Five for Friday: The Joy of Fear, Lonely Theologians, Sears and Jim Crow

CHICAGO, IL (October 19, 2018) – 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.

Why Is It Fun to Be Frightened?

Being scared to death apparently has health benefits. That’s the conclusion reached by researchers who studied the brain waves of visitors to a haunted house. They also discovered that the brain activity after going through a haunted hause is similar to that experienced by people who have practiced mindfulness meditation.

From the article: “Guests reported significantly higher mood, and felt less anxious and tired, directly after their trip through the haunted attraction. The more terrifying the better: Feeling happy afterward was related to rating the experience as highly intense and scary. This set of volunteers also reported feeling that they’d challenged their personal fears and learned about themselves.”

The Loneliness of the Pastor-Theologian

The authors of this article make important points as to why pastors need ongoing deeper theological study, work that can be easily crowded out by other more immediate demands on their time.

From the article: “It’s no wonder that so many pastors who feel the tug of theological reflection abandon it after a few months or a few years in the pastorate…. The place to begin is to remind ourselves why we believe theology is not just a nerdy pastime but crucial for our ministries. At a practical level, pastor-theologians know better than most that the urgent demands of ministry are precisely when theological reflection is most needed.”

Rick Stein Obituary

You think you know someone. This is what an obituary looks like when no one seems to be sure whether the person has really died and every family member, as well as friends, has a completely different understanding of his occupation. Did Rick Stein write columns for ESPN, work as a trail guide in Rocky Mountain National Park, or as a gourmet chef, or none of the above?

From the article: “In fact, the only person who might be able to answer the question, who is the real Rick Stein, is his wife and constant companion for the past 14 years, Susan Stein. Detectives say they were unable to interview Mrs. Stein; however, neighbors say they witnessed her leaving the home the couple shared wearing dark sunglasses and a fedora, loading multiple suitcases into her car. FAA records show she purchased a pair of one-way tickets to Rome which was Mr. Stein’s favorite city.”

How Sears Catalogs Subverted Jim Crow Racial Hierarchy

After Sears declared bankruptcy this week, this article points to the period in the department store’s history when it helped to subvert a cruel systemic injustice in the country.

From the article: “But even more important, the catalogue format allowed for anonymity, ensuring that black and white customers would be treated the same way. This gives African Americans in the Southeast some degree of autonomy, some degree of secrecy….Now they can buy the same thing that anybody else can buy. And all they have to do is order it from this catalogue. They don’t have to deal with racist merchants in town and those types of things.’”

High Tech Blinkers for Humans

Panasonic is crowd-sourcing the production of new office wear designed to help you focus. (Is it a coincidence that the only time people in the video smile is after they take the blinkers off?) The Verge editors explain why they refer to the device as blinkers: “The metaphor we’re going for here is the equipment used to restrict a horse’s vision, so we’re using the correct terminology, as recommended by the Kentucky Derby.”

From the article: “The Wear Space certainly has a dystopian vibe. It looks like a high-tech version of the ‘wings’ (or bonnets) worn by characters in the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale. In the book, these are designed to hide the wearer from view but also limit their ability to perceive their surroundings, smothering any feelings of independence or freedom.”



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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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