Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 57

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

Articles I Found Interesting

This has been a depressing week. Shootings by police, shootings of police, the ISIS bombing in Baghdad, religious‐liberty infringements, disgraceful political behavior and more. If you’re feeling down, the first few links will be especially helpful to you.

  1. How To Pray In Our Time Of National Crisis (Joe Carter, Gospel Coalition): “Many of us are anxious and hurting. All of us are confused. When faced with this type of national crisis we may find it difficult to turn to our Comforter in prayer. We are used to going to God with our requests, but this time seems different. We are mired in sorrow and pain…”
  2. Lamentations: A Bottle For The Tears Of the World (Christopher Wright, Christianity Today): “So much of our worship is cover‐up: pretending to have emotions we don’t really feel, or smothering the emotions we do. That is not praise. It simply leaves us to pick up our suffering again on the way out—without bringing it into God’s presence or hurling it at him in questioning (but trusting) protest. Spending time in Lamentations helps us learn how to plumb the depths of lament as well as scale the heights of rejoicing.”
  3. What Shootings And Racial Justice Mean For The Body of Christ (Russell Moore, personal blog): “If we believe that every person will stand before a Judgment Seat, we cannot then stand silently when we see injustice. But many—including evangelicals of all ethnicities—wonder what we can really do? Some are reluctant to speak because they do not wish to reduce these issues to a hash‐tag and they don’t know what to do.”
  4. End Needless Interaction With Cops During Traffic Stops (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic): a shrewd, easy‐to‐implement suggestion.
  5. My Four Months As A Private Prison Guard (Shane Bauer, Mother Jones): a very long but very engaging essay. “I started applying for jobs in private prisons because I wanted to see the inner workings of an industry that holds 131,000 of the nation’s 1.6 million prisoners. As a journalist, it’s nearly impossible to get an unconstrained look inside our penal system. When prisons do let reporters in, it’s usually for carefully managed tours and monitored interviews with inmates. Private prisons are especially secretive.” See also Wounds From Incarceration That Never Heal (Tony Brown & Evelyn Patterson, The New Republic)
  6. Two stories on the religious‐liberty front:
  7. A group of our summer Chi Alphans had a conversation about how the books of the Bible got selected. If you’re curious, here are two resources by Michael Kruger, a scholar in the field, that should prove helpful: Ten Basic Facts About the NT Canon That Every Christian Should Memorize and 10 Misconceptions About the NT Canon

A Quote To Ponder

Think before you act; think twice before you speak; think thrice before you post to social media.

Why Do You Send This Email?

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

Disclaimer

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

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

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

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 56

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

Articles I Found Interesting

  1. Your Unchurched Friends Want to Know About Your Faith (Bob Smietana, Christianity Today):  “Almost half [of unchurched Americans] say they discuss religion freely if the topic comes up (47%). A third say they listen without responding (31%), while 11 percent change the subject. Only about a third say someone has explained the benefits of being a Christian to them (35%).”
  2. Obergefell and the New Gnosticism (Sherif Girgis, First Things): “For decades, the Sexual Revolution was supposed to be about freedom. Today, it is about coercion. Once, it sought to free our sexual choices from restrictive laws and unwanted consequences. Now, it seeks to free our sexual choices from other people’s disapproval.” Sherif has spoken for Chi Alpha before.
  3. As a Psychiatrist I Diagnose Mental Illness. And, Sometimes, Demonic Possession (Richard Gallagher, Washington Post): “Questions about how a scientifically trained physician can believe ‘such outdated and unscientific nonsense,’ as I’ve been asked, have a simple answer. I honestly weigh the evidence.”
  4. Most American Christians Believe They’re Victims of Discrimination (Emma Green, The Atlantic): “Almost half of Americans say discrimination against Christians is as big of a problem as discrimination against other groups, including blacks and minorities.”
  5. Nine Prayers For The Not‐Yet‐Married (Marshall Segal, Desiring God): recommended by a student, relevant to many of you.
  6. Man Seeks Euthanasia To End His Sexuality Struggle (Jonathan Blake, BBC): sanctioning euthanasia is unwise and leads to unexpected outcomes. For a theological argument see Is There No Moral Law? (Douglas Farrow, First Things).
  7. Russia’s Proposed Law: No Evangelizing Outside of Church (Kate Shellnut, Christianity Today): “To share their faith, citizens must secure a government permit through a registered religious organization, and they cannot evangelize anywhere besides churches and other religious sites. The restrictions even apply to activity in private residences and online.
  8. Some more on Brexit:
    • Why Brexit Happened And What It Means (Tyler Cowen): “The actual practical problems with immigration are much greater here in Brussels, but the country is much further from ‘doing anything about it,’ whether prudently or not, and indeed to this day Belgium is not actually a mature nation‐state and it may splinter yet.  That England did something is one reflection of the fact that England is a better‐run region than Belgium, even if you feel as I do that the vote was a big mistake…. Most of all, I conclude that the desire to preserve the English nation [sic] as English is stronger than I or indeed most others had thought.  There is a positive side to that.  And if all along you thought there was no case for Leave, probably it is you who is the provincial one.” Oddly, the [sic] is in the original.
    • A great piece from shortly before the vote: Reflections Of A Referendum Fence‐Sitter (David Goodhart, Prospect Magazine)
    • An interesting piece on the theology of Brexit: For hard‐line Protestants, leaving Europe is a matter of eschatology (“Erasmus”, The Economist)

