Sunday Superlatives 2-20-2011

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

This week I finally completed the last of the major items on my Proverbs 31 To-Do List. Pictured above are the completed sewing projects:  a purple dress (vs. 22—“she is clothed in fine linen and purple”), a knit scarf (vs.13—“she selects wool and flax and works with eager hands”), a pillow (vs. 22—“she makes coverings for her bed”), and a one-of-a-kind Proverbs 31 sash (vs. 24—“she supplies the merchants with sashes”).

The sash, along with some fantastic handmade items donated by my friends will be up for auction on Ebay next week, so that together we can “extend our hands to the needy” (vs. 20) to benefit World Vision’s microfinance program. Details coming soon.

Meanwhile, on to this week’s superlatives! 


Best Series:
Kurt Willems with “Nonviolence 101” 
“For most of my life, nonviolence seemed so irrational that I thought: This couldn’t be what Jesus actually meant? This defies all common sense!  In fact, it is foolishness!  And after finally embracing my Anabaptist roots, I now realize that accepting nonviolence does not make it any less ridiculous.  But, believing such may offer something to the world that it is starving to find, a counter-cultural kingdom community that operates so irrationally that it is attractive.”

Best Question:
Richard Beck with “Lead us not into temptation…?”
“I always have a mental hiccup whenever I or my church says this line. The request, for some reason, seems slightly odd and incongruous. Has anyone else felt the same way?”

Most Groundbreaking:
Serious Eats with “Cookie-Stuffed Cookies”
“…Like most things genius, it seems so obvious in hindsight. Love cookies? Then how could you not love a cookie-stuffed cookie?”


Most Relatable: 
Mason Slater with “A Little Crack in the Sidewalk”
“Sometimes it’s like a sudden earthquake that violently splits your worldview apart, but often it’s like a little crack in the sidewalk. A crack that slowly grows inch by inch, following you down the road as you walk. It seems small, but when you turn around you realize it has created a canyon you cannot return across.”

Best Headline:
Bruce Reyes Chow with “10 Things This Liberal, Social Justice Christian, Progressive Democrat Has in Common with Conservative, Evangelical Christian, Tea Party Republicans”
“…At the core of our discourse should not be an obsession with winning the future, but our common yearning to discover where God is leading us. We are at our best when we maintain a healthy place where disparate theological and political views can passionately wrestle. It is in these times of healthy conflict that I believe we most fully discover who we are and who we are becoming. But we must also be able to agree on a few things, not in the particularities, but in our general understanding of our common humanity."

Best Conversation-Starter:
Richard Beck (again!) with “Universalism and the Open Wounds of Life”
“But what most people fail to understand is that my universalism, and most of the universalism I encounter within Christianity, isn't motivated by soteriological issues. The doctrine isn't attractive because it solves the problem of hell. The doctrine is attractive because it solves (or at least addresses) the problem of pain.”

Sweetest Deal:
FREE audio download of Churched by Matthew Paul Turner
MPT is a great reader (I know from experience that audiences love him), so this is quite a gift. 

Funniest Video:
Kids Ask Awkward Questions About Jesus
This has been out for a while, but I only recently got to enjoy it. Very funny. 

Most Artful Use of the Blogging Format to Say Something Truly Beautiful: 
Kristin Tennant with “A Hat That Says What Words Can’t”
“The hat is a small thing, but it’s like strings of sentences not spoken or written, just worked out in yarn.”

Shameless Self-Promotion…

Best Review of Evolving in Monkey Town:
A tie!
Preacher Mike (from Abilene, TX)

“The book, Evolving in Monkey Town, was written by Rachel Held Evans, a young women (not yet thirty!) who grew up in kind, confident fundamentalism and whose faith has taken new and surprising turns. But I identified with her writing at so many places that I wondered if I had written this in some parallel universe… How can I say this strongly enough? This is a brilliant work. Get it. Read it. Talk about it with your friends.”
David McAnulty (also from Abilene, TX) 

“…There is indeed a 3rd way: one CAN wrestle with the hard questions and still have a deep and vibrant faith…  If you have similar questions, yourself, but have been afraid of where to go to ask them “safely”,Evolving in Monkey Town might be a good start for you."

Best Summary of What I Tried to Say at Big Tent Christianity: 
Homebrewed Theology with “Doubt as  a Vibrant Part of Faith”
"For the vast majority of us, our faith is predicated on believing what we’re told.  Those who asked questions or pointed out inconsistencies were simply labeled as being of “weak faith”.  If that’s true, then my faith is about as strong as wet tissue paper."

In the News…

Most Riveting:
Josh Levs with “Delivering My Son”
“When your wife is pregnant, no one tells you, "By the way, she might skip labor, suddenly fall to the floor, and give birth. Oh, and the umbilical cord might be tangled around the baby's neck five times."

Most Embarrassing: 
Alabama Fan Arrested on Charges of Poisoning Hallowed Auburn Trees

Most Disconcerting: 
Computer Wins on Jeopardy!
“I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.” – Ken Jennings 

Here on the blog…

Most Popular Post (with 1095 Facebook Shares, 122 Tweets, 142 Comments...and counting):
Dear Pastors – Tell Us the Truth

Most Popular Comment (with 16 “likes”):
April Karli with “…I think people view their pastors and their families as the ideal they themselves are striving for. We are celebrities within the fishbowls of our churches. People watch us. Sometimes, they're waiting for us to fail so they can feel better about themselves. Things like, ‘If the pastor's own daughter is doing _____, I don't feel so bad about my own daughter's behavior.’  It creates defensiveness and an atmosphere of self-protection. I agree that if pastors let down their guard they'd give some in their congregations the freedom to do the same. But what would be the cost? It wouldn't be as pretty as we'd like to think. I've just seen too much church conflict to believe otherwise. I think I have a strong reaction to this because I really wish it were true, but my experience says it's not.” 


Best Mom in the Whole Wide World:
Robin Held, who celebrates her birthday today! Love you, Mom!

Got any superlatives to hand out? Feel free share your favorite/most popular post from YOUR blog this week.

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