This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday on the blog means that it is time to share some links to things I have found interesting, head-scratching or thought-provoking over the past week. As always, I break up the links into categories. This week’s topic categories are: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Millennials; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; Vocation; Worship and Miscellaneous. I hope you enjoy these and I entrust them to you now.

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

Pastor MaryAnn McKibben Dana shared some thoughts, results, and perspectives from a PC(USA) Gathering at the Festival of Homiletics last week.

Friend and theologian Tim Snyder shared a wonderful little reflection in The Lutheran titled, “Unsettled.” I love the implications of his conclusion, “Here’s the good news: our church today is unsettled.” I think this is a wonderful thing, don’t you?

Randall Balmer wrote about, “Jimmy Carter’s evangelical downfall: Reagan, religion and the 1980 presidential election.” It’s more obvious why I am sharing this post under this category when considering the sub-title, “Jimmy Carter ushered in an era of progressive evangelicalism. But the religious right made sure it was short-lived.”

Boz Tchividjian shared “7 ways to welcome abuse survivors in our churches.” This is an important post that all congregational and ministry leaders, as well members and participants should read and reflect on. The seven ways include: be a friend and listen; know the available resources; acknowledge and address spiritual struggles; connect with local law enforcement; start an abuse-survivor support group; develop response protocols; and speak up. Please spend some time with this and make use of it in your contexts.

Sarah Bahari shares news from Ft. Worth, Texas that a Lutheran Pub Church there is drawing a congregation. The two main pastors serving the congregation are Rev. Erik Gronberg and Rev. Phillip Heinze.

News broke yesterday of an attempted arson attack at a Jerusalem Church near where the Pope had celebrated mass.

Friend and soon to be called pastor, Emmy Kegler shared her introduction to the Summer of Scripture. This looks like its going to be a great journey. Check it out!  Also, if you are a member of an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregation that is looking for a pastoral candidate, know that Emmy has my highest recommendation possible.

News also broke late yesterday that the Pope will meet sex abuse victims at the Vatican. This is huge news given how sex abuse in the church has seemingly not been dealt with directly from the top of the church previously. It’s time the church acts as abuse should never happen and be allowed to happen anywhere, especially within the church.

Theologian Paul Tillich
Theologian Paul Tillich- the man whose life and writings are at the center of the book by Dr. Dan Peterson.

Congratulations are in order for Rev. Dr. Dan Peterson, one of my former PLU religion professors. His book Tillich was selected as the winner of the Religion category of the 24th Annual Midwest Book Awards.

In a somewhat hilarious moment, the Pope corrected Benjamin Netanyahu about the language Jesus spoke.

Mindy McGarrah Sharp shared some ideas about role-playing and particularly how it “is one of the most effective strategies for developing a public theological voice.” Give this a read, especially if you are looking for ways to integrate teaching and service.

Jan Edmiston wrote that “The 21st Century Church is Color Brave.” She also shared I think a wonderfully thought-provoking “Case for part-time pastors only preaching part-time.” What do you think?

Friend and pastor Diane Roth reflected on “How baptism saves us.” I love her conclusion in this. She writes, “I’m really not trying to make the case that only in the church (or the Church) can we find salvation.  But  simply noticing that baptism and community go together, and that salvation has to do with our relationships with one another, and not just our relationship with God.” What do you think?

LEAD shared this post about “Taking the Third Side.” It’s an important read for congregational leaders particularly who are facing calls to pick a side in conflicts of any kind. Please check this out, you will be glad you did and your congregations will be well served by the time you spend reflecting on this and leading in light of it.

Pastor Meta Herrick Carlson shared a wonderful post of reflections titled simply, “tree” about the church, death, new life, and resurrection. Check this out.

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick is looking for recommendations on Historical Theology and Church History books. What would you recommend he check out?

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Bill Gates wrote and shared “Why Jeffrey Sachs Matters.” This is a great read, and brought back memories of my undergraduate economics capstone about development economics and NGOs. If you aren’t familiar with Jeffrey Sachs, he is a profound thinker and leader in the world of development economics and theory and practices for overcoming poverty traps among other major development challenges.

MIDTOWN Church hosts friend-raisers to help start-up non-profits and socially minded start-ups. Check out information here for their next “Friend-Raiser with Aynah.”

Peter Linebaugh shared a reading list about good materials to read to think and learn about “the commons.”

If you are looking for some thoughts about co-creation, an idea that is finding a lot of ground related to the commons, the church, leadership, and collaboration, check out this post from Julian Stodd.

Leadership Thought & Practice

In the spirit of commencement season comes this message from Admiral Bill McRaven to graduates from the University of Texas, “Make Your Bed.” Check out the speech, its fantastic, and its filled with wonderful insights and reminders about leadership and life.

Greg Satell shared this thoughtful reflection about “The New Role of Leaders.” In it he includes vinettes about the Hobbesian Paradox, Disrupting Cancer, Social Physics, and Managing Networks of Unseen Connections.

Dr. Srini Pillay reflected on “3 Problems Talking Can’t Solve.” What do you think?

I stumbled upon this post from last September this past week by Leah Weiner, “Want to succeed as a new executive director? Master the art of volunteer management.” There are great insights in this. It will be particularly beneficial to non-profit leaders to read this, but the insights I believe would be valuable for leaders in any setting to consider and incorporate.

Dan Rockwell shared, “Seven Rules for Talking Like a Successful Leader.” The rules are great and well worth some time to reflect on and think about how to incorporate into your life and leadership. Spend some time with these this week.

Dan also shared some important and wonderful reflections about dreamers, and how “Organizations that ignore dreamers die.” Check this out. As well, as his list of “5 Things Smart Leaders Never Say,” which include: “I mean’t well”; “I didn’t mean to”; “I’ll do it myself”; “Oh! That’s easy”; and “I’m the boss.”


Cranston Holden, connected the vintage video game Pong with the concept and act of personal development.

Cranston also offered some important reflection on “The Power of Detachment.”

Tanveer Naseer shared “3 Personal Lessons on how to succeed at leadership.” The lessons include: choose to be persistent, not stubborn; develop a learning mindset to embrace failure and discover new opportunities; and make sure you honor your commitment to those you serve.

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared some random leadership thoughts. You got to check these out, because he manages to address dinosaurs, coaching, and Memorial Day in the same post.


TK wrote that “Millennial Adaptability is heightened by rapid technological change.” A key line is when she wrote, “I propose that most if not all Millennials have this skill of adaptation. Those who can adequately translate it into their daily lives will have an easier time adapting to all life changes. That, of course, doesn’t remove hardship. It’s more of mental game and the ability to remain calm.” What do you think? 

Jan Edmiston shared some thoughts and reflections in response to the claim that churches don’t want millennials there. What do you think?

Neighbor Love

Jim Wallis wrote that “The Bible Calls for Moral Action on Climate Change.” Ideas about vocation, calling, and stewardship are all considered as they relate to creation and our caring for it. This is an important read. The science is clear, the climate is changing and changing rapidly. What are we doing about this, what are we going to do, what can we do, and what should we do? What do you think?

Also regarding climate change, Mary Minette, the ELCA Director of Environmental Advocacy, shared this timely post, “Living Earth Reflections: Fear and Hope.”

Nekima Levy-Pounds shared this important reflection, “White Privilege: The Elephant in Minnesota’s Living Room.” Three core points that she makes are that: society is still separate and unequal; equity requires more than good intentions; and the poor are often excluded. Spend some time with this and see what you think.

Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote about “The case for Reparations.” What do you think?

Brandan Robertson wrote, “The Newest ‘Threat’ to Evangelicalism? Matthew Vines.” Read the whole thing before thinking you know exactly what the title means.

Samantha Eyler explained, “Why I had to lose my religion before I could support gender equality.” Her conclusion especially caught my eye and has had me pondering it ever sense I read this.  She concluded, “So moderate people of faith, those of you who can endure the cognitive dissonance of espousing progressive politics while gleaning support in religious traditions that are thousands of years old — I ask you to please speak up. There are many of us who need to hear your voices much more loudly.” What do you think?

