Sunday Superlatives 10/20/13

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Around the Blogosphere…

Best Video:
Lily Myers with “Shrinking Woman” 

Best Interview:
Sharon Hodde Miller interviews Lynn Cohick for Her.Meneutics in “The Double-Edged Sword of Being a Female Bible Scholar” 

“I wonder if people think, "Lynn has been asked because she's a woman, so I'm going to presume that her work is not that good, that she wasn't given this based on her merit or her argument, but just because she's a woman. There are still tremendous challenges for women in evangelical scholarship, and I'm just not sure how to go forward because of the tokenism mindset. I want to encourage female scholars, but I would want a young, male New Testament scholar to look up to me as much as a female New Testament scholar would. I want to move beyond thinking that I should just mentor women. I should also mentor men, and I think that would be the next frontier.” 

Best Synchroblog: 
The “When We Were on Fire” Synchroblog, via Addie Zierman, whose excellent book by that title released last week


Best Writing: 
Tina Francis at Deeper Story with “Jerry Springer Scones: A Love Story”

“No, fighting for peace is rarely a glamorous affair. The icky work of peacemaking is about leaning into discomfort and swallowing your pride. It’s the scary undertaking of feeling ALL the feelings–and choosing love anyway. It’s sticking around for tough conversations when you’d rather stab a pillow. It’s parking your butt in the vinyl kitchen chair and meeting in the middle instead of hiding out at Starbucks. It’s baking scones for your love when you’re feeling vulnerable and exposed. It’s choosing to believe that your husband isn’t going to break your heart, even though your ex-boyfriend butchered it beyond recognition. It’s refusing to say  scarring words–the ones you can’t take back and that he’ll never forget; words that will break both your Humpty Dumpty hearts forever. Peacemaking is “Grab the Clorox and clean the toilet bowl” kind of work. It’s also beautiful, sacred, holy work."

Best Response:
David Hayward with “John MacArthur Sends 500,000,000 Charismatics to Hell”

“Jesus said that the Spirit comes and goes as it wills, like the wind, beyond our control and understanding and even sometimes beyond our observation. Is it possible that this movement that MacArthur can’t control, can’t understand, and can’t even explain is the very wind of the Spirit he desires? Is it possible that this movement that he and his fellow theocrats can’t harness is the Spirit that won’t and can’t be contained? Is it possible that the maverick Spirit is acting in a very unreformed manner, thanks be to God?"

Best Profile:
LA Times honors Sister Antonia Brenner

“Small of stature, with blue eyes peeking out from under her traditional black–and-white habit, Brenner cut a strikingly serene presence in the overcrowded prison of 8,000. She lived as any other inmate, sleeping in a 10-by-10-foot cell, eating the same food and lining up for morning roll call. She would walk freely among thieves and drug traffickers and murderers, smiling, touching cheeks and offering prayers. Many were violent men with desperate needs. She kept extra toilet paper in her cell, arranged for medical treatment, attended funerals.”

Best Story: 
Brant Hansen at CNN with “Mr. Spock Goes to Church: How One Christian Copes with Asperger’s Syndrome”

“I still feel alienated from many parts of Christian culture, but Jesus himself finally reached me. And man, did I feel that. To people who are beaten down or befuddled by religious rules, Jesus offers something that no one else does: rest. ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,’ he says. And he sums up the entirety of complex and confusing religious laws with this: “Love God, and love your neighbor.” Beautiful. Even children can understand that.”

[Reminds me of Erin Thomas' great guest post: "Embracing Faith as an Aspie"]

Best Insight:
N.T. Wright on the Doctrine of Election

“At the heart of one of Paul’s strangest and most challenging chapters we find exactly this theme: that the creator God, having entered into a covenant with Abraham’s family that he would bless the world through that family, has been faithful to his promise, even though it has been in the upside-down and inside-out way now unveiled in the Messiah.”

Best Idea:
Marque Jensen with “In place of Columbus Day? Remembrance and Repentance” 

“What if  Columbus Day was replaced with a day  that encouraged us to tell the truth about the past, and then to go do something to make the future better?"

Best Links Roundup:
Erin Wilson at She Loves with “Good News for Girls” 

Best Satire:
Heather Goodman with "The Insidious Attack on the Word of God by a Meteorologist"

"Now, in this we can clearly see that God creates snow and hail, and piles them up in storehouses, somewhere in the sky.   When there is trouble, He simply empties out the storehouses and the snow and hail come tumbling down to Earth.  But meteorologists do not acknowledge that God stores up snow in some hidden place.  Instead, they speak as though snow and hail are some sort of natural phenomenon, and that the snow and hail are formed SPONTANEOUSLY, during a storm – not stored up for the day of trouble, as the Bible clearly says."

