This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday on the blog means that it is time to share some links to things I have found interesting and thought provoking over the past week. As I mentioned last week, this week’s edition is a tiny bit shorter because of traveling and other work and project commitments. One of those reasons was being able and blessed to attend two of my friends’ ordinations, which you can read more about if you would like, on my post from yesterday. But as for the links, this week’s topic categories are: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Millennials; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; Vocation and Miscellaneous. I entrust these to you now and hope you enjoy them!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

Dave Barnhart asked, “Why do pastors often act like the parishoners they complain about?” Good question! What do you think?

If you are looking for a position with a great international and relief organization, Lutheran World Relief is looking for an External Relations Program Associate. Check it out!

Zach Hoag shared important perspective about “The Non-Compete-Driven Church.” Yes, apparently there is such a thing. It doesn’t sound so much like ministry, but as business. Perhaps this has crossed some important lines? What do you think?

Last week on Ascension Day, Martin E. Marty repeated the biblical question asking, “Why do you stand looking up?” I expanded a little about this too. Rachel Held Evans also pondered about the ascension.

Photo of newly ordained Pastor Amanda Ullrich with her husband Pastor Jeremy Ullrich and Luther Seminary friends Mandy Brobst-Renaud, Allison Siburg and Timothy Siburg (photo courtesy of Allison Siburg)
Photo of newly ordained Pastor Amanda Ullrich with her husband Pastor Jeremy Ullrich and Luther Seminary friends Amanda Brobst-Renaud, Allison Siburg and Timothy Siburg. It was great to spend time with all of these people this weekend, and to hear more about how Amanda Brobst-Renaud’s Ph.D. studies are going.

Friend and current Ph.D. student, Amanda Brobst-Renaud wrote, “Dear Jesus: Forty days is not long enough to learn how to start a church.” It would be pretty hard to disagree with that premise, don’t you think? Give this a read!  Amanda also shared another wonderful post titled, “Beautiful, Mysterious and Dangerous.”

Yasmine Hafiz shared an eye-opening list of “11 Bizarre church laws that could send you to jail.” Among the laws include: it is illegal to whisper in church in Rehoboth, Delaware; it is illegal to eat peanuts while in church in Boston; anyone who disturbs a church service in Mississippi is subject to private citizen arrest; and in West Virginia’s Nicholas County, its illegal for clergy to tell jokes or humorous stories from the pulpit. You have to check out the whole list! These are utterly ridiculous.

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared “An Epistle to St. Andrew.” It’s a nice letter to his congregation while on vacation. What do you think?

LEAD asked “Why do you believe?” Give this some thought. I particularly appreciated the way that the adoption curve was referenced in this.

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick asked, “How do you define faith?” How would you respond to this sort of a question for yourself?

Pastor Jan Edmiston shared some reflection about her “‘When life is sucky’ file.” I wonder, do you have one? If so, what is in it? If not, what would you put in it?

The Reluctant Xtian pondered, “Why young adults don’t make friends easily anymore.” This is an important post to read if you are interested in the spiritual importance of relationships, connections and millennials among other things. Give this some thought and see what you think and what ideas come to mind for you.

The Reluctant Xtian also wrote powerfully, “The Church of the Perpetual Misogyny.” If this doesn’t get you thinking something I would be shocked.

Friend and blogger Hannah Heinzekehr shared her reflections “On ‘Influential Mennonites.'” These are great reflections as always from Hannah!

Ministry Matters shared one of my adapted posts about “Leading in Transition” last week. How have you experienced transitions? How have you led through them, into them, and out of them?

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Carol Howard Merritt shared, “Five things businesses need to learn from the church.” Usually we hear more about what churches need to learn from businesses, so this is a refreshing post and reminder that learning and collaboration are multi-directional across sectors of society and the world. The five things offered include: put resources into innovation; think generationally; change with culture; attract the finest leadership; and give back to the community. Admittedly, not every congregation and faith community has figured these five out, so this might be a good reminder for congregations and the larger church too. Anyway, its a good starting list. What do you think?

