Five for Friday: Scientists Learn Improv, Vonnegut Advice, Blessercize

By Stan Friedman

CHICAGO, IL (March 21, 2013)—Many Covenanters routinely share links to social media articles and videos with one another 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 of any views expressed.

Colleges Should Teach Religion to Their Students

A fascinating article by a professor who admits he once wasn’t all that interested in his undergraduate students. “I stood at a lectern and lectured to them. I never really interacted with them. They were just faces.” He says that experience is “fairly typical” at universities. Then he was selected to be director of undergraduate studies, and his worldview changed. He discovered that students are real people with real problems—lots of them. Having had a religious awakening himself years before, he decided that religion should be taught to students. In one sense, he has a low view of religion—no matter the religion, if you practice it faithfully, it will have positive benefits. On the other hand, he has a higher view of religion than many academics:  he believes it matters.

Kurt Vonnegut Letter to Students

I stayed as far away from literature classes as possible in high school and college, so I never read Vonnegut, whom I’m guessing is primarily read in such classes. After seeing this letter he wrote to a high school class when he was 84, however, I just might check out one of his books from the library. (Libraries are one of humanity’s greatest gifts to itself.) The students were assigned to write to a famous author and ask for their advice. Vonnegut was the only one to respond. The impassioned encouragement he offers is that the students might, “experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.”

16 Bookstores You Have to See Before You Die

Should I actually decide to buy one of those Vonnegut books, it would be so much more fun to buy it from one of these stores than through Amazon. My Department of Communication colleagues gave their votes to the libraries in Holland, Portugal, and Argentina as the ones they would most like to see. Apparently there are no modernists on our staff.

Memo to Science Nerds: Learn Improv

First off, liking science does not automatically make you a nerd. Unfortunately, attempting to teach people about dark matter, the Pleistocene era, or the relationship between deoxyribonucleic acid and the polymeric molecule ribonucleic acid may make you sound like one. That’s why some scientists are taking improv classes from comedians such as Alan Alda. I wonder if this would work for systematic theologians.


Doing exercise should never hurt as much as watching this workout video.





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