Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 64

1 Chronicles 12:32 - they "understood the times"
1 Chronicles 12:32 — they “understood the times”

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

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. Students seem upset about Stanford’s new alcohol policy. Check out this Harvard prof’s NY Times op-ed from 1989 arguing Actually, Prohibition Was a Success. For the record, I think the new policy is a step in the right direction. I stand by my earlier comments and am also amused at how similar the arguments I hear today are to those I heard back in 2003.
  2. Kayla Mueller in Captivity: Courage, Selflessness as She Defended Christian Faith to ISIS Executioner ‘Jihadi John’ (James Gordon Meek, Megan Christie, Brian Epstein, Brian Ross, ABC News): a powerful and disturbing story. Doctors Without Borders comes off badly.
  3. How USA Today unraveled Ryan Lochte’s Rio drama (Kristen Hare, Poynter): An insightful window into journalism and why we should trust news coverage a little less than we think. Lochte still doesn’t come out looking awesome, but neither does he look like the outrageous villain many assumed (and seemed delighted to see him as). Proverbs 18:17 wins again.
  4. Sex on campus isn’t what you think: what 101 student journals taught me (Lisa Wade, The Guardian): “Hookup culture prevails, even though it serves only a minority of students, because cultures don’t reflect what is, but a specific group’s vision of what should be….  [it] isn’t what the majority of students want, it’s the privileging of the sexual lifestyle most strongly endorsed by those with the most power on campus, the same people we see privileged in every other part of American life.”
  5. On David Gushee’s Dishonesty (Jake Meador, Mere Orthodoxy): this is a fascinating essay with surprising insights about the role of grammar in political argumentation. Really.
  6. Evangelicals For Trump: In Power or Persecuted (S.D. Kelly, Christ and Pop Culture): “Not only do most evangelicals not believe they are the center of power, they consider themselves to be one wedding cake away from jail time.” 
  7. Given the perpetual Bay Area housing crisis, I found these articles stimulating: Laissez-Faire in Tokyo Land Use and the follow-up The Japanese Zoning System (both by George Mason University econ professor Alex Tabarrok): “Japan’s zoning laws are more rational, more efficient and fairer than those used in the United States.”

Things Glen Found 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.

Archives at http://glenandpaula.com/wordpress/category/links.

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 53

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.

  1. Why I Believe Again (A.N. Wilson, The New Statesman): this piece is about seven years old, but I don’t remember seeing it before. “one thing that finally put the tin hat on any aspirations to be an unbeliever was writing a book about the Wagner family and Nazi Germany, and realising how utterly incoherent were Hitler’s neo-Darwinian ravings, and how potent was the opposition, much of it from Christians; paid for, not with clear intellectual victory, but in blood.”
  2. The Evangelical Roots of American Economics (Bradley Bateman, The Atlantic): “One unlikely example of the Protestant influence on American culture is the formation of economics as an academic discipline in the United States.” Fascinating and highly recommended.
  3. Evangelicals like me can’t vote for Trump — or Clinton. Here’s what we can do instead. (Alan Noble, Vox): This is a long and thoughtful piece. “unless a third-party candidate with broad appeal emerges, evangelical Christians would be better served by abstaining from [the presidential] vote and shifting their energy toward electing people to Congress and local and state governments who have the opportunity to restrain whichever candidate is elected as needed.“  
  4. Here Is The Powerful Letter The Stanford Victim Read Aloud To Her Attacker (Katie J.M. Baker, Buzzfeed): many of you have seen this. If not, it’s worth reading. Powerful and insightful.
    • In relation to this case, an anonymous alumna contacted me recently to say: “I’m frustrated [that people] are not making an effort or recognizing the role that alcohol and the culture surrounding the whole situation had. What they’re calling for is greater punishment on college kids who commit sexual assault but I think that kinda misses a huge point. They refuse to recognize the sin in being ok with college drinking and the whole frat party thing.” I replied with a suggestion that she read something I shared way back in issue 25 titled Alcohol, Blackouts, and Campus Sexual Assault, which I still believe is the most thoughtful secular analysis I’ve read of the issue.
    • Many people feel that to criticize the party scene is to exculpate rapists. That seems odd to me, because we recognize that when someone drives drunk they accept moral responsibility for any accidents they cause. Their inebriation is not a defense — it is an admission of culpability. And we also recognize the principle does not flow in both directions — if you stab me while I am drunk, the fact that I am drunk does not provide you with any excuse. The same principle holds here: Brock Turner’s drunkenness is no defense and the victim’s drunkenness is no justification. Furthermore, our convictions about drunk driving hint at a broader principle: drunkenness is a sin because over time it predictably leads to deplorable outcomes. This means that Brock Turner is to blame — and so are the parts of campus culture which encourage drunkenness. The party scene is no excuse for Brock’s wickedness, but that does not make the party scene a virtuous one. 
    • In fact, the party scene on our campus abounds with sin even when it fails to make national news. The worst sin that night (that we know of) was the sexual assault committed by Brock Turner. But it was far from the only sin. There were numerous consensual nonmarital sexual encounters that night — each of them also sinful (although less so). There were many people drunk that night — they too sinned, every one of them. There was arrogant posturing, envy, lust, anger, lying, betrayal, gossip, slander and a whole host of sins exacerbated by alcohol and the social scenario. Our alumna’s instincts are correct — the system itself makes sin likely and it should not be embraced by Christians.
    • In case you stumbled over the “worst sin/less sinful” judgments I made, you should read All Sins Are Not Equal (J.I. Packer, Christianity Today).
    • Thank you for your patience. I rarely add lengthy editorial comments, but my words ran away with me today.
  5. My Life as a ‘Sex Object’ (Jessica Valenti, The Guardian): this is powerful, slightly vulgar piece. I am always intrigued by authors who embrace the sexual revolution and are dismayed by some of its manifestations.
  6. 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.