The economist in me was excited to see this post from Sam McNerney, “One essential economic statistic that makes no sense- and how to fix it.” I will spoil some of the fun, it is all about the GDP, or the Gross Domestic Product. Give this a read if you are at all interested in economics.

In a story that might make you feel good, hopeful for humanity, and even a little nostalgic, “LeVar Burton got pretty emotional after raising $1 Million to bring back ‘Reading Rainbow.'”

Mark Feldman helped debunk some of the myths of remote working. As someone who does a lot of remote work, I found this post very interesting. What do you think?

Julian Stodd shared reflection about “Creative space.” This is such a great reflection, I hope you check it out and think about its implications for your own life, leadership, organizations, and communities. I also loved this related post about “Creating the learning experience.

In a post that really speaks for itself, Otrazhenie reflects on “The power of constructive disagreement.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Lolly Daskal shared this great post about, “Accountability: if it is to be, it’s up to me.” Lolly offers a helpful equation for reflecting on accountability. For her, accountability = choices + behaviors + actions. Give this a read and some thought this week!

I came across this post by Gordon Tredgold from this past March, where he pondered the important but very deep and challenging question, “What is good leadership?” What do you think?

Bob Tiede shared a guest post by Robert S. Kaplan, where he explained that “Great leaders don’t have to know all the answers.”

Chris Bailey shared 10 lessons that he learned from a year of productivity experiments. There are helpful insights to ponder for your leadership, but also for your life in general and how you might be most productive and efficient.

Legendary college basketball coach John Wooden. Not only did he know how to coach leaders, he helped bring out the best in them.
Legendary college basketball coach John Wooden. Not only did he know how to coach leaders, he helped bring out the best in them.

Have you ever thought about how your leadership might be enhanced through coaching? I pondered some about this for Strategic Consulting and Coaching. What do you think? (The picture of John Wooden at right for me is a great example.)

Dan Rockwell reflected on “How to turn frustration into positive direction.” Dan also shared, “7 Marks of Engaging Language,” and “10 Ways to become the leader others value.” Also, in a very Drucker like post, Dan writes about “Winning with leadership’s greatest danger.” The first sentence of this post says it all, “Success destroys leaders by encouraging them to repeat the past.” There is always a need to innovate and focus on the future.

Cranston Holden writes, “Let PEACE guide your decisions.” He reminds about the importance of having peace of mind, and to pay attention to when you don’t have it and what that might mean. Cranston also used a baseball metaphor to explain the importance of being a team player as a leader.


In what could probably fit both under leadership or millennials, Dan Rockwell shared a list of “32 Things to say to young leaders.” What do you think of this list? Is there anything that you would add to it based on your own experiences?

Jon Mertz shared this post about “Daring Millennial Leader: Adam ‘Smiley’ Poswolsky.” Give this a read!

Josh Tolan reminded and wrote, “Don’t ignore the cultural perks millennials crave on the job.” Four perks and attributes he referred to included: encourage entrepreneurial passion and creativity; offer technological innovation; grant flexible-time options; and promote giving back. What do you think?

Neighbor Love

Why not start this section with a story about neighbor love in action? On Mercer Island in Washington State last week, a quick thinking man saved an unconscious driver from a potentially very serious crash. I hope I would be as aware and quick thinking as that man in a similar situation.

Andrew Leonard shares this story about “How to be a hero in the middle of of an unthinkable tragedy.”

In a post that doesn’t give me hope for humanity, comes this news about Joe the Plumber basically proclaiming, “Your dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights.” Uff dah! That’s about all I can say. Thanks to Adam Weinstein for sharing.

To restore some of that hope, here is a nice little post that might just do that, about a “Twitter user posting transcript of a pastor’s sermon on homosexuality and its spot on.” Thanks to Antonia Blumberg for sharing.

