Sunday Superlatives 7/15/12


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Best Video:
Sesame Street with “Share It Maybe

Best Writing (nominated by J.R. Goudeau): 
D.L. Mayfield with “On Motherhood, On Death

“After several months, some of our Somali friends finally came to visit. They didn’t want to hold the baby; they felt no need to comment on how cute she was, how she had no hair. They just looked at her, asked me a few questions about the birth. There was a soberness to our interactions, and a sense of calm without the riot of pleasantries all Americans are supposed to produce at the sight of a baby. I was hurt by their inattention, but tried not to show it. I asked for advice on colic, feeding, and sleeping, sure that these original attachment mothers would have some advice for me. They didn’t. They would look into the baby’s wizened little face, listen as she cried. “It is good for you to stay home,” they told me, and then they left....I wondered at how seldom they came to see me, how they had so few words to share. Maybe they didn’t know what to do with me or the baby; premature births as a general rule do not survive refugee life. I learned later that the condition I had is thought to be a major factor in the mortality rates of women in majority nations. If I hadn’t been here, if I had been there: me and the baby would be gone.”

Best Meme: (nominated by Pam Hogeweide
Hey Christian Girl

Best Image:
Margaret Rose Realy with “Fallen and Flowering

“Taking a few steps towards the tree I bent down under the flowering limbs and closer to its scarred frame. The wound was old, partially healed over and not as ugly with infection as I thought it would be. I was tentative about placing my finger tips, and then my palm against the smooth bark, but felt emotionally lighter after having touched its disfigured trunk. The tree’s life had been shortened by the wounding; the damage had caused unexpected stress to its growth. Standing before that tree I was in awe because, though severely broken and damaged, it lived, and as it lives it flowers and bears fruit.”

Best Documentary (streaming on Netflix): 
Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles

Best Story (nominated by Anne Bogel): 
Laura Oyer with “Insta-Baby

“Four weeks ago we were on vacation with my family, and my sister was working on scheduling an appointment to have a uterine growth surgically removed.  Three weeks ago they were told there was a failed pregnancy behind the growth that would need to be removed as well. Two weeks ago there was another scan ... and a heartbeat.”

Most Relatable: 
Ashleigh Baker with “The God Question

“I’ve spent a year seeking. I’ve allowed myself to believe that if I search fervently, think deeply and pray earnestly enough, The God Thing will fall into place. My fingers type messages to those with whom I can trust my heart and my broken voice carries late into the night, all words laced with desperation and a plea for someone to give me a quick solution. Some days I am deeply in love with Jesus. I know God in the quiet and I sense God knows me. And then there are the rest of the days, when I toss the label “agnostic” around on my lips, just to see how it feels.”

Most Talked-About:
Christian Piatt with “Ten Cliches Christians Should Never Use” (See also “Ten More Cliches Christians Should Avoid” and “Ten Antidotes to Christian Cliches”)

Most Heartbreaking: 
Anna See  with “Grave Matters

“I've been telling people we are following the Jewish tradition of waiting one year, not because we are Jewish, but because I haven't been able to face it yet. Of course I think deep down I am just morally opposed to any parent having to commemorate the spot where her child is buried, because I don't think moms should have to bury their children. Ever. So Jack's blank grave is, in a way, my silent protest... How do you capture the sparkle in an eye? A contagious laugh? Wit? Wisdom? A pat on a sister's back? How do you show a love of logic and math coupled with words, words, and more words? An introvert? A leader? The world's softest cheek?"

Most Eye-Opening (nominated by Suzannah Paul): 
Think Progress with “40 Percent Of Homeless Youth Are LGBT, Family Rejection Is Leading Cause

Wisest:
 Jill at Baby Rabies with “A Letter to My 51 Year Old Self

“I want you to remember that they were the hardest thing you’d ever done. They challenged you, and they kept you up at night. They pushed your buttons, and they were never, ever quiet… unless they were in trouble. I want you to remember that you loved them the hardest you’ve ever loved anything, from day one, and every day after that.”

