Tuesday on the blog means that I get to share some of what I have read and found interesting over the course of the past week with all of you. In doing so, 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 links and I entrust them to you now.
Church and Ministry Thought & Practice
If you are looking for resources to help plan Advent this year, then you’re in luck. LEAD has put together a six week cycle of resources for Advent through Epiphany with contemplative prayer liturgies by Lynn Willis. Check these out as well as the beautiful original art by friend Vonda Drees.
Scholar Elizabeth Drescher asks and writes, “Did Social Media Just Save General Seminary? The rewiring of American Christianity continues.”
Zach Hunt reflected on “Heresy, Orthodoxy, and the Space In-Between.” I think Zach is really on to something here that’s important. Check out this passage and then read the whole piece. Zach writes, “There are a seemingly infinite number of issues and disagreements about what we “must believe” that needlessly lead to accusations of heresy. Which is why if there is to be any hope of a cease-fire in the heresy wars, it won’t come about until we learn to make space for that disagreement and stop trying to hold others to our own tradition’s version of orthodoxy. That is to say, peace won’t come about until we find the humility to admit that maybe, just maybe our beliefs are just that. Our beliefs.”
Cathy Lynn Grossman shares news that, “Secularism Grows as more U.S. Christians turn ‘Churchless.'”
This past weekend, many Protestant congregations remembered the Reformation. With this in mind, I shared a post the other day “Forming and Reforming,” wondering about ways that I see and have seen the church form and reform this past years. In what ways have you seen this?
In a somewhat similar spirit, Elizabeth Rawlings shared “Longing for reformation.”
Friend Rev. Writer Sue Lang writes that “The Reformation rocks on.” She writes, “The Reformation rocks on and we are part of it. On Reformation Day we aren’t just celebrating the past but the fact that God is at work renewing the church throughout all history — past, present and future. Our God is a reforming god. We need merely to reach out our hands and welcome God’s gifts of renewal and regeneration. They are gifts of the Spirit ever present among us.”
This Saturday, November 1st, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Bishop Elizabeth Eaton will be speaking at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). If you are in the Pacific Northwest, I highly encourage you to go and hear her talk about, “Who is Leading Us, and Where are We Going?”
Bishop Eaton also shared this reflection, “Spruce up our spiritual house: disciplines help us glorify God while serving in ways that are abundant, clear.”
An article in the November edition of The Lutheran was released last week by Charles Austin entitled, “Get set for clergy retirement wave” and needless to say it didn’t sit well among all church and ministry leaders, and it was particularly found not helpful by millennials and younger church leaders. Though I don’t feel offended by this story, I found it unhelpful at best and totally lacking in any sense of trying to bring a multitude of perspectives to the topic.
In response to this article, friend and soon-to-be pastor Emmy Kegler and fellow seminarian Eric Worringer collaborated on and wrote, “The Under-35 Theses.” It’s a brilliant and important response. I greatly appreciate their conclusion, where they write, “Let’s create spaces of interaction and value the voices of those under 35 in a way that is not patronizing, nor is naïve, but values their outlook on ministry and innovation. And let’s not just cast off retiring clergy, but value their ministry and wisdom in real and tangible ways. Instead of the dangerous nostalgia that can be found lurking across our church, we should be focused on the hard work of faithfulness to the Gospel regardless of age or experience, and be attentive to the movement of the Holy Spirit in this era of the church, and this formulation of the Lutheran tribe.” If you are at all interested in denominations and engaging multiple generations, read both the original article and this response as well.
If you are free November 13-15, and find yourself in Minnesota, consider checking out this “ELCA Networks for Mission Event.”
Blogger and pastor Nate Pyle shared great food for thought in this blog post by Jim Herrington, “The Church in Exile: One Pastor’s Reflection from Houston.” I am particularly moved when Jim writes, “I am hopeful. This younger generation gets what I am saying. And they also get that we will contribute to creating the kind of city that we all want to live in – one where everyone is safe and has enough – by being the kinds of people who love God and who love their neighbor as they want to be loved. None of us wants to be dominated. So why would we try to impose our view on others. None of us wants to be disrespected, so why would we disrespect those who see the world differently. None of us wants to be marginalized, so why would we take actions that marginalize others. In the short term, I’m saddened by the way so much of the Church shows up in culture – for sure I’ve been disappointed in the way much of the Church has responded to the HERO process. But, in the long-term I believe that God is doing something new and that there is an emerging generation of leaders who see this new thing clearly. Imperfectly but persistently I’m trying to living fully into each moment in order to align my life with the new thing God is doing.” Read the whole piece and see what you think.
Here’s a thought provoking question for you from the people at “Church Leaders,” “What if Starbucks Marketed Like a Church? A Parable.” Check out this video and see what you think.
