This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday on the blog means that I get to share links to things that I have found interesting or thought provoking over the past week with all of you. I must have done more than my usual amount of reading judging by the length of this post. There’s a lot of good stuff this week, even if I say so myself. To help you navigate the links, 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 and Miscellaneous. I hope you enjoy these!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

News broke this past week that pastor Mark Driscoll had resigned from Mars Hill Church. In thinking about this story, Matthew Halverson reflected about “How Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll Wooed Unchurched Seattle.”

There were many big stories over the past week. In addition to Mark Driscoll’s resignation, a story out of Houston nearly spread like wildfire. Sarah Pulliam Bailey shared the story that “Houston Subpoenas Pastors’ Sermons on Gay Rights Ordinance Case.” As might be expected this story got picked up quickly with thoughts and responses all across the board. The most common sort of response though usually involved some conception of “Separation of Church and State.”

A few of the responses that I found particularly helpful were from Nate Pyle and Bishop Mike Rinehart. Nate Pyle wrote that, “We Need a Less Anxious Response to Houston Subpoenas.” I completely agree with that sentiment. I also think Nate is on to something as he wonders, “do we, the church, know how to exist in our culture when we do not have political and cultural power?” What do you think?  Bishop Mike Rinehart  also shared his thoughts and perspectives on the “Subpoenaed Sermons.” I like his pondering, when he writes, “If your church’s goal is to proclaim the Good News of the gospel to all nations, then let them have the sermons, let them be published on the web, on your blog, podcast them, put them in the radio, televise them, go tell it on the mountain. Shouldn’t we want lawyers and city officials pouring over our sermons?” Would you agree with that?

Bishop Rinehart also shared some reflections and thoughts about the readings appointed for the coming weekend, Reformation Day or Pentecost 20A.

Dave Barnhart shared “5 Lessons from Church Planting for Every Pastor.” The lessons are: advertise; you need a preaching toolbox; get out of the office; share ministry; and play.

David Yonke shared the story about Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and a recent talk she gave in Perrysburg, Ohio in “ELCA leader urges better networking in Perrysburg talk.”

Sarah Pulliam Bailey shared the news that, “General Theological Seminary’s board to negotiate with terminated faculty.”

Are you in the Twin Cities of Minnesota? Are you interested in Practice Discipleship? If so, check out the information about an upcoming training on November 6th, and be sure to register.

David Lose shared some great reflections about the church in “An Emboldening Thought.” There is a real richness in the discussion that Lose gives to contemplating questions like “What” and “Why?” In many ways, he is pondering the questions that I have been pondering on this blog since its beginning about a year and a half ago. One particular passage that strikes me, is where he writes, “It’s not that the way ‘we have always done things’ (which of course isn’t the way we’ve always done it but just what we have experienced) is wrong. It’s that the group of people who seem best served by those patterns seems only to be shrinking, while the group of people who are not touched by our current practices seems only to be growing. Similarly, the question before us isn’t really about the what – a more conversational style of preaching, different hymns, a less-scripted and more participatory form of worship, different ways of establishing Christian community, or whatever. The question before us is why – because there are people we love who are not here – our children, grandchildren, friends, neighbors – who we hope will experience God’s life-changing love. And so we are willing to take risks and experiment — and you can’t experiment without experiencing some failure — in order to share Christ’s love with others.” Give this post some deep thought and reflection.

Martin Luther and the 95 Theses
Martin Luther and the 95 Theses

In a somewhat related post, Jan Edmiston reflected on “The Price of Failing to Innovate.”

If you are interested in seeing some of what is coming out of the Vatican, check this out from “Synod 14- Eleventh General Assembly.”

Russel D. Moore wrote that, “The Church needs more Tattoos.” I wonder what Nadia Bolz-Weber might think about that?

This coming weekend, many Lutheran and Protestant congregations and faith communities will be remembering and celebrating Reformation. Mike Poteet wonders, “Reformation Sunday: A Day to Celebrate?” Reflection is given to ideas like: by grace through faith; the 95 Theses and beyond; and the notion that the church is always forming and reforming. (Clint Schnekloth receives a nice shout-out in this as well.)

Speaking of Clint Schnekloth, he shared “95 Theses for the 21st Century Church.” Give this list a read and see what you think. What might you add?

Julie B. Sevig shared a story in The Lutheran about Trinity Lutheran in Cooperstown, North Dakota in “Trinity Growers: Ready for harvest.”

Jonathan Merritt shared, “Congregants flee traditional churches, but this former pastor rejoices,” featuring an interview with Kelly Bean.

PBS shared the story of Rev. Margaret Kelly and the ministry that she is a part of in St. Paul, Minnesota in “Food Truck Pastor.”

