Five for Friday: Heresy, Reparations, Commencement Mashup

By Stan Friedman

CHICAGO, IL (May 23, 2014) — 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.

What Is Heresy?

Several well-known authors and pastors have been accused of being heretics in recent years. This is a fascinating interview with Justin Holcomb, Episcopal priest and professor of theology and Christian thought at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary.

Christian horses

0523 five for Friday spirituality of petsChristians apparently learn a lot “spiritual truths” from their pets—as long as the pets aren’t heretics.

A Case Against Certainty

According to author Peter A. Georgescu, being absolutely certain in science or religious belief is the thinking of fools. I’m pretty sure he’s right.

Facing the Truth—the Case for Reparations

This link is a good introduction to a much longer article in this month’s issue of The Atlantic written by senior editor Ta-Nehisi Coates. Predictably, Moyers uses the word “provocative”—in its best sense—to describe Coates’ article. (When people write about Coates, they almost always refer to him as provocative.) I confess that when I hear people talking about the need for reparations, initially I tend to be exasperated, assuming that I’m just going to hear the same old tired back-and-forth. Coates is compelling, however. Be sure to take the time to read the longer piece and then discuss it with someone—which also would include listening to each other.

The Commencement Mashup Speech in Eight Easy Steps

Ah, the profundity of the commencement speech. I would love to see a sermon mashup.

While I was procrastin … er …. working to make this Five for Friday the best it could be … I thought it might be fun to include a quiz. Judging from my Facebook feed, people like taking quizzes online. I always preferred multiple choice over essay, so below are 15 quotes from commencement speeches for you to match with the speaker. (One answer should be easy since it is in the video.) To reduce the temptation to peek at the answers, you’ll have to scroll down a bit past the last question to find the answers. Let us know how you did.

1. “Optimism is a notion that there’s sufficient evidence that would allow us to infer that if we keep doing what we’re doing, things will get better. I don’t believe that. I’m a prisoner of hope.”
a) Cornel West
b) Nelson Mandela
c) Bono

2. “The daily activity that contributes most to happiness is having dinner with friends. The daily activity that detracts most from happiness is commuting. Eat more. Commute less.”
a) Tom Brokaw
b) Mark Shields
c) David Brooks

3. “Yesterday is gone, tomorrow may never come, but as long as we have today, we can change the world.”
a) Glenn Beck
b) Bill O’Reilly
c) Barack Obama

4. “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”
a) Mark Zuckerberg
b) J.K. Rowling
c) Donald Trump

5. “Your rising from bed every morning will give fear its chance to grow stronger just as it will afford faith its chance to blossom.”
a) Tom Hanks
b) Bono
c) Oprah

6. “Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that.”
a) Ellen Degeneres
b) Bill Bryson
c) Robert Frost

7. “I wish that someone had said to me that it’s normal to feel lost for a little while.”
a) Bono
b) Ira Glass
c) Moses

8. “Incidentally, speaking of Mr. Zuckerberg, only at Harvard would somebody have to invent a massive social network just to talk with someone in the next room.”
a) Bill Gates
b) Conan O’Brien
c) Dave Barry

9. “In the perspective of infinity, our differences are infinitesimal.”
a) Albert Einstein
b) Fred Rogers
c) Bono

10. “Try putting your iPhones down every once in a while and look at people’s faces.”
a) Amy Poehler
b) Jon Stewart
c) Martha Stewart

11. “On behalf of frogs, fish, pigs, bears. and all of the other species who are lower than you on the food chain, thank you for dedicating your lives to saving our world and our home.”
a) Miss Piggy
b) Kermit the Frog
c) Rush Limbaugh

12. “Along the way, I worked for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. They were putting on a planetarium show, with astronomy, of course. But, they were boring … people. They took me in to see the show, and within 10 minutes, everybody was asleep. You could hear snoring all over the planetarium. And they took me back to the office, and the head of the Smithsonian said to me, ‘What are we doing wrong?’ I said, ‘My God, do you know what you’re doing in there? You’re teaching with this planetarium, instead of preaching.’ A planetarium is a synagogue, a church, a basilica. It’s a place to celebrate the universe, and the incredible fact of our being alive in this world. I said, ‘Get out of the way with your scientific technology, and let me do a thing called the Great Shout of the Universe. The universe coming alive for all these mysterious reasons.’”
a) Ray Bradbury
b) Neil DeGrasse Tyson
c) Carl Sagan

13. “I don’t believe in luck. I believe in preparation.”
a) Bobby Knight
b) John Wooden
c) Allen Iverson

14. “The world is more malleable than you think and it’s waiting for you to hammer it into shape…That’s what this degree of yours is—a blunt instrument. So go forth and build something with it.”
a) Bono
b) Tim Allen aka Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor
c) Bill Cosby

15. “The Holy Spirit said to me, ‘The only time you lose at something is when you don’t learn from that experience.’”
a) Chuck Norris
b) Mr. T
c) Bob Dylan


1. a) Cornel West
2. c) David Brooks
3. a) Glenn Beck
4. b)  J.K. Rowling
5. a) Tom Hanks (Did you know he used to attend Mission Springs Camp and Conference Center?)
6. a) Ellen DeGeneres
7. b) Ira Glass
8. b) Conan O’Brien
9. b) Fred Rogers
10. a) Amy Poehler
11. b) Kermit the Frog
12. a) Ray Bradbury
13. a) Bobby Knight
14. a) Bono
15. a) Chuck Norris