Sunday Superlatives 8/25/13

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Around the Blogosphere…

Ashleigh Baker at Deeper Story with “What I Won’t Tell You About My Ballet-Dancing Son

“When you ask my dancing son about this passion he carries and you catch my eye, slightly uncertain how to proceed, I won’t try to convince you this was all his idea or give ten examples of his father’s unwavering pride or waste breath assuring you that my second grader isn’t gay. I’ll simply tell you what he said to us after his first Nutcracker performance last winter: ‘Mama, it feels like my heart is flying when I’m dancing. I think God made ballet because he knew I’d love it.’”

Elizabeth Esther with “Loneliness & Tuna Casseroles” 

“Here’s a truth I’ve realized as I’ve fretted over my oven: it doesn’t matter whether I write a bestselling book. Or cook gourmet meals. Or have a flock of perfectly reared children. Inside me, deep down, there is a lurching loneliness which can’t be filled up with careers, babies or fancy meals cooked on designer Viking ranges.”

Coolest (or Most Likely to Upset Ken Ham): 
“Watching Bacteria Evolve: With Predictable Results” 

Most Beautiful: 
John Blase with “I Want to Live in a World”

“I want to live in a world not prettified
but beautiful, the one that is actually here,
tart as wintergreen and rough as granite.”

Most Fascinating: 
Anna Gunn at The New York Times with “I Have Character Issues”

“I enjoy taking on complex, difficult characters and have always striven to capture the truth of those people, whether or not it’s popular. Vince Gilligan, the creator of “Breaking Bad,” wanted Skyler to be a woman with a backbone of steel who would stand up to whatever came her way, who wouldn’t just collapse in the corner or wring her hands in despair. He and the show’s writers made Skyler multilayered and, in her own way, morally compromised. But at the end of the day, she hasn’t been judged by the same set of standards as Walter.”

Most Eye-Opening (especially on the 50th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech):
Joshua DuBois at Newsweek with “The Fight for Black Men

“There are more African Americans on probation, parole, or in prison today than were slaves in 1850.” 

Sam Roberts at The New York Times with “Race Equality Is Still a Work in Progress”

“The median net worth of white households is 14 times that of black households, and blacks are nearly three times as likely to be living below the federal poverty threshold. The disparity in homeownership rates is the widest in four decades. As the Pew study noted, those realities are not lost on most Americans, only 1 in 10 of whom said the average black person is better off financially than the average white person (although more than 4 in 10 white and Hispanic respondents said the average black is about as well off as the average white).”

Most Relatable: 
Micha Boyett at Deeper Story with “There are No Trophies Here” 

“Eventually delighting in the Lord doesn’t happen because you tried. Delighting happens because you couldn’t try any more. Because you found the task that could not be checked off. Because you discovered you were needy.”

Most Likely To Make You Cry: 
Michael Gerson at The Washington Post with “Saying Goodbye to My Child, the Youngster” 

“Parenthood offers many lessons in patience and sacrifice. But ultimately, it is a lesson in humility. The very best thing about your life is a short stage in someone else’s story. And it is enough.”

Best List: 
18 Obsolete Words That Should Have Never Gone Out of Style 

Best Analysis: 
Jessica Parks with “In Which I Disagree with Mark Driscoll (And It Has Little To Do with Women)" 

“The truth is all translation involves interpretation, whether you employ a formal equivalency method (which Driscoll assumes is almost completely devoid of interpretation or commentary) or a dynamic equivalency method.  Formal equivalency translation seeks to represent as closely as possible the grammar and syntax of the original Greek or Hebrew while dynamic equivalency is concerned with representing the meaning or intention behind the original Greek or Hebrew as closely as possible.  (It’s interesting to see that both methods were employed by translators of the LXX throughout different books of the Hebrew Bible!).”

Best Graph: 
Theologygrams with “Introduction to Micah” 

Best Question: 
Ed Cyzewski with “Can Christians Be Unified if We Don’t Want the Same Thing?”

“I am not a truth defender first and foremost. I’ve been transformed by the truth, and based on that, I am convicted to reach out to others and welcome them into God’s advancing Kingdom.”

