Meanderings 20 November 2021
Good morning from brisk and chilly Chicagoland!
(NewsNation Now) — A South Carolina man is turning one man’s junk into treasure.
Eliot Middleton is a mechanic-turned-restaurateur who in his spare time repairs junk cars and donates them to people in rural South Carolina. Middleton has repaired more than 30 vehicles just this year.
He says he does it to bridge the transportation divide and to bring the community together.
“In 2019 I held a food drive in Andrews, South Carolina, and folks were not able to get to the food drive because of a lack of transportation. I felt that by being a mechanic for over 17 years that I can help out in that area,” Middleton said.
Middleton says he finds recipients by word of mouth and recommendations. His selfless act began with a Facebook post last year.
“At first I offered ribs for the cars and I started getting a few cars here and there. But now, there are some cars being donated from all over the nation. I’ve been able to travel outside of my state to pick up some cars,” he said.
Middleton is the owner of Middleton & Maker Village BBQ.
FREEPORT (WREX) — A local family's dairy products has been recognized during a world competition.
Each October, hundreds of dairy producers from across North America exhibit their dairy products for a chance to take home a title in the World Dairy Expo Dairy Products Competition hosted in Madison, Wisconsin.
The contest features dairy products like butter, milk, yogurt, cheese and sour cream.
A local dairy, Deerland Dairy in Freeport, took home two titles during the competition and scored highly among grocery/dairy giants, like Aldi, Belfonte Ice Cream and Dairy Foods and Prairie Farms.
Deerland Dairy entered four flavors of whole milk yogurt (plain, blueberry, strawberry and vanilla) and sour cream.
The whole milk plain yogurt was entered into an open yogurt class, receiving a score of 99.7 out of 100.
The plain yogurt placed 2nd, trailing by only two-tenths of a point to a Prairie Farms entry. Deerland Dairy received another near perfect score of 99.5, placing 3rd in the Strawberry Yogurt category.
“We are encouraged by the results of the competition,” says Doug Graybill, owner of Deerland Dairy. “When we started in 2019, we wanted to make delicious yogurt that our customers love. But to be put up against big brands and hold our own, gives me hope that we may be at the top someday soon.”
Deerland Dairy is owned and operated by the Graybill family in Freeport.
Deerland Dairy produces whole-milk yogurt in a variety of flavors as well as buttermilk and sour cream.
Facebook’s algorithm1 is its superpower — and its kryptonite. Yes, it leads to higher engagement that earns the company billions of dollars, but it’s also tied to some of the company’s biggest scandals. Last month, when the Facebook Papers — a trove of leaked corporate documents provided to reporters and Congress — were released, a mountain of news coverage blamed the algorithm for the spread of misinformation and divisive content, radicalizing users and failing to protect them from some of the most graphic content on the site.
If the algorithm is to blame, can Facebook change the algorithm to make it better? What would that look like? To find out, I interviewed 12 leading experts on data and computer science, as well as former Facebook employees, and asked them to propose changes that could help the algorithm suck less. What I got was a range of ideas about how Facebook could start to solve this problem, or whether a solution is even possible. Some are more radical than others, so I’ve categorized these ideas from mild to spicy (though we know Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg prefers it sweet).
It was a familiar conversation, one I’ve been a part of many times in recent years. How did white evangelical churches become so captive to one political party, welcome patriarchal treatment of women and cover up abuse, become militaristic, nationalistic, anti-science and anti-environment, and racially divided from those who believed as they did but had different colored skin.
There have been a proliferation of critiques, both from other Christians as well as the secular press. What I found myself wondering as I listened to this discussion is why the alternative vision so many of my friends and I pursue has had so little sway among so many that claim the identifier “evangelical.” This is worth serious study, but I have a few very preliminary thoughts–less “answers” than hypotheses.
One is that we have focused more on critique than an alternative compelling vision of pursuing the kingdom….
As I keep pondering this, I wonder if it is more than a matter of who has the better way? Might it be that we are both wrong? I wonder if we are looking at a mirror image of each other, and that we all have abandoned the core values that made evangelicalism such a vibrant movement within Christianity over the last couple centuries, not only in the U.S., but globally. …
I wonder if white evangelicals of the left and right are both apostate. Have we both renounced our birthright in Christ, which is what is truly compelling? Are we both worshiping idols, just different ones? I wonder if we might begin with common confession that we have turned from our first love, a common repentance. Might that be the beginning of the revival we urgently need, both within the people of God and spreading to a deeply divided and struggling nation? Right now, we are only amplifying the divisions that exist among us when, as reconciliation people, we ought to be healing them. Might the beginning be to admit our unfitness for the work, and how desperately we need God to heal us before we can begin to bring healing?’
Nearly Two in Five Pastors Have Considered Quitting Full-Time Ministry
With pastors’ well-being on the line, and many on the brink of burnout, 38 percent indicate they have considered quitting full-time ministry within the past year. This percentage is up 9 full points (from 29%) since Barna asked church leaders this same question at the beginning of 2021.
A deeper analysis of these data show that some groups are faring worse than others. One of the more alarming findings is that 46 percent of pastors under the age of 45 say they are considering quitting full-time ministry, compared to 34 percent of pastors 45 and older. Keeping the right younger leaders encouraged and in their ministry roles will be crucial to the next decade of congregational vitality in the U.S.
Another notable gap emerges based on denomination, with pastors from mainline denominations far more likely to consider quitting than those from non-mainline denominations (51% vs. 34%). Other significant differences arise among gender, with female pastors being far more likely than male pastors to have considered giving up full-time ministry, and ministry tenure. Specifically, roughly one-third of pastors who are considering resignation have been in ministry for about 20 years but have been at their current church for seven years.
Only One in Three Pastors Is Considered “Healthy” in Terms of Well-Being
Barna has long been checking in on pastor’s well-being, even assessing their burnout risk in 2017’s The State of Pastors. More recently, October 2021 data show that many pastors are not faring well in multiple categories of well-being, including spiritual, physical, emotional, vocational and financial.
Barna defined “healthy” pastors as those who score themselves either “excellent” or “good” on all six of these six well-being categories. Currently, only 35 percent of America’s pastors fall into the healthy category.
(CNN)After an accidental Thanksgiving invite in 2016 introduced Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench, they are still going strong.
The two first met in 2016 when Dench, from Mesa, Az., sent a text inviting Hinton over for dinner. It was meant for her grandson, who had changed his phone number. Instead, Hinton got the message while sitting in class at Desert Vista High School.
The two figured out the mistake, then sent selfies to each other, with Hinton asking if he could still come over. Dench texted, "Of course you can. That's what grandmas do ... feed everyone."
Hinton took to Twitter to tell followers that the two are still celebrating the day together.
"We are all set for year 6!" he wrote, alongside a picture of a text message from Dench inviting him, his girlfriend Mikaela and his family over. He also included a photo of himself, Dench, Mikaela and Dench's late husband Lonnie, who died in April 2020 after a battle with Covid-19.
Hinton has documented the holiday each year on his social media. In 2019, he shared a snap, writing, "Blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives."
After Dench's husband died, they still be spent the holiday together,
"This Thanksgiving, along with all the holidays coming up, aren't going to be the same as past ones but we will make the best of it," Hinton wrote in a post last year. "Rest In Peace to Lonnie and everyone else we lost this year we will miss you greatly. Thank you for being in our lives."