Five for Friday: Cash’s Darkness, Diagnosing Mona Lisa, Religious Romance Novels

CHICAGO, IL (September 14, 2018) – 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.

Johnny Cash Saw Our Darkness

Wednesday was the fifteenth anniversary of Johnny Cash’s death. Throughout his life and career, the man in black wrestled with Jesus and the devil. Those battles took their toll, but the man came around to sing us his songs and show us to ourselves. Be sure to watch the video of “Hurt,” which has been called the “saddest music video ever made” and at the same time, “a hopeful statement of faith and mortality.” Trent Reznor, who wrote and recorded the song with his industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, says he wept the first time saw it.

From the article: “Cash as a creative artist had recovered his muse. Tragic stories of the national experience and doleful longings for Christian salvation energized him; it was on these that his particular talents shone. … The assemblage of religious songs from varied sources presented a somber Christianity that, woven together with the secular songs, gave deeper meaning to both.”

Let Your Unread Tabs Pile Up

Enough with all the sanctimony about needing to close out those 20-plus tabs across the top of your browser. There is no need to feel ashamed!

From the article: “My browser is the virtual equivalent of a room stacked ceiling-high with precarious piles, arranged in a system only I understand. In the process of writing this piece, I added a dozen tabs to my already substantial collection of ongoing “for later” tabs (in the main window, that is). Whenever I sit down to have a tab-reading or -clearing moment, I inevitably open five more. And just as I struggle to walk out of movies I don’t like, I struggle to close articles I haven’t finished.”

Physician Says He Knows What’s Ailing Mona Lisa

Artists and scholars have long tried to unravel the mysteries of Mona Lisa’s smile. Boston physician Mandeep R. Mehra says he’s no artist, but he does know a thing or two about medicine. That has led him to diagnose Mona Lisa.

From the article: “‘So, I’m basically looking at a receding hairline, loss of eyebrows, a swelling in the neck, coarse, thin hair,’ he says. Then there’s the xanthalesma and the lipoma or xanthoma. “And I’m looking at a slightly edematous, swollen woman with no hair throughout. That, to me is a classic picture of ….”

Reinventing Religion with Romance Novels

Sure, the idea might lead you to roll your eyes. But the woman who created a new podcast called “Hot and Bothered” argues romance novels can be sacred texts. “For something to be sacred,” she says, “it has to teach you to be better at loving.”

From the article: “The show encourages listeners to write their own romance novels as a sacred practice. ‘This will be a place where people can think out loud about what love is. Romantic love or friendship or hospitality — whatever. It will be a place of imagination, and I think that is a virtuous thing,’ …”

The Cuddly, Cutthroat Battle to Walk Your Dog

Two startup companies worth several hundred million dollars each are fighting for the right to walk and board your dog. It’s getting ugly.

From the article: “Wag is often referred to as ‘Uber for dogs,’ since it assigns on-demand walkers and sitters, similar to the way Uber’s algorithm assigns drivers. … Rover has earned the nickname ‘DogBnb,’ as users can sift through hundreds of available workers who set their own prices. Wag and Rover are fighting each other for dominance while simultaneously embroiled in a different, messier kind of feud — one with pet owners themselves. Plenty of users praise the startups for their convenience, but many are also speaking out with allegations of negligence and empty guarantees.”

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About the Author

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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