This Week’s Links

Internet1Before getting to the Links, I really have to say WOW, what a win for Team USA yesterday! What an exciting start to the World Cup. I hope you have been enjoying it so far like I have.

Now onto the post. Tuesday means that it is time for me to share some of what I have seen and found interesting over the past week with you. 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 hope you enjoy these links and I entrust them to you now.

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

Last week I mentioned Rachel Held Evans had asked for reader questions for Brian McLaren. Here is McLaren’s response to those questions which is fantastic. One response that I want to include just to encourage you to check this out, McLaren writes: “Cindy, people like you can make a big difference in all this. Keep positive. Love everybody. Resist the urge to imitate the behavior of those who hurt you. Seek the guidance and empowerment of the Spirit. Welcome the opportunity for growth. Be a non- anxious presence. And know that whatever other people do, you can still do good, beautiful, kind, and loving things.”

Speaking of Brian McLaren, here is an interview that Shane Raynor did of him about the release of his new book, We Make the Road by Walking.

Rachel Held Evans also shared a guest post from Jerusalem Jackson Greer, “Church Story: ‘I hold all these things in my heart.'”

Friend and pastor Jodi Houge reflected on the “Illusion of control.” Do you share her thoughts? Do you want to join her in giving up some control?

Steve McSwain’s post, “Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore” from last October was shared again by a few people last week, including friend and ministry leader Peggy Hahn. If you didn’t see it then, check it now and see what you think.

Tim Soerens wrote, “How the Local Movement is Revitalizing Church.” I like the reflection he gives particularly to these three concepts and ideas: subverting consumerism; confronting what we count as success; and disrupting cultural wars with everyday life. What do you think of this?

Friend and pastor Diane Roth wrote, “The Trinity, Creation, and World War II.” It’s a good reflection about a number of things, particularly about what’s going on in the world, creation, and the mystery of the Holy Trinity. (Timely given Sunday having been Holy Trinity Sunday.)

Wayne Meisel mused, “Pentecost: Unusual Allies and the New Faces of Ministry.” Give this a read.

Building Blocks- perhaps useful for faith formation?
Building Blocks- perhaps useful for faith formation?

I stumbled across this potential Faith Formation resource, “Building Faith Brick by Brick.” It sounds like it might be an interesting approach.

Nathan Loewen asked and shared, “How do we keep it real? Authentic Assessment and Religious Studies.”

Rev. Dr. David Lose, who is in the midst of transition, shared some thoughts and an update about the future of his blog, “In the Meantime.”

If you want to see what some creative people in one synod put together to reflect on the idea that “We Are Church Together,” you should really check this out!

RJ Grunewald shared, “The Heart of Young and Seasoned Church Workers.” RJ begins by writing, “If there’s one thing that is true for all people called to church work, it’s that they have passion not only for God, but for their church.” This is very true and important to remember, both for staff and volunteers who are fellow participants in ministry. Give this a read, and think about the questions that he poses at the end when he asks, “If you’re a veteran church worker, what do you wish you could’ve told a younger version of you?  If you’re a young church worker, what would you like to tell a future version of you to make sure to remember?” What do you think?

As its June, a number of denominations are having their larger gatherings now. Last week, at their annual meeting the Southern Baptists passed an “Anti-Transgender Resolution Opposing Gender Reassignment” among some other news and resolutions.

Pastor Jan Edmiston shared this post, which she titled, “Exclusive Geekdom” about her excitement for the upcoming Presbyterian General Assembly. Jan also has written, “What Trust Looks Like in Church World.” There are great questions posed about trust in this. Give this a read and see what you think and how you might respond to Jan’s questions regarding trust.

Rev. Pat Raube shared, “Pastoral Boundaries~ When Sin is also Crime.”

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared some “Lessons from Navy Chaplaincy: ‘Fighting with Honor’ & the Church.” Give this some thought this week!

Looking ahead to this coming Sunday if your congregation is following the lectionary (Pentecost 2A), Bishop Michael Rinehart’s blog, with the help of Pastor Don Carlson shares some good thoughts and ideas about the appointed readings and their themes.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Julian Stodd reflected on “The enemies of innovation in organizations.”  I really appreciate Julian’s conclusion where he writes, “If you see learning as the opposite to failure, then you’re set up to fail. You have to both fail and learn and have the right permissions and trust to do so. If you’re not failing somewhere, you’re probably not learning enough.” What do you think?