Funniest:
Mallory Ortberg at The Hairpin with “Texts from Jane Eyre

Scariest: 
Nude man armed with chain saw arrested in East Knox County

Most Helpful:
Pete Enns responds to our conversation about Scripture

“The bottom line is that Genesis 1-11, when viewed in its ancient context, is clearly not prepared to provide an account of history. Rather, the ancient Israelites were talking about their God in the categories available to them. To be sure, those categories are not simply adopted but also transformed to tell the story of Israel’s God and why Israel should worship that God rather than the gods of the other nations, a constant source of temptation. But–and this is the point too often missed–morphing those ancient mythic stories is not a setting aside of the idea of myth as if to say “we have risen above such nonsense.”  The Israelites wrote as ancient people, and their argument for why Yahweh is above all the others gods (see, for example, Psalm 95) only worked because of the shared mythic categories between Israel and her neighbors.” 

Most Inspiring:
Micha Boyett with “A Letter to St. Benedict, on his Feast Day

“I was reading a book and stumbled on a few lines about you. Maybe one sentence? It was about how you believed there was enough time. How you always believed there was enough time...”

Most Applicable (nominated by Ray Hollenbach): 
Kristin Tennant at Relevant with “Uniquely You (Sort Of)” 

“Yet somehow in the midst of this wonderful, one-of-a-kind human race, Christians are still prone to thinking we should all be alike. It might be on a subconscious level, but it’s there nonetheless. We have strong ideas about what it means to be a Christian—how our faith should play itself out in everything from church, worship and prayer to service, politics and culture."

Best Conversation-Starter (nominated by Kelly Youngblood
J.D. Greear at Christianity Today with “Should We Stop Asking Jesus Into Our Hearts?

Best Analysis:
Craig Keener with “Jesus Existed

“Contrary to some circles on the Internet, very few scholars doubt that Jesus existed, preached and led a movement. Scholars' confidence has nothing to do with theology but much to do with historiographic common sense...”

Best Synchroblog:
She Loves with “A Love Letter to My Body

Best All-Around:  
Sandra Glahn (via Ed Cyzewski’s fantastic Women in Ministry Series) with “Going to Seminary on Drug Money

“The spiritual crisis laid me lower than the emotional one. What did God want me to do? The wound struck at the core of my womanhood and at my limited view of what God made woman to do. Wasn’t giving birth the pinnacle? Wasn’t raising kids the proper channel for a woman with the gift of teaching? I’d always heard that a female images God when married and more fully images God when she has children, that her highest calling is motherhood and that she is sanctified—especially if she’s a teacher—through that role. No careers outside the home—only caring for the family. Where did I fit into that view of anthropology?”

Most Likely to Succeed:
 Elizabeth Esther with “Yes, it’s really happening

“And now, all those dreams I used to dream while hidden away in my secret space–well, they’re coming true...”

Most Likely to Make You Crave Trader Joe's Cookie Butter: 
Beth Kowitt at Fortune with "Inside the secret world of Trader Joe's"

Most Likely to Start a Big Ole’ Argument on Your Facebook Page When  You Share It:
Ross Douthat  at the New York Times with “Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?

“But if conservative Christianity has often been compromised, liberal Christianity has simply collapsed. Practically every denomination — Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian — that has tried to adapt itself to contemporary liberal values has seen an Episcopal-style plunge in church attendance. Within the Catholic Church, too, the most progressive-minded religious orders have often failed to generate the vocations necessary to sustain themselves.”

Favorite Facebook response to articles such as these:
Julie Clawson with:

“I'm finding amusing all the articles blaming the Episcopal Church's demise and lack of younger congregants on its being "liberal." Because accepting women and gays as (mostly) equals is obviously far more unacceptable to today's youth than antiquated language, liturgy, robes, stained glass, and droning organ music...”

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

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