Easter, The Good Shepherd and Confirmation

Britta's confirmationLast weekend I had the pleasure to join other family together in Appleton, Wisconsin to celebrate our cousin Britta as she affirmed her baptism and was confirmed. Making the day a little more special was that my uncle, Pastor Jeff Tengesdal, was the preacher for the day. I loved his sermon so much that I wanted to share it all with you. Jeff serves First English Lutheran Church and was preaching at the church’s “North Site” that morning. His sermon below was for Easter 4, based on Psalm 23 and John 10:10b-18. I hope you enjoy this sermon, as I believe it is rich with neighbor love imagery, stewardship thoughts, vocational questions and reflection. Thank you Uncle Jeff for letting me share this message on my blog!

There is a wolf nipping at our heels. It nips at the heels of most – if not every one of us – here. This wolf says, “You are not good enough. You have no worth.” This wolf is one that Jesus the Good Shepherd wants to protect us from.

When I was first a pastor near Williston, North Dakota, I also was a counselor for Lutheran Social Services. One day a Lutheran pastor had an appointment with me. She was feeling down. Lifeless. Really low energy. She recounted the ways she felt like she wasn’t up to the job of being a pastor and all the things that made her unworthy. At some point, I stopped her. I said to her, “You are enough. You are enough in God’s eyes.” Once upon a time, a couple of years before, it had been helpful for me to hear that. It surprised me how much it touched this pastor. She started crying.  She took a deep breath and said, “Wow, I didn’t know how much I needed to hear that.”

There’s one thing I most want you to hear today. I want you to hear you are worthy of love and belonging. Here in church – and we don’t always get it right – may be the only place you will ever hear the words most clearly:  You are worth of love and belonging.

This is not what we normally hear, and it’s not what we normally believe. Think about it. If our boss reviews our performance and gives us 49 “awesome’s” and 1 “opportunity for growth,” which are you going to remember? The opportunity for growth. Because we have been persuaded by a wolf of the world that we are not smart enough, strong enough, attractive enough, worthy enough, patient enough, or whatever enough.

I have to say, I think part of the problem is how we parent. We hold our newborn and we say, “Isn’t this the most perfect baby in the whole wide world?” Then we don’t let go of perfect. Either for our child’s sake, or for our sake, we want her to make the varsity team by 5th grade and the U. of Chicago by 7th grade. Perfection is not our job. Our job is to say, “You are imperfect, as am I. Even so, you are worthy of love and belonging.”

Today is sheep day. Good Shepherd day. Aside from John 3:16, probably the most famous scripture is the 23rd psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” What does this mean? The Lord is your shepherd, you shall not want. You shall not be in want. You shall have enough. You shall be enough.

We need to hear that every day, because every day the wolf nips at our heels. I remember my 8th grade year. Don, one of my classmates, out of the blue started calling me a wimp. It was a cruel thing to say, and I let it bother me. I wondered what was wrong with me.  I began to think I should be more athletic. I should be more popular. Most of us here – probably all of us – should on ourselves a lot. I even catch myself doing it these days. Yesterday, I caught myself thinking I should be more patient waiting in the drive-through lane. Here’s another one that hooks me:  “Pastors should be fascinated by everything everyone has to say.”  Shoulds. Shoulds. Shoulds nip at our heels everyday.

Jesus says, “Wolves will snap. Those whom you thought were there for you will run away or cause you to feel shame.  But I won’t. I am the Good Shepherd. I lay down my life for my sheep. You are worthy of my death. You are worthy of love and belonging.

Love and belonging. Like a flock of sheep. The other day I had the privilege of talking to a sheep guy. Until recently, this sheep guy had 26 good friends with woolly coats. One of the first things he explained to me about sheep is that they are a community. Even though each of the sheep has a different personality – some lead, some are curious, some like to stand in the background and watch – they like to be together.

It reminds me of the new research that’s been done on community. Twice in the past month I’ve heard research shows we are biologically wired to be in community. It’s why we’re here. God wired us to be connected. It’s part of the abundant life Jesus brings.

Community, however, is destroyed by the wolf. The wolf’s name is shame. Shame goes like this: Is there something about me that, if others knew or saw it, they wouldn’t want to be connected to me? I am afraid to show you my real self. I’m afraid to be fully in community.