Tom Ehrich wrote, “Rolling a Joint, a metaphor for a nation losing its way.” I am not sure I completely agree with this article, but it offers good things to think about and reflect on. Tom concludes, “The ethical calculations we should be making are what benefits the other: Does my behavior bring light or darkness to the world we share; am I making healthy, if inconvenient, choices, because in the end healthy choices build up society?” What do you think?

Phil Plait shared this post related to much on-going important discussion right now on social media, “#YesAllWomen.” Give this a read and some thought this week.

Water is imperative for life.
Water is imperative for life.

Maude Barlow shared word that water has been cut-off to over a hundred thousand locations in Detroit. Water is something imperative and necessary for basic human life. This is an important story to learn more about and respond to.

TK recently shared this great post about “A path to peace through mutual respect, not agreement.” To co-exist, live together, collaborate, and be in community we certainly do not always need to agree, nor should we. But we should have mutual respect.

President Obama called the “Surge in unaccompanied children across the U.S. Border ‘urgent humanitarian situation.” The question is, how will we respond? With help, love and welcome? Or with walls and hostility?

Rachel Held Evans reflected on privilege and why it’s so hard to talk about. This is a great and important read. I particularly love this insight that Rachel shares, “For so long, I felt powerless in the church—as a woman and as a questioner. When I spoke, I felt I had to shout to be heard. But now, (thanks in large part to you guys!), I’ve got something of a megaphone. It’s important to continue to speak, but sometimes I need to remind myself that I don’t have to shout anymore.”

In a post that could be categorized under neighbor love or vocation, RJ Grunewald writes that, “God wears a mask.” I love the conclusion, “Our work is a place where God does his work.  As we serve and love our neighbors, God is hidden doing his work and loving the people around us.”

Social Media & Blogging

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared this video post on her blog with “John Oliver on net neutrality.” Check it out. You might learn something, and you’ll probably laugh a bit along the way.

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared his version of the links, “Really Recommended Posts” which will be particularly interesting to theologically inclined deep thinkers.


R.J. Grunewald shared, “18 Quotes on Vocation.” What quotes are your favorites? What might you add to the list?

Friend and pastor Diane Roth shared, “In the Beginning was the Word.” I love her conclusion, and hope it inspires you to read the whole post. Diane concludes, “Maybe the point is this:  God touches us, and we come alive.  Darkness, light, presence and absence, word and touch.”

Friend Julia Nelson shared more Sunday Snippits. There are wonderful vocational insights in here as there are every week. I certainly can relate to the joy of blogging from my own computer after my previous computer’s death earlier this spring.

Friend and amazing musician Heatherlyn and her partner Jason shared more of their story in this post about “Viability for artistry that heals and builds community.”

Friend and Hamline University professor Dr. Deanna Thompson shared a life and health update.

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou, the world famous poet, performer, and activist passed away last week. Thank you Maya Angelou for your life, work, way with words, and for speaking love, hope and truth. Pastor Jan Edmiston wrote a beautiful post about Maya Angelou which I also want to share with you.

If you are from the Pacific Northwest and ever watched or listened to the news, you are probably familiar with Ken Schram. Ken sadly also passed away last week. Thank you Ken for your work, life, and dedication to try and shed honesty on things going on locally and around the world.

On Twitter this past week I asked if anyone had any other stories or links that they would like to include. Aaron Fuller suggested this post, “My husband is not my soul mate.” What do you think? I think there are great lessons about life, love, and vocation in this. What stands out to you? Thanks again Aaron for sharing this with me.


Apparently, Minneapolis and Duluth are battling for the best town in the Midwest. What do you think?

KOMO TV in Seattle shared more of a behind-the-scenes-look at Dan Lewis‘ final day at the anchor desk. For more of a look back at Dan Lewis’ career, see this previous post.

At least one study recently concluded suggests that “We’re learning more from Stephen Colbert than the actual news.” What do you think?


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

Image Credits: The Links, John Wooden; Water; and Maya Angelou.

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