Sunday Superlatives 4/29/2012


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Around the Blogosphere...

Best Video:
Lotte Time Lapse: Birth to 12 Years in 2 min. 45

Best Series: 
Kathy Escobar with “Rebuilding After Deconstructing

Best Analysis: 
Timothy Gombis at iMonk with “Evangelical Resistance to the Gospels: How & Why

“This is a reading strategy whereby we keep Jesus safely tucked away in our hearts, self-satisfied with our piety.  But we intentionally avoid doing what he says with our bodies, social practices, and community dynamics. It’s too threatening.  If we actually did the things Jesus says to do, we’d have to change, and we just don’t want to.”

Best Question:
The Ruthless Monk with “Where is the voice of the evangelical academic woman?

Best Image:
Tony Jones with “What Religion Is

“Religion is the trellis that our experiences of the Divine climb on. The handholds, if you will, by which we organize our experiences of the numinous.”

Wisest:
Kent Annan at Christianity Today with “Kony 2012 and the Golden Rule: How Do ‘We’ Tell ‘Their’ Story?

“Whether as individuals or multi-million dollar Christian development organizations, we need to be accountable for how we speak about each other—particularly about those who have less power than we do. Articulating principles of a Golden Rule for communication can help align our speaking well with our doing good, align our speaking justly with doing justice."

Bravest
Leanne Penny with “Depression ≠ no faith

“I may have recurrent and genetic depression, I may not, I’m not entirely sure yet. However, I pray that everyone in the church begins to understand that my depression doesn’t make my faith any less strong than your eczema, diabetes or whatever genetic disease you’ve inherited.”

Wittiest: 
Shekinah Jacob at She Loves with  “Dear God, Would You Like a Doughnut?

“There’s a reason why I never have any Mary-Poppinsy updates on my facebook status that read: 'Marvelled at clouds with kids, and then we held hands and chanted poetry.' Or: 'What a joy to have two children who help with grocery shopping and never ask for bubblegum at the check-out counter.' This is because when I do experience such moments, I’m struck speechless and cannot articulate my happiness, and thus its records are lost to the general public forever.”

Most Thoughtful:
Wendell Berry with “It All Turns on Affection” (2012 Jefferson Lecture) 

“... And so I am nominating economy for an equal standing among the arts and humanities. I mean, not economics, but economy, the making of the human household upon the earth: the arts of adapting kindly the many human households to the earth’s many ecosystems and human neighborhoods. This is the economy that the most public and influential economists never talk about, the economy that is the primary vocation and responsibility of every one of us.”

Most Mindful:
Micha Boyett Hohorst with “Dishes and Litany and all that Beauty

“I live in the litany of the putting away. The clean dishes go onto shelves, forks and knives and cups and bowls. And the boys are waiting for their food, always waiting for food. I move from fridge to stove to sink to table, little circles.”

Most Inspiring: 
Neely Stansell-Simpson with “Happy Birthday, Woman Wisdom

“We named Sophia after Woman Wisdom, the feminine personification of God found in the Old Testament, particularly in Proverbs. We named her after Woman Wisdom partly because She’s a pretty kickass biblical character, and partly because our lives were such a mess at the time of Sophia’s birth. We hoped that God in Her infinite wisdom knew what She was doing.”

Most Eye-Opening (nominated by Marty Troyer): 
By Their Strange Fruit with “Earth Day, Stewardship and Environmental Racism

“A double standard exists when it comes to environmental conditions/practices and what is considered acceptable in a given community. Both low-income neighborhoods and communities of color suffer more health risks due to environmental pollution than their more privileged counterparts. Children of color are 60% more likely to suffer from asthma, and twice ask likely to experience lead poisoning. Families of color also live closer to landfills and hazardous waste treatment facilities. It is an unfortunate fact that 53% of white children breathe air that doesn't meet EPA standards. But the rate increase to 63% for Black children, 72% for Asian American children, and 74% for Latino children.”

Most Likely to Make You Feel Better About Your Book Sales: 
Mental Floss with “11 Early Scathing Reviews of Works Now Considered Masterpieces

Most Likely To Come in Handy When Arguing With Someone in the Comment Section:
Your Logical Fallacy Is...