I hope you know and believe Jesus the Good Shepherd is stronger and bigger than that wolf.  This is what he says.  “Don’t be afraid. Even though you walk through dark valleys with wolves nipping at your heels, don’t be afraid; for I am with you.” And he goes on to say, “I know you. I know your name. I know you are imperfect. So what?  You are worthy of love and belonging. You are worthy of my life and death.”

This past week I asked my son what I should preach about today. He said, “Preach about the Lord of the Rings.”  I asked, “What about the Lord of the Rings?” He said, “I don’t know. That’s your job.”

It got me to thinking about the movie. I remembered a scene in the second part of the trilogy. The forest is dark. The hobbit Frodo follows the elf-queen Galadriel down the steps to a basin. Galadriel takes up a silver pitcher and uses it to draw water from a fountain. She pours the water into the basin. Then she encourages Frodo to look into the water. She says something like this: “The water . . . it will show you what has been, what is, and some of what will be.”

Today you affirm your baptism. The water shows you what has been. In your baptism God has made you a sheep of the flock. And the water shows you what is. Jesus is your Good Shepherd. That’s what is. And the water shows some of what might be. I don’t know what specifics the future holds for you, but I do know some of what will be. Here, in the flock, in this community of faith . . . here will be one of the very few places where you will hear you are worthy of love and belonging.

This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday on the blog means that I get to share some of what I have read, seen and found thought provoking over the past week with all of you. To help make sense of all these stories, articles and links I have grouped them by category. 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!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

If you are looking ahead, planning worship or a sermon for this coming weekend and using the revised common lectionary, check out these thoughts and ideas about Easter 5B from Bishop Michael Rinehart, as well as from Rev. Dr. David Lose in “Easter 5B: On Being Pruned.”

Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis shared some great reflections about John 15:1-8 in “The Risky Business of Bearing Fruit.” Karoline also asked last week, “What’s So Good About A Shepherd?

Rev. Dr. Will Willimon shared some thoughts about “Preaching as Oral Communication.”

Gregg Zoroya shared that, “Pope Francis to promote climate action as moral imperative.”

Blogger and pastor Nurya Love Parish shared and pondered, “Solving the Climate Crisis One (Closed?) Church at a Time.”

Last week visiting a local church, I heard the words, “I Can’t Help You.” Because of this, I wrote and reflected, “‘I Can’t Help You’- What Should Never Be Heard at Church.” What do you think?

Ed Stetzer shared and predicted what he sees as likely “3 Important Church Trends in the Next 10 Years.” Do you agree? Disagree?

Brian Dodd shared a couple intriguing posts. First, he shared what he sees are “13 Signs a Pastor is Surrounded by Great Leaders or Not.” Brian also shared, “5 Things Pastors Can Learn About Church Growth from McDonald’s.”

What happened the first time that Allison and I were at an In-N-Out together.
What happened the first time that Allison and I were at an In-N-Out together.

John Fischer tied a post about one of my favorite fast-food chains in with a theological and ministry conversation in “In-N-Out Gifts of God.”

Blogger and pastor Jan Edmiston shared a post about the newly released book, “There’s a Woman in the Pulpit,” as well as the very interestingly titled, “No Crying in Baseball, No Sabermetrics in Church.” As a huge baseball fan and a sort of a church nerd, I had to check out the second post especially. I think you will like it too!

Friend, pastor and blogger Diane Roth shared some vocational, life and ministry reflections, noting, “I Didn’t Preach This Weekend.”

Church and Social Media (#ChSocM) shared a transcript of their chat from last week, sharing “Ideas for Observing Holy Days (Pentecost) and Other Celebrations.”

Robert P. Jones shared a post at the Public Religion Research Institute about the “Attitudes on Same-sex Marriage by Religious Affiliation and Denominational Family.”

Lisa Miller shared thoughts about “Why Kids Need Spirituality.”

Christina Embree shared an important and timely post for families, neighbor love, ministry and responses to the earthquake and destruction in Nepal in “Answering Their Questions: Nepal Earthquake.” If you are looking for ways to respond, give and serve in response to the major needs, check out this post from ELCA Disaster Response as a good starting place.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Over at the Humanosphere, Tom Murphy reflected in “Nepal: the disaster everyone knew was coming.”

Rob O’Lynn wrote and shared, “Know Your Students, Know Your Story.”

