Sunday Superlatives 1/6/13 - Epiphany

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Prayer for Epiphany: O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. – Book of Common Prayer

Around the Blogosphere…

Best Video
C.G.P. Grey (at Mental Floss) with “Napoleon Wasn’t Short, Vikings Didn’t Wear Horned Helmets, and 3 More Historical Misconceptions

Best Storytelling:
Vicki Valosik with “If You Invite an International Student Home for Thanksgiving

The years may fly by and you may forget what it was like to not be subject to “random” security checks or the worry that comes with having family far away in a place of unrest. The sharp edges of your cultures may wound each other unintentionally and at times take you by surprise. But you will not forget, even as the years fly by, that the harmony is richer because of the struggles and that that faraway place is now a part of you too. You will learn together which of the sharp edges deserve to be blunted and which ones to keep as they are…but to handle with care.”

Best Analysis:
Krish Kandiah with “Tim Keller, Women, and Ignoring Your Own Rules

“The problem with the argument that people who take a different view on the role of women are “loose with the scripture” is that it assumes that there is only one way of reading scripture on this issue.”

Best List:
Shane Claiborne at Red Letter Christians with “12 Hopes for 2013

9. Get outdoors often.  And enjoy things like fireflies and shooting stars.  Take someone to the beach or the mountains for their first time. And regularly get my hands into the garden… so when I type on the computer I can see dirt under my fingernails.10. Learn a skill – like welding – and use it for something redemptive, like turning a machine gun into a farm tool.”

Best Reflection:
Dan Gilgoff at CNN with “5 Things I Learned Editing the Belief Blog

“You don’t have to be religious to think religion stories matter; you just have to be curious about the way the world works.”

Best Reminder: 
Richard Beck at Experimental Theology with “Cathedrals of Time” 

We shouldn't go to holy places as much as create holy times”

Best Interview:
The Guardian interviews Maria Popova of Brain Pickings

“If something interests me and is both timeless and timely, I write about it. Much of what is published online is content designed to be dead within hours, so I find most of my material offline. I gravitate more and more towards historical things that are somewhat obscure and yet timely in their sensibility and message. We really need an antidote to this culture of "if it's not Google-able, it doesn't exist". There's a wealth of knowledge and inspiration offline, ideas still very relevant and interesting.”

Most Inspiring:
Kristin Lucas with “Why This Matters” 

“And the two men “in charge” brought up a woman—A WOMAN—and told everyone how deeply impactful she had been on them. Not because she was their mother or their sister or their aunt or their grandmother. But because her ministry as an adult leader in their lives was important.”

Most Thought-Provoking:
Sierra at The Phonix and the Olive Branch with “Modesty, Body Policing, and Rape Culture: Connecting the Dots” 

The hyper-vigilance of fundamentalist men and women to root out “immodesty” conceals a hatred of female sexuality: secondary sex characteristics should not be visible except in approved circumstances. The system is designed to ensure that the only time a man is “turned on” by a woman is when he is allowed to act on his urges: in the marital bed. In other words, if a woman’s body is visible, it ought to be available for sex. Although I don’t think many men think this consciously, the idea crops up in misogynist rhetoric all the time. “Immodest” women are “asking for it,” or it’s “false advertising” if a woman in a short skirt won’t go home with you, or (in the terms of the Christian patriarchy movement) a woman “defrauds” a man (literally, deprives him of a right or property) by allowing herself to be attractive in a situation wherein sex with her is illicit or unwanted.”

Most Relatable:
Kelle Hampton at Enjoying the Small Things with “The Key to Failure

If you share, if you publish, if you write, if you speak, if you are brave and decide to put yourself out there, I promise you, someone won't like it.  Someone won't agree with you.  Someone will misinterpret.  Someone will think that you are silly, unqualified and that your work is crap.  That you are crap.  They might not just think it but they might tell you.  And that won't feel good, especially not the first time you hear it.  But it is necessary.  And it's okay.”

