This Week’s Links

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. To help make sense out of everything, I break all of these links into categories. To this end, 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 find them to be as thought provoking as I do.

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

Bishop Michael Rinehart shared some reflections and thoughts about the revised common lectionary appointed readings for this coming weekend in “Epiphany 3B.”

Also, in thinking about worship this coming weekend, check out these reflections from Rev. Dr. David Lose in “Epiphany 3B: Following Jesus Today.”

Taking a wider view of the liturgical season of Epiphany, Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis shared, “Epiphany Expectations.” Karoline followed up that post with another one titled, “The Immediately of Epiphany (Mark 1:14-20).”

With lay leadership and volunteer management in mind, Brian Dodd shared, “26 Things I Say to Encourage Church Volunteers.” Brian also asked, “Do Christian Leaders Really Need to Like Who They Work With?” What do you think?

Friend, pastor and blogger Joe Smith shared a timely post in “Important Questions Entering Annual Meeting Season.” Questions of consideration include: Does the meeting have to be in the worship space? Does the budget debate have to be during the annual meeting? And does all the discussion have to happen in one large group? (In a related post, I shared a bit about the congregation I am currently serving’s annual meeting awhile back. If you missed that post, you can check out those reflections here.)

John Meunier shared thoughts about a local faith community withholding money and support to their larger church in “Using dollars to disagree.”

The ELCA Network of Children, Youth & Family Ministry shared about its new leadership.

Part of a mural at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site (photo taken by Tamara Siburg)
Part of a mural at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site (photo taken by Tamara Siburg)

With Martin Luther King Jr. Day in mind, pastor and blogger Jan Edmiston writes that “We need more color – in every way.  I believe that the God who created every gorgeous hue requires this of us and relishes in it.” Jan also wondered about “The 22nd Century Church?

In thinking about the church and change, blogger and theologian Rachel Held Evans reflected about “Post-Evangelicals and Why We Can’t Just Get Over It.” As she notes allow me to repeat, “It’s strange how the ghosts of your last church haunt the new one.”

RJ Grunewald shared some thoughts with the church and worship in mind in “We Sing to Remind Us Who We Are.”

Church Social Media (#chsocm) shared a transcript from last week’s chat in “Encouraging Participation and Engagement With the Reluctant.”

Pastor and blogger Nurya Love Parish shared “More on Mission, Subsidiarity, and Diocesan Operating Budgets.”

News was shared over the weekend that the Lutheran World Federation and the Vatican are collaborating together in “Catholics and Lutherans Plan Joint Ecumenical Commemoration in 2016.”

Katie Grimes over at Women in Theology shared, “In Gratitude for Trolls; In Celebration of Bad (Eucharistic) Table Manners.”

LEAD shared “You were born for this!” In this post check out about LEAD’s sense of call, mission and perspective and how LEAD wants to be part of helping you grow in your leadership, ministry and service by accompanying you in your service and ministry to help you become and grow to be even better in your role(s) and as a leader and Child of God.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Julian Stodd wrote and asked, “Invested in the Status Quo?” Julian also wrote, “Here Be Dragons: The Ecosystem of the Social Age.” Check out these posts for the engaging titles alone.

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes shared a couple thought provoking thoughts and posts. First he shared, “Teaching As We Always Have, Even Though the ‘Always On’ Generation Isn’t Listening.” Ron also wrote, “How We Should Respond to the New Terrorism.”

Stephanie Vozza shared about “The Random Events That Sparked 8 of the World’s Biggest Startups.”

Shala Burroughs wrote, “Jack-hammers and Your Circadian Rhythm: What Happens When You Start Working Independently.”

The Appreciative Inquiry 4-D Cycle
The Appreciative Inquiry 4-D Cycle

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared a full list of resources about “Appreciative Inquiry,” including an upcoming session with Jeremy Scrivens. Check this out!  If you are unfamiliar with Appreciative Inquiry, check out this post for a very brief overview from about a year ago.

