Five for Friday: Dangerous Straws, Papal Audience in Space, Barth’s Adultery

Brightly colored straws thrown around on a table. Some of them are showing the lower side of the tube, with only a few of the flexible heads visible. The colors range from blue to red tones.

CHICAGO, IL (October 27, 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.

Consider the Plastic Straw: Why Do We Suck So Much?

The next time you order a drink at a restaurant, tell them to hold the straw.

From the article: “Dear good person: Straws are not recyclable. They will sit, defiantly undecomposed, in landfills. They will float out into the clear blue sea. They will end up in a viral YouTube video, lodged in the bloody nostril of an endangered sea turtle. So goes the message of a burgeoning movement that makes a specific, surprisingly bold request: Please stop using disposable plastic straws.”

Initiative Builds Relationships Among Church Members

A dying church has grown in numbers and deepened community as members took the risk of getting to know each other.

From the article: “Inspired by the Christian directive to go out in pairs, the church launched the Kuhnekt Initiative in June 2016. The Grove formed twosomes by picking the names of church members out of a bowl. If husbands and wives were paired by chance, their names were thrown back in and matched with someone new.

Pope Discusses Life’s Biggest Questions with International Space Station Crew

This proves once again that sometimes you just need to get away to get a fresh perspective.

From the article: “Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli, 60, admitted that despite the bird’s eye view of Earth from the ISS, he too remained ‘perplexed’ about a human’s place in the world, while American Mark Vande Hei said seeing the planet from space made them ‘realise how fragile we are.’ ”

What to Make of Karl Barth’s Adultery?

History is filled with theologians who didn’t live up to what they profess, but does that mean their ideas were wrong? It’s more than a philosophical question. For those who admired them, it can be an existential crisis.

From the article: “Again, my concern is not simply that Barth was a sinner and that his sin was an extramarital affair. Many fine people do stupid things in life. It’s that he justified the affair on the very grounds that substantially contradict his theological project as well as his theological method. And did so year after year after year. What was I to make of his theology now? And could I in good conscience continue to recommend Barth to others if he himself could not follow his own theological path?”

The New IQ: Imagination Quotient

Scientists are studying whether there is a way to quantify a person’s ability to imagine as well as whether it is possible to aid people in becoming more imaginative.

From the article: “Researcher Jonathan Schooler believes that daydreaming on the job makes for more productive workers. ‘We are hopeful that encouraging people to take time out of their day to daydream about interesting or bizarre thoughts may help to prime the creative well.’”

(A note to my boss—the next time you walk by and see me leaning back in my chair with my eyes closed, just know I’m hard at work.)

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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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