Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 28

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. Paying, Praying It Forward (Houston Chronicle, Maggie Gordon): an inspiring story — also not very long. If you just want a boost as finals draw near, read this one and skip down to the quick links.
  2. San Bernadino Victim Was Upfront About Politics and Religion — With Farook Too (LA Times, Veronica Rocha): one of the shooting victims had been witnessing to one of the shooters in the days before the carnage. See some reflection on this issue at Another First Amendment Ghost: Did Debate With Evangelical Trigger Farook? (GetReligion, Terry Mattingly).
  3. Why The Pro‐Life Movement Opposes Violence (NY Times, Ross Douthat). “Given anti‐abortion premises, why is it not obviously reasonable to take up arms against abortion providers? Why isn’t the pro‐lifer who shoots an abortionist just like a man or woman who uses deadly force against a would‐be child murderer — a vigilante, yes, but also a heroic one?” See also Russell Moore for a more theological approach in Is Pro‐Life Rhetoric Deadly?
  4. Related to the stories that inspired the pieces in the two previous bullet points: How Many Mass Shootings Are There, Really? (NY Times, Mark Follman). It turns out that there’s not a commonly accepted way to quantify the data. I found this piece fascinating. Follman is the national affairs editor of Mother Jones.
  5. Who Influences Whom? Reflections on U.S. Government Outreach to Think Tanks (Brookings Institute, Jeremy Shapiro): this is an engaging peek behind the curtains at a world some of you will wind up entering.
  6. Why The Public Can’t Read The Press (The Atlantic, John Heltman): this piece is a bit long for my taste, but the subject is important. There’s a lot of good journalism you will never be given the chance to see.
  7. Quick Links:

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 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 26

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

On this half‐year mark, I give you the interesting things:

  1. Religious Liberty and Human Dignity: Tale Of Two Declarations (Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Kevin Hasson). This article from 2003 argues that religious freedom is the fundamental freedom. It starts slow as it lays a foundation, but picks up about halfway through.
  2. While you’re on Thanksgiving break, please register to vote if you have not already done so. 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. 🙂
  3. Some global perspective:
  4. More campus activism links: President Obama weighs in (really). See also A Crisis Our Universities Deserve (NY Times, Ross Douthat): this is a helpful big‐picture overview of the college scene. Also, Yale’s Activists Deserve Constructive Criticism (The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf).
  5. Are Non‐Religious Children Really More Altruistic? (Robert Woodberry) — this is probably the last thing I will post on this. I almost didn’t, but WOW what a smackdown. Woodberry is the author of that article I keep sharing about Christianity and democracy.
  6. Quick Links:

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 25

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

There’s a lot of heavy content in this one. Buckle your seatbelt. Without further ado, I give you the interesting things:

  1. Alcohol, Blackouts, and Campus Sexual Assault (Texas Monthly, Sarah Hepola): I think this is the most thoughtful secular piece I’ve read on the issue. “Consent and alcohol make tricky bedfellows. The reason I liked getting drunk was because it altered my consent: it changed what I would say yes to. Not just in the bedroom but in every room and corridor that led into the squinting light. Say yes to adventure, say yes to risk, say yes to karaoke and pool parties and arguments with men, say yes to a life without fear, even though such a life is never possible… We drink because it feels good. We drink because it makes us feel happy, safe, powerful. That it often makes us the opposite is one of alcohol’s dastardly tricks.”
  2. Fatal Flaws In That Religion And Generosity Study (The Stream, George Yancey). Yancey is a sociology prof. Related: Are Religious Kids Really Meaner Than Their Counterparts? by a social psychologist.
  3. Now for a ton of links related to the racial incidents and responses at Yale and Mizzou (which seem different to me but which happened in such close proximity that they are linked in the national dialog).
  4. In global news: On The Brink: Christianity Facing Middle East Purge Within Decade, Group Says (Fox News). Stories like this have led one lawmaker to introduce a bill to Prioritize Refugee Status For Christians Fleeing ISIS (The Hill). See also Islam Is A Religion Of Violence by Joel Miller, wherein he argues that the lack of Trinitarian doctrine corrupts the Muslim conception of God.
  5. Christian Belief Cost This Man His Job: (Wall Street Journal, Jason Riley): apparently the fire chief of Atlanta was fired because of something he said in a book he wrote. Note that this is an op‐ed, not a news story.
  6. Hating Queerness Without Hating The Queer (The Atlantic, Emma Green): basically an article‐length interaction with Albert Mohler’s book We Cannot Be Silent.
  7. Quick Links:

