Five for Friday: Kosher Brillo Pads, Dissing the Enneagram, Beauty and Evolution

Photo credit: Dan Pancamo/flickr

CHICAGO, IL (January 18, 2019) – 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.

How Beauty Is Making Scientists Rethink Evolution

Scientists always hypothesize, consider, test, reconsider—it’s how science works. What we all can know and proclaim is, “How marvelous are the works of the Lord!” We behold that God loves beauty. We are grateful and filled with wonder.

From the article: “If there is a universal truth about beauty—some concise and elegant concept that encompasses every variety of charm and grace in existence—we do not yet understand enough about nature to articulate it.…Beauty is the world’s answer to the audacity of a flower. It is the way a bee spills across the lip of a yawning buttercup; it is the care with which a satin bowerbird selects a hibiscus bloom; it is the impulse to recreate water lilies with oil and canvas; it is the need to place roses on a grave.”

Declining Religious Practice Is Bad for Disaster Recovery

In the wake of disaster, faith-based organizations generally are the first to respond with funds and on-site volunteers. They also traditionally have been the organizations that stick around for the long-term recovery. But the decline in religious practice in society has meant a decline in giving and fewer people available to offer assistance.

From the article: “Local faith communities have such an important role that no other disaster relief organization can play. They have established relationships and networks, and they know who is most vulnerable,” said Jamie Aten, executive director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College.

Why Brillo Pads and a Million Other Things Are Kosher

Most people think that only food items prepared a certain way can be certified as kosher, but the certification is applied to a range of everyday products, from Brillo pads to clocks.

From the article: “Even most kosher-keepers rarely notice kosher symbols on sponges, dishwasher soap and the like, according to (rabbi Jason) Miller. ‘Mainstream America comes in contact with so many products like a Brillo box on a daily basisand simply overlooks this small symbol on the box,’ he said. When Miller points kosher symbols out to non-Jews, some guess they are trademarks, while others suspect the symbols have to do with the government.”

Sorry, but the Enneagram Won’t Solve Our Collective Problems

When someone asks, “What’s your type?” these days, they’re most likely referencing the Enneagram, the self-knowledge tool that has exponentially increased in popularity in the past decade. In the Covenant, anyone seeking ordination takes the test, and many teams at Covenant Offices have taken it. But I don’t know anyone who thinks the Enneagram is a tool for establishing social justice or is the panacea to our community ills.

From the article: “I find the Enneagram helpful as any tool for self-knowledge is helpful, but self-knowledge can only go so far. The way in which we use the Enneagram fails because we don’t simply need better tools to work on ourselves, we need ways to collectively work together. Self-knowledge is no substitute for collective action.”

Newly Released Inmates Matched with Welcoming Hosts

A California nonprofit has started a pilot program in which it pays homeowners and renters who agree to rent a room to a returning citizen. One aim ofthe Homecoming Project is to help break down fear and stigma of people who have been incarcerated while also helping them to re-enter society successfully.

From the article: “‘We take a hard look at people’s pasts,’” says the program’s coordinator, Terah Lawyer, who, as a formerly incarcerated woman, knows about the challenges of transitioning back home. ‘We have to look at their past as an indicator of what they’ve become over time. And most of our hosts are familiar with redemption and change and want to be a part of helping be the stepping stone for someone’s second chance.’”

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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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