Sunday Superlatives 10/2/11

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Check out my buns! As you can seeThe Rosh Hashanah challah turned out great. It looked beautiful and tasted good… though I suspect we kneaded it too long because the texture was a little too dense.  My sweet husband got up a 6:30 a.m. to help me knead, cut, and braid the loaves.  (We let it rise in a giant plastic bin that we left in the guest bathroom next to a space heater….which believe it or not, worked perfectly. You can see photos from each stage of the process on my Facebook page. ) I know several of you decided to try Ahava’s recipe yourselves. I’d love to hear how yours turned out. 

I apologize for the spotty blogging last week. I’ve been doing lots of interviews at the conclusion of the womanhood project, (, The BBC, The Times London, and more), and I’m working overtime to try and finish the manuscript by mid-November. I sure appreciate your patience and support as I work hard to turn this yearlong adventure into a book!

Now on to superlatives.

Around the Blogosphere...

Most Convicting:
Kristin Tennant with “How Did You Really Get There?
“What if, instead, we each started by taking an accomplishment—just one big or small thing we’re proud of—and creating a map of everything that got us there. Every civil liberty and public service. Every positive trait your parents helped hone. Every educational opportunity and great teacher or mentor. Every encouraging word from a friend and serendipitous encounter with a stranger. Every lame part-time job that paid the bills while you were busy working toward a degree or chipping away at a dream. What if we just wrote it all down and took the time to let it sink in—nothing more?"

Most  Inspiring:
Jamie Arpin-Ricci with “The Four-Fold Pattern of Franciscan Prayer

Most Likely To Make You Shout "Amen!" at Your Computer:
Sarah Styles Bessey with “In Which I Write A Letter to Women’s Mininstry
“I'm here with you tonight because I want what the world cannot give me. We're choking on cutesy things and crafty bits, safe lady topics and if one more person says that modest is hottest with a straight face, I may throw up. We are hungry for authenticity and vulnerability, not churchified life hacks from lady magazines. Some of us are drowning, suffocating, dying of thirst for want of the cold water of real community. We're trying really hard - after all, we keep showing up to your lady events and we leave feeling just a bit empty. It's just more of the same every time.”

Best Analysis:
Karl Giberson at The Huffington Post with “Why Evangelicals Are Fooled Into Accepting Pseudoscience
“The relentless assaults on the integrity of science by groups like the Discovery Institute have made it impossible for many people to understand the significance of a "scientific consensus."

Best Response: 
Luke Harms with “On Poverty, Prosperity, and Pastor Mark’s Parable
“Blessings don't come in the form of stuff.  Blessing comes in realizing you don't need stuff.”

Best Conversation-Starter (nominated by BethanyKeeley-Jonker):
Karen Swallow Prior at Her.Meneutics with “Welcoming Doubt Into Christian Education"
"Human history is a series of pendulum swings from one extreme to another. This can be as true of individual growth as it is of culture, and some swings should not be prevented. But in the faith journey, perhaps such severe swings point to a systemic problem more than a personal one. Perhaps the deepest systemic weakness in conservative Christian education is the failure to distinguish between education and indoctrination… According to a fascinating study by Fuller Theological Seminary, young people who are allowed to express and explore doubt are more likely to keep the faith as adults.”

Best List:
Ed Young with “Women in Science: Celebrating Female Voices

Best Analogy: 
Bethany Keeley Jonker at Think Christian with “What Testosterone Levels Can Teach Us About Christian Living
“This perspective on the data also reinforces my understanding of how Christian faith formation works. When we engage in the activities of the church – worship, prayer, service – we are shaping ourselves to be more the kinds of people God wants us to be. If spending time nurturing makes men more biologically inclined to nurture, it seems to follow that spending time in worship might also change us to be more inclined to worship. Many Christian traditions believe that a real, literal change takes place when we participate in sacraments like communion or baptism, though we disagree on how that change works. Given this research, it doesn’t seem so outrageous to suggest that something material in us may change as we develop habits of devotion and a relationship with God."

Most Thoughtful (nominated by Chip Monck): 
Peter Rollins with “Please Give Me Freedom From the Pursuit of Happiness” 
“The type of oppression that comes from our ability to pursue what we want does not allow us to maintain this inner protest. For now there is no external constraint being impossed. The message one gets from society is, 'there are no limits, go on, pursue whatever you like.' The problem here is that we now have no-one to blame for our unhappiness. We cannot say to ourselves, 'I would be happy if only this Government was overthrown.' We are free to pursue what we want, indeed we are actively encouraged to do so everywhere we turn. Popular films, music and magazines all seem to be telling us the same thing, 'Go for it.' In this way we discover that the voice which tells us, 'just do it,' is actually more insidiously oppressive than the voice which says, 'you can’t do it.' For one simple reason, the latter is an external constraint that allows us to maintain a small inner protest while the former gets under our skin.”

Most Practical: 
Gretchen Rubin with “9 Questions to Ask About Someone’s Big Life-Changing Trip

Most Practical If You Happen to Be Making Six Loaves of Challah Bread:
The Kitchn with “How To Tell When Dough Is Kneaded
[I found this AFTER we realized we kneaded it too long.] 

Most Likely To Make an Early Appearance on Your Christmas Wish List:
The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: 130 Years of Illustrations

John Stackhouse with “Why Evangelicals Should Be Glad We Weren’t Asked to Pray At 9/11 Services
“Prayer isn’t supposed to be an opportunity to proclaim or teach your faith to others. Instead, prayer is a form of speech offered on behalf of everyone present to God.”

Celebrity Wife Swap to Feature Ted Haggard…

Mason Slater with “Bachmann, Liberty U, and Women in Ministry
“On Wednesday, Liberty University featured Bachmann as their convocation speaker.That’s not the issue though, they can have whatever speaker they would like, and I’m sure Bachmann is the sort of speaker you would like if you like that sort of thing. The issue is the hermenutical gymnastics Liberty has to engage in to feature a female candidate for this nation’s highest office, while at the same time being opposed to women holding the highest office in a local church.”

How Christian Denominations See One Another

Baking Bites with “Thick and Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes

Best Confession (nominated by Hannah M.) 
Michelle with “Reflections on My Role as a WOTHM

Best Image Gallery:
Jared Keller at The Atlantic with “A Visual History of Literary References on ‘The Simpsons’”

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

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