Sunday Superlatives 4/22/2012

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Friend of the blog Mick Mooney sent me this cartoon and said it reminded him of our conversation about ‘churched’ and ‘un-churched’ Christians last week. You can check out more of Mick’s cartoons on his blog, Searching for Grace.

Around the Blogosphere...

Theology Ryan Gosslin

“Hey Girl, In light of the fact that the original text did not contain versification, we should consider difficult passages like Romans 13:1-7 as the specific occasion of the generalization delivered in Romans 12:8.”

Hemant Mehta (the Friendly Atheist) with “If Atheists Talked Like Christians

“I have a personal relationship with reality.”

"The universe works in non-mysterious ways."

"I just found a parking space up front. Thank random chance!"

"Sagan, take the wheel."

Most Practical: 
Gretchen Rubin with “Cross a Finish Line

“Too often, I don’t take the time to experience the satisfaction that comes from finishing. I turn immediately to the next thing I need to do, or the next finish line I need to cross, without pausing for a little moment of triumph.”

Most Informative
Friend-of-the-blog Dennis Venema has been writing a series of posts over at BioLogos called “Understanding Evolution.” Great for those looking to brush up on their science.

Most Grace-Filled:
Kate Elizabeth Conner with “The Two Times I Adored Jerry Falwell

"Halfway through my junior year, 400 students from Nepal enrolled; one beautiful young lady moved in right next door to me.  A couple board members were miffed because the students were using Liberty to get an education visa, then transferring out to other schools.  Some parents got their panties in a wad because their kids were calling home and telling them about their new Buddhist roommates who moved in and put little Buddha statues and idols all over the room.  To address the situation, Jerry got up in convocation again, looked straight into the camera and said, 'I understand there are some folks who don’t agree with my decision to admit all these students.  But let me tell you something:  If 25,000 Christians can’t love 400 Buddhists in the name of Jesus, then we need to shut down this university!'"

Most Heartbreaking:
Maria Burnham with “Coming Out to My Bible Study

“And the discussion escalated into a storm of accusations, a line dividing us almost evenly down the middle, Bible verses flung like weapons, tempers flaring, and, of course, tears falling. I didn't know if I should yell back, if I should let my tears turn into the sobs they ached for, if I should storm out, or if I should bring some logic and practicality back into the argument. And the women asked me, 'Are you confessing? Is this a confession? Are you seeking repentance and solace in an attempt to overcome this sin?' I was thankful Jenny was not present to hear the attack, and I knew she would not understand that these women believed that they were coming from a loving place.”

Most Haunting (*Warning*: Graphic Image):
Massoud Hossaini’s Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Photo for Breaking News

Most Challenging:
Ann Voskamp with “How to Love Your Enemies?” 

"How many years have I have stood in sanctuaries and murmured that one line of the Apostles Creed? ‘I believe in the forgiveness of sins.’ Have I really believed?”

Most Likely To Make You Cheer:
Kathy Escobar (at Ed Cyzewski’s blog) with “Well-Behaved Women Won’t Change the Church

“Some people think the church doesn’t need changing; they’re fine with the way things are because it works for them. But I think there a lot more of us out here than even we ourselves know–passionate women who believe the body of Christ needs much more than a face-lift to become all it’s meant to be. Yeah, well-behaved women will not change the church. Instead, change in the church will come from not-so-well-behaved women who are willing to risk their pride, reputations, and "being liked" to stand for what God is stirring up in their hearts.”

Most Likely to Make You See the World a Little Differently:
Ree Drummond with “Your Cell Phone Pictures:  Group 1Group 2Group 3Group 4Group 5

Most Likely to Trigger Some “McGee and Me” Flashbacks:
Lianna Carrera with “10 Signs You Were a Christian Kid in the 90s

Most Likely to Make You Spew You Coffee Out Laughing Even Though It’s Not Supposed to Be Funny:
Movieguide reviews “Blue Like Jazz”

“ ...very strong politically correct and left-wing revisionist history attitude or tone that’s also Anti-American (especially a vague charge against “U.S. foreign policy”), and strong anti-capitalist elements...blasphemy, implied urinating, vomiting, scatological humor, and comments on breast feeding and sexual parts of people’s bodies; light brief violence includes beating on car window and trying to damage car, man comically shoves people off a stage, man burns books; sexual content includes homosexual references, implied adultery with a pregnancy out of wedlock, talk about a priest raping boy in the past, a giant condom balloon placed on church steeple, references to real condoms, implied fornication; upper male nudity, man wears a dress; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking and marijuana use depicted, including eating marijuana brownies; and, strong miscellaneous immorality includes lying, stealing, revenge, rebellion, dysfunctional family portrayed, father is a pothead and a drinker and lives in a trailer”

Best Conversation-Starter:
Two Friars and a Fool with “95 Tweets Against Hell

Best Analysis: 
Richard Beck with “Algorithms of Salvation

“The grand strokes of atonement are largely agreed upon. God loves us and make a sacrifice to save us. The trouble comes when we posit some mechanism of atonement--an algorithm of salvation-- and then insist that God must follow the program. By doing so we make the cross an act of compulsion rather than an act of love. More, when we insist that God must be in obedience to an algorithm of salvation we engage in an act of idolatry. And idolatry is sin.”

