Sunday Superlatives 2/24/13

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Prayer for the Day: “O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”  (Book of Common Prayer)

Around the Blogosphere…

Favorite New Photo Blog:
You Are My Wild - a weekly portrait project that brings together 14 photographers to document how they see their children.

Most Powerful:
Abby Norman at Love Is What You Do with “Why I Stopped Telling

“Somewhere along the way I stopped telling those stories, the ones with the perfect punch line, the ones that made everyone gasp, the ones that people responded to by telling me how good I was. Somewhere along the way it occurred to me that those stories weren’t just entertaining, they were damaging. The way I spun those too true tales was disadvantaging my already disadvantaged students. The ones I was working so hard for. So I stopped telling them, even if they were true…”

Most Relatable:
Addie Zierman with “An Open Letter to the Church: How to Love the Cynics” and “Making Your Faith Your Own

“We need you to sit with us in the mad season for as long as it takes. We need to hear your stories – the messy ones, the hard parts. We need you to tell us the pain of it without skipping ahead to the happy ending. Maybe we can face our darkness if you are honest about yours."
“I didn’t think I would ever start really believing again. I thought that it would always feel hard and a little bit forced. I felt like it would always wear me out, this act of moving forward in imperfect, resigned faith. But sometimes all it takes is a decision: I want to get well. Sometimes all it takes is one tentative arm, reaching to touch the edge of the holy.”

Most Informative:
Dennis Venema at Biologos with “Evolution Basics: Evolution as a Scientific Theory

In common English usage, “theory” means something like “guess” or “hunch”. It means something speculative, uncertain. In science, however, the meaning is almost exactly the opposite. In science, a theory is an idea that has stood the test of time. This difference between the common usage and the scientific usage of the word is a frequent source of confusion for nonscientists. In science, a theory is a well-tested idea – an explanatory framework that makes sense of the current facts available, and continues to make accurate predictions about the natural world.”

Most Encouraging:
Antonia Terrazas with “This Online Thing [Or Why I’m Still Here, With You]"

“Because like I said, these things matter, and with the humility, tenderness, care, and whole-hearted truth-seeking I have witnessed in my blogroll, I think these things can matter and manifest in a holy and faithful way, to lead us to the good work that needs to be done. On- and offline.”

Most Beautiful:
Smithsonian Magazine with “An Illustrated Guide to the World’s Creation Myths

Most Thoughtful:
Amy Lepine Peterson with “The F-Word: Whey Feminism is Not the Enemy

“I’m a Christian.  And until the day when the world automatically understands that to mean that I believe in the full humanity and personhood of both men and women, you can also call me a feminist.”

Most Eye-Opening:
Sarah Moon with “On Being a Female Body at a Christian College

“It wasn't patriarchy holding me back, according to this man. It was my body. This is why I could not be a pastor, or a spiritual leader in my family. This is why I could not speak my mind too loudly or be too bold. Because I had a vagina, and vaginas are not for giving. But I fell for it for years and years. I saw myself as stuck in this body with its sinful breasts and its useless vagina. I saw my body as a prison. And in seeing my body as a prison, I blamed myself.”

Most Likely to Get You In the Mood for the Oscars:
All the Best Picture Award Winners in 4 Minutes

Most Likely to Make You Salivate:
Buzzfeed with “The 30 Best Places to Be if You Love Books

Most Inspiring (nominated by Jamie Bagley)
Wes Foster with “My Dream for My Daughter” 

As Maya reconciles her own identity, maybe she will begin to see the unique ways she was crafted in the image of God to display his glory. And as she journeys with Jesus to a place of wholeness, maybe she will begin to recognize and call out that image in others. Maybe she can become a prophetic agent of reconciliation. Our God is in the business of restoring all things, among every nation, tribe, people, and language. Where might he be calling her to bring restoration, in a way that she alone is uniquely designed to do?”

Best Interview:
David Crumm at Read the Spirit interviews NT Wright

“In your country, for example, there seem to be Christian political voices saying that you shouldn’t have a national healthcare system. To us, in Britain, this is virtually unthinkable. Every other developed country from Norway to New Zealand has healthcare for all of its citizens. We don’t understand all of this opposition to it over here in the U.S. And, we should remember: In the ancient world, there wasn’t any healthcare system. It was the Christians, very early on, who introduced the idea that we should care for people beyond the circle of our own kin. Christians taught that we should care for the poor and disadvantaged. Christians eventually organized hospitals. To hear people standing up in your political debate and saying—“If you are followers of Jesus, you must reject universal healthcare coverage!”—and that’s unthinkable to us. Those of us who are Christians in other parts of the world are saying: We can’t understand this political language. It’s not our value in our countries. It’s not even in keeping with traditional Christian teaching on caring for others. We can’t understand what we are hearing from some of your politicians on this point. Yet, over here, some Christians are saying that it’s part of the list of boxes we all should check off to keep in line.”

