By Melissa Wuske
Minister Inspired by Peanuts
Gregory Fryer, a minister in New York City, has a new ministry method inspired by an unlikely source: Lucy from the Peanuts comic strip. Fryer sets up a booth on the sidewalk with a sign that says, “Spiritual help 5¢. The pastor is in.”
“I do this for fun, but also for real,” Fryer said. Fryer draws on the audacity of the character Lucy: “It could be said of me that I’m excessively bold to put up my ‘Pastor is in’ booth, except I know that I have no wisdom to share with people. But I figure the Bible does, and the teachings of the church do. I have devoted my career to studying these things and I’m glad to share what I have learned.”
People do visit the booth: “When they sit down there on that stool, it’s as though all the world fades away,” Fryer said. “People speak on a big variety of topics, from ‘I think I’m getting a cold, could you pray for me?’ to ‘I have learned I may have only six months to live.’ In general, humanity has hopes and dreams and fears, setbacks and sorrows, weight on their heart. I try to encourage them via Jesus and the faith of the church.”
While Fryer sees the uniqueness of what he’s doing, he said, “This is a form of love [that churches and individuals] can provide for our neighbors: that we will make ourselves available to listen as carefully as we can and then to answer in a godly and encouraging way.”
Real-Life Friends in Amazon Ad
Last Christmas, Amazon gained attention for an ad featuring an Anglican priest and a Muslim imam who became friends and who culminated their friendship by each buying the other kneepads so they could pray without pain.
The ad features real-life clergy who met on the set and lived out the message of the ad. “We became friends instantly,” said Imam Zubier Muhammad. “Instantly,” Priest Gary Bradley confirmed. “We didn’t have to do much acting. It was our daily life,” said Muhammad. “This was one of the ways, my way of showing that the community do work together . . . and we can work in harmony.”
Why do some people cry during happy events like weddings? Rather than being an indication of being out of control emotionally, Oriana R. Aragón, a psychologist at Yale, found that negative responses (like crying) to positive events help with emotional regulation.
“People may be restoring emotional equilibrium with these expressions,” Aragón said. “They seem to take place when people are overwhelmed with strong positive emotions, and people who do this seem to recover better from those strong emotions.” Effective emotional regulation leads to overall well-being and less psychological distress due to the stress hormones released with tears.
Mountain Lion or Gorilla?
Police in Gardner, Kansas, set up several trail cameras in order to investigate reports of mountain lion sightings. Some citizens of the town located the cameras and decided to have some fun. The police department’s job of monitoring the footage got a lot more entertaining as they witnessed people in gorilla suits, gas masks, and other humorous costumes parading in front of the cameras.
“We would like to sincerely thank the persons responsible as it made our day when we pulled up what we expected to be hundreds of pictures of coyotes, foxes, and raccoons,” the police department shared on Facebook. “Thank you to the citizens who noticed the cameras. Your effort and sense of humor are greatly appreciated.”
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).