Sunday Superlatives 5/13/2012

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Best Mom in the Whole World:

Robin Held (pictured above with the best dad in the whole world)
Mom is a third-generation elementary school teacher whose reputation as the best 4th grade teacher at Dayton City School reminds me of how blessed I was to grow up in a home full of creativity, compassion, adventure, and love.  She instilled in me a love for reading, a self-depreciating sense of humor, a curious mind, and a tender heart.  It was mom who first introduced me to Jesus, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Carol King. I am so grateful for her influence and friendship. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! 

Around the Blogosphere...

Best Video:
N.T. Wright sings Bob Dylan at The Rabbit Room

Best Writing:
 Michelle DeRusha with “Let Us Proclaim the Mystery of Faith

“I fill the dishwasher, toss errant sneakers and flip flops into the shoe basket by the door, raise the matchstick blinds over the living room couch, singing the old familiar words as I work. 

Let us proclaim the mystery of faith…  

My voice rises and falls. I dig deeply, remembering the cadence of the priest’s voice, practicing to match the tone just right as I throw muddy socks and stained tee shirts into the washer, as I dump a basket of warm clothes on the bed, as I butter bagels hot and yeasty from the toaster oven.My kids glance warily at me over their books, leery of the chanting. They're not entirely surprised their mother is acting like a monk, but not entirely comfortable with it either..."

Best Analysis: 
Mimi Haddad with “Is God male?

“God is self-revealed in terms we can understand through our own experiences, using metaphors which are, at times, feminine. We should not, however, make these metaphors—these implicit comparisons—absolutes. When we do, we are making God in our image, whether male or female. God is not limited by gender because God is Spirit. It is idolatry to make God male or female. God is no more female or goddess than God is male, and males have no priority over women in the New Covenant community because of gender (Gal 3:27-29).God is beyond gender, and leadership is not gender-bound.”

Best Interview:
Frank Viola interviews David Lamb about his book, God Behaving Badly 

"I was on a date with my wife Shannon recently and we ended up chatting with my server. He says to me, 'So what do you do?' I reply, 'I teach the Bible, mainly the Old Testament.'  My response prompted him to ask, 'The Old Testament—isn’t that where God is always getting angry, smiting people and destroying cities all the time?'  I tell him, 'Well, not exactly, but I get that question a lot because the God of the Old Testament has a bad reputation.'”

Best Response:
Lisa Belkin at Huffington Post with “No, I am not mom enough

“I am not Mom enough to take the bait. To accept TIME's deliberate provocation and either get mad at this woman for what I think I know about her from this photo, or to feel inferior, or superior, or defensive, or guilty -- or anything at all, if it means I am comparing myself to other mothers. I am not Mom enough to think that the debate over how to feed our youngest children -- an important and nuanced conversation about nutrition, and workplace policy, and government responsibility, and gender relationships -- can be boiled down to a simplistic, unrepresentative, staged photograph.”

Best example of nerdy theological humor: 
Amanda MacInnis with “10 Reasons Christians Shouldn’t Read the Patristic Fathers

Best Conversation-Starter:
Roger Olson with "How to Believe without Being Fundamentalist"

"...It is possible to hold firmly to, proclaim and teach, the incarnation of God, the deity of Jesus Christ, even a full bodied doctrine of the Trinity, and not do it in a rigid, narrow, absolutistic way. One mark of fundamentalism and neo-fundamentalism is going beyond belief in and proclamation of the incarnation to insistence on a certain theory of how it worked as essential to the incarnation and deity of Jesus Christ."

Most Encouraging:
Laura Ziesel with “Mother is a Verb

“...My status as a mother has very little to do with my biological reproduction or my legal status as a parent; my status as a mother has to do with the mothering I've done in my heart, with my words, and with my hands."

Most Challenging:
Kristen Howerton with “Where is the mommy war for the motherless child?

“This is the only mommy war I’ll wage.  I’m confident that most mothers are doing the best that they can for their kids, even if their choices are different than mine.  I think it’s ridiculous that so much energy is spent on debating largely inconsequential parenting decisions when so very little attention is given to the children who DON’T HAVE PARENTS. Why isn’t this causing outrage?  Making magazine covers? Inciting ranty twitter posts? This is the war I’ll be involved in: We, as a society, are not doing enough to protect at-risk and motherless children, both in our country and globally.  (Because apparently we’re too busy worrying about that kid whose mom gave him formula).”

