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 help make sense of the links I have grouped them in the following topic categories: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Millennials; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; Stewardship; Vocation and Worship. I hope you enjoy these links!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Just in case you are planning, or looking for some last minute inspiration, check out this post about Ash Wednesday from Bishop Michael Rinehart. Also, check out this post by Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis, “Ashes to Ashes,” and “Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down,” by friend and pastor David Hansen.

Bishop Rinehart also shared some thoughts, plans and ideas for this coming Sunday in Lent 1B, a map detailing the “Geographical Center of Christianity,” as well as some pictures from “Gethsemane Lutheran Church” in Austin, Texas where Allison and I attended our friend Amanda’s ordination last summer.

Along with Bishop Rinehart’s post on Lent 1B, check out Rev. Dr. David Lose’s reflections in “Lent 1B: Wilderness Faith,” as well as friend and professor Rev. Dr. Matthew Skinner’sCommentary on Mark 1:9-15.”

This past week friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis shared thoughts about “Why We Need the Transfiguration,” just in time for Transfiguration Sunday this past weekend.

Church Social Media (#ChSocM) shared their chat transcript for the past week on “Motivation, Inspiration & Advice for Beginners.”

Carol Howard Merritt shared important thoughts and reflections related to church, ministry, leadership and especially women in leadership and ministry in “A woman’s guide to getting coffee.” Give this a read and see what strikes you.

News broke last week that Pope Francis will be addressing the United States Congress in September. Robert Christian shares the news that the Pope will “Call for an end to the throwaway culture.”

Pope Francis also made news over the past week for the depth and focus of his sermon this past weekend. One priest said this about it, “more than anything I’ve heard (the pope) today’s homily is his mission statement.” Check out this post for more by David Gibson, “Pope Francis Slams ‘Prejudiced Mentality’ of Believers Who Fearfully Cling to Religious Laws.”

Lost and Found provided a lot of the music for the Extravaganza in addition to a few other great musicians. They also received the 2015 Tommy Award.
Lost and Found provided a lot of the music for the ELCA’s Youth Ministry Extravaganza in addition to a few other great musicians. They also received the 2015 Tommy Award.

Carl R. Trueman shared important reflection about the tension of context, being missional, while also not capitulating to culture either in “Redemption at the Drive-Thru.”

Pastor and blogger Jan Edmiston shared some thoughts about “Taking Your Son/Daughter to Work: Clergy Edition.”

If you have never heard of the music group Lost and Found, then it is about time you change that! Last week they shared a bit about their current (and “Farewell”) tour, as well as the release of their new CD, “We Are With You!” Check it out!

Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Eric Barreto writes and explains that “A Picture is Still Worth a Thousand Words.” There are important reflections in this about social media; visual learning; with implications for academia, church, and faith formation.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

NPR shared about “The 50 Most Effective Ways to Transform the Developing World.” Check this post out and see the whole list compiled by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Beth Kanter asked a great question for nonprofits (and groups and organizations in general really), “Does Your Nonprofit Suffer from a Culture of Sitting? How to Change It.”

Peter Drucker
Peter Drucker

A couple of years ago Warren Berger shared “The 5 Questions Every Company Should Ask Itself.” The questions to ponder are: What is our company’s purpose on this earth? What should we stop doing? If we didn’t have an existing business, how could we best build a new one? Where is our Petri Dish? And, how can we make a better experiment? This post is grounded in the questions and philosophy of Peter Drucker, and includes a number of Lean Startup type questions as well. If you haven’t seen it, or haven’t contemplated it in a while, it’s definitely worth some reflection again today.

Julian Stodd shared some reflection about the “Core skills to navigate the Social Age.”

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes writes, “Make Like Steve Jobs and Narrow Your Focus.” The post is written particularly in response to Washington State’s Faith Action Network’s (FAN) agenda but there are important implications here for everyone and every organization. In the concluding paragraph Ron writes, “Most of us are FAN-like, accomplishing less than we might because we’re trying to do too much. We’re unclear about our purpose in life. At work, our collective purpose is murky. Consequently, we casually commit to random activities, the sum of which rarely equals more than the individual parts.” How do you see this playing out in your own life and leadership?

