This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday means that it is time to share some of what I have come across, read, and found interesting in the past week. This week’s topic categories are: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Millennials; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; Stewardship; Vocation; Worship and Miscellaneous. I entrust them to you now and hope you enjoy them and find them thought provoking.

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

Congratulations are in order for Rev. Dr. David Lose, who last week was formally announced as the President Elect of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Dr. Lose for the past decade and a half, has been a professor at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Congrats to Dr. Lose and to LTSP.

Congratulations are also in order to Rev. Patricia Lull, who was elected to be the next Bishop of the Saint Paul Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Brian Orme shared a rather humorous, but I think helpful, list of “10 things that drive us crazy at church… that probably shouldn’t.” I don’t want to spoil this for you, so please check it out for yourself. You will be glad you did.

For Twin Cities Lutherans, the name Ronald Wilson is synonymous with innovative, missional, and faithful music ministry. He recently passed away, and his obituary was published by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Thanks be to God for the life and service of Ronald Wilson, and prayers of peace and love to his loved ones who are mourning.

Jaime Clark-Soles shared thoughts about teaching Bible study skills in a seminary setting.

If you are involved in ministry, worship planning, or generally just want to learn and/or think more about the lectionary, there is a potential new resource for you. Rachel Held Evans announced on her blog that she will be blogging along with/about the lectionary.

Cathy Lynn Grossman writes that a new poll shows that “Americans stretch the truth on attending church.” What do you think? Christopher Ingraham also shared this news, adding that “Americans lie about how much they go to church, even if they don’t belong to one.”

Ministry Best Practices shared a list of what they believe are the “Top 10 Things that cause stress in a leader.”

Karl Vaters asked, “Is your church stuck, or just small?” It’s a good question which opens up many other questions that Vaters shares. Give this some thought.

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared a very well-written and I think important post, “The Lutheran View of Law and Gospel is not an Old-New Testament dividing line.”

Rachel Held Evans shared an interview with Justin Holcomb, pondering the question and questions related to “What is heresy?

Greg Horton shared the story that the “Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary admits its first Muslim student.”

Jan Edmiston reminded and wrote, “News Flash: There are Mentally Ill People in Church.” Give this a read and some thought. Do you have ideas to add to the conversation?

LEAD reminded that “Growth is a Choice.” Also included is a reminder about the opportunity to be part of and attend the “Disciple Project.”

Ron Edmonson asked, “Should the position be paid or volunteer?” Good question which congregations wrestle with often.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Light rail in the Twin Cities
Light rail in the Twin Cities

Paul Krugman reflected on “Faith-based Freaks.” It may not be quite what you expect, but there is some good food for thought from an economics perspective here.

The Twin Cities in Minnesota is about to experience the addition of a new light-rail line. With that in mind, Marlys Harris shared and asked, “Tracking the Green Line: Will Urban Renewal by transit turn into poor-people removal.” That’s a very important question.

I stumbled across this post from January, and wanted to share it with you to see what you think. George Siemens wrote, “The attack on our higher education system- and why we should welcome it.” What do you think?

David Burkus wrote that, “Mixing Business and Social Good is Not a New Idea.”

Julian Stodd shared, “A Creative Journey.” I decided to share this under the cross-sector subheading because I have recently talked with people in a number of sectors (churches, non-profits, for-profits, etc.) about the importance of story telling and narrative. This post adds to that conversation, so check it out if you are interested or thinking about story telling.

Leadership Thought & Practice

You may have noticed that I have started writing about mentoring on the blog. In fact, yesterday I shared some thoughts that came to mind about mentoring from Barbara Walters’ story. When I came across this post by Dan Rockwell last week though, I was overjoyed. He shared, “Peter Drucker’s 9 Functions of a Mentor.” Check it out!

Related to this post, Dan also shared about “How to Influence Like Peter Drucker.”

Julian Stodd shared some helpful reflection on “Choices and opportunities.”

Diane Berry asked and shared, “Want More Power at Work? Share Intelligence like the (new) Military.”

Dan Weedin shared, “Being Johnny Cash.” From this, Dan shared five strategies which include: create a look; create a sound; create a following; create a swagger; and the music.

Jon Mertz shared a guest post by Anne Loehr with thoughts about “How to Live with Purpose.” There is great stuff here about identifying and living into/with one’s values. Give this some thought!

Mayor Julian Castro
Mayor Julian Castro

Jordan Fabian wrote, “Julian Castro’s Tough Political Hand.” I am sharing this post, partly because my wife Allison likes Mayor Julian Castro. That being said, this is a good read when it comes to politics and leadership.

Skip Prichard shared, “Serve to be Great: 7 Lessons from Matt Tenney.” The lessons offered from Tenney include: you can create happiness anywhere; your greatest failure may be your life’s greatest catalyst for change; when you change your self-talk, you change your world; learn how to change selfishness to selflessness; service leads to greatness; notice the extraordinary small moments; and in stillness, you can change your state of mind, your present, and your future.” Good food for thought and reflection.

One of my posts was published yesterday over at Ministry Matters. If you want to think about “Leadership and Self-Awareness,” please check it out.

In the spirit of self-awareness, Mark Miller wrote, “What you don’t know can hurt you.” Check this out and see if some of the resources offered would be helpful for you.

Jon Mertz asked, “How Do You Thrive in Ambiguity?” This is a very important question for all leaders, particularly as the rate of change in everything continues to increase.

Dan Rockwell shared, “15 Ways to Generate Urgency Now.”


Thom Rainer shared this thought-provoking piece about “Millennials and the Demise of Print: Five Implications for Churches.” I could have shared this under church and ministry above, or perhaps under social media below. Implications offered though include: churches not fully acclimated to the digital age need to do so quickly; more of our congregations will be turning on their Bibles in the worship services rather than opening them to a print page; church leaders should view this change as an opportunity to be more effective missional leaders; leaders must keep current with changes in the digital revolution; and social media is a key communication form for the Millennials, churches and church leaders must also be connected.

Jon Mertz shared insights from “Focused Millennial Leader Yunha Kim.”

Bob Smietana shared and wrote, “Are Millennials Really Leaving the Church? Yes- but mostly white millennials.” What do you think?

Some what related, Aaron Earls shared, “6 Reasons Millennials Aren’t At Your Church.” Reasons shared include: you aren’t online; you are too inward focused; you aren’t trustworthy; you aren’t diverse; you are too institutional; and you don’t offer real community.

Courtney Templin asked a good question, “Is it Time to Rewrite the Rules? Millennials as Managers.” Five key insights that she includes are that millennials are: tearing down the ladder; breaking down the walls; communicating on the fly; working where and when we want; and playing at work. This is a fantastic post, and I hope you give this some thought this week!

Neighbor Love

Joshua Rothman shared this great read about “The Origins of Privilege.” This article tells an important story about how the concept really grew thanks to the writing of Peggy McIntosh,who is interviewed in the piece. Spend some time reading this, you’ll be thankful you did.

Laura Dimon shared this eye opening piece detailing how “A Modern Day Slave Plantation Exists, and it’s thriving in the heart of America.” What strikes you in reading this?

McKinna Rae Daugherty wrote, “Preaching with a broken heart.”

In a story of sorts that sadly seems to be being repeated, a church worker has been fired because of their same-sex marriage.

In perhaps what I think was the best neighbor love piece I came across in the past week, Father James Martin wrote “Simply Loving.” This is such an important and honest read. I greatly appreciate it, and I hope you do too. What are your thoughts or questions related to this?

Friend and pastor Stephanie Vos shared her reflections, “I was a Christian Doormat- then I met Ayn Rand.” I am very happy for Stephanie’s post being picked up. But admittedly, as I have discussed with other friends this week, there is quite a bit of consternation when it comes to Rand, and rightfully so given some of her philosophical convictions and leanings. What do you think?

I linked to this story last week, but more of a response has built to the death penalty conviction for a Christian woman in Sudan.

In an example I would say of not loving one’s neighbor, a few people have decided that they would like to label some people “heretics.” Now, perhaps I might be considered one by the same people, but excluding someone from being in the Body of Christ is not really something that we as people have the right to do. We’re fallible, are we not? Anyway, Rachel Held Evans offered a nice response to those who accused her of heresy.