Most Riveting:
Jessica Goudeau with “Stick it to the slumlords!” and “The Man Who Walked Into the Hornet’s Nest

“...I went in Thursday ready for battle. Armed with information about what’s legal in the state of Texas, I went ready to nail this guy to the wall. Because they had turned the gas off and, ten days later, hadn’t turned it back on. That meant that the people in this one particular building had not had hot showers or cooked food in ten days–in Texas, you have to have the issue resolved in seven.”

Most Useless (Yet Fascinating):
The Billfold with “How Much Money You Need To Realistically Recreate The Scrooge McDuck ‘Gold Coin Swim’

Most (Oddly) Disappointing: 
Maya calendar workshop documents time beyond 2012

Sarah Bessey at Deeper Story with “I’m an evangelical Christian. And I think same-sex marriage should be legal.” 

“My marriage is the greatest relationship of my life, spiritual in every way. And my ability to have a strong marriage, that affirms God’s heart for relationships and demonstrates unconditional love is not altered by someone else’s inability or disinclination to do so.”

Jamie Arpin-Ricci with “We Never Come to the Bible Alone

“We do not come to Scripture alone, but do so with the Holy Spirit who helps us discern God’s truth and will within.  We do so through our brokenness and thus get it wrong time and again, but with humility, chastened certainty and the grace of a forgiving God, we continue to pursue Him.  This isn’t a formula or '5-easy-steps', but it is a path upon which we will discover more of God and His truth. This same Holy Spirit is the Spirit who unites us as One Body in Christ.  Therefore, the Spirit quickens our understanding of Scripture as we seek to discern together as community.  And that communal discernment engages the diversity and multiplicity of gifts within that community without condescending against some strength or privileging others.  We are mutually interdependent on one another through the Spirit.  In many ways, this unity and interdependence should provide an impetus for a humble, yet passionate engagement of mission.  After all, each person who comes into the Body of Christ brings with them absolutely unique expressions of gifting, perspective, etc.  In fact, it is often in those who are most other that bring us the most essential understanding to become more like Christ together.”

Greg Warner with “Jennifer Knapp, an unlikely gay Christian icon"

"When I came out, I didn't expect how much it hurt my heart that people assumed the experience I had as a person of faith had never mattered and didn't exist...I realized (the Christian faith) was an integral part of my life when it was assumed that it wasn't.’”

Most Inspiring:
Investor Place with “10 Remarkable Women in Business History

“Born into slavery in Mississippi, Biddy Mason grew up to be a successful real estate developer and human-rights champion. But before she did all that, Biddy successfully sued her owners for her freedom after the family and their slaves moved to the free state of California in the 1850s. A decade after winning freedom for herself and her three daughters, Biddy became one of the first black women to own land when she purchased commercial property in what is now the heart of downtown Los Angeles for $250. She turned her initial investment into a small real estate empire worth about $300,000 in 1884.” (Eshet Chayil!)

Most Surprsing:
Mental Floss with “The Founder of Mother’s Day Later Fought to Have It Abolished” 

“’A maudlin, insincere printed card or ready-made telegram means nothing except that you’re too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone else in the world.” She also said, “Any mother would rather have a line of the worst scribble from her son or daughter than any fancy greeting card.”

Most Beautiful: 
Idelette McVicker with “Let Us Be Women Who Love

“Let us be women who Love.
Let us be women willing to lay down our sword words, our sharp looks, our ignorant silence and towering stance and fill the earth now with extravagant Love.
Let us be women who Love.
Let us be women who make room.
Let us be women who open our arms and invite others into an honest, spacious, glorious embrace.”

On the blog...

Most Popular Post (with 43,000 Facebook shares!): 
How to Win a Culture War and Lose a Generation

Most Popular Comment (with 209 “likes”!):
In response to the culture war post, Tammy Kingston wrote: 

“While I am sure most of the Christians you encounter of the over 40 age group probably did celebrate the passing of that ridiculous amendment, rest assured that this 48 year old heterosexual married woman most definitely did not.  Living in Alabama, the very heart of right wing evangelicals, my views are not very popular, and I am perfectly okay with that.  I always look forward to your blog posts even when they are as sad as this one.  The word "evangelical" continues to make me more and more uncomfortable because of all the vitriol it has come to represent.” 

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

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