Five for Friday: Healthy Dirt, LEGO Conquers World, Mythical Robert E. Lee

CHICAGO, IL (June 9, 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.

Dirt Has a Microbiome that Could Save Your Life

Sometimes when we try to protect ourselves, we make matters worse. So maybe it’s time to stop telling your kids to stop playing in the dirt. This week the New York Times also discussed the same general topic from inside the house in an article asking, “Are Pets the New Probiotic?” 

From the article: “No one would blame you for not wanting your body to be infested with creatures from your garden. But maybe you should rethink your position. Your garden has its own microbiome, and research suggests it’s good for you. Our health depends on the flourishing microbiome in our guts—and on how much of the natural world’s microbiome we let infiltrate.”

LEGO: The World’s Most Powerful Brand

In 2003, the iconic company was $800 million in debt and its death seemed a certainty. Then they made some difficult and creative decisions. In 2015, they sold $1 billion in product in the United States alone. Their revival has been called the greatest turnaround in history.

From the article: “Indeed, it has been called the Apple of toys: a profit-generating, design-driven miracle built around premium, intuitive, covetable hardware that fans can’t get enough of. Last year Lego sold 75bn bricks. Lego people—‘Minifigures’—the 4cm-tall yellow characters with dotty eyes, permanent grins, hooks for hands and pegs for legs—outnumber humans.”

The Myth of the Kindly General Robert E. Lee

General Robert E. Lee often has long been portrayed as an honorable man of Christian faith who personally abhorred slavery and was a military genius. But that isn’t close to the truth, says writer Adam Serwer, who wrote a follow-up response to a critique of the original piece.

From the article: “The strangest part about the continued personality cult of Robert E. Lee is how few of the qualities his admirers profess to see in him he actually possessed.… White supremacy does not ‘violate’ Lee’s ‘most fundamental convictions.’ White supremacy was one of Lee’s most fundamental convictions. He wrote of slavery in a letter that, ‘I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically.’”

The Giant Ark Is Just the Beginning

The creators of the $120 million Ark Encounter have even bigger plans to share their beliefs in a literal interpretation of Scripture. According to them, the Ark already is on track to attract one million people by the end of summer.

From the article: “The 65-year-old Australian and his partners, Mike Zovath and Mark Looy, have launched an ambitious 10-to-12-year plan to re-create a walled city from the time of Noah and a 1st-century village from the time of Jesus. Also, a Tower of Babel, concept snack shacks, a 3,200-seat amphitheater and a 10-plagues-of-Egypt thrill ride.”

The Horrors of Getting Hit by a Pitch

Sports provide a wealth of life lessons. This article is for any enthusiast, as well as any parent, writer, or preacher looking for a good illustration. (It’s also just a fun read.) Did you know hitters
have all of 0.28 seconds to decide whether they are going to swing or get out of the way?

From the article: “To me, the hit-by-pitch epitomizes the game of baseball,” Padres catcher John Baker said. “The hit batsman, and the game, is all about, How much can you handle? How much pain can you handle? How much failure can you handle? How much embarrassment and fear can you handle? Those that handle it best are the ones that play the game for a long time.”


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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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