This Week’s Links

Internet1I hope all of you had an enjoyable 4th of July/Independence Day weekend! I did, as I was in Wisconsin celebrating my Grandma’s 90th birthday.

Turning to today’s post, Tuesday on the blog means that I get to share some of what I have found interesting over the past week with all of 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

If you are a member or participant of a congregation or faith community, then you are probably familiar with the importance such groups need to give towards welcoming any all visitors and guests. At the same time, there is a fine line between welcome and scaring people away. Joseph Yoo reflects on this tension.

Heidi Hagstrom, the director of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) Youth Gathering shared, “Standing at the cross together.” This is a great reflection a year ahead of the next youth gathering which will be held in Detroit in 2015.

Pastor Don Carlson shared some reflections for the upcoming Sunday’s lectionary readings on Bishop Mike Rinehart’s blog. If you are preparing to preach this coming weekend, this might be a helpful resource for you.

A group of seminary professors (and friends) got together for a podcast about “How to Talk with Young People about ‘Adult Content’ in the Bible.” The podcast features Eric Barreto, Michael Chan (who also wrote the accompanying article), Terri Elton and Cameron Howard.

Friend and youth leader Kara Lattu shared some reflections after the conclusion of her congregation’s latest mission trip in “Home, safe and sound.”

Nate Cohn shared data and observation about “Where the Christian Right is Strong” in “The Upshot.” You probably won’t be surprised about the answers.

Blogger and pastor Jan Edmiston shared a number of wonderful posts about many important questions this past week. She pondered and asks us to ponder, “what’s the future of church gathering spaces?” in “Church Buildings for Sale.” She also pondered a question which often comes up in congregations around federal holidays and election times, “How do we respond when parishoners say they don’t want politics in church?Jan also reflected on the idea of “Church as Incubator.” As she asks, allow me to repeat, “how is your spiritual community incubating new ministries?” And, “how are we individually acting as incubating partners/mentors?” Great questions all around! What do you think?

Last year the Lutheran World Federation hosted their first global virtual conference on Diakonia. The second, and now annual conference, will be held on September 18th. Check it out!

In case you missed some of the insights from “Social Media Sunday,” you can find a transcript here from Church Social Media about “Joy Shared and Lessons Learned on #SMSunday.”

I have shared some about Appreciate Inquiry (AI) before on the blog here. I want to thank friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess for pointing me to two resources I hadn’t seen before about AI in congregational settings. First, here is an intro guide that was created for the Church of Scotland. Second, here are some more resources for congregations, faith communities and their leaders. Check these out.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes shared some about what he thinks “Chester Finn’s Fordham Institute Gets Wrong about School Principals.” What do you think?

Tom Murphy pondered, “Did the Millennium Development Goals accomplish anything?” Great and important question. Give this a read and see what you think.

Julian Stodd shared some reflection about, “Social Leadership: crossing boundaries.” There is good food for thought about both social leadership and the idea of the social age in general. Check it out and give this some thought.

Leadership Thought & Practice

Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell explained at HBR that “Leadership is About to Get More Uncomfortable.” I wholeheartedly agree with most of this especially with their bold claim that “Leaders motivated by power over others will not thrive in this new world.” Give this a read and let it sink in for a bit.

Scott Mabry writes that “Leadership is a Promise Kept.”

4th of July Fireworks in Washington DC (behind the Lincoln Memorial)
4th of July Fireworks in Washington DC (behind the Lincoln Memorial)

In the spirit of Independence Day, recently celebrated in the United States, Jon Mertz shared “15 Presidential Perspectives on Freedom and Liberty.”

Ted Coine reflected on “The Most Important Word in Leadership.” It’s pretty hard to take issue with Ted’s focus on “trust” as the most important word in leadership. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Lolly Daskal writes that “Courage is the Key to Fearless Leadership.” She explains that courageous leaders: speak their truth; lead with tenacity; and stand apart from the crowd.

Terri Klass asked a great question, “Are You an Empowered Leader?” She uses the idea and image of a playground in pondering this question and a related question, “How do you help others to be their best?” Great questions! What do you think?

In one of the most interesting posts from the past week, Kevin Evers writes about “The Leadership Paradox.” He shares that, “a weird paradox emerges: the most respected leaders seem reluctant to lead.” Think about that idea for a bit.

Josh Linkner shared “8 Ways to Undermine Yourself as a Leader.” These 8 ways he lists make a good list of cautions to keep in the back of your mind. The ways offered include: violate trust (echoing Ted’s point above); be selfish instead of a servant leader; lack focus and flip-flop on priorities; be user “unfriendly”; deal in fantasy instead of science; lack passion and creativity; play checkers instead of chess; and act as if it’s just about what you say. What other ways might you add to the list?

Dan Rockwell shared a number of awesome posts this past week as well. The posts included: “Stop Wasting Time: 10 Ways to Learn What Maters,” helpful for anyone trying to be more efficient, balanced and productive; “Authenticity: 7 Ways to Navigate Self-Doubt“; “7 Power Tips for Facing Turbulence,” helpful for anyone facing some uncertainty, tension or conflict; “15 Reasons to Ignore Feedback,” feedback is usually helpful and generally should be accepted graciously but sometimes it may be irrelevant, unneeded or confusing; and “Fewer Policies- More Conversations.” Give these a read and see what ideas come to you.

