Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 9

In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world.

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

  1. From the party-with-puritans department: Our Puritan Heritage (Democracy, Jim Sleeper): the author, a political science lecturer at Yale, is not a Christian. I think parts of his argument are wrong, but I found the whole thing stimulating (the comments are worth reading as well). For something more practically helpful, see Puritan Resources For Biblical Counseling (Journal of Biblical Counseling, Tim Keller): good stuff about how to grow spiritually.
  2. From the sister-in-Christ-doing-good department: Grieving Gov. Nikki Haley Forever Changed By Church Massacre (Post and Courier, Jennifer Berry Hawes): Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, is an adult convert to Christianity. There’s a 2012 interview about her faith at Christianity Today.
  3. From the still-working-to-show-the-world-that-we-are-one department: Dear Pastor, Can I Come To Your Church? (Christianity Today, Bradley Wright): an interesting study on implicit racial bias in welcoming newcomers to church. It may be behind a paywall — I was able to access the whole thing but someone else told me they only got a snippet. The author, a sociologist at U Conn, gives references on his website (the Christianity Today article is a popularization of a forthcoming academic article).
  4. From the it-sounds-clever-the-first-time-you-hear-it-department: Why Privatizing Marriage Would Be A Disaster (The Week, Shikha Dalmia): I’ve heard some Christians suggest that we erect a wall of separation between marriage and state. This article suggests that is a foolish idea. For a Christian take (the author of the previous article is agnostic) that comes to similar conclusion, read Douglas Wilson’s In Which First Things Does Some Fourth Things (Doug Wilson is a fascinating and polarizing figure: read The Controversialist from Christianity Today to learn more about him).
  5. From the making-a-difference-is-hard department: The Myth of the Ethical Shopper (Huffington Post, Michael Hobbes): I posted a similar piece a few weeks ago. You have less control as a consumer than you think because companies have less control than you think.
  6. From the in-our-backyard department: Spiritual Opportunity in Silicon Valley (Leadership Journal, Daniel Darling): an interview with the author of a forthcoming book about Christianity in Silicon Valley. The book looks interesting. The author blogs at http://findinggodinsiliconvalley.com/

Disclaimer

Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and we are not about the elephant’s agenda — we are about the Lamb’s agenda. Having said that, I read widely (in part because I believe we should aspire to pass the ideological Turing test and in part because I do not believe I can fairly say “I agree” or “I disagree” until I can say “I understand”) and may at times share articles that have a strong partisan bias simply because I find the article stimulating. The upshot: you should not assume I agree with everything an author says in an article I mention, much less things the author has said in other articles.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 4

In the time of King David, the Bible says that the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world.

To that end, I share articles/resources I have found helpful recently in thinking about broader cultural and societal issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). May these give you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.

  1. From the Charleston department:
    1. Why A Black Church? (Emma Green, The Atlantic): the last paragraph was like a punch in the gut.
    2. In this moving Youtube clip, representatives from the families of the victims forgive the shooter in court and call upon him to repent. It sounds as though several of them were actually there when the shooting happened and interacted with the shooter in the hour beforehand.
    3. The Charleston Shooting is the Largest Mass Shooting in a House of Worship Since 1991 (Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Washington Post): this is an informative overview of the history of mass violence at religious organizations in the US. I noticed one typo in the article — it refers to 176 deaths when I am pretty sure it should have referred to 176 violent incidents leading to 74 deaths in 2014.
    4. Black Americans Are Killed at 12 Times the Rate of People in Other Developed Countries (Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight): this is probably the most depressing thing I read on a day of reading depressing things.
    5. The story of the lady who busted the shooter is a more encouraging one. “It was God’s way of putting her in the right place at the right time, the Gastonia woman said.”
  2. From the clarity is important department: Is Mormonism Christian? (Roger Olson, blog): Olson, a theologian, gives a very thorough and helpful answer to the question. It’s really long, so if you just want the summary jump to the last paragraph.
  3. From the misunderstood research department: The Real Lesson of the Stanford Prison Experiment (Maria Konnikova, New Yorker): interesting for several reasons, among them the fact that we walk past the site of the experiments regularly.
  4. From the sin is pervasive department: All Your Clothes Are Made With Exploited Labor (Gillian B. White, The Atlantic): even the most conscientious companies are unable to keep their products oppression-free.

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.