Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 41

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. Since yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, here are his Confession (of faith) and his Letter To The Soldiers of Coroticus. The opening lines of his confession, “My name is Patrick. I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many.” Skip down to verse 16 for some of the wild stuff.
  2. The Shame Culture (David Brooks, BYT): “The guilt culture could be harsh, but at least you could hate the sin and still love the sinner. The modern shame culture allegedly values inclusion and tolerance, but it can be strangely unmerciful to those who disagree and to those who don’t fit in.” See also Scapegoats in the Culture War (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic).
  3. OKC Thunder Coach’s Words Resonate With Many (Jenni Carlson, The Oklahoman): this is a bit late, but I finally watched the eulogy that recently gripped the sports world’s interest. Wow. Watch the YouTube video first (7 minutes) and then read the article.
  4. Three Numbers That Explain The Modern Political Ecosystem (Kevin Drum, Mother Jones): how media and politics intersect.
  5. The Glaring Evidence That Free Speech Is Threatened On Campus (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic): “To sum up: free speech on campus is threatened from a dozen directions. It is threatened by police spies, overzealous administrators, and students who are intolerant of dissent.”
  6. Now that you’re on break, please register to vote if you have not already done so. If you are registering in California, I strongly suggest you register as a Permanent Vote‐By‐Mail Voter, which simply means that you will receive a ballot in the mail before every election. It gives you plenty of time to research the candidates and issues from the comfort of your dorm room with your ballot in front of you. If you prefer to vote in another state then visit http://www.brennancenter.org/student-voting). If you’re a citizen of another country, do whatever you’re supposed to do there. 🙂
  7. Quick Reads:

Why Do You Send This Email?

In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world. I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.

Disclaimer

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

Also, remember that I’m not reporting news — I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 38

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

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

Why Do You Send This Email?

In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world. I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.

Disclaimer

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

Also, remember that I’m not reporting news — I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it.

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

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 37

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.

Also, I normally include articles from a variety of sources, but this week I noticed that I’m including a bunch from GetReligion. I guess they’ve been on fire lately. 

  1. Death, The Prosperity Gospel, and Me (Kate Bowler, NY Times): This piece is moving and funny and also not quite right… despite her study she still misunderstands some aspects of the Charismatic and Pentecostal world. All in all well worth reading. “No word of a lie: I once saw a megachurch pastor almost choke to death on his own fog machine. Someone had cranked it up to the Holy Spirit maximum.”
  2. Think Pieces on Justice Scalia, Funeral Sermons, Humility, and the First Amendment (Terry Mattingly, GetReligion): Scalia was such a fascinating man.I like what one of our lawyer alumni posted on Facebook: “Justice Scalia! You wrote your opinions with so much life, I guess I thought you’d never die. The world has lost a great grumpy conservative. Rest easy.”
  3. Why Is The Atlantic Surprised That Early Pro‐Lifers Were, Uh, Liberals? (Julia Dulin, GetReligion): This is an article about some articles about a book. Meta but fascinating.
  4. Little Sisters of the Poor on Supreme Court case: Why we can’t “just sign the form” (Constance Veit, Catholic Review): Mother Theresa’s compatriots explain their conscientious objection in their own words.
  5. Vote For Trump! Vote For Hilary! Vote For Jesus At This Racially Diverse S.C. Megachurch! (Bobby Ross, GetReligion): Interesting. Also, a reminder that reporters’ perspectives on churches often miss significant details.  “None of the roughly 1,300 words in the Times report is ‘Jesus.’”
  6. Causes and Consequences of the Protestant Reformation (Becker, Pfaff & Rubin, a working paper): There’s a lot here. Recommended for social scientists. One cool bit: “They argue that the spread of university students from Protestant strongholds (Wittenberg and Basel, the intellectual homes of Luther and Zwingli) and orthodox Catholic strongholds (Cologne and Louvain) had a significant impact on whether a town ultimately adopted the Reformation.” Which is a very fancy way of saying God uses university students.
  7. On the random side:

Why Do You Send This Email?

In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world. I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.

Disclaimer

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

Also, remember that I’m not reporting news — I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it.

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

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 27

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

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 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 1

[this was an email I sent to the students in Chi Alpha @ Stanford]

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). That’s a worthy goal — to understand our times and know how to live wisely in them. We need to learn how our faith interacts with the world.

To that end, I’m going to try something: for the next few weeks I’ll send out three to five articles/resources I have found helpful in thinking about national, global and theological issues (be sure to see the disclaimer at the bottom). My hope is these readings nudge you into continuing the tradition of Issachar. If these emails are well‐received then they may become an ongoing thing.

So here’s the first batch:

  1. The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas (Joseph Bottum, The Weekly Standard): many modern political ideas are derived from Christian theological concepts.

  2. What ISIS Really Wants (Graeme Wood, The Atlantic): the key to understanding ISIS is understanding their faith, particularly their eschatology. A takeaway for Christians — your eschatology matters (so get it right).

  3. Evangelical Protestants Are The Biggest Winners Whenever People Change Faiths (Leah Libresco, FiveThirtyEight): this is the most interesting take I’ve seen on the Pew Forum study that filled the news recently. If current trends continue until they reach an equilibrium point, then evangelicalism will become the largest religious identity in America (followed by either the religiously unaffiliated or the Mormons depending on whether fertility is factored in).

  4. God’s Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America (Larry Eskridge, Oxford University Press): a scholarly history of an oft‐overlooked Great Awakening — the Jesus People revival among the hippies. It is full of delightful anecdotes, including this charmer: one couple “began to talk to their friends about Jesus and even went so far as to name their dog ‘Repent’ so they could stand in the city’s parks and shout the canine’s name and their message at the top of their lungs.”  (p 148). The book is available online through Stanford’s library system — the link will take you right there.

Suggestions for a better title / articles to consider / best day to send the email on / etc. are welcome, as is feedback on the idea as a whole.

Disclaimer

Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and are not about the elephant’s agenda — we are about the Lamb’s agenda. Having said that, I read stuff (and may therefore share stuff) from all over the ideological map. I read widely in part because I aspire to pass an ideological Turing test and more generally because I do not believe I can fairly say “I agree” or “I disagree” until I can say “I understand.” I encourage you to adopt a similar perspective.

Also, for the first few installments I’ll probably reach farther back than normal for some articles that stand out in my memory. As time goes on I imagine the links will become more and more recent.