Friend Carrie Gubsch shared this post by Marcus Beard with me noting that “The Best Community Managers Have these 5 Traits,” which are: empathy; communication; passion; thick skin; and creativity.

In this day and age where there are more free-lancers often working multiple projects and jobs simultaneously (on site or remotely), Anne Loehr shares some important thoughts for “Managing Freelancers: 4 Challenges and How to Face Them.” The challenges for freelance (and perhaps even full-time) employees she notes include: how to manage inefficient communication; how to create a positive collaborative environment; how to help freelancers meet your project’s goals and make deadlines; and maintaining organizational culture.

Rachel Marsden shared some important thoughts about “The downside of globalization and an innerconnected world.” Check this out and see what you think. (Shout out to my Dad who originally shared this post with me.)

In exciting news, at least for alumni and friends of Pacific Lutheran University (PLU), “The King of Norway is Coming to PLU in May.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Karyn Mullins shared, “The 5 Questions Successful People Routinely Ask Themselves.” These questions to ask are: Am I in the right niche? Am I failing better? Am I doing something that scares me everyday? Do I have a game plan to reach my goals? And, do I still believe in myself? Great questions. Spend some time wrestling with them.

Speaking of questions, Bob Tiede shared a guest post by Irene Leonard, “The Art of Effective Questions: Asking the Right Question for the Desired Result.”

Friend Carrie Gubsch shared this post last week just in time for Valentine’s Day by Mark Crowley, “Why Engagement Happens in Employee’s Hearts, Not Their Minds.”

Back in September, Richard Feloni shared “11 Inspirational Quotes from some of the World’s Top CEOs.”

Allison, Maria and I in front of President Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial
Allison, her sister Maria and I in front of President Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial

Yesterday was President’s Day. In that spirit, Lolly Daskal shared “7 Life-Changing Leadership Lessons from Lincoln.” I also was inspired, so I shared “President’s Day- 15 Lessons and Quotes.”

Lolly Daskal also shared a couple other great posts including “12 Things that Successful Leaders Never Tolerate,” and “The Secret of Great Leadership,” which she writes is to “Lead with love,” a fitting conclusion and reflection for Valentine’s Day this past weekend.

Daniel Goleman writes that “Not All Leaders Are Created Equal.”

Margie Warrell shares some important reflections about leadership and trust in “Brian Williams, The Currency of Trust and How to Restore Once Broken.”

Friend and pastor Erik Gronberg shared some thoughts inspired by the news of Jon Stewart leaving the “Daily Show,” in “Leave Taking.” I greatly appreciate this post, and Erik’s conclusion when he writes, “No one can replace Stewart. However, that is not the goal of leadership. Leadership should be about multiplication not replication. Good leaders do not create clones of themselves but encourage others to follow their lead and use their talents to take them in new directions. Good leaders give others the opportunity to step forward. This is why we have term limits on Presidents. It forces the country to look for new leadership and gives new opportunity to those who follow. Washington knew this instinctively. I hope other leaders will also begin to see this need as well.” Check out the whole post!

Dan Rockwell shared a very helpful post detailing “6 Core Skills of a Leader Who Develops Talent.”

Brian Dodd shared a list of “25 Practices of the Very Best Leaders.”

Steve Keating shared a couple great posts, including “A Second Chance,” and asking “Authentic or Effective Leadership?

If you grew up on a farm or have family that did (or still live on a farm), then you are likely familiar with silos. The term has also been picked up in leadership and organizational studies, and this post on “Silos” by Cranston Holden does a good job of explaining more about them. According to Cranston, “Silos are departmental politics, infighting, turf wars, and divisional lack of cooperation that create barriers between departments and even unhealthy rivalry.” I see this especially in organizations and congregations, when intentionally or unintentionally different areas of the organization are separated from each other with little or no integration and cross-over.