It doesn’t happen often that a story from ESPN appears anywhere on the Links outside of the Miscellaneous section. But this week marks an exception. I stumbled across this story about a once football prospect this past week and thought it was worth sharing by Kevin Van Valkenburg.

My deepest condolences to all those affected by the violence in Santa Barbara this past week. This killing spree has led to more soul searching around weapons, guns, violence, mental health, etc. The dad of one of the victims powerfully railed against this. Watch and listen, if you haven’t seen this yet. How can one not be moved by this? It’s time to do something about responsible and common sense gun control. As he pleaded, “We don’t have to live like this.” It’s time! Adam Gopnik added to the discussion writing that, “Christopher Michael-Martinez’s Father Gets it Right.” Indeed.

Richard Branson repeated the theme in this post. It speaks for itself.

How is this for a title: “Getting Smashed for Jesus.” Check out this sermon by Walter Brueggemann as well as others from last week’s Festival of Homiletics here.

TK shared some reflection about “The Illusion of Majority Extremism,” and the challenge with sharing and holding views that may be different than others, or be perpetuated as extremes when humanity may not really hold such extreme views.

Nate Pyle shared some thoughts about going “Into the wilderness.”

Friend and pastor Diane Roth pondered quite profoundly, “You don’t have to pray out loud, do you?” What do you think?

RJ Grunewald reflected on “Earning the right to be heard.”

Jan Edmiston shared, “Judge Not.” Important reflections here for anyone and everyone.

Social Media & Blogging

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared some “Really Recommended Posts” in a similar vein as to these links that you are perusing now.


Allison and I at the Grand Canyon
An example of making memories- Allison and I at the Grand Canyon

My friend, former college-roommate and current sports information director at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU), Tyler Scott, shared some great life reflections in this post, “May the next four years commence.” Thanks for sharing Tyler!

Friend, professor and adviser Dr. Terri Elton shared a wonderful reflection on her blog, “Making Memories, and then some.” Terri, I’m so glad that you had the chance to make more wonderful memories with your family.

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared an important “Thank You” on Memorial Day.

Julian Stodd pondered about “the location of stories.” I mentioned some about stories last week in the links, so consider this a continuation of that and check this out. Julian also added to the conversation with this post.

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson once again shared some great life reflections in her Sunday Snippits.

Dan Rockwell shared an important piece to reflect on about “The Secret to Finding Your Own Voice.” What do you think? Would you agree? Has this helped you in your own discernment about yourself and your voice?


Thom Schultz pondered about worshipers and “Why they don’t sing on Sunday anymore.” I like the pondering, and its a question I have pondered from time to time. What do you think? Do you agree with these reasons that Thom gives? Do you have others that you would add to the list? Or, do you have some disagreements with this?


Last week the 2014 Super Bowl Champion, Seattle Seahawks visited the President in the White House, as is the custom of all major championship teams. In preparation for this visit John McGrath explained why the Seahawks jersey would be a worthy addition to the president’s wardrobe in this letter.

If you love airplanes and are fascinated by them, you will probably enjoy this video tour of a British Airways Airbus A380, currently the largest of all passenger airplanes in the world.

Connecting two of my loves together, baseball and airplanes, here’s the best way (apparently) to fly to all 30 of the major league baseball stadiums.

In what seems to be becoming a weekly offering of at least one map, here’s a map showing how “tightness vs. looseness” may explain the U.S. political map. What do you think?

For those of you looking for a place to visit, have you ever considered Anoka, Minnesota?


Well, that will conclude the offering of links for this week. Next week’s issue is likely to be a bit shorter because of travel and work experiences. I’m sure I’ll still get you a good helping though. As always, if there are particular topics you would like me to include in the links, or questions or ideas to wrestle with on the blog, please let me know. I always love new ideas!  Until the next time, blessings on your week and thanks for reading! -TS

Image Credits: The Links; Paul Tillich; and Pong.

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