Weekly Links

Some of my favorite blogs provide regular posts with a simple series of links and brief annotations.  In this vein, and in the spirit of sharing information and collaborating I would like to begin to provide my own links regularly about once a week.  I need to come up with a good name for this regular post, so any ideas are welcome.  My hope is that if I come across anything particularly interesting and worth a read in relationship to any of the core areas of this blog over the week I will provide them here if I do not myself blog about them in a separate post.

To make things easier for you the reader, I will work to categorize the different types of links so you can more easily and quickly peruse them and see what (if anything) might be of interest to you.  Hopefully this will be an interesting and positive contribution to our conversation. As always, feedback and comments are welcome.

Congregational Thoughts  

Have you ever thought that Sunday School might be a thing of the past?  You wouldn’t be alone.  This blog post by MaryAnn McKibben Dana offers something for faith formation and education ministries to ponder, especially as we enter the summer and high time for planning for ministries for the fall and upcoming academic year.

It may be hard to believe, but the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.  In honor of this, and in an effort of providing a day for local congregations to participate as part of the larger church and commemorate the occasion, the church is organizing “God’s Work Our Hands Day.” They are setting aside September 8th for the occasion, and this might be a nice connection piece for congregations to tie in to their traditional rally day. Plus, it provides a wonderful opportunity to look outward on a day traditionally more inward focused.

One of my friends and advisers, Dr. Terri Elton, maintains a fabulous blog.  This past week she offered a reflection and venue to dream and converse about what the church is and what its possible future(s) are.  I offer it as a welcome conversation starter and imagination spark-plug.

My favorite tweet of the week came courtesy of the Huffington Post Religion (@HuffPostRelig).  It stated the quote from Pope Francis, “The Church is a love story, not an institution.”  Perhaps this was the pope’s initial response to Terri’s questions?  (Quoted 6/6/13 at 3:30pm CT).

Friend and colleague Pastor Diane took up the question this week on her blog of “what does evangelism look like?”  What do you think? Personally, I think she is right on that “evangelism is a lot of things,” and can be many different things for different people.

To close out this week’s congregational thoughts in the links, for those of you who are in the ELCA or familiar with the ELCA, you know that we are in the midst of many synod assemblies.  My home synod, the Southwest Washington Synod held their synod assembly this past weekend. Like the NW Washington Synod Assembly, they elected anew bishop.  Congratulations and blessings to Rev. Richard E. Jaech, and blessings to Rev. Robert Hofstad who will be retiring from being bishop later this summer.

Innovation and Collaboration  

I expect to have more thoughts within this category moving forward. But for this week, I offer a potential example of innovation and collaboration.  Thrivent has decided to branch out, and will no longer just serve Lutherans.   I think this is a wonderful move not just for the organization’s long term health, but also as an ecumenical move towards cross collaboration.

Within an organization, innovation and collaboration often depend greatly on the practices of the organization and the relationship and compact created by employers and employees.  Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, and Chris Yeh have provided a helpful offering in this month’s edition of the Harvard Business Review

In an example of collaboration, Monty Rainey offered a look at the importance of how one puts their words together, a post that relates and builds off of this post about asking the questions from last week.

Neighbor Love  

I mentioned previously last week about the conference on diakonia by the Lutheran World Federation.  I want to call special attention in case you missed it to some reflections and discussion and the relationship of faith and service.  As I will often ask on this blog in theological reflections, what does it really mean to love your neighbor?

Pope Francis has seemed to make service and care for the impoverished and under-served an integral part of his ministry and office.  This week he came out with some thoughts on food waste.  When we waste food he says its like we are “stealing from the table of the poor and the hungry.”

Leadership for Today and the Future 

Since its graduation and commencement season, I couldn’t resist sharing at least one commencement speech.  In case you missed my earlier post last week, take a 15-20 minute break and watch this speech.

Jim Wallis, the CEO of Sojourners offered a timely and thought provoking reflection of 10 decisions that one can make that can change the world.  I greatly appreciate his call and goal to serve the common good, and I personally share it, in-spite of the obvious challenge as to what the “common good” means when everyone seems to define it differently.


Though history may not be an obvious component of this blog, I do believe that leadership is built on things we have learned from and in the past. So occasionally, if I see something of interest with a historical ring to it I will share.  In Southern California there is a proposal in place to restore one of the more historical places in aviation history. There is potential here for this to be kind of a cool private-public collaborative partnership thanks to Disney’s plans.

Some Extra Food for Thought

Not the most encouraging food for thought to start off with, but this look at signs one might be overqualified but underemployed is worth a read if you are just out of college/grad school, will be graduating soon, or have family or friends at that point in their lives.  What do you think?

Finally, when I find a piece that combines leadership, theology, and collaboration I enjoy giving it a read.  Out of Iowa last week came an op-ed responding to current politics and popular culture.  It is always interesting (and usually refreshing) to read in today’s print that the truth and Biblical narrative is often more complex than one can always claim to understand.  Perhaps you will find it somewhat thought provoking?

I hope you have enjoyed the first weekly edition of the links.  Look forward to these about every other week, and if you have feedback about what this post should regularly be titled, or what type of stories would be helpful to include, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Blessings and best to you on your week!


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