Five for Friday: The $11 Million Boy, Media Circus, Fitness Church

CHICAGO, IL (December 22, 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.

6-Year-Old Earns Millions Reviewing Toys on YouTube

Ryan – last name not released – asked his parents why couldn’t he have a YouTube channel like other kids, and a star was born. He has more than 10 million subscribers and earned $11 million in one year. So, in case you’re still now sure what to get the special boy or girl for Christmas, go to “Ryan ToysReview” on Facebook and watch him open a toy and play with it. Just like him, you’ll be saying, “Wow!”

From the article: “If a product gets 10 million, 20 millions views, and you see that Ryan loves it, or other kids love it, it has a huge impact at retail,” Jim Silver, CEO of the review site Toys, Tots, Pets, and More, told the Verge when Ryan was still 5 years old. “He’s really the youngest success that we’ve seen. Most of the time the kids were in the 6-plus range, just because of the vocabulary and the maturity to do a review.”

Media Circus: The Best Journalism of 2017

Journalists have received some – mostly but not entirely – undeserved scathing derision in the past few years, but these pieces from Sports Illustrated writer Richard Deitsch are stellar. So, if you’re looking for some extra reading that will depress, infuriate, inspire, and embolden over the next several weeks, this is the place to start.

From the article: “As I wrote in this space last year, choosing the best writing and reporting in a given year is an impossible task, as well as an entirely subjective enterprise. Below, are 130 or so pieces that impacted me as a reader, but I honestly could have chosen hundreds more.”

 A Mind-Bending Translation of the New Testament

This is an insightful review of theologian David Bentley Hart’s The New Testament: A Translation, in which the author aimed to “produce an almost pitilessly literal translation” of scripture, which means, in part, that he didn’t try to enhance the text with any literary flourish. He explains, “Where an author has written bad Greek … I have written bad English.”

From the article: “Like G. K. Chesterton, [Hart] has one essential argument: that God is the foundation of our being and that every human life therefore has its beginning and its end in eternity. He rehearses this argument in numberless witty variations against whichever non-God ideology happens to slouch beneath his pen: materialism, scientism, consumerism, pornographism … And he can sound a Chestertonian note. ‘My chief purpose,’ he wrote in 2013’s The Experience of God, ‘is not to advise atheists on what I think they should believe; I want merely to make sure that they have a clear concept of what it is they claim not to believe.’ ”

The Consumerist Church of Fitness

There was a time when the ideal church was described as a place like “Cheers,” a bar where everybody knows your name because you were always welcome even though all your foibles were easily seen. That still seems to be a better similitude than the fitness center. But this article does have points the church should heed. It’s a pretty good bet, though, that gyms will see a greater rise in attendance than will churches after Christmas – at least for the first six weeks.

From the article: “As more Americans have moved away from organized religion (a 2015 Pew Center study found that 23 percent of the adult population identified as ‘religiously unaffiliated,’ up from 16 percent in 2007) they have also moved toward new forms of community building, as well as new ways to seek mental clarity and spiritual experiences. The gym is a popular avenue for this kind of searching, in part because it mimics the form of traditional religious services.”

For the Good of Society – Delete Your Map App

Those map apps that are useful in steering you to the fastest route to your destination are creating traffic hazards and leading to accidents in once quiet neighborhoods.

From the article: “My favorite coalition of grumps have been the residents of Takoma Park, Maryland, who actually spent time falsifying accident reports to Waze in order to prompt the algorithm to shift the route elsewhere. But all of the actions, either infrastructure changes performed by the city or hacks by community groups, have the same intended purpose: ‘I will make driving through our neighborhoods more difficult, so you will not use the street,’ says Jeff Ban, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Wisconsin.”


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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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