Worth Reading - 9/1

It might strike you as bizarre that the government spends billions on nutrition and housing programs for the poor while simultaneously encouraging poor people to move their own money away from these necessities and toward the state’s gambling monopoly. In fact, that $70 billion in annual lottery revenues is strikingly close to what the government spends on food stamps. Is there any set of policies more contradictory than pushing lotto tickets on poor people, and then signing them up for welfare programs that make them financially dependent on the government?

Politicians who profess a desire to alleviate poverty often lament how few levers they have to pull. So here’s a novel idea: Stop selling poor people a mirage of the American dream at the end of a convenience-store line.

2. Tim Challies published an interesting post on changes in reading in our digital age:

The latest casualty of our digital technologies is reading. Many people have expressed how there was once a time when they loved to read, but today they find it grueling. There was once a time reading came easy, but now it seems to be hard. The difference, they say, is all these new technologies. So it must be technology’s fault, right?

Maybe. But I don’t think it’s quite that simple. Let me offer a few thoughts on the rise of digital technologies and the decline of reading.

3. From Bruce Ashford, an explanation of why Antifa is not good for our nation and should not be considered so.

“Antifa” (an-TEE-fah) is not an organization, but a loose coalition of independent groups of anti-fascists who devote their energies to monitoring fascists and racists, resisting them, and exposing them to their local communities.

Some antifa limit themselves to non-violent resistance, but many of them endorse violence. They pursue vigilante justice because they believe democratic politics and conventional law enforcement are either unwilling or unable to deal with the perceived threats posed by fascists and racists. “In the name of protecting the vulnerable,” political scientist Peter Beinart writes, “antifascists have granted themselves the authority to decide which Americans may publicly assemble and which may not.”

Once antifa have identified a group or an individual as racist or fascist, they often use physical force to oppose the group or individual. The emergence of left-wing violence should not be surprising. The late 1960’s and early 1970’s were an era of Left wing violence, including groups such as Weather Underground and the United Freedom Front. Similarly, in the 1980s, leftist extremists committed the vast majority of all acts of terrorism in the United States.

4. From the Radical blog, a very good post on having confidence in past decisions, even when we end up in a much different spot than we intended:

We may have ended up somewhere way longer than we ever thought we would, or the path to where we thought we were headed may have forked (dramatically) in another direction. If we’re in the middle of a messy struggle, we may think, Did I mess this up? But the thing is, right where you sit today reading this, God sees your every breath. You can proclaim Him right where you are, just like Paul did, whether you’re floating on a piece of a wrecked ship or you’re on trial for something you didn’t do. You can proclaim him for those two years you end up in Rome, even if that’s not where you ever meant to be.

God’s mission for Paul’s life was so much bigger than a map.

The fact that Paul’s call to Jerusalem took him in a different direction than Jerusalem wasn’t outside of God’s sovereignty. And it doesn’t necessarily mean Paul misheard God—it just means God had a much bigger design at play than getting Paul from point A to point B.

This is the same God who directs your life. So don’t let the detours wreck your faith.

Simply let them put different people in your path. And let God show you a whole different glimpse of who He is.

5. David Whitlock, President of Oklahoma Baptist University, delivered an important convocation address on working to overcome racism in that institution: