This Week’s Links

Internet1It’s Tuesday.  You know that means its time for the links.  This week’s categories with stories and articles that I found interesting are:  Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Neighbor Love; Stewardship; Vocation and Miscellaneous.  I entrust these now to you and hope you enjoy them.

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

Last week there was a Creation and Evolution debate that gained a lot of attention (for good or bad).  Here is some reflection in light of larger society perspectives in America.

There was also a lot of attention in church and congregational social media last week around people leaving or staying active in church.  As best I can tell, Donald Miller may have helped start the conversation and output of all of these reflections last week when he wrote about connecting with God other than in worship and at church.  He followed it up with this post and deeper reflection.

Somewhat related to this conversation, Tony Jones shared this perspective about Millennials leaving the church.

Friend Hannah Heinzekehr shared her thoughts in light of this conversation on  “staying”. Hannah also provides some larger context about what she is responding to in light of others’ posts about good and bad reasons to leave church.  Check out her post for more on that.

Sarah Bessey, like Hannah, explained why she “still goes to” church with particular attention to community and the intention community requires to maintain and have.  Nate Pyle also shared reflection related to this conversation.

If you are active in a congregation and in the midst of preparing for Lent, consider incorporating Lutheran World Relief’s “Baskets of Promise” Lenten appeal.  It might be a nice way to incorporate service and connection to the larger world’s needs into worship and other Lenten practices in your congregation.

Last month Thom Schultz shared, “The Church’s Frightful Kodak Moment.”  Give it a read.  It seems like a helpful piece as part of some larger “missional church” related pondering and wondering.

Pastor David L. Hansen wrote, “In Praise of Digital Evangelists.” Give this a read especially as you think about how to integrate social media into the work of the church and ministry, and even into or around the worship experience.

To close out this section, here is some helpful reflection around mission, discipleship and leadership from Will Mancini.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

My wife and I on the campus of Pacific Lutheran University in the Fall of 2012 (where we met, graduated from, later got engaged...etc.)
My wife and I on the campus of Pacific Lutheran University in the Fall of 2012 (where we met, graduated from, later got engaged…etc.)

As a graduate of a liberal arts institution and as an advocate for a liberal arts education, I was intrigued when I saw what David DeLong shared last week “How Liberal Arts Colleges Can Stop Fueling the ‘Skills Gap.'” His four ideas include:  Stop the hand wringing about the real value of a liberal arts education; use the entire school community to create an employable graduate; attack the job search “skills gap” head on; and increase student engagement with personal and career development activities. What do you think?

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah spoke last week at the National Prayer Breakfast.  In light of this, an interview resurfaced from a couple years ago which is something worth giving time to read.  I think it lends some good hope and light on cross-sector possibilities.

I discovered this past week a co-authored paper, “Corporate Social Responsibility and Access to Finance” from 2011. I haven’t read it yet, but it sounds intriguing and thought some of you might appreciate this as well.

Leadership Thought & Practice

Matthias Kipping offers his thoughts on “Why an ‘MBA Oath’ is bound to fail.”  Give this a read.  In the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but remember what Peter Drucker repeatedly said in his understanding of Hippocrates’ “above all, do no harm.”

Liz Ryan shares her thoughts from experience as an HR Chief in “We pay for the job description, not the person in it.”  This has great perspective and colorful cartoons too, so give it a read.

Will Mancini makes the links twice this week.  Here he shares some thoughts on creating “staff core values.”

Jon Mertz at Thin Difference shares a guest post by Candace Meyer about how to handle common leadership mistakes.

Jon also shared last week some very helpful perspective and thoughts about how to “Empower Innovation with Millennials.” I greatly appreciate the thoughts and advice Jon shares for both millennial leaders and leaders from other generations at the end of the post.

Scott Mabry at ELUMN8 shares 7 change management ideas.  These include:  craft the story; capture the image; create the core; communicate the story; change the scenery; claim the momentum; and connect the dots.

John Keyser shared last week, “Grace in the workplace.”  Give this a read because I think this might positively change the way you engage in dynamics and relationships around your place(s) of work.

Will Yakowicz reminds helpfully, “The Best Leaders Don’t Do it Alone.”  As he writes, “To effect real change, you must make decisions with help from a trusted group of advisers, and aspire to benefit a community of people.”  I hear great resonance in this article with Jean Lipman-Blumen’s conception of “connective leadership.”

In celebration of The Beatles’ appearance in the United States fifty years ago, Terri Klass shares what she believes they taught us about leadership.  As she explains:  they believed in their brand, they stuck with their vision, they supported their differences, and they trusted each other.

Neighbor Love

Picking up the story alluded to above under the church & ministry section about the evolution and creation debate, Clint Schnekloth shared his reflections about the “debate” and its meaning for ministry and our love of neighbor.

Clint also shared some thoughts about “holding the Bible lightly.” Give this a read, as I think its important reflection for being able to create a community of unique people with differing perspectives and interpretations and yet be able to fully support and love one another as beautiful children of God.

Last week was World Interfaith Harmony Week.  If you want to learn more about that, check this out.

In light of the excitement of the Seattle Seahawks winning the Super Bowl a little over a week ago came this story about Quarterback Russell Wilson, his faith, and the reality of having such a faith in the Pacific Northwest, the region written extensively about being the “None Zone” particularly by my former religion adviser at Pacific Lutheran University, Dr. Patricia O’Connell Killen and Mark Silk.

Out of the sad news about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death, a reflection by Russell Brand from a year ago has been making the rounds. It’s an incredibly powerful read, and very important I think to reflect on and to understand when meeting our neighbors (and ourselves) who might have some kind of addiction, alcoholism, etc.  Aaron Sorkin also offered his thoughts and hopes related to addiction.  Also, friend and pastor Frank Johnson shared related thoughts about addiction and Christianity.

Julie Wood shares a very important reflection, albeit hard to read, about how spiritual abuse contributed to her son’s death.  We need to read these stories to better love our neighbors as ourselves, and to be able to meet each other where each other’s at.

Theda Good, a Lesbian Mennonite minister was licensed in Denver last week.  The Mennonites are now facing what seems to be a similar question to other denominations around the discernment about gay marriage and the potential for the ordination of those in committed same-sex relationships. Here’s hoping that their discernment and work ahead ends up being healthier and more positive then other denominations’ experiences.

I mentioned this in my post on the blog yesterday, but Thrivent has announced a policy about being neutral as it pertains to the use of choice dollars and grants. Here is more on that policy.

Richard Florida provided some thoughts and a map about concerns related to homophobia worldwide.  The figures and science to this may be somewhat questionable, but it does create questions and show there is a great need for raising awareness and supporting people, no matter their orientations, gender, etc. worldwide.

Valentines loveTo round out this week’s thoughts related to neighbor love here is a good reflection from yesterday about “denominational political stands (and who really cares?).”


Allison Kade shares some thoughts on where people often spend more than they should and how to stop doing that.

With Valentine’s Day coming up on Friday, you might be looking and thinking about what to do to celebrate (and to show a little affection to the special someone in your life).  Here are some good frugal ideas from friend Grace Duddy.  If you need more, here are fourteen others from Brightpeak.


Sarah Bessey shares some thoughts about writing, her self, and her reflections on what I would call her vocations. Give them a read, they might help you think about your own life and vocations.


ABC News shared “See This, Skip That” on Minneapolis over the weekend. What do you think of their list?


That will conclude this week’s offering of the links.  I hope you have found them as interesting and thought provoking as I have.  As always, please don’t hesitate to comment and join the conversation.  Also, let me know if there are particular stories or things you would like to see me include in the weekly links.  Finally, if there are particular topics you would like me to unpack in my own posts on the blog, please let me know that too.  Until next time, blessings on your week and, even though its a few days early, Happy Valentine’s Day! -TS

Image Credits:  1) The Links; and 2) Valentine’s Love.

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