Frank Schaeffer writes and asks, “The ‘Bible Belt’ is the Porn Belt: Surprised?” What, if any thing do you make of this? Correlation or bizarre coincidence?

Aaron Loy wrote and shared, “When the Church Has Let You Down: A few steps for those who have been hurt by church leaders.” A few potential steps forward that are offered and reflected on, are: resist the urge to become cynical; remember Jesus still loves His church; re-enter at your own pace; and expect to be disappointed. What do you think?

To close out this section with a little humor, how many of you have thought (at least a few times) that your faith communities and congregations’ stories might make for a good sitcom or comedy? Well, Amy Poehler may just be about to help make that happen.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

One of my alma-maters, Claremont Graduate University, shared some great tips and resources related to “Resumes, Cover Letters, and Networking Tools.” I particularly appreciate their suggested action words to replace some common resume words with words that might help make your resume stand out.

Seattle on the horizon, at least when on a ferry ride on the Puget Sound
Seattle on the horizon, at least when on a ferry ride on the Puget Sound

Julian Stodd offered good pause and reflection for your leadership and organization in “Building a culture of sharing.” I particularly like where he writes and asks, “Reflect on the culture in your own organisation: does it welcome sharing, is it permissive of sharing? Or do you still use knowledge as a mechanism of control?”

In an interesting story with implications for many societal sectors, Sara Solovitch shared and asked, “Scrunched in Seattle- Is this hipster hovel the future of the American City?” What do you think? Could you live comfortably and content in a 192-square foot space?

I honestly try not to share too many overtly political stories, but I did find this article, “In Defense of Obama” intriguing from both a political and economic perspective. Paul Krugman lays out his thoughts in a way that definitely has made me think and reflect. What comes to mind for you? What implications are there for the different sectors of society nationally and internationally?

Anne Loehr helpfully explains, “How to Create a Positive Collaborative Environment for Freelance and Full-time Employees.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Robyn Benincasa wrote about, “6 Leadership Styles, and When You Should Use Them.” Robyn takes insights from Daniel Goleman and elaborates on: the pace-setting leader; the authoritative leader; the affilitative leader; the coaching leader; the coercive leader; and the democratic leader.

Lolly Daskal shared what she sees are “The 4 Biggest Myths About Leadership.” The myths have to do with: entrepreneurial leadership; management as leadership; trailblazer as leadership; and position as leadership. Lolly writes that “true leadership” is about: influence; it cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned; and it can never be mandated, only earned. What do you think?

Avery Augustine shared, “5 Things Managers Should Never Say Aloud.” They are: “my boss has no idea what she’s doing”; “did you hear about…”; “that client drives me crazy!”; “he really messed this up”; and “I hate my job.”

Peter Drucker
Peter Drucker

If you follow this blog regularly, you know by now that I am a Peter Drucker fan. Here’s one more reason why I am one. Rick Wartzman explained, “What Peter Drucker Knew About 2020.” Drucker really coined the phrase, “knowledge worker,” and could see long before it happened that the economy would largely be driven by a “knowledge society.” In reflecting on this, Wartzman shared “six aspects of running an enterprise that should now be front-and-center”: figure out what information is needed; actively prune what is past its prime; embrace employee autonomy; build true learning organizations; provide a much stronger sense of purpose; and be more mindful of those left behind. What I hear in this not only has implications for leadership and management, I think Drucker may have (without knowing the term) sensed what millennials would come to value too (especially the corporate purpose and autonomy pieces). What do you think?

Brian Dodd shared a number of interesting leadership posts over the past week. First he shared a list of “The Top 10 Leadership Posts” he read over the previous week. He also shared, “9 Common Mistakes When Leading Top Leaders, Outliers or Superstars.” He shared some helpful food for thought in “15 Practices of Leaders Who Build Great Churches or Organizations,” as well as “13 Practices of Leaders Who Experience Success.” Check out all these lists for good resources to think about and chew on.

Steve Keating asked, “Are You a Success?

Steve also reflected about “The Approachable Leader.” In this post, Steve provides good ideas for overcoming the “bubble” that many leaders can sometimes find themselves in, inadvertently.

Tanveer Naseer shared a guest post by Robert Sher, “Leadership Infrastructure- A Prerequisite to Mightiness.”

Rene Lacerte shared, “7 Acts of Generosity that help Leaders Grow Great Businesses.” The acts of generosity are: be a role-model; be generous with yourself; pull together team building activities around giving; center the program on gratitude; stay away from religious or political charities at a company level; provide a forum for employees to raise awareness about causes they care about; and make sure no one ever feels pressured.

