Five for Friday: Colbert on Prayer, Don’t Give Gifts to Adults, Saved from Smartphones

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CHICAGO, IL (December 11, 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.

Colbert Explains Why Thoughts and Prayers Matter
Agree or disagree with him, Stephen Colbert is the only late-night host willing to discuss the religious ramifications of our beliefs.

Colbert prayer mattersHe recently responded to critics of politicians who say their thoughts and prayers are with the victims of terror but don’t vote for gun control. The talk show host held up a copy of the New York Daily News with the full-page headline “God Isn’t Fixing This.”

Colbert, who is a practicing Catholic and has taken guests to task for anti-religious rhetoric, stated, “Of course, even these days thoughts and prayers have become controversial.” He added, “The reason you keep people in your thoughts and prayers is admittedly not to fix the problem but to find some small way to share the burden of grief,” he said.

He encouraged people to find a middle way on the issue of gun control. Noting that the San Bernadino terrorists had 6,000 bullets, he asked, “Why is it so easy to buy bullets when I have to show three forms of ID to buy Sudafed?”

Why We Might Need an App to Save Us from Our Smartphones
Now there are apps designed to help us stop using apps. I wonder how many people won’t even download it because doing so would lead to the first step in a recovery process—admitting they have a problem.

smartphone useThe free iOS app Moment enables iPhone users to track how much time they spend on their devices. The app’s creator, Kevin Holesh, has found that millions of Moment users pick up their phone 47 times a day and spend average of two hours and 24 minutes using it. A different study puts the number much higher—at 1,500 times a week.

Some people are not happy with the Moment app, however.

From the article: “I get hate mail from younger teenagers who say Moment has basically ruined their life now that their parents installed it and know how much they are using their phone. If I was 13-year-old me, I would hate myself now probably.”

The Modern Worship Wars
Commenters noted that the article turned out to be not what they expected. What they found was one of the best articles on worship that they had seen in a while. The post’s writer worship leader Stephen Miller says he doesn’t want Christians to stop the worship wars; he just thinks the battlefield should be changed.

From the article: “We are the fast food slogan-slinging generation of ‘Have it your way.’ We are American Idol’s panel of expert judges.…Our distinct opinions shape the way we approach every area of life, including how we connect in corporate worship. As such, we tend to assign spiritual value to our preferences.”

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The Sociology of Annoying Xmas Songs
In this brief article that uses the song “Last Christmas” by Wham! as a case study, the author highlights three sociological reasons annoying Christmas songs are so popular: ideological positioning, symbolic enactment, and cultural inscription. The article sounds heady, but it’s not. After you’ve read it, let us know on the CovMagazine Facebook page which Christmas songs you find most annoying.

From the article: “It is virtually impossible to leave the house without hearing it. Last year, it was the most Spotified single on Christmas Day. And it has been disparaged as a ‘seasonal torture device’ and a ‘mess of a song.’ And yet 30 years after its release, it is probably the single most successful seasonal pop tune ever written, flushing an estimated 8 million dollars per year into George Michael’s bank account.”

Christmas Gift-Giving Between Adults Is a Needless Consumerist Chore
While the article makes some good points, follow the writer’s advice at your own risk.

From the article: “Many a case against holiday gift-giving can be made. It’s consumeristic. It detracts from the ‘true meaning of the season.’ (Whatever that may be.) My argument is far less noble in its goals. I am not a Christmas restorationist—I simply maintain that holiday gifting between adults is horrendously awkward. It’s superfluous. And I’m not convinced anyone truly enjoys it.”




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