Henry Mintzberg wrote, “To Win-Win in a Balanced World: Ask John. Ask Irene. Ask the BIG question.”

Elizabeth Bernstein explained “How ‘Active Listening’ Makes Both Participants in a Conversation Feel Better.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Chuck Blakeman writes that, “Engagement and Empowerment Programs are Signs of a Much Deeper Problem.” What do you think?

Ingrid Green shared this great read “We Still Don’t Know the Difference Between Change and Transformation,” by Ron Ashkenas with me. Check this post out!

Dan Rockwell shared a number of thought provoking posts over the past week. Among these posts were “The Five Practices of Leadership,” which include: model the way; inspire shared vision; challenge the process; enable others to act and encourage the heart. Dan also shared, “The 3 Most Dangerous Things Leaders Don’t Do,” which are: acknowledge when it isn’t working; forgive and give second chances and intentionally create positive experiences with and for teams. Dan also shared thoughts about “How to Coach Angry Leaders,” and “Seven Principles of Passion.”

Tanveer Naseer writes that “Women in Leadership is Not a Zero-Sum Game.”

What lessons about leadership might you learn from surfing?
What lessons about leadership might you learn from surfing? Check out the post by Anne Loehr for more. (And if you are in the cold of winter where you are, visualize warmer weather and wonderful time in the ocean and at the beach.)

Anne Loehr wrote and shared, “Surf’s Up: Five Leadership Lessons I Learned from Surfing.” The leadership lessons include: stay the course; focus; adapt to your new reality; celebrate failures; and ask for help. This post is great, and definitely the best titled leadership post that I found over the past week so be sure and check it out!

Steve Keating shared a couple great posts. First, he shared “How to Hold a Productive Meeting.” Steve also shared about “The Frustration of Being Better.”

Cranston Holden shared some good perspectives about focus in “A Mile Wide and an Inch Deep.”

Dan Forbes wrote that “Sometimes Leaders Need to Push.” In this Dan reflects and asks, “Who pushed you? Think about it. Hasn’t their been times in your life when you needed a push? Maybe it was your parents, a teacher, a minister, a spouse or a circumstance. You were comfortable, not growing, stagnant even. You were fearful about taking the leap that you knew needed to be taken. Then along came the push. It was a leader who pushed you. That’s what leaders do.” So, as Dan asked, allow me to repeat, “Who pushed you?” Great question!

Lolly Daskal wrote about “How to Become the Most Compelling Person You Will Ever Know.”

Back in October Paul Jun shared “Must Reads for Leaders: 10 Invaluable Books for Moving Hearts and Minds.”

Brian Dodd shared “12 Things You Must Do to Develop Highly Successful Young Leaders.”


Thin Difference shared a guest post by Megan Dougherty, “It Takes Two to Tango: Bridging the Boomer-Millennial Gap.” There are implications in this about working in concert together, with reflections about four ways to work together: be curious; be patient; be kind and be flexible.

Also for Thin Difference, Jon Mertz reflected about “The Role of Patience in Purpose.” In contemplating this, Jon offers thoughts about how patience equals risk; purpose meets time; and what are the implications for Millennials about the power of patience in purpose. As Jon asked, let me repeat, “What role does patience play in your purpose?”

Jon also reflected on “The Rising Entrepreneurial Mindset of Millennials.” There are three values he particularly highlights: always improve; always engage; and always collaborate. Reflection is also given in this to the importance of purpose.

Richard Fry with the Pew Research Center writes that “This year, Millennials will overtake Baby Boomers.” There are huge implications for all facets of life and society in this I believe. What do you think?

Back in October, Claire Cain Miller wrote about “Where Young College Graduates are Choosing to Live.” There are important thoughts and implications for and about Millennials.

Chelsea Krost shared “6 Bootstrapping Tips From an Entrepreneur Who Turned $3000 Into Millions.”

Neighbor Love

act ~ love ~ walk by Vonda Drees
“act ~ love ~ walk” by Vonda Drees

Friend, blogger and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of great posts, reflections and works of art over the past week. Among these great posts include: “The Heart’s ‘big bang'”; “act ~ love ~ walk“; “salvation’s song“; “lectio divina“; and “awe precedes faith.”

