Five for Friday: Wheaton Controversy, Star Wars Church, Christmas Tree Fight

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CHICAGO, IL (December 18, 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.

Wheaton Suspends Hijab-Wearing Professor After ‘Same God’ Comment

Former Companion features editor Bob Smietana writes one of the more balanced news pieces on a situation that has proved highly controversial. Across the Internet, people are voicing a myriad of opinions about Wheaton’s suspension of Larycia Alaine Hawkins. Here are three (which obviously makes this more than a Five for Friday): This 2011 article by Miroslav Volf was quoted by Hawkins. Scot McKnight, a former professor at North Park University, disagreed with Volf in this article.

Covenanter Chris Gehrz, professor of history and chair of the Department of History at Bethel University, has written extensively about Pietism and the role of higher education. In this post, he models the irenic approach espoused by the denomination’s founders.

Hopefully, this situation can be redeemed through honest conversation and doesn’t go the way of labeling those we disagree with as bigots or capitulators to political correctness, or people who don’t believe the Bible.

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The Spiritual Life of the Long-Distance Runner

People who run several hundred mile or even 3,100-mile races are in it for more than the spiritual high.

From the article: “Faced with a string of these superficial decisions, many people become introspective. They begin to question whether their lives are meaningful. At the same time, they sense that meaningfulness comes from the margins of human experience—that it flowers during times of great joy, pain, frustration, or hardship. For this reason, even those who are privileged feel compelled to court new challenges. Some of us decide on a month without alcohol, or undertake an act of charity, or set out on a ten-kilometer run. Ashprihanal Aalto, Trishul Cherns, and Michael Bielik pursue meaningfulness in a different way: by running, running, and running some more.”

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Ugly War Between Fake Christmas Tree Makers and Real Tree Growers

That’s the Christmas spirit!

From the article: “Artificial Christmas trees are bad, the National Christmas Tree Association says. They are flammable. They make you sick. They are terrible for the environment.”

And then, “Natural Christmas trees are bad, the American Christmas Tree Association says. They are flammable. They make you sick. And they are terrible for the environment.”

ccs-home-featureMorristown Church Plans Star Wars Christmas Service

Sure, there is contextualizing the gospel and there is, well, this…. Far, far away from what the Apostle Paul meant in 1 Corinthians 9:20.

From the article: “Liquid’s ‘Cosmic Christmas’ services began last Sunday and will conclude on Christmas Eve with a live Star Wars Nativity Scene. Guests will be invited to line up for their opportunity to wield a light saber and join the Nativity with Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and R2D2.”

Referencing the Book of Revelation and its connection to the Christmas story, pastor Kenny Jahng said, “There is a story about an epic battle of good and evil and we will pull in the story from Star Wars and frame it from that perspective….We will use Star Wars characters on stage to tell the story. It’s family friendly and Bible based.”

Indaba Format Negotiations Key to Securing Climate Change Deal

Regardless of your perspective on the ultimate deal, the method by which so many countries were actually able to come to an agreement is an important one. Perhaps it could be used in our churches. This article explains not only what this method is but also how to do it.

From the article: “Traditionally, although with some inconsistent application, the South African model of consensus building is a transparent and credible process that provides a forum for all views, while vesting decision-making power in a limited group of leaders. So although only principal elders and headmen are at the table in an Indaba, the meeting is open to all. As a public gathering with no limitation, it is also a participatory event where everyone has a say and the community is consulted to get their views on decisions.”

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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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