Five for Friday: Sermons on Phonographs, Undeserving All-Stars, Online Quizzes

CHICAGO, IL (July 14, 2017) — Covenanters routinely share links to social media articles and videos 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.

When Gospel Sermons Came on the Phonograph

This article tells the fascinating story of how African American folk preachers started making three-minute recordings of life lessons in a call-and-response format in the 1920s. You can listen to several of these sermons on the website.

From the article: “While [they] may have perfected their preaching skills in Southern churches, they broadened their reach through phonographs records. From the mid-1920s well into the Depression, there were roughly 85 preachers whose hundreds of singing sermons were recorded and heard throughout the black community nationwide via 78-rpm records.”

Cal Ripken Jr. is “the undisputed king of undeserving All-Stars.”

The All-Time Leaders in Undeserved All-Star Appearances

Be prepared to argue the call when the author says your favorite player of all time showed up in the All-Star lineup too many times—at least according to the numbers. This stat-heavy article also looks at who holds the record for playing in too few All-Star games when they actually deserved to go.

From the article: “But what would the All-Star Game look like if the stat geeks had full control over who played? Which players have consistently been voted into the All-Star Game despite weak stats? Are the rosters at least getting better over time?”


The Dark Side of That Personality Quiz You Just Took

Back in the 1970s, we were concerned about the possibility of corporations or government getting hold of our private information. Now, for the sheer enjoyment of taking personality quizzes, we answer questions to find out which Harry Potter character we most resemble and in the process voluntarily reveal all kinds of personal data. The article distinguishes between BuzzFeed-type quizzes and more in-depth personality tests such as Myers-Briggs. Regardless of your personality type, I challenge you to resist following the links in the story to articles about why many researchers now consider the Myers-Briggs a total sham.

From the article: “There are a lot of good reasons to worry about this technology. Imagine an advertising company that knows you’re self-conscious about your weight, so tries to sell you diet pills. Or—in a hypothetical that often comes up in this kind of discussion—imagine a political campaign that knows you’re prone to anxiety, so targets you with ads about the dangers of the Islamic State. ‘Big data companies already know your age, income, favorite cereal and when you last voted,’ notes a New York Times report…. ‘But the company that can perfect psychological targeting could offer far more potent tools: the ability to manipulate behavior by understanding how someone thinks and what he or she fears.’”

Why Poverty Is Skyrocketing in the Suburbs

The growing problem of poverty in suburban areas still remains largely hidden and unreported for a number of reasons explained in the article. Because the crisis is unknown, the way we view and cast social safety nets is impacted.

From the article: “In recent decades, the number of suburbanites living in poverty has increased at an alarming clip. In 1990, there were 9.5 million poor people living in America’s 100 largest cities, and 8.6 million poor people living in the suburbs of those cities. By 2014, there were 17 million poor people in the suburbs of the country’s 100 largest metro areas, and less than 13 million in the cities themselves. The average suburban poverty rate, meanwhile increased from 8.3 percent in 1990 to 12.2 percent in 2014.”

Amazon’s Prime Day Generates Estimated $1 Billion in Sales

Amazon’s Prime Day has become the biggest fake holiday of all.  The company sold about a billion dollars worth of products on Tuesday. Any idea what the top-selling item was? Here’s a hint: You can tell it what you want to order from Amazon.

From the article: “Amazon.com Inc. said its third annual Prime Day sales event was the biggest day ever for the e-commerce giant, with revenue surpassing traditional retailing blowouts like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.”

 

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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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