Five for Friday: For the Love of Cardamom, Evil for Evil, Future of “Self-Made Man”

CHICAGO, IL (December 1, 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.

The Hidden History of Scandinavia’s Love of Cardamom

Nobody comes even close to eating as much of this spice as Scandinavians. Sweden consumes 18 times more cardamom per capita than the median country, while Norway consumes almost 30 times more per capita. What does it say about their past – and even more importantly – their future?

From the article: “Perhaps, he speculates, one of the reasons cardamom ingrained itself into Scandinavian food, while the rest of Europe moved on, was because the region, being on the fringes of the continent, clung to medieval food longer than the rest of Europe. ‘It can take a bit of time to change food, to change food traditions, to change taste,’ (Daniel Serra, a culinary archaeologist) says. ‘Even today, we are quite open to foreign food, but still you will notice that foreign food … is adapted to the food culture of where it comes to.’”

Clergy Warn Consumerism Has Overtaken Advent

Luxury Advent calendars? One minister noted the double irony. The focus of Advent is twofold. The first is to look back at when Jesus left behind his riches in glory and came in poverty. The second is looking forward to when God will come in judgment and hold people responsible for their greed and selfishness. The calendars, which promise the revelation of a new expensive gift each day, are more proof that we have lost sight of both understandings.

From the article: “Last month, hundreds of people queued outside Liberty to get their hands on the department store’s luxury beauty advent calendar…. Sold for £175, it includes 15 full sized products and 10 samples with a combined value of £500. Half the stock had sold out online before the store opened 8.30am, making it Liberty’s fastest selling and most successful product.”

After the Liberation of Mosul, an Orgy of Killing

This is a long, horrifying article that is almost unbearable to read at times because of the way it recounts the ruthless “liberation” of Mosul. The reality is as frightening as any movie about a world that has plunged into post-apocalyptic madness. So why recommend the article? When we talk about fighting the evil done by groups like ISIS, it is important to consider what we are replacing it with. If we are co-laborers with Christ in bringing about a kingdom of peace, we cannot be so blind as those who will not see.

From the article: “Locals, keen to exact revenge on those they held responsible for the miseries and destruction of the last three years, started denouncing not only members of Isis and their families who had tried to blend in with fleeing civilians, but also any man of fighting age who came from a different city, bore the marks of injury, or simply looked suspicious.”

Scientist Genetically Engineering Himself

Is Josiah Zayner a mad scientist working out of his home laboratory or sparking a revolution? The 36-year-old who has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and biophysics from the University of Chicago believes you can engineer a new you all by yourself. He has set out to prove it, in part, by experimenting on himself and giving new meaning to “self-made man.” Increasingly, scientists and amateur “bio-hackers” are paying attention even if the idea still seems farfetched.

From the article: “Zayner views genetics as the ultimate equalizer: He dreams that one day we will no longer be bound by the DNA we are born with, every person free to hack their own genome to augment their intelligence, change their eye color or even cure the diseases that ail them with the same ease as, say, building a Squarespace website.”

A Toast to a Small Morning Pleasure

Sure it may sound silly in this digital, cynical age, but for those of us who are of a certain age, reading the morning newspaper can be a sublime experience. Some rituals should never go away.

From the article: “Those of a certain age, 40 and up, tell me they prefer the rattle of newsprint and the feel of history against their flesh. It is ritual. It is sacred.”

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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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