Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week, 1.31.2014

I really love writing these five-things posts each week — at times, they’ve been the most consistent form of blogging in this space and I enjoy taking a few minutes each Friday to reflect over the prior week’s intellectual encounters. However, I’m not sure they are hitting the mark for you. Stats don’t tell me much about what you like and don’t like on the blog, but they do tell me what you click — and the links I post just aren’t getting clicked very often.

I’m not going to stop writing these weekly wrap-ups, but I’m more than happy to try some new things or add new elements to keep them fresh and hold your interest. Do you wish there were more funny posts, more photos or pinterest pins, more recipes? Do you like having quotes included here with each article? Any topics you’d like to see less of? Let me know.

Five 2

And now, let’s get to it:

One.   Abby Norman tells the story of Atlanta’s snowpocalypse, in The Lamest Roadtrip Ever: A Victim of Atlanta’s Snowpocalypse Tells All.

I used to mock my fellow southern-city dwellers too. I didn’t know that I didn’t know until I drove home Wednesday morning pretending I was a bob sled driver. It was the only way I could stay sane while maneuvering my 1996 Camry on what looked exactly like the outdoor skating rink just after the Zamboni went for a little spin. It turns out I am awesome at bobsled driving and totally deserve a gold medal.

Two.   “Women Are Not Permitted To Teach” – But Real Life Just Won’t Cooperate, by Kristen at Wordgazer’s Words.

You would think, if God really intended women to be limited to teaching their Bible insights and spiritual knowledge only to other women and to children, that the teaching of women would in all practicality be incapable of truly benefiting or lifting up men– at least, not in those venues where women are apparently forbidden. Shouldn’t God limit the abilities of women to what would suit their proper sphere? Shouldn’t men find, since God never intended women to have anything spiritually authoritative to teach men in a church setting, that they as men don’t actually learn anything valuable when they listen in on women teaching in church?

And yet the Father seems to keep on creating women who are so creative, intelligent and capable that they reach, almost despite themselves, outside that supposed proper sphere. And throughout Christian history, when it comes to divine giftings, the Holy Spirit has just never seemed willing to obey the rules.

Three.   Rachel Held Evans’ post Privilege and the Pill.

[A] woman who cannot afford birth control is more likely to consider herself unable to afford a pregnancy, which makes terminating that pregnancy seem like the best, most affordable option. And the cycle continues.

So those who oppose coverage of birth control based on their religious or pro-life convictions must take into consideration the fact that lack of coverage may actually lead to more abortions. And we must remember that shrugging off birth control as something people should be able to easily pay for on their own betrays some of our own economic privilege in this conversation.

And then, please take a look at this “response” post by First Things contributors, twisting Rachel’s attempt at a difficult discussion into something honestly a little nasty. We can do better.

Screaming and shouting ridiculous, mean things to scare away reasoned dialogue is not an effective means of discourse.

Four.   Quasi-related to #3, an amicus brief has been filed in the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood cases challenging the constitutionality of RFRA altogether. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s posted over at SCOTUSblog and it’s on my list of things to read this weekend. The historical grey areas and give-and-take of religious freedom in America are so interesting.  A vigorous reasoned discussion about the limits of our constitutional protections is far superior in every way to, let’s say it again, screaming and shouting ridiculous things. Check your sources, people.

“The intense passions about religious freedom and women’s reproductive health in this case have obscured the issue that should be decided before this Court reaches the merits: RFRA is unconstitutional,” the brief argued. The filing represents the views of seven organizations, telling the Court that they “are united in their concern that RFRA endangers the vulnerable — who otherwise would be protected by the neutral, generally applicable laws of this country.”

Five.   And to wrap us up this week, something that is honestly SO OUT THERE and a little crazy, but really made me think: Penelope Trunk’s 13 ways to keep your debt from holding you back. And it’s not what you think.

Don’t stop taking risks – the price is too high.

One of the most common regrets people have at the end of their life is that they didn’t take risks. They played it too safe. Most of your life will include some form of debt. If you put off doing what you want because of your debt you are way more likely to have regrets than if you pay your debt off really slowly, or if you never even get it paid off.

Quick tech question for you blogging experts:  Wordpress has begun auto-numbering my lists in some way where it says 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. instead of 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.  I’ve been spelling out the numbers as a quick fix but that is obviously not really helping.  If you know what is going on can you help me out?  Thanks!!

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