This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday on my blog means that I get to share some of what I have been reading and found interesting with all of you. This week has a nice and wide selection of things. Topic Categories include: 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 entrust them to you now to read, share and contemplate.

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

Friend and current Ph.D. student Tim Snyder wrote a helpful piece explaining “What the Surveys Don’t (and can’t) say about the rise of the ‘Spiritual but not Religious.'” Give this a read and see what you think.

Ron Edmondson wrote, “Introverted Pastors: Be Extroverted on Sunday.”  He has three particular ideas as to how this can be done. He explains that: you have to be intentional; your family will have to cooperate; and realize it’s for a purpose.

Pastor John Partridge explains why “Taxing Churches Might Be Good.” His idea and argument has to do with “if taxes can drive the church back to its mission.” It’s an interesting argument. What do you think?

Paul Franklyn shared an “Interview with Bishop Mike Lowry” about same sex marriage and how the United Methodist Church can constructively move forward in its current conversations.

Friend and mentor Dr. Terri Elton shared reflections from “The Confirmation Project” about “Connecting with the European Study on Confirmation.” Check out this reflection and find out more about the Confirmation Project.

In a somewhat related post, Pastor Timothy Brown writes that “We’re Teaching Our Children to Graduate from Church.” I think this speaks to the need of “The Confirmation Project.” What do you think?

A bit broader than just confirmation, LEAD shared some information and invitation to a session about “Best Practices in Faith Formation.”

Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America wrote a letter of concern and solidarity to Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. Thanks to Bishop Mike Rinehart for sharing.

Alyssa Rubin shared a story that I haven’t seen reported much on about “ISIS Forces Last Iraqi Christians to Flee Mosul.” When you hear someone say they are persecuted for their faith in the United States, point them to this story and then see what they think.

Pastor and blogger Jan Edmiston shared “A Silver Linings Playbook for the Church.” You have to check out this post for the title alone! Give this a read and see what you think.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

If you like a story about how different generations can discover and learn from each other, here is a perfect example as a “Sixth-Grader’s Science Fair Finding Shocks Ecologists.”

Tom Murphy shares an important reminder about how all sectors are needed when responding to crisis and disaster, including the private sector.

Leadership Thought & Practice

James MacGregor Burns
James MacGregor Burns

Sad news came last week about the passing of James MacGregor Burns. Burns was both a scholar of presidents and leadership, and in some ways is credited with really beginning or at least advancing the modern study of leadership. One of his main theories which has shaped many leadership theorists since, has to do with the distinction of transactional and transformational leadership.

Glenn Llopis wrote, “Manage Your Leadership Agenda Through the Agendas of Others.” This is a core understanding, concept and expression of connective leadership.

Dan Rockwell shared a number of wonderfully thought-provoking and helpful posts this past week. They included, “3 Ways to be the One Others Love on Their Team.” The ways include: love learning, invite feedback and develop relationships. He also wrote about “How the ‘Bring a Solution’ Rule Backfires“; “10 Ways to Create a Sense of Ownership“; and “13 Ways to Spot Energy Draining Blood Suckers.” Check these out and see what comes to mind for you.

Dan also shared a post on Jesse Lyn Stoner’s blog about what he has learned about “Vision Casting.” I love his insight that, “Successful vision crafting transforms leadership from pushing to aligning and igniting.” Give this a read.

Karin Hurt shared a very interesting post, “5 Reasons to Lose a Battle- And How to Lose it With Grace.” The reasons to lose a battle are: to maintain your dignity; to enhance your reputation; to win the war; you might be wrong; and to preserve the relationship. What do you think?

Jon Mertz shared a guest post by Andrew Brushfield about “5 Characteristics that Most Successful People Possess.” The characteristics are: communication; pro-activeness; problem-solving ability; self-motivation; and curiosity.

Rob Asghar recently explained “Why Many Star Performers are wrong for Management Roles.” What do you think?


David A. Frankel shared, “The Absolute Last Open Letter to Millennials.” Check this out and see what you think!

Elena Iacono wrote, “Leading Gen Y.” Key insights for leading and working with millennials/Gen Y include: stay present; be accessible; consistently coach; reward and recognize; hold people accountable; prioritize feedback; keep it cool and be trusting.

Neighbor Love

Sad and appalling news came last week as a Malaysian Airlines civilian airliner was shot down over the Ukraine. Among the passengers, nearly 100 people on board the plane were top AIDS researches, students and advocates heading to a conference in Australia.

