): “As long as education stays true to its past and cultivates faith and virtue, McCullough’s mistake doesn’t matter. But once education becomes unmoored from its origins, once it becomes openly hostile to religion, we betray our own origins – and condemn our future – by continuing to ’emphasize’ schooling. Our founders, pioneers like the Reverend Cutler, spread the gospel of public education not for its own sake but because such education in turn spread the Gospel. To achieve that good government and happiness they envisioned, our task today is not to encourage public education as it currently exists – it is to remake it in His image.”
    • Recommended by a student.
    • This is a follow up to the also interesting This is… Science! (Adrian Gaty, Substack): “These are profoundly anti-life, anti-human movements – yet they advance by manipulating our humanity, our tenderness, our hatred of suicide. Spoiler alert: the doctors and ethicists making these claims about abortion and affirmation are 100% on board with doctor-assisted suicide (which killed over ten thousand Canadians last year). They don’t hate suicide, not in the least — but they know that you do. They are using your compassion to create a culture of death.”
  7. In Defense of J.K. Rowling (Pamela Paul, New York Times): “Take it from one of her former critics. E.J. Rosetta, a journalist who once denounced Rowling for her supposed transphobia, was commissioned last year to write an article called ’20 Transphobic J.K. Rowling Quotes We’re Done With.’ After 12 weeks of reporting and reading, Rosetta wrote, ‘I’ve not found a single truly transphobic message.’ On Twitter she declared, ‘You’re burning the wrong witch.’ ”
    • The tide is turning on Rowling. She’s not where I am ideologically, but watching her be tarred and feathered for saying common sense things has been dismaying.

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 Does the Bible Pass the Bechdel Test? A Data-Driven Look at Women in the Story of Scripture (John Dyer, personal blog): “So does the Bible pass the Bechdel test? This short answer is: yes, there are scenes where two named women have a conversation not about a man. The longer answer is more complex, but also, I think, richer.” This is REALLY well done. From volume 268.

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 362

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.

