Sunday Superlatives 7/8/2012

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free
'Summer Funnin' photo (c) 2010, John Davies - license:

Around the blogosphere...

Best Conversation-Starter: 
Tim Kreider at The New York Times with "The ‘Busy’ Trap"

“Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day."

Best Series: 
Amanda MacInnis with “Invectives: Examples of Reactions to Women in Leadership in the Reformation"

“George Hauer, a theologian at the university, responded to Argula’s letter by preaching an angry sermon about the “wretched children of Eve.” Turning specifically to Argula, he denounced her as being a ‘female desperado,’ a ‘wretched and pathetic daughter of Eve,’ an ‘arrogant devil,’ and a ‘heretical bitch.’ Argula refused to back down, and even though she had received death threats, she sent a letter to the city council which included a copy of her original letter to the university in which she tried to clarify the purpose of her original letter. Not only did the theologians at the university want “the silly bag tamed,” her uncle, Adam von Thering was angry that her unladylike behaviour had brought shame on their family’s name and he “wanted her walled up for good.”

Best List: 
Billy Hallowell  with “Top 10 Zombie Scenes in the Bible"

Best Story:
Karen Spears Zacharias with “God’s Grandchildren: Your Handiwork” 

“The sanctuary wasn’t particularly beautiful. It was in that half-moon shape, with old red carpet that felt slick under my flats. The altar furniture was all the dark, heavy wood common to Antonio Banderas movies. Southwest is not my favorite architectural style. It may, in fact, be my least favorite beside trailer tramp, if you consider that a style. But something caught my eye. Something that made me go slack-jawed. There were clotheslines stretched from the south side of the sanctuary to the northside and back again. Four rows of clotheslines...."

Best Reflection (nominated by From Two to One):
Micha Boyett with “Of course we can’t have it all. (But still we can flourish.)

“So now that we’re saying it, let’s look in each other’s eyes. Let’s look deep at our working friends, long at our SAHM friends. Let’s recognize for each other that we’ve all sacrificed much to hold this role. Let’s be women who shake our heads for each other’s laments and say, “Yes, I hear you, sister. This choice is hard.” And then, let us sing a song together about women and seasons and value and choices and swing pushing and meeting attending and yoga-pant wearing and smart suit dressing and then we will notice that there is no “Mommy War,” there is only women and our big beautiful gifts we are offering the world and the hope of thriving, the hope that lives can flourish.”

Most Inspiring (nominated by Carrie Miller):
Karen Crouse at the New York Times with “Inspiration for a Swimmer and a Writer” 

“...Rose told Bruner to stay after practice for an interview. Bruner, not unreasonably, assumed the request had come from a reporter from The San Jose Mercury-News, Sports Illustrated or some other news media outlet. Imagine his surprise when he was greeted by a pigtailed pipsqueak holding 3-by-5 notecards in her trembling hands.”

Most Eye-Opening:
Tara Sutton at The Guardian with “Syria's widows: Hungry and homeless, but undefeated

Most Provocative:
Richard Beck with “Shaming Jesus

“Jesus allows the Messiah to be shamed by the "least of these." And not because of their faith, but because of a forthright argument about fairness and equality. The Messiah is convinced and "shamed" by this argument and responds by opening up the Kingdom to all.”

Most Practical:
Rachelle Gardner with “7 Ways to Give Away Your Power

Most Relatable: 
Christina Gibson with “re-turn

“Repentance is that act of saying sorry, but it’s more than that.  It’s a forward movement.  It’s the confession of what I’ve done wrong and the willingness to turn back to Jesus.  To repent is literally to turn again.  To return to our first love, to re-look to Jesus.  Repentance is returning to the sacred path to which we’ve been called. We will mess up.  We will fail.  We won’t always obey.  And the goal is not to avoid mistakes.  The goal is to follow.  And the only way to follow is to continually re-fix our gaze, re-direct our steps, re-turn and re-focus.”

Most Informative:
Mental Floss with “How All 50 States Got Their Names

Best Perspective (nominated by Preston Yancey):
Brad Williams with “The Separation of Church and Patriotism

“But at our church, we do not fly the American flag. We do not sing patriotic songs. We do not present the colors during the service. Folks can come to our church in their military dress clothes if they like; that wouldn’t bother me any more than a pizza delivery-man coming in his uniform. However, in the worship of the Church, the focus is on the worship of Christ, not country. There are theological reasons for this, some of which should be obvious and others less so.”

Best Headline: 
James Alexander Langteux at On Faith with “Anderson Cooper is Gray!” 

“I don’t think Anderson, or any gay person, (blonde, brunette or gray) has the obligation to share intimate details of their lives with the rest of the world. Labels can be very damaging – especially when you are attempting to objectively deliver the news in a time when the gay issue is still, believe it or not, a hot zone. Bullets continue to fly from both camps and political parties. Coming out as a gay man puts an unnecessary target on a person who is trying to go into a war (literal and figurative) and report the news without the suspicion that the news will now be tainted -- maybe gray and no longer black and white...”

Kristin Tennant with “Sweating as a spiritual practice

“As I was walking verrry slooowly to the cafe this morning, sticking to the shadiest side of the street, I focused on all those toxins and impurities exiting my body. And it occurred to me that most true, deep, cleansing processes involve some discomfort...” 

Philip Clayton at the Huffington Post with “Does the Higgs Boson Discovery Resolve the Religion-Science Debate?

“When they announced the discovery of physics' most elusive particle this week, scientists didn't overreach. They just did damn good science. The fans and the foes of religion, by contrast, are overreaching on both sides. The quest for the Higgs boson, and its ultimate discovery, neither proves nor disproves God.”

The Huffington Post with “Victoria’s Secret Photoshop Fail Carves out Model’s Inner Thighs

Anderson Cooper via Andrew Sullivan

“The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.”

Most Controversial: 
Melissa Jenna with “50 Shades of Magic Mike (In Which I Am VERY UNCOOL)

“ If our husbands were drooling over a movie about female strippers, we would be livid. It wouldn’t be tolerated. Church leaders would be publicly denouncing men’s sudden acceptance of pornography and erotic films.”

Most Helpful: 
Sarah Pulliam Bailey at Christianity Today with “Why Scientists Don't Like the Term 'God Particle' for the Higgs boson

On the blog...

Most Popular Posts:

Christian bookstores and their chokehold on the industry

Sunday Morning

Most Popular Comment: 
In response to “Christian bookstores...”, Sophia wrote:

“I don't frequent Christian bookstores.  They remind me of the temple marketplace that upset Jesus into a tantrum.”


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

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