Yasmine Hafiz shared news that “Pope Francis calls Israel and Palestine Presidents in Plea for Gaza Ceasefire.”

In response to the news of the plane being shot down as well as the fighting in Gaza, Paul Brandeis Raushenbush wrote and reflected in “How Do We Respond to this Really Horrible Day?” This is a powerful read. One line that particularly stood out to me, “It’s too late to reverse the death and destruction, but it’s never too early to advocate for peace and life.”

Friend and Ph.D. student Amanda Brobst-Renaud also reflected on all of these stories this past week as she wrote about “Where God is.” Amanda writes and reminds beautifully, “You have been given a spirit of adoption; you have not been given a spirit of bondage that you might fall back into fear. You have been given a rootedness in God’s kingdom that will not allow you to be uprooted. To this, the present sufferings cannot be compared. Indeed, even in the present sufferings, those who suffer do not suffer alone. Christ, revealed in suffering, draws alongside, taking it on as his own.”

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller also pondered, reflected and responded to current events this past week in this post about “Casualties of War.”

Some children at the border
Some children at the border

Immigration and the humanitarian crisis at the southern border of the United States is definitely a current Neighbor Love issue as well. In that vein, Roque Planas and Ryan Grim explain, “How the U.S. Sparked a Refugee Crisis on the Border, in 8 Simple Steps.” It’s a very interesting and eye-opening read. The question really is, how do we best respond? David Dorn offered some thoughts “On Immigration (and why some Christians should be ashamed).”

Given that the current immigration news focuses especially on children traveling alone, Tasneem Raja helpfully reminds that, “Child Migrants Have Been Coming to America Alone Since Ellis Island.”

Speaking of the children of immigration, Bishop Mike Rinehart was recently part of a group who visited with “Children at the Border.” Please read this, it’s important perspective and these stories need to be heard. Bishop Mike also shared some important perspective in this post about “Border apprehensions.”

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared his sermon from this past weekend about “Chapels, Churches, & the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Rachel Birkedal reflected on her experiences in serving with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Young Adults in Global Mission Program. She wrote, “Convivir: to live with.” It’s a great post and offers good thoughts about accompaniment too.

Blogger and theologian Rachel Held Evans shared some reflections in her post, “From the Lectionary: ‘Without a parable, he told them nothing…‘” Rachel also wrote that “We need feminism…” For the record, I definitely agree with her.

Social Media & Blogging

Sam McNerney shared six words that you should erase, “Before You Send that Email or Write that Blog Post.” The words to erase are: particular; personally; personal; frankly, to tell the truth, I’m not going to lie; actually; and aforementioned.

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared his version of the links in his “Really Recommended Posts.”


James Garner
James Garner

Friend and pastor Diane Roth reflected on “Loving a weed.” It’s a beautiful reflection about milkweed and the images that come to mind when one recognizes that it is a weed but also a place of transformation. Check out this post to see why.

Kris Brugamayer reflected about life and vocation in “A life of service (to date, that is).”

Apparently my friend and college roommate Tyler Scott has taken his love for musicals to the actual stage. He writes about this in “Break a leg, and maybe some old traditions along the way.”

Hometown friend Jared Prince, who made it high up in the Texas Rangers minor league system, is returning home to become a teacher and high school coach. He has always been a good leader, and I have no doubts he will be for many years and decades to come.

One of my favorite actors of all time, James Garner, passed away over the weekend. He always seemed so authentic. One of my favorite films of his will never make his greatest films list, but it’s still one of my favorites, “My Fellow Americans.” It’s a hilarious movie about politics and the presidency and also stars Jack Lemon and Dan Akroyd. Thanks for your service and dedication to your craft Mr. Garner.

Friend and blogger Hannah Heinzekehr shared an update on her on-going celebrations for turning 30 in “A Feast for 30.”


For all of you geology fans out there, news broke last week that apparently the “Risk of Earthquake Increased for One-Third of the U.S.” This is worth checking out, especially if you live in an area where you wouldn’t suspect you are at risk of an earthquake.


That concludes this week’s edition of the Links. I hope you have enjoyed them! As always, if there are particular topics or questions that you would like for me to wrestle with on the blog, please let me know. Also, if there are particular types of stories you would like me to include in the links, let me know that as well. Until next time, blessings on your week and thanks for reading! -TS

Image Credits: The Links; James MacGregor Burns; Children at the Border; and James Garner.

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