Interesting Research Findings

  • Why People With No Religion Are Projected To Decline As A Share Of The World’s Population (Michael Lipka, Pew Research): “These projections, which take into account demographic factors such as fertility, age composition and life expectancy, forecast that people with no religion will make up about 13% of the world’s population in 2050, down from roughly 16% as of 2010.”
  • The Data On Children In Same‐Sex Households Get More Depressing (Mark Regnerus, Public Discourse): “…during adolescence the children of same‐sex parents reported marginally less depression than the children of opposite‐sex parents. But by the time the survey was in its fourth wave—when the kids had become young adults between the ages of 24 and 32—their experiences had reversed. Indeed, dramatically so: over half of the young‐adult children of same‐sex parents report ongoing depression, a surge of 33 percentage points (from 18 to 51 percent of the total). Meanwhile, depression among the young‐adult children of opposite‐sex parents had declined from 22 percent of them down to just under 20 percent. A few other findings are worth mentioning as well. Obesity surged among both groups, but the differences became significant over time, with 31 percent obesity among young‐adult children of opposite‐sex parents, well below the 72 percent of those from same‐sex households.”
  • Church Attendance Linked With Reduced Suicide Risk, Especially For Catholics, Study Says (Melissa Healy, LA Times): “Compared with women who never participated in religious services, women who attended any religious service once a week or more were five times less likely to commit suicide between 1996 and 2010, says a study published Wednesday by JAMA Psychiatry.” See the underlying study in JAMA Psychiatry.
  • Researchers Have Found That War Has A Remarkable and Miraculous Effect (Jeff Guo, Wonkblog): “the experience of wartime violence somehow changes people for the better, making them more cooperative and more trusting.”
  • Concrete Problems in AI Safety (multiple impressive authors, arXiv.org): CS people please read this, especially in conjunction with AI Downs Fighter Pilot.

A Quote To Ponder

“Being part of community takes time and involves restrictions. Merely having an identity doesn’t. In our cultural emphasis and life, we’ve gone from a community focus to an identity focus.” David Brooks (source)

Something Amusing To End On

Why Do You Send This Email?

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

Disclaimer

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

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

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

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 50

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom.

  1. What are the most‐cited publications in the social sciences (according to Google Scholar)? (Elliot Green, London School of Economics Impact Blog): I am familiar with many of them, but some I have never even heard of. Apparently I am less well‐read than I thought.
  2. The False Promise of DNA Testing (Matthew Shaer, The Atlantic): DNA testing exonerates some but falsely implicates others.
  3. Good Citizenship as Barack Obama and Clarence Thomas See It (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic): “There are real divergences in the ways that Obama and Thomas view citizenship, but their approaches are more complementary than contradictory. Taken together, their advice encompasses the personal and the political, affording a better portrait of the whole citizen than either offers in isolation.”
  4. The culture wars play out in the most fascinating ways:
    • Media Want To Make Sure You Never Hear About The Little Sisters of the Poor (Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist): “A case of “Little Sisters of the Poor” vs. “Powerful Men in Government” is a gift from the editorial gods…. If any Republican president went to war against a group called Little Sisters of the Poor, that editorial gift would be unwrapped on every front page of every newspaper in the land.” (additional commentary at GetReligion)
    • Related: Professor Michael McConnell on Zubik v. Burwell (Michael McConnell, Volokh Conspiracy): “the decision was basically a quiet, face‐saving, non‐precedent‐setting defeat for the government.”
    • How The Fight Over Transgender Kids Got A Leading Sex Researcher Fired (Jesse Singal, NY Mag): this is a very long piece which I found utterly fascinating. It shows that for some people 90% agreement is not enough: “And if you look closely at what really happened — if you read the review (which CAMH has now pulled off of its website), speak with the activists who effectively wrote large swaths of it, examine the scientific evidence, and talk to former GIC clinicians and the parents of patients they worked with, it’s hard not to come to an uncomfortable, politically incorrect conclusion: Zucker’s defenders are right. This was a show trial.”
    • Yes, my sexuality is a choice: Why I reject the “born this way” narrative (Marcie Bianco, Salon):  “The progressive move away from identity categories negates the need for the normative, ‘born this way’ narrative that has been used to socially validate them…. if sexuality is socially constructed and expressed through culture, then there is no norm, nor is there deviance.”
    • State‐Mandated Mourning for Aborted Fetuses (Emma Green, The Atlantic): I am somewhat baffled that this story doesn’t mention the Center for Medical Progress videos from last year. There is clearly a relationship.
  5. Quick Links:

