Sunday Superlatives 8/18/13


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free
Praising Dan at the City Gate as part of my year of biblical womanhood. 

Praising Dan at the City Gate as part of my year of biblical womanhood. 

IRL…

Today is Dan’s birthday! And let me tell you, his awesomeness only increases with each passing year.  It’s such a joy to be married to a man this funny, creative, smart, and wise. Not only does Dan keep this site up and running, he’s busy working on a Web startup, writing a screenplay, and renovating another investment property. Just yesterday, he invented a new tape measure. Best of all, Dan is an amazing husband, the best companion and teammate I could ask for. So grateful for him today. 

Dan, poised to take every possible picture of Yellowstone National Park

Dan, poised to take every possible picture of Yellowstone National Park

Together at Glacier National Park

Together at Glacier National Park

Around the blogosphere…

Best Cartoon:
“Trash” by Left-Handed Toons

Best Profile: 
Susan L. Oppat at Faith and Leadership with “The Woman Behind Textweek.com” 

“When her son was diagnosed with autism, Jenee Woodard had to give up her dream of a career as an academic scholar. Instead, she created The Text This Week, an influential trove of online resources for pastors writing sermons, Christian leaders and educators.”

Best Spoken Word (language warning):
Neil Hilborn with “OCD"

Best Writing Advice  (nominated by Luke Hyder
Andrew Peterson with “What Andy Gullahorn Taught Me About Songwriting”

“I can’t tell you how many times over the years that maxim has snapped me out of whatever florid garbage I was writing. It’s a good idea to emulate your heroes, to ask yourself when you get to the bridge, “What would Paul Simon do?” Or when you happen upon a guitar part which, miracle of miracles, sounds unique enough to try and build a song on upon, to ask, “How does James Taylor get into a part like this?” Steal boldly, I say. But most often, when I’m scribbling in a notebook the nonsense that I hope will become a not-unbearable song, when it’s late and I’m sleepy and I’m stuck, stuck, stuck, I remember these words: “Write it like you would say it.”  It usually opens the door to the lyric I was looking for. It keeps me from putting on airs, which we’re all prone to do. People can spot a fake a mile away."

Best News:
Nadia Bolz-Weber with “Today We Are Closer: Lutherans Elect First Female Bishop” 

Best Conversation-Starter: 
Molly Ball at The Atlantic with “The Quiet Gay Rights Revolution in America’s Churches” 

Best Take on a Tough Passage:
David Henson with “The Divisive Love of God: Homily for Proper 15C (Luke 12:49-56)”

“He rejects his own family in front of a multitude and then goes on to accept into his new family prostitutes, tax collectors and outcasts, an open and inclusive stand that ironically causes division within polite society. He tells would-be followers not to bother burying their parents, an outrageous and insulting suggestion to the people of the time. He proclaims that anyone who leaves a family for him is blessed by God. Jesus certainly seems to have an unconventional perspective on family values.”

Best Storytelling: 
Alise Wright with “When You Don’t Fit in At Church

“On Sunday mornings, I wake up early, kiss my still sleeping husband good-bye, and drive nearly an hour to my church in one of the more rural parts of West Virginia. I park my van, covered in HRC and Obama and Strong Bad bumper stickers in a sea of conservative pickup trucks. I wear an Arrested Development t-shirt among a throng of Christian t-shirts. I should not fit in.”

Best Sermon Series:
Jonathan Martin with “Return to Eden

Biggest Lobster:
This One

Most Relatable: 
Jen Fulwiler at Conversion Diary with “Netflix Giveth and Netflix Taketh Away”

“You did this before with Dora the Explorer, and I didn’t complain. I wasn’t happy about it, but it didn’t cause me too much of a problem since my four-year-old says she doesn’t like “all that Spanish talkin’” and wants to watch only programs that use “real words” (we’ll be adding a multiculturalism component to our homeschool soon). I only muttered a few grumbles when Downton Abbey suddenly was gone, since I knew I could track down new episodes — I would find and watch that show if the only place it were available was on one television in a yurt in Turkestan. But now Shaun has disappeared too, and I’m reaching my limit. If Breaking Bad goes away, I will riot. You got us hooked on these shows, and now you have a duty to keep them going. And I don’t want to hear about how Amazon out-bid you on the rights. Did you see that movie Inception, where the guys hacked into a CEO’s dreams to get him to change his mind about a business decision? You know where Jeff Bezos lives. Think outside the box, people.”

