Sunday Superlatives 8/5/2012 (and a scheduling note)


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

“I would love to live like a river flows, 
carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”
 –John O’ Donohue

I need a break from the internet. So in the spirit of Sabbath, I’ll be taking most of next week off to hang out with family, spend some time outdoors,  read poetry like a maniac, and eat ice cream.  I’ll touch base now and then, but for the most part, I’ll be unplugged.  This is to help me rest in preparation for a super-busy fall, which I think will be fun for all of us. (A Year of Biblical Womanhood is finally on its way!)  Thanks for understanding. 

Now on to superlatives!

Around the blogosphere...

Most Relatable: 
Claudia at My Fascinating Life with “The Thing About Pinterest

“Hey look! A perfectly adequate cake!

Most Inspiring: 
Sarah Bessey with “In which I think we should do it anyway

“Do it anyway. Bother. Bother them all by creating, by making, by building, by loving, by writing, by having babies, by doing the daily work of life with joy.”

Most Vulnerable (nominated by Tiffany Anderson
Leanne Penny with “Tears on the Steering Wheel

“You see, chicken man, terrified gay teen, self-righteous pastor, Lesbian Activist and me, we are all his kids.  Loved more fiercely and deeply than I love these two kids strapped in car seats, eager to tear up the library.” 

Most Challenging: 
Jonathan Martin with “The Missing Jesus

“I’ve learned by now that this approach is never going to go over for some people in my world.  On Sunday, I preached one of those sermons that hunted me down against my wishes–a message about how Jesus stood up for the guilty woman who was caught in the act of adultery, but how He would not let Peter stand up for Him when he pulled out his sword and cut off Malchus’ ear in the Garden of Gethsemane.  I proposed that much of what we say and do these days comes from a place of feeling frightened and defensive for a Jesus who is not afraid and does not need our defense; that this is a time to stand with Jesus rather than to stand up for Him.  To stand up for the guilty, to stand up for sinners, to stand up for people who are hurting and accused.  I proposed that we should not let ourselves get sucked onto every ideological battleground, because even when motivated by love (like Peter) we often do more harm than good–and instead we need to be relentlessly focused on loving people in the way Jesus did.” 

Most Informative: 
Scot McKnight with “Junia’s Friends

“They are 'co-workers' with Paul. This is quite the description by Paul. Here are those who called 'co-workers' by Paul: Timothy, Apollos, Silas, Titus, Priscilla and Aquila, Urban, Philemon, Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, and Justus. That’s some pretty serious early Christian company, and Euodia and Syntyche were in this very small, significant, influential circle of co-workers...Maybe many today don’t know who these women are; but Paul did, and God did, and God used them as gospelers in the church at Philippi, a church founded with Lydia and some God-fearing women (Acts 16:13-15). They are next to Junia, women ignored by too many churches. Time to tell their story, too!”

Most Exciting:
Gabby Douglas, Gold-Medal Olympic Gymnast, Rockets to Stardom

Most Eye-Opening (nominated by Caris Adel): 
Bill Plaschke at the LA Times with “Female Saudi Olympian loses quickly, but her courage endures"

"With some in her country calling her one of the "Prostitutes of the Olympics," with her country's television networkrefusing to broadcast the match, with her own neighbors perhaps whispering of her shame, Shaherkani became the first female athlete from Saudi Arabia to compete in an Olympic event.”

Best Story (nominated by Connie Esther): 
Mark Memmot at NPR with “'Entire World' Has Responded To The $500 Tip 'Last Wish,' Brother Says

Best Reminder:
 Lisa-Jo Baker with “Comparisons will kick you in the teeth and hijack your dreams every time

“Nothing is as terrifying as thinking you don’t matter because you can’t do it like her. But if we were to look down, look away from what we wish we had. If we would glance back at where we are, we might see in order to have rubbernecked so hard and so far we’ve been standing with high heels ground down on top of the hand painted, one-of-a-kind life art crafted for us.”

Best Metaphor:
Jeff Clarke with “Embracing the Humanity of the Bible: Listening for the Divine through Human Words” 

“Similar to the incarnation, on which Christ took upon himself the totality of what it meant to be human, so in scripture, God incarnates by taking on the humanness of the writers and the situations they experienced at the time. These are not timeless documents, removed from the world of real life, but time-driven and time-determined pieces of literature. God led the writers along as wind moves along a sailboat, not in the sense of control, but enablement and inspiration. The documents are real, down to earth, living witnesses to God’s ongoing care and relationship with humanity. They are testaments to the ever-presentness of God’s life and our lives coming together. These are not some secretly coded, multilayered, cosmic writings, but living stories of God’s loving interaction with creation.”

