Sunday Superlatives 3/18/2012

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Around the Blogosphere...

Best Resurrection Picture Ever (see above): 
from Matthew Paul Turner via Molly Carlisle

Best Point:
The Economist with “Our Great Moral Decline”:

“I think the debate over America's moral position comes down to this: Republicans want the best outcomes based on solutions that fit into preconceived notions of what society should look like. So even if there are few tangible harms that point to our moral decay, any move away from their vision of society is evidence of declining virtue.”

Best Imagery:
Sarah Peck with “Rain Puddles, Big Splashes, and the Land Beneath Your Feet

"Landscape is so prevalent in our everyday, regular lives that it’s become invisible: something we all walk on top of, live within, and take from–and yet our culture seems to have no concept or appreciation for the value of the land, save for the economic pricing of development and the business opportunities in real estate. I fear, at times, that our concept of “design” and “planning” have strayed so far from meaning that we’ve found ourselves drawing fancy circles and triangles and talking in jargony-architecture-jibberish just because we’re afraid we might be found out: that maybe what we’re doing isn’t really doing anything.”

Best List: 
The Kitchn with “15 Fresh Salads for a Very Lovely Lunch

Best Analysis: 
Julie Clawson with “The World Is Watching the Hunger Games

“The United States may be the Capitol of Panem, and some may be treating The Hunger Games as just another circus, but that message of subversive living is being heard even if just subconsciously. This is an important film because of that. Katniss Everdeen is more than just another beautiful celebrity – she is a voice calling for us to put an end to injustice and oppression. And the world is watching.”

Best Interview: 
NPR with “I Confess Because I’m a Sinful Man, Author Says

Most Challenging: 
Brett McCracken with “In Praise of Being Out of the Loop

“I desire to be more out of the loop. I want to go a day without knowing what the Twitterverse is talking about. I want to let trending topics come and go without ever knowing they happened. I want to be like Marilyn Hagerty, who didn’t know (or care) that for the rest of the world, Olive Garden was “old news.” I don’t want to care about something just because it’s hot right now and everyone is talking about it; I want to care about something because it is interesting, important, worth thinking about. I don’t want to blog, tweet, or talk about things I haven’t mulled over or wrestled with first. I want to resist the idol of quick-to-the-draw commentary.” 

Most Relatable:
 Laura McKenna at Good with “Pin Up: How Pinterest Hooks the Aspirational Housewife in All of Us

“Why are we so hungry for the flowery dresses on Pinterest and the brew kits on Etsy? We’re busy and burned out. Some of us, like my husband and our friends, are putting in 60 to 80 hours a week at the office under the constant fear that they’ll be fired if they head home early. Others, like me, face dismal laundry piles and soccer schedules without a spouse to share the burden. We’re either increasingly alienated from domestic life, or beaten down by its monotonous realities. As our free time shrinks, we turn to Pinterest to fantasize about having the time to grow  organic tomatoes and create sparkling castles for our children's bedrooms. We long to walk away from our office computers and minivan wheels and make things with our hands. So we pin images of women floating through gardens in flowery dresses, and approve of our friends who share in the fantasy, too."

Most Honest:
Alece at Deeper Story with “Bittersweet

"When people hear I got divorced after 10 years of marriage, the question is inevitable. 'Do you have kids?'
I usually purse my lips together and shake my head while I answer. 
'No… No kids.'
And then I hold my breath.
Because nine times out of ten, the response is the same. And I catch myself bracing for it. 'That’s good.'"

Most Likely to Make You Feel Like a Loser for Complaining About the Weather:
What It’s Like to Film Polar Bears in the Arctic When You’re Five Months Pregnant

Christian Piatt with “Seven Reasons Why Young Adults Quit Church” and “Four More (BIG) Reasons Young Adults Quit the Church

Susannah with “Just my opinion..

“A while ago, I attended a college/young adult group with a friend.  The man in charge introduced himself to me and, during that conversation, discovered I had attended Multnomah.  He thought that was great and then went off to talk with others in the group.  I didn't think anything of it until Nate arrived.  This man also introduced himself to Nate and, as soon as he discovered that Nate also had attended Multnomah, started discussing something theological that has been on his mind recently.  Even when I tried to join the conversation, this man didn't engage me at all and continued focusing on Nate.”

