Sunday Superlatives 4/14/13


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free
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I had a lovely time in Columbia, Missouri this weekend with campus ministers of the Missouri Conference UMC, young adult leaders, and readers. Pictured above: Me acting like a goofball at the famous Shakespeare’s Pizza, with my new friends Haydn and Kaylee. 

Next week I’m headed to Arkansas to speak at First Presbyterian Church, Fort Smith. The event is open to the public, so feel free to stop by and say hello. On Saturday night I’ll be sharing pictures and stories from my year of biblical womanhood. On Sunday, I’ll be participating in an informal Q&A during the church’s Sunday school hour. So join us if you can! You can learn more here

Now on to Superlatives…

Around the Blogosphere...

Funniest:
Reasons My Son Is Crying

Wisest: 
Elizabeth Esther “Precious and Free

"The answer to my recovery was not a new religious system and it was not going back to the old one, either. The answer to a healthy life and healthy relationships was not in attending church, volunteering in the PTA or doing more for others. The answer was to start taking care of myself. The answer was to love myself."

Most Thought-Provoking: 
Roger Olson with “A Non-Calvinist Relational View of God’s Sovereignty” 

“At its core, relational theology affirms two key ideas: 1. God affects creatures in various ways. Instead of being aloof and detached, God is active and involved in relationship with others. God relates to us, and that makes an essential difference. 2. Creatures affect God in various ways. While God’s nature is unchanging, creatures influence the loving and living Creator of the universe. We relate to God, and creation makes a difference to God.” (p. 2) Another author, Barry Callen, says of relational theism (or theology) that it focuses on “the interactivity or mutuality of the God-human relationship. God is understood to be truly personal, loving, and not manipulative. The interaction of the wills of Creator and creature are real.” 

Most Practical (for anyone who studies Scripture academically):
Amanda MacInnis with “Tips for Practicing Lectio Divina as a Student at a Christian College

“I chose a different translation than what I used for my studies. For class and papers, I use the NASB. For lectio divina I chose a different translation, usually a more contemporary one. This helped separate this exercise from the daily exercise of studying Scripture as a part of my program. For the most part I would use something like the NLT, but sometimes I would experiment with a paraphrase like The Message.”

Most Heartbreaking:
Lynne Hybels at Sojourners with “The Cost of Perverted Preaching

“Sharma speaks while standing under a sign that says: 'Being a woman should not make you feel vulnerable.' But sadly, throughout the world women do feel vulnerable.”

Most Powerful:
Ann Voskamp with “What Christians Need to Know About Mental Health

“There’s no guilt in mental illness because depression is a kind of cancer that attacks the mind. You don’t shame cancer, you treat cancer. You don’t treat those with hurting insides as less than. You get them the most treatment. I wanted the brave to speak Truth and Love: Shame is a bully and Grace is a shield.  You are safe here.”

Best Photoblog: 
The Atlantic with "Native Americans: Portraits from a Century Ago

Best Advice: 
Ed Cyzewski with “Hope for a Bad Day of Writing

“Hard times will come in life no matter what you do. Dinner will burn. Babies will cry. Calls will be missed. Bosses will be annoyed. Appointments will be cancelled. Jobs will be terminated. We will have these peaks and valleys in all things. So I’ll take the weeks when editors turn down my best work and my articles fail to make a splash. I’ll take the tears, the frustrations, the early mornings, the doubts, and the moments crying in the car because I just can’t imagine this not working out somehow in the future. This is my calling. It’s the one and only occupation I’ve been sure of.”

Best Response:
Jamie The Very Worst Missionary with “What would Jesus…blog?

“I burst out laughing at the thought of Blogger Jesus gazing at his laptop at noon in his pajamas, sipping cold coffee, checking stats, linking his post on Facebook... Hilarious, right?!... But I still had to ask myself, What would Jesus blog?And Who would Jesus let guest post?”

Best News (And the BEST possible way to share it!):
Nish Weiseth with “A Note for Mr. Hillman”

“Mr. Hillman said something to me that never left: "You're a writer, Nish. You probably don't see it now, but you are. Don't let your gift go to waste..."

