Sunday Superlatives 2-19-2012


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Programming Note: You know how I went on and on yesterday about how important it is to blog consistently, at least five times a week? Well, I’m going to be breaking my own rule over the next two weeks, as I’ll be speaking a total of 11 times and travelling from Waco to Los Angeles to San Diego to Nashville. (I’ve updated my schedule here, in case you’re interested in attending one of these events.) For some reason, God did not impart unto me the female virtue of multi-tasking, which means traveling usually throws off my blogging schedule. So thanks ahead of time for your patience as I post when I can. 

Now, on to superlatives! 

Around the Blogosphere...

Wisest: 
Julie Clawson with “Loving Women

“Just as the patriarchy kept women oppressed by telling us we need men to care for and or complete us, postfeminism holds women back by making us believe we can do it all on our own. This independent woman thing is actually backfiring for women. Instead of networking and relying on friends to help them advance in this world, women often think they must be self-made in order to be considered successful. Instead of surrounding ourselves with a community of support, we women often feel that we must be strong enough to manage by ourselves. To me this is just another ploy to resist the goals of the feminist movement and keep women powerless and vulnerable. Men take advantage of such things, but women sacrifice the strong support structure of community in an attempt to live up to this postfeminist lie that they don’t need help from no one....I see just as many issues in telling women that they don’t need the support of community as I do in Piper saying that the church has a masculine feel. Both exclude women, cut women out of the core group.”

Wittiest:
JL Sathre with “25 Things I Learned From Opening a Bookstore” 

“7. If you put free books outside, cookbooks will be gone in the first hour and other non-fiction books will sit there for weeks.  Except in warm weather when people are having garage sales.  Then someone will back their car up and take everything, including your baskets.”

Boldest: 
Nadia Bolz Weber with “My Testimony at the Colorado Senate Judiciary Hearing on Civil Unions

“So there are some who see it as their job to stalwartly guard the boundaries of the tent to keep it from crashing, and some who think it our job to be bravely inclusive and stretch the tent. Either way, it’s misguided because …it’s not our tent.  It’s God’s tent. The wideness of the tent be it the church or society, should only concern me insofar as it points to the great mercy and love of a God who welcomes us all as friends. And of Jesus who welcomes all to his table. You think I like that?  You think I want to sit at the heavenly banquet next to Ann Coulter?  Not so much. But that’s what I’m stuck with because I’m in the Jesus business.  And in the Jesus business there is not male or female, jew or greek, slave or free, gay or straight, there is only one category of people: children of God. Which means nobody gets to be special and everybody gets to be loved.”

Truest (nominated by Aly Lewis):  
Aaron Taylor with “What I Wish I’d Known in Jr. High: It. Gets. Better.”

Best Question: 
Nathan Bransford with “Who is your favorite fictional couple?

Best Analysis: 
Timothy King at Sojourners with “The War on Religion is Bad For Religion

“The compromise that the Obama Administration crafted has been welcomed by some of the organizations the original rule would have affected the most including the Catholic Health Association, a trade group that represents Catholic hospitals. It ensures that faith-based groups like Catholic Charities and Catholic colleges do not have to pay for, provide or refer their employees for contraception coverage. This settles the issue for many. But why are there still some complaining so loudly?   It is because they are at 'war.' They view those with whom they disagree with as 'enemies' instead of… people with whom they disagree. The 'war' isn’t so much about the issue at stake but about defeating the other side no matter what the cost. Even though religious liberty issues involved have been addressed, it is a “war” those critics want and it is a 'war' they will continue to wage. This comes at great cost. What is now being lost is a focus on true issues of religious liberty and the very definition of 'religion' itself."

Best Debate
Kevin DeYoung with “10 Reasons to Believe in a Historical Adam
James McGrath with “Ten Really Bad Reasons to Believe in a Historical Adam” 
Pete Enns with “Thoughts on Kevin DeYoung’s Restless Comments on the Historical Adam

Best Advice (nominated by Joy Bennett): 
Leigh Kramer with “To The Girl Who Has Never Dated

“You are whole. You are not incomplete without another half. Keep working on who you are and what you want your life to be about. That is the key. It's OK to be sad and to ask God when it will be your turn. Us singles are drawn together by a common thread. We know the importance of celebrating who we are, making the most of this season of life, and hoping while we wait. There are days that are easier than others, days when your love life pales in comparison to the wonder of life itself. Because life is a gift. We are not guaranteed nor entitled to anything. When you count the gifts in your life, you will find you are blessed."

