Sunday Superlatives 10/5/14


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Yesterday was the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Many churches mark this event with a blessing of the animals or a special outdoor event commemorating the saint’s love for God’s creation. Here are three poems to celebrate him this week.

Around the Blogosphere…

Wisest: 
John Walton at BioLogos with “On Being Right or Wrong”

“It is too easy for an individual, a local church or a denomination to decide that they have a corner on the market of interpretation and truth and that anyone who disagrees with them is wrong. This attitude exists despite the fact that the New Testament shows us a number of situations when people in the early church had disagreements about issues that were decided by allowing a range of possibilities (e.g., the Jerusalem Council)… We should be slow to accuse another of discarding the authority of Scripture, and therefore denouncing them, just because they interpret Scripture differently than we do.”

Funniest: 
Jenny Lawson with “Nancy Pelosi is extremely disappointed in me for destroying the democratic party…” 

“If we don’t get the photo of James Carville holding some sort of frozen dessert the Republicans will have already won. As you said to me a few hours ago, if we don’t have your cooperation ‘We. Will. Fail.’”

Coolest: 
First International Drone Photography Competition

Boldest: 
Yabome Gilpin-Jackson with “Ebola is more than a news story to me”

“So, in spite of my sinking heart, and in spite of the fog, this is not a sob story. This is a call to action–because Sierra Leoneans, Liberians, Guineans and Nigerians need hope, not pity and more than sympathetic bystanders. They need reassurance that the world cares about theirs and our collective health.”

Cleverest:
XKCD with "Correlation"

Best Conversation-Starter: 
Christena Cleveland with “Social Justice for Single People”

“It seems that so many of us (myself included) have bought into the lie that deep, mutually supportive relationships are God’s gift to married people alone. This lie is insidious on its own, but in the context of social justice work, it is even more destructive. Social justice advocates need mutually supportive relationships as much as, if not more than, any other group!”

Best Feature: 
Helen Lee with (in the cover story at Christianity Today) with “Asian Americans: Silent No More” 

Best Advice: 
Parker Palmer with “Memo To Myself: Avoid Domesticating Our Prophets” 

"Avoid the bad habit of domesticating the prophet of your choice, turning him into a cheerleader for your way of thinking and way of life. Remember that all the great prophets were courageous and outrageous folks who railed against the powers-that-be, challenged self-satisfied piosity, threatened the prevailing social order, and would find you falling short in some significant ways."

Best Storytelling: 
Amy R. Buckley at She Loves with “Lipstick in Seminary” 

“For a couple years in seminary, I didn’t wear lipstick. I twisted my long hair up tightly, wore dark turtlenecks and covered my eyes with glasses. I didn’t speak much in class unless I knew it counted toward my grade. In that case, I carefully planned what I’d say before opening my mouth. I didn’t want to call attention to myself in a room full of men. I hoped to fly beneath the proverbial radar, as a woman, and gain tools for teaching, writing, and ministry with as few conflicts possible…” 

Best Idea: 
Ben Irwin with “What Art Can Teach Us About Theology and Faith Formation”

“Art becomes meaningful, transformative, and captivating when we’re able to participate in it—when we’re invited to contribute to it, rather than being forced to just stand back and observe in silence.”

Best Perspective: 
Mariam Youssef at The Junia Project with “Chanting for Change in the Coptic Church”

“At first glance, Copts in  the California suburbs may not appear to have much in common with Black and Latino youth in South Central. But I have seen that they are more alike than one may think. These two communities are in desperate need of healing from the injustices that they have suffered, both from outside forces and from internal structural flaws. I decided a long time ago that even though I feel marginalized as a woman in my community, I have to be solution-oriented. As long as I can work for change, I can stay and I must stay.”

Best Response: 
Sarah Bessey with “Accusations and Accolades”

“God is at work despite me and through me and in me – all at the same time.”

Most Insightful  (nominated by Kevin Shoop): 
Joshua Rothman at The New Yorker with “In Facebook’s Courtroom”

“As you scroll, you wonder, what’s next on the docket? Which outrages and exemplars will confront me today, and how will I react to them? On the one hand, you’re criminally uninterested in a controversy about sexism amongst hedge-fund managers; on the other, at least you’re not one of the ‘ten celebs who have killed people.’ The social-media stream puts moral life on shuffle—and expresses the fact that, while being a good person matters perhaps more than anything, it’s also very unclear how one might go about being good.”

Most Provocative: 
Peter Enns with “3 Ways Jesus Read the Bible that Evangelicals are Told Not to Do” 

“Evangelicals are told to respect the Bible by ‘sticking to the text’ and not go beyond it. Jesus did the opposite…”

Most Informative:
NPR with "No, Seriously, How Contagious is Ebola?"

Most Powerful: 
Ben Moberg with “Three Things I’d Tell Ben Three Years Ago, Before He Came Out”

“It sounds strange, but when you leave the faith, God’s going to shuffle along behind you. Not that you’ll notice Him. You’ll be too busy averting your eyes from all things religious, plugging up your ears in every conversation about the faith…”

Most Convicting: 
Nadia Bolz-Weber with “Sermon on Us and Them”

“Jesus still calls the tax collectors and prostitutes and housewives and social workers and Pharisees into the very heart of God. So come and join me at his table, at this holy of holies, not because you have made it past the velvet ropes, but because the ground at the foot of the cross is level and there is room for all of us.”

Most Inspiring: 
Kelle Hampton with “Saving the Balloons” 

“Raising a child with special needs—although we aren’t defined by it—does take seriousness and proactive thinking and a mission to both equip our children with the tools they’ll need to face the world and prepare the world to accept our children. They’ll need a hell of a lot more than balloons—both our kids and the world. But I still keep a little cluster of them—especially the yellow ones—because life is hard, and I’ll always need balloons. They’re less about Down syndrome and more about me.”

On social media…

On Facebook, we talked about how Christian unity might mean redeeming conflict rather than avoiding it (some really fantastic comments there) and we also discussed an interesting C.S. Lewis quote

 

On the blog…

Most Popular Post:
“New Songs” 

“It is a season of new songs. It is a season of receiving, of being loved just for showing up.  I am holding all these gifts gingerly, like fragile blue eggs I’m afraid to break. I am holding them the way I hold that white wafer in my cupped, open hands—grateful, relieved, and still just a little bit frightened of what will happen when I take it and eat.” 

Most Popular Comment:
Rachel McGlone Hedlin’s comment after “God and the Gay Christian, Discussion 3,” which you can read as a featured comment at the top of the thread here. 

Out and About…

Over the next couple weeks, I'll be speaking at these events: 

Tuesday, October 14 – Wednesday, October 15
West Virginia Annual Conference (UMC) Clergy School 
Charleston, West Virginia 
More Info 

Thursday, October 16
Good Earth Village Launch Project 
Spring Valley, Minnesota 
More Info 

Friday, October 17
Barefoot Tribe Gathering 
Phoenix, Arizona
More Info

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

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