Dan Rockwell explained “How to Prevent Unnecessary Conflict.”

Jon Mertz shared “5 Ways to Celebrate Boss Day Every Day.” The ways to celebrate are: celebrate what you read; celebrate the time dedicated to self-reflection; celebrate the time to laugh and have fun; celebrate the relationships of those who make you better; and celebrate what you have learned and what you have shared. I love the question at the end of this piece especially. Jon asks, “How do you celebrate and practice being your own boss?”


Thin Difference shared a guest post by Ali Jafri on “The Challenges of 21st Century Leadership.” What do you think of these perspectives?

Also, over at Thin Difference, they are seeking some input from readers in a “Reader Survey.” Check out this post from Molly Page to hear more and participate in the short survey. Your input will help them as they continue to provide great leadership and millennial resources and perspectives.

I stumbled onto this great post from July about “Leading Gen Y.” Elena Iacono offers these great tips for effectively leading millennials: stay present; be accessible; consistently coach; reward and recognize; hold people accountable; prioritize feedback; keep it cool; and be trusting. What other advice might you add?

I also heard a great podcast this week on “How millennials fit into today’s workplace.”

The Post-it-Note Wall of Change
Can you really just call Millennials “those darn kids” when they name, list, and then go out and do something about so many things that are listed on this “Post-it-Note Wall of Change” to try and make a positive difference in the world?

In a related post of sorts, Anna Olson writes, “Those darn kids…leading millennials.”

Amy Tobin shared, “Millennial Think: Millennial Expectations of Customer Service.”

Back in May, Amy Heath wrote and Chelsea Krost shared that, “Millennial Investments Have More Potential in Real Estate.” Do you agree? What might your own experiences and stories bring to this idea?

Jordan Elton writes, “Hey Millennials- your Kickstarter page isn’t going to end AIDS.” This is a good reminder about depth, service and intentionality. It’s also an especially good reminder to vote and be a part of the process and engaged. What do you think?

Chris Martin shared, “5 Reasons Why There Are No Millennials in Your Church.” The reasons he notes are: there are no millennials in your leadership; you reject the idea of contextualization; “Sunday School” literally feels like school on Sundays; your political preferences are clearer than your gospel proclamations; and your idea of a “social media presence” is finally getting that Myspace page finished. This is a great list. What might you add?

Jonathan Merritt shared an interview and conversation with Sarah Pulliam Bailey and Mark Comer entitled, “Let’s talk about sex, baby (er, millennial Christians).” Check this out. It’s rather interesting and not just because it has a three letter word which automatically gets more views.

The Millennial shared, “Three things I’d tell the Synod on the Family about Marriage.”

Neighbor Love

Building off of the previous link, comes this story about how Pope Francis said, “God is Not Afraid of New Things.”

Shifting gears a bit, here’s a couple stories related to the current situation related to the spread of Ebola. First, Tom Murphy shared, “Some common sense on Ebola… from Fox News?” Next, friend and pastor Erik Gronberg shared some honest reflections related to Ebola and the way communication has been handled (or not) related to it, writing, “Yes, I am afraid.”

Tom Murphy also shared news that “Global hunger rates are down, but 850 million still suffer” and the not so surprising news that “The world’s richest 1% are getting wealthier.”

Here’s a story that likely will just make you want to shake your head. An attorney who was currently on maternity leave was not granted a delayed hearing because of that leave, so, Kate Brumback shares the story of an “Attorney Denied Hearing Delay Appears with Baby.” The judge in this case, I think it’s safe to say, is out of touch with what it means to be a basic relational human being. Maybe that’s harsh, but the description in this story suggests otherwise.

Friend and blogger Jenna Reyna shared a very moving and profound reflection, “Cherub Choir,” remembering and acknowledging pregnancy and infant loss awareness day. Definitely give this a read!

Two years ago pastor and blogger Nadia Bolz-Weber reflected on “The Spiritual Practice of Saying ‘Yes!‘” So often we are reminded about the importance of saying “no” for self care reasons, that it’s important to remember about he importance of saying “yes” too.

Also, Nadia shared this video that was put together by members of her faith community about what it means to be community and in response to a conference’s focus on “culture clash.” If you haven’t seen this video, definitely give it four minutes and fifteen seconds of your time, brain, soul and heart.

RJ Grunewald wrote about “Being a Christina in a Pluralistic World.”

