Sunday Superlatives 9/14/14

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Around the Blogosphere…

Most Fascinating: 
The Australian Ballet with “En Pointe!” 

Most Powerful: 
Ben Moberg with “Insomniac Christians” 

“I give up on the imperative that I can reach God by my own means. I give up on all the ways I should on myself and accept that I am already accepted. There is no ladder to get me there. There is no step-by-step that will land me in God’s good graces. I am in it. I am here. I am lying in the hallowed ground of the love of God.” 

Most Encouraging: 
Sarah Hofius Hall features Rv. Bill Carter in “Jazz Belongs in Church”

“At First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, jazz music empowers. It breaks through isolation, leads to reflection and encourages a spirit of community. For the last 23 years, Carter has organized a yearly jazz communion on the Sunday before Labor Day, bringing his jazz band, his congregation and visitors together. Now the nationally recognized jazz ministry is expanding to offer four jazz vespers services in the next year as a way to explore the powers of music and healing.”

Most Challenging: 
Drew Hart at The Christian Century with “Beyond a White Privilege Model”

“…A society dominated by white control can’t be fixed by white people taking control of the situation. The failure in the white privilege stewardship model, is that it inherently affirms and utilizes the very thing that it is called to resist and counter. If the answer to our racial problems is that white people must run things, call the shots, and be the saviors to the world, then we have missed the mark.” 

Most Insightful: 
Sandra Glahn with “’Act Like Men’: What Does Paul Mean?” 

“It is worth noting that the NIV renders the phrase I italicized as ‘be courageous’; the NET goes with ‘show courage.’ And indeed the emphasis is not about gender, but maturity—about being a grown-up. Paul made a similar contrast between ‘adult man’ and ‘child’ when he wrote three chapters earlier, ‘When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things’ (13:11). So in summary, he contrasts being a man with being a child, not with being a woman.”

Most Beautiful: 
Fall Colors Around the World 

Most Urgent: 
Boz Tchividjian with “#WhyIStayed: How Some Churches Support Spousal Abuse” 

“Instead of helping vulnerable individuals understand the importance of reporting this criminal behavior, too many within churches prefer to push victims back into the arms of abusers as they congratulate themselves and praise God on another successful “reconciliation”.   These victimized spouses stay with those who hurt them, resigned to the hopeless belief that is what God wants them to do.” 

Most Inspiring (via Tony Jones):  
Yale Divinity School with “Theology of Joy: Jürgen Moltmann & Miroslav Volf”

Best Analysis: 
Marg Mowczko with “But the Twelve Apostles are all Male” 

“Once Jesus had fulfilled all the requirements of the Old Testament with his death and resurrection, the old rules and restrictions became obsolete.  No longer were disciples to be only Jewish.  Jesus commissioned his disciples to make more disciples from every nation (Matt. 28:19 cf Acts 9:36).  These other disciples included Gentiles and women.”

Best Response: 
Sarah Bessey with “Be Not Afraid: A Letter to My Charismatic Brothers and Sisters”

“We are living out of our worst fears instead of our best hopes. We are teaching and preaching, we are writing, we are leading, we are praying out of crippling fear instead of the hope of Christ. This saddens me because it is so far from our historical roots as charismatic/pentecostals. And it is also so antithetical to the Holy Spirit.”

Best Reflection: 
Donald Miller with “Why I’m glad I’m not the same guy who wrote ‘Blue Like Jazz’”

“I’m so grateful I’m not the same guy who wrote Blue Like Jazz. Certainly I still love the book and am grateful for it, but it’s been ten years now and I’ve changed. If I haven’t changed, something is drastically wrong. People are designed to grow and if they don’t it’s because something’s wrong.”  

Best Interview (nominated by Haley Compean)  
Tavis Smiley on The Daily Show

Best Writing (nominated by D.L. Mayfield) 
Amy Peterson with “Wanderlust: A Personal History”

“I begin to wonder if I, like the brothers at Taize and the desert monks, need to learn the discipline of stability. Do I need roots, when this earth is not my home? That third instruction from Saint Anthony sinks like a seed into the dark recesses of my heart and lies dormant for a long time: In whatever place you live, do not easily leave it.” 

