Sunday Superlatives 9/22/13

IRL...

I had the distinct pleasure of spending the weekend at Montgomery Belle State Park with the amazing women of Grace Pointe Church (Nashville, TN). Check out this very cool t-shirt, designed for the event by Kimberly Allen

valor-t-shirt.jpg

Next up is my old stomping ground of Birmingham, Alabama. I’ll be speaking at Samford University in Birmingham on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. (Reid Chapel). Come by and say hello! 

This will be followed by a trip to Taylor University at the end of the week. Obviously, with all this travel, posts might be a little spotty this week. Thanks for your patience! 

Around the Web…

Wisest: 
Running Heads with “The Danger of Apologetics”

“The key apologetic for Christianity—far more important than knowing the right answers to hard questions—is love. Communities of faith that embody the kindness of God in cruciform ‘works of love’ are deeply attractive and are themselves evidence (not proof) of the truth of the gospel… Apologetics divorced from lives of love is like a gold ring in the nose of a pig. Apologetics is never just about being right; first and foremost it is about living right.”

Most Honest: 
Becca Stanley with “When There Is Still Hope”

“Sometimes cynicism mounts; the weight and pressure building until it all feels hopeless, not to mention entirely-too-hard. If you’re not growing your ministry, if you don’t have measurable results, you’re dying. He smiles at me after telling me this, and I smile back bravely, sure he can see the waver beneath. Because I look at our “results” and I’m not sure we have anything we should tell potential donors. I can talk all day and climb up on my soapbox about stopping the cycle and helping the kids and fighting for their futures. But things in the trenches look different than they do from the air.”

Most Relatable: 
Brian Valley with “Ten Thousand Pieces of Crumbling Faith”

“My faith was solid as a rock… As long as the ten thousand different ideas and qualifications that made up that rock all held true.”

Most Thought-Provoking:
Richard Beck with “The Witness of the Saints”

“If you aren't talking about biographies you aren't talking about God. That's the truth of the Incarnation. That is why the Spirit is poured out on flesh.”

Most Eye-Opening: 
Jonathan Merritt at RNS with “12 Years a Slave’ portrays religion at its best and worst”

“Many Christian clergy advocated for slavery and, as historian Larry Tise notes in his book, Proslavery, ministers “wrote almost half of all defenses of slavery published in America” and believed the Bible taught that white people could own black people as work animals. Sadly, the examples in history don’t end with emancipation. Many American clergy vocally opposed the civil rights movement and supported Jim Crow laws. In the 1950s, The Alabama Baptist newspaper editorialized, “We think it deplorable in the sight of God that there should be any change in the difference and variety in his creation and he certainly would desire to keep our races pure.”

Most Helpful:
Jill Howard with “Struggles of Young Clergywomen” 

“We come from all denominations, places, and backgrounds.  Yet we all feel the call to serve the church, to care for others, and have promised to love the church, to love God, even in the midst of the ups and downs, the let downs, the challenges, and the uncertain future that opens up ahead of us.  We have much work to do.  We have much work to do as clergy women to educate people that yes, women are just as effective as men in ministry yes, we have much to offer, yes, we possess the gifts, talents, knowledge, and discernment to make a difference in the church and in the world.  We love the church.  We love the people of the church.  We love God.  We are here to serve.”

Most Thoughtful: 
Kate Hurley at the Sexy Celibate with “Why It Sucks to be Intentionally Overlooked” 

“There are funny ways that church culture reflects their unawareness of our disenfranchised loss—not in what they do give us, but in what they don’t give us. The sermons that aren’t given, the prayers that aren’t offered, the books that aren’t written. As if what we are going through is not that important or difficult.”

Best Interview:
Antonio Spadaro, S.J. interviews Pope Francis

Best Photo Series: 
The 35 Most Spectacular Wildlife Photos from the National Geographic Photo Contest

Best Writing: 
Sarah Bessey with “In which I am among the Spanish oaks again”

“I’m far away from that girl, now, and sometimes she makes me want to laugh and sometimes she makes me want to roll my eyes so hard they would fall out of my head. Wake up, wake up, wake up, I would say. Look around you: you’re being broken here I know, but this is embarking point for your wilderness and in the wilderness he will be your God. You gathered everything you needed for the journey among the limestone and the bluebonnets. Maybe healing stains backwards, in the same way that sorrow stains backwards through our lives. Young woman in the Austin airport, you’ll look back, I promise you will, and you will be filled with love and certain gratitude for the days you lived among them.” 

On the blog…

Most Popular Post:
Six Words You Need To Hear Today

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

"Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.  I needed this today, desperately.  And just about a week ago--on one of the hardest days of my life--I was yelling at God, being so upset about everything that was going on, and as I was driving, listening to rock music, I drove past what looked to be a turtle...I turned around and rescued the turtle. So your last paragraph just hit me so hard...because it was as if God told me that even though I was mad at Him, hurting so deeply, He was happy that I noticed the turtle and took care of it. So thank you again.”

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

 

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