362 feels like a number that should have lots of factors, but it’s only got the prime factors 2 and 181.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Exploring AI-Assisted Bible Study (John Dyer, personal blog): “I prompted GPT‑3 to generate text for each chapter in the Bible in each category. For example, the prompt to generate a prayer was: “Write 5 prayers inspired by John 3 in the Bible. Remember that the events described here are in the past. First include a short observation or lesson for each prayer, and then write a personal prayer related to the lesson.”  I reviewed the generated text to avoid (or at least minimize) unhelpful or heretical content. I accepted about 90% of GPT‑3’s suggestions on its first pass and regenerated the rest until it gave me something useful. It cost about $150 over six weeks to generate this content, which consists of 71,062 generations and 1.1 million words.”
    • This is the same guy who generated the AI Bible artwork I shared recently (these and other experiments of his are available at http://www.openbible.info/labs/).
  2. What an Overly Pessimistic View of America Gets Wrong (Yascha Mounk interviewing Eboo Patel, Persuasion): “If every institution founded by a faith community in your city disappeared overnight, preschools, hospitals, and universities would be gone. YMCAs would be gone, places where AA groups meet would be gone. Half of your social services would probably be gone. It feels to me that religious identity diversity should be at the center of our national conversation, and I’m curious as to why it’s not.” This conversation is full of wisdom and I highly recommend it.
  3. People Are Dating All Wrong, According to Data Science (Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, Wired): “Good romantic partners are difficult to predict with data. Desired romantic partners are easy to predict with data. And that suggests that many of us are dating all wrong.”
    • From later in the article: “…how a person answered questions about themselves was roughly four times more predictive of their relationship happiness than all the traits of their romantic partner combined.”
  4. A Crucial Court Case Exposes the Darkness of America’s Worst Industry (David French, The Dispatch): “If someone wanted to create a system that was designed to facilitate the distribution of child pornography, videos of rape and other kinds of abuse, or revenge porn, it would be hard to construct a more efficient system than MindGeek’s. And the sheer amount of MindGeek’s traffic and the volume of the downloads demonstrates that Pornhub and other sites are injecting poison into American life at an industrial scale.”
    • A student recommended this piece from a month ago in addition to the above: The Fight to Hold Pornhub Accountable (Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New Yorker): “Pschorr was surprised by the lack of regulation in the U.S. ‘It was always interesting for me as a German to see that, in the U.S., you’d get I.D.’d if you went to a bar, and if you’re not twenty-one you get in big trouble,’ he said. ‘But if you want to consume porn all you have to do is click ‘Yes, I’m 18,’ and you’re in the realm of dirt.’ ” I found this article interesting because it portrays Christians both favorably and unfavorably in short order.
  5. How Did a Two-Time Killer Get Out to Be Charged Again at Age 83? (Rebecca Davis O’Brien & Ali Watkins, New York Times): “A homeless shelter worker and people close to Ms. Leyden questioned whether, despite her gender identity, Ms. Harvey should have been placed in a homeless shelter for women, given her history of attacking and murdering them.” Read that sentence slowly. Wow. And the last eight paragraphs are jaw dropping.
  6. A large new study offers clues about how lower-income children can rise up the economic ladder. (David Leonhardt, New York Times): “Churches and other religious organizations may have some lessons to teach other parts of society. Although many churches are socioeconomically homogeneous, those with some diversity tend to foster more cross-class interactions than most other social activities. Churchs [sic] have lower levels of what the researchers call socioeconomic ‘friending bias.’ ”
    • Sadly there isn’t more info on the religious dynamic, even though this section of the newsletter is called “How Churches Shine”
    • Although this is a NYT piece, it is not paywalled because it is from their morning newsletter.
  7. Nondenominational Churches Are Adding Millions of Members. Where Are They Coming From? (Ryan P. Burge, Christianity Today): “What is driving the growth of nondenominational churches? While in the past it resulted from a significant portion of individuals leaving a mainline tradition, now it looks like nondenominational congregations are increasing by taking in people who were raised Catholic—which is about a quarter of the general population.”

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 Problem Isn’t the ‘Merit,’ It’s the ‘Ocracy’ (Tanner Greer, personal blog): “The American system of government was built on the assumption that the most salient political divides would reflect geography, not ideology or class. The senator from Massachusetts would share bonds in common with the lay citizenry of Boston that he did not share with a senator from South Carolina. On the national sphere this would allow him to represent the interests of his constituents as if they were his own. This has proven more true at some times in American history than others; yet because of the way American politicians are elected, this sense of representing the interests of a geographically bounded group of people is more true in the political arena than in most others.” First shared in volume 232