Most Eye-Opening:
Lynne Hybels at Red Letter Christians with “Women in the Holy Land – Just Like Me

To honor David’s memory and to try to prevent other parents from experiencing such loss, she became a spokesperson for The Parents Circle, a group of more than 600 Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost an immediate family member in the conflict.  They join together to share their stories, to empathize with one another, and to grieve together. ‘Then,’ says Robi, ‘we can stand together on stages in schools and before governments and tell our stories of loss—but also our stories of reconciliation.’”

Most Encouraging: 
Michele at She Loves with “Eshet Chayil! Who…Me?” 

So, my friends, shall we do what’s in front of us to do today? Shall we become Women of Valor? Intrepid Women? Brave Women? Women who will take care of whatever God places in front of us, regardless of whether it feels big or just a part of our everyday lives.”

 Most Challenging:
Kelley Nikondeha  at She Loves with “Mary’s Song

I want to sing of grand reversals, too.”

David Buller at Biologos with “To Serve and Preserve—Genesis 2 and the Human Calling

Genesis 2 should banish from our minds any idea that creation care is somehow “secular” work for a Christian, or that it is not even our responsibility. This was the first task given to humanity, to serve and worship God by cultivating and protecting the natural world.”

(at Rage Against the Minivan) "What I Want You To Know: Foster Parenting is Hard"

“It is so hard to get a phone call at 2 am in the morning. Get myself unbleary and unrattled (there's always that 2 am worry that it's bad news about my momma or my husband's parents). Listen to a short yet horrific story about why the sheriff needs to drop off the baby and her big sister at this insane hour. Rushing to get formula or diapers, set up a crib, get a bed together and put on something that won't embarrass me, the sheriff and the children before they get there isn't the hard part. That's sheer adrenaline. The hard part is finding a place to tuck the story in my brain so that when the children walk in I don't smother them with unwanted affection and pity. That I don't scoop them up and try to save them from this world that is treating them so unfairly. That when they get out of the sheriff's squad car I can just say hi and take them to meet the hamster. Friendly and open but also acting like this is a regular gig at our place at this hour. "Hey, we were just hanging out. Glad you could show up to keep us company."

Dianna Anderson with “A Monstrous God

Evil is not a corrective from God to teach us a lesson. To believe so is to worship a devil.”

Most Likely To Make You Cheer  (nominated by Sarah Moon)
Dani Kelley with "The Body I Have"

"Wearing clothes that fit does not make me a bad person. Wearing clothes that fit does not make me a seductress. I’m not dressing for the approval of others. I’m dressing for my body, my comfort, my own approval. And I will not pretend that the body I have is toxic poison anymore. Neither being fat nor being female is shameful." 

On my Nightstand…..

Ariel: The Restored Edition by Sylvia Plath

Does Jesus Really Love Me? by Jeff Chu (available in March, but you can pre-order now; highly recommended!)

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

In my Headphones….

Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials

Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel…

Recently Watched…

Mad Men -  Season Five (5/5 stars)

“Safety Not Guaranteed” (4 stars)

“Moonrise Kingdom” (4.5 stars)

On the Blog…

Most Popular Post:
Help Me Make the Blog Better in 2013

Most Popular Comment: 
In response to “Help Me Make the Blog Better in 2013,” Lucy wrote: 

With sexuality (and with singleness) could you look at masturbation from a theological perspective. I think it is something that maybe teenage guys get talked at all the time about but it never gets even whispered about for women. And it's not that I think there would be different rules but rather I need a theolgogical framework in which to think about it, and no one wants to even begin talking. But it is an issue I'm single and in my 30s and my non-Christian friends think "contentment in singleness" is a euphemism for something. Are they right?”

Well, it looks like we’ll be talking about masturbation! So stay tuned.

Saint of the Week...

via Jennifer Fulwiler's "Saint's Name Generator"

St. James the Greater
Patronage: Arthritis Sufferers; Blacksmiths; Equestrians; Laborers; Pharmacists; Pilgrims; Soldiers; Veterinarians
Learn more about St. James the Greater

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

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