Tuesday on my blog means that I get to share some of what I have found interesting and thought provoking with all of you. Because of travels and vacation, you might have noticed that there weren’t any links last week. To make up for that, this week’s edition seems to be fuller than usual. This week’s topic categories are: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Millennials; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; Stewardship; Vocation; Worship and Miscellaneous. I hope you enjoy these links!
Church and Ministry Thought & Practice
In preparation for this coming weekend’s appointed lectionary readings, Pastor Don Carlson (on Bishop Mike Rinehart’s blog) shared some helpful tidbits and reflection. Check these out if you need some more thoughts or ideas when approaching these texts and preparing worship and/or preaching with them.
Friend and pastor Diane Roth reflected on why she loves “Picnic Church.” It’s a wonderful idea, and it’s something you might want to consider for your faith communities and congregations. See what you think.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune Editorial Board wrote that regarding needed reforms in the local Catholic Church, and “To heal church, (Archbishop) Nienstedt must go.”
Nate Pyle shared “5 Thoughts Regarding Mark Driscoll and Us.” His thoughts are important and worth some deep reflection. They include that: Insecurity is pervasive in masculinity, and the church isn’t helping; Christians love a good scandal; We measure fruit, but we maybe measuring the wrong kind; Nothing is hidden from the public anymore; The end justifies the means; and “there, but for the grace of God, go I.” What do you think?
RJ Grunewald wrote, “Vision-Casting: There are No Vision-Less Churches.” There are important thoughts here which I am still unpacking. But I like his conclusion a lot. RJ writes, “‘Vision’ language might not be used. And a vision might not even be clearly expressed, but there is some kind of vision for what that place should look like and how ministry should happen. And if that vision is not clearly communicated, it will also be controlled by somebody other than the shepherd of that congregation. And when that happens, the vision to not have a vision gets hijacked by somebody else’s vision to make sure the church looks like their vision.” What do you think?
Jan Edmiston asked, “What if the thing you thought would crush the PCUSA actually leads people to Jesus?” Interesting question.
Friend, mentor and adviser Dr. Matt Skinner reflected on “How Faithful Christians Come to Different Conclusions.” He was joined by Eric Barreto and Cameron Hayward on the accompanying podcast. Check this out and see what you think.
David Lose wrote about the importance of “Learning to Listen.” Check this out, it is an important reminder for life, work, faith and relationships.
Here’s a cross-sector collaborative experience for you. Did you know that the need for a hymnal bookmark “Helped inspire the Post-It Note.” You have to read this story because it’s amazing!
My friend Kim Parker shared this with me, and I want to pass it on to you. Anita Collins explained “How playing an instrument benefits your brain.” As a musician, I certainly believe this to be true. Do you?
Somewhat related to that post, Anne Loehr shared “The How-To’s of Corporate Storytelling.” This is a compelling read, and one that at least personally I found helpful. She also wrote, “Get Set to Write Your Own Corporate Story.” So what is your corporate story? Check these posts out and then spend some time thinking about how you might answer that question.
In a post that has implications for a number of sectors, Rachel Held Evans shared this, “Melinda Gates on the importance of access to contraception worldwide.”
If you are looking for an interesting seminar program or idea, check out this post about “Plato and the Promise of College.”
Leadership Thought & Practice
Ron Edmondson shared “7 examples of lazy leadership practices.” These are probably best categorized as “what not to do.” The list of practices includes: assuming the answer without asking the hard questions; not delegating; giving up after the first try; not investing in younger leaders; settling for mediocre performance; not explaining why; and avoiding conflict.
Bill George shared thoughts about “Authentic Leadership and Letting Your Strengths ‘Bloom.'” As an advocate for focusing on strengths, and for being authentic in your daily life and leadership I love this. Spend some time with this, this week!
August Turak shared “6 Reasons Why Every Leader Needs a Sabbatical.” The reasons include: you are not indispensable; you are not redundant; you need more models; you should argue more; it is all about people; and for all the benefits you cannot anticipate or imagine.
Tanveer Naseer, in a somewhat related post, wrote about “How Vacation Time can make you a better leader.” Reasons given include: vacation breaks give you time to reflect and review; vacations allow you to flex your creativity by pursuing your other interests; vacation breaks remind employees to disconnect from work to sustain productivity; and taking vacation breaks demonstrates trust in your employees’ capabilities. Check that reflection out, and also Tanveer’s reflection about “Understanding the Value of Charisma in Leadership.”
