This Week’s Links

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Internet1Tuesday on the blog means that I get to share some of what I have read and 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; Stewardship; Vocation; Worship and Miscellaneous. I hope you enjoy these links!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

Bishop Mike Rinehart shared some ideas about the upcoming pointed revised common lectionary readings for this weekend, Pentecost 17A. If you are still putting your ideas together, or need some sermon inspiration, this might be a helpful post for you.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey shared the big news that the “Episcopal Church’s Katharine Jefferts Schori to Step Down after Current Term.”

Candice Czubernat writes that, “The Church is Responsible for This.” If you don’t read any other post this week from my links, please read this one! Candice writes, “I hold the church personally responsible for any LGBTQ person who walks away from God and Christianity. Every week, I get emails from individuals all across the country who are full of desire to be a part of a church. They want to go on the church-wide mission trip, join the choir, serve in the youth group and attend a small group. These are people who long to serve God, connect with other Christians and be a part of a wider community. Sounds pretty good, right? Here’s the heartbreaking part: they write me because the church won’t let them do those things and they don’t know what to do.” This is an all too familiar story, and it’s time for it not to be so. If we claim that all are welcome, than its about time we make that statement claim true in word and deed.

Ivan Mesa shared “Eugene Peterson’s Advice to Seminary Students.”

Julia Baird reflected on “Doubt as a Sign of Faith.” Julia includes this helpful quote, “The philosopher Bertrand Russell put it best. The whole problem with the world, he wrote, is that ‘the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.'” Definitely give this a read and some reflection.

John Meunier shared, “Three marks of evangelicalism.” Do you find these marks helpful?

In an interesting story that brings the links to Williston and Western North Dakota, according to Maryann Eidemiller, “Pastors flock to Noth Dakota’s oil boom to save souls.”

I am going to present this without comment, because frankly I don’t know what to add. Shane Dixon Kavanaugh wrote, “Sex, Guns and Jesus: Inside America’s Manliest Church.”

If you haven’t heard this news yet, the “Faculty (have gone on) strike at General Theological Seminary.”

Karl Vaters shared a great post with “23 Non-Numerical Signs of a Healthy Church.” I greatly appreciate the move away from metrics to determine health, etc., of congregations. Among some of Karl’s signs are: ministry ideas bubble up; people like bringing their friends; volunteers care more about doing ministry than having a title; the church goes into the neighborhood; it’s a safe place to ask hard questions; the church cooperates with other churches; and people pray- a lot. Check out the whole list and see what you might add to it.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
These are both of my grandpas. My Grandpa in front was a pastor as well as Dad, Grandpa and Husband.

In a somewhat related post, Jan Edmiston wrote, “Beyond Winning & Losing.” I greatly appreciate how she wrote and asked, “Healthy congregations make decisions based on what will transform their churches and their communities rather than their own personal preferences and desire to ‘win.’ How have you experienced this?” Good question.

Jan also reflected about “When the Pastor is a Mom/Dad/Husband/Wife.” Those of you in ministry, or in ministry families, what do you think of these questions and relationships from your own experiences? In a related post to this, she also wrote, “Mom, Why do I have to go to church today?

Tobin Grant wrote that “God loves baseball.” As a baseball fan, you know I had to check this post out. What do you think?

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared a book review of Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker by Andrew Root. Check out the review and then check out the book.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

In a post that could have gone under any number of categories, here is a fascinating read with an interview with Ambassador Nigel Baker, about, “Digital diplomacy, Social Networks and the Holy See.”

Tom Ehrich explains, “Why Multigenerational House Sharing May Be the Wave of the Future.” What do you think?

Friend and professor Mary Hess found and shared this post from a couple years ago about “The Importance of Making Meaningful Connections.” This post is focused on educators, but it’s true across disciplines and sectors too.

In a post that makes total sense, Elena Holodny shares news that “Stocks with Female Women on the Board Crush Companies that are Only Men.” Diversity matters, especially diversities of perspectives and experiences.

Julian Stodd shared some great thoughts about “Mobile Learning in the Social Age.” How do you see mobile technology powering the “Social Age?”