Best Sermon:
The Next Evangelicalism: Appreciating the Multicultural Church by Soong Chan-Rah 

Best Find: 
Rachel Marie Stone with “The Stunningly Illustrated Children’s Bible That Should Still Be In Print But Isn’t” 

Best Reflection: 
Austin Channing Brown with “Hi, my name is Austin…” 

“While all those things are good (and I have every intention of passing these stories on to my future children) when I was in college I had a significant revelation: I invested so much into my own culture that I had closed off any interest or opportunity to explore and understand the histories, cultures, and leaders of any other ethnic group. Though I never would have said it aloud, as I looked at my life, I realized that I was treating my culture as superior to anyone else's. I was only eating "my" soul food, listening to "my" gospel music, attending "my" black church, hanging out with "my" black friends (and the white ones who also loved "my" culture), I only dated black men, only hung posters with black folks represented and devoured books that exclusively discussed the importance of black leaders. My whole world revolved around being black. I was a Christian, and yet my world did not at all reflect the truth of God's love for every nation, tribe and tongue. If you looked at my life, you'd think God only loved black people and tolerated everyone else!”

Most Informative (nominated by Brian LePort)
Marg Mowczko with Kuria ‘Lady’ in Papyri Letters

“While most ministers were men in New Testament times, it was not uncommon for women to be ministers, especially in house church settings.  The chosen lady in 2 John was such a woman.”

Most Powerful: 
Alise Wright with “Your Gagging Isn’t Loving”

“But when your truth degrades people, it’s not loving. When your truth reduces relationships to sex acts, it’s not loving. When your truth makes people want to hurt themselves, it’s not loving. When your truth makes the gospel something that is only available to people who believe like you, it’s not loving. When your truth pushes people away from Jesus instead of toward him, it’s not loving. And if your truth isn’t loving, is it really truth?” 

Most Convicting: 
Katie Axelson with “No Time for Jesus” 

Most Thoughtful:
Jonathan Merritt with "Transgender Issues More Complicated Than Some Christians Portray" 

"The transgender issue is an important one and Christians must grapple with it in all its messiness and complexity. So let’s not pretend that any armchair theologian should be able to figure it out. Kris deserves better. And so do all of our transgender neighbors."

Most Perceptive:
Sarah Bessey with "In Which I Beg Barbie's Pardon" 

"A few months into our tentative Barbie experiment now, I have watched my daughter spend the summer with you. Here is what happened: She’s concocting elaborate and empowering imagination stories, and this makes my heart sing. Her favourite Barbie is her Mars Explorer Barbie because she wants to be an astronaut. At this moment, she’s using her old receiving blankets to create a Mars replica. She’s converted her little Barbie car to a space ship, the Veterinarian Barbie is the controller back at the launch pad. Her Strawberry Shortcake dolls set up a bakery on Mars, the Legos are in use, the telescope is out, too. She plans on teaching school to her classroom of Barbies later. She’s happy, she’s creative, she’s dreaming, she’s having fun. What more could a mother want for her daughter?"

Most Uncomfortable Way to Make a Point
New Yorker rides into obstacles in bike lanes to prove a point

Women of Valor…

Antoinette Tuff talks down school shooter 

Rev. Elizabeth Eaton ready to take the plunge as first female bishop of ELCA

Carolyn Custis James on Preventing Spiritual Abuse

On My Nightstand…

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh 


[It's actually on my Kindle on the treadmill...and has proved excellent incentive! An easy, captivating read.]

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


On the blog…

Most Popular Post: 
Responding to Homophobia in the Christian Community

Most Popular Comment: 
In response to “Responding to Homophobia…”  Tiffany Bridge wrote: 

“Personally I think the "yuck" factor has a good purpose, and it is the OPPOSITE of what the hateful TGC article implies. When the smelly homeless man gets on the Metro car I'm on and I want to gag, I use it as a cue to remind myself that Jesus loves this man and calls me to love him too. When a person has a medical condition that makes me uncomfortable, that is a call to love as Jesus loved. When a person is broken by an addiction that prevents them from even caring for their own body, that is a call for me to love. If I felt squicked-out by someone else's sexuality, why would that not ALSO be a call to love? The yuck factor exists to show me places where I am not loving enough, and to challenge me to move past that to become more like Jesus. It is not to be indulged and coddled.”

This week’s travels…

I’ll be speaking at the Lamb & Lion Festival in Fort Wayne, Indiana this weekend. Learn more here. 

Don’t forget…

If you’re planning a fall book club or discussion group, we recently released a FREE discussion guide for A Year of Biblical Womanhood. There is also one for Evolving in Monkey Town. 

Also, next week begins our series, "One to Another: Christ and the Household Codes."  Been working on it all weekend! I'm excited! 


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


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