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 24

News News News 98/365In 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. I heard a moving Radiolab episode: Gray’s Donation. If you’ve never listened to Radiolab before, I highly recommend the episodes Colors and Oops. If you’re into podcasts, check out a list of thoughtful Christian podcasts I compiled a while back.
  2. ’A Tour of Burned Churches’ Explores Race, Resilience, and Religion in America (Huffington Post, Christopher Mathias): an interview with a podcaster about a series he did on the burning of black churches in America. I have not listened to the series, but the interview was good.
  3. Data about Adults Who Do Not Believe In God (Pew Forum) — one of the charts makes me think of a funny clip about atheism as white privilege [the whole thing is worth watching, but you can jump to the sound bite at 5:45]. There is a good summary of some of the takeaways at GetReligion. On a related note, there is a study in Current Biology: The Negative Association Between Religiousness and Children’s Altruism Across The World. The comments on reddit are interesting (more interesting to me than the study itself).
  4. A somewhat contrarian piece: Liberals Are Losing The Culture War (Molly Ball, The Atlantic). A semi‐response piece: This Isn’t A Culture War, It’s A War On Culture (The Federalist, David Harsanyi).
  5. File under sad: The State Department Turns Its Back on Syrian Christians and Other Non‐Muslim Refugees (National Review, Nina Shea)
  6. The story I alluded to in my sermon: How Prop 47 Helped One Man Keep His Job (KQED,  Sara Hossaini). This is an illustration of what justification involves — a legal decree that exempts you from penalties the law would otherwise apply (when I quote stuff in my sermon I try to remember to share it here).
  7. Quick Links:

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.

photo by:

Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 23

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. The Ultimate List of Birthday Freebies (Stanford Daily, Samantha Wong): This is, without a doubt, one of the most useful links I have ever shared with you. Not so much about broader societal issues — but you’ll want to read it nonetheless.
  2. The Anti‐Free Speech Movement at UCLA (The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf): I particularly liked this bit: “The college students fighting to limit free speech or to punish free expression are courting tremendous harms that would ultimately fall disproportionately on the least powerful, most marginalized groups of the present and future…. activists who say that they live in a system of white supremacy [should not] empower state administrators to police speech at their discretion!”  For much more, check out UCLA law prof Eugene Volokh’s comments on campus freedom of speech (some of which are quoted in the Friedersdorf article).
  3. Cash Strapped Missionaries Get A New Calling: Home (Wall Street Journal, Tamara Audi): this is sad. I encourage you to pray for and give to missionaries.
  4. Reframing The Debate About Payday Lending (the blog of the New York Fed): Fascinating. I’ve been critical of payday lenders in the past, but at least some of my misgivings appear to have been off the mark.
  5. A Black Legend Refuted (Catholic World Report): this is a review of Church of Spies: The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler. The review is from a biased source, but is the most detailed of the reviews I’ve seen. Kirkus Reviews, a secular source, also has good things to say about it as does First Things, which is in between the two ideologically. The book’s endorsements are impressive.
  6. Quick links:

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 22

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 weekends (usually Fridays but last night we had alumni over for homecoming and it turned into a five hour party, so this time Saturday) 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. Muslim Migrants, Meet Christian Gypsies (Jillian Melchior, Wall Street Journal): this is pretty beautiful.
  2. Moral Responsibility and Emotional Rejection of God (William Lane Craig): Craig, who we hosted on campus years ago, answers a tough question. I think it’s amusing how often he directs the reader to another one of his books, but I don’t guess he had an alternative if he wanted to keep his answer short enough to be readable.
  3. Hooking Up Is Easy To Do (Katie Van Syckle, NY Mag):  “I’ve come back to my alma mater because it sits at the crossroads of two major themes of modern‐day college sex: hookup culture, which seems as rampant as I remember it, and sexual assault… Lately, researchers have been making an obvious but controversial point: that these two trend lines are in fact related — that hooking up puts students at higher risk of having nonconsensual sex, and that there are elements of this culture… that are more complicated than ‘yes means yes.’”
  4. How Friendships Change In Adulthood (Julie Beck, The Atlantic): there’s a lot in this article. I was struck by the idea that friendships are either active, dormant, or commemorative.
  5. Joel Osteen: Would Jesus Christ Be A Good President? (David Wallis, New York Observer): the title is super‐click‐bait. It’s a short, interesting interview with Joel Osteen, pastor of the largest church in America.
  6. Treasures On Earth: How Religion Is Redistributing The World’s Wealth (Morgan Lee, Christianity Today): misleading title, interesting data.
  7. Quick Links:

