Friday Five: Thanksgiving, missionary death, Jordan Peterson, hurricane heroes, homeless church

Happy (day after) Thanksgiving!

I’ve been mostly away from the news this week, enjoying my favorite holiday.

If I missed any important headlines that I should have included here, by all means, leave a comment below or tweet us at @GetReligion.

In the meantime, let’s dive right into the Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: This is an international story, so you might have missed it. The Washington Post reports from New Delhi on an American missionary who tried “to meet and convert one of the most isolated hunter-and-gather tribes in the world” by offering them “fish and other small gifts.”

Instead, the Post reports that “the tribesmen killed him and buried his body on the beach, journals and emails show.”

The story offers revealing insights from the journal as well as quotes from the missionary’s mother.

2. Most popular GetReligion post: As often happens, the words “Jordan Peterson” in a headline tend to attract attention.

Last week’s No. 1 most-read post was by our editor Terry Mattingly — the piece that he wrote to support last week’s “Crossroads” podcast. The headline on that: “Why is Jordan Peterson everywhere, right now, with religious folks paying close attention?” Here’s a bite of that:

It’s obvious why Peterson gets so much analog news ink — his digital ink numbers are simply astonishing. We are talking about an academic force, with 100 or so formal papers, who has 922,000 Twitter followers and 1.5 million subscribers on his YouTube channel. I’ve seen figures for some Peterson “click” stats approaching 35 million. Meanwhile, his latest book, "12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos" has sold 2 million copies.

The heart of the Peterson phenomenon is his work on YouTube, where he speaks — without notes — to massive crowds in sold-out auditoriums. His tone is intelligent, but also sincere and warm, even parental. This professor has been known to shed tears while talking about some of the painful dilemmas facing young adults in our age.

Check it out.

3. Guilt folder fodder (and more): Here’s a warm fuzzy kind of religion story — perfect for Thanksgiving weekend.

The Houston Chronicle features Mennonite and Amish volunteers who are offering unexpected help to a beat-up Texas town.

Even though it’s been more than a year since Hurricane Harvey, some communities are still reeling, as this story explains.

4. Shameless plug: I have a new grandbaby — my first one — who lives in Waco, Texas. In related news, I’m always open to story ideas in that part of the world.

I enjoyed doing this Religion News Service feature on the Church Under the Bridge in Waco getting an invitation to worship at the nearby Magnolia Market on the Silos site during an Interstate 35 widening project.

The key angle, of course, is the involvement of some local Christians who are superstars in the world of cable television — Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV “Fixer Upper” fame. That’s a duo with some clout, these days, in the city many call “Jerusalem on the Brazos.”

5. Final thought: Say a prayer for Santa Claus during tough times, OK? (Smile.)

Happy Black Friday, everybody!

Enjoy the weekend!

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