With Martin Luther King Jr. Day being yesterday, Relevant shared his “I Have a Dream” Speech.

Dr. Elizabeth Drescher shared, “Selma’s Prophetic Call to Ministry Leaders.” With the movie about Selma in mind, Elizabeth writes, “I hope all of us will see the movie—twice, three times, even—and that we will see ourselves in it. Not, mind you, our historical selves, but the selves who will march God’s justice into the present day, widening rather than narrowing the circles of care that define the reach of our faith.” Amen.

Friend, blogger and pastor in waiting Emmy Kegler shared more on her blog in “Gay Christian Network post the second: ‘How Dare You.'” This is a very powerful and honest reflection that I hope you check out.

In Minnesota, Bloomington’s city attorney Sandra Johnson is pressing charges against protesters who protested at the Mall of America back in December. Regarding this, Mark Osler wrote, “Mall of America protest: A large assembly, a prosecutorial error.” For the record, I think this is a grave mistake on her part. I also think this is also a big mistake by the mall. Until the charges are dropped, or the mall changes its tune, I will no longer be shopping or visiting the mall. Those that feel similar to me, I invite you in joining my protest and refusal to shop in a place that is unwilling to give space to an important conversation and discussion. (Not to mention their utter over reaction with police and security. It does not reflect well on the state of Minnesota, the city of Bloomington nor the Mall of America.)

The Humanosphere shared a number of important neighbor love related posts. Amy VanderZanden shares the sad news that “Deaths from falling are rising.” Also for the Humanosphere, Tom Murphy shared about “The striking economic toll of Ebola and war on African countries.”

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, professor and mentor Dr. Terri Elton wrote that “It’s messy.” Within this post full of neighbor love, theological and vocational reflections and ideas are some thoughts about baptism. These thoughts include: baptism can’t be tamed; Jesus jumps into the mix; and baptism should come with a warning.

Blogger and theologian Rachel Held Evans shared a couple of great posts. First, she shared a guest post by Andy Kort in “Marriage, Ministry, and ‘Troubling the Waters.'” Rachel also shared, “Ask a Womanist Biblical Scholar… (Response).”

John Meunier shared some thoughts about ministry and neighbor love in “Why they approve of our stand against sex trafficking.

Friend, pastor and blogger Frank Johnson shared his sermon for this past weekend, “If Christ is risen, nothing else matters. And if Christ is not risen- nothing else matters.” Frank also shared “Excerpts from a Confirmation midterm,” which should definitely give you some hope for the present and future as Frank suggests. Kudos to your confirmands that you are teaching Frank (and to your teaching and pastoring)!

Victoria also shared her sermon for the past weekend in “Under the Shade of a Fig Tree.”

Friend, pastor and blogger Jamie Brandt Brieske shared two of her sermons for the past couple of weeks including her sermon for “The Baptism of Our Lord,” and “Epiphany 2: Come and See.”

And for one more sermon, here’s one from Eric Worringer in “#NSFW – A Sermon for Epiphany 2B.”

Friend, pastor and blogger Diane Roth shared some reflection about a question she sort of heard mentioned by a family recently in “What’s More Important Than Your Eternal Life?” I love the way Diane shares, wrestles and leaves open questions in this. To give you a little taste of the post, she writes, “To me, it’s a powerful combination:  to trust God enough to bring to God the hardest questions of our lives.  And to teach our children that they can do it, too. What is more important than knowing God so well that you can ask God your hardest questions?”

John Pavlovitz reflected about what he sees as “The Greatest False Idol of Modern Christianity.”

Social Media & Blogging

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

I came across this post by Miranda Paquet from August asking, “Are You Sharing Other People’s Content? Here’s How to Do It Right.

Dave Lane shared “21 Blog Writing Tips From the Experts.”