Best Pinterest Find:
Cake Mix Waffles
[This is why we have Pinterest, people.]

Best Interview: 
Her.Meneutics with “Finding Faith After Spiritual Indoctrination”: Karen Swallow Prior interviews Samantha Field 

“During the 11 years we attended, the pastor established a totalitarian control of "his" church. He directly interfered in marriages; he meddled in personal family issues. He defined what was appropriate for us to wear, to listen to, to watch, to do, and to eat. Anytime my mother got a new haircut, there would be a sermon about how women are required to have long hair. Any time I wore a new outfit to church, it was subtly approved or disapproved. Women were always at fault for a man's wandering eye. When I was 16, I wore a knee-length skirt to church, and the pastor's son told me that seeing my calves had "caused him to stumble." When I developed tendonitis and had to stop playing the piano for church, he preached a sermon about how God would rip away my talent because my sin was getting in the way of God healing me.”

Best Series:
Alise Wright with "The Christian Guide to Atheists"

“If we want to see fewer angry atheists, perhaps we need to give them less to be angry about.”

Best Analysis:
Kristen Howerton with “How churches should address abuse” 

“It’s important to note that churches are not the only place where the tragedy of child sexual exploitation occurs. Unfortunately, pedophiles prey where they can gain access to children, and that includes schools, day care facilities and sports programs. What seems to be uniquely dangerous within the church, however, is a tendency to attempt to deal with the problem internally instead of involving legal authorities. Some pastors may feel that they can exact accountability and punishment within the church community. Unfortunately this practice in harmful in many ways. It shields perpetrators from facing legal consequences, and it also puts other children at risk since the perpetrators have no criminal record of their actions.”

Best Storytelling:
Tina Francis at Deeper Story with “My C-Word: An Introduction

“I dream of a table where no one feels excluded, uncivilized or ignorant. Where everyone is free to talk and eat to their heart’s content. I dream of a place where every voice, age, sex, accent and story matters. Where cutlery and rhetoric are details; where every dinner roll and tongue is buttered with love. Where people revel as they touch, taste, inhale and savor  the decadent goodness of God’s love. With bare hands, bare feet and bare hearts.”

Most Insightful:
Suzannah Paul with “Waging Peace: Conflict, Christian Unity, & Power

“Whenever Christians get to disagreeing, as we're wont to do, someone inevitably waves the "UNITY!" banner, imploring folks to pipe down and get along. This is understandable, to a certain degree. We are supposed to be known by our love and what-not. But conflict itself is not a threat to peace, and those pleas for unity rarely occur on neutral ground. When the Supreme Court was considering marriage equality, I read arguments by Christians on the right and the left about how disagreements were a distraction from what God really cares about…"

Most Helpful:
Donald Miller with “How to Get Along With an Introvert

“Let them recharge. Introverts don’t want to do several social events in one day. They can survive, and even thrive, on just one or two per week. If you’re dealing with an introvert and you’re lining up meeting after meeting or coffee followed by lunch followed by a “get together” then happy hour and dinner and then drinks after with yet another group, it’s going to be torture. Introverts are like that cell phone you’ve got that needs to be recharged several times per day. In their minds, they’re running a lot of applications.”

On the Kermit Gosnell Story… 

Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic with  “Why Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s Trial Should be a Front Page Story” 

“We think the reason no one acted is because the women in question were poor and of color, because the victims were infants without identities, and because the subject was the political football of abortion." 

For those who have asked, I’m working on a post about the trial and what both pro-choice and pro-life advocates can maybe learn from it. If it turns out to be helpful or insightful, I will run it. (If not, I won’t.) But accusing me of  participating in a mass media cover-up just because I didn’t get a post up within a few hours of learning about about the story is kinda unfair. Like most Americans, I was unaware of the details of this case until late last week. 

On my nightstand…

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table by Shauna Niequist 

I loved this book! Look for a review this week. 

On the blog…

Most Popular Post:
"Why I Don’t Witness to People on Airplanes”  


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

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