Most Thoughtful (nominated by Korin Reid): 
Judy Dominick with “What Color Am I?”

“God is not colorblind.  In fact, not only does He see color; He intentionally pursues a full representation of humanity’s color spectrum through proclamation of the gospel.”

Most Grace-Filled: 
D.L. Mayfield With “The Ministry of Funfetti” 

“I’m not Joan of Arc, it turns out. I’m just somebody who likes to bake cakes.”

Most Encouraging: 
Christena Cleveland with “Everything I Know About Reconciliation I Learned in the Church”

“The church taught me that though racism steals, kills and destroys, the church can partner with God to restore, resurrect and heal.”

Most Challenging: 
Tara Woodard Lehman at the Huffington Post with “Do You Really Need Church?

“After giving it much consideration, I've decided that there is at least one very good reason why I need Church: I have a really bad memory.”

Most Heartfelt (nominated by Joanna Dobson
Tanya Marlow with “No Job for Job (When the Comforters Need Comforting)"

“But what happens when the comforters need comforting? Who ministers to the ministers?”

Most Instructive:
Kurt Willems with “Stop turning Devotions Into Dogma: Reflections on How We Read the Bible”

“I’m convinced that we Christians should be passionate about emphasizing both devotional readings and theological readings of the bible in the context of the church. Both benefit a person individually and the church corporately. When appropriated in a way that only emphasizes devotional readings to the exclusion of solid biblical studies. Devotions should not be dogma and theology should not limit the voice of the Spirit. We need to allow these two ways of reading the Scriptures to complement each other appropriately while simultaneously emphasizing the ways in which they are distinct. Then, when a person hears from the Lord in their devotional reading time, we can affirm it while cautioning that such a word differs from the art of biblical interpretation. This keeps the church intellectually honest and engaged while guarding the church from spiritually draining intellectualism. Thus, the head and the heart work together."

Funniest: 
The Onion with “Group of Friends Engage in Passionate, Incoherent Discussion About Current Events”

“The passionate discourse, said to have been initiated by a muted feed of CNN playing on one of the restaurant’s televisions, reportedly contained scores of factual inaccuracies, gross oversimplifications, self-contradictory declarations, and assertions that would fail to hold up against even the slightest of scrutiny. Sources confirmed that the terms ‘fracking,’ ‘sequester,’ ‘Tea Party,’  ‘entitlements,’ and ‘the Fed’ were all used out of context at various times throughout the heated debate, and that the phrase ‘Washington is broken’ was also uttered over two dozen times.”

Coolest: 
40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World

Wisest: 
Christina Gibson with “Poison Control and Grace” 

“She had a comforting lilt to her voice.  I recognized it later. It’s just called grace. It’s not the cynical ‘I expect the world to fail so of course you’re a terrible parent’ outlook—it’s the “I get that we’re all going to bomb out, so of course your kid ate poop” perspective. And anytime I need a reminder of what grace feels like, I’ll call the Rocky Mountain Poison Control Center just to hear someone say I’m not a failure.”

On the blog…

Most Popular Post:
“You Don’t Hate Me. You Hate My Brand”

Most Popular Comment: 
In response to that post, Erin wrote:

“’So, have you ever felt you’ve been treated like a brand— a simplified rendering of your actual hopes, dreams, and ideas? This might be a good time to pause and ask minorities what it is like living in the U.S.”

*** 

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

 

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