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 46

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

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

Why Do You Send This Email?

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

Disclaimer

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

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

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 45

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.

This week there are a few more links than normal. Enjoy!

  1. New Evidence On When The Bible Was Written: Ancient Shopping Lists (Isabel Kershner, New York Times): “One of the longstanding arguments for why the main body of biblical literature was not written down in anything like its present form until after the destruction and exile of 586 B.C. is that before then there was not enough literacy or enough scribes to support such a huge undertaking. But if the literacy rates in the Arad fortress were repeated across the kingdom of Judah, which had about 100,000 people, there would have been hundreds of literate people, the Tel Aviv research team suggests.” — also check out the AP/Guardian on this.
  2. Is Porn Immoral? That Doesn’t Matter: It’s a Public Health Crisis (Gaile Dines, Washington Post): “After 40 years of peer‐reviewed research, scholars can say with confidence that porn is an industrial product that shapes how we think about gender, sexuality, relationships, intimacy, sexual violence and gender equality — for the worse…. just as the tobacco industry argued for decades that there was no proof of a connection between smoking and lung cancer, so, too, has the porn industry, with the help of a well‐oiled public relations machine, denied the existence of empirical research on the impact of its products.”
  3. Facebook Employees Asked Mark Zuckerberg If They Should Try To Stop A Donald Trump Presidency (Michael Nunez, Gizmodo): “Facebook has toyed with skewing news in the past. During the 2008 presidential election, Facebook secretly tampered with 1.9 million user’s news feeds. An academic paper was published about the secret experiment, claiming that Facebook increased voter turnout by more than 340,000 people. In 2010, the company tampered with news feeds again. It conducted a 61‐million‐person experiment to see how Facebook could impact the real‐world voting behavior of millions of people. In 2012, Facebook deliberately experimented on its users’ emotions.  The company, again, secretly tampered with the news feeds of 700,000 people and concluded that Facebook can basically make you feel whatever it wants you to.
  4. I Was A Closeted Christian At The Pentagon (Matthew Spence, Washington Post): “I feared how coming out as a practicing Christian would define me. I worried that my bosses, peers and subordinates might associate me with American officials who have spoken of U.S. military engagements in the Middle East as ‘crusades’ or with the Islamic State’s declaration of holy war. I feared that talking about my faith would detract from the logic of my arguments. And, as a relatively young person in a senior position, I needed every scrap of credibility I could claim.”
  5. Why Jesus’ Skin Color Matters (Christena Cleveland, Christianity Today):  “While Christ the Lord transcends skin color and racial divisions, white Jesus has real consequences.”
  6. Houston police officer presents a few “double‐edged sword” scenarios regarding body cameras (reddit): unintended consequences are always difficult to predict.
  7. Was It Wrong To Hack and Leak the Panama Papers? (Tyler Cowen, blog): surprisingly stimulating.
  8. Onward Christian Soldiers: In the Era of Trump‐Style Politics, Evangelical Voters Are Not a Monolith (Julie Lyons, Houston Press): this is a very insightful and data‐rich article.
  9. The Tensions Threatening the Future of Religious Freedom Law (Kelsey Dallas, Deseret News): this is a very good summary of the current state of religious freedom legislation.
  10. Christianity and Korea (Dave Hazzan, The Diplomat): “Evangelical zeal to send missionaries to places most others would never go – including Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, and Yemen – have caused headaches for the government. In 2007, after ignoring the government’s advice, 27 Korean missionaries to Afghanistan were kidnapped by the Taliban, and two were killed. In 2009, the Korean foreign ministry warned Korean Christians to stop missionizing in Arab countries, fearing it was making Koreans terrorist targets.”9
  11. Kinda Random

