This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday on the blog means that I get to share some of what I have found interesting and thought provoking over the past week with all of you. To this end, this week’s different 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

For those of you involved in congregations and worship planning, Bishop Mike Rinehart provides a look ahead at the coming revised common lectionary readings for next weekend.

It seems like this year, there are more congregations than ever using the Narrative Lectionary. We are using and following it at the church I am serving on staff at now, and it appears that a number of friends are as well. A few of their sermons will be provided below under neighbor love.

Friend and current Ph.D. student Tim Snyder reflected in The Lutheran about “Rally Sunday.” I really love the way Tim concludes this piece. He writes, “God of new beginnings, as summer fades behind us and the days begin to shorten, may we turn our attention to the short ones among us.The little ones. The messy ones. The playful ones. The loud ones. The quiet ones. The shy ones. The wild ones. May we rally the life of the church to meet them on their way. And may their way of life rally us to new beginnings. Amen.” Go and read the whole thing!

Also in the same edition The Lutheran, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Bishop Elizabeth Eaton wrote, “Divine foolishness: Christ crucified is God’s clearest and most complete act of love.”

In the story and news that just seems to continue, Tony Jones shared “Some Thoughts about Mark Driscoll.”

Theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg
Theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg

Tony also shared this important “In Memoriam” by Philip Clayton about theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg, who passed away last Friday. Here’s just a small sampling of what is offered in remembrance of Pannenberg: “For all his wrestling with philosophy and science, Pannenberg was in the end a man of deep, abiding faith. He believed that the richness and immensity of God call for the most profound study and reflection that our minds are capable of …that theology should meet and exceed the highest standards that philosophers set for themselves …and that we never need to compromise as we wrestle to understand as much of the divine nature as we can grasp through every source available to us.” Read  and reflect on the whole thing.

There are upcoming Practice Discipleship events and training sessions being offered in Minnesota. Check this out and sign up to register.

Friend, blogger, social media coach and communications extraordinare Carrie Gubsch shared this fantastic story about “The Comfort of hearing Swahili.”

Last week The Taskforce for Reimagining The Episcopal Church (TREC) shared this with the Episcopal Church.

In response to this news from TREC, Nurya Parish writes that, “The Governance System is not the Church.” This helps shed some light on some of the potential changes and restructruing going on within the Episcopal Church. Nurya writes, “The people have said that the Holy Spirit is calling for the re-imagination of the church. Focusing this conversation primarily on issues of churchwide staff and governance binds a strong church with a narrow emphasis. We need the whole body of Christ to be freed to confront the real and significant issues we face, and TREC is the body we authorized for this task. Just as TREC seeks to unbind the church, I pray that TREC will be unbound to open the conversation we need. That conversation includes questions about the Holy Spirit’s call to re-imagine not only our churchwide governance and administration, but also the future of our congregations and dioceses as together we live into the call of Christ.” If you are interested like me, read the whole thing.

If you are looking for some possible further study or continuing education, you might check out some of these offerings from the “Intensive Care Course Catalog” featuring classes taught by friends, professors, colleagues and mentors of mine such as Dr. Mary Hess, Peggy Hahn and Rev. Dr. Rollie Martinson.

News came last week also of a possible opening, if you are looking for a new and exciting ministry chapter and calling, as the “ELCA is Seeking a Director for the Youth Gathering.” If you are interested in exploring this possibility or have a friend or colleague whom you think would be a potential great fit, check this out and share.

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared this interesting post, “Christian Discernment Regarding Music: A Reflection and a Response.” What do you think?

I stumbled across this post and felt I really had to share it. I present it with just the title in hopes that you will go and read it because I am afraid that it can apply to nearly every church, congregation and faith community I have ever seen, at least in some way. “Ask a Young Clergy Woman: Toxic Church Edition.

