This Week’s Links

Happy October!  For those of you in the United States, however, it might not be so happy as the government has shut down as of midnight.  As you might guess there will be some leadership and theological reflections offered as links in the following.  As always, Tuesday brings a host of links which I offer as hopefully good reads that you might find interesting and helpful.  This week’s categories in order are: Church and Ministry Leadership, Leadership, Neighbor Love, Networking and Social Media, Religion, Something to Make You Smile, Vocation and Vocational Discernment, and Other News.

Church and Ministry Leadership

Ron Edmondson offers criteria to be a change agent leader. Its specifically for churches and ministry, but I think a lot of this is relevant to leadership in general.  Check it out.

Ministry Matters has come up with a tool they call their “Spiritual Gifts Inventory.”  If you are at all interested, I encourage you to find out what your spiritual gifts are.  If you think you know, take the inventory and see how your thoughts or ideas compare with the tool’s results.

One blog post that got a lot of traction in missional church conversations this past week was this one by Kristin George Bagdanov called “How to Find a Church.”  It offers some helpful reflections on what it means to go to church and be involved while also recognizing that people move often, and life transitions happen all the time. It’s a great read, and one that I think hits at one of the biggest challenges for what it means to be church today where we can no longer assume that people stay in the same place for most of their lives and with the same company or employer.

Friend of this blogger and Pastor Chris Enstad offers thoughts on “going public” and what that means for the church.  It’s a rather timely reflection for this blog, given the most recent posts on this blog “all are welcome,” “all are sought,” and the upcoming reflection on accompaniment.

Here’s a good read from Church World Service on building up leaders and collaborating across borders and boundaries.

Another blog post that has been circulating this week past among church leaders is this “autopsy of a deceased church.”  As you might guess ignoring or refusing to engage the larger context was a big factor.  Check it out if you haven’t.  It provides good pause for leaders everywhere, particularly among churches.

This Saturday, Bishop Elizabeth Eaton will be installed as the first woman presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America this Saturday, October 5th.  The Chicago Sun-Times offers their story here. (It’s pretty good coverage, minus the deceptive title as Bishop Eaton is not the “first female bishop.” Rather, she is the first woman presiding bishop.) If you are a church nerd, or at all curious as to what this installation will look like, there will be a live stream of the service here.


Bill Gates offers some reflections of his time meeting with World Leaders as part of U.N. week.

Andrew O’McConnell ponders about flexibility in the workplace. Would you agree with the 47% of respondents who feel asking for flexibility options would hurt your chance for advancement?

In other news last week, you might have heard about Guido Barilla, the chairman of the pasta company named after his family, and some of his controversial (and arguably insensitive and derogatory) comments about families today.  In light of this, Jena McGregor reflects from a leadership standpoint on some of the challenges Barilla might face in crafting and offering an apology (or apologies).

I came across a post from “The Leadership Advisor” from this past February this week.  It’s a good reflection on passion and culture and why the two must be connected in life and work.

Johann Gauthier offers this  look at leadership and the need to be authentic and “stop being an illusion.”

Neighbor Love

A number of faith leaders in the United States have been active this week and last in anticipation of a government shut down and in response to potential cuts in funding for SNAP and other social services.  Here is what Bread for the World released yesterday.  Here is a copy of a letter dated September 27th, in which there are a number of faith leaders who have signed it, including current ELCA presiding bishop Rev. Mark Hanson.  Sojourners released their take here.

Mike Konczal offers his take on the House cuts to food stamps. He says they aren’t just cruel, “they’re dumb.” As has been mentioned in this blog before, I wholeheartedly agree. Konczal offers an excellent reflection on some of the economics involved that might have been overlooked.

Adam J. Copeland offers his response to North Dakota’s congressman’s defense for why he voted to reduce funding for the nation’s food stamp program by $40 billion.

Friend Sara Wilhelm Garbers offered this powerful reflection on the common good and the implications of a government shut down.  Now that the government is effectively shut down, its all the more powerful.  As I have said before, there has to be a better way and it seems Sara most certainly agrees with that.

If you care about poverty, and whether in the small ways in your own life, or in the larger ways you can help work towards alleviating it, here is a good read about overcoming scarcity by Tina Rosenberg.

Greg Kaufmann offers some helpful insights that might be overlooked when it comes to poverty.

Now for some thoughts about malaria. Did you know that it wasn’t eradicated in the United States until 1951?  There are 7 other things you may not know which you might find interesting courtesy of Chris Higgins.

Kathryn Kleinhans wrote the cover story for the October issue of The Lutheran.  Its about moving beyond tolerance, and its definitely worth a read.  As she concludes, “Tolerance is not enough.  We are called to love.”  Indeed!

Dr. Terri Elton, a personal friend and adviser, offers this powerful reflection on “Open Hands, and Open Hearts” where she describes really how “hands are agents of God’s love.”  Great read!

For a tool that puts life in real perspective, visit the Global Rich List. It might surprise you how rich or wealthy you are. It’s good food for thought, especially when thinking about life, abundance, scarcity, and how we life our lives and love our neighbors.

Brian Zahnd ponders the question “who are the children of God?”  What do you think of his reflections?

Networking and Social Media

Have you ever wondered about Martin Luther’s lessons about social media?  Me neither.  That is, until I read this blog by Steve Perky.  It’s very interesting!

Toni Okeson at project eve provides some websites that are great resources for getting a business website up and running.

If you work for, are leading, or are thinking about developing a NGO which operates in a developing country, here are some great best practices for social media usage.

Susan Mershon offers tips for growing your online following.


Mark Silk offers interesting perspective on the rise of those who say they are “spiritual.”

Something to Make You Smile

On a day such as this, where happiness might be hard to come by, Eric Clapp provides this.

Vocation and Vocational Discernment

Rhonda Hale Warren offers some thoughts on how to stay motivated when its difficult to do so.

I just came across this from Dr. Shelly Prevost, a late August article on 5 reasons why people never discover their purpose.  If you are in the midst of discernment, or are feeling a little off in relation between your dreams, passion, and work, give this a read.

Other News

Senator Elizabeth Warren has been shaking things up since she joined the senate.  Lately she has made big calls for reform to student loans.  For all of my fellow students, grad students, and former students who are currently paying loans back, this is an important read.

That’s more than enough things to share this week.  As always, if there are particular topics that you would like me to keep an eye out for to include in the weekly links, please let me know.  I look forward to any questions and conversation. If you have things that you would like me to explore and reflect on, on this blog, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Hopefully you enjoyed these, and blessings on your week!

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