Best Reminder:
Laura Ziesel with “John Piper, the Titanic, and Why I Give Grace

“If his starting point was truly in a world were interracial families were viewed as unbiblical, for some reason that makes me understand why he's still in a world where men should lead and women should help men be leaders. I don't agree with him, but I don't just see him as a stubborn, misogynistic man anymore. I see him as someone who is holding tightly to his view of gender roles because he has already given up a lot of ground that his spiritual fathers claimed to be true. It's hard to turn your back on your heritage, and he already has in one significant way.”

Best Series:
Kathy Escobar with "Rebuilding After Deconstructing

Best Interview: 
NPR with “Vatican Criticizes Nuns’ Stance on Social Issues

Best Idea:
Zack Hunt at American Jesus with “Taking a Sabbatical From Church

“I want to suggest that we make taking a sabbatical from church an accepted, if not encouraged, part of the Christian life for lay people. That’s right. I think it might be a good idea for us, from time to time or even just once in our lives, to take a break from going to church every Sunday morning.”

Best Critique:
Sarah Pulliam Bailey at Get Religion with “Correction please on the Atlantic’s Laughable Kony Report

Best Testimony:
Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove with “Should This Family Be Illegal?

“Observations like these—points that I might have missed without the insight of gay friends—also make me think about the family of God that I get to be part of at Rutba House here in Walltown. As we have lived as a Christian community and a hospitality house for friends in need, our imagination of a ‘biblical family’ has expanded. I still believe what the good North Carolina Baptists who raised me had crocheted on their table cloths: ‘The family that prays together stays together.’ But when we say our grace before dinner each evening here, it’s not just me and Leah and our children at the table. God has extended our table to include sisters and brothers who’ve taught us what it means to be the family of God. When we get up for morning prayer each day, the unity we celebrate as we bow before the Trinity certainly includes the marriage of ‘one man and one woman.’ But it extends far beyond that. This ‘domestic partnership’ is an extended family of sisters and brothers united in Spirit.”

Best Warning: 
Digital Life with “The Ugly Dark Side of Facebook Memes

Most Thoughtful:
Craig Keener with “The Evangelical Left in History and Today

“Blanket statements about all evangelicals mix the Democratic Tony Campolos with the far right Jerry Falwells. Given evangelicalism's diverse history and its undefined future, it is both inaccurate and unhelpful to stereotype all 'evangelicals’as the religious right. It was especially this public linking of evangelicals with the political right, by Jerry Falwell and other public figures, that initially consolidated the religious right. Today, stereotyping evangelicalism as a whole only fortifies the influence of the political right on a movement that has a much more varied history.”

Most Honest:
Sharon Autenrieth with “The Problem with the Church is Me

“Christians leave the church for a variety of reasons — doctrinal, structural, emotional and more. Those of us who stay are often so hurt by their leaving, or so threatened by what we think it says about those who stay, that we can't hear what they are telling us. We stop our ears, invalidate their experiences, and tell ourselves that everything is fine. I keep standing up and telling our church what a loving, supportive, inclusive community we are, when the reality is that I don't even exemplify those qualities myself.”

Most Inspiring:
Everyday Liturgy with  “Prayer for the Second Week of Easter

“The world is infused with the power of Christ’s resurrection.
The seed that was sown is now blooming.
The bulb that was buried is now blossoming.
All of creation is transfixed by the beauty of new life.
The tiniest of birds sings the mightiest of songsas the morning sun rises.
Come everyone, meet the dawn of all creation!
Be warmed by the comforting light of Christ.”

On the blog...

Most Popular Post:
In Praise of My Unspectacular, Pre-Pinterest Wedding

Most Popular Comment:
In response to “Better Conversations Between Churched and Un-Churched Christians,” Ben Emerson kindly wrote: 

“It is posts like this that make me keep coming back. You don't let anyone off the hook and yet you still call us all to the table together. You do your best (sometimes through clenched teeth, I'm sure) to make space for everyone. And I appreciate it.  Standing in the middle is incredibly difficult. People on both sides will misunderstand and you will get hit as they aim for each other. And sometimes they aim at you.  Take as much time in your pouty chair as you need. But then please come back and keep writing. There are plenty of us out here who love what you do.”

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

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