The first reading list of Lent begins with Kathryn Jean Lopez at the National Review interviewing Ulrich L Lehner on his new book, God Is Not Nice: Rejecting Pop Culture Theology and Discovering the God Worth Living For.
Lehner explains the title of his book thus: ‘Nice is an adjective that describes some vague and superficial pleasantness. If God exists, he is goodness, beauty, and truth — but not “nice”.’
Lehner continues: ‘We expect God to fulfil our needs, but we do not want to integrate ourselves into his kingdom.’
Surely, for the Christian readers at TCW, the question for Lent should be how can we better integrate ourselves into God’s kingdom? By spending less time on Twitter, I hear you reply.
The second item on the reading list is a long read at City Journal by Amity Shlaes on economics. Shlaes states, in Growth, Not Equality, American history shows that expanding the economy benefits everyone.
This piece also explains how FDR’s New Deal probably prolonged the Great Depression instead of ending it, contrary to popular belief.
Finally, there is a fantastic piece in the liberal The Atlantic, asking why there are fewer women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) in more gender-equal societies? (If having women in STEM is a big concern – which some people seem to think it is.)
In this beautiful piece, we are told it is not lack of aptitude that holds women back from STEM in the famous Nordic equality paradises of Sweden et al, but their welfare state. Granted, this is a simplistic take on the issue, but we are told that while women are often just as good at sciences as the boys, they are often much better at reading (the arts). Therefore, they have a choice to follow their passions, and if because of the welfare state one does not have to worry so much about making mega-bucks, the arts can trump science for the girls.
Boys, by contrast, having weaker reading skills and therefore fewer choices, must pursue STEM. I also think they want to make more money – not for themselves, mind – but to attract women who are attracted to resource-rich men. That’s just my view, of course.
The piece ends: ‘Then again, it could just be that, feeling financially secure and on equal footing with men, some women will always choose to follow their passions, rather than whatever labour economists (or feminists, my addition) recommend. And those passions don’t always lie within science.’