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 228

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. A Tale of Two Churches (Batya Ungar-Sargon, NY Review of Books): “To many religious people, there’s no such thing as coincidence: Pastor Jay and Pastor Derrick felt acutely the prophetic nature of their union taking place just the day before the shooting. It felt as though, in the midst of the chaos and the confusion, God was using them to write a better story. The Lord had guided them to their merger at exactly the right time to redirect the anger and pain in the community to a higher, holy purpose.”
    • This my must-read link of the week. SO GOOD. I almost cried.
    • Kind of related but only marginally: Praying for Hong Kong Can Be Politically Disruptive—Even in America  (D Cheng, Christianity Today): “Different origins among ethnic Chinese immigrants can foster different political views, with more Christians from China supporting the policies of the Chinese government, and those from elsewhere often more critical of the Chinese Communist Party.”
  2. ‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims (Austin Ramzy and Chris Buckley, NY Times): “…one of the most significant leaks of government papers from inside China’s ruling Communist Party in decades. They provide an unprecedented inside view of the continuing clampdown in Xinjiang, in which the authorities have corralled as many as a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others into internment camps and prisons over the past three years.” Recommended by a student.
  3. More Pregnancy, Less Crime (Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution): “More generally, however, there are policy implication if we think beyond the immediate results. First, these results show that crime isn’t simply a product of family background, poverty and neglect. Crime is a choice.”
    • The original study: Family Formation and Crime (Maxim Massenkoff and Evan K. Rose, job market paper, pdf link): “Our event-study analysis indicates that pregnancy triggers sharp declines in crime rivaling any known intervention.”
    • Somewhat related: The Dating Market (Tyro Partners, pdf link): “With the advent of online dating, women in prime reproductive age are in the dominant position in the dating market for the first time in human history.This comes with huge social ramifications.” The authors are hedge fund guys. Interesting throughout and at times quite amusing. I especially commend to you the chart at the bottom of the page 5 contrasted with the chart at the top of page 6.
  4. Thread on the protests in Iran (Shay Khatiri, Twitter): “During its first 24 hours, it’s already been the most violent protests in decades, if not ever. 1979 revolution did not reach this level of violence.”
    • Amnesty Says At Least 106 Killed In Iran Protests (John Gambrell, Associated Press): “Days of protests in Iran over rising fuel prices and a subsequent government crackdown have killed at least 106 people across the Islamic Republic, Amnesty International said Tuesday, citing ‘credible reports.’”
  5. Why Some People Are Impossibly Talented (David Robson, BBC): “…influential scientists are much more likely to have diverse interests outside their primary area of research than the average scientist, for instance. Studies have found that Nobel Prize-winning scientists are about 25 times more likely to sing, dance or act than the average scientist. They are also 17 times more likely to create visual art, 12 times more likely to write poetry and four times more likely to be a musician.”
  6. 2019 Religious Freedom Index (Becket Law): “If America is becoming less religious, as some polls indicate, does that necessarily mean it is also becoming less supportive of religious liberty protections? Are we, in fact, divided on questions of religious freedom?… With a current score of 67, the 2019 Index indicates strong support for religious freedom protections. ”
  7. Why Did the Wall Fall, 30 Years Ago? (George Weigel, First Things): “Getting this history straight is important, not just as a matter of intellectual hygiene but for the future. Public officials who do not grasp the centrality of religious freedom to the collapse of European communism and the emergence of new democracies in central and eastern Europe are unlikely to appreciate the centrality of religious freedom to free and virtuous 21st-century societies and to 21st-century democracy.”

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 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.” (first shared in volume 25)