My wife Allison shared a wonderful post about lifelong learning, ministry, theology and vocation in “Lifelong learning: In the space of ‘What happens if…?’” Allison writes about these thoughts and reflections, that “they raise more questions than answers. Like, how to befriend the local law enforcement, school board, teachers, families and students. Much like other fields of work, I think congregational work is becoming more inter-disciplinary. But I think serving as a pastor in the midst of a crisis will be hard work, and I won’t know what all will be required until it happens. But building relationships with those around me as soon as I get to a place or setting and being centered in my own work and connection with God will be helpful and crucial.” Check out the whole post!

As a "free-lancer" of sorts for some things, this is sometimes how my office looks.
This is what remote work can look like some times.

Some of the work I do, I do remotely. Others I do from an office as part of ministry redevelopment currently. But, as one who has found himself working multiple roles simultaneously, I greatly appreciated this post by Alison Groves about “How to Avoid Burnout in a Remote Team.

NWB shared an important post with room for question, thought and reflection especially for social sector nonprofit organizations, writing that “Our hiring practices are inequitable and need to change.”

Anne Loehr writes that “Women are Leaving the U.S. Workforce and Flipping Tables on the Way Out.”

Julian Stodd wrote and reflected about “A Culture That Feels Right?” Within this, Julian writes, “Because culture is not granted from on high: it’s co-created in the moment by these and a million other decisions. It’s the ways we act, the conversations we have, the emails we send, the messages we project, the ways we dress, the way we respond to how others dress, it’s the website and the brochure. The culture is an artefact, not predictive. It’s as fickle as getting ideas above our station. So it’s in these big decisions as well as the myriad small ones that I see the signs of a company aware of its present and cognisant of its future. And that’s a great foundation to build off.” Definitely check out the whole post and see what you think.

Leadership Thought & Practice

Friend and professor Jenny Darroch shared this post by Graeme Codrington, “A Definition of Leadership: ‘Getting people done through work.'”

Have you ever wondered “What tech offices tell us about the future of work?” Check out this post by Kate Losse.

Julian Stodd shared, “6 Tenets of Social Leadership.” The tenets he notes and expands on are: be curious; try, learn, try; share; be humble; tell stories; and be fair and protect. You can also find this post on his own blog here.

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes shared some reflection about “The Art of Leadership.” Within this Ron notes about the NBA playoffs and leaders in general, “Effective leaders don’t overreact, they’re always bolstering the confidence of those they lead, and they communicate clearly. Just like the Warrior’s rookie coach.” Check out the post, but also check out the book Leadership Is An Art by Max DePree, which this post reminded me of because of its title. It just so happens to be one of my favorite little leadership books.

Dan Forbes and “Lead with Giants” shared a post by Panteli Tritchew, “When Worlds Collide and the Wizard of Oz.”

Bob Tiede shared a guest post by Martha Duesterhoft asking and reflecting, “Why Should Managers Do More Coaching?

The LEAD group gathered together having fun like we did the whole weekend at the E!
Neil Christians (part of the LEAD team), is pictured above on the right side.

Over on the LEAD blog, friend Neil Christians shared some good leadership and ministry thoughts about “Why Mentors Matter.”

Steve Keating shared some reflection about “Why 360 Reviews Seldom Work,” as well as “Today’s Biggest Leadership Challenge.”

The “Leadership Freak” Dan Rockwell shared a wealth of thoughts over the past week. Dan shared some ideas and thoughts about “How to Solve People-Problems,” “7 Ways to Rescue Lost Potential,” “Four Ways to Use the Past to Ignite Passion,” as well as some reflections in “Enough with the Curiosity.”

Have you noticed that I often refer to a concept called “Connective Leadership?” Have you been curious about this? If so, check out these videos on YouTube from Dr. Jean Lipman-Blumen.

Adam Bryant shared an interview with Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in “Helping People Find Their Sweet Spot.”

Over at Thin Difference, Heidi Oran wrote about and shared, “Self-Awareness and Leadership: 4 Things to Consider.” Within this Heidi elaborates about: better self-awareness; awareness of other’s motivations and behaviors; they can show you where you need work; and it can limit you, if you let it.

Thin Difference also shared a guest post by Doug Brown pondering, “What Drives Employee Engagement?


Chelsea Krost shared this post from last fall by Kali Hawlk, “Millennials and Credit Cards: Why We Need a Better Relationship.”

