The three things I tell myself before a speaking gig:

'Lecturn view' photo (c) 2009, David Morris - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The three things I used to tell myself before a speaking gig:  

1. Be smart. 
2. Be entertaining. 
3. Be careful (not to offend). 

The three things I now tell myself before a speaking gig: 

1. Be yourself. 
2. Be honest. 
3. Be kind. 

Let me tell you, the last three work much better—both in life and behind the podium.

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Next stop: Nashville!

I’m taking a bit of a blogging break this week as I work through a busy travel schedule that has already brought me to Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, and Missiongathering Church and Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

Today I head to one of my favorite cities, Nashville, for the Three Stories of Youth Ministry ConferenceWhile I’m there, I’ll be speaking at one of Lipscomb University’s breakout chapels  about my “year of biblical womanhood.” The chapel event is on Thursday, March 1, and is free and open to the public. (The conference cost $79.) Chapel starts at 10:50 a.m. at Alumni Auditorium on campus, so if you're a Nashvillian, feel free to swing by and say hello!

Next week, look for a return to our series on loving the Bible for what it is, not what we want it to be, Tim King's responses to your questiosn for "Ask a Christian Progressive..." and some reflections on traveling and taking communion.

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Sunday Superlatives 2/26/12

'Hollywood!' photo (c) 2009, Glen Scarborough - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Boy, I’m enjoying California! Yesterday I took the train from LA to San Diego and the ride was beautiful. This morning I’m speaking at the wonderful Missiongathering Church in San Diego. Tomorrow I’ll be at Point Loma Nazarene University’s Writer’s Symposium by the Sea. (Note: Dave Eggers is the featured guest this year. Tickets are still available.) If you’re at any of these events, be sure to find me and say hello.  

Now on to Sunday Superlatives!

Around the blogosphere...

Funniest Video:
Yeah, so the meme is starting to get old, but I confess I got a kick out of Travis Mamone’s “Sh*t Emergents Say.” – So, you going to Wild Goose this year?

Funniest Photo: 
Cake Wrecks with “Buzzkill

Best Story:
Amanda MacInnis with “The Place of Resurrection in Our Christian Tradition

“The little girl cried when Jesus died, so her dad paused the video and explained what was happening, and assured her that there was going to be a big surprise coming up. They resumed watching, and this video did a really good job of emphasizing the resurrection and the importance of the resurrection. The little girl’s face lit up. “He’s alive, daddy! He’s alive!” She danced around the house, proclaiming that she loved “’surrected Jesus.”

Best Reminder:
Jody Hedlund with “Publication: Perfection Not Required

“Our books can be executed perfectly. We can have flawless sentence structure. We can follow all of the rules of manual and style down to the very last comma. But . . . nobody cares about a perfect book. Why? Because they care more about the STORY.”

Best Photoblog: 
The Pioneer Woman with “How Cowboys Say Goodbye

Best Series:
The Kitchn with “Downton Abbey Cocktails

Most Honest: 
Adam Walker Cleveland with “Micah, Judah, and Caleb: Living with Joy and Grief

"Falling in love with Caleb doesn’t mean that I love Micah and Judah any less…they will always be my first boys, my twin boys. But falling in love with Caleb means that I realize that he is only here because of the death of his brothers…And I don’t even want to get into the theology of that…did God cause Micah and Judah to die, so that we could experience the love and beauty of Caleb? I’m not going there – that doesn’t sound like fun at all.And so…there it is. We sit with that reality. The reality of the loss of Micah & Judah. The reality of the amazing gift of Caleb. The paradox of loss and love. Of grief making room for joy; both forever with us.”

Most Informative: 
Raymond Offenheiser with “From Kenya to Washington: Who’s to blame for wasted food aid?” 

“But right now special interest lobbyists are working to impose rules and regulations that benefit themselves, cost lives, and waste taxpayer dollars. Under our current program a group of lobbyists and trade organizations, representing businesses and industries that stand to profit from aid dollars, have convinced Congress to write the rules to work in their favor. These rules require that food aid be purchased from preferred growers in the U.S. and shipped from the U.S. on preferred ships instead of finding the best prices and sources of food that will save the most lives at the lowest cost. This red-tape is not about empowering people like Abdullah to help themselves, it's about big business cashing in. The result is that less food gets to hungry people when they need it. Because of these rules up to 32 cents of every $1 spent on food aid goes to waste.”

Most Insightful:
Ben Emerson with “Learning the Story, Living the Story” series

Most Helpful: 
Andrew Marin with “When your child ‘comes out’ to you

“Take their coming out to you as a holy moment. A holy moment where they, as your child, are being the most vulnerable with you, where they are holding their heart and soul in their palms, and asking you to be their loving parent. They are hoping that you will simply see them as the child you have always loved. So love them and let them know. View them as your child, as the infant whom you held so close, the toddler that finally began talking and walking, the child on their first day of school, the child who overnight seemed to grow up, and the child you love with all your heart."

