Sunday Superlatives 2/12/2012

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Around the Blogosphere...

Most Romantic:
MSNBC with “The Most Adorable Marriage Proposals on Video” (from which the video above came)

Most Likely To Add Some Fun to Your Valentine’s Day Cards:
 Kyle Hilton’s Paper Dolls (found via Kristen Howerton
[I love the Tobias collection for ‘Arrested Development’ and, of course, the ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Parks & Rec’ sets. I’d like to see a ‘Dexter’ collection. You could have a lot of fun with that one.]

Best Headline: 
The Herald News (Dayton, TN) with “Dayton woman allegedly assaults man with Honey Buns
[To read the entire article, you have to live here in Rhea County where such  happenings make front page news more often than I care to admit.]

Best Analysis:
Richard Beck with “Thoughts on Mark Driscoll...While Knitting
[This is an older post from 2009 that resurfaced this week during our conversations about ‘masculine Christianity’, but it is by far the most charitable, nuanced, and thoughtful posts I’ve read on the topic.]

“So Driscoll has a point. Most church leaders are highly educated. This means that most church leaders are culturally divorced from the average NASCAR fan. The very group Driscoll is targeting. But here is the very important point about all this. A lot of the reaction to Driscoll isn't even about gender. We are actually talking about the little discussed fissure running through many churches: Education.”

Bests Series: 
Micha Boyett Hohorst with “Practicing Benedict
[This series has been going on for a while and I keep forgetting to share it! It’s wonderful.]

Best Response: 
Vicky Beeching with “God Has Given Christianity a ‘Masculine Feel’ Says John Piper

“Driscoll, Piper and others are saying we are in a crisis as there are very few young men in our churches. They say their teaching is an attempt to win them back. Yet at the same time many of my educated, gifted and thoughtful female friends are feeling less and less welcome in Church culture. So if we aren’t careful, this ‘masculine Christianity’ teaching may well attract the young men back in, but at the expense of the women who are feeling increasingly disturbed patronised and excluded by the rise of this kind of teaching. And for the sake of them, I write this.”

Most Honest: 
Elizabeth Esther with “I voted ‘yes’ on Prop 8. Today, I’m thankful Prop 8 was ruled unconstitutional.”
[Congratulations to Elizabeth for getting an agent this week! And not just any agent, the best in the business.] 

“...When I vote to deny someone else the same rights I enjoy, there’s nothing quite like seeing that person every day to realize what exactly it is I’ve done.”

Most Encouraging: 
Chris Smith at Englewood Review of Books with “Editorial – Lent 2012

“As I sit down to write this editorial, the internet has been abuzz for the last couple of weeks over John Piper’s recent comments that Christianity must necessarily have ‘a masculine feel.’ I do not want to demonize John Piper, and even here at Englewood Christian Church, we bear the baggage of a long history of thinking and abiding in a masculine-dominated fashion similar to that described by Piper.  However, we must be clear, this sort of patriarchy is a part of the old order of things that is passing away.  The Kingdom of God is a new order in which there is no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female (Gal. 3:28).... This issue comes at the dawn of the season of Lent, a time when Christ’s followers remember their own mortality and, through practices of fasting and contemplation, remember that we are called to die to ourselves and to the old order of things in the world. John Piper’s recent remarks remind us that however comfortable we are with powers of the present age, and however handsomely they have benefited us, they are doomed to failure in the resurrection of Christ, and the promise of their failure is the promise of our own transformation into the image of Christ.  We do not need to execute these powers, just as Christ did not do so, but our job is simply to proclaim that they are doomed and to patiently and lovingly work toward embodying a different way of life together in our local church communities.”

Most Likely to Relate to Recent Conversations: 
Morgan Guyton at Red Letter Christians with “Stop abusing the word ‘Biblical’

Most Thoughtful: 
Skye Jethani with “Why I Defend Muslims

“Some Christians get excited when they discover that I’m half Indian or that I studied Islam in college. They’ll sometimes ask me to talk about how Christianity compares to other faiths. But I’ve learned that what they mean to say is: ‘Great, you’ve read books I’d never own so you can tell us how awful those other religions are, and you’re brown so you won’t be called a bigot!’”

Most Exciting: 
Sarah Bessey has been busy this week running the Practices of Mothering Blog Carnival. So many good reads here!

Women of Valor...

- The Women of CCRIM
from The Washington Post

In preparation for Super Bowl LXVI in Indianapolis, 11 congregations of Catholic women joined the fight against human trafficking in a unique way: They decided to use their investments as a means to address human trafficking with Indianapolis area hotels. These 11 congregations belong to CCRIM, the Coalition for Corporate Responsibility in Indiana and Michigan.

CCRIM members bought shares of stock in major hotel chains in order to address the issue of trafficking as shareholders with hotel corporate management, as well as with the local franchises in the Indianapolis area. As shareholders they have a stake in how the business is run, and they decided to work with the hotels to help them recognize and report any incidents of human trafficking.

The sisters set up a database of 220 hotels within a 50-mile radius of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. On January 5, the managers of these hotels received a fax from CCRIM that said, your shareholders want to know: Have your staff members been trained to recognize the signs of human trafficking? Do you have plans in place so your staff members can safely report any trafficking incidents? Do you know who to contact in the Indianapolis area in order to protect the victims and prosecute the traffickers? Would you be willing to make educational materials on trafficking available to your staff and your guests? For the next 10 days, 40 sisters called the managers to get answers to those questions.

Although 20 managers were reluctant or refused to speak to them, they did speak with 200 hotel managers. The results? Seven hotels requested help in setting up a training session, and the sisters linked them to trainers. Forty-five hotels already had conducted training for their staff members. Ninety-nine hotels asked for the local contact list, which includes the Attorney General’s Office, the Indianapolis police department’s Anti-Trafficking Division, safe houses for victims and 24-hour hotline numbers. [Read more.] 

- Leymah Gbowee and the women of Liberia
Gini Reticker and Abigail E. Disney with "Pray the Devil Back to Hell"

I finally got around to watching “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” this weekend and, even though I already knew the story behind the film, was absolutely blown away by the remarkable courage and persistence of Nobel Prize winner Leymah Gbowee and the women of the Liberian Women’s Peace Movement.  (I couldn’t help but notice that it all began with a woman speaking in church!) This documentary is a must-see.  Go rent it now! 

On the blog...

Most Popular Post:
God Is Not Ashamed – Our Brothers Speak Out
[Guys, I heard from so many women who said that these posts made them feel more hopeful than they have felt in a long time. Many used the word 'heroes' to describe you. So, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

Most Popular Comment:
Sam Goss, in response to “God Is Not Ashamed – Our Brothers Speak Out,” wrote: 
“I am not gifted in writing, but I can give. I have been challenged by this to financially support a young girl starting her ministry. I pray more will do likewise.”
[And that comment made the whole thing worth it]]

What caught your eye online this week?

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