Ted Coine provided a great guest post for “Thin Difference,” writing that, “In the Social Age: Customer Experience Must Come First.” I think Peter Drucker would certainly agree with that perspective.

Leadership Thought & Practice

Speaking of Peter Drucker, Bruce Rosenstein reflected on his experience at the “2014 Scranton Drucker Days.”

Chances are that if you are a leader, you likely find yourself in a number of meetings each week. If you are hosting or facilitating a meeting, you probably know it takes a special gift to do so well. Along these lines, Jesse Lyn Stoner shared thoughts about “The Art of Hosting Meaningful Meetings.”

Steve Keating reflected on “Every Leader’s Weakness.” What is that weakness, you might be wondering? Steve writes, “Every single leader who has ever been or ever will be, has or will have this same weakness; they are human.” Steve also explained about, “When Nothing is Something.”

Julian Stodd shared some “Global Perspectives on Social Leadership: Fairness.” Check this out!

Kate Nasser shared, “Positive Attitudes for Dealing with Toxic Leaders.” Some observations from Kate for “Mind Over (What Doesn’t) Matter”: realize it’s a feeling, not a fact; know and focus on your long term goals; find sanctuary in your own energy; be an amused spectator; escape to positive attitudes; and compare what worse you have already faced.

Doing the mirror test at an early age.
Doing the mirror test at an early age. “Take a hard look in the mirror” at yourself and reflect on some important questions about yourself and your leadership.

Dan Rockwell explained, “How to Be the First to Know Not the Last.” This includes helpful do and don’t lists about how to “get in the loop.”

Dan also shared “7 Powerful Qualities of Servant-Leaders.” This is a good and quick refresher on some of the finer points of servant leadership.

Dan also explained, “How to Spot or Create Great Problems.” Included in that post is a great list of “4 ways to create great problems.” The ways include: explore what isn’t working and find a root cause; define the tipping point your organization sits on and what happens if you don’t act; identify a compelling danger that lurks around the corner; and describe the failure of organizations that followed the path you are on. What do you think? How do you spot or create great problems?

Loren Mooney shared, “5 Habits that Set Trustworthy Leaders Apart.” The habits listed are: they project confidence, competence, and benevolence; they show trust is important; they establish clear roles and systems to speed trust; they share the credit and take the blame; and they don’t mask a crisis.

Lolly Daskal wrote, “Take a Hard Look in the Mirror.” To reflect and look in the mirror, Lolly encourages people to ask themselves these questions: Are you proud? Are you self-aware? Are you managing? Are you responsible? Are you struggling? Are you grateful? All of these are important questions for self-reflection. Do you take time to ponder them?

S. Chris Edmonds writes,”Make Values as Important as Performance.”

Millennials

Kate Nasser wrote, “Millennials Success: Be Included not just Recognized.” She offered 5 ways to be included and not just recognized: dress with some individual expression yet not too much; show your endurance and forbearance; bring your exuberance and curiosity; offer your talents and technology know-how but don’t expect immediate acceptance; and act empowered, not entitled.

Rick Cohen shared this helpful post in Nonprofit QuarterlyMillennial Givers and a ‘Movement’ Approach to Giving.” I’ve written before that millennials give more to causes and movements then to establishments and out of a sense of expectation. If they see a clear need and understand how they can respond to it, they are apt to be very generous and do what they can with what they have. This post seems to confirm this stewardship observation.

Britt Hysen shared about, “Millennials Making a Social Impact.” Definitely give this a read.

Molly Page at Thin Difference shared a great post about “Gifted Millennial Writer Kern Carter.” Follow Kern on Twitter, and check out this post too.

The Pope with some Millennials
The Pope with some Millennials

Antonia Blumberg brilliantly shared, “A Millennial’s Open Letter to Faith Leaders.” I hope you read this! I think her conclusion is right on when she writes, “Despite our best intentions, millennials are routinely written off by older generations as superficial, lazy and entitled. We often get blasted for our lack of civic fervor (especially when people forget that the youth vote was instrumental in electing the current president.) But these stereotypes miss the crucial ways in which we are engaged — including our faith. I love being a millennial. We are creative, daring, playful and intelligent. We are making the most of a deeply troubled world and finding new ways to express ourselves and spread love at every turn. If any religious leader or conference organizer would like to invite us to the table to discuss matters of faith, ecology, politics and social justice, we would be happy to join. It would no doubt be a fruitful discussion.” I second the notion that we would be happy to join the conversation if and when invited to join it. There are too many conversations that happen where people host discussions “about millennials” without actually engaging any millennials actively in the discussion, and learning and listening with, to and from them.

