Sunday Superlatives 11/23/14

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Around the Blogosphere…

Mallory Ortberg at The Toast with “Bible Verses Where The Word ‘Philistines’ Has Been Replaced With ‘Haters’”

“He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the haters envied him…”

Mihee Kim-Kort with “Blessed are the peacemakers” 

“Being a peacemaker means more than hasty promises and temporary truces. It means seeing conflict as opportunity for deeper connection.”

Micha Boyett with “Ghostly Grief: On Miscarriage and Loss” 

“Miscarriage is the strangest grief, ghostly but intensely embodied.” 

Janet Potter at The Millions with “Book Titles Rewritten to Get More Clicks” 

Ivan Kislov’s fox photography 

Most Thought-Provoking: 
Richard Beck with “When God Became the Devil” and “Christus Victor and Progressive Christianity”

“…With Anselm a change happened, a theological twist still alive today. Worried as he was about the role of the Devil in Christus Victor schemes Anselm shifted the problem away from the Devil and toward the character of God. The drama of salvation was no longer an external conflict between God and the Devil but an internal conflict within God's own heart, a conflict between God's wrath and God's love.”

Most Powerful (READ THIS!): 
Naomi Shihab Nye with “Gate A4”

“She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life, patting my knee, answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies— little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts— from her bag and was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single traveler declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the mom from California, the lovely woman from Laredo— we were all covered with the same powdered sugar…Then the airline broke out free apple juice and two little girls from our flight ran around serving it and they were covered with powdered sugar too. And I noticed my new best friend— by now we were holding hands— had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere. And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.” 

Most Relatable:
Alece Ronzino at Deeper Story with “When None of It Mattered”

“I quit church, stopped reading my Bible, gave up on any real semblance of a prayer life — and you know what? He was big enough to take it. His feelings weren’t hurt when I spoke words of doubt instead of faith. He didn’t mind when I cried rather than worshipped. He is God enough to handle this human heart of mine. He didn’t scold me; He didn’t heap 'shoulds' or shame on me; He didn’t tell me to let go and let Him. He just sat in The Great Sadness with me.”

Most Eye-Opening: 
Mona Eltahawy at The New York Times with “Fighting Female Genital Mutilation”

“I am a 47-year-old Egyptian woman. And I am among the fortunate few of my countrywomen whose genitals have not been cut in the name of ‘purity’ and the control of our sexuality…”

Most Practical: 
Shauna Niequist with “Ten Thoughts on Hosting Thanksgiving”

“Remember: it’s about the gathering, not about the food. This is the most important thing to keep in mind. I know Thanksgiving might be the most food-driven of all holidays, but the people are always more important than the food. The gathering is what’s significant…that’s what you remind yourself when the turkey’s taking forever or the stuffing’s dry.”

Best Reminder:
Michelle DeRusha at Grace Table with “What a Monk and Two Delivery Men Taught Me About Hospitality” 

“When we define hospitality as what happens around our own dining room table and with our own family and friends, we limit its scope and potential. We stop far short of the kind of hospitality Christ had in mind. In Jesus’ eyes, hospitality includes how we welcome and receive everyone – not just the guests we invite to cross our thresholds, but those who cross our paths in ordinary, everyday ways as well.”

Best Analysis: 
Boz Tchividjian at RNS on Matthew 18

“This well-known biblical passage has all too often been a justification for 1) not reporting abuse disclosures to the authorities and 2) convincing sexual abuse victims to privately confront their perpetrators.  Needless to say, this misreading and misapplication of Jesus’ words is incredibly harmful on a number of fronts.  More importantly, it’s simply not consistent with the person and character of Jesus.”

Best Conversation: 
Tyler Tully, Drew Hart, and Scot McKnight discuss (and debate) Kingdom Conspiracy here, here, here, and here

Best Analogy: 
Ty Grigg at Missio Alliance with “Candy Land Christianity” 

“We expect Christians to do good, but we also expect that it will happen automatically and with little to no effort on our part. We are game pieces being moved down the path of Candy Land Christianity.”

Best Question: 
Lisa Sharon Harper at Sojourners in “The Grand Jury and the Rorschach Test” with

“What if the church today upon baptism called believers to examine all the ways we have soaked in the unconscious biases of the American empire? What if we reexamined our relationships with and assumptions of who should have power in our nation, in our cities, and in the church?”

From Twitter…

On my nightstand…

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone 

On Instagram…

Well, I finally decided to join Instagram. So far I’ve posted a picture of a sink full of dirty dishes (with a filter, of course). We’ll see how this goes…

Bucking the system by making my first Instagram photo a picture of actual life. I did, however, add a filter.

A photo posted by Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) on



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

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