Most Thoughtful:
Zack Hunt with “When Jesus is Present Where Jesus Isn’t Present

Most Likely to Relate to Recent Conversations: 
Jared Byas with “You Do Not Take the Bible Literally

Most Pastoral: 
Tim Keller with “Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople

“In short, if I as a pastor want to help both believers and inquirers to relate science and faith coherently, I must read the works of scientists, exegetes, philosophers, and theologians and then interpret them for my people. Someone might counter that this is too great a burden to put on pastors, that instead they should simply refer their laypeople to the works of scholars. But if pastors are not ‘up to the job’ of distilling and understanding the writings of scholars in various disciplines, how will our laypeople do it? This is one of the things that parishioners want from their pastors. We are to be a bridge between the world of scholarship and the world of the street and the pew. I’m aware of what a burden this is. I don’t know that there has ever been a culture in which the job of the pastor has been more challenging. Nevertheless, I believe this is our calling.” 

Best Image: 
Heather Kopp with “I Don’t Know Beans

“I don’t know beans about God either. Today, I’m a little embarrassed that I ever had the mistaken audacity to think I grasped the whole of God in some way that gave me definitive answers to impossibly complicated and complex questions. Today, I hold only a few beans in my hand—and they’re jelly beans; simple, basic truths in primary colors. The good news is that I don’t need a mountain of beans, a wealth of cognitive certainties, in order to know that I can rely on God and trust Him with my life.”

Best Lenten Posts/Ideas: 

Ann Voskamp with “How to Prepare a Family for Lent

Christine Warner (guest posting at Mama Monk) with “Lent and brushing teeth to candlelight

Caleb Wilde with “Ash Wednesday: The Day We Doubt Our Immortality

Everyday Litrugy with “Daughter, Meet Dust

Last year, JoHannah Reardon gave up worry for lent

Gavin Rogers is giving up his home for Lent. 

On the blog...

Most Popular Post(s): 
You think that by Scripture you possess eternal life...” and “40 Ideas for Lent

Most Popular Comment:
In response to “Wise words from a former celebrity pastor,” Dustin wrote: 

A few months ago my son was born with hearing loss. I know it could be a lot worse. But I'm struggling to find the balance of wanting him to be able to hear while not labeling him as deficient or less valuable. I love him so much and, as his Dad, I want him to experience all the joys of music and sound. At the same time, I don't want him to internalize that as meaning there is something "wrong' with him. I don't know if this makes sense to anyone else.

In some ways, it's helped me to see God in a different light. He's not happy with how we are - with our pride, selfishness, envy, greed, etc. But he still loves us because of who we are. He knows we are missing out on the full experience of what life was intended to be, but that doesn't change His love for us. He wants us to change, but loves us as we are. My son's hearing isn't  "bad" or harmful the way greed is, but I'm beginning to understand how God can love me as I am and still want me to change.

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

And who do you think will win superlatives in Hollywood tonight?

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Wise words from a former celebrity pastor...

You can download the rest of Ed’s story here

Have you had a life experience that forced you to change the way you related to God and worked out your faith? 

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Ask a Christian Progressive...

Transient

At the beginning of the year, when I asked what sort of people you would like to talk to for our interview series, one of the most popular suggestions was to interview Christians who identified with various political parties.  We’ve already spoken with Caryn Rivadeneira for “Ask a Christian Libertarian” and Matthew Lee Anderson for “Ask a Christian Conservative.” As promised, today you get the chance to interview Tim King for “Ask a Christian Progressive.”

Tim King is the Director of Communications at Sojourners.  He is a graduate of North Park University in Chicago with degrees in both Theology and Philosophy. After graduation, he worked for the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) as an organizer on the South Side of Chicago. Tim ran campaigns around food access, school funding reform, ex-offender issues, and youth homelessness.  He also developed and implemented organizing curriculums for high school to graduate level classes. After a brief stint as a campaign consultant, Tim came on staff with Sojourners in 2008.

Tim has been a guest on many radio shows and podcasts and has been interviewed for various print and online publications including ABC News, TIME, CNN, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, and the Daily Beast. He blogs regularly about the intersection of faith and politics at www.sojo.net and you can follow him on twitter.

Tim says he works to bring principles of Biblical social justice to public policy and, as a result, finds himself entirely frustrated with our current two-party system. He told me that his identity crisis only deepened as he realized how often he agrees with our resident Republican, Matthew Anderson. 

You know the drill: If you have a question for Tim, leave it in the comment section. At the end of the day, I’ll pick the top seven or eight questions and send them to Tim. We'll post his response next week.  Be sure to take advantage of the “like” feature so that we can get a sense of what questions are of most interest to readers.  Please remember the point of our interview series is not to debate or challenge, but to ask the sort of questions that will help us understand one another better. 

(You can check out the rest of the interview series—which includes an atheist, a Mormon, a humanitarian, an evolutionary creationist, a Catholic, an Orthodox Jew, a gay Christian, a Muslim, Quaker, and more—here.) 

Ask away!

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