Robert Farrington provided a list of “The Best Blogs for Teens, College Students, and Young Adults.” The blogs include: Broke Millennial; Making Sense of Cents; TeensGotCents; The Broke and Beautiful Life; and Young Adult Money. Check these all out, and I highly encourage you to follow them.

Friend, blogger and millennial Ben Tully shares an update and his perspectives about what is currently going on in Hong Kong, in “Occupy Central.”

Back in August, Hannah Becker, also known as “The Motivated Millennial,” shared that “Growth Can Be Stressful.” Most definitely, yes, it can be and often is.

Neighbor Love

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared, “A Brief Musing on the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ – Psalm 4:6-7.” I think this is a very helpful reflection. J.W. concludes, “we see that the problem is that we should be finding our joy in the presence of God rather than material blessings from wherever they may come. Those who seek “health, wealth, and prosperity” are in fact pursuing the latter rather than the former. Psalm 4 should serve as a corrective to the prosperity ‘gospel.'” What do you think?

Tom Murphy reflected on “Why we need more marches on climate change.”

The sun over the sea, is as good as any image to show or symbolize God's love and in-breaking, isn't it?
For me, this picture shows both peace and hope. In this, in some ways I see God’s love in creation, and the reminder of God’s presence.

Friend and pastor Jamie Brieske shared “Hope-fuw-wee.” You know with a title like that, you need to check out the post! I love this post, and here’s just a small sample of it I want to share with you: “Hope is attached to the good things in our lives- even children can sense this. And despite any of the difficulties we face in this life- there is always hope.  There is always the possibility that something good will come.  And when we come to church we are reminded of this.  God’s ‘good things’ are found in tangible things that remind us of God’s love.”

Rachel Held Evans shared a number of posts that stood out to me this past week. She shared, “‘God and the Gay Christian’ Discussion Week 2.” Rachel also shared, “Ask a (Celibate) Gay Christian…” Rachel also explained about why she invites guests whom she disagrees with to the blog, something I appreciate in order to share the larger discussion and diversity of viewpoints and perspectives.

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared this post and TED Talk about how “Nonviolent resistance works!

Jon Huckins explains “Why You Need More Muslim Friends.” Five reasons offered by Jon include: a cure for fear; an expanded worldview; an antidote to isolationism; a solution for our need for mutual relationship; and an understanding of misrepresentation.

Friend and pastor Diane Roth reflected in “A Little Bit of Heaven, Here.”

Lily Percy wrote, “I May Be an Inadvertent Feminist But…” Spend some time with this.

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared his sermon from the past weekend, “O Mary Don’t You Weep- Exodus and God’s Freedom.” Aaron also shared some “Reflections on a Day of Service: ‘A Bottle of Water and Grace.'”

Blogger and pastor John Pavlovitz wrote, “If I Have Gay Children: Four Promises from a Christian Pastor/Parent.” It’s a powerful read, well worth some time! At the heart of this I believe is love, love which I hope all parents have for their children without hesitation or pause.

Friend and pastor Frank Johnson asked in his sermon based on Exodus 14, “Remember the good ol’ days?

Social Media & Blogging

Rebekah Radice shared “7 Ways Social Media Supports Small Business.” The ways social media can support are: build a credible reputation; attract potential clients; connect with like-minded business professionals; diversify your marketing efforts; make your time and money count; drive traffic to your website/blog; and nurture relationships.

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

In case you missed it above, here’s a great story about “Digital diplomacy, Social Networks and the Holy See.”

Stewardship

The Ecumenical Stewardship Center and its COMPASS initiative shared this wonderful video reflection featuring young adults’ answers to the question: “How do you decide what to do with your money?

