Sunday Superlatives 11/23/14

Around the Blogosphere…

Mallory Ortberg at The Toast with “Bible Verses Where The Word ‘Philistines’ Has Been Replaced With ‘Haters’”

“He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the haters envied him…”

Mihee Kim-Kort with “Blessed are the peacemakers” 

“Being a peacemaker means more than hasty promises and temporary truces. It means seeing conflict as opportunity for deeper connection.”

Micha Boyett with “Ghostly Grief: On Miscarriage and Loss” 

“Miscarriage is the strangest grief, ghostly but intensely embodied.” 

Janet Potter at The Millions with “Book Titles Rewritten to Get More Clicks” 

Ivan Kislov’s fox photography 

Most Thought-Provoking: 
Richard Beck with “When God Became the Devil” and “Christus Victor and Progressive Christianity”

“…With Anselm a change happened, a theological twist still alive today. Worried as he was about the role of the Devil in Christus Victor schemes Anselm shifted the problem away from the Devil and toward the character of God. The drama of salvation was no longer an external conflict between God and the Devil but an internal conflict within God's own heart, a conflict between God's wrath and God's love.”

Most Powerful (READ THIS!): 
Naomi Shihab Nye with “Gate A4”

“She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life, patting my knee, answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies— little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts— from her bag and was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single traveler declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the mom from California, the lovely woman from Laredo— we were all covered with the same powdered sugar…Then the airline broke out free apple juice and two little girls from our flight ran around serving it and they were covered with powdered sugar too. And I noticed my new best friend— by now we were holding hands— had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere. And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.” 

Most Relatable:
Alece Ronzino at Deeper Story with “When None of It Mattered”

“I quit church, stopped reading my Bible, gave up on any real semblance of a prayer life — and you know what? He was big enough to take it. His feelings weren’t hurt when I spoke words of doubt instead of faith. He didn’t mind when I cried rather than worshipped. He is God enough to handle this human heart of mine. He didn’t scold me; He didn’t heap 'shoulds' or shame on me; He didn’t tell me to let go and let Him. He just sat in The Great Sadness with me.”

Most Eye-Opening: 
Mona Eltahawy at The New York Times with “Fighting Female Genital Mutilation”

“I am a 47-year-old Egyptian woman. And I am among the fortunate few of my countrywomen whose genitals have not been cut in the name of ‘purity’ and the control of our sexuality…”

Most Practical: 
Shauna Niequist with “Ten Thoughts on Hosting Thanksgiving”

“Remember: it’s about the gathering, not about the food. This is the most important thing to keep in mind. I know Thanksgiving might be the most food-driven of all holidays, but the people are always more important than the food. The gathering is what’s significant…that’s what you remind yourself when the turkey’s taking forever or the stuffing’s dry.”

Best Reminder:
Michelle DeRusha at Grace Table with “What a Monk and Two Delivery Men Taught Me About Hospitality” 

“When we define hospitality as what happens around our own dining room table and with our own family and friends, we limit its scope and potential. We stop far short of the kind of hospitality Christ had in mind. In Jesus’ eyes, hospitality includes how we welcome and receive everyone – not just the guests we invite to cross our thresholds, but those who cross our paths in ordinary, everyday ways as well.”

Best Analysis: 
Boz Tchividjian at RNS on Matthew 18

“This well-known biblical passage has all too often been a justification for 1) not reporting abuse disclosures to the authorities and 2) convincing sexual abuse victims to privately confront their perpetrators.  Needless to say, this misreading and misapplication of Jesus’ words is incredibly harmful on a number of fronts.  More importantly, it’s simply not consistent with the person and character of Jesus.”

Best Conversation: 
Tyler Tully, Drew Hart, and Scot McKnight discuss (and debate) Kingdom Conspiracy here, here, here, and here

Best Analogy: 
Ty Grigg at Missio Alliance with “Candy Land Christianity” 

“We expect Christians to do good, but we also expect that it will happen automatically and with little to no effort on our part. We are game pieces being moved down the path of Candy Land Christianity.”

Best Question: 
Lisa Sharon Harper at Sojourners in “The Grand Jury and the Rorschach Test” with

“What if the church today upon baptism called believers to examine all the ways we have soaked in the unconscious biases of the American empire? What if we reexamined our relationships with and assumptions of who should have power in our nation, in our cities, and in the church?”

From Twitter…

On my nightstand…

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone 

On Instagram…

Well, I finally decided to join Instagram. So far I’ve posted a picture of a sink full of dirty dishes (with a filter, of course). We’ll see how this goes…

Bucking the system by making my first Instagram photo a picture of actual life. I did, however, add a filter.

A photo posted by Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) on



So what caught your eye online this week? What’s happening on your blog? 


Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are constantly negative or a general ass, troll, or hater, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us.

Sunday Superlatives 11/2/14

Around the Blogosphere...

Efrem Smith with “The Privileged and The Poor” 

“To dismantle poverty in this way, we not only need multi-ethnic congregations, we need multi-class congregations. Poor people ought to have a voice in the Church. They ought to have the opportunity to serve as elders, deacons, preachers, and board members alongside the Privileged. Putting all Privileged People in power and places of influence may be the American way, but it’s not the Kingdom of God way.”

Micha Boyett with “Deacons and Elders and Me” 

“This is not a story of rebellion. This is not the story of a girl who moved two thousand miles away and learned to take scripture less seriously. This is the story of how my love for scripture deepened and grew more technicolored, beautiful. This is the story of finding myself in a church where I was invited to use my gifts in order to love God faithfully. I will kneel before my church on Sunday in holy trembling, because of the men who led me as a child, because of the women who led me without titles. I will commit my weak-willed soul to the leadership of my church because of the deacons and their wives who gave me courage to travel all the way to these vows. On Sunday I will be ordained.”