To close out this section, here’s a post by Mark Sandlin about a certain word, place and idea that is included or referenced in most creeds and is even perhaps problematic when considering the Greek.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Last week Jacob Morgan reflected about “The Evolution of the Employee.” There’s good discussion here about adaptive learning, leadership, and flexible work. Spend some time thinking about this.

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared this little look about copyright thoughts, requirements and issues.

Julian Stodd continued the great stuff on his blog this past week. I particularly found “The Ideas Butterfly: a social way of working (out loud)” interesting. The image created in this really seems to resonate for me. Julian writes, “The idea may be a flower, but it’s all of us working together, the bees and butterflies, that pollinate it, that give it meaning.” What do you think?

Julian also shared, “From Social to Formal: professional development in the social age.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Lolly Daskal explained that “Great Leadership Matters in Any Business.” According to Lolly, to emulate great leadership, here are a few things to keep in mind and lead with: vision; communication; value; recognition; connecting; empowerment; questions and efficiency.

Collaborative leadership
Collaborative leadership and community building

Tanveer Naseer shared a guest post by Doug Conant explaining “The 3 Things Leaders Must Do to Build Meaningful Communities.” The things are: give thanks; treat “interruptions” as community building opportunities; and lead with integrity.

Jesse Lyn Stoner shared a guest post by Ted Coine reflecting on “The New Rules of the Social Age.”

Dan Rockwell listed “15 Powerful Shifts that Transform Leadership.” In sharing these shifts, Dan offered this sentence, “I used to think leadership was about ___________, now I think it’s about ____________.” A few of the pairs he included in the list then were: “telling, showing;” “managing, inspiring;” “position, mission;” and “telling, listening.” Check this out!

Dan also shared, “10 Rules for Moving Forward Without Permission,” and “One Simple Habit that Elevates Leaders.” That habit by the way is asking the second question. Do you ask a second question?

Steve Keating reflected about “A Leader’s Responsibility.” Steve writes and asks, “Leadership is a big deal. It’s not just a position, title or concept. It is real, it comes with serious consequential responsibilities. If you can’t handle them, or are unwilling to accept them, then you should reconsider your role as a leader. There is no harm in choosing not to lead, leadership is not for everyone. The harm comes from accepting the challenge of leadership without the commitment to accept the responsibility of a leader as well. Leaders can make excuses or they can make more leaders. They can’t do both. What are you making?”

Steve also wrote, “Live Your Own Life.”

I came across this post from June by Susan Freeman titled, “Leadership in the Mirror.” Included in this post are seven lessons: clear intention on your goal, including writing it down; learn leadership by acting on your intentions; confidence comes from doing; support yourself with trusted advisors and friends who give constructive feedback; flexibility allows you to modify your thinking and plans; public speaking activates leadership for you and others; and listening to others makes everything possible.

Jon Mertz shared this wonderful “Leadership Development Carnival” with plenty of great stuff about leadership you should check out.

Jon also wrote about “3 Ways to Break Trust and 1 Way to Build It.”


Jeremy Chandler shared a helpful “3 Reminders for Millennials Before We Climb the Ladder of Leadership.” The reminders are: embrace the bottom; enjoy the process of “growing into leadership;” and remember who built the ladder. Give this some quality time this week.

In what is probably no surprise, Sarah Perez writes that “Millennials are the Largest Group of Smartphone Owners, and Adoption is Still Growing.”

My friend Aaron Fuller originally shared this post, “Millennials Are ‘Alienated’ And Less Trusting than Generation X Was,” by Martha Irvine with me. It’s a very intriguing post. What do you think about this news and its implications?

Many of my most influential books gathered together
Many of my most influential books gathered together

For all 20-something millennials out there, Doree Shafrir shared this list of “65 Books You Need to Read in Your 20s.”

Back in July, Kayli Schattner shared, “5 Reasons You Should Launch a Business in Your 20’s.” Reasons offered included: more time; not as many financial obligations; less responsibility; ability to think innovatively; and you have time to completely and utterly fail. What do you think of these reasons and ideas?