Best Response: 
BethanyKeeley-Jonker at Think Christian with “Olympic tributes and true lament

“...The implicit message of replacing a lament and request for God’s presence with an interview with our most famous Olympian is troubling. First, it suggests imperviousness to the suffering of others. Disinterest in an expression of sorrow, even if it is in protest of not including a different expression, seems callous and petty. Second, it speaks to an American unease with the process of lament. While we have a tradition of national eulogy and memorial building, we are uncomfortable with public displays of negative emotion, and we are nervous about someone ‘politicizing’ shared pain in a way we disagree with. Contemplating American response to tragedy leads me to a series of examples of wanting to hold on to our hurt, and others of wanting to dismiss it, but few of sincere, shared lament.”

Best Idea (nominated by Mark Baker-Wright): 
Amy Jacober with “Dreaming of a Spiral-Bound Bible

“In this time when we have Bibles geared to girls, boys, teens, teens who like skating, business people, stay at home moms, alcoholics, workaholics, archeology and ecology, surely the marketing for a Bible which is accessible would not be that difficult. Even more, I see Bibles encased in metal with a magnet enclosure, whose binding is hot pink crocodile print with inserts of stories for girls and Bibles worked up as magazines or graphic novels. A spiral bound Bible suddenly seems like a walk in the park!...What I have been told is that there is no market for such a Bible. That the disability community is too small to warrant the cost and effort that it would take to create such a book. This despite the fact that disability cuts across gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status and geography."

Funniest:
Will Ferrell freaks out about Kristen and Robert on Conan 

Wisest: 
Gloria Furman at Her.Meneutics with “Bowing Down to Your Birthing Ball?: Dismantling the Idol of the Perfect Birth” 

“In a moment when my heart should have swelled with unobstructed joy that our child was born, I sulked. In a moment when my eyes should have looked to heaven in wonder that God would be so gracious to me, I wept angrily. My will had not been done, and that bugged me."

Strangest (nominated by Preston Yancey):
NPR with “The Pineapple And The Hare: Can You Answer Two Bizarre State Exam Questions?

Bravest: 
Kristen at Wordgazer’s Words with “Don’t talk about it”

“After about 20 minutes of hard crying, I felt a stirring in my heart.  Then four short words out of nowhere flooded into my mind, along with a deep warmth that filled my heart to the brim.  Daughter.  He is wrong.'"

Loveliest: 
Enuma Okoro at She Loves with “These Are Our Bodies Broken For You

“If it is true that God created our bodies to be temples of divine dwelling, then are not our bodies places where God continues to choose to speak, and make God’s self intimately known? Does not the voice of God echo throughout our limbs and ligaments offering grace, healing, hospitality and prayer for us and for those around us?”

Most Likely to Make You Cheer: 
Aubrey Sampson (at Ed Cyzewski’s blog) with “Why I’m Eating with Mary

“She is not preaching. She is sharing.” 

Most Likely to Gross You Out: 
The Huffington Post with “Do Olympic Swimmers Pee In The Pool?

“Warmup/practice - totally free reign. As a swimmer, you just have to accept that you're swimming in pee. I had a teammate that would sit on the wall and announce ‘I'm peeing!’ which was... disgusting... but at least she warned us. I'm sure I've swum directly behind people who were just letting it all out.”

Most Likely To Induce  Face-Palm: 
Fake Church Kidnapping: Pennsylvania Pastor, Church Charged With False Imprisonment

“A southeastern Pennsylvania church and a youth pastor are facing criminal charges for a mock kidnapping of a youth group that was meant to be a lesson in religious persecution.”

On the blog...

Most Popular Post (Surprise, Surprise!): 
Some words for Christians on both sides of the Chick-fil-A War

"...The genius of the culture wars is that they convince us we change the world through bumper stickers, boycotts, and ballot boxes. They mobilize us around insignificant "wins" that, in the long run, only make things worse. The truth is, this whole Chick-fil-A storm will probably blow over in a few weeks, and when we come out from our hiding place in the basement, I fear that the only thing that will have changed is the unnecessary divide between the Christian community and the gay community will have grown wider.  And as much as we might like to, we can’t turn around and head back to the basement. As Christians—conservative and progressive, gay and straight, activists and slacktivists—we must direct our efforts instead toward bridging this divide, which is going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of disappointment, a lot of tears, a lot of compromise, a lot of honesty, a lot of mistakes, a lot of apologies, a lot of listening, a lot of forgiveness, a lot of meal sharing, a lot of gospel.  In other words, it’s going to take a heck of a lot more effort than either eating or avoiding a chicken sandwich." 

[On a related note, I just want to say that in the wake of this crazy Chick-fil-A debate, I’ve actually engaged in some relatively constructive, redemptive conversations, and I’ve been encouraged to see Christians challenging one another to raise the level of discourse. Sure there’s been a lot of ugly mud-slinging...okay, mostly ugly mud-slinging....but believe it or not, I’ve encountered a few situations in which the fight ended in hugs. The Christian community is diverse, and so there will always be tension, but I’m beginning to think that maybe I’m not as out of step with my faith community as I once thought; maybe there’s still hope that things will change.]

Also, if you’re interested, we’ve created a new special tab at the top of the site for Mutuality 2012, as I’ve gotten a lot of requests for that.

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

Have a great week!

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