Six things you should know about

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

1. Women at War? 

I’ve got a post over at Her.Meneutics this morning responding to the Ann Romney/Hilary Rosen debacle and all the war imagery that’s being used to try and rally women in the 2012 election:

 “Frankly, I’m tired of both sides using violent imagery to describe the difficult decisions that I, and my sisters, make every day, and I’m tired of seeing those decisions reduced to bumper sticker ideologies that can be exploited for political gain.  Being a woman is much more complicated than that. The decisions we make—for ourselves, for our families, for our churches, for society—rarely fall into neat and tidy liberal or conservative categories. The boxes we check in the voting booth reflect only a small part of who we are, and like a lot of things, they usually represent something of a compromise...” [read more]

2. "Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians" 

Dan and I love documentaries, and this one definitely grabbed our attention.

"Holy Rollers" follows the rise of the Church Team, one of the largest and most well-funded blackjack teams in North America. The team is comprised mostly of pastors and church planters who make extra money using their card-counting skills to take advantage of casinos.  In their first year, the Church Team acquired a bankroll of $1.5million, and the team was winning around $100,000 a month! The movie documents the team’s successes, failures, internal struggles, and religious rationales in a way that is sympathetic, but brutally honest.

Some reviewers of the religious variety have missed the point with this one and criticized it as an endorsement of gambling. From my perspective, this movie isn’t really about gambling;  it’s about the Christian life, particularly the evangelical Christian life, and all of its lovely and frustrating idiosyncrasies. At one point in the film, one of the members of the Church Team says that God told him another member of the team—the only non-Christian—is stealing from the winnings. This sparks an interesting conversation among team members about how God speaks, how to be part of a community, how to interact with non-believers, and how to justify their decisions. 

If, like me, you’ve spent any amount of time in the evangelical culture, you will relate to this movie. You will likely be frustrated at some point, judgmental at some point, and moved at some point. And that’s what I liked about “Holy Rollers.” It combined something with which I am intimately familiar (evangelical culture) with something with which I am unfamiliar (card counting) to help me see my own culture from a new perspective. This is a great storytelling technique, and it is well-executed in "Holy Rollers." I can’t guarantee that you will like Holy Rollers, but I’m pretty sure it will start an interesting conversation in your living room, as it did in ours. 

Learn more at 

3. The Reformed Boys Club 

Thanks to Sarah Hubbell for pointing out the fact that of the 200 Top Church Blogs listed on Kent Shaffer’s Church Relevance site, only six are authored by women (41 include women contributors). The list is supposed to include a mix of church leaders, writers, journalists, and speakers. But the fact that bestselling author and popular blogger Ann Voskamp didn’t make the list should tell you something. (My blog came in at #20; I suspect it's because I specifically asked Kent to consider my blog after it wasn’t included last year. Sometimes a girl's gotta ask.)  This just goes to show that, though conventional wisdom holds that women are finding a voice online, it can still be a struggle to have those voices acknowledged and celebrated in the Church.

[Note: Kent has updated his blog to address concerns about the lack of women on the list. Hop on over there and leave a comment if you want to add your favorite female bloggers for consideration.]

4. 9 Thumbs Podcast 


I don’t listen to a lot of podcasts, but this one I love....though I may be a little biased because Jason Boyett, Rob Stennett, and Matthew Paul Turner are three of my favorite voices from the blogosphere. The format is simple: three guys, three likes, one weekly podcast. The guys each pick three things they like— from popular culture, books, the internet, TV, etc.—then share and discuss them.  It’s good because the guys have a great sense of humor about things and don’t take themselves too seriously. The podcast just recently launched, and I look forward to hearing more.  

Check out the podcast at

5. “Blue Like Jazz” opens today 

Just in case you gave up social media for Lent and missed the publicity blitz, here’s a list of cities and theaters where the movie will be showing. Opening weekend is critical to the success of the film, so if you’re eager to support Don and Steve and all the work that went into this film, grab a group of friends and head to the theater!  

6. “Saved by the Bell” is streaming on Netflix, people

Public Service Announcement for Children of the 90s: Every episode of “Saved by the Bell” is streaming on Netflix, so if you want to cringe at what you used to consider entertainment—while secretly enjoying every minute of it—be sure to check it out. You’re welcome. 

So what's one thing I need to know about on this Friday the 13th? Shameless promotion encouraged!

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