Over at Thin Difference, Jeremy Chandler shared some good thoughts about “The Benefits of Being a Millennial (and how every generation can embrace it).” This reminds me a bit of a post I wrote about different generations with Millennial values last year.

Thin Difference also featured a guest post by Megan Dougherty and Danielle Aaronson with thoughts about “Using Intentionality to Counter the Generational Reputation.” Definitely check out both of these posts over at Thin Difference from the past week, and note that they have updated their website with an awesome new design.

Neighbor Love

Speaking of Valentine's- Happy Valentine's Day (albeit belated) from Allison and I!
Speaking of Valentine’s- Happy Valentine’s Day (albeit belated) from Allison and I!

With Valentine’s Day being this past weekend, Bishop Michael Rinehart shared this timely reflection, “Valentine’s Day, A Day of Love.” Bishop Rinehart also shared some reflection about church and society, and especially church and government in “Speaking to Pharaoh.”

Also with Valentine’s in mind, friend and mentor Dr. Terri Elton reflected about “an unforgettable valentine’s day” featuring observations about neighbor love and service in action, families and vocation and love and more. I especially appreciate this insight from Terri, “Our children watch how we love and sometimes they take the good and make it part of their own understanding of loving too.”

Sojourners shared this post by Eric Worringer about “Little Christs in Disneyland.”

In one of the best reads I have seen from the opinion pages of The New York Times in a while, David Brooks shares a very important and profound reflection about “The Act of Rigorous Forgiving.” Within this David raises two important questions, “Do we exile the offender or heal the relationship? Would you rather become the sort of person who excludes, or one who offers tough but healing love?” What are your thoughts?

"clay pots..." by Vonda Drees
“clay pots…” by Vonda Drees

Last month I included some links about a story about a protest, and one’s protest sign. Last week came some more reflection about “That Sign,” by Paul T. Stallsworth.

Friend, blogger and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of great posts again. These beautiful posts include: “holy, common ground,” “cry of the earth, cry of the poor,” “vulnerability revealed,” and “clay pots…

Last week I shared some posts about the National Prayer Breakfast. In that spirit, here’s another post with some personal reflections by the author related to their own experience.

Friend and professor Dr. Rolf Jacobson shared about a new resource from the Lutheran World Federation, on “Lutheran Interpretation to the Psalms.”

Bishop Michael Rinehart shared a powerful and important “Open Letter to the LGBT Community.” I especially appreciate where Bishop Rinehart writes, “I recognize that some of you have been wounded by churches. On behalf of the church, I apologize for the hurtful comments, exclusion, and discrimination you have experienced. Churches are filled with hurt people who sometimes hurt people. We are not a perfect church, nor filled with perfect people. We follow Christ who forgives and calls us to be part of a new community beyond race, gender, and social status. The church is an imperfect community of hope.” Amen to that!

In following up on this post, blogger and pastor Clint Schnekloth wrote and shared “Another Open Letter to the LGBTQ Community.”

John Pavlovitz wrote and shared, “Shouting into the Wind: Words from the Hearts of Christian Moms with LGBT Children.”

This past week has been one of terrible neighbor love related stories- of injustice, pain, death and injury of people of all different faiths from North Carolina to Denmark to Egypt and Libya. With that in mind, Bishop Michael Rinehart wrote about “Grieving the loss in North Carolina.” Blogger and pastor Jan Edmiston wrote and shared, “For the Love of God,” and “Speaking Up on President’s Day.” Out of the terrible news from Denmark and France, “Europe is fighting calls for mass migration of Jews.” In the story from Libya, Relevant shared the sad and horrifying news that “ISIS Beheads 21 Christian Men.” My Dad shared this expansive look by Graeme Wood, “What ISIS Really Wants,” which appears in the March edition of The Atlantic. In light of all of this pain and these horrible stories, Nate Pyle reminds about the importance of lament in “When It’s Time to Blame God.”

Friend, pastor and blogger Aaron Fuller shared his “Monday Morning Preacher” post pondering the question, “Who Do You Say That I Am?