Mark Miller explained some about “The Fine Art of Facilitation.” This is a good reminder and read for any leader, who creates an agenda and then hosts or facilitates conversation and discussion in a meeting (or otherwise) around that agenda.
Late last week, the world lost one of the great leadership theorists and scholars of our time. Warren G. Bennis passed away died last Thursday in Los Angeles. So many of the books I read and ideas I thought about, especially while at the Drucker School, had some basis in something Bennis wrote or said. If you need a refresher on why Bennis was so amazing, please read this, and pay special attention to the last two paragraphs about what Bennis thought of today’s new and young leaders (“millennials” basically).
Dan Rockwell wrote about what he believes is “The First Secret of Developing a Leader.” Give this a read to see what he believes it is. I also especially appreciate this post because it includes a wonderful quote from Warren Bennis, who said, “Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself.” What do you think of that idea? Dan also shared “7 Ways to Solve the Sour Puss Problem.” If you think you might have that issue with yourself or your team, check out this post.
Monique Valcour wrote that, “You Can’t Be a Great Manager if You’re Not a Good Coach.” What do you think?
As a Peter Drucker fan, I can’t hide my excitement about the new website for The Drucker Institute.
David Sturt explains how to “Turn Good Work into Great Work with One Simple Question.” Give this a read, you’ll be glad you did.
Lindsay Rothfeld asked, “What motivates millennials?” It’s a great question which she pondered about and shared insights from Collegefeed as part of a post entitled, “Unlocking the Millennial Mystery: Career Motivations and Challenges.”
Amy Tobin shared and asked, “Millennial Matters: Could we stop and just slow roll the hating on Gen Y?” Fair question!
Samantha Sharf wrote about “The Recession Generation: How Millennials are Changing Money Management Forever.” This is a good read well worth some time.
Devon Scheef and Diane Thielfoldt wrote, “Preparing millennials for leadership success.” There are six particular pieces of advice that I want to repeat from this post. They include: constantly double check your assumptions; raise their visibility internally with specific communication and development initiatives; leverage their eagerness to learn from the on-the-spot, on-the-go coaching spurts; bridge the generation gap; encourage innovative thinking; and revisit your expectations of how and when work best gets done. Spend some time with this post this week.
In the on-going humanitarian crisis at the United States’ southern border, many faith leaders are responding through calls of accompaniment, welcome and love, instead of outcry and protest. Here’s one story about how, “Houston religious leaders call for ‘welcoming’ unaccompanied Central American children,” including Bishop Mike Rinehart of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Bishop Rinehart also shared this post including George Will’s stance on “unaccompanied minors.”
In a related post, Rachel Held Evans also shared the good news about the Southern Baptist Convention’s response and call in light of the crisis.
Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared this post from Seattle University about an innovative program it has called “American Refugees.” These incorporate thought provoking and entertaining little videos, so check this out.
Friend, professor and theologian Dr. Deanna Thompson reflected on life, death, purpose and hope in, “How to live like we’re dying.”
In an idea you have to read for yourself to believe (and even then you might not believe it), friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shares news and then reflects on that news that “Ken Ham Declares Aliens Eternally Doomed.”
In one of the more moving and inspiring stories I have read recently, here’s a story about how a “Child’s deathbed thoughts focused on helping others.” I can only hope that I would be as brave and loving as this 11-year old boy was.
An on-going story out of Iraq is finally garnering some attention. In a story shared by Kirsten Powers, human rights lawyer Nina Shea exclaims that the “Islamic State’s Persecution of Christians is a ‘Crime against Humanity.'” Give this a read and learn more about the situation. In response to this sort of story, and the reality of persecution of Christians historically (and not in the way some people might claim they are persecuted being Christians in a ‘democratic’ or even ‘free’ society), check out this post from Bishop Mike Rinehart.
Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared his sermon for the past weekend about a “Familiar Story, Familiar Message: Feeding of the 5,000+.” There are great points, reminders and even challenges in this. Reflect on it this week.
Here’s a question I came across recently, “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” I am interested in hearing what you think about this.