Along these lines, Tylor Standley shared, “6 Heretics Who Should Be Banned from Evangelicalism.” This might either infuriate you, or give you a chuckle. To be perfectly honest, I laughed and smiled at this list a little.

Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery
Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery

Ron Nikkel asked powerfully, “What worth- forgiveness?

Jon Tevlin shared this moving and inspirational story about Koua Fong Lee, and his journey from a wrongful conviction to an education. Congratulations Koua Fong Lee!

Rev. Dr. Mary Hinkle Shore shared this timely piece, “Stand by Me: Memorial Day & the Healing of Souls.” Along these lines, please allow me to express my continued thanks and gratitude for all those who have served and continue to serve, as well as to their families and loved ones.

Jeffrey Mann wrote this piece which has made me do some thinking lately, “The Myth of a Non-Violent Jesus.” What do you think?

Rachel Held Evans did a lot of blogging this past week, obviously.  Another post which I greatly appreciated was “It’s Not about Conforming to the World.”

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared two sermons this past weekend. One was grounded in Acts 7:54-8:1. The other was grounded in John 14:1-14. Give these some time, they are well written as always.

Social Media & Blogging

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared some “Really Recommended Posts.” Good stuff here as food for thought as always.


Friend and Classy Frugalist Grace Duddy shared this nice post, “Spring Green: Frugal Sustainability.” There are great tips and ideas here as always, so check them out.

Fraser Clark explained, “Why Mobile is the Future of Church Giving & How You Can Get There.”

Check out this interactive and visually impressive consideration about “The Evolution of a Young Philanthropist.” What comes to mind as you look and contemplate this?

Marcia Shetler shared this reflection about “Graduates and Student Debt.”

Jesse Carey shared, “20 Ideas that will change your view of money.” These ideas relate to: the limits of money; never enough; work; and giving. Give these ideas some thought.


Gordon Marino shared this important message related to vocation and vocational discernment, “A Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love.'”  He concludes powerfully, “Our desires should not be the ultimate arbiters of vocation. Sometimes we should do what we hate, or what most needs doing, and do it as best we can.” Please read and think about this, you will be glad you did!

In the vein of "All the Feeeeeels," here are a number of our close seminary friends at their Commencement.
In the vein of “All the Feeeeeels,” here are a number of our close seminary friends at their Commencement.

My wife Allison offered this timely and authentic post, “All the Feeeeeels,” about life, change, transition, vocation, friendships and relationships. Check it out!

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared some more “Sunday Snippets,” with great personal reflection and insights about life.

Friend and pastor Diane Roth shared this great reflection about “Saying ‘Yes’ and Meaning It.” It’s beautifully written as always. Here’s just one of many passages that stand out, “We all say ‘yes,’ because, at the time, we somehow know that saying “yes” means life to us.  Saying yes means grace and forgiveness, love that is stronger than death, a place prepared with many mansions.”

Addie Zimmerman shared this thought provoking reflection, “No Way Around but Through.”

In a vocational story that is equally awesome and humorous, a former Cleveland sportscaster has been chosen to serve as Bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Congratulations to Bishop Elect Abraham Allende!

Rozella Haydee White shared this wonderful introduction to Leila Ortiz.


Elizabeth Paul shared this great reflection, “What you don’t see: Blessed be those who bring children to worship.” Unfortunately, most of this article is reserved for subscribers, but you can see the first part of the article here.


To round out the links this week, here is some fun food for thought from Jason English, “The Most Commonly Spoken Language in Each State Besides English and Spanish.” You might be surprised.


That will conclude this week’s edition of the links. As always I hope you have enjoyed these and found them thought-provoking. If there are particular topics or questions you would like for me to think about and wrestle with on the blog, please let me know. Also, if there are particular topics or articles you would like for me to consider including in the Links, please let me know that too. Until the next time, blessings on your week and thanks for reading! -TS

Image Credits: The Links; Twin Cities Light Rail; Julian Castro; and Memorial Day at Arlington.

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