Sunday Superlatives 7/28/13

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Around the Blogosphere…

Best Video:
N.T. Wright at The Work of the People with “Look At Jesus”  

“We’ve never had Jesus in our pockets.” 

Best Photo: 
NPR with “The 40 year Old Photo That Gives Us Reason To Smile

Best Perspective: 
Gina Dalfonzo at Her.Meneutics with “I’m Childless, Not Child-Incompetent” 

“It's been one of my greatest joys to learn that the childless life doesn't have to be a child-free one. Though I'm not and never will be as significant a figure in their lives as their parents, my three godchildren and I have something special that's all our own. Like the Kenny Chesney song I used to sing to my younger goddaughter when she was a baby, until her country-music-hating mother threatened to fumigate the house. Or the fact that her big sister believes I'm the only person on the planet who knows how to extricate a tooth properly.”

Best Writing: 
Sarah Bessey with “In Which I Climb a Metaphor

“Starting something hard is way more fun than finishing it well. Only the pines witness the resolute courage to keep moving.” 

Best List:
"The Seven Wikipedia Topics More Controversial Than Jesus

“While Jesus and Christianity both make appearances, they're apparently less controversial than anarchism, the prophet Muhammad, and professional wrestlers.”

Peter Chin at Christianity Today with “Will we ever get beyond race?” 

“Fear had taught me to view with suspicion anyone not like me, but in the church I found brothers and sisters who could not have been any more dissimilar except for the fact that Jesus had given us all new life.” 

Bronwyn’s Corner with “I am the immigrant” 

“I felt so hurt. So unwanted. I stood with a leaden-heart behind him during a worship service and silently pleaded at his back: “My brother in Christ, with whom I share citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven: do you know that I am one of ‘them’? Do you know that I am the immigrant in the immigration reform you’re talking about? Do you know that without some reprieve in the current legislation, we may have to go? Your wife would have one less bible study leader, your kid would have one less parent volunteer in the classroom, your business would have one less paying customer. Did you know it was ME you are closing the door on?” 

Most Thoughtful: 
Open Parachute with “The Galileo fallacy and denigration of scientific consensus

“The real lesson from Galileo is not to oppose the “establishment” or current scientific consensus – but to rely on evidence. It was this argument of his, which today most of us accept and see as almost self-evident, that describes Galileo’s real contribution to the progress of science.His argument for the heliocentric solar system, and against a geocentric solar system, was really an argument of evidence against dogma, prevailing philosophy and the Church’s use of scripture.”

Most Relatable: 
Micha Boyett at Deeper Story with “Simplicity, Complexity, Faith

“The truth? My faith is braided right alongside uncertainty and guilt, emotion and memory. I doubt. I ask every question, second-guess every motive of the souls around me. I challenge the intentions of denominations and the small-thinking of theological stances. I scoff. I forget that God chases, that God is a clanging Love, begging us to stop our words, stop our minds, and notice. When we notice, we see simplicity. Death and life. Love beyond height or depth and breadth. Love expanded into the universe, covering every part of us. Not words. Not words. Not words. Presence.”

Most Personal: 
Austin Brown at Christena Cleveland’s blog with “On Being Black and Female in White Evangelical America”

“After ten years of being committed to reconciliation work, I have found that occasionally it is necessary for others to point out the fact that I am young, black and a woman….Sometimes the words are said with disdain, dripping from the mouths of men who cannot fathom that such a being could possess something so precious, so risky as authority. But usually it is spoken quietly, in hushed tones, as if my brownness might flee in fright if spoken too loudly.”

Most Encouraging: 
Jeff Leach at the Jesus Creed blog with “A Pastor’s Husband Regarding His Pastor” 

“I really do believe it is our calling.  After all, the two shall become one, so how can we have different callings?  Sure we have different gifts and edify the body in different ways, but my actions and how I live out my relationship with Tara Beth can greatly impact her ability to live out her calling to her fullest.  For us, this can manifest in activities like talking through her sermon on a Saturday night, taking the boys out of the house for an entire day so she can meditate and write a sermon, whispering a prayer for her as she gets up to preach, reading the same theology book with her so we can discuss it, or caring for the boys and just letting her sleep in on a Saturday after a rough week of ministry.  It is, after all, our calling.” 

Most Surprising: 
Susan FitzGerald at the Philadelphia Inquirer with “’Crack Baby’ Study Ends with Unexpected But Clear Result” 

“"We went looking for the effects of cocaine," Hurt said. But after a time "we began to ask, 'Was there something else going on?' " While the cocaine-exposed children and a group of nonexposed controls performed about the same on tests, both groups lagged on developmental and intellectual measures compared to the norm. Hurt and her team began to think the "something else" was poverty.” 