Best Conversation:
Rob Bell interviews Peter Enn

“…The Bible isn’t a rulebook for Christian living. It is a narrative that has movement and a trajectory.” 
[Look for a review of Enns’ book on the blog this week!]

Best Reminder (nominated by April Fiet):
Micah Murray with “Into the Winter”

“Those words have haunted me this summer — sometimes hanging over me like a terrifying shadow, other times shining like a glimmer of hope. When I can’t breathe and I feel the anxiety rising in my chest and my heart screams “Please, make it stop hurting,” I hear it over and over again: ‘We dare not get rid of the pain before we have learned what it has to teach us.’”

Best Tweets:


Wisest (nominated by Dan Evans):  
Salman Khan with “The Learning Myth: Why I’ll Never Tell My Son He’s Smart”

“Recently, I put into practice research I had been reading about for the past few years: I decided to praise my son not when he succeeded at things he was already good at, but when he persevered with things that he found difficult. I stressed to him that by struggling, your brain grows. Between the deep body of research on the field of learning mindsets and this personal experience with my son, I am more convinced than ever that mindsets toward learning could matter more than anything else we teach.” 

Coolest (via Preston Yancey):  
Alexander McCall at NPR with “Feminism in a Run-Down Taffy Factory: The Women of ‘Bob’s Burgers’”

“Most animated sitcoms have ugly histories when it comes to female characters. Women are frequently there to be mocked or to represent men's sexual desires. But instead of using Tina as an arbitrary tool for cheap laughs, the writers of Bob's Burgers –– several of whom are women –– have given audiences the opportunity to see adolescence through the lens of a central female character. The show, in fact, embraces Tina's own sexuality for all its uncomfortable awkwardness.”

The Rabbi, the Shofar, and the Dog [If you’ve read “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” you’ll know exactly why this especially cracked me up. This rabbi and I have something in common.]

Most Practical: 
Austin Channing Brown with “What Now?”

“... Become an expert. Trace how these institutions, policies, and laws have changed over time, how they effect the lives of the people you serve. Its time to stop patting ourselves on the back for having these services; we need to start figuring out what injustice has occurred that makes them necessary in the first place.”

Most Eye-Opening: 
Neil Carter with “What I Learned about Atheists from God’s Not Dead”

“In the end the central injustice of this movie is its failure to fairly represent a class of people whom Christians purport to love.  But it’s not loving people well to misrepresent them this badly.  This movie caricatures, dehumanizes, and depersonalizes people like me, portraying us in the worst possible light…This is not love.  You cannot love people while ignoring everything they tell you about themselves.  You are not loving people when you refuse to listen to their stories.  You are not loving them well when you decide before hearing them that you already know all that you need to know about them, overruling their own self-descriptions and self-identifications because you are convinced you know better than they do what’s going on inside of them.” 

Most Relatable: 
Abby Norman with “Heartbreak: A Spiritual Discipline” 

“The worst break up I ever had wasn’t from a man. It wasn’t a romantic one. The break up that left me devastated, unable to breathe, wandering through the world broken and confused was a friend break up. A friend (ex-friend? former friend? what do we even call that?) is the one that got away, the one I still wonder about, the one I don’t look up on Facebook but kind of want to. I just hope she is happy. Even as I hope that she knows how much I miss her. Even as I know it is best that we have both moved on…”

Most Thought-Provoking (nominated by Drew Hart)
Rod at Political Jesus with “Be Ye Kind One to Another: Civility, Blogging, and Social Media”

“Kindness, in the biblical metanarratives of liberation and reconciliation, is inextricably linked to communal justice, freedom for the prisoner and the enslaved, dignity for the impoverished.” 

On my nightstand...

Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith by Mae Elise Cannon, Lisa Sharon Harper, Troy Jackson, &  Soong-Chan Rah

On the blog…

Having finally finished edits for my next book, I’ll finally be able to get back to regular blogging. Don’t forget that this week begins our discussion around Matthew Vines’ book, God and the Gay Christian. We’ll be discussing Chapters 1-2 on Wednesday. 

On social Media…

This week on Facebook, we had several powerful conversations around Anne Graham Lotz’s words on gender equality and Boz Tchividjian’s article about churches that support spousal abuse. I was amazed by some of the stories you shared there. So if you haven’t already, check out the Facebook page. I’m often surprised by (and grateful fo)r the conversations we have in that space. 


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

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