Rev. Dr. Monica A. Coleman
Rev. Dr. Monica A. Coleman

Tomorrow, Wednesday October 22nd, Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) will be hosting the 2014 David and Marilyn Knutson Lecture. Rev. Dr. Monica Coleman will be the speaker. In preparation for this speech, “You Can Have it All: Theorizing Transreligious Spirituality from the Field of Black Studies,” she participated in a “Q & A” session with Taylor Lunka. Kathleen Cooper shared more about this speech tomorrow in an article, “Scholar at the intersection of faith and justice.”

Friend and intern pastor Chris Michaelis shared his sermon for this past week, “Here’s To You!” that was grounded in 2 Samuel 12:1-9.

The ability to vote isn’t just a civic right, its also I believe a neighbor love concern. Because of this, a story like “Ruth Bader Ginsburg Pens Scathing Dissent on Texas Voter ID Law,” catches my attention. If you are a citizen of the United States, make sure you vote on Tuesday November 4th, or earlier if you vote by absentee mail.

Friend and pastor Frank Johnson reflected about the Bible and a few billboards he has passed by on the highway recently in, “Inspired? Yes. Absolute and final… maybe not.” Frank also shared his sermon from this past weekend grounded in 2 Samuel 12, “Becoming Goliath: Underdogs and the career arc of King David.”

Katie Sprutta Elliott shared some thoughts about “The gift of listening.”

Friend and PhD student Amanda Brobst-Renaud shared, “Left-Behinds, Exodus and Idols.” One excerpt that stands out in particular in this, is where Amanda writes, “It is this God who refuses to allow the idols we create in our anxiety, sin, and doubt to tell the truth about who we are. Rather than being abandoned in your sin and your doubt (or perhaps because of it), as the ceaseless idols remind you, you are shielded by the divine hand, and beckoned by a glimpse of God’s glory. This God refuses to leave you behind because you are inscribed in God’s very being, even as God’s image is inscribed upon you.”

Blogger and theologian Rachel Held Evans writes, “I would fail Abraham’s test (and I bet you would too).” Would you?

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared his sermon from this past weekend, based on Psalm 51:1-12, “Songs of Lament.” One particular passage which struck me is where Aaron writes, “Faith is a cry to God in our sorrow, our mourning, our grief. It’s a plea for God to do what we cannot do for ourselves. Faith is asking God to wash us; to make us whole. We ask God to restore and renew our spirits, to bring joy and hope and gladness into our lives again. And in the midst of tragedy, that kind of faith – a shaken faith – is perhaps enough, because it is still faith just the same. And for God, that’s more than enough.”

John Pavlovitz reflected on “The Lost Christian Art of Giving a Damn.” The title alone seems to obviously suggest neighbor love implications and questions.

Friend and soon-to-be pastor, Erika Grace Benson Buller shared wonderful personal and vocational reflections in “While You’re Waiting: Itinerant Preacher.” If your congregation or faith community is looking for a pastor, look no further than Erika!

Blogger and pastor Jan Edmiston shared some thoughts about “The Nathan Effect.”

David deFreese wrote, “Offering hospitality and respect,” offering good stories about the work of the Nebraska Synod and Mosaic. Shout out to Carrie Gubsch for sharing the story with me.

Social Media & Blogging

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared some links and thoughts in recognition of “Blog action day!

If you are like me, you are always on the look-out for great thinkers and ideas to track and follow to learn from. Along these lines, and to be a part of the larger conversation, Rich Birch shared, “12 Hashtags Church Leaders Should Follow Today.” Those of you who are active with social media would probably guess many of these, but here’s the list: #chsocm, #kidmin, #stumin, #pastor, #leadchange, #churchmedia, #churchtech, #innovation, #mktg, #tutorial, #poverty, and #CharityTuesday.

If you are looking for some help for your own blogging, this template and checklist might be a nice resource.

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

Friend, professor and mentor Dr. Terri Elton also shared her version of “Links” as well. Check both J.W.’s and Terri’s links out for more good stuff.

Kathi Kruse shared some very helpful social media insights in, “Your Blog, Social Media and SEO: Mash Up…For the Win.”


Over on the LEAD blog, I shared “Why and How: Things to Remember for Funding Ministry.” This may be a particularly helpful post if you are involved in stewardship in your faith community or with a local non-profit.

For whatever reason, money like a few other things is still not something everyone feels comfortable talking about with others. In order to improve money management, and to be an authentic person in relationships with others, this really has to change. To this end, Stefanie O\’Connell shared, “The Sex vs Money Taboo.”

With Halloween a little over a week away, this post from John Rampton is very timely. He writes about, “How the Sharing Economy is Changing your Halloween Costume Search.”

Have you ever wondered if you live in a generous or not-so-generous state? Now you can find out thanks to these links and reports.

A component of stewardship is learning and money management. With that in mind, here’s a post by Trey Tompkins, “Thanks for not buying popcorn from my son.”

