Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 447

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 447, which I kinda hoped would be prime. Alas, 447 = 3 · 149.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. One of the Most Overlooked Arguments for the Resurrection (Michael J. Kruger, blog): “…the earliest Christians came to believe, against all odds and against all expectations, that Jesus of Nazareth had been raised from the dead. Notice the distinctive nature of this claim. The claim is not that Jesus rose from the dead (though, I think he did). The claim is that the earliest followers of Jesus came to believe—and very strongly believe— that he did. And that is a wholly other matter. Why? Because it is a historical fact that is not disputed.”
  2. The Problem With Saying ‘Sex Assigned at Birth’ (Alex Byrne and Carole K. Hooven, New York Times): “Sexed organisms were present on Earth at least a billion years ago, and males and females would have been around even if humans had never evolved. Sex is not in any sense the result of linguistic ceremonies in the delivery room or other cultural practices. Lonesome George, the long-lived Galápagos giant tortoise, was male. He was not assigned male at birth — or rather, in George’s case, at hatching. A baby abandoned at birth may not have been assigned male or female by anyone, yet the baby still has a sex. Despite the confusion sown by some scholars, we can be confident that the sex binary is not a human invention.”
    • One author is a philosopher at MIT, the other an evolutionary biologist at Harvard. Unlocked.
  3. Rival perspectives on the war between Israel and Hamas
    • (Coleman Hughes, Twitter): a two and a half minute video sympathetic to Israel
    • Bomb First, Ask Questions Later (Andrew Sullivan, Substack): “To hit one car is a misfortune; to destroy three cars consecutively on a pre-approved route, not so much. The cars were clearly marked and in a deconfliction zone — but the IDF policy is to target anywhere Hamas could be present, even if some civilians were killed. As we’ll see, one dead Hamas member and seven dead civilians was well within the margin of error Israel had set for itself. So it appears they methodically took out each car to make sure they finished the job. No, I don’t believe that Israel deliberately murdered the aid workers; but I do think that, in context, the IDF’s effective rules of engagement — strike places like hospitals and schools because Hamas is there, even though there will be many civilian casualties — made this kind of indifference to human life possible.”
  4. The Church of Trump: How He’s Infusing Christianity Into His Movement (Michael C. Bender, New York Times): “The apparent effectiveness of such tactics has made Mr. Trump the nation’s first major politician to successfully separate character from policy for religious voters, said John Fea, a history professor at Messiah University, an evangelical school in Pennsylvania. ‘Trump has split the atom between character and policy,’ Mr. Fea said. ‘He did it because he’s really the first one to listen to their grievances and take them seriously. Does he really care about evangelicals? I don’t know. But he’s built a message to appeal directly to them.’”
    • Unlocked
  5. The Case for Marrying an Older Man (Grazie Sophia Christie, The Cut): “Very soon, we will decide to have children, and I don’t panic over last gasps of fun, because I took so many big breaths of it early: on the holidays of someone who had worked a decade longer than I had, in beautiful places when I was young and beautiful, a symmetry I recommend. If such a thing as maternal energy exists, mine was never depleted. I spent the last nearly seven years supported more than I support and I am still not as old as my husband was when he met me. When I have a child, I will expect more help from him than I would if he were younger, for what does professional tenure earn you if not the right to set more limits on work demands — or, if not, to secure some child care, at the very least?”
    • A well-written and unusual position. Not the only path to consider, but certainly a path to consider.
  6. Breakthrough in prime number theory demonstrates primes can be predicted (Michael Gibb, “Contrary to what just about every mathematician on Earth will tell you, prime numbers can be predicted, according to researchers at City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) and North Carolina State University, U.S.”
  7. Are Members of the Clergy Miserable? (Ryan Burge, Substack): “I really wanted to key in on a few questions about job/life satisfaction. The survey replicates a question from ‘The Satisfaction with Life Scale.’ The statement is simply: In most ways my life is close to my ideal.… The mean score for this was 5.6 in the clergy sample. Among members of Israel’s Defense Force it was 4.7, among some university students it was found to 5.23. Among nurses it was 3.81. In a sample of people living in Colombia it was only 3.67. The long and short of it was this — I can’t find another population group that scores higher on this metric than clergy.… I’m pretty confident in saying that clergy seemed pretty content with their station in life (or at least this was the case before the pandemic).”
    • Maybe laypeople don’t hear this very often, but I am often in circles where they talk about an epidemic of ministerial dissatisfaction. But I’ve never seen it. I love my job and pretty much all my peers do, too. What we do is amazing. I’m glad to see a scholar vindicating my intuition.

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

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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.