Sunday Superlatives 8/3/14


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Around the Web….

Most Relatable: 
Sadie’s (Now-Viral) Existential Crisis 

Most Practical:
Susan Silk and Barry Goldman with “How Not To Say the Wrong Thing”

“Draw a circle. This is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma. For Katie's aneurysm, that's Katie. Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma. In the case of Katie's aneurysm, that was Katie's husband, Pat. Repeat the process as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones….Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, ‘Life is unfair’ and ‘Why me?’ That's the one payoff for being in the center ring. Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings.”

Most Beautiful: 
Hummingbird photographs by Chris Morgan 
 

Most Enlightening: 
Jeremy Courtney with “Behind #WeAreN: ‘If one group is marked, we’re all marked”

“Iraqi Muslims have said they are Christians — not because they have converted to Christianity, but because they see themselves in their Christian neighbors. In the West, we have largely washed our hands of the entire Iraq project and hung both Muslims and Christians out to dry. We meant #WeAreN to be a lighthouse that guided us back to the shores of humanity by recognizing all of the peoples of Iraq who have been targeted by the murderous Islamic State. Instead, through avatars and news articles that validated the suffering of our group, often to the exclusion of others, #WeAreN has become a siren, calling our ship off course and into the rocks of a dehumanizing Christian tribalism. When we find tragedy in the suffering of some and gloss over the suffering of another, we have strayed far from The Way of Jesus.”

Best List: 
Englewood Review of Books with "25 Books to Watch For..."

Best Question:
Jackson Wu at Jesus Creed with “Does the gospel begin with Adam?”

“…We have no examples in the New Testament where someone gives a gospel presentation that begins with Adam in order to prove that someone is a sinner. We should at least be humble enough to ask why this is the case.”

Best Interview:
Michelle Boorstein interviews Krista Tippett of “On Being”

“It’s challenging to cover the best of religion because the best of religion has qualities of humility. The best religious voices and lives are the last to throw themselves in front of microphones. It’s a quiet story, it’s a story of every day goodness.”

Best Idea: 
Call Me Ishmael: The Phenomenon Revolutionizing How We Talk About Books
 

Best Advice: 
The Common Table with “A Thousand Ways to Gather”

“If there's a longing within you for deeper connections, please don't let a messy house, or a lack of cooking skills stop you. Grab take out and meet at a local park. Make sandwiches and have a picnic in the yard. Throw your mess in a closet before everyone walks in the door. Or better yet, leave it out for them to see. They just might love you more for being normal.” 

Best Sermon
David Henson with “Send Them Away: A Homily for the Loaves and Fishes” 

“When the disciples looked out at the multitude and at their resources, the disciples saw only scarcity — what they lacked — and they responded with the only rational solution they could conceive. Too often we see the world this way, through a lens of scarcity, a lens that fears we might not have enough or might have what is rightfully ours taken from us. Whether that’s our  food, our security, our stuff; our comfort, our complacency, our critical distance from those hungry people.”

and 

Nadia Bolz Weber with “Sermon on How Hard It Is Being Spiritual Without You”

“All of that is to say, you cannot be separated from the love of God in Christ because it is in you. It cannot be taken out. You are a walking love of God in Christ for one another.”

Best Perspective: 
Michel Martin with “What I’ve Left Unsaid” 

“Too often in my baby-boomer generation, women of color have had to fight our way into conversations that should have included us to begin with. That needs to change. It needs to change because while we have many experiences that are similar to those of our white colleagues, we are also living with realities that are very different.”

Best Image:
A Map of the Introvert’s Heart

Wisest: 
Matthew Paul Turner with “Grace is not a hashtag”

“Grace is not a hashtag. Grace is not ‘giving the benefit of the doubt.’ Grace is not passive or passive aggressive. Grace does not harbor abusers. Grace is not something to be demanded just because the conversation makes you uncomfortable. Grace is not an excuse to remain silent. Yes, grace is an idea filled with uncertainty. It’s a balancing act. It’s nonsensical. It’s otherworldly. But grace is also present. Grace is intentional. Grace is active."

