Five for Friday: A Search for Kindness, Preaching at ‘The Bean,’ 533 New Words


CHICAGO, IL (September 27, 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.

One Woman’s 50-State Search for Kindness Delivers a Few PR Lessons

After the Sandy Hook massacre, Mary Latham told her mother it was yet another indication of how awful society had become, listing a litany of examples to prove her point. Her mother, who was dying of cancer at the time, told her there was still more good than bad in the world—but you had to look for it. When her mother died, Latham went on a 50-state search. What she found has been inspiring. According to her website, “More Good,” Latham plans to write a book about her adventures and donate copies to hospital waiting rooms.

From the article: “If it’s personal, it’s powerful. If it’s from the heart, it will move people. If there is a commitment to go the distance, budget won’t matter. If it’s real, perceptions will follow, and so will awareness. And if you can truly connect with one person, you can touch thousands.”

It’s Time for Black Athletes to Leave White Colleges

Black college athletes help overwhelmingly white-majority schools rake in billions of dollars, while historically black colleges and universities struggle to stay afloat. What would happen if all of those athletes decided to attend HCBUs instead?

From the article: “About 30 Division I schools each bring in at least $100 million in athletic revenue every year. Almost all of these schools are majority white—in fact, black men make up only 2.4 percent of the total undergraduate population of the 65 schools in the so-called Power Five athletic conferences. Yet black men make up 55 percent of the football players in those conferences, and 56 percent of basketball players.”


Opinion: Keep the Bean Forever Open, Clear and Free of Preachers and Protesters

The sculpture Cloud Gate—more conventionally known as The Bean—located in Millennium Park, is one of Chicago’s most popular tourist attractions. Recently, Wheaton College’s Chicago Evangelism Team was preaching and handing out tracts there when security guards told them park rules prohibited such activities in that space. The students sued, alleging that their rights to freedom of speech and religion were being violated. As is often the case, there is a lot more at stake than this particular lawsuit. Even if the students win in court, will their tactics help or hurt efforts to communicate the gospel?

From the article: “It’s a lot easier to get behind those expressing conventional, widely accepted views than it is to champion the rights of those whose utterances you find repellent.”

Bring Back Handwriting: It’s Good for Your Brain

Writing by hand is good for the brain—and the soul.

From the article: “Psychologists have long understood that personal, emotion-focused writing can help people recognize and come to terms with their feelings. Since the 1980s, studies have found that ‘the writing cure,’ which normally involves writing about one’s feelings every day for 15 to 30 minutes, can lead to measurable physical and mental health benefits….And there’s evidence that handwriting may better facilitate this form of therapy than typing.”


We Added New Words to the Dictionary for September 2019

The Merriam Webster Dictionary added 533 new words and meanings this month in a variety of categories. Some changes, such as they, reflect ongoing cultural shifts in “the complex ways we understand ourselves and others.” Others, such as vacay (vacation) and sess (session), are more playful. I did not realize that I have struggled with coulrophobia for a long time, but fortunately I’ve managed to keep it from negatively impacting my life. (Coulrophobia means an irrational fear of clowns; I doubt I’m the only one.)

From the article: “New words are a happy fact of life for a living language, and taking careful stock of the words that we use is an important part of the work of dictionary editors. Words can come and go in a language, but those that show staying power and increasing use need to be recorded and described. In other words: they need definitions.”

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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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