Five for Friday: Lynching Survivor, Religious Surfing, Shaming Mom Shamers

CHICAGO, IL (July 28, 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.

Surviving a Lynching

The article tells the story of James Cameron, who would appeared with two other men in the most iconic photo of lynching in America had it not been for a voice from the crowd telling the mob to stop. In some places the words and images in this article are very graphic. The infamous incident happened in Marion, Indiana, where Covenant minister Andrew Morrell is planting an intentionally multiethnic congregation, Real Community Covenant Church.

From the article: “It was Beitler’s photograph that inspired Abel Meeropol to write his anti-lynching poem ‘Strange Fruit’ in 1936, which Billie Holiday would later record and make famous. Just last month, a decade-old mural adaptation of the photograph in Elgin, Illinois, which features only the faces of the white participants, came under public scrutiny as people discovered the image’s origin.”

Billy Graham in Duisburg, Summer 1954

A Short History of the Altar Call

Altar calls have become a fundamental part of revivals, church services, and retreats since they were first employed in the late 1700s and then gained widespread use in the mid-1800s during the Second Great Awakening. Famous preachers from Charles Finney to Billy Graham made them the ultimate focal point of their meetings. But are they biblical?

From the article: “There’s nothing inherently wrong with doing an altar call, to be sure. In your church, it may make sense as a way to focus nonbelievers on their need to receive God’s offer of forgiveness.…But practices like the altar call should be scrutinized to make sure they are not introducing bad assumptions or bad theology into the church.”

Stay-at-Home Shuts Down Mom Shamers

An imperfectly great mom got tired of sanctimonious people judging her and other mothers who stay at home and raise their kids in all the “wrong” ways. She took them to task on Facebook. Many mothers responded with effusive gratitude. Others condemned her.

From the article: “A recent study shows that 48% of mothers feel judged by strangers in their community, while only 24% of fathers report the same feeling. That’s probably why a recent Facebook post by blogger/stay-at-home mom Karen Johnson has over 700,000 Likes.”

Is Surfing More Sport or Religion?

Calvinists once banned surfing because it was frivolous, but surfing friends of mine say that catching a wave can be a “spiritual” experience. Apparently, lots of other surfers feel the same way, but not everyone is ready to go that far.

From the article: “Scientists are still learning why people say they feel increased amounts of unity, reverence, and happiness in the water. But if you look at the scientific recipe for flow states—the psychological term for when people are fully and pleasantly absorbed in what they’re doing—being in water checks a lot of the boxes. First, you’re removing a lot of distractions: buzzing cell phones, traffic, written language, and even the need for language, period. Second, you get many of the perks of solitude without the side effects of pain and loneliness.”

RFID chip

Plan to Implant RFID Chips in Employees Raises Concerns

The Wisconsin vending machine technology company Three Square Market announced that it would implant RFID chips into employees’ hands. The chips enable staff to unlock doors, purchase vending machine items, and log into their computers, as well as other activities, simply by waving their hands. The chips eliminate the need to remember passwords or carry security cards. The company stresses the program is voluntary, but privacy rights advocates are alarmed at what could happen if the practice spreads. There is voluntary and then there is pressured “voluntary” participation.

From the article: “Do you want someone to know every time you enter or leave a room? There’s a degree of autonomy that’s lost with this person to person, one-to-one tracking. You can never leave it behind. You can’t really turn it off.”


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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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  1. I remember some authors imagining the book of Revelation’s “mark of the beast” to be an implanted RFID chip.

    1. Thank you for the overdue article on Marion, IN, lynching survivor. Even the idea of lynching makes me viscerally sick. I could not go into the “History of Lynching” display at the King Museum the first time I went on Sankofa. After all James Cameron was a victim of, his courage to invest in life is an enormous witness to him and the power of God. “We stand on his shoulders.”

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