Best (Accidental) Series:
David Nilsen with “Diversity and Transracial Adoption

Best Sentence: 
Ben Witherington in “John Piper on Men in Ministry, and the Masculinity of Christianity”: 

“...The problem with the church is not strong women, but weak men who can’t handle strong women, much less tolerate women in ministry.”

Best Writing: 
Addie Zierman, for Ed Cyzewski's Women in Ministry Series, with “Faith is a Line – Faith is a Circle” 

“In various classrooms, the debate raged on. Judy didn’t say much about it, but she read us William Carlos Williams and showed us the holiness in a red wheel barrow, glazed with rain. She grew tall like an oak; she spread herself like so many branches over the rest of the church leadership, over all of us. She said, 'You are safe here.' She said, 'Talk to me.'"

Best New (to me) Blog: 
Addie Zierman with “How To Talk Evangelical: An Annotated Glossary

Most Provocative (nominated by Sarah Bessey): 
Views from the Couch with “You Didn’t Thank Me For Punching You in the Mouth
[Warning: If you don’t like strong language, you probably won’t like this post...or hanging out with me after a glass of wine, for that matter.]

“My daughter is `10 years old and has come home on more than one occasion recounting an incident at school in which she was teased or harassed by a male classmate.  There has been several times when someone that she was retelling the story to responded with the old, “that just means he likes you” line.  Wrong.  I want my daughter to know that being disrespected is NEVER acceptable.  I want my daughter to know that if someone likes her and respects her, much less LOVES her, they don’t hurt her and they don’t put her down.  I want my daughter to know that the  boy called her ugly or pushed her or pulled her hair didn’t do it because he admires her, it is because he is a little asshole and assholes are an occurrence of society that  will have to be dealt with for the rest of her life. “

Most Insightful:
Landon Whitsitt with “A Preist, a Levite, and a Samaritan Walk Into a Bar

“Jesus’ parable is not just about racial or ethnic difference, it is also about religious, theological, and ideological convictions..."

Most Practical: 
Gretchen Rubin with “Seven Tips for Getting  Yourself to Go to Bed On Time

Most Thoughtful (nominated by Graham Ware): 
Alastair Radversaria with “A Better Gospel

“For certain people we might tell the gospel as the message of deliverance from the fear of death, loss, and failure and all that that entails. For others the gospel might be the message of a rescue from chaos, whether that is societal, personal, or cosmic. For others, the gospel might be less a message of rescue or deliverance, and more a message of transcendent beauty and joy and of the ultimate affirmation of the goodness of creation. For others, the gospel is the personal message of their value and place in the world and in the sight of God. For others, the gospel is the assurance of meaning and purpose in human life and action. For others, the gospel is the message of forgiveness for past sins, the overcoming of present ones, and deliverance from crippling personal and cultural guilt. For others, the gospel is the message of the liberation of the oppressed and the defeat of all tyrants. For others, the gospel is the message of the overcoming of all human divisions, the bringing together of all ethnicities, people groups, male and female, the generations, etc. The gospel is all of these things – and much more besides – for all of us, of course, but we may need to accent different dimensions of the message in particular times and places.” 

Most Honest:
Joy Bennet with “How To Stay Together When Faith Takes you Down Different Roads

“This place we’re in needs waiting. It takes every ounce of patience we can muster and more. My prayers are filled with pleas for help, direction, and patience. Will we find our way closer together again or will we stay akimbo? How long til we know? What do we do in the waiting? What if our paths remain apart?”

Most Inspiring (nominated by Idelette McVicker):
Laura Parker with “Saying I Do, Still

Most Likely to Relate to Recent Conversations: 
Frank Viola interviews Christian Smith, author of “The Bible Made Impossible”

Most Likely to Rekindle Your Childhood Dream of Becoming an Archaeologist: 
The Guardian with “Archaeologists strike gold in quest to find Queen of Sheba’s wealth


On the blog...

Most Popular Post:
40 Ideas for Lent

Most Popular Comment: 
In response to “Yes, Christianity has a masculine feel. But maybe that should change,” Matt Cook wrote: 

What astounds me, however, is that given such disagreements, evangelical pastors like Mark Driscoll and John Piper  aren't willing to consider the witness of history.   This isn't the first time that Christianity has been criticized for how "feminine" it is.  Historian will point to at least three other periods (and I'm sure there are others) where that same criticism was voiced; the first three centuries of Christian history, the first two centuries of American Christianity, and the approximately past six decades of Christianity in China that take us up to the present day...[read the rest here]

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

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