Sunday Superlatives 11/25/12

'Vintage Thanksgiving Greeting Card, c.1870' photo (c) 2011, Playing Futures:  Applied Nomadology - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Around the blogosphere...

Funniest Caption: 
Catalog Living with “Lighting a Fire Under You” 

Best Thanksgiving Series: 
Kristen Howerton reports from her family’s trip to Peru—the funny, the inspiring, and the scary

Best Imagery (nominated by Kelley Nikondeha
Amy Lepine Peterson with “Speaking Faith as a Second Language” 

“At some point, despite feeling like all my neural pathways for language were overgrown with weeds, I began to appreciate what happened when our communication was reduced to the lowest common denominator. Beauty existed in that simplicity. We agreed on the most basic things, and didn’t have to push beyond them. When words failed us, we took action. When my electric motorbike ran out of battery power on a lonely stretch of ricefield, I found a pregnant woman, my age, alone in her small house. She plugged in my bike and macheted through a coconut for me, pouring out the sweet milk of hospitality for the stranger… It was in Vietnam, when my English was slipping away in my first year of teaching, that my faith language began to be renewed. Out of the Bible Belt for the first time in my life, I met people who had literally never heard the story of Noah and the ark, or Esther and Mordecai, or Mary and Joseph. I was shocked. The words were all new to them, and that made them become brand new to me…”

Best Response:
N.T. Wright with “Women Bishops: It’s about the Bible, not fake ideas of progress

“All Christian ministry begins with the announcement that Jesus has been raised from the dead. And Jesus entrusted that task, first of all, not to Peter, James, or John, but to Mary Magdalene. Part of the point of the new creation launched at Easter was the transformation of roles and vocations: from Jews-only to worldwide, from monoglot to multilingual (think of Pentecost), and from male-only leadership to male and female together. Within a few decades, Paul was sending greetings to friends including an “apostle” called Junia (Romans xvi, 7). He entrusted that letter to a “deacon” called Phoebe whose work was taking her to Rome. The letter-bearer would normally be the one to read it out to the recipients and explain its contents. The first expositor of Paul’s greatest letter was an ordained travelling businesswoman."

Best Reflection: 
Winn Collier with “Like Thunder Follows Lightening” 

“‘Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth,’ say Barth. ‘Grace evokes gratitude like the voice of an echo. Gratitude follows grace as thunder follows lightning.’” 

Best Discussion: 
RJS at Jesus Creed with “Job is innocent and he proves faithful”

“Longman has a serious discussion of the theological implications of the innocence of Job. As Christians we need to take the entire Bible into account. The story of Job does not negate the words of Paul in Romans, or render the atoning work of Christ unnecessary. But it should, perhaps, challenge some of our assumptions and presuppositions as we try to understand the nature of God’s relationship with his creation.”

Best Point: 
Kristen Rosser with “‘Men must be spiritual leaders’ – Real Life Consequences

“A few minutes later, I asked her why. “He’s just not a spiritual leader,” she answered. After we parted ways, Shawn turned to me and said, “I can’t help wondering how many otherwise beautiful relationships have ended due to misconceptions about spiritual leadership.” 

Most Informative: 
Neil Godfrey with “Why New Testament Scholars Should Read Ancient Novels” 

“So Hock’s concluding message is that ancient novels are indispensable reading for New Testament scholars…Hock asserts that ancient novels are, ‘in a word, indispensable — for corroborating and clarifying any number of details in the New Testament and for gaining new insights into the central interests and claims of the New Testament, whether Christological or moral.” 

Most Instructive: 
Brian LePort with “Educating the local Church” 
From “Avoiding Quick and Easy Apologetics” - 

“The flip side of this coin is the danger of what I call “quick-and-easy apologetics”. I am fine with apologetics. Apologists have strengthened my faith in many areas over the years, even when I come to disagree with a wide variety of their arguments. I don’t know how useful apologetics function as a means of converting people, but I have found that writers ranging from C.S. Lewis to Michael Licona have caused me to think afresh about my beliefs in ways that encouraged me to be a “thinking Christian”. But “quick-and-easy apologetics” can be the dangerous side of apologetical works. Sometimes apologists are desperate to provide an “answer” and often the answer is overly simplistic, or even worse, wrong in such a way that it is obvious that the apologist wanted to provide an answer more than the apologist wanted to provide a careful, thoughtful response.”

Wisest: 
D.L. Mayfield with “Mutuality

“so we are learning here about mutuality. how it is the slowest of slow-cooked meals (starting with planting seeds and all). it drives me batty, to be honest. i would love to march down these graffiti streets like a 60-year old nun, head held high, doing the work of the Lord. heavens, i would like to use the degree i paid thousands of dollars for, to teach people how to read and write and help make life more bearable here. i would love to see a need and pounce on it, fix it, serve somebody. because this has always been who i am. please, please don’t ask me to give it up. but i have been asked, and my fingers have been uncurling slowly. just being a neighbor is one of the hardest, most boring things in the world.”

Truest: 
Addie Zierman with “When it’s like baptism” 

“And who knows if it’s faith or writing or both, but you edit like mad, and you submerge yourself in the dark mystery of it. You relive it and rehash it and turn it in 15,000 words shorter, and it’s all a kind of baptism. You come out a little clean, a little healed, a little bit more whole.”

[A big congrats to Addie! I cannot wait to read this book.]

On my nightstand...

Flight Behavior: A Novel
By Barbara Kingsolver

On the blog…

Most Popular Post: 
The Real Evangelical Disaster

“This, I believe, is the real evangelical disaster—not that Barack Obama is president and Mitt Romney is not, but that evangelicalism has gotten so enmeshed with politics, its success or failure can be gauged by an election.”

Most Popular Comment: 
In response to “The Real Evangelical Disaster,” Chris Routley wrote: 

It's so interesting that Mohler speaks about "the cause of Christ" being at risk by people not voting the way he wants. I've lost count of the number of conversations I've had over the past few months where I've expressed my concerns at how the merging of right-wing conservative politics and evangelical Christianity that he endorses has in itself hurt the cause of Christ more than anything else in recent history. 
Having "good Christians" in office hasn't brought a single soul to Christ. Passing laws to make "unChristian" things illegal hasn't saved anyone. Supporting Chik-fil-A didn't demonstrate to a single person that they are loved by God and welcome in our churches to learn more about this God who loves so extravagantly.
What those things HAVE done is turn people away from God, and from wanting anything to do with the people who deem to speak on His behalf.
Want to help the "cause of Christ," Mr Mohler? Stop worrying about politics and start worrying about loving the people who need to know Him.

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

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