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 43

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. Middle Knowledge and the Calvinist‐Arminian Debate (Craig Blomberg, personal blog): This is what I was talking about in my sermon this week. Also see the YouTube video where Dr. William Lane Craig explains it to a Sunday School class.
  2. What Apple’s Encryption Fight Has To Do With Religious Freedom (Chelsea Langston, Christianity Today): “[Apple’s] example reminds us of the broad importance of protecting organizations—both secular and religious, for‐profit and non-profit—from compulsion to act against their most foundational values.”
  3. How To Hack An Election (Jordan Robertson, Michael Riley, and Andrew Willis, Bloomberg Businessweek): this is a fascinating and unsettling article. ‘On the question of whether the U.S. presidential campaign is being tampered with, he is unequivocal. “I’m 100 percent sure it is,” he says.’
  4. Is Islam a Religion of Peace? A Former Muslim Weighs In. (Dargan Thompson, Relevant Magazine): “What I’m saying is the foundations of Islam—I’m talking about the Quran and the life of Muhammed—are very violent. Islam can be formulated in non‐violent ways, but to do so, you have to depart from its foundations, as many Muslims do.”
  5. Religion is the Foundation of Democracy and Prosperity (Clayton Christensen, Mormon Perspectives): the author, a Harvard professor, talks about a conversation he had with a friend, “I learned the importance of religion for the strength of democracy and capitalism in a conversation 12 years ago with a Marxist economist from China who was nearing the end of a Fulbright Fellowship in Boston. I asked my friend if he had learned here anything that was surprising or unexpected. His response was immediate and, to me, quite profound: ‘I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy and capitalism.’ ”
  6. Personal Love and the Call to Chastity (Samantha Schroeder, The Public Discourse): there is a lot I like and a lot I don’t like about this article.
  7. Here’s Every Biblical Reference in ‘Hamilton’ (Alissa Wilkinson, Christianity Today): of interest to the Hamilton fanatics who seem to abound in Chi Alpha.

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 (you can also have your non‐Stanford friends sign up to receive them at that site)

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 42

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. Jesus of Nazareth, Whose Messianic Message Captivated Thousands, Dies at About 33 (Sam Roberts, Vanity Fair): What would Jesus’ New York Times obituary have looked like? Clever, well‐done, and Good Friday appropriate.
  2. Anatomy of Doubt (Ira Glass, This American Life): this is an amazing, disturbing story. There are companion print pieces as well, but listen to the podcast. 
  3. Do We Still Need Prisons? (Paul Kirby, Volteface): this article by David Cameron’s former director of public policy is full of creative ideas. Two related thoughts worth pondering: the Bible never commands a government to build prisons, and Jesus said He came to set the prisoners free.
  4. How well online dating works, according to someone who has been studying it for years (Roberto Ferdman, Wonkblog): this an interview with a Stanford prof.  “It’s kind of superficial. But it’s superficial because we’re kind of superficial; it’s like that because humans are like that. Judging what someone else looks like first is not an attribute of technology, it’s an attribute of how we look at people. Dating, both modern and not, is a fairly superficial endeavor.”
  5. A Dialog On Race and Speech at Yale (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic): the columnist has a very insightful email interchange with a Yale undergrad.
  6. Banning Credit Checks Harms African‐Americans (Tyler Cowen): “In states that passed credit‐check bans, it  became easier for people with bad credit histories to compete for employment. But disproportionately, they seem to have elbowed aside black job‐seekers.” — read a more thorough summary at Wonkblog.
  7. A cluster of voices speaking about the religious freedom case recently argued before the Supreme Court:
    • Stanford professor Michael McConnell’s take on the oral arguments: “At a time of rising divisiveness and polarization, it would be greatly calming if the Court could unite in this case to protect the rights of many with absolutely no injury to anyone else, or to the public good.”
    • Religious Freedom Deserves Deference: Our View Editorial Board, USA Today): “To imagine that non‐profits whose very existence is tied to religion do not deserve more deference than for‐profit businesses is quite a stretch.”
    • Little Sisters, Big Case (Russell Moore, The Hill): “Over 100 million Americans don’t have health plans that must offer the government’s drugs. The government exempts big businesses such as Exxon and big municipalities such as New York City, and does so just to reduce administrative inconvenience for these entities. The government even exempts itself, refusing to require the U.S. military—the nation’s largest employer—to provide the same drugs they want to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide.”
  8. Quick Links

