Sunday Superlatives 12.9.12 & a Programming Note

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Around the Blogosphere...

Best Satire: 
Africa for Norway” 

See Dianna Anderson’s post at Think Christian, “Africa for Norway and Narratives of Pity” 

“In academic parlance, this technique is called Othering. In charity and in the church, we often turn “the poor” into this group we cannot identify with on any scale larger than pity. And pity is a tremendously dangerous thing in the world of social justice. Pity can very easily function as a dehumanizing tool - it turns the pitied person into a helpless object that needs “saving,” rather than a fully functional human being who is caught in a system of poverty and oppression. Pity of a people group makes their life circumstances an inherent part of their being, rather than part of a system in which everyone is complicit. It not only erases the pitied, but it erases our own complicity in the issue.”

Funniest Video: 
Jon Stewart with “War on Christmas: Friendly Fire Edition

Funniest Caption:
Pinterest, You Are Drunk with “’Tis the Season to Emotionally Manipulate Your Children

Best Advent Reflection (nominated by Preston Yancey):
Kelley Nikondeha with “My advent ache” 

“What I feel now can best be described as a deep longing, a yearning, a groaning for the world to be set right at long last. I finally feel a connection to our ancestors who spent hundreds of years living between a fresh prophetic utterance and the arrival of Good News swaddled in a stable. All those generations endured a weighted waiting – heavy with broken stories. The ancients suffered occupation, exile, land loss, war and other injustices that robbed them of shalom. ‘How long, oh Lord?’ echoes through the canyon of intertestamental time and now I join the lament. I’m pining alongside the patriarchs and matriarchs of faith, grafted into their incessant questions about the promised deliverance.”

Best Conversation-Starter:
RJS at Jesus Creed (responding to Out of Ur) with “Is evolution a must-win issue?

“Frankly I don’t really care one whit if the Republicans (or the Democrats for that matter) get their act together on this issue. Nothing of importance to me is tied up with political identity – absolutely nothing. But I do care deeply about the church and the future of the church as the body of Christ. Not only is the age of the earth battle not worth fighting – it is a battle that cannot be won. Arguing for a young earth is as ineffective as arguing that F≠ma, that energy is not conserved, or that a ball thrown into the air will not fall along an easily calculated path.”

Best Photoblog:
Buzzfeed with “The Most Powerful Images of 2012"

Best Reminder:
Sarah Bessey with “In which it’s a two-part invention” 

“Be grateful for your disillusionment because it will push you away from revere-ing your own self or your heroes of the faith or the mystics or doctrine teachers or bloggers or missionaries or churches. Now we can learn from one another, as partners and friends, but we are pointed towards the only true example for humanity, the true Shepherd, the true Father, the true Mother, the true God. We can now embrace each other in our humanity, flawed, and moving together towards our true selves with open hearts to God.”

Best Point: 
Robert Cargill with “The difference between persecution and being corrected

“There is a difference between persecution and the loss of privileged status. There is a difference between persecution and being corrected of an error. There is a difference between persecution and being wrong. Just because you didn’t get what you want doesn’t mean that you are “persecuted”. It means you can’t have everything.”

Richard Stearns at Huffington Post with “Goodbye, Christian America; Hello, True Christianity” 

“The kind of Christianity the world responds to is the authentic ‘love your neighbor’ kind. Its appeal can't be legislated through court battles and neither can courts stop its spread.”

Brian LePort with “Three Hermeneutical Paradigms to Use When Studying the Doctrine of the Virgin Birth” 

“ Where we Christians struggle at times is realizing that these different approaches are different language games sometimes intended for a variety of audiences. When we try to use the historical-critical method apologetically to 'prove'  something like the doctrine of the virgin birth we have gone the wrong direction, not because it didn’t happen in space-time history, but because historical-critical methodology includes the presupposition of methodological naturalism, something that can never 'discover' a virgin birth anymore than one may have been able to discover Jesus was born of a virgin if his DNA was studied to examine the genetics of his 'father'."

Bravest (especially when you consider the comment section; sheesh!): 
Emily Maynard with “Modesty Rules: Is a Woman Responsible for a Man’s Lust?

“There were endless options for violations and validations in Modesty-land, depending on the exact situation and circumstances. It didn’t take long for me to absorb the idea that I wasn’t a person with a body—I was an outfit with the power to control the morality of men. I believed the lie that I was responsible for everyone else.”

Best Response to the Aforementioned Bravery: 
Luke Harms with “On Modesty and Male Privilege

"Shifting the blame to women just passes the buck along and enables men to continue being skeezy pervs. "Oh, I'm getting all lusty because she's wearing skinny jeans and a v-neck." No bro, you're getting all lusty because you have a distorted view of women as objects that you need to get under control."