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 166

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. God’s Mayor in Guatemala (Dale Hanson Bourke, Christianity Today): “In the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America, the countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala form a violent triad. The murder rate is higher in this region than in most active war zones. Gangs, cartels, and vigilantes impose their will, taking over or co-opting legitimate police forces and routinely terrorizing average citizens…. In the middle of this violence sits the town of San Cristóbal Acasaguastlán, a picturesque oasis of calm with a population of about 6,000 people. What sets this place apart are the efforts of Jeaneth Ordoñez, the Christian mayor who has united the townspeople in their quest to keep the municipality free of the violence and upheaval that surrounds them.”
  2. No alcohol safe to drink, global study confirms (Laurel Ives, BBC): “A large new global study published in the Lancet has confirmed previous research which has shown that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. The researchers admit moderate drinking may protect against heart disease but found that the risk of cancer and other diseases outweighs these protections.” The underlying research: Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 (The Lancet. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31310–2)
  3. Christians to Science: Leave Animals the Way God Designed Them—Except Mosquitoes (Rebecca Randall, Christianity Today): “Messing with nature or God’s plan was a top concern for those opposed to engineering animal meat to be more nutritious (22%), bringing back an extinct species (23%), or making aquarium fish glow (18%). The reason cited most often to oppose creating glowing fish was simply that it is unnecessary and frivolous (48%).” Apparently I am an outlier. Make the fish glow, make meat more nutritious, and deal with mosquito-borne disease. I really like the way the Kenyan researcher quoted in the article encourages us to target the parasite and not the carrier. We are made in the image of God so that we can exercise dominion over Creation!
  4. The Peter Principle is a joke taken seriously. Is it true? (Tim Harford, Financial Times): “The authors of the paper discovered that the best salespeople were more likely to be promoted, and that they were then terrible managers. The better they had been in sales, the worse their teams performed once they arrived in a managerial role. What’s more, people were not promoted for behaviour that might seem correlated with managerial ability — in particular, those who collaborated with others were not rewarded for doing so. What mattered were sales, pure and simple.” It may be the case that you should dress for the job you want, but if you want to get promoted you had better rock the job you have.
  5. Gay Men Are Different, Says Gay Male Reader (Rod Dreher, The American Conservative): “Well-meaning straight liberals just do not get it, and lots of gay men will not criticize anything gay men collectively do because they think it will result in both lots of anger from other gay men as well as the empowerment of ideological enemies who want to, say, ban gay marriage. Men and women are fundamentally different and a male-female sexual culture is not going to be the same as a male-male sexual culture.” I suspect this will considered controversial by one set of readers and common sense by another, and that the groups will not break down along predictable lines.
  6. How the internet has changed dating (The Economist): “…a 2013 study researchers from Harvard University and the University of Chicago showed that marriages that started online were less likely to end in break-up and were associated with higher levels of satisfaction than marriages of the same vintage between similar couples who had met offline: the difference was not huge, but it was statistically significant.”
  7. What Trump Knew and Voters Didn’t (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic): “…Trump voters went to the polls unaware that a sum exceeding most of their annual salaries was expended to keep that [Trump paid off a porn star] from them. Even if the payment had been totally legal, it would’ve constituted a deliberate, immoral, classically politician-like effort to mislead voters about the choice before them. But the payment was not legal. It violated campaign-finance laws—and it was not a merely accidental and technical violation of an overly complicated or controversial provision.” This article is a pretty good and succinct summary of the current debate about Trump.

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 How Can I Learn To Receive – And Give – Criticism In Light Of The Cross?(Justin Taylor, Gospel Coalition): “A believer is one who identifies with all that God affirms and condemns in Christ’s crucifixion. In other words, in Christ’s cross I agree with God’s judgment of me; and in Christ’s cross I agree with God’s justification of me. Both have a radical impact on how we take and give criticism.” This is based on a longer article (4 page PDF). (first shared in volume 63)

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 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 148