Julian also picked up and continued his good work on his blog related to stories and their importance. He continued this in his post, “Unearthing organizational stories: finding the narrative.” Julian concluded nicely, “stories sit at the heart of how we communicate: uncovering our stories, refining them, capturing the core narrative and sharing it effectively is a core skill in the Social Age.” This set the stage for another post about “What you need to know about ‘The Social Age.'”

When you see a post titled, “Bill Gates Just Blew our Minds in a Single Tweet” you really can’t not read it, can you?

Have you heard of the term and concept, “Co-Intelligence?” If not, or that sounds interesting, check this out.

Building off of that post, here is a post from Tom Atlee, “Realizing Empathy as Part of Co-Intelligence.”

In a post with significance to all sectors, Harry Boyte wrote that, “To Take on the Empowerment Gap, We Need to Change the Narrative of Education.” What do you think?

Leadership Thought & Practice

Mark Fernandes shared a look “Inside the Walls of a Values-Based Leadership Organization.” Check this out!

Kate Nasser pondered, “Can you be friends with those you lead?” Good question! What do you think?

Lolly Daskal wrote, “Tear Down the Walls So Trust Can Get In.” I love her conclusion! Lolly writes, “Leadership should be dedicated to living and leading lives to a more trusted culture. Lead From Within: As the leader, if you want your company to be trusted, break down the walls and erect a foundation of values and principles that everyone from top to bottom knows and the rest of the world sees and feels. Because living and leading by values is the foundation of trust.”

In a related post Tanveer Naseer asked, “Can your team really trust you?” What are your thoughts here?

How is this for a leadership blog post title, “Super Action Hero Status: In the Workplace?” If you are intrigued, check out this post from Tom Maloney.

Ron Edmondson shared, “7 Ways to Stretch Yourself as a Leader.” Ways offered include: read something different from what you normally read; hang out with people not like you; move forward on something with uncertainty; attempt something you’ve never done; spend more time on opportunities than on problems; schedule and discipline time to dream; and stay physically active. What do you think of this list? What ideas do you have?

Cranston Holden shared perspectives on “How to Get More Done.”

Anne Loehr wrote about “How to Fully Engage Mentally.” What do you think?

Seattle on the horizon, at least when on a ferry ride on the Puget Sound
Seattle on the horizon, at least when on a ferry ride on the Puget Sound

Dan Rockwell shared a number of great leadership posts this past week, all offering seven ways or examples. These included, “7 Ways to Have Tough Compassion,” “7 Ways to Maximize Quiet Leaders,” “7 Ways Quiet Leaders Get the Most from Talkers,” “7 Marks of Engaged Leadership,” and “7 Ways to Rise Above Pie in the Sky.” Check these out and give them some thought.

Jon Mertz asked, “What Is on Your Horizon?” This is a great question! As Jon notes, horizons can be both hopeful and cruel. This is a wonderful post I hope you give some time to and wrestle with. One passage that particularly stood out to me was where Jon wrote, “The horizon is demanding our attention to the story of our life. Our life will not always be a series of success and happiness. We will face certain challenges. How we strengthen our minds and soul during the good times may determine how well we navigate and survive the bad.” What do you think?

Jon also shared a guest post by Patti Johnson, “Why Title and Experience Don’t Matter: 3 Questions That Anyone Can Ask.” The three questions are: What can I do? How can I help? And, what if?

Terri Klass asked, “Are You Tired of Your Leadership Routine?” Good question. Check it out!


There is a theme in the millennial section this week related to faith, church and religion. First off, Samuel Adams wrote, “No More Analysis- Millennials, the Church Needs You!” It’s pretty difficult to disagree with that claim. What do you think?

Nurya Love Parish shared, “Next America 9: Engaging (Millennial) ‘Nones.'” There are great questions posed in this- about faith, “nones,” and millennials. Give this some thought.