Kristin Tennant at The Huffington Post with "What the Church Needs to Understand About Divorce"

"Punishing or shunning those who have been through a divorce does not scare others into staying married. It more likely causes people to go underground with their marriage problems rather than seek help. If they eventually do get divorced, they are likely to leave the church all together -- to relegate it to the growing pile of relics divorced people create as they separate their past lives from their futures."

Best Conversation-Starter:
Scot McKnight with “Justification is Western

Best Rant: 
Chaplain Mike at iMonk with “More Tired Rhetoric

“Everyone ‘accommodates’ their reading of the Bible to the state of learning in their day. Of course we adjust our understanding of Scripture to what we learn of the world through disciplines such as science! We always have.”

Best Reminder:
Pete Wilson with “The Empire of Entitlement"

Best Question: 
Enuma Okoro at Red Letter Christians with “Kony 2012: Who’s Telling the Story

“I think what people forget is that we construct stories in multiple ways, yes with words, but also through visuals, (photographs especially) sounds, how we market, promote, basically communicate our beliefs and ideas, and by whom we recognize or invite to be conversation partners. Each of our stories lends itself to creating or re-creating particular perspectives and views of other people and in sharing segments of our own narratives and our perceived role in the world."

Best Combination of Passion and Level-Headedness:
Jen Hatmaker with “Kony Critics & Throwing Rocks” 

“May we not move foolishly. Or arrogantly. Or rashly. Or naively. But may we move.”

and Kristen Howerton with “White Privilege and The Impulse to Help

“I get that there’s a rub that it takes hip, young white people to get other young white people to care about global issues. I agree that it’s annoying that the fimmakers used a white child in the film to garner empathy for the children of African with an “all kids are important” analogy.  But do I think they did that because they are ethnocentric?  No.  I think the filmmakers understand the unfortunate reality that so often, children in Africa are written off because they don’t look like the majority’s own children. I agree that it’s frustrating that so often, stories of minority hardships are only given credibility and interest when told by majority voices.  I see all of these things as problematic, and as markers of systemic racism.  At the same time, until the system is remedied, it may mean that those who hold the privilege use their voices to act as allies, and it may mean that those with more privilege volunteer their time, resources, and influence to give voice to others.” 

Most Anticipated Response to Kony 2012:
Nicholas Kristof at the New York Times with “Viral Video, Vicious Warlord” 

“When a warlord continues to kill and torture across a swath of Congo and Central African Republic, that’s not a white man’s burden. It’s a human burden.”

Most Inspiring:
Laura Ziesel with “Stories of Hope: A House on Beekman
[On a side note: Isn't Laura a fantastic interviewer? No wonder her questions for our "Ask a..." series always get picked]]

Most Encouraging:
It’s great to see that our friend Justin Lee is out there sharing his story
(See our interview with him at “Ask a gay Christian..

Most Enlightening: 
Mashable with “Encyclopedia Britannica vs. Wikipedia Infographic” 

Most Likely to Get a Gold Star for Actually Spelling “Complementarian” Correctly: (It’s also a great article!)
Kristen Bennett Marble at Burnside Writers Collective with “From Complementarian to Egalitarian

“So when God called me into ministry, I suddenly was thrust into discussions and reflections about scriptural tensions regarding women in ministry. Did women have to be silent in church? Was there indeed no difference between male and female in Christ Jesus? Could women teach adult men? Could they teach teenage boys in Sunday School (and where was the distinction)? Were women truly made in the image of God, or primarily just susceptible to deception? I wrestled with complementarian views which held women are subservient to, and helpers for men, only allowed to serve designated roles, none of which include anything in church leadership.” 

Most Likely to Inflate My Ego...At Least Until My Mom Votes for Tim Tebow Because He’s “Such a Nice Young Man”
The American Jesus Madness 2012 Championship Matchup

On the Blog...

Most Popular Post:
Scattered Thoughts on My Life in the Christian ‘Industry’

Most Popular Comment (with a whopping 241 “likes”!):
In response to the above post, Eric Michael Say wrote:


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

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