Five for Friday: Sufjan Stevens, Fine Dining on “Waste-Fed Pig,” and Rethinking Urban Ministry

CHICAGO, IL (April 3, 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.

What ‘The Bachelor’ Didn’t Teach You About Farming
Based on a talk North Park University alum Tim King gave at a recent event focused on food and faith, this article says, “You don’t need to win ‘The Bachelor’ to have a relationship with a farmer.” King once oversaw multi-million campaigns around social justice issues and lobbied among the powerful on Capitol Hill, but he has now returned to his farming roots, writing, “I came to believe the kind of person I want to be and am called to be when I am eighty is better formed on the pastures of New Hampshire than halls of power in D.C.”

Five for Friday Sufjan StevensSufjan Stevens’ Album Proves He’s So Much More Than Incredible
I’ve never been a big fan of Sufjan Stevens. It is a condition that officially barred me from membership in the Cool Christians club, but after seeing the rave reviews his latest album is getting from seemingly every magazine and website that even remotely covers music—I’m going to have another listen. Apparently Stevens’s religious music must be considered not contemporary Christian music (which Stevens calls “didactic crap”) but “Christian art” in the vein of Bach or Beethoven or, perhaps most fittingly, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. This site includes videos of several songs, which I liked. Perhaps I can get a temporary membership in the club.

Waste Not, Want Not, Eat Up
Continuing the food theme, this story features WastED, a restaurant in New York whose menu consists of items most people would throw away. The author writes, “The menu tells the truth in the plainest terms. ‘Cured cuts of waste-fed pig’ are served with ‘reject carrot mustard, off-grade sweet potatoes, melba toast from yesterday’s oatmeal.’ ‘Dry-aged beef ends broth’ features ‘malt rootlets, mystery vegetables and peels’ and ‘cow corn crackers.’”

WastED is a “pop up” restaurant and will only be around for two weeks. I wonder what they’ll do with the leftovers.

Researchers: MRSA Superbug Killed by 1,100-Year-Old Remedy
Some medical researchers are talking with other researchers from various disciplines about how people fought infectious disease prior to antibiotics. The medical researchers turn to the medievalists for ideas on how to fight MRSA, the superbug that seems virtually unstoppable. Turns out the medievalists had a solution—a medicine dating back to “a pre-Magna Carta physician’s desk reference” called Bald’s Leechbook. Lab tests show a lot of promise. The recipe includes “just a bit of garlic, some onion or leek, copper, wine and oxgall—a florid name for cow’s bile.”

Death and Resurrection of the Urban Church
A church with a long history of serving the urban poor through food pantries, clothing ministries, and after-school programs has decided that their approach is counterproductive and dishonors the dignity of the people they are trying to help. So they jettisoned all of it and are now enabling the people of the community to help each other. The story might just make you rethink your church’s ministries.

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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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