Five for Friday: Ash Wednesday Selfies, Losing Your Religion, and Outrageous Demand

CHICAGO, IL (April 11, 2014 ) — Many Covenanters routinely share links to social media articles and videos with one another that Covenant News Service believes may be of interest to others. Each Friday we post five of them. Following is a sample of those submissions—their inclusion does not represent an endorsement of any views expressed.

Begin at the Ground Up to Reach Young People

I like creativity and humor as much as the next person, but “Ash Wednesday” selfies? (I pray I never have to write or speak the word selfie ever again). What makes the idea even more astonishing is that it came from a Roman Catholic priest. Perhaps, through his website and TV show, Dwyer is just channeling Mike Yaconelli and the Wittenburg Door.

Why Are Scientists Trying to Map Every Single Neuron in the Brain?

0411 five for friday cool brain photoThe new website Vox.com seeks to offer readers a new explanatory style of journalism. This excellent piece focuses on what might seem to some a quixotic task. The author writes, “The ultimate goal is to chart the locations of the roughly 85 billion neurons in the brain, their roughly 100 trillion connections, and how they all function.” The biblical writers looked to the heavens, earth, and sea as signs of God’s glory. How much more awed might they be today.

The Web Can Make You Lose Your Religion

Well, maybe. The CNET technology website published this story about a study in an MIT journal, in which a computer scientist writes, “Internet use decreases the chance of religious affiliation.” The criteria and cause-effect link may be questionable, but the reflection by the CNET writer is unusual in a magazine that generally doesn’t consider loftier questions while focusing on operating systems, apps, and gadgetry.

Three Tips on Being a Friend of Sinners

You may not agree with the particulars of his views, but Jonathan Parnell offers a well-reasoned article on how the church can serve the world while not giving into pressure to be part of it—pressure that sometimes feels like it is getting stronger every day.

The Culture of Shut Up

Getting stronger every day is a culture that now seems more interested in voicing moral outrage than listening to one another. The church has been every bit as guilty as any place else. In the Covenant where we are “companions of all who fear thee” it’s especially egregious when we assault another’s views because of differing opinions. Recent discussions among Covenanters on Facebook about a hot topic showed it’s possible to have a respectful exchange, but that’s not always the case.

There’s certainly scriptural precedent, however, for telling others to keep quiet. As we prepare next week to celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus, may we be reminded that it was the Pharisees who told Jesus to command his disciples to shut up.

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