RJ Grunewald shared some reflection about “When God Speaks Through Asses.”

If you are in Minnesota, check out the invitation to the event (and be sure to participate in it), Crossing Bridges: “Selma to Minnesota.” Thanks to friend Emmy Kegler and friend and professor Rev. Dr. Matthew Skinner for sharing this with me.

Mount Rainier (from one of my many flights to/from Seattle). Nothing quite gives me that moment of calm and wonder of God's creation and work in the world then seeing something as beautiful and amazing as this.
Mount Rainier (from one of my many flights to/from Seattle). Nothing quite gives me that moment of calm and wonder of God’s creation and work in the world then seeing something as beautiful and amazing as this. I can’t help think about mountain tops like this when thinking about the Transfiguration.

My wife and awesome theologian and seminary student, Allison, shared her sermon for this past weekend, “forget, remember.” This is so rich, and does a beautiful job of unpacking the juxtaposition of the longer narrative around the Transfiguration in the Gospel of Matthew that was the designated text by the Narrative Lectionary for the past weekend. Here’s just a small sampling of her sermon which I hope you all check out: “Remember that Jesus says you are mine. You get to be someone’s. And in this, you still get to be you. I still get to be me. But as we look toward Lent and see the fullness of God to come, we remember that Jesus remembers us as we get lost in each other, as we serve and love each other in this radical experiment called the body of Christ. In this community we get to lift up each other’s strengths, gifts, and stories – in that challenging and beautiful work of being a child of God.”

Social Media & Blogging

Jens Manuel Krogstad, from the Pew Research Center, wrote that “Social media preferences vary by race and ethnicity.” There are implications in this for organizations, leadership, ministry and really any one and group who engages social media.

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

Back in September, John Boitnott shared about “10 Social Media Mistakes that could be hurting your brand.”

If you have a blog or are active in social media, then you are probably familiar with “trolls.” Back in December, Adrian Chen wrote about “The Troll Hunters.” Check this story out. Thanks to friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess for originally sharing this with me.

Julian Stodd shared, “The Social Media [Non] Policy.”


Michelle shared a couple helpful financial themed posts, including “5 Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Chances for Retirement,” and “The Effect of Just $20/hr on a Student Loan.”

Friend and Classy Frugaist Grace Duddy Pomroy shared some reflections and experiences related to “How to Know If You Are Ready to Buy a House,” based in her’s and her husband’s own story.

Erin over at Young Adult Money shared about “How to Balance Debt Repayment and Saving.”


Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes shared, “I Bought a Time Machine.” You know with a title like that, you have to check out this post.

My wife and I on the campus of Pacific Lutheran University in the Fall of 2012 (where we met, graduated from, later got engaged...etc.)
My wife and I on the campus of Pacific Lutheran University in the Fall of 2012

If you have a connection to Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) you are invited to participate in the new call for stories and reflections in responding to “WhyPLU.”

In a related post, I shared an invitation in “Wild Hope,” for you or anyone to respond to Mary Oliver’s question, “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?” Check that out, and please share your stories and thoughts with me!

Friend, blogger and pastor Diane Roth shared a timely reflection and perhaps even confession leading into Ash Wednesday and Lent in “You Don’t Know Me.” Within this Diane writes, “We all sound better on paper.  There is no perhaps about it.  And as I round the corner into Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent, it is here where I begin: with the confession that my truthfulness is approximate, that while I strive to be vulnerable and give to the world an honest representation of myself, for a variety of reasons, I leave things out:  abject failures, wincing moments of ugliness, some of the darkest of self-doubts, even successes. I may curate my self-image, but that is not all that I am. That is my confession, for Ash Wednesday. And it is also my glory. If only I remember.” My guess is that we can all relate with this, at least to some degree.

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared this fun and beautiful interpretation of “Take Me to Church.”


Friend and pastor Alison Shane shared this post by Olga Khazan noting that “Everyone Can Sing.” This has implications for life in general, but obviously also worship. What do you think?


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

Image Credits: The Links; Peter Drucker; and “clay pots…

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