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Five for Friday: Kendrick Lamar, Reinhold Niebuhr, Fortnite in a Tornado

Kendrick Lamar (photo credit flickr: Kenny Sun)

CHICAGO, IL (April 20, 2018) – Covenanters routinely share links to social media articles and videos 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.

Kendrick Lamar Is the Biggest Christian Rapper of All Time

Kendrick Lamar made history this week when he won the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his album Damn, the first hip-hop artist to receive the honor, which traditionally has gone to contemporary classical composers and jazz artists. (The Grammys preferred Bruno Mars, who won Record of the Year and Album of the Year.) Christianity Today published this laudatory review, “Kendrick Lamar Deals with Damnation,” last year. In 2016, emcee Andy Mineo told a gathering at a Christians in the Arts event at Columbia University there has been no bigger Christian rapper than Lamar.

From the article: “Admittedly, though, both the themes and language of Kendrick’s body of work pose particular challenges to Christian listeners. As hip-hop theologian Daniel White Hodge writes in Hip Hop’s Hostile Gospel, Kendrick ‘combines the sacred, profane, and secular in a tightly woven social knot which creates a type of nitty-gritty hermeneutic in which his audience members are able to relate and engage.’ This holding-in-tension of religion, sex, violence, money, and drugs (which Hodge calls the ‘neo-secular sacred’) appears in much rap music. As hip-hop and religion scholar Monica Miller notes, however, ‘It’s not a contradiction, it’s life. Hip-hop is OK with complexity. It doesn’t have to be either/or.’”

Reinhold Niebuhr
Reinhold Niebuhr, Washington’s Favorite Theologian

Reinhold Niebuhr was considered a great theologian, and then he was dismissed. Now his views are being resurrected.

From the article: Reinhold Niebuhr “became a public intellectual after the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan at the end of World War II. To a country run by mainline Protestants, who had long ago abandoned Armageddon, rapture, and the end times, Niebuhr needed them to believe that the end was possible, and perhaps probable.…Hiroshima created a world suitable for Niebuhr’s theological grand drama and launched him to fame.”

Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. with Donald Trump
Billion Dollar Blessings

Offering courses online has become critical to the survival of colleges, but Liberty University is doing far better than surviving. It is making a lot of money. Some 95,000 students a year are taking classes remotely, making Liberty the second-largest provider of online education.

From the article: “By 2017, Liberty students were receiving more than $772 million in total aid from the Department of Education — nearly $100 million of it in the form of Pell grants and the rest in federal student loans. Among universities nationwide, it ranked sixth in federal aid. Liberty students also received Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, some $42 million in 2016, the most recent year for which figures are available. Although some of that money went to textbooks and nontuition expenses, a vast majority of Liberty’s total revenue that year, which was just above $1 billion, came from taxpayer-funded sources.”

Gamer Teen Unfazed by Tornado

There are sermon illustrations here. Also, who has WiFi in a tornado?

From the article: “Anton Williams was in the middle of a round of the hugely popular video game (Fortnite) when the tornado blew through his neighborhood. However, he apparently didn’t even notice the powerful EF2 twister until it began ripping the roofs off of his neighbors’ homes.”

Learning to Let Go of Your Entertainment Backlog

It is amazing the things we feel guilty about these days. Perhaps if the author had been playing Fortnite instead of the Legend of Zelda, he wouldn’t have worried about too much else going on.

From the article: “I used to force myself to play and watch things that I just wasn’t in the mood for because I felt like I was supposed to. A few years ago, I tried to play the Nintendo 3DS remaster of 2000’s the Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, but it just wasn’t sticking with me and I had too many other things going on. It weighed on me that I never finished it. If you let it, entertainment will make you feel like you’re in a constant game of catch-up. I got to a point where I was constantly feeling guilty, constantly feeling like I was behind on everything.”


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