Austin Channing Brown with “Bring Yourself” 

“I believe in the legacy of black women who refused to be satisfied with lies. I believe that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I believe that I am created in the image of the Divine. I believe that I am at my best when I bring my wholeness to the table. I believe that the weight of racism and patriarchy can’t drown me. I believe that I am made for resistance, for freedom, for community.”

Jason Micheli at Jesus Creed with “If you can’t say it about Jesus, don’t say it about God” 

"We can’t say or think or act like God hates ‘sinners’ because we know Jesus didn’t. We can’t say or think or act like God doesn’t care about the poor because we know Jesus did. We can’t say or think or act as if God is against our enemies because we know Jesus loved them. We can’t scratch our heads and wonder if we need to forgive that person in our lives because know what Jesus said about it."

Guerilla Mosaic Artist Now Filling Chicago Potholes with Flowers

Most Eye-Opening:
We’ve taken to listening to NPR’s “On the Media” on the 45-minute drive to church on Sundays, and this week’s episode—particularly the reports on money in politics and  “The Unseen World of Content Moderation”—certainly reinforced my conviction that sin is real (just in time for confession). Though some parts were kind of a downer, this episode is worth a listen. 

Most Challenging: 
Tanya Marlow with “What’s Her Name?”

“I understand that there are difficulties with accommodating the various needs of disabled people in churches and conferences. I know this is about pragmatism and budget. But that moment was a humiliating one. I fought back tears, and as people looked on, I smiled my biggest smile to show how fine I was with it. But as I was pushed into the sparsely populated, dimly-lit seating at the front, I wondered if we would tolerate any other minority group in church being segregated in such a blatant form.”

Best Insight: 
Larry Largent with “When We Doubt: The Wilderness Between Our Mountaintop Experiences”

“Our churches would do well to consider Elijah as they interact with those who are brave enough to give voice to their own dark nights of the soul. Not the Elijah on Carmel or Sinai, but the Elijah that was once alone in the Negev wilderness.”

Best Reflection(s)
Everything Richard Beck says about Halloween, Death, and All Saints 

Best Point: 
Caryn Rivadeneira with “School Prayer Doesn’t Need a Comeback” 

“I object to any mission to bring prayer “back” to school because I can’t support the faulty theology—downright heresy—of implying God is only around to hear our prayers when the building sanctions his presence. Prayer never left schools. And God never did either. To suggest otherwise should make us shudder. And yet, that’s what campaigns full of good God-fearing folks seem to be saying.”

[Reminds me of one of my first posts to ever go ‘viral’—“God Can’t Be Kept Out.”

On Facebook…

We have a really great conversation happening on Facebook this week regarding the reality of sin and the use of the word ‘broken.’ I have a feeling this will generate several posts. Feel free to weigh in. 


So, what caught your eye online this week? What's happening on your blog?


Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are constantly negative or a general ass, troll, or hater, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us.

Sunday Superlatives 10/19/14: Travel Edition

I was offline this week traveling from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Charleston, West Virginia, to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Phoenix, Arizona to hang out with the Methodist, the Lutherans, and the evangelicals. So today’s superlatives go to the most memorable experiences from the week. Feel free to share your picks from the blogosphere in the comment section. 

Lightest Packer: 
Yours Truly with six days of travel crammed into one backpack and a purse 

Most Unnerving: 
Delta pilot in Chattanooga with “Take a look at that windsock! This should be exciting!” 

Scariest Airport: 
Yeager Airport in Charleston, West Virginia with its 6,302-foot mountaintop runway 

Best Dancers: 
Members of the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church Clergy School who opened their first session dancing to “Happy” 

Best Conversation:
My conversation/interview with Laura Harbert Allen on Southern life, LGBT equality, and faith 

Best Sermon: 
Rev. Telley Gadson on 1 Corinthians 13 at the West Virginia Conference UMC Clergy School (if I can get my hands on the sermon itself, I will share it!) 

Funniest Crew Member:
Delta flight attendant with “If you haven’t been in a moving vehicle since 1985, here’s how you fasten your seat belt.” 

Most Beautiful: 
Good Earth Village in in Spring Valley Minnesota with FALL 

Most Stimulating:
Talking about the sacraments of baptism, confession, communion and anointing of the sick with Lutheran (ELCA) clergy in Minnesota. I loved these people and learned so much. 

Best Light-Reading for a Long Flight: 
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion 

Best Deep-Reading for a Long Flight: 
The Atlantic Monthly’s November issue and Jon Lee Anderson’s breathtaking feature article, “The Mission” in The New Yorker  

Best Hugs: 
Participants at the Barefoot Tribe Conference at The Grove in Phoenix whose warm welcome will not soon be forgotten 

Coolest Idea:
Artist Scott Erickson created this as I spoke about gender equality at Barefoot Tribes

Most Inspiring: 
When the people of The Grove church shared how they took this post and brought it to life by holding a great feast for more than 675 people at one table! 

Best Feeling: 


In spending time with Christians from a variety of church traditions this week, I was reminded of the degree to which theological and ecclesiological diversity strengthens the Body of Christ. It was especially encouraging to talk about the sacraments (the topic of my next book) with groups that express those sacraments in different ways. I learned a lot and I felt like I contributed a lot too, which is the best way to feel after a trip like this one. Thanks to everyone who instructed me, listened to me, encouraged me, and fed me this week.  I came home feeling tired but grateful. 


So, what did I miss online this week? Share your favorite links in the comments and I’ll catch up! 


Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are constantly negative or a general ass, troll, or hater, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us.