Friend and blogger Carrie Gubsch and pastor and blogger Keith Anderson shared this post about “Social Media and the Cost of Caring.” There are good and important thoughts and data in this about social media and stress. Check this post out and its data and reports to see and learn more about what has been discovered about the relationship between social media and stress.

Melissa Dahl wrote back in October, “Keep it Writing, and It Will Soon Be Automatic.”

Back in September, Sharon Hurley Hall shared “7 Research-Backed Tips on Improving Twitter Conversions.” The tips include: use images; get the timing right; promote your tweets; use the power of recommendations; follow Twitter’s advice; work out why people follow you; and play your (Twitter) cards right.


Young Adult Money shared a couple wonderful posts over the past week. DC explained about “How an Employee Stock Purchase Program (ESPP) Works.” Also for Young Adult Money, Erin wrote and asked, “Living in an Expensive City: Worth It?” What do you think?

Brian Dodd shared about “The Story of how one church received a $1+ million gift and how you could as well.”

Michelle shared a few great posts over the past week. She shared about why she believes that “Being Positive Can Change Your Financial Situation and Your Life.” Michelle also shared, “4 Life and Financial Hurdles to Tackle This Year,” including: tackle your money problem(s); stop feeling stuck; quit being bored; and leave your unhealthy lifestyle. Michelle also offered, “10 Ways to Save Money in 2015.”

In a somewhat related post, Broke Millennial shared some “Practical Tips How I Save (and You Should Too).”

Over at Debt Roundup, Mike Collins shared some “Common Investing Mistakes Made by Young People.”

On the Broke and Beautiful Life, Stefanie wrote and shared, “Inside the Artists Wallet: Realizing Trade Offs and Carving Alternate Paths.”


Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared a few vocationally rich posts as always. She shared her weekly installations of “Friday Favorites,” “Sunday Snippits” and “Tuesday Tea Time.”

I shared a post that was more daily life and vocationally reflective than anything writing that it is “A Joy to be in Community.”

In honor of her husband and my friend Will’s birthday last week, friend Katie wrote that, “He is not ‘The One.'” Here’s some of the beauty and honesty in this post from Katie, “There is no such thing as ‘The One’, but when we openly and freely bind ourselves to another person, we make that person ‘Our One’. And we, as two individuals also become one entity. And I think that is so much more beautiful  and freeing than the feeling of being required to be with someone else because they were made for you in eternity. Will could have been another person. But he’s not. Will is my one because I chose to enter into this union with him and I will fight to keep him as my other half.” Thank you for sharing Katie!


"The joy of victory and the agony of defeat." #GoHawks #WeAre12
“The joy of victory and the agony of defeat.” #GoHawks #WeAre12

Friend and pastor Kaitlyn Ferguson shared a list of “28 Unexpectedly Awesome Things to Do in Seattle.” Kaitlyn, if you want more, you know you can just talk to Allison and I. 🙂

I wouldn’t be true to my Northwest roots without saying a word about the Seattle Seahawks. If you missed Sunday’s game and miracle finish (at least from a Seahawks’ fans perspective), check out these stories. First, Michael Silver wrote that, “Seahawks’ Russell Wilson fulfills prophecy of amazing finish.” Then check out “The Monday Morning Quarterback: Seattle, Suddenly Super” by Peter King. What a strange game and an amazing finish. I am glad there are two weeks between the championship round and the Super Bowl, because I need that time to catch my breath. Are you looking forward to a clash of the Patriots and Seahawks?

We’re a little less than a month away from the start of Spring Training and the start of the baseball season. In the mean time friend and blogger Tim Chalberg shared some Seattle Mariner thoughts in “Imagining Brad Miller as a Center Fielder.”


That will wrap up this week’s edition of the links. As always, if there are types of articles you would like me to include, please let me know. Also, if you have questions or topics for me to think, write and wrestle about and with on the blog, please let me know that too. Until next time, thanks for reading and being part of the conversation! Blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits: The Links; Appreciative Inquiry 4-D CycleSurfing, and “act ~ love ~ walk.”

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