Sunday Superlatives 10/7/2012

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free
'St. Francis of Assisi' photo (c) 2010, Jim McIntosh - license:

Around the Blogosphere...

Best Advice: 
Exhaustion is Not a Status Symbol” 
(Lillian Cunningham at The Washington Post interviews Brené Brown)

“One of the things that I found was the importance of rest and play, and the willingness to let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth. A lot of people told me that when they put their work away and when they try to be still and be with family, sometimes they feel like they’re coming out of their skins. They’re thinking of everything they’re not doing, and they’re not used to that pace. So when we make the transition from crazy-busy to rest, we have to find out what comforts us, what really refuels us, and do that. We deserve to not just put work away and be in service of someone else. What’s really meaningful for us? What do we want to be doing? That happens not just in work culture, I see it even with teenagers who now have four and five hours of homework and go to bed at one in the morning. We don’t know who we are without productivity as a metric of our worth. We don’t know what we enjoy, and we lose track of how tired we are."

Best Reminder:
Alise Wright with “Why the Church Needs to Stop Reaching Out” 

“I often hear (and have said myself) that the Church needs to reach out to those in the LGBT community. You may also hear that the Church needs to reach out to liberals. And agnostics. And atheists. And any number of “others.” But here’s the thing. They’re already there. Whatever group it is that we think we need to reach out to, they are already attending your church. They’re sitting beside you in the seats. They’re taking communion with you. They’re holding your babies in the nursery. They’re singing on the worship team. They are all around you.”

Best Interview:
NPR interviews Stephen Colbert (out of character)

Best Analysis: 
John Ortberg with “Jesus Was Otherwise Engaged: Impacting All Women, Not Just One” 

“The longest discussion Jesus is recorded as having with an individual is with a woman (even further an "ethnically other" Samaritan), where he treats her with dignity and respect. He teaches women as well as men; has them travel with him in his community, and even fund his ministry without offending his male ego. Women are the first witnesses to the resurrection and pillars of the early church.”

Best Caption: 
Catalog Living with “Fight or Flight” 

Best List: 
Robert Gonzales with “The Fifteen Professions that Drink the Most Coffee” 

Best Thing I Read on the Internet This Week...Or Maybe Ever: 
Reddit users attempt to shame sikh woman...”

“But then something totally lovely and unexpected happened. The woman in the photo responded...” 

Donald Miller with “The Deception of Urgency

“Is being frantic really the best way to be productive?”

Ben Ponder with “Idolatry of the Family

“Jesus didn’t die on a God-forsaken cross to preserve your horn-rimmed vision of 1950s Americana. He did not go through hell and back to secure the keys to an exclusive gated community. And he didn’t suffer lacerations so that your nuclear family could be photographed beside the tulips in matching shiny egg-white shoes.”

Jeffrey Kluger at TIME with “Found: A Parrot-Headed, Big-Fanged, Porcupine Dinosaur. Really.

“Nature does pretty and nature does ugly. And sometimes it does really, really ugly. Never was that truer than 200 million years ago when the Pegomastax africanus was walking — or scurrying — the Earth...”

Most Heart-Wrenching: 
Jennifer Weiner at Allure with “The F-Word” 

“I'd spent the nine years since her birth getting ready for this day, the day we'd have to have the conversation about this dreaded, stinging word. I had a well-honed, consoling speech at the ready. I knew exactly what to say to the girl on the receiving end of the taunts and the teasing, but in all of my imaginings, it never once occurred to me that my daughter would be the one who used the F word. Fat.”

Most Inspiring:  
Krista Dalton with “Welcoming Shabbat: A Christian’s Experience with Lecha Dodi”

“If there is one thing I’ve learned in my Kabbalat Shabbat experiences, it is that my own Christian life has often neglected the concept of Shabbat. Yes, I grew up attending church, eating a “special” Sunday lunch, and promptly falling asleep to the afternoon football games. But Shabbat? The mental, physical, spiritual appreciation of the divine. Shabbat, tasting the dew of intimacy. Heschel’s words continually haunt me: Unless one learns how to relish the taste of Sabbath while still in this world, unless one is initiated in the appreciation of eternal life, one will be unable to enjoy the taste of eternity in the world to come. Sad is the lot of him who arrives inexperienced and when led to heaven has no power to perceive the beauty of the Sabbath.” 

Most Important:
Joy Bennett at Deeper Story with “Five Ways Christians Must Stop Failing the Poor” 

“Poverty isn’t a simple problem. It doesn’t have a simple solution. But we can, indeed we must, do better.” 

Most Relatable: 
Roger Olson with “Evangelical Inquisitions” 

Here’s how these evangelical inquisitions often happen. Some evangelicals simply cannot live with diversity or ambiguity. They detect or only hear that someone in their organization has “liberal tendencies.” That’s usually how it starts, but it may be stated simply as “Is out of consistency with the statement of faith” or “with evangelical tradition.” If that person has written a lot, or has a blog, he or she is subjected to “investigation.” That means some watchdog begins to dog him or her, reading everything they write to try to catch them in some statement that could possibly be interpreted as “in conflict” with some part of the organization’s statement of faith.”

[Been subjected to one of those myself this week.]

Most Likely to Effectively Dismantle an Argument in 500 Words: 
Jonathan A. Aigner with “On Stay at Home Dads: Not a Man Fail”

“First, this passage is talking about widows who were being neglected by their families. Second, using a gender-accurate Bible version would show that the “man” in 1 Timothy 5:8 does not refer to male persons specifically, but is a gender neutral reference to anyone who finds themselves in that position. Take the TNIV for example, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives….” Third, because this text has nothing to do with being a family’s primary financial provider, we can’t use it to say Dads should be providers and Moms should be nurturers. There are many ways in which a married couple can meet their family’s financial and homemaking needs, and the Bible doesn’t give us normative gender specificity along those lines."

Most Likely to Make You Get Your Pentecostal On: 
Sarah Bessey with “In which I commission you

“I call you to joy, friend.  I set you apart in your regular, walking-around life for the daily work of liberation and love, proclaim the Gospel with your hands and your feet and your voice to every soul in your care and influence. May your soul long for prayer and for the Scriptures, may you keep secrets, may you give away your money, may you share your meals, may you sit alone in silence outside under the sky and be satisfied, may you change the bedding in the middle of the night after yet another childish accident without anger, may you hold babies, and comfort the dying, and be the voice of knowledge tempered with grace and wisdom, and may you never forget how to sing and be silly. May you make room in your life to be inconvenienced and put-out, may you be Jesus with skin on for a few people. May you be fearless, and may you eat good food.”

On the blog...

Most Popular Post:
Is ambition a sin?

“Christians are not called to be immune to the emotions that correspond with success, failure, and the expansive in-between. We are called to live fully, abundantly, and honestly in this world...where joy and frustration and ambition and disappointment are all part of what it means to be alive.” 

Most Popular Comment: 
In response to “Lifeway Won’t Carry ‘A Year of Biblical Womanhood,Jamie wrote:

“Sometimes, when I'm working on my manuscript, I write something I'm not sure about and then I think, "How would LifeWay feel about this?"... And if they'd hate it, I leave it in.” 


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

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