In a story that made the rounds among a number of my friends online over the past couple of weeks, here’s a story by friend and fellow ministry leader Rachel Ringlaben, “The Story of How My Life was Saved in Guatemala- A Story of Spirit Hovering.” Rachel, I am sure I speak for everyone in saying, we are glad you are recovering and doing well!
Meta Harrick Carlson reflected on “Weeds” and the difference between technical and adaptive challenges.
Friend and pastor Diane Roth shared some great thoughts in this post about “All the Pretty Little Parables.” I love her closing thoughts especially and want to share them with you. Diane writes, “So the Kingdom of heaven is like yeast, a pearl, a net — and five loaves and two fish divided, which were enough. The Kingdom of heaven is like a fresh bouquet of flowers left outside your door, or like a ball of yarn of many colors, being woven into a mysterious garment fit for a king. The kingdom of heaven is like a room at the nursing home, where an old woman lays dying, when a young woman runs in and tenderly kisses her on the forehead. The Kingdom of heaven is like that. Get it? (Not entirely, I admit.) But that is all right. There is more to life than understanding. There is the surplus of meaning, the Kingdom of heaven breaking in, breaking our hearts, feeding us, in more ways than one.” Give this whole post a read.
Social Media & Blogging
Julian Stodd began a multi-part series exploring and explaining “How to Build and Moderate a thriving Social Learning Community.” I greatly appreciate the idea of social learning community involving forming, guiding and narrating. Check this out and give it some thought.
Friend and “Classy Frugalist” Grace Duddy shared some more “Credit Card Do’s and Don’ts.” There is great and practical advice about what not to do in this post. Give this a read and share with your friends.
John Godfrey asked, “Is the death of corporate philanthropy exaggerated?” Interesting question.
In case you missed it, I have begun helping contribute for another blog as part of my role as the Communications Associate for the Ecumenical Stewardship Center. My first post served as an introduction, where I pondered two questions: 1) Why do I Give? 2) And why does it matter? I shared some, so now it’s your turn. Why do you give, and why does it matter?
David Lose shared some reflections on “Practicing Generosity.”
As we are now in August, and August is such a popular month for weddings, here’s a post that might be helpful in thinking about wedding gifts and why donations might be just as good as getting other kinds of gifts.
Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick reflected in “‘The Measure of a Man’ – Star Trek: The Next Generation and Personhood.”
Friend Kate Longtin Johnson reflected in, “A Hard Life Lesson that I’m Still No Good At.” I think most of us can relate, in that we struggle with asking for help. (At least, I know that I often do struggle with this.)
Heidi Oran reflected on “The Marriage of Meaning and Happiness.” Heidi’s thoughts about fostering happiness and how to live a life of meaning include: adjust your expectations; foster perseverance; and focus outward. Make sure to check this out and give it some time this week.
Anne Basye wrote about, “Sharing songs, & stories: Global musicians help lead worship around the ELCA.”
Jonathan shared “15 Reasons Why we should still be using hymnals.” There is some interesting reflection here. For the record, I don’t agree with all of this and believe that worship can take many different forms, but it makes for an interesting reflection anyway. If, I need to use labels, I think worship is worship and can be wonderful, whether it be “blended,” “contemporary,” “traditional,” etc.
Here’s a fun story for you about “When Disney Called,” it’s a great story for anyone with some Scandinavian heritage, a love of the movie “Frozen,” and/or some understanding of what it means to be from or friends with someone from some Nordic enclaves (like the Upper Midwest or Ballard or Poulsbo in the Seattle areas).
Recently I had the pleasure of seeing the fantastic musical “If/Then” with Idina Menzel in New York. Check out this review, and make sure if you can, to go and see this amazingly fresh, provocative, thought-provoking and moving musical.
Pacific Lutheran University president Dr. Thomas Krise shared news that “Two Lutes Attend Peace Scholars Program at the Oslo International Summer School.” Attaway Andrew Larsen and Amy Delo!
Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes pondered, “Which way the economy?”
That will conclude the links. I hope you have enjoyed them. As always, if there are particular topics or questions you would like me to wrestle with on the blog, please let me know. Also, if there are particular topics or articles you would like me to include in the links, let me know that too. Until next time, thanks for reading and blessings on your week! -TS