Sunday Superlatives 5/18/14

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free


Alex Chacon with “Around the World in 360° Degrees - 3 Year Epic Selfie”

Michael Gungor with “Lucette” 

“So I took out my phone and googled Psalm 139.  I placed my hand on Lisa’s belly and read:  “You created her inmost being.” That phrase unearthed a new reservoir of tears for both Lisa and I.  It took a long time before I could gain composure to continue reading.  But eventually the words washed over us like a waterfall.”

Jamie Wright with  “Not all pastor’s kids are Christian. Sorry.”

“We are so incredibly proud of the bright, thoughtful, courageous heathens we're raising. And while, as Christian parents, we cling to certain hopes and dreams for our children's faith and future, we trust that the God we believe in is near to them, fully present, and doing His thing.”

Most Powerful: 
Sarah Bessey and Work of the People with “You Are Not Forgotten” 

Most Profound: 
Daniel José Camacho quoting Brian Bantum in “Institutions need to be Born Again (a theology of institutional inclusion)”

“…In this baptismal moment there also lies the profound transformation of the community, for with every new member comes the possibility of transformation, change, and adaptation in its inclusion not only for the one welcomed, but for those who welcome. The body of Christ shifts and moves and learns new languages as it adds new members. Its body becomes new as the person becomes new. This transformation is not without shape or purpose. It is a body that recognizes it exists within that in which all difference is found.”

Most Surprising:
Dale Best wtih "My Experience at the First Taping of the Rob Bell Show"

“In the first two episode of his new show on OWN, Bell is challenging the audience to see the divine spark that God wired within each human being and to consider the Cross of Jesus. Think about that for a second.”

Most Enlightening: 
Shawna at Not the Former Things with “When Church Hurts” 

“For my son, the sensory experience of going to church is something similar to torture (I wish I was exaggerating to make a point). He enters the crowded lobby with wall to wall people, everyone talking at the same time, various smells of babies and coffee and muffins and perfume, getting bumped here and there because it’s not time for the service to start, people  still talking and welcoming and trying to hang on to their children as they run for the donuts and other children…

Most Informative: 
Bob Smietana at On Faith with “Are Millennials Really Leaving the Church? Yes – but Mostly White Millennials” 

 “About a third of young (18-29 year old) Americans — and more than half of younger Christians — are people of color, according to data from the Public Religion Research Institute. White Christians, on the other hand, make up only a quarter of younger Americans. In fact there are more Nones — those with no religion — than white Christians in this age group.  ‘What you have in American religion today are the nonwhite Christians and the Nones,’  says Mark Silk, professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.”

Most Inspiring: 
Zadie Smith with “Storytelling is a Magical, Ruthless Discipline” 

“Sometimes I think my whole professional life has been based on this hunch I had, early on, that many people feel just as muddled as I do, and might be happy to tag along with me on this search for clarity, for precision.” 

Most Beautiful: 
God Our Mother by the Liturgists

Most Challenging: 
Ruthie Johnson with “Diversity in the Church is Essential to God’s Mission”

“Because of division, we forget that God’s heart is inclusive. We forget that God’s identity is expressed in diversity. When we start to look for God’s identity, we can start to ask, ‘Who’s not in the room?’ When we pursue diversity, we start to understand that God calls us into a ‘belonging’- a restoration of this division. God does this through an expression of his fullness.”

Best Response: 
Mimi Haddad with “Bait and Switch Complementarians” 

“Please do not tell girls or women that they share equally in God’s image; that they are equal at the foot of the cross; that they are equal in the kingdom of God, that they should cultivate their minds equally, unless you are prepared to give them equal authority to use the gifts God has given them. To do otherwise is to bait girls and women with the truth of Scripture as it points to their inheritance in Christ, and then to switch—to deny them the opportunities to walk in newness of life—in using their God-given gifts with equality authority.” 

Best Perspective: 
Pamela Erens with “The Joys of Trimming” 

“I rarely find getting rid of my words to be an emotional trial. On the contrary, when I can remove a limp adjective or superfluous sentence from a novel chapter or essay, I feel a rush that is a bit like being airborne. For every word I cut, I seem to have more space between my ribs, more lung capacity. I feel simpler and calmer, my head pleasantly lighter. And later, when I turn my work over to an editor, he or she is bound to make some more deletions. I love editors who get rid of things.”

Best Observation: 
John Hawthorne with “Testimony Evangelicalism” 

“The most powerful pieces we read on the internet are not systematic explications of how this and such worked together. They are painful moments of real life: the miscarriage experienced by a young couple, the struggle another couple had with infertility, the sometimes crippling nature of depression, the happy couple in their first apartment, the birth of a grandchild, the completion of a doctorate. And in the midst of all that is faith. Not a blind faith that says “God has a plan” but one that says that God is present in the struggle and the joy and the accomplishment. Testimony of that sort can change the world. Testimonial Evangelicalism is trying to Bear Witness.” 

On the Blog…

Most Popular Post: 
3 Things You Might Not Know About Proverbs 31

“Too often, we focus on the Proverbs 31 Woman’s  roles as a way of reducing womanhood to marriage, motherhood, and domesticity, when really, this passage is about character that transcends both gender and circumstance.” 

Most Popular Comments: 
In response to “It’s Not About Conforming to the World,” Billy wrote: 

Thank you for this. I must confess (sadly) that I find myself often reading your posts hoping that you will change your mind on some things while neglecting my own areas of confusion or uncertainty regarding some issues within the church. While I am not the type to publicly argue or slander, I have often (in my mind) devalued you and others as brothers and sisters as well as image bearers solely because I disagree. I am sincerely sorry for that. I can only hope that all of us who love Jesus and seek to make him known will come to a place of agreement on the things that matter, and hold those things up together, while letting the other things be left up for discussions that are filled with grace and humility. Thanks again.

And in response to “Is God a Man? (a brief response to CBMW’s heresy accusation)”, Paul wrote:

“Disputes like this make me think we need to retire the word "heresy" from contemporary discourse, reserving it strictly for historical descriptions of beliefs that the church formally condemned (rightly or wrongly) as actual heresies. The word is overused and freighted with such baggage that it no longer carries any real meaning. For example, what is Strachan intending by using the "h-word" here? None of the creeds or councils describe the gender of God, nor does the Bible reject the use of feminine imagery in describing God. So it seems he misapplies it, thus robbing it of the meaning he presumably would like it to have and making it less likely that future use of the word will carry much, if any, weight.

That's assuming it has any weight anymore. I hear "heresy" used in a joking manner more than a serious one, as most younger Christians have been so inundated by the word to refer to any deviation from "traditional" (read: conservative) Christianity that they are inoculated from the possibility that heresy is a real and dangerous thing to avoid. It is certainly an effective power play to describe someone as a heretic; the church has done it now for thousands of years. Unfortunately, as with most power plays, the word is here being used by the powerful (a man) against the traditionally marginalized (a woman), defending a "doctrine" that perpetuates patriarchal oppression. One could look at the Bible and perhaps reach the conclusion that using one's religious beliefs as a cudgel with which to hammer the marginalized is ... well, somewhat heretical.” 

Paul will be happy to know that tomorrow I’ll be featuring an interview with Justin Holcomb, who has written a book on this very topic! So stay tuned!


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

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