Sunday Superlatives 10/12/14


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Cutest:
The New York Times treats second graders to fine dining 

Wisest: 
Charles Blow (in an interview with Jason Parham) on masculinity

“I believe that we have drawn masculinity in this incredibly narrow, rigid, dangerous way. We think of it as a peak, and I think of it as an ocean…Boys are constantly confronting this notion of failure because they cannot live up to idea of people saying to them, Man up! Be a man! And they don't know what that is because they're just trying to be human. And being human is sometimes fragile. I believe we have to redraw our collective concept of what masculinity is so that it includes the possibility of difference and variation. And once we do that we free these kids up to be kids, and to be human beings.”

Bravest: 
Sarah Schwartz at Deeper Story with “Antidepressants as a Means of Grace” 

“On Wednesday mornings, the high school ministry team I was a part of met for breakfast at a local diner. As we swapped prayer requests over bad coffee and scrambled eggs, I shared that I had started taking medicine to help combat my depression, to which the leader of the team, a senior boy I admired, turned and forcefully informed me, ‘You know, that would go away if you just trusted God enough.’”

Coolest:
“Undulatus Asperatus: A New Cloud Type” 

Most Powerful: 
Amena Brown at MOMcan with “Be You Bravely” 

Most Inspiring (nominated by Ryan Kenji Kuramitsu):  
Christy Wade with “How a Transgender Lady Helped Me Not Walk Away Fom My Christian Faith” 

“For an hour, I listened as she shared her story of coming to terms with her faith and gender identity. I was amazed she went to seminary at Baylor and had served as a Baptist preacher. She listened as I shared my journey and how I was struggling. I learned we shared the same belief that the Bible was more than a book of literature. She told me I didn’t have to disregard Scripture. It was obvious she was a woman of vibrant, deep Christian faith. Hope entered my life again. I was overwhelmed with God’s presence and tangibly felt His love wash over me. My life changed that day, and I began my journey of reconciling my faith and sexual orientation, whatever that would look like.” 

Most Informative: 
Marg Mowczko with “Paul and Women in a Nutshell” and “The First Century Church and the Ministry of Women” 

“Paul was not a misogynist: he did not hate or mistrust women. Paul valued Priscilla, Euodia and Syntyche as his co-workers in gospel ministry. He refers to Junia as his relative (or compatriot), his fellow prisoner, and as outstanding among the apostles. He commends Phoebe to the church at Rome as “our sister”, a patroness of many, a minister of the church at Cenchrea, and he probably sent his letter to the Romans with her. He acknowledges the ministry labours of Mary of Rome, Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis…”

Most Insightful: 
Richard Beck with “Be Holy to Love Each Other” 

“We are called to be holy as God is holy. We are to purify ourselves. But what is the goal of holiness? For what purpose is purity? The purpose and the goal of holiness and purity is that we will have sincere, genuine, deep and mutual love for each other. Holiness and purity are not the opposite of love. Holiness and purity are the cultivation of love.  The holy person is the loving person. The pure person is the loving person.”

Best Headline:
Andy Borowitz at The New Yorker with “Man infected with Ebola misinformation through causal contact with cable news” 

Best Profile: 
Wyatt Mason at New York Times Magazine with “The Revelations of Marilynne Robinson” 

“…And it was here that Robinson brought up fear: How it has come to keep us at bay from our best selves, the selves that could and should “do something.” In her case, that “something” has been writing. For Robinson, writing is not a craft; it is “testimony,” a bearing witness: an act that demands much of its maker, not least of which is the courage to reveal what one loves.”

Best Series: 
Rebecca Lujan Loveless with “An Uneven Scale: Blog Series on Western Evangelical Justice Work” 

Best Op-Ed:
Nicholas Kristof with “The Diversity of Islam” 

“Beware of generalizations about any faith because they sometimes amount to the religious equivalent of racial profiling. Hinduism contained both Gandhi and the fanatic who assassinated him. The Dalai Lama today is an extraordinary humanitarian, but the fifth Dalai Lama in 1660 ordered children massacred ‘like eggs smashed against rocks.’ Christianity encompassed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and also the 13th century papal legate who in France ordered the massacre of 20,000 Cathar men, women and children for heresy, reportedly saying: ‘Kill them all; God will know his own.’”

Best Reflection:
Ruthie Johnson at Missio Alliance with "Restoring Unity: The Invitation of the Banquet of Heaven"

“In order to move towards unity as the Church, we must first practice the incarnational Kingdom in small, meaningful and routine places, such as meals. Our daily actions and interactions with those who are different—seeking to build bridges across, gender, theology, socioeconomics and race build skills to help us move toward unity as a whole.”


Best Advice:
James Hamblin at The Atlantic with “Buy Experiences, Not Things” 

Best List: 
Peter Enns with “10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the Bible” 

“An extremely important lesson for Christians to learn from Judaism is that the Bible invites debate. In fact, it can’t avoid it, given how open it is to multiple interpretations. Winning Bible feuds with others, getting to the right answer, isn’t the end goal. The back-and forth with the Bible, and with God, is where deeper faith is found.”

Best Perspective:  
Jim Wallis with “Ebola is an Inequality Crisis” 

“The knowledge and infrastructure to treat the sick and contain the virus exists in high- and middle-income counties. However, over many years, we have failed to make these things accessible to low-income people in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. So now thousands of people in these countries are dying because, in the lottery of birth, they were born in the wrong place.”

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