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes shared and asked, “Got Religion- Where are the Young Adults?” I share Ron’s wondering when he ponders, “given the pace of cultural change, whether over the next 50-100 years, the Catholic Church’s and Mormon religion’s growth will slow and/or reverse if women and sexual minorities are not embraced as full-fledged members of those communities.” What do you think?

Neighbor Love

Given recent events, much has rightfully been written about and in response to tragedies and gun violence. First up comes this post from Richard Steele where he wrote powerfully, “After Seattle Shooting, the Media Watched Us Pray.” This is an important read well worth some time.

In facing and confronting the epidemic of gun violence, here is a map that “shows every school shooting since Sandy Hook.” This idea was also picked up here. All I can say to this is “Lord, have mercy,” and “when will we learn?”

Another post within the theme, “‘Excavating Fear’ or ‘If you want children to be safer, don’t buy bulletproof blankets.'” About this, the thought of a bulletproof blanket kind of sounds like the tales of the drills our parents had to do in school in case of a nuclear attack.

One final post within this theme comes from Tom McKay. He wrote, “Australia has eliminated gun massacres by doing what the U.S. Doesn’t Have the Guts for.”

Switching gears now, how is this for a cool story of a perfect stranger and good photographer catching the special moment of a couple’s engagement and then being able to make sure that they have the pictures to treasure from that day.

Friend and pastor Frank Johnson shared, “Diet Doom and Gloom: The first commandment with a side of hope.”

Friend and Ph.D. student Amanda Brobst-Renaud shared “A Sermon on Creation (as opposed to the Trinity or Fathers).” I love this! One particular passage that stands out is where Amanda writes: “The messiness of creation, however, does not take away from the joy, love or delight that God takes in it. God created – and God creates – for the sheer joy of it. The earth is not an inconvenient mistake that God made long ago and far away. It continues spinning, the plants continue growing, animals and humans continue living not because God hasn’t done something but because God has done something: God continues saying ‘Yes’ to this messy, broken, blessed creation.”

Texas Governor Rick Perry recently likened homosexuality to alcoholism. I have heard some people in my very extended family try and make similar claims. I am not sure that they would be as bold to share such views in San Francisco though. (Needless to say, I don’t agree with Governor Perry at all.)

Yesterday, it was announced that President Obama would sign an executive order banning “federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Excitement early on in the first match for Team USA in the 2014 World Cup as Clint Dempsey scores for the United States' team against Ghana.
Excitement early on in the first match for Team USA in the 2014 World Cup as Clint Dempsey scores for the United States’ team against Ghana.

In the spirit of the World Cup, Jorge Rivas wondered, “Who Would Win World Cup if we ranked countries by LGBT Rights?” Check this out. You might be a bit surprised.

Tom Murphy similarly considered how the “World Cup countries compare off the soccer field.” Take a look at this interactive post which offers you the ability to see different rankings based on different criteria such as gender inequality, etc.

Patti Austin shared and asked, “Hola Carmen, Como Estas?” This is a good post both in the vein of neighbor love as well as about relationships and community.

In another example of a group taking a social justice stand about the National Football League team in Washington D.C., the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United Church of Christ has voted to boycott the team until it changes its name.

In a story that just makes me disappointed and angry, apparently a United States World War II veteran was turned away from the polls last week and not given help to get proper voting identification.

Jesse Carey wrote, “Faith Isn’t About Finding Answers.” I especially appreciate the article’s sub-title, “It’s time for the Church to embrace the joy of not knowing everything.” Do you agree with that?

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared “Thoughts from the ‘NuclearChaplain.'” One particular thought that stands out is where Aaron shares, “The Navy has actually written into its governing instructions about Religious Ministry and the Chaplain Corps rules and mandates towards tolerance, mutual respect for all people, diversity of all kinds, accommodation in a pluralistic setting.  These instructions also protect chaplains so that they may minister and represent their religious tradition/denomination in full confidence, while maintaining respect for other traditions.” Check out all of Aaron’s thoughts!

If you are looking for a place where social media and film meet social justice? If so, check this out!

Social Media & Blogging

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared some “Really Recommended Posts” from the past week. Check this out if you are looking for more interesting things especially related to theology and the church.