Blogger and pastor Clint Schnekloth shared about “The Rapture of the Millennials.” Check out the post and see what you think!

Neighbor Love

"Rainbows...oh the joy!" by Vonda Drees
“Rainbows…oh, the joy!” by Vonda Drees

Friend, pastor and Ph.D. student Amanda Brobst-Renaud wrote and shared, “Stealing and Love, Hoarding and Forgiveness.”

Over the weekend there were some major protests in Baltimore, protesting the death of Freddie Gray. With this in mind, Ted Berg shared that “Orioles COO John Angelos offers eye-opening perspective on Baltimore protests.” In a somewhat related post, friend and pastor Rebecca Sullivan shared with me this post by Jason Chesnut, “God Was Born in the Streets of Baltimore.” Also, Judd Legum shared about “The Powerful Scene on the Streets of Baltimore Monday Night that No One is Talking About.” Definitely check out all three of these posts.

Friend, blogger and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past week. These included: “a natural teacher,” “rainbows… oh, the joy!,” “trusting grace…,” “Love finds us,” and “soul-diers of the cross.”

Sports reporter and blogger Alex Flanagan shared a powerful reflection about “The ESPN Reporter that Should be Getting the Attention.”

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes shared “Three Sentences to Ponder.”

Tom Paulson at Humanosphere shared a “Podcast: Remembering and honoring aid worker Warren Weinstein.”

Friend, blogger and Ph.D. student Sara Wilhelm Garbers shared this article from Darnell L. Moore asking, “This Unarmed Black Woman Was Shot by the Police, So Why Aren’t We Marching for Her?

Bishop Michael Rinehart shared a reflection and update about “Bluebell Ice Cream.”

Friend, professor and adviser Rev. Dr. Matthew Skinner shared this reflection by VJ Periyakoil, explaining that “We Need a Role Reversal in the Conversation on Dying.”

Justin Irving shared a reflection about “How to Pray for Your Work.”

Friends Katie and Will, who have continued their time serving, learning and living this year in South Africa shared an update and reflection about “Spitting in the Face of Xenophobia With Love.” Katie also wrote that “Identities Are Who We Are.”

Cousin Kevin Tengesdal shared a current North Dakota petition being circulated, with the goal to “Vote for Equality Regardless of Sexual Orientation.”

Friend, pastor and blogger Frank Johnson shared his sermon for this past weekend based on the Narrative Lectionary reading from Acts 13 and 14, “Worshiping at the Cult of Celebrity: You and Me and Taylor Swift.”

Social Media & Blogging

Last summer Neil Patel shared “The 7 Key Ingredients of a Powerful Twitter Bio.”

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


This week is the North American Conference on Christian Philanthropy. Follow along with the conference and my sharing of information via Twitter and Facebook, by following Ecumenical Stewardship Center on Twitter, as well as the hashtags: #NACCP15, #StewardshipFusion and #faithandfinances. (The official hashtag is the first one, but you may also see some posts with the additional tags.)

Over at Young Adult Money, Erin reflected about “What You Should Consider Before Getting a Credit Card.” Also at Young Adult Money, DC wrote that, “Now is the time to get ‘Real’ about Your Finances.”

Friend and “Classy Frugalist,” Grace Duddy Pomroy shared about her new role in “New Adventures.”

Noelle Nelson shared about “The Incredible Value of Gratitude at Work.”

In celebrating and observing Earth Day, I shared some questions and thoughts over on the COMPASS blog in “Happy Earth Day!

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner at Making Sense of Cents shared, “5 Tips to Stop Your Emotional Spending Habit,” as well as a moving and wonderful post featuring “Important Money Lessons My Dad Taught Me- Money Doesn’t Have to Make Your Life Miserable.

Friend, blogger, stewardship mind and development and communications director, Carrie Gubsch shared this article by Jordan Michael Smith about the “Science of Generosity.”

The Broke Millennial shared about “The Day I Got Bullish with Money.”


Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared her vocationally rich installments of “Friday Favorites” and “Sunday Snippits.”

Rev. E. Silas Torvend
Rev. E. Silas Torvend

I shared some life reflections and gratitude for my wife Allison as well as a pastor who played an important role in our life, Rev. E. Silas Torvend, in “Birthdays, Memories and Gratitude.”