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 21

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. How big of a deal do you have to be for POTUS to interview you? President Obama & Marilynne Robinson: A Conversation In Iowa (NY Review of Books). You might recall that Robinson is speaking at Stanford soon and also that I mentioned her essay “Fear” a few emails back.
  2. Wondering why people are fleeing Syria? Check out Syria’s War: A Five Minute History (a Vox video). This is really well‐done. 
  3. There is also violence erupting in Israel. Foreign Policy asks Can Anyone Prevent A Third Intifada?  Incidentally, if you wonder why people are skeptical of the way news concerning Israel is reported, take a look at Returning to the Copy Desk, Briefly (Kevin Williamson, National Review). It is a takedown of a NY Times article showing how much bias can creep into an apparently objective article (this is from the right critiquing the left — for counterexamples search for clips from the Daily Show). Bottom line: it’s really hard to find trustworthy news about Israel.
  4. Lying About Our Religion, and Other Problems With Polling (Religion Dispatches). There really is a problem developing with polling, which is bad news because we rely upon polling in our national life to tell us what the public thinks. Nate Silver is also worried about this — Polling Is Getting Harder, But It’s A Vital Check On Power (FiveThirtyEight).
    • An insightful observation from the “Lying About Our Religion” article: “In a democracy with hundreds of millions of people, how do you know what the public thinks and wants? How do you figure out what binds them together, besides an annual obligation to the IRS and a love of fireworks? In short: how do you know what the public is? Like many hard questions, these problems have been rendered largely invisible, in no small part because “The Public” and “The American People” are favorite fictional characters for politicians and journalists, who speak of them without a trace of precision. So let’s indulge in a quick reality check. The Super Bowl—that national spectacle that unites us around the flickering LCD hearth—had 115 million viewers in the United States last February; in other words, nearly two‐thirds of us weren’t watching it. The most‐viewed political spectacle of the year, the State of the Union address, draws around 10% of the population. Barack Obama won the 2012 presidential election with 62 million votes, meaning that fewer than 20% of us voted for him. The people have spoken…kind of.”
  5. Quick links:

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 20

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. From the Glen‐alluded‐to‐this‐in‐his‐sermon department:
  2. From the current events department
  3. From the all‐things‐sexual department:
  4. From the Stanford department: this Daily op‐ed caught my eye: Petition To Student Activities and Leadership to End Open Membership. There was a swift nuh‐uh from the administration. The petition itself is on change.org. For the record, Chi Alpha has no desire to exclude people from our ministry. I do, however, think that Stanford’s open membership policy needlessly abridges students’ constitutional right to freedom of association. As a private institution, Stanford is allowed to do that… but it is unwise to do so.

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 19

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. There was a shooting at a college in Oregon yesterday. There’s a religious angle to this story, but the details are still not clear.
  2. For completely different news, read Googling For God (NY Times, Seth Stephens‐Davidowitz): file under “interesting but not that surprising” (although I am surprised at the relative positions of questions 1 and 2  — I assumed they were swapped)
  3. Pope Francis and the Not‐Quite‐Secular West (NY Times, Ross Douthat): Secularism’s grip on America is weaker than it appears.
  4. Stop The Robot Apocalypse (Amia Srinivasan, London Review of Books): the title is misleading — this is an insightful critique of the effective altruism movement from the left.
  5. Huh. The Correlations Between Arts and Crafts and a Nobel Prize (Rosie Cima, Priceonomics).

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.