In a post I was reminded of this past week given recent conversations on this blog, here is some pondering about “Why Do Millennials Stay with Church?

TK offered helpful reflection that I believe gets to some of the complications and challenges millennials have in communicating with other generations (like parents and grandparents), in “Reluctantly Hiding Due to Generational Divides.” What have your experiences been with dealing with cultural divides?

Neighbor Love

In honor of Labor Day last week, Anna M. Madsen reflected “In the Just Reward of Labor.”

In a very sad story with obvious neighbor love concerns, Alex Morris writes about, “The Forsaken: A Rising Number of Homeless Gay Teens Are Being Cast Out by Religious Families.” Casting out one’s family and children does not seem much like love or neighbor love to me. I know you can build a theological argument for everything, but I would think that God would weep at the idea of casting out one’s children.

TK reflected on “Fears that Hinder Acceptance of the LGBT Community.” What do you think?

In one of the more moving court decisions I have seen and skimmed, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals offered this ruling about state same-sex marriage prohibitions.

I mentioned above about the narrative lectionary. Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared his sermon for this past weekend, “Beginnings & Promises.” One line that stands out in particular is where Aaron writes, “And as forgiven sinners, we’re then sent…..that’s what the blessing is for.  We’re sent blessed before we go, so that we might be a blessing to others.  We are a blessing….freed to live out the great commandment, ‘Love God and love your neighbor.’”

Also using the narrative lectionary is friend and pastor Frank Johnson. Frank wrote, “Downstream of the flood: Water, Death, and Resurrection.”

Lakewood Church- where Joel and Victoria Osteen are co-pastors
Lakewood Church- where Joel and Victoria Osteen are co-pastors

You might have seen a video recently that was posted of Victoria Osteen saying “Do Good for your own self, and because God wants you to be happy.” Regarding and in response to that video, Matt Walsh writes that, “Joel Osteen and his wife are heretics, and that’s why America loves them.” What do you think?

In a related post, Albert Mohler writes, “The Osteen Predicament- Mere Happiness Cannot Bear the Weight of the Gospel.”

Dan Ruth shared the story about one man’s hunger, and how Lutheran World Relief is working to try and prevent him from having to endure hunger again.

Friend and blogger Hannah Heinzekehr shared a guest post from Pam Nath asking, “When There is No Peace, Where are the Saints?

Tom Murphy wrote about a UNICEF Report which explains about a “Startling amount of violence faced by Children.”

Donald Miller wrote, “I’m Glad I’m Not the Same Guy Who Wrote Blue Like Jazz.” I really appreciate what Donald wrote in response to his own question, “Do I love the old Don? Of course I do. He was not a loser. He suspected life could be better and I thank God for that suspicion. And so he changed. I love him but I don’t miss him. I’m better now and I’m not going back. Ten years from now, may we all look back and love who we were while hardly recognizing them.”

In the good news story of the week, Ken Fang wrote that “Charissa Thompson wins the Internet this Week” because of the love and solidarity she showed with her niece. I echo Ken entirely, “Good on ya, Charissa. Good on ya.”

Friend and Ph.D. student Amanda Brobst-Renaud wrote that “Jesus Means Freedom.” Amanda puts it beautifully, “We are drawn into the paradox of being at once free and bound, sinner and saint, broken and whole. We are called to live out the gospel promise that Christ is with us, gathering us together here and sending us out into the world, to tend and to serve, to love and to keep, to proclaim the truth that God’s love is out loose in the world. You are not bound to your sin or death. You are bound to Christ’s love: for you, for your neighbor, for your enemy, for all of creation. For freedom you have been set free.” Amen.

Duke Chapel shared this very powerful and important video entitled, “A Memorial for Mike.”

Isabel Wilkerson writes that, “Mike Brown’s shooting and Jim Crow lynchings have too much in common. It’s time for America to own up.” It is  pretty hard to argue with this. What do you think?