Friend and pastor Diane Roth wrote about “Another Kind of Prosperity Gospel.” I love the questions and ideas she poses in this, especially towards the end where Diane writes, “What if our neighbors experienced blessing and prosperity because of our presence, our words, our actions? What if we thought that was the reason God created and redeemed us:  so that our neighbors would prosper? It would be a whole new kind of prosperity gospel. I am still thinking about it.”

Though we perhaps have not had our honey moon yet, actually, we did do a pretty good job of having a relatively frugal wedding I think. So, to all of you out there in the wedding planning process, it's possible.
Though we perhaps have not had our honeymoon yet, actually, we did do a pretty good job of having a relatively frugal wedding I think. So, to all of you out there in the wedding planning process, its possible.

In a somewhat related post friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared, “A Brief Musing on the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ – Psalm 4:6-7.” J.W. concludes, “we see that the problem is that we should be finding our joy in the presence of God rather than material blessings from wherever they may come. Those who seek “health, wealth, and prosperity” are in fact pursuing the latter rather than the former. Psalm 4 should serve as a corrective to the prosperity ‘gospel.'” What do you think?

Christina Garofalo shared, “How to Honeymoon on a Budget: Chessa & John’s Story.” This is an excellent adventure in being frugal!

Rick Cohen shared this helpful post in Nonprofit QuarterlyMillennial Givers and a ‘Movement’ Approach to Giving.” I’ve written before that millennials give more to causes and movements then to establishments and out of a sense of expectation. If they see a clear need and understand how they can respond to it, they are apt to be very generous and do what they can with what they have. This post seems to confirm this stewardship observation.

Friend and professor Dr. Terri Elton reflected in “Generosity- Attitude and Actions.” Terri writes, “I think generosity is about all of life’s resources and is as much about an attitude as it is about actions.” Check out the whole post!

Kevin Daum shared “6 Unusual and Powerful Ways to Show Gratitude.” The ways include: write a poem; do it over time; take the time to write; use the original social media; give the gift of time; and be specific. In what ways do you show gratitude?

Vocation

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes shared a couple “Sentences to Ponder” which huge life and vocational implications. Check this out and see if you have heard about this story yet of a CEO leaving his post because of it getting in the way of being a father.

Here’s a question for you, what would you say if your significant other intentionally lived in a dumpster? Trust me, I couldn’t possibly make up this story or experiment. Thanks to Clara Bensen for sharing.

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared some wonderfully rich vocational reflections as always in her Tuesday Tea TimeFriday Favorites and Sunday Snippits. Congratulations are also in order to Julia for her great news last week about being called to serve St. Thomas Lutheran Church and because of that her upcoming consecration as Diaconal Minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Congrats Julia!

Friends Katie and Will shared more about their continued adventures in South Africa. Will shared, “10,000 a month- and counting…” about how 10,000 children in South Africa become orphans. Katie also shared, “The Truth about Africa.”

President of Pacific Lutheran University, Dr. Thomas Krise, wrote that “It’s not that you just study away, it’s how you study away.”

Worship

Jonathan shared “9 Reasons to Keep the Church Choir Alive.” Of his list, three reasons stand out in particular to me. They are: participation in choir ministry can be an avenue for introducing outsiders to the church and the Christian faith (note- I’m not a fan of the insider/outsider language, but the reason is a good one other than that); a church choir is an open, welcoming, and diverse group; and the choral process reflects the mission of the universal church. What do you think of these reasons?

Rachel Held Evans reflected in “New Songs.” Check out this post.

Miscellaneous

How’s this for a fun story? A news station in Seattle picked up a story about a harpist who plays for gorillas at the Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Have you ever thought about making an “easy” day trip to Mt. Rainier?

If you love to travel and visit famous places and memorials like I do, then you should check out this list of “The World’s Most Beautiful Memorials.”

For some baseball related posts, Matt Calkins writes movingly about famous sportscaster “Dick Enberg: Heartbroken yet Happy.”

Friend and blogger Tim Chalberg shared the joy and excitement about a game that mattered for the Seattle Mariners, and Jeff Sullivan captured the collective feeling of the season and its end for the Mariners in this post.

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

Image Credits: The Links; Mirror Test; and the Pope and Millennials.

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