Five for Friday: Jean Vanier, the Sim Life, Life in Prison

CHICAGO, IL (March 13, 2015) — 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 by the Covenant of any views expressed.

Jean Vanier Wins 2015 Templeton Prize

Jean Vanier is the founder of L’Arche communities, described as “a revolutionary international network of communities 0315 five 4 friday vanier-headshotwhere people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together as peers.” L’Arche is best known to many Christians through the writings of the late Henri Nouwen, who wrote about his experience living in the community.

Vanier is a hero of mine, and his book Community and Growth has been one of the most influential in my life. I had the privilege of hearing him speak once at Jesus People USA Covenant Church in Chicago. Though he spoke in a large dining hall, his gentleness was palpable.

New Life for Dead Malls

According to the story, about 1,200 enclosed malls exist in the United States, and approximately one-third of them are dead or dying because developers rapidly overbuilt in the 20th century. One architect said the U.S. has twice as much square footage in shopping centers per capita as the rest of the world, and six times as much as countries in Europe. But increasingly mall spaces are being resurrected in ways that are beautiful and useful.

UN Expert Slams US as Only Nation to Sentence Kids to Life Without Parole

According to the article, “About 2,500 people in the United States are currently serving life sentences without the possibility of release for crimes they committed as children.”

The practice is banned under international laws, and the United Nations has said such sentencing violates the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Youth of color are more likely to be sentenced to life without parole than white offenders.

Sim Stephanie: When Your Sims Character Is So Painfully You

This is a brilliant broadcast by journalist Stephanie Foo, who created a character based on herself for the latest edition of The Sims, an artificial intelligence computer game in which players are able to control the amount of free will each character has.

0313 stephanie fooFrom the story: “Many of the players took away their Sims’ free will. Not really because ‘The Sims 3’ A.I. was bad—because it was so good. They saw themselves in their Sims and they didn’t want themselves to fail. I thought there was something incredibly dark about that.” Foo intended to let her Sim character retain her free will—but then she gave into the darkness. What she saw was way too enlightening.

The transcript is included with the broadcast, but listen to the audio version if you can.

The Power of Good Enough

This is great news for anyone who decides not to be the best they can be or buy the best product available.

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About the Author

Stan Friedman

Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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