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. This college professor gives her students extra credit for going on dates (Lisa Bonos, Washington Post): “She sees conversations about dating as part of the big questions her classes tackle, such as: How should I live my life? What kinds of relationships help me to become the kind of person I want to be? If students don’t learn how to date while they’re in college, while surrounded by thousands of peers all in a similar stage in life, Cronin says, it only gets harder to build those skills after graduation.” The professor in question, Kerry Cronin, is a philosopher at Boston College.
    • She has these rules for a first date: “The student has to ask in person (“texting is the devil; stop it,” she says in one of her YouTube videos), and the recipient has to know it’s a date. And if they say they’re busy and to check back with them later, don’t. Just move on. ‘That’s a great skill to build, so that you can have a thicker skin,’ Cronin says. She believes that the person who asks, pays. And the first date shouldn’t cost more than $10, include drugs or alcohol, or last longer than 90 minutes…”
    • Those are good guidelines. Read them again.
  2. I think the following two articles will prove to be among the most controversial I’ve ever shared. I also think they both contain much practical wisdom that will prove relevant as the weather warms:
    • For the gents: Dealing With Nuisance Lust (Douglas Wilson, personal blog): “Minimize the seriousness of this, but not so that you can feel good about indulging yourself. Minimize the seriousness of it so that you can walk away from a couple of big boobs without feeling like you have just fought a cosmic battle with principalities and powers in the heavenly places, for crying out loud. Or, if you like, in another strategy of seeing things rightly, you could nickname these breasts of other woman as the ‘principalities and powers.’ Whatever you do, take this part of life in stride like a grown-up. Stop reacting like a horny and conflicted twelve-year-old boy.”
    • For the ladies: Sister… Show Mercy! (Dan Phillips, Team Pyro): “Sister, if there’s one thing you and I can certainly agree on, it’s this: I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman, and you don’t know what it’s like to be a man. We’re both probably wrong where we’re sure we’re right, try as we might. So let me try to dart a telegram from my camp over to the distaff side.”
    • I am aware that these two articles only deal with things from a male perspective. Sadly, I haven’t come across any insightful articles that help ladies deal with their own lust or give gentlemen advice on how to be helpful to them. Ladies, if you’ve read something you found truly helpful, let me know.
  3. Jesus, Take the Control Wheel: Southwest Pilot Saw Flying as Ministry (David Roach, Christianity Today): “Tammie Jo Shults—the pilot who guided Flight 1380 to the ground April 17 after a midflight engine failure shot debris through a window, killing one passenger—is a recognizable figure at the Texas Hill Country church, which averages 900 in worship…. Multiple media reports have cited a blog post in which Shults stated being a pilot gave her ‘the opportunity to witness for Christ on almost every flight.’” You can glorify God in almost any profession — make it your ambition.
  4. Five Great Books on African American Evangelical History (Thomas Kidd, The Gospel Coalition): “If I had to pick one African American church leader I wish more Christians knew about, it would probably be [Lemuel] Haynes. A Revolutionary War soldier, Haynes went on to become a pastor of a largely white church in New England, a critic of American slavery, and an advocate of the New Divinity theology of Jonathan Edwards’s successors.”
  5. Donald Trump, Tragic Hero (Victor Davis Hanson, National Review): “Tragic heroes, as they have been portrayed from Sophocles’ plays (e.g., Ajax, Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Philoctetes) to the modern western film, are not intrinsically noble. Much less are they likeable. Certainly, they can often be obnoxious and petty, if not dangerous, especially to those around them.” Hanson is a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution.
  6. The Facebook Trials: It’s Not “Our” Data (Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution): “…I have hundreds of friends on Facebook, most of whom I don’t know well and have never met. But my Facebook friends are friends. We share common interests and, most of the time, I’m happy to see what they are thinking and doing and I’m pleased when they show interest in what I’m up to. If, before Facebook existed, I had been asked to list ‘my friends,’ I would have had a hard time naming ten friends, let alone hundreds. My Facebook friends didn’t exist before Facebook. My Facebook friendships are not simply my data—they are a unique co-creation of myself, my friends, and, yes, Facebook.”
  7. Google Will Now Answer Your Theological Questions (OpenBible.info): “Google just announced an AI-powered experiment called Talk to Books, which lets you enter a query and find passages in books that are semantically similar to your query, not merely passages that happen to match the keywords you chose. For theology- and Bible-related questions, it often presents an evangelical perspective, perhaps because U.S. evangelical publishers have been eager for Google to index their books.”

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

  • A Divided Country (Pearls Before Swine): this one actually made me laugh and not merely chortle sensibly.
  • Christ Chella (John Crist, Facebook): this is amazingly detailed and the more you know the evangelical culture the funnier it is

Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago

Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have On Political Correctness (William Deresiewicz, The American Scholar): a long and thoughtful article. “Selective private colleges have become religious schools. The religion in question is not Methodism or Catholicism but an extreme version of the belief system of the liberal elite: the liberal professional, managerial, and creative classes, which provide a large majority of students enrolled at such places and an even larger majority of faculty and administrators who work at them. To attend those institutions is to be socialized, and not infrequently, indoctrinated into that religion…. I say this, by the way, as an atheist, a democratic socialist, a native northeasterner, a person who believes that colleges should not have sports teams in the first place—and in case it isn’t obvious by now, a card-carrying member of the liberal elite.” (first shared in volume 92)

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 this was forwarded to you and you want to receive future emails, sign up here. You can also view the archives.