Friend and pastor Stephanie Vos wrote and explained, “Why I Refuse to Teach Christian Yoga.” I particularly appreciate where she writes, “My choice to keep them separate comes from a deep (deep) respect for each tradition. While it disheartens me to see people in each group afraid of the other: Christians who think that yoga is ‘dangerous’ or ‘idolatrous,’ or yogis who think that Christianity is weird, hurtful, or hateful, I don’t think the solution is to harmonize them into a single practice and risk losing both.” Check this out and give it some thought.

Rev. Dr. David Lose wrote and shared this post about, “Vocation and the Mosaic Man.”

Friend and pastor Diane Roth shared a great reflection, “My vocation- and yours.” This is such a fantastic reflection about the heart and essence of vocation. One passage in particular stands out. Diane writes, “‘What does God want me to do?’ That is the question at the heart of vocation. But it is not a question with one answer. It is a question for every day. It is a question about life’s work, but it is also a question about daily attentiveness. Even to ask the question, ‘What does God want me to do?’ is to affirm that I have a vocation.”

Last month I shared the news about Dan Lewis retiring from the anchor desk in Seattle. Last week came word that Jean Enersen was retiring from the anchor desk as well. Congratulations Jean on an amazing career as an anchor, and thank you for your service and dedication.

Friend and blogger Kate Retherford shared a good vocational and life update in this post, “Playing with Neutrals.”

My Dad and my Father-in-Law at our wedding reception
In honor of Father’s Day: My Dad and my Father-in-Law

Since Sunday was Father’s Day, there were a few posts that stood out in that theme. First, Kim Parker shared “5 facts about today’s fathers.” The facts included: that fewer dads are their family’s sole breadwinners; dads’ and moms’ roles are converging; today’s dads say they spend as much time or more time with their kids than their own parents spent with them; work-family balance is challenging for many working fathers; and for a growing number of children, there is no father in the home.

Also in this vein, friend, blogger and soon-to-be father J.W. Wartick shared, “Raise Up a Child: My Father-to-be Father’s Day Reflection.” And, in case you missed it, I shared some Father’s Day thoughts too.

Friend and musician Heatherlyn wrote, “A Scrappy Song” or “How Songwriting is like Composting.”

TK shared a vocational and family related post that I am sure many probably resonate with, “The Luck and Blessings of Family.”


Back in college, I studied abroad in Italy, so when I saw this post, “39 Reasons Studying Abroad in Italy Ruins You for Life,” I had to check it out. I am not sure that it ruined my life at all, but I do admit, I am always longing for the same quality pasta, etc.

If you are a sports fan, you might enjoy this news about a potential partnership to bring Major League Soccer to Minnesota.

In more World Cup related posts, here is a story about the best and most courteous fans in all of sport. If only we all were as courteous as Japanese fans, the world would be a much cleaner and cooperative place. Don’t you think?  Also, check out these “7 World Cup Watching Positions” and see how many of them you and your friends do regularly.

Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn
Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn

Also, for people in or visiting the Twin Cities this summer, here is a list of “13 Things You Absolutely Must Do.” I guess I have some things to check out this summer. Do you?

One more Minnesota post, the Twin Cities Jazz Fest will be starting soon, so if you love jazz like I do, check this out!

In a post that may take you back in time, comes this look at “10 Things We No Longer See at Airports” thanks to Mental Floss.

Finally, as a baseball fan I would be remiss if I didn’t share my condolences on the sad news that Tony Gwynn passed away yesterday from his battle with cancer. Prayers and thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Tony, thank you for being not only a Hall of Fame player who was dedicated to being the best hitter you could be, but also for being such a hall of fame person dedicated to doing all that you could to help out in your home city of San Diego.


That will wrap up this week’s edition of the links. I hope that you continue to enjoy the World Cup, and that you also have enjoyed the links. As always if there are topics or questions you would like me to wrestle with on the blog, or types of things to include in the links, please let me know.

A quick note about the blog for the next month or so. I will have a number of projects, opportunities and obligations over the next month that might mean a bit less posting here on the blog. Chances are you won’t notice much of a change, but the Links posts on Tuesdays for example might be a bit shorter just because of time constraints.

Until next time, blessings on your week and thanks for reading! -TS

Image Credits: The Links; Legos/Building Blocks; Clint Dempsey scores in World Cup; and Tony Gwynn.

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