Five for Friday: Distinguished Emoji, Drone Operators, Getting Rid of Religion

emoji typewriter
CHICAGO, IL (November 20, 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

The Oxford Online Dictionary’s Word of the Year Isn’t Even a Word
There supposedly are more than 1,000 emoji characters but the Oxford Online Dictionary chose the most popular to be the word of the year. Although the use of the characters reportedly tripled in 2015, many people are still distressed that such a prestigious reference source would even consider the character for the distinction. However, the reference publishers say they are just adapting to the times.

From the article: “You can see how traditional alphabet scripts have been struggling to meet the rapid-fire, visually focused demands of 21st century communication,” Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Dictionaries, told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s not surprising that a pictographic script like emoji has stepped in to fill those gaps—it’s flexible, immediate, and infuses tone beautifully.”

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Life as a Drone Operator: ‘Ever Step on Ants and Never Give It Another Thought?’

Four former drone operators share why they are opposed to so heavily relying on the weaponry that enabled them to sit at a screen in Nevada and kill people in war zones 8,000 miles away. After one operator concluded his service, he learned from the military that he had killed 1,696 people.

From the article: “Studies have found similar levels of depression and PTSD among drone pilots working behind a bank of computers as among military personnel deployed to the battlefield.”

How Pastoral Care Stunts the Growth of Most Churches
Well-meaning ministry, unhealthy expectations, and pastors or congregations that won’t let go can all contribute to a church not growing, says author. He assumes that all churches can and ought to grow bigger. But changing patterns can be difficult.

From the article: “Courageous leadership is like courageous parenting. Don’t do what your kids want you to do; do what you believe is best for them in the end. Eventually, many of them will thank you.”

volfIn Light of the Paris Attacks, Is It Time to Eradicate Religion?
One of the world’s highest-regarded Christian theologians, Miroslav Volf raises this question. His answer probably too idealistic, but that doesn’t mean his observations are wrong. Agree or disagree, Volf is always worth reading.

From the article: “For the sake of the identity and reputation of the religions themselves and for the sake of justice and peace in the world, religions need permanent reformation.”

How Churches Are Rethinking Sunday School
From the article: “ ‘If the church fails, if the church dies, it will be because we haven’t done a great job of helping people understand why they matter to the church and why the church matters to them. That starts now.’ ” Riverside and other churches have added technology, movement, visual art, and candid discussions on Scripture, all led by children, to their Sunday schools.

The article also notes that some churches have done away with Sunday school altogether and instead are focusing on including children in worship. Although the article doesn’t discuss the theology underlying the changes, many of them reflect different understandings of what the church is and who able to fully participate. Some of the strategies are decidedly not church-growth oriented.




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