Bravest:
Debi Jackson shares the story of her transgender daughter 


Truest: 
Peter Enns quoting Oswald Chambers 

“The Christian life is a life characterized by true and spontaneous creativity. Consequently, a disciple is subject to the same charge that was leveled against Jesus Christ, namely, the charge of inconsistency. But Jesus Christ was always consistent in His relationship to God, and a Christian must be consistent in his relationship to the life of the Son of God in him, not consistent to strict, unyielding doctrines. People pour themselves into their own doctrines, and God has to blast them out of their preconceived ideas before they can become devoted to Jesus Christ.”

Most Profound: 
Matt Ingalls at Missio Alliance with “Equality Via Existence”

“In the Kingdom, if you exist, you are equal.”

Most Powerful:
Cia Mathew with “Do I Need to Be White?”

“…The Jesus I follow lived as a man who wasn't rich, wasn't privileged, and wasn't white. The Jesus I follow dined with the city's most marginalized. The Jesus I follow choose twelve, ordinary men to carry the Good News to the nations. The Jesus I follow suffered. The Jesus I follow cares. And the Jesus I follow gives me an identity and voice that is valid.

Most Thoughtful:
Noah Stepro at Missio Alliance with “How You Read the Bible: The Binary Language of Gender”

“Gender is one of the most nuanced and delicate issues in the entire canon…no issue is as culturally shaped as the roles, mores and power structures of men in women (in the Bible and elsewhere). The world of women in the Bible is vast and never monolithic.Women range from slaves, prostitutes and concubines (wives without property rights) to prophet(esses), apostles and judges. In moments of the biblical saga women have a woefully low place – legal property of the paterfamilias. At other times the Bible challenges cultural mores and elevates the status of women to the highest ranks of the burgeoning subculture (apostle, judge, prophet). A binary approach to this subject typically reveals an apathy for socio-historic research, a muddling of current cultural (or in this case western, pre-war) worldviews with trans-cultural Biblical mandates, and a disdain for complexity in theology.”

[See also  Larry Largent with “Recapture the ‘ideal biblical family’”

Most Intriguing: 
Mike McHargue with “How Being an Atheist Made Me a Better Christian”
“Losing God changed me. I no longer feel like I have to have answers to all the questions we face in life. I'm happy to look for an answer without finding one, and I'm comfortable with uncertainty. My faith is an act of simple trust now.”

[See also Ryan Bell’s response, “Thin Places and the Existence of Beauty”]

Most Honest: 
Ed Cyzewski with “Why I Avoided Christians Who Lost Their Faith”

“When I met Clark, I wanted my faith to look like one particular set of beliefs. Everything had to fit into a particular box in order for Christianity to survive. As I explored the Christian traditions and wrestled with the toughest questions about God, evil, hell, and the trustworthiness of the Bible, I saw that there is a firm foundation for us, but it wasn’t always the foundation I stood on. I wonder what Clark would have said if I could have asked him about the reasons why he left the faith. I wonder if he would have felt safe enough to trust me with that precious information after our difficult past. I wonder if I would have had the grace to show him that this faith he’d left is actually quite resilient.”

IRL…

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for little Juliette Erickson. After nearly five months in the hospital, she is finally home! Though this is a big step, the Erickson family could still use your prayers and support. If you would like to make a donation to help cover medical costs, you can do so here. 
 

On the Blog…

Most Popular Post:
“I Don’t Always Tell You” 

Okay, so technically the Mark Driscoll post was more popular than this one, but the conversation that followed “I Don’t Always Tell You” was one of the most honest and moving we’ve hosted. So thank you for weighing in with your encouragement and stories. 

Most Popular Comment (Maybe ever, with a whopping 578 “likes”!)
In response to “Inside Mark Driscoll’s Disturbed Mind…” Just A Woman wrote: 

“When I hear Driscoll, I always think of my father who walked his baby girl up and down the hall when she cried from colic, played tea party and let her style his hair as a grade schooler and taught her how bake bread when she was older. ("I helped make her and I'll help take care of her," he would say.) Certainly Driscoll would have called him out as "pussified" had they known each other. What Driscoll wouldn't have known was the man who in WWII was captured by the Japanese survived the Bataan Death March, and nearly starved to death in almost four years as a prisoner of war. He forgave them all for how he had suffered and taught me how to count to 10 in Japanese and appreciate the good in Japanese culture. Now that is what a real man does if he can. I doubt Mark could.”
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So, what caught your eye online this week? What's happening on your blog?
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