This Week’s Links

Internet1Happy Tuesday!  As it is the practice on this blog, I share some of the things that I have found interesting or thought-provoking over the past week.  This week’s categories are:  Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; Stewardship; Vocation; Worship; and Miscellaneous.  I entrust these to you, and hope you enjoy them.

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

As part of the Advent series being shared over at the Femonite blog, comes this reflection on “An Early Advent.” Thanks to Hannah for coming up with this brilliant idea to help us journey through this Advent season.

Given the news in many church and ministry circles about celebrity pastors, this is a good cautionary tale from David Fitch.

This is a helpful resource on religion in America’s states and counties.  Take a peek to see how people are identifying as religious (or not), as depicted in six maps.

In a sort of update the Methodist minister who has been suspended has said that he will minister even if defrocked. I hope he isn’t defrocked, because I believe that would be a very dark day for the Methodist Church.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

In hope for collaboration across political parties, comes this series of photos from the bi-partisan trip to South Africa to celebrate and remember Nelson Mandela.

Leadership Thought & Practice

Dan Weedin shares this reflection on how it is important to be able to translate across sectors, industries, organizations, etc. This is important in order to effectively share insights beneficial beyond just one sector or company.

Portrait of Machiavelli
Portrait of Machiavelli

Here is a post from August on characteristics of a Machiavellian leader.  Needless to say, you don’t want to be one.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently shared 5 management tips. They are:  1) See the big picture; 2) Talent is only one part of success; 3) Reevaluate, reevaluate, reevaluate; 4) Bet for the short and long terms; and 5) Know your limits.  What do you think of these?

Jan Bruce shared “3 Things Top Leaders do to Stay Authentic.” These things as she seems them are:  “acknowledge the negative and rise above it; cultivate transparency; and be more than just ‘yourself.'”

Ben Lichtenwalner shared, quite helpfully and entertainingly, “7 Leadership Lessons from Yoda.”  Check it out, you will be glad you did!

Jim Dougherty offered this helpful article at HBR on ways for new leaders to build trust.

Mark Goulston offers a helpful reflection on “What to do when praise makes you uncomfortable.” This could be especially helpful for leaders in ministry, non-profits, and perhaps people from more passive or “Minnesota nice” type cultures.

Richard Branson offered thoughts on how to find talented people who can grow your business and team.

Finally, within the leadership category this week comes this list of “6 conversations every leader needs to have.” What do you make of this list?

Neighbor Love

Here is an important, and very much condemning, look at how current political practices and decisions are making the poor poorer (and could make them even more so if more benefits to the poor are cut), and very much being a disservice to our neighbors in need.

An interesting look at sainthood from The Economist of all sources.

I am sure you have heard how news anchor Megyn Kelly said both Jesus and Santa were/are white.  Such an erroneous statement needed a deep response, and here comes one about how such an erroneous statement is not only bad history, its also bad theology! I am very glad and thankful Jonathan Merritt wrote this!

Kurt Willems yesterday wrote a helpful reflection on “defining sin in a better way:  shalom disrupted.” What do you think of this perspective?

Social Media & Blogging

Martin Zwilling offers thoughts on how your consulting start-up can be kick started through effective use of your blog.

If you have not seen this before, check out this “Digital Story of the Nativity.”  It’s very cool!


Friend of this blogger and blog, Grace Duddy, is back with some helpful reflections on how to give frugal gifts for Christmas without looking cheap.


Danielle LaPorte offers helpful reflection on how in contemplating one’s vocations and passions, its important to leave room for imagination and for the future chapters of one’s life to unfold.


Not that this will be helpful now as we are a week away from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but if you were to have any last minute thoughts about changing the worship order for Christmas Eve, read Greg Atkinson’s take.


santa with reindeerBy now, you probably know that I am a sports fan, especially a Mariners and Seahawks fan. So, I share this funny Christmas pardoy with you about Seahawks Running Back Marshawn Lynch from Dave Ross. Enjoy!

In some early celebration of Christmas, I share this story with you from Mental Floss about why NORAD started tracking Santa.


That will wrap up this week’s edition of the links.  With Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve falling on the next two Tuesdays, the links may be disrupted or a bit shorter than usual.  We’ll see.  Until then, hope you enjoyed these stories and reflections.  Let me know if there are particular stories of interest you would like me to include, or things you would like for me to reflect on as blog posts.  Blessings in this last week of Advent! -TS

Image Credits:  1) Links; 2) Machiavelli; 3) Santa with reindeer

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