Best Series:
Geoff Holsclaw with “The Scandal of the Evangelical Memory”

Best Question:
Pete Enns and David G. Benner with Should We Fear God? 

"What kind of God is actually at work in your life–not the one you tell others you believe in but the one deep down that actually drives your spiritual engine? If your God is a “dangerous” God in Benner’s sense of the word, what difference would it make in your life to allow that false God to die? What if you are created in God’s image, God actually loves you, and you actually believed that? How would things be different for you?"

Most Sobering:
A List of Children Killed by Drone Strikes in Pakistan and Yamen 

Most Relatable: 
Kristen Rosser with “Saved By Being Right: Christianity and Dogmatism” 

“Dogmatism in Christianity, I think, comes primarily from fear.  If we believe we are saved by faith, and we define faith primarily in terms of having the right set of beliefs, then anything that challenges those beliefs must be resisted as evil.  Our thinking becomes defensive rather than inquiring, didactic rather than exploratory, closed rather than open.  We see our role as the instructors and correctors of others, rather than as listeners and learners.”  

Most Fascinating: 
Melissa Steffan at Christianity Today with “Sarah Young Still Hears Jesus Calling” 

Most Practical:
Carol Howard Merritt with “How to Avoid Tokenism”

“There are always qualified women and people of color. We're the majority of the population.”

Most Quotable: 
Pope Francis on ideology

"In ideologies there is not Jesus: in his tenderness, his love, his meekness. And ideologies are rigid, always. Of every sign: rigid. And when a Christian becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith: he is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he is a disciple of this attitude of thought…"

Most Likely To Capture Your Entire Life in a Cartoon:
Tastefully Offensive with "A Field Guide to Procrastinators"  

[I am totally a combination of the "snacker" + the "internet researcher." And it gets so. much. worse. when I'm writing a book.] 

“An Open Letter from the Asian American Community to the Evangelical Church”

Tim Peck at the Junia Project with “5 Ways to Avoid Undermining Your Theology of Gender”

“At an unconscious level I viewed assertiveness, confidence, and competition as acceptable traits in men; however, my ingrained impulse was to see these same traits as negative in women.  Even after embracing egalitarian theology, I still found that my knee-jerk response was to assume that women displaying these traits were stirring up conflict or trying to cause trouble.  In my previous ministry experiences, opinionated and assertive women were sometimes labeled by male leaders as “troublemakers” or “busybodies”.  Once labeled, men had the social justification to discount anything these women said, in effect silencing their voices.  None of these responses were evoked when I encountered men displaying these same traits. Recognizing that these deeply ingrained assumptions were largely the result of my years as a complementarian, I began to challenge them, and I was able to begin listening to the voices of the women around me and value their leadership.”

Craziest (and I can say this because I’m a Bama fan):
Bama Fan Phyllis goes nuts on Danny Kanell

Bill Moyers features Wendell Berry

“There are no sacred and unsacred places; there are only sacred and desecrated places.”

Glennon Melton with “I’ve Got Spirit and So Do You”

“Are we talking about the same God? The one who chose to enter the world in the form of a Middle Eastern, poor, helpless infant when the world was expecting a KING? The God who showed up in the form of a race so oppressed that no one believed he could possibly be the savior because, “nothing good comes out of Nazareth?” The God I’m talking about LIVES to shatter our ideas about Less Than. The God I’m talking about makes himself less than in order to prove that our ideas about what less than means are bunk. Because our less than is NOT God’s less than. The first are the last and the last are the first.”

On the Blog…

Most Popular Post:
“Will The Real Complementarian Please Stand Up?”

Most Popular Comment: 
In response to the above post, Richard Beck wrote: 

“Grade for your hermeneutical analysis of complementarianism in my class on biblical manhood and womanhood: A+. Actually, Rachel, you could teach that class. Don't let any academic type convince you otherwise.” 

[Which, coming from someone I admire as much as Richard, meant the world to me.]

Don't Forget... 

For a LIMITED TIME both A Year of Biblical Womanhood and Evolving in Monkey Town are just $2.99 on Kindle and Nook! 


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


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