In a related story, Joanna Rothkopf writes that, “A UN watchdog released a report on racism in the U.S. and we are not doing well.

For those wanting some theological reflection and nuance, I stumbled on this post from 2011 by Roger E. Olson pondering about “Process Theology” and especially its distinction from “Open Theism.”

Friend and pastor Diane Roth wrote, “Fully Known,” which is full of great reflection about love and relationship.  Diane also shared a post about “A Beautiful Summer Morning Outdoors with Coffee and Conversation.”

RJ Grunewald wrote about “Phil Robertson and a Confusion of the Two Kingdoms.”

Social Media & Blogging

Chris Gayomali asked, “Why Does Twitter Feel So Angry?” I also found the sub-heading interesting too, which says, “Studies show that, yes, anger is the currency of the social web.”

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

Jesse Lyn Stoner explained that “Social Media Has Redefined Breaking News- for her forever.”

Back in July, Kevin Lee wrote and asked, “Social Media Strategy: How Much Time Does a Good Strategy Really Take?” Good question.


Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson asked, “Are Americans a stingy lot of people?” That’s a pretty interesting question about giving, which has implications on stewardship for congregations, non-profits, community groups and the economy in general.

In a somewhat similar podcast and post, Gabe Spitzer shared, “The growth of American philanthropy and inequality: A chat with Pablo Eisenberg.” Check this out!


Friend and blogger Julia Nelson humbled me in her vocationally rich “Friday Favorites” post, along with other friends and bloggers Rachel Ringlaben and Emmy Kegler.  Julia also shared some wonderful life and vocational reflections in her “Sunday Snippits.”

RJ Grunewald wrote and shared, “Two Great Commissions.” This post is full of important reflection about vocation, calling, life and ministry. Within the post, RJ writes, “Because we each have unique mission assignments, our vocations should be an opportunity to share the Good News with the people we are in relationships with using the gifts, passions, and desires that God has given each of us.” Indeed.

Friends Katie and Will continue their fun and adventures in South Africa. As they continue in their adventures, they have shared two new posts, “Bunny Curry” and  “What can make a hippopotamus smile?

Allison and I with one of our favorite mentors, Dr. Terri Elton
Allison and I with one of our favorite mentors, Dr. Terri Elton

Friend and mentor Dr. Terri Elton reflected on “New.” In these great reflections Terri included reasons why to celebrate the new. Reasons include: Marking endings has an eye to the past. Celebrating new has an eye to the future; We celebrate the new because it reminds us we are “becoming” people; and Celebrating new recognizes we have a God who makes all things new.

Terri shared a related post with a video from Kid President in “Welcome to the World!

In the spirit of newness and partially inspired by Terri, I shared some of my own “Excitement of Newness” on the blog last week.

Friend and blogger Hannah Heinzekehr shared a list of her “Top 10 Influential Books.” Hannah, inspired me to also list some of my influential books.

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes reflected on “Life After Work.” What are you hoping to do after work?


Friend and pastor Diane Roth pondered, “Were We Right to Clap in Church Today?” What do you think?


Jenny Kuglin shared “5 New Things to Look for at this year’s Washington State Fair.” The five new things are: vision dome; classic coaster park; fair game sports bar; bacon; and express buses. The fair runs now through September 21st. Go and enjoy it and as the old saying used to go, “Do the Puyallup!”

Have you ever wondered where the highest and lowest qualities of life cities are in the United States? Well, if so, here’s your list!

Would you believe that there are “Six People Still Alive from the 19th Century?


That will conclude this week’s links. As always if there are particular topics, questions or ideas you would like me to wrestle with on the blog please let me know. Also, let me know if there are particular topics or articles you would like included in the links. Until next time, thanks for reading and blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits: The Links; Wolfhart Pannenberg; Collaborative leadership; and Lakewood Church.

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