Most Challenging: 
Jamie Wright at Deeper Story with “Doing It Wrong

“They did it so wrong, it felt more like a big, whacky family than a church. They did it so wrong, they treated their pastor like a human being. They did it so wrong, they let everyone (and I meaneveryone) participate. They did it so wrong, they left room for error and chaos and laughter and silliness. They did is so wrong that sometimes it actually went wrong, and when it did, well, then they just rolled with it until it felt… right.”

Most Insightful: 
Bishop Minerva G. Carcano with “Immigration: It’s About Families” 

“Acknowledging the fact that the border is secure would force our Congressional leaders to address the real reasons for our broken immigration policies beginning with the fact that unjust immigration policies built upon unjust economic agreements will never produce anything other than injustice, human suffering and a lack of security.”

Most Convicting: 
David Henson with “The Shameful Neigbhor: Food Stamps, Stereotypes, and the War on the Hungry (A Homily)” 

“What our culture values is independence and the freedom to be free from our obligations to each other, our neighbors and the world. It values the kind of work ethic that makes asking for help a moral failing. We believe if we put our head down and work hard enough for long enough and save our money, we will never need to face the shame of asking for others help.”

Most Likely To Make You Realize You’re a Heretic: 
Tony Jones with “What Heresy Is (A Post for Rachel Held Evans)” 

“In its purest sense, heresy only regards issues that were explicitly dealt with in theSeven Ecumenical Councils (325-787), those which are recognized by all Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches…That means that issues from the atonement to marriage are not issues of heresy and orthodoxy. If it wasn’t decided by a Council, it’s not a matter of heresy.” 

Most Likely To Get Back to the Main Point: 
Richard Beck with “Power and Gender: Among Us It Shall Be Different” 

“I find a lot about the gender roles debates to be distracting and off-topic. What does it mean to be a man or a woman? What are our proper "gender roles"? Can a man stay at home and a woman be the bread-winner? And so on and so on. To be sure, these are important questions and important debates. But for me, they are often beside the point. The problem, as I see it, is less about what men and woman can or can't do than with a group of men in the church exerting power over another group--women. In short, men are "lording over" women in the church, exercising top-down power via a hierarchy. More, this group of men is prohibiting another group (women) from having access and input into the very power structure that is being used against them and excluding them. That's lording over. And gender aside, that sort of lording over is prohibited by Jesus. "But among you it shall be different." “

Most Likely to Get Shared Next Time Someone Posts a Picture of the ‘Persecuted’ Kirk Cameron on Facebook: 
Benjamin L. Corey  with  “Real Vs. Fake Persecution: How You Can Spot the Difference” 

On the blog…

Most Popular Post:
Why I Can’t Stay Angry (Even Though I Want To)

Most Popular Comment: 
In response to the above post, Karl wrote: 

Good words. I like what you said about the hardest part of fundamentalism for you to leave behind. I too, have a hard time disciplining myself to not have to have the last word. And I really, really want to be right. I've also noticed that many of my former fundamentalist friends who have embraced a new theology or ideology have retained fundamentalist habits of thought and speech and argumentation. They used to be judgmental, always-right, closed-minded free will baptists. Now they are judgmental, always-right, closed-minded 5 point Calvinists. Or they used to be judgmental, always-right, closed-minded conservatives. Now they are judgmental (toward conservatives), never-wrong, closed-minded (to any position more conservative than theirs) progressives. They were ideologues of one stripe previously. Now they have just become ideologues of another stripe. It's pretty hard - darn near impossible - to have true dialogue or to reach any kind of mutual understanding with an ideologue. Save me from ideologues. And save me from being one.” 

Stuff I wrote elsewhere…

So I’m on Tumblr now! (Because the kids tell me that’s what they’re into, and I like to stay on top of things.) I’m still figuring out exactly how I’ll use it. So far I’ve posed some quotes from Barbara Brown Taylor, links to articles from around the Web, and a picture of me standing next to a statue of Jack Daniel. I’m thinking maybe I’ll use it to share with you the things that inspire me – like Barbara Brown Taylor and Jack Daniel’s. Let me know if you have ideas. 

I also wrote a piece for the CNN Belief Blog about how, when it comes to church, many millennials desire a change in substance, not just style. I wasn’t prepared for the massive response the piece received, nor was I intending to write a comprehensive article on the religious attitudes of all millennials…but you can never predict which posts will take off, so I guess I better ready to hear back when I start a conversation like this! Thanks to all who have weighed in so far. 


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


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