Best Analysis:
Kristen Rosser with “Boys Playing with Dolls? Oh no!

“CMBW believes that the Sesame Street episode was silly.  But I think what's silly is believing that the foundations of society are going to crumble if we tell a little boy it's ok to put his baby-doll daughter to bed. “

Best Conversation-Starter:
David Henson with “DJesus Uncrossed: Tarantino, Driscoll and the Violent Remaking of Jesus in America

“In the end, whatever the fallout from the skit, American Christianity didn’t need Tarantino or SNL or anyone in Hollywood to think up something as absurd and as base and as hysterically inaccurate as DJesus Uncrossed. We’ve already done that for ourselves. Say what you will about how offensive SNL’s sketch was. Our popular theology is more so. Because we should know better."

Best Idea:
College Humor with “8 New and Necessary Punctuation Marks

Best Challenge (nominated by Kelley Nikondeha):
D.L. Mayfield with “Because of Christ, It Gets Better

“Another reason the church has been slow to respond to the issue might stem from who we perceive to be the objects of bullying. While Christians might think themselves the persecuted minority in America, the truth is that most of the more visible forms of childhood bullying center around not differences in religion, but differences in social acceptability: being overweight, ugly, socially awkward, or not conforming to strict gender norms.”

Best Reminder:
Peter Enns with “The Most Frightening Verse in the Bible (At Least for Me)

The closest we ever get to seeing God is when we love one another, for that is when God lives in us.

Favorite Tweets….

@haleykristine You guys. It's all going to be okay. Because Jesus. And also I made@smittenkitchen's crispy chewy chocolate chip cookies.

@renovatuspastor There is nothing more antithetical to the Christian life than being the sort of person who goes around hoping others get what they deserve.

@stephaniedrury My new move in Draw Something is to draw a crying uterus before scrapping it and doing a ladybug or an airport. Throws them off.

@UnvirtuousAbbey And they'll know we are Jedi by the force, by the force, yes they'll know we are Jedi by the force. #JediHymns

@I_confirm Seek ye first the droids on Tatooine. #jedihymns

@Nick_Payne Lord the lightsaber of your love is shining, in the midst of the dark side shining #jedihymns

@lukehyder Ani walks with me Ani talks with me Ani tells me I'm 3-P-O#JediHymns

@adamdmoore Tomorrow morning you must go to the grocery store. Buy all the bananas. Do NOT eat them. Can't explain all the reasons here.#rickwarrentips

@lukeharms Never get involved in a land war in Asia. Can't explain all the reasons here. #rickwarrentips

@kristenhowerton RT @JohnPiper: "Deep calls to deep is true of her necklines and his knowing." <-- Can't explain all the reasons here. #rickwarrentips

 @RtRDH #RickWarrenTips + #JediHymns trending. Can't explain all the reasons here.

On the Blog…

Most Popular Post:
Swords into plowshares and hate mail into origami

Check it out. Since writing the post, I made a flower out of an especially mean one-star Amazon review!


Most Popular Comment:
In response to “Torn: Chapters 14-15 & Conclusion: The Way Forward,Aric Clark wrote:

I've seen the Romans 14 path advocated in a few places, including my own denomination and it has some merits, but I put forward a couple cautions:
#1 - Genuine freedom of conscience has to be already permitted for this to work. You can't say "let's stop pushing our opinions on each other" in a situation where people aren't free to follow their conscience. So, for example, in my denomination (PCUSA) we need to allow full ordination and marriage and so forth for those congregations and ministers that are so led, while not enforcing it for those congregations and ministers that do not wish to participate.
#2 - When Jesus says "don't place a stumbling block" he is referring specifically to vulnerable parties (and Paul seems to be riffing on this idea). It is more important that we protect victims of discrimination then that we not offend the sensibilities of the privileged. We invert Jesus' message and the whole direction of the Kingdom if we allow those with power and authority to use the language of the oppressed to defend the status quo. I respect the vulnerability of an individual Christian coming to terms with theology and morality that is foreign to them. I do not think the heirarchy of our churches needs protection from prophetic cries for justice.


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

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