Shawn Murphy shared a podcast with Dr. Andrew Thorn about “Defining Your Leadership Legacy.”


Jon Mertz recently wrote about “Why Millennials Will Be More Empathetic Leaders.” Three promising traits that Jon sees are that: Millennials are purpose oriented; transparent; and they give and receive immediate feedback. What do you think?

Kern Carter explained “Why 9-5 Won’t Work for Millennials.” Do you agree?

Daniel Newman shared, “The Millennials: Why this Generation Could Save Us.” Reasons offered include: they are different than we were; they crowdsource everything; and they will change the world.

Matt Marino wrote and pondered, “Millennials Still in the Church: What Do They Have in Common?

Neighbor Love

As you might have guessed the news and thoughts since the Supreme Court decision about the Hobby Lobby case have continued to be shared. Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess, asked somewhat in response to this, “Are we going back to Constantine?” She quoted and linked to Andrew Sullivan’s post, “Why am I not so alarmed by Hobby Lobby?Dr. Norma Cook Everist asked, I think rightly, “The free exercise of religion for whom?” This post actually also was shared and adapted by Huffington Post. Lauren Markoe and Cathy Lynn Grossman also shared, “Five Takeaways from the Hobby Lobby Case.” Check these links out if you are interested and see what ideas and questions come to mind for you.

My wife Allison Siburg shared some “Stories: about serving your neighbor.” Check out the post and see how you can share and participate in the series.

Greg Carey reflects and shares about the very real concern that we are “At War with Ourselves,” grounding the reflection in Romans 7:15-25a. This is such an important reflection and contribution. Give it a read and spend some time with the study questions as well. Thanks to friend, professor and adviser Matt Skinner for sharing this.

Funeral Wreath
Funeral Wreath

Friend and pastor Diane Roth wrote about “The Funeral I Didn’t Want.” This is such a wonderful post and I hope you read it. Here’s a snippet of Diane’s writing, “I can still see her, taking the common cup, taking it from me and sharing it with the next person.  Abundant life. I have been at the same congregation for a long time.  Long enough to know and be known, even when it is painful.  Long enough for my weaknesses to be exposed.  Long enough to wonder, sometimes, what I am doing here.  Long enough to grieve, to doubt, to believe.  Long enough to share abundant life.”

RJ Grunewald shared about “How to Speak the Language of the Culture.” There are two core points about sharing one’s story and being a missionary in one’s context. According to RJ, the missionary “needs to speak the language of the people” and “needs to be one of the people.” What do you think?

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared a book review for The Poverty of Nations. Check out this review and see if you are interested in picking up the book for yourself. (Those who like the intersections related to faith and economics, like me, might particularly want to check this book out.)

Also at the intersection of faith and economics comes this post from friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess about “Luther’s insights on the economy.” (If you find that interesting, you should check out friend, adviser and professor Dr. Samuel Torvend’s Luther and the Hungry Poor.)

Social Media & Blogging

For those of you who write and/or blog regularly, you might appreciate Lynette Noni’s10 Practical Writing Tips.” There are some good tips and advice here. From your own experience, what tips might you add (if any)?

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared his version of the Links in his “Really Recommended Posts” from last week.


Friend, professor and mentor Dr. Terri Elton shared a great life reminder in “Play- a summer must!” I hope you all are enjoying summer weather wherever you are, and taking advantage of all opportunities to be out and enjoying this beautiful time of the year.

Allison and I at Disney World (2013)
Allison and I at Disney World (2013)

Friend and college roommate Tyler Scott shared, “Where dreams come true…”  There’s good vocational reflection in this, and if you love anything related to Disney (and visits to Disney World or Disney Land), then you will certainly enjoy this post. Check it out!

A good vocational discernment type question might be, “What keeps a bounce in your step?” Great question which Jon Mertz recently reflected on.

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared a great update about life and how summer is going at camp in her Sunday Snippits. Julia also provided a Physical, Mental and Spiritual (PMS) Check-up. This is a great vocational post, and might be a good vocational practice for you, yourself to add to your own life practices.

Blogger Jesse Evans shared some “Goals for Reading, Writing, Teaching and Creating.”

Blogger Rachel Held Evans wrote a post simply (but perhaps profoundly) titled, “Reentry.”

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared, “Final Thoughts from Navy Chaplain School: Defining the ‘American Dream.'” Aaron also shared some “Lessons Learned: 4 Days in a Van, Navy-Style Field Trip, & the 4th of July.

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess makes the links one more time with this post about “Impact the World Positively.” She links to this post from early June by Kathy Caprino, “9 Core Behaviors of People Who Positively Impact the World.” Check out the list of core behaviors and see what you think.


Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick also wrote, “Move Over, Kalam, Here is the best argument for theism.” I was having trouble trying to classify this under a topic subject above, so here it is. Check it out and see what you think.


That will conclude this week’s offering of the links. I hope you have enjoyed them. As always if there are particular topics or questions that you would like me to think about or include on the blog, please let me know. Until the next time, thanks so much for reading and blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits: The Links; Fourth of July in Washington DC; and Funeral Wreath.

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