Most Likely to Insult One (Or Three) of Your Life Decisions:
The Daily Beast with “The 13 Most Useless Majors
[Note: I majored in #7 with an emphasis on #8 and a minor in #6]

Best Biographical Sketch: 
Jennifer Fulwiler with “What Mother Angelica Taught Me About Radical Faith

"The last day I was at EWTN was the day of Mother Angelica's 89th birthday. Before I left for the airport, I took one last walk around the impressive campus. I went by the chapel, in which there is Mass twice a day. I saw the gift shop, and the kitchen where guests of the network are treated to home-cooked meals. Outside, the parking lot was filled with the cars of visitors, folks who had come to Mass, and all the people employed by this media powerhouse. When I reached the campus exit, the last thing I passed was those satellite transmitters. I stood and looked at these mammoth structures for a moment, in awe of what they represented. It was staggering to consider that all of this originated with one nun who had no money and no media experience."

Best Rallying Cry:
Daniel Kirk with “A Time to Speak

“Women in many parts of the church are told, through word and deed, that they are not needed for the church’s work. Not only are they in denominations that will not ordain them, they are in worship services where women will never be able to read scripture or preside at the table or, in some places, take the offering. Dear everyone: this destroys women.”

Best Perspective (never thought about this before): 
Jayson Littman with “Can We Leave the Ex-Gays Alone?

“The truth is that ex-gays are not fully accepted in their own religious communities. While preachers and rabbis publicly regard their ex-gay congregants as heroes and champions, ex-gays are often ridiculed and judged by the very people that demand they change. Many lay leaders that support the ex-gay movement would not want their own daughters marrying the very individuals they counsel to change. Successful ex-gay alumni can't come out as ex-gay, as they will likely be ostracized by their own religious communities and the gay community. It's a lose-lose situation.”

Best Observation:
Jamie Arpin-Ricci with “In Defense Of A Thousand Words

Best Story: 
Lydia Durairaj at She Loves with “Dark Is Beautiful: Learning to Love the Skin I’m In

“For too long, I believed my skin color represented blemish, dirt and filth. Instead of waiting in the shadows, I should have taken my rightful place in school plays or family reunions. But I share an unspoken space and language with many other dark-skinned people who’ve hidden behind someone in a group photo, covered their smiles with the palms of their hand, and convinced themselves that they are beautiful— inside (whatever that means).”

Best Critique: 
Chaplain Mike at iMonk with “Esau Christianity? Douglas Wilson Needs a Bible Study

“What is clear is that Wilson exudes a deep distrust and contempt for women in this post.  What he says sounds nothing like the way Jesus or Paul related to their sisters and partners in the Gospel. For instance, he throws out the old canard about women conspiring to form a “shadow government” behind the scenes in order to function as illicit leaders in the congregation. Believe me, after serving as a pastor for more than 25 years, I’ve had as much trouble with masculine guys as with scheming women. But Wilson would have us believe that, if only the church’s male members would “man up” and take control over the vexatious vixens among us, we would see the church functioning as it should. You might want to ask the leadership at Mars Hill or Sovereign Grace Ministries how that’s working. Better yet, ask the women in those groups.”

Most Encouraging: 
Brian LePort with “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go

“What I have learned from Barak is simple: when you know a woman worthy of honor who makes the world around her better the right thing to do is to respect her strength. Barak knew Deborah had proven herself as a woman worthy of respect and even submission. Deborah deserved to be understood this way.”

Most Practical: 
Savvy Blogging with “Don’t Be Ruled By the 1%

Most Deserving of the Prom Queen Scepter: 
Cardboard prom dress is just the right fit for this young woman

Most Reflective: 
Richard Beck with “Open Communion as Peace Making

“Culturally and historically in many parts of the world, and in the Middle East in particular, it was and is assumed that you are to never act violently against someone with whom you've broken bread. To break bread with someone wasn't and isn't a casual affair. To break bread signals solidarity, a deep commitment that cannot be treated lightly. We might say that eating together forms a sort of covenant relationship between the two parties.”

On the blog...

Most Popular Post:
10 Tips for Dealing with Online Criticism

Most Popular Comment: 
In response to “Ask a Nun,” Eleanor Jane wrote: 

“'Culture of death' Owch! Overall an interesting post and well written, but that phrase really jumped out at me as being pretty harsh to the majority of western women who use contraceptives (but may not ever have an abortion). I personally don't see it as killing a potential baby (or more generally to 'embracing a culture of death') to prevent ovulation! And of course I don't think that it's at all valid to think that contraceptive use is linked to women who "denied their feminine identity, obliterated and did violence to the feminine, and, ironically, held up the male paradigm as the only good paradigm. It seems oddly ironic that someone who has chosen to be celibate (and therefore not have children) suggests that choosing not tphave children (or all the children you could possibly have) 'denies the feminine identity' etc. I believe that I have an intrinsic, inescapable feminine identity (regardless of what I do, I'll always be female and feminine), and that I'm valuable to God for who I am, not just for producing and raising the next generation."

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

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