Friend, pastor and blogger Joe Smith shared some great reflections in “Taking Things Personally in Ministry.” Joe writes and asks, “While I have learned the value of these approaches to ministry, there is merit in caring. This is a world where too many people deal with too little caring. Maybe taking more things personally will allow me to be a better pastor in this congregation and community. I don’t know. I’m still learning. What do you think?”
Brian Dodd shares a post that may well not be news to many people on staff in faith communities or in ministry leadership, “Frightening Church Realities: Many Do Not Pay Staff Properly.”
Friend, adviser and mentor Dr. Terri Elton shared a helpful and thought-provoking interview in “Learning from the past… the importance of the local congregation.”
Blogger and pastor Nurya Parish shares good thoughts in “Sustaining Life on Earth and in Church.” There’s good food for thought here about the church and life in it, as well as neighbor love and creation care. There’s also good thoughts on faith formation and sustainability. Check it out.
Rohit Bhargava shared, “5 Unexpected Storytelling Lessons from Beth Comstock.” The lessons are: develop “story archaeologists”; be a participant, not a patron; make the invisible visible; hire people who are “story culture” fits; and create wearable meaning.
Anne Loehr asked and explained, “Managing Freelance Workers? How to Help Freelancers Meet Your Project’s Goals and Make Deadlines.” Included in this are a few great tips from Anne: ask two simple questions at the beginning and end of each project discussion with freelance workers; take a training approach; and approach misunderstanding with compassion.
Michelle shared great thoughts for all telecommuters and work from home types in “How I Make Working From Home Work For Me.”
Leadership Thought & Practice
Larry Putterman shares “7 Ways Outside Directors Benefit Private and Family Businesses.” Benefits potentially are: unbiased advice; different perspectives than insiders; objective; new skills; credibility; new resources and contacts; and they are on your side.
Eric McNulty writes, “Ending the Battle between Leadership and Management.” Among the great thoughts in this piece is this one, where Eric writes, “Today’s executives ask for loyalty and engagement, but too few are willing to give enough of themselves and take the personal risks necessary to garner the commitment that good King Harry inspired. Too few are ready to undertake the demands of leadership and management.
Nichola Batley explained how he believes “How good managers can become great leaders.”
In a post that would go in the category of bad approaches, or “what not to do,” Brian Dodd shares “20 Practices of Leaders Who Destroy Churches, Teams and Businesses.” The bad practices of “leaders who destroy these organizations” include: miss opportunities; are petty; are selfish; force others to work around them; blame others (often publicly); are insecure; also destroy people’s lives; cannot be led; lack self-awareness; cause good people to leave the organization; lack accountability; refuse to change; do not allow others to thrive; have major blindspots; limit who is willing to join your team; are their own worst enemies; are left with a poor team; are eventually asked to leave; and destroy cultures.
Bruce Rosenstein shared, “5 Ways to Infuse Meaning in Your Second Act: what you can learn from Peter Drucker, Bonnie Raitt and others.” The five strategies inspired by Peter Drucker are: combine your talents and passions; break new ground; develop a multifaceted personal brand; help ease the pain of others; and never stop learning.
Tanveer Naseer shared “4 Keys to Successful Crisis Management in Today’s Wired World.” The keys are: keep everyone- not just affected parties- informed of what’s going on; apologize and openly take responsibility for the situation; tell them exactly what you’re going to do to fix things; and share lessons learned and what will be done going forward.
In case you missed it, I shared some thoughts last week about “Empowerment.”
Dan Rockwell shared a number of great posts this past week. He reflected about “How to Energize Your Organization,” with four areas to focus on: control; progress; connectedness and purpose. Dan shared, “4 Ways to Deal with what really drives leaders crazy” and “10 Ways to Reject Bad Failure and Embrace Good.”
Jon Mertz asked, “What Can a Trust Creed Deliver?” Jon’s trust creed includes: trust myself; be transparent in circumstances and information; build relationships, no matter what; and never leave an issue unresolved. What might your trust creed include?
Meghan Biro writes, “Listen Up, Leaders: We Are All Millennials.” Meghan includes the following points as food for thought and reflection: millennials and non-millennials are more alike than not; employee engagement; embracing the winds of change; and generational communication.
Heidi Oran explained “The Curse of the Multi-Passionate Millennial.” There’s great reflection about the complexity of millennial passions and vocational insights as well. Included in this are three steps for a passionate life from Heidi: create a list of your passions; under each passion, list off at least 2 lessons; and now connect the leadership dots.
Lindsey Pollak reflected on “How to Handle ‘You’re Young Enough to be My Kid.'” For this predicament, Lindsey outlines three potential options as courses of action: ignore it; deflect it; and confront it.
In a good lesson and reminder for all people who have to try and balance their time, not just millennials, Loren Catotal explains “How to Work, Study, and Volunteer at the Same Time.”
