Sunday Superlatives 1/18/15

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free


A highlight of the week was the opportunity to spend some time with Jonathan Martin, one of my favorite writers and just a kind, open-hearted, and wise person. Dan and I enjoyed giving Jonathan a little tour of Dayton and enjoying a tasty meal and rich conversation. Few people have been as encouraging and supportive of my work as Jonathan. I’m so grateful for his friendship and insights. Be sure to check out his writing. He and Dan are both very tall! 

Another gift this week was the chance to worship again at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland, Tennessee, which has become our church family, and which I write about in Searching for Sunday. I took advantage of a bright blue sky on Sunday to get a photo: 

You can find more snapshots of “real life” at Instagram.

Around the Blogosphere… 

“Dad Fills Out Daycare Questionnaire Honestly For His 11-month-old Daughter

Ben Irwin with “The Day I Was Walter Brueggemann”

“For Brueggemann, reading the Bible well requires navigating between two extremes: the literalist impulse of fundamentalism and the historicist impulse of rationalism. One treats everything as literal, historical fact, imposing modern expectations of “accuracy” and “precision” on ancient texts. The other denies any meaningful connection between the text and reality. Both reflect a reductionist approach to the Bible. Both fail to consider the importance of genre when reading scripture—the codes, if you will, through which the authors described (and critiqued) reality for their audience.” 

NASA takes biggest picture ever

Most Relatable: 
Mike McHargue with “Shamed and Shunned”

“Churches are full of people hiding. I'm in the Atlanta airport as I write this, and during this layover I've gotten three messages from people who asked me for advice because they are afraid of being ‘found out’ at church. One is a man who doubts a lot about the Bible and wonders if God is real or not. Another is a person who told me she's afraid of going to Hell because her beliefs about God have changed–even though she's still captivated by Jesus. The third is a young woman who is exclusively attracted to other women. All three of these people long to know and feel close to God. All three are terrified of discussing their relationship with God with their friends at Church, and are even more afraid of talking to their pastors. Houston, we have a problem.”

Most Powerful:
Benjamin Moberg at Sojourners with “LGBTQ Christians: Hope for the Unseen”

“There were fifteen hundred people in Portland. There were 46 states and 14 countries represented. There were major cultural leaders speaking as keynotes. There were remarkable moments, like when Justin Lee announced his plans to meet with the president of Focus on the Family to discuss LGBTQ youth homeless rates. Yet none of the major Christian media outlets covered the conference. None of them told our story. None of them bothered to show. And in their silence was their declaration: You do not exist." 

Most Eye-Opening: 
Jennifer Soble with “We lock up poorest, not most dangerous” and Joseph Shapiro at NPR with “How Driver’s License Suspensions Unfairly Target the Poor” 

Most Enlightening: 
Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller at This American Life with “Batman” 

Most Challenging
Rev. Amy Butler with “Will the Church Fail or Fulfill Martin Luther King Jr's Legacy?”

“The deep and foundational tragedy of Ferguson and New York and so many other places across our country is that people who live and work and raise families in the same neighborhoods do not know each other, do not understand each other, and therefore cannot love each other.”

Most Insightful: 
Kelley Nikondeha at She Loves with “Jerusalem, Jerusalem” 

“The question remains–why do we resist gathering? Why are we willing to stone the prophets but unwilling to gather under God’s wing? Maybe we don’t want to hear that the ways that seem normative to us, defending ourselves and nursing our prejudices, are ineffective. Maybe we are hesitant to see who else gathers under the wing of Jesus. Maybe we think we are beyond the need of a mother or any need of nurture. Maybe we’re afraid there will be too many or they’ll be too different and we like our idea of a select, similar few.”

Best Tribute: 
Jelani Greenridge with “If You Love American Music, You Have Andraé Crouch to Thank” 

“…The legacy that Andraé Crouch represents is a combination of musical excellence and a fearless sense of multicultural inclusion.” 

Best Reflection: 
Sarah Bessey with “A Lament for Nigeria”

Best Response: 
Kate Wallace at The Junia Project with “They Say the Church is Feminine” 

“Women may indeed make up the majority of people in the pews (for now), but they do not make up even half of the people who make decisions about church services or experience. If men really aren’t going to church, it doesn’t seem to be the fault of women. Perhaps the Church leaders who are making these claims should stop shaming the faithful, and start asking them for help…Yes we need men in our pews. We also need women in our pulpits, on our elder boards, at the communion tables, on the worship teams, and in our denominational leadership. The Church is “too feminine”? No. I’d say the Church isn’t feminine enough.”


We’ve had an AMAZING response to the announcement that Nadia Bolz-Weber and I are teaming up to host “Why Christian?” – an event scheduled for Fall 2015 that will bring together a group of storytellers whose work reminds us why we follow Jesus in the first place. Learn more here, and register soon as the spots are filling fast! 


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

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