Last week the NFL released the 2015 football schedules of every team. In case you are curious, here is the Seahawks schedule for the upcoming season!


That will conclude this week’s edition of the links! As always, if you have particular topics or questions to think about on the blog, please let me know. Also, if you have particular things you would like to see in upcoming editions of the links, please let me know that too. Until next time, thank you for reading and blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits: The Links; and “rainbows… oh, the joy!

Birthdays, Memories and Gratitude

Serving cake
Happy Birthday Allison!

Today is a wonderful day! Today I have the joy of celebrating my wife Allison on her birthday. The day started off very well with her favorite pancakes as breakfast in bed, thanks to friends from church who brought back the Snoqualmie Pancake mix from Washington recently. It will include a visit to a local ice cream parlor later, and hopefully lots of well wishes from friends and loved ones as well.

At the same time, I am struck by the memory and gratitude for someone who recently passed away. Today I am thinking about Rev. E. Silas Torvend. Whether Pastor Torvend knew this or not, he played a notable role in both Allison’s and my life.

Pastor Torvend was the pastor who baptized Allison many years ago when she was just a baby. At that time, looking back, the impact of Pastor Torvend on our lives began.

Allison and I together with our Research in Religion Class with Dr. Torvend
Allison and I together with our Research in Religion Class with Dr. Torvend

Years later, Allison and I, though not knowing each other yet both decided to attend Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). While students at PLU we both found ourselves enjoying classes in the religion department, including classes taught by Dr. Samuel Torvend, Pastor Torvend’s son.

If it weren’t for Pastor Torvend and his wife Alice, we never would have met Dr. Torvend, and learned so much about religion. But more than that, Allison and I may never have grown in our friendship. I truly believe it is because of Dr. Torvend and a few other religion professors who helped create opportunities for group learning that Allison and I grew as friends and then later into a couple.

Rev. E. Silas Torvend
Rev. E. Silas Torvend


I am also grateful to Pastor Torvend and his wife Alice because of their great and generous stewardship. I was blessed to receive a scholarship for religion students in their name at PLU. This helped me finish college financially strong and led me off to graduate studies in good financial standing.

So, as I celebrate Allison’s birthday today, I also can’t help but think and be grateful for the wonderful gifts, life, faithfulness, service and leadership of Pastor E. Silas Torvend.

To Dr. Torvend, his mother Alice, and the whole Torvend family, I express my deepest gratitude for your husband, father, and friend. Thank you all for your friendship, for the way, whether you know it or not that you have positively affected our lives, ministry and future ministry, and for being such gifts to us, the larger church and the world.

“I Can’t Help You” – What Should Never Be Heard at Church

800px-Church_near_Junction_City,_KansasThe other day I was working off to the side in a local church while my wife was in a meeting. This is not a church or congregation that I see or visit often, but have been there a few times in the past. For the most part, I was just trying to get some emails worked through and I was grateful for the church’s free Wi-Fi.

As I was working though, I overheard some of the congregation’s older members. From what I could discern there was some other lunch function and a Circle Meeting happening. There was a little discontent that something out of the usual was happening at the church, and a number of people quietly (or not so quietly) asked “Who are they,” wondering about the function my wife and others were part of. I am used to this sort of query from the stereotypical “have to know everything” members of a congregation.

What really took me aback though was the response from one of those ladies, and likely lay leaders of the congregation. One of the leaders of the meeting Allison was part of, quietly went over to one of ladies to ask a question about the church. I was dumbfounded by the reply she was given by the church member who said:

“I know nothing about that. I can’t help you. Goodbye.”

Let me repeat that, “I know nothing about that. I can’t help you. Goodbye.” Not only is that not hospitality, that is not evangelism. That is not missional. There was no sense of willingness from the church member to help the visitor to that congregation’s space find the information she asked about. No willingness to at least point her to a staff person or other lay leader present. There was no graciousness in this reply. There was no welcome in it.

I was livid. If this had been a congregation I was a member at, I would have walked right over and done something. I’m not sure what, but it would not have stood. I sincerely hope that replies like this don’t happen often anywhere, but especially the church. Seeing it and witnessing it though reminds me that we have a long way to go in ministry and the church to cultivate relationships and really be places of welcome and connection, rather than places of insular focuses.