Pastor and blogger Nadia Bolz-Weber shared a very moving and powerful “Sermon on Suicide, Caesar, and Beautiful Newborns.” Here’s a great articulation of the good news, “And you carry within you the light of God, the Imago Dei – the image of the one who created you and here’s the thing: that and only that is the true source of your value and identity. And no matter the sin and harm done to you by others or done to you by yourself, or that you have degraded your self by doing to others, none of it can get to that part of you which is holy. Because some things are so holy that they simply cannot be desecrated. So I believe with all my being that those who leave this world, even by their own hand, are held in the same pure love of God from which they were born. If they could not feel the truth of God’s love in life, they are surrounded by it in the life everlasting.”
Last Friday there was yet another day of gun violence in public schools. This time it was a bit too close for home for me, as Marysville Pilchuck High School is in Western Washington State. Everytown for Gun Safety shared a very sobering list of “School Shootings in America Since Sandy Hook.” Eric Liu summed up my thoughts exactly, “Gun violence isn’t somebody else’s problem.” Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes also reflected “On Guns.” It’s far past time to do something about gun violence in this country.
In one story that was picked up nationally, Oak Harbor High School’s football team, Marysville Pilchuck’s rival, offered to accept second place to give Marysville Pilchuck the title instead of having to play the game they were scheduled to play last Friday at a later date. This is not only an example of good sportsmanship and solidarity, its real neighbor love in action. Kudos Oak Harbor, you have my deepest respect.
Changing gears, in a very interesting read Andrea Drusch explains “Why Washington Power elite are flocking to seminary school.”
Focusing on the same passage, friend and pastor Frank Johnson shared his sermon from the past weekend, “Wisdom vs. knowledge, or why Confirmation doesn’t work.” I know with a title to a post like that, that you’ll definitely want to check this out.
I found this thought provoking TED talk from a couple years ago by Bryan Stevenson, “We need to talk about an injustice.”
Rachel Held Evans also mentions Bryan Stevenson in her latest post, “‘Forgive Us’: Christians, Injustice & Corporate Confession.” Check out this post and the book the post is about.
Francis Rocca shared the news last week that Pope Francis “Calls for abolishing death penalty and life imprisonment.” This call obviously has neighbor love and justice implications. What do you think of Pope Francis’ call?
Speaking of Pope Francis, Robert McElroy writes, “Market Assumptions: Pope Francis’ challenge to income inequality.”
Pastor and blogger Clint Schnekloth explained, “Why I Bless Same Gender Marriages… and you should too.” This is so well explained, I hope you read the whole reflection. One piece for me that stands out is where Clint writes, “I fully understand that some others in Christian congregations feel they are hurt by the openness of church leaders or churches to begin blessing families previously denied such blessings. It’s hard to acknowledge our complicity in sin and oppression. It’s hard to change. But the pain somebody feels because their beliefs about what others should receive as a blessing is of a different order of magnitude, and is of a completely different sort, from the pain people legitimately experience when they are discriminated against on the basis of their age, race, gender, or sexual orientation.”
Jonathan Merritt writes and explains, “Leading evangelical ethicist David Gushee is now pro-LGBT. Here’s why it matters.”
Jacob Lupfer writes, “At Idaho wedding chapel, a hollow victory for religious freedom.”
Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick writes and asks, “Exegetical Fallacies- Who determines when it’s a fallacy?”
Friend and pastor Diane Roth shared, “Stuck on David.” There’s good reflection about the commandments and their role in this, as well as the sheer amount of the biblical narrative that is focused on King David.
Social Media & Blogging
If you are participating in or hosting a non-profit event or conference soon, you might want to check out these great ideas about how to report from and about them through social media.
Kathi Kruse shared great social media insights in “What Sort of Content Should I Be Pushing on Social Media?”
DC shared “5 Practical Ways to Improve Your Finances.” The ways offered include: set up automatic contributions to a retirement account; track your income and spending; find ways to cut expenses; set up automatic contributions to a savings account; and evaluate your income.
Michelle shared some “Money Advice I Would Tell My Younger Self.” Some of what Michelle would tell her younger self is: stop buying clothes; you don’t need a car that is worth more than your yearly income; you need a real budget; you need to relax; invest now; and negotiate your salary.
Stefanie O\’Connell reflected in “Relative Materialism: Redefining ‘Need.'”
Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared some vocationally rich posts as always this past week. First, she shared some “Friday Favorites,” featuring photos of a beautiful Friday out and about in Michigan. Second, Julia offered some great “Sunday Snippits,”
If you are like me and love to travel, you might also like to visit National Parks, Memorials, and other places under the auspices of the Department of the Interior. If you also like a good deal, like free admission, then plan ahead for “2015’s National Park Free Admission Days.”
Also, if you love a great cup of hot chocolate, apparently here are “27 of the Greatest Places in the World to Get Hot Chocolate.”
That will conclude this week’s edition of the links. I hope you have enjoyed them. As always, if there are topics or questions you would like me to think and wrestle with on the blog please let me know. Also, if there are types of articles you would like to see included in these links, please let me know that too. Until next time, thanks for reading the blog and blessings on your week! -TS