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 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 36

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

  1. The Weight of Glory (C.S. Lewis): this is a PDF of the 9 pages of thoughtful goodness I referenced in my sermon this week. It was originally preached as a sermon and then printed in a theology magazine. Related: see the C. S. Lewis Doodle YouTube channel — it’s really good!
  2. Leave China, Study In America, Find Jesus (Han Zhang, Foreign Policy) — “U.S. universities are the first places that hundreds of thousands of educated young Chinese are exposed to different religious ideas, and invited to consider them freely. Sensing an opportunity, on‐campus Christian fellowships and churches have gone out of their collective way to help those fresh from China.”
  3. Uncovering the Assemblies of God’s Black Heritage (Darrin Rodgers, Vital Magazine): the Assemblies of God is Chi Alpha’s sponsoring denomination and the group with which I am ordained. Some neat anecdotes here.
  4. Why Nepal Has One of the World’s Fastest Growing Christian Populations (Danielle Preiss, NPR): my favorite bit, “a team were also in Nepal in October helping rebuild the earthquake‐damaged house that belongs to the family of Sumitra Pariyar, a young woman who believes she was healed from paralysis and seizures by her acceptance of Christ.” I find the choice of words funny: she “believes” she was healed from paralysis by Christ. I’m pretty sure she knows whether she was paralyzed or not. How about “a young woman who says she was healed from paralysis and seizures by her acceptance of Christ.” That’s just better journalism.
  5. Religious Freedom Keeps Us Strong (Barack Obama, Religion News Service): yes, this is by President Obama. The thing I am most pleased about is his use of the phrase “freedom of religion” as opposed to the much less expansive “freedom of worship.”
  6. What A Super Bowl Ad Reveals About Our Abortion Culture (Russell Moore, personal blog): this went in a different direction than I assumed it would. Recommended.
  7. Some humor:

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 35

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

  1. The Grounds Of Our Assurance (D. A. Carson, YouTube): Dr. Carson is one of my favorite scholars. This youtube clip is definitely worth three minutes of your time.
  2. Hallelujah College (Molly Worthen, NY Times): “The thing you’ll run into with any of the campus activists that I’ve encountered is this idea that human nature is a collection of identity categories, that I as a human being am composed of a gender identity, a sexual identity, a racial identity and so forth,” he said. “Their perception of Christians, or of religious people more generally, is: ‘O.K., these are people who have this one identity category, religion, and the religion they identify as is overstepping its bounds. It’s telling my gender or sexual identity how to act.’ The Christian response has to be: There’s something more to what a human being is than just these collective attributes.”
  3. Pastor Of China’s Largest Church Jailed For Protesting Removal of 1,500 Crosses (Morgan Lee, Christianity Today). Note that he is the pastor of China’s largest official church — there are underground churches that are much larger. The Communist Party must be getting nervous about the strength of Christianity in China if they are oppressing the state‐sanctioned church as well.
  4. Christians In Latin America Are Numerous But Still Vulnerable (John Allen, Crux): a very strong article about Christian persecution in the western hemisphere. “Chilito was executed by a right‐wing paramilitary and Castilla by a left‐wing guerrilla group, proving that martyrdom in Colombia is an equal‐opportunity enterprise. Globally, the two women are chapters in one of the most widespread human rights scourges of the early 21st century, which is lethal anti‐Christian persecution. Though estimates vary widely, even low‐end counts suggest that one Christian is killed for motives related to the faith somewhere in the world every hour of every day.”
  5. Mainstreaming “Animal Personhood” (Wesley J. Smith, First Things): this is something you should do some thinking about. Start by reflecting on Genesis 1:26–30, Genesis 9:1–6, Numbers 22:21–34, Proverbs 12:10, Jonah 4:10–11, and Matthew 6:26.
  6. Meyer vs Nebraska: As Told By The Lawyer Who Won It (David Kopel, Washington Post): this story of a 1922 Supreme Court decision absolutely sucked me in. It touches on issues of parental rights, public education, religious liberty, and nationalistic prejudice.
  7. 3 Ways To Work For The Glory of God (Christos Makridis, The Rebelution). Yes, this is written by our very own Christos. Good thoughts, Christos!
  8. Some comics that amused me:

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.