The Broke Millennial shared “Why You Should Still Save When in Debt.”

Similarly, Michelle shares thoughts about “Why You Should Invest and Save for Retirement.”

Michelle also shared, “6 Ways Being Cheap Can Cost You Money.” The ways are: buying cheap clothes; skipping insurance; shopping on “deal” websites; driving a far distance to save pennies on gas; thinking DIY will always save you money; and neglecting routine maintenance.

DC shared and asked, “Bitcoin- Will it Be Widely Accepted?” What do you think?

Bishop Jim Hazelwood writes, “I’m doing something crazy.” Check this out. It’s a wonderful idea and pitch to build up stewardship within faith communities and the larger church. Are you up for going along with this idea?

Matt DeBall provided the most recent guest post on the COMPASS blog as part of COMPASS’ series reflecting on ownership, renting and mortgages. Matt reflects on “Becoming a Home Owner.” Particularly helpful in this are four suggestions for when thinking about mortgages.

Imagine for a second if I tried to tell my wife she shouldn't make as much as me? Yeah, I can't imagine doing that. It's dumb and wrong. To think otherwise, well...
Allison sitting in a swing, giving a smile and sharing some time in conversation with friends and family.

My amazing wife and wonderful blogger in her own right, Allison shared her own personal stewardship reflections in “Why I Give.” I love this! One particular passage that stands out is where she rights, “I give because it was never mine. I can stare all I want at that black or red line in our monthly budget, but that won’t do anything. I give because I am fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who I don’t always understand, but one that I love because God’s relentless love is one that I can place my hope in. Giving our money is a fraction of how we give ourselves to our people and to God. I respond to God’s dreams and love for me by giving my questions, my curiosities, my money, intellect, passions and energy to God’s people – which is partly a church, but mostly, the world, because so far I haven’t found a place where God’s presence does not exist.” Go and read the whole piece.

Friend and pastor Diane Roth also tackled the question of “Why I Give.” Diane writes, “I know that God wants me to give, because it all belongs to God anyway, and God is just letting me take care of God’s ‘stuff’ for awhile. But I give to my church because we are all related, we are related to one another by baptism, which is thicker than blood, although it is hard to remember that.  I give to my church because the cross that is traced on my forehead is traced on every forehead; we belong to each other, and that is wonderful, and it is impossible, and it is essential.  We have been given this impossible mission, this story to share, this story of God who created and who mends our hearts, and wants us to join in mending the world.  And it is impossible to do it alone. That’s why I give.  I give because these are my children, and they are my grandmothers, and they are my aunts and uncles and sisters and brothers. And I am sure of just one thing:  when we give, we are running into each other’s arms.  And we are running into God’s arms, too.”


Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared some thoughts about “What Birthdays Teach Us.”

TK shared some reflections about “Problems People Living Alone Will Understand.”

Friend and blogger Lisa Lehnherr Hansen shared some great reflection in “Story listening.”

Dan Rockwell shared a vocational type related post, “7 Payments to Passion.” The payments Dan sees and elaborates on are: failure; investment; restriction; action; approval; control and trust.

Friends Katie and Will continued to document their adventures and journey in South Africa with a couple more posts. Will shared the “Top 10 from the weekend” and “Seven Observations: Equip 2014.”

I also shared some vocational reflections related to worship and an “ah-ha” type experience I had last week in “Unexpected Grounding.”

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared some good vocational reflections as always in her “Sunday Snippits: good, bad & awesome.”

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes shared some interesting observations in “The Parable of the Clueless Professor.”

Friend and college roommate Tyler Scott shared a wonderful must-read post, “Perfect imperfections: a love song for a baby nephew,” specifically for Tyler’s nephew Elliot. Please do read this. My guess is that you’ll love it and be able to relate somehow.


How well do you know Charlie Brown? Todd Van Luling shared, “5 Things You Didn’t Know about Charlie Brown.” Check this out. You might well be a little surprised like I was to learn some of these things.

In very sad news, famous composer and Twin Cities resident, Stephen Paulus passed away.

Let’s end on a positive and exciting note. The residence hall that I called home while attending Pacific Lutheran University has reopened, and they shared this wonderful short video, “Stuen Hall Reopens.”


That will conclude this week’s edition. I hope you have enjoyed them! As always, if there are things you would like included in this post each week, let me know. Also, if there are particular topics or questions you would like me to wrestle with and reflect on, please let me know that too. Until next time, blessings on your week and thanks so much for reading! -TS

Image Credits: The Links; Martin Luther & 95 Theses; Peter Drucker; and Monica A. Coleman.


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