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.

[minor edit for clarity shortly after posting]

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 31

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

Without further ado, I give you the interesting things:

  1. Reading The Whole Bible in 2016: A FAQ (Gospel Coalition, Justin Taylor): How much time each day would it take you to read the entire Bible in a year? “There are about 775,000 words in the Bible. Divided by 365, that’s 2,123 words a day. The average person reads 200 to 250 words per minute. So 2,123 words/day divided by 225 words/minute equals 9.4 minutes a day.” This article is full of good advice for what could be the best commitment you make all year. Do it!
  2. I’m Thinking It Over (The American Conservative, Alan Jacobs): this is really good advice for social media. Bonus: it name-drops a legendary Stanford professor. Reading this article made me feel good about not sending this email out over Christmas break.  🙂
  3. Can You Glorify God As An Economist? (Christian Post, Napp Nazworth): tl;dr yes.
  4. Across The Race Divide (Gospel Coalition, Kevin DeYoung) — somewhat long but worthwhile. Difficult to excerpt in a way that won’t tempt you pigeonhole the piece.
  5. Can Hobby Lobby Buy The Bible? (The Atlantic, Joel Baden and Candida Moss): the framing is alarmist, some of the claims about textual criticism are dubious, but the article is quite engaging. The allegations of artifact smuggling seem mostly the byproduct of naivete to me and I hope they prove to be so. The authors are professors at Yale and Notre Dame.
  6. The Quixotic Adventures of Roy Moore (The Atlantic, Matt Ford) — I was most interested by the beginning of the fifth paragraph: “While that may be technically correct…”  Heh. I think the best journalism on this was actually done by The Montgomery Advertiser. It blew away the NY Times, NPR, etc by actually interviewing people with differing opinions. If you want the story, read Moore Targets Same-Sex Marriage (Brian Lyman, Montgomery Advertiser).
  7. Quick Links (shorter pieces):

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.

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 17

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

  1. Fear (Marilynne Robinson, NY Review Of Books): I don’t often find overtly theological pieces in the New York Review of Books, much less ones whose opening lines are, “America is a Christian country. This is true in a number of senses.” She’s gonna get some hate mail.
  2. Some things that made me chuckle:
  3. Why Do Good Universities Tend To Be Good At Everything? (Quora question): Short but insightful.
  4. What Stanford Taught Me About Grace (Seth Villegas, personal blog): Seth is an alumnus of our ministry who is currently doing grad work at Fuller Theological Seminary.
  5. Religion and the Republic (David Forte, Witherspoon Institute): the author (a law professor) explains the importance of religious speech in the public square. This seems like a good place to mention one of my favorite academic papers: The Missionary Roots of Liberal Democracy.
  6. From the I‑know-I-shared-this-last-week-but-want-to-share-it-with-the-new-students department: How To Stay Christian On Campus (David Mathis, Desiring God): I expected something very different than what I got. Recommended.

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.