Five for Friday: Inspirational Roaches, Chaplains Documentary, Henri Nouwen Letters to Be Published

CHICAGO, IL (November 6, 2015) — 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 by the Covenant of any views expressed.

How Cockroaches Could Save Lives
This is one of those articles that you think you want to avoid but turns out to be extremely fascinating. Not only do many roaches turn out to be beautiful, but they also are inspiring scientists in fields such as robotics and medicine.

From the article: “Then there’s the robotic roach—a fusion of live cockroach and mini-computer, surgically attached to its back. By sending messages to the computer, the cockroach can be directed to places that are hard for to humans to access, such as collapsed buildings or broken sewers, where they collect data.”

Also, “Today, hospitals in parts of China use a cream made from powdered cockroaches to treat burns and a cockroach syrup is sometimes given to patients to alleviate the symptoms of gastroenteritis. When Wang Fuming realised demand for the insects was growing he set up a cockroach farm in Shandong province in eastern China. He keeps 22 million at a time in his underground bunkers and says that since 2010 the price of dried cockroaches had risen tenfold.”

Tyson Foods Chaplain Melissa Brannan walks the production line at a food processing plant in Springdale, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Journey Films

Tyson Foods Chaplain Melissa Brannan walks the production line at a food processing plant in Springdale, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Journey Films

Chaplains Documentary Follows Nontraditional Faith Companions to Battlefield, Prison
Some PBS stations are airing the two-part documentary “Chaplains,” by Martin Doblmeier, who has produced the films “Bonhoeffer” and “The Power of Forgiveness.”

The film highlights chaplains from many faith traditions who are tasked with serving a variety of traditions. One is Karuna Thompson, a Buddhist who ministers at the maximum security Oregon State Penitentiary and organizes religious events that range from evangelical praise and worship to a Native American sweat lodge ceremony. She says in the film, “If I had to live in a 5-by-8 bathroom with another person I would lose my mind. What a chaplain does is lean into the painful places.”

The film features chaplains in roles beyond the military, hospitals, and prisons. Some large corporations such as Tyson Foods employ full-time chaplains.

I look forward to hearing from the Covenant chaplains who see the film.

The Rise of the Internet-Addiction Industry
The number of treatment centers for people suffering Internet-addiction is growing across the United States and around the world. It’s also an increasingly lucrative business. According to the article, “Treatment caters to adolescents and adults, and ranges from the clinical to the unconventional: There are overnight hospital stays, digital-detox retreats, wilderness-therapy camps, and psychiatrists who prescribe medication and talk therapy.”

Some mental-health experts complain that excessive Internet use should not be labeled an addiction and can lead to a “slippery slope” of treatments that include unnecessarily prescribed medication. “The fact that we have treatment programs doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s really an addiction,” says Charles O’Brien, the founding director of the Center for Studies of Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania.

Small Towns Face Rising Suicide Rates
A recent study found that rural adolescents commit suicide at roughly twice the rate of their urban peers. That disparity isn’t new, but researchers were surprised to learn how significantly that gap is increasing.

In some communities the rate is almost unimaginable. In Hooper Bay, Alaska, a village of 1,200 people where the Covenant has a church, four young people killed themselves over a recent two-week span.

henri nouwen
Henri Nouwen’s Unpublished Works to Release 20 Years After His Death
The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust has signed a publishing agreement with Convergent Books, a division of Penguin, to publish several new volumes of Nouwen’s previously unpublished works. The first collection of letters is slated to release in September 2016 and is tentatively titled Love, Henri.

Gabrielle Earnshaw, curator of the Henri J. M. Nouwen Archives, is selecting the letters, which were written between 1973 and 1996. “I’ve chosen letters where Henri is responding to people who are in some form of crisis and are looking for direction,” Earnshaw says. “I’ve also chosen letters in which he is struggling with similar issues to the ones that he is responding too.”


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