Sunday Superlatives 6/23/13

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free
XKCD - "Pastime" -

XKCD - "Pastime" -

Around the Blogosphere…

Check out my interview about "A Year of Biblical Womanhood" over at Mormon Stories. It was fun and enlightening discussing issues related to the Bible, gender equality, and faith with women coming from a somewhat different religious culture. 

Most Insightful: 
Tim Kreider at the New York Times with “I Know What You Think of Me” 

“The operative fallacy here is that we believe that unconditional love means not seeing anything negative about someone, when it really means pretty much the opposite: loving someone despite their infuriating flaws and essential absurdity. ‘Do I want to be loved in spite of?’ Donald Barthelme writes in his story ‘Rebecca’ about a woman with green skin. ‘Do you? Does anyone? But aren’t we all, to some degree?’ We don’t give other people credit for the same interior complexity we take for granted in ourselves, the same capacity for holding contradictory feelings in balance, for complexly alloyed affections, for bottomless generosity of heart and petty, capricious malice. We can’t believe that anyone could be unkind to us and still be genuinely fond of us, although we do it all the time."

Most Moving: 
Stephen Colbert’s Tribute to His Mom

Most Inspiring (nominated by Erin O’Neal): 
Queen Rania Al Abdullah at CNN with “A queen's message to girls: More than tiaras and cupcakes” 

“Role models can inspire. Campaigns can motivate. But if we want all girls everywhere to rise up, then we must find them, befriend them and support them.”

Most Honest: 
Leanne Penny with “The Plea of the Pastor’s Wife

"This is a sad part of the rhythm of most ministry families, healing at home when the people of God tear you apart."

Most Thoughtful: 
Emily Maynard with  “When Failure Seems Easier” 

“But here I sit, maybe on the edge of really great exciting things, with sparks all around me, and I feel totally exposed again.  There is vulnerability in walking through pain, but I am discovering that there is huge vulnerability in joy.”

Most Relatable: 
Jamie Wright with “The Perfect Shade of Greige” 

“Honestly, I think I did feel God's presence more clearly in Costa Rica. But it's not because He was more present, it's because I was paying more attention. I was lonely, scared, and anxious, and totally dependent on God to sustain me. So I looked for Him everywhere.”

Most Helpful: 
Kathy Escobar with “8 ways those from more liberal-progressive and conservative-evangelical persuasions can better love each other

“ remember first, that other person is a child of God, made in God’s image. dignified dialogue always starts with this.  it doesn’t hurt to also remember, they’are also probably fighting some kind of battle (because we all are). we need to lay down our stereotypes of each other that cause us to often close our hearts and our minds to each other from the get-go.”

Most Reflective of the Human Condition: 
XKCD with “Pastime” 

Most Thought-Provoking: 
Ed Cyzewski with “Why I Hate the Word ‘Inerrancy’” 

“Culture isn’t supposed to get the last word on how we read the Bible. I believe that and try to put that into practice. Many Christians do as well. However, many of these Christians unknowingly fight for a doctrine that, in every way, is a product of a culture’s influence on the way we read the Bible.” 

Best Writing  (nominated by Lindsay Tweedle)
Esther Emery at Elora Nicole’s place with “The Thing That Can’t Not Be Written

“There is a thing – and I believe this, with all my heart – there is a thing that cannot not be written. It’s a different thing each day. It’s a different thing each life. It’s a different thing each mortal soul. And not all of you write in words, like I do. Some write in stone and wood, or plants. Or food. Some write in prayer. Some in silence. Some in paint. In bodies dancing or struggling on a stage. Truly, if we really told the truth, we all have more than one pen. And to know where to point it, how to wield it, what blood to dip it in: we have to listen. “ 

Best Response: 
Registered Runaway with “A Brief Note on Exodus” 

“I have had to go through a lot of therapy to overcome the spiritual abusive practices and materials of Exodus International. The confusion, the shame they instill in you can be so deep that it can take months to even begin parsing out fact from fiction…I sit in this place of joy that its over and anger because it still feels like its not enough. I’m working on it. We all need to work on it. I will take my time as I am sure you will take yours.”

Best Idea: 
Mississippi: Unique labyrinth offers a walk of abundance

“’I think the sheer number of cans and the one empty bowl got everyone’s attention,’ said Mary Margaret Hickman, co-chair of the Friends of the Labyrinth Committee. “One child walked peacefully to center of the labyrinth and back out again. Then, she picked up a can of beans and walked back to the center and put it in the middle of the bowl. She knew exactly what needed to be done!”

Best Reflection: 
Micah J. Murray with “Why I Can’t Say Love the Sinner/Hate the Sin Anymore” 

“In all this, we turn our backs on all the gay brothers and sisters already in our church, already saved, already following Jesus. Our us vs. them narrative leaves little space for those who didn’t choose to be gay but did choose to follow Jesus. Using “gay” and “sinner” interchangeably, we force them away from the Table and into the shadows.”

Best Perpsective: 
Sandra Glahn with “How to Influence the ‘Liberal Media’” 

“Recognize that we are so biased that we miss attempts at fairness. When the New York Daily News endorsed Romney for president, I don’t remember hearing any evangelicals object to media bias. When the New York Times editorial board said President Obama has lost all credibility because of government snooping on emails and phone records, I don’t recall hearing anyone applaud the openly liberal paper for criticizing a fellow liberal.”

Truest (nominated by Bethany Pagent): 
Andrea Levendusky with “When it’s time to throw out all the good answers” 

“I’m sorry love. You’re right,” I say to my now teary-eyed daughter in the backseat. “You’re right, you can’t feel his hugs. That kinda stinks, doesn’t it?” The empty space is unnerving. I can think of every poetic way to tell her that God moves in the wind and in human hands, in the summer nights full of stars and in the snuggles we have at dawn. But I don’t. Not this time. Because feeling this ache is part of being human; it’s part of knowing why we need Jesus. And I’m not her savior”

Jamie Arpin-Ricci with “What a Godly Man Looks Like” 

“Some say there is a crisis of masculinity in the church.  I agree.  Godly masculinity is being threatened every time “effeminate” or “feminine” are used as criticism.  Godly masculinity is diminished every time we buy into the hateful distortion of sin that equates strength with dominance and violence.  Godly masculinity is twisted every time we deny a person’s role in marriage and the family based upon their gender.  Godly masculinity is tarnished whenever we seek to justify inequity and subjugation through the language of “roles” and “nature”.  More than this, the God in whose image we are made becomes that much more obscured from us and watching world when we buy into the lies of the “machismo man”.”

Twisted Sifter with “Adding Monsters to Thrift Store Paintings

On My Nightstand…

Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail by Robert E. Webber

The Story of Christianity, Vol 2: The Reformation to the Present Day by Justo Gonzalez

On the Blog…

Most Popular Post:
“11 Things I Wish More Pastors Would Say” 

Most Popular Comment: 
In response to “Alan Chambers of Exodus International Apologizes to LGBT Community,” Catherine wrote: 

"I am impressed. Of course, I'd love to hear him say that my relationship with my wife is spiritually equal to a straight relationship, but it's a big world and I can't demand that everybody agree with me. I can demand that disagreement be civil, honest, and - when among Christians - compassionate. And that's exactly what he's confessing that Exodus has not done, and is apparently repenting of."

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


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