Best sentence:
Scot McKnight with “Desire to be biblical

“Being biblical is sometimes not biblical enough.”

Best paragraph:
Beth Felker Jones at Her.Meneutics with “Why Mark Driscoll is wrong about Twilight

“I believe that Driscoll’s teachings about gender—teachings that take cultural stereotypes about femininity and masculinity and call them “God’s will”—feed the same beast that allows Twilight to flourish. To focus critique of Twilight on the fact that it is a vampire story gives a free pass to the mistake at the heart of the story, that in which a boyfriend or husband is confused with a savior.”

Best Headline: 
Peter Enns with “St. Nicholas: What can I say? He was a beast.

“Nicholas was a beast. Mother Teresa, Oskar Schindler, and Samuel L. Jackson all rolled into one. What an absolute crushing beast.”

Most Inspiring: 
Amanda King with “I’ve started telling my daughters I’m beautiful

“I don't want my girls to be children who are perfect and then, when they start to feel like women, they remember how I thought of myself as ugly and so they will be ugly too. They will get older and their breasts will lose their shape and they will hate their bodies, because that's what women do. That's what mommy did. I want them to become women who remember me modeling impossible beauty. Modeling beauty in the face of a mean world, a scary world, a world where we don't know what to make of ourselves.”

Most Vulnerable: 
Christina Gibson with “Christmas Baby and Risk

“There’s no way around this whole risk thing.  It is the language of our stories.  Risk is the musical score of our symphonies.  It’s jumping up when you could lay down and climbing out of bed instead of hibernating. We don’t live unless we risk.”

Most Enlightening (nominated by Connie Esther):”
Psych Central with “The Myth of the Strong Person” 

“People who are perceived as ‘strong’ tend to carry the demeanor of people who ‘don’t take stuff from others.’ This can create avoidance and fear from others, rather than openness and connection.”

Most Relatable: 
Kristin Lucas with “On Stress and Egg Casseroles” 

“You want to know what doesn’t stress me out? Making big decisions. Watching Project Runway. Reading enormous books that contain words like teleological and salvific and eschatological. Pulling apart intricate theories and arguments—and sometimes shifting the tectonic plates of my life a little. Coming up with new ideas. Allowing teenagers to paint my hair purple. Talking to people about God. Being the dissenting voice. Poetry. Saying what I need. Praying for people. Offering to pray for people. Letting aforementioned teenagers play with my phone without putting a password on it. Writing. Playing dodgeball. Condensing chaos into a neat, tidy little package. Asking my husband to help me with the egg casseroles….I used to think there was something wrong with all of this. That maybe I was wired incorrectly. Or at least strangely. I mean, who in their right minds would rather write a 10 page research paper than cook something (relatively simple and uncomplicated) for some very nice people? Yes, I would…I don’t think there’s anything wrong anymore. I am learning who I am, and I am learning to be okay with it."

On the blog…

Programming Note: So as you may have noticed, since the big book release, I’ve fallen out of my regular posting schedule and neglected some of our regular series: the Bible series, the Esther series, the “Ask a…” series, and so on. Never fear; these will return! But not fully until after the holidays. Thanks so much for your patience. I never dreamed this fall would be so….crazy. But instead of feeling guilty, I’m just going to blog when I can, start planning and scheduling for the new year (good stuff ahead!) and hit it hard again in January. Sound good? 

Most Popular Post:
5 Things You Don’t Have to Leave Behind When You Leave Fundamentalism

Most Popular Comments: 
In response to “Barbara Kingsolver and Church Misfits,” Amy wrote: 

“I was raised by agnostic parents and was saved and joined the Southern Baptist church at 13. At my first youth group camp, the topic of men being ‘over’ women and women not being allowed to teach/ preach came up. As a girl who'd skipped a grade in school and hadn't quite caught on to the concept of polite modesty, I raised my hand: ‘But what if the woman is smarter than the man? Wouldn't God want the one that He made smarter to be in charge?’ Crickets.”

and Leanne wrote: 

“When I was a pre-teen, the Sunday school teacher told our class of girls that God had a very special, life verse in the Bible for each of us. You could find yours by looking at the verse corresponding to the day on which you were born, in Proverbs 31 which is for women. I was born on the 7th, so my "life verse" would be Prov 31:7. [pregnant pause while you all look it up and guffaw!] It says, "Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more." I asked her how that could possibly be my life verse, in a church that forbade alcohol. She was stymied and my questioning continues!”

This entire comment section is worth reading! So many great stories. Thank you for sharing

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

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