To be fair, I don’t know the woman’s story. I don’t know if she was crazy stressed, or if she fears strangers. But I do know, that what I witnessed recently was not grace filled, nor the sense of welcome that I believe the church is about.

What would you have done in that experience? What are your hopes for the church as a bearer of welcome and hospitality? 

Image Credit: Lonely Church

This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday on the blog (usually) means that I get to share some of what I have found interesting and thought provoking with all of you. This week I’m a day late, but better late than never. To help make sense of all the links, I have grouped them in the following categories: 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!


Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

If you are planning for worship or a sermon for this weekend, check out these thoughts and reflections from Bishop Michael Rinehart for “Easter 4B- Good Shepherd Sunday.”

Friend, professor and blogger Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis also shared some thoughts about this upcoming weekend’s readings, in asking, “What’s So Good About a Shepherd?Karoline also shared some reflections in “Resurrection Witnesses,” based on Luke 24:36b-48.

Church and Social Media (#ChSocM) shared a transcript of their weekly chat from last week which discussed “When Leaders or Congregations Resist Social Media Efforts.”

Pastor and blogger Jan Edmiston shared some good thoughts about “The Need to be Needed (& How It’s Hurting the Church)” and “The Whole Entitlement Thing.”

Christina Embree shared a post from the CMConnect Conference, sharing, “CMConnect- Connect, Serve, Advance!

John Meunier shared a video of the Lambeth Lectures, specifically of “Archbishop Justin Welby on evangelism and witness.”

Rev. Dr. Will Willimon reflected about “When Preaching is Out of Control.”

Friend, pastor and blogger Diane Roth shared and happily announced that, “Our Book Arrived!” This post is a nice personal introduction to a book that looks intriguging and I hope to be able to read in the not so distant future, There’s a Woman in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen share their hard days, holy moments & the healing power of humorCheck out this post, and then check out the book.

Bonnie Kristian wrote that “America is Not the Future of the Church.” She adds that, “Statistics show that church actually isn’t dying. But it is changing.”

Blogger and pastor Nurya Love Parish shared, “Searching for Sunday, finding the Episcopal Church,” a book review of Rachel Held Evans‘ newly released book.

Friend and blogger Margaret Ellsworth shared this article by Justin R. Cannon, “Communion with creation: Holy Hikes.”

During a lunch break at ARL, Allison and I decided to make a quick tourist visit to the Bean in Chicago, since I had never seen it before.
During a lunch break at ARL, Allison and I decided to make a quick tourist visit to the Bean in Chicago, since I had never seen it before.

This past weekend I had the honor and great privilege to participate in the Academy of Religious Leadership’s (ARL) annual meeting and conference in Chicago. Later this week I will share thoughts and reflections from that experience on the blog. In the meantime, Kyle Small shared the drafted topic and focus for next year’s ARL Annual Meeting, “Engaging Sacred Texts for Leadership Formation.” Check this out and check out ARL!

The Millennial Journal shared the news that “Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, who failed to report abuse” resigned.

Friend and great Children, Youth and Family mind and director Kristin Tranby provided a recent guest column in The Stillwater Gazette, reflecting about, “Connecting generations at church.” Be sure and check out this post!

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Anne Loehr wrote and explained, “Here’s Why You Can’t Attract, Develop and Retain Female Talent.” Within this, the concept of a “second generation bias” is explained in some detail. What do you think?

Over at the Humanosphere, Tom Paulson shared that the “U.S. Congress fast-tracks free trade pact.”

Julian Stodd shared a number of thought provoking posts, ideas and reflections. He shared about “The blowing (or blurring) of boundaries,” “To Simple, Through Complexity,” “Uncommonly Global,” “The New Utility: A Story about Brand in the Social Age,” and “A Gradient of Formality.” Julian also shared and asked, “The Difference of Digital: are all Conversations Equal?”  Check out all of these great food for thought pieces.

Caroline Sheffield shared, “Three ways of doing business to change the world.” The ways lifted up in this are: sustainability, philanthropy and friendships/relationships.

If you are looking for at good TED Talk, check out this one from Anita Collins bout “How playing an instrument benefits your brain.”

Alison Lawton reflected about “What employee wellbeing means in a start-up.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

I stumbled across this post by Gwen Moran from last summer, “5 Ways to Change the way you think about negative life events.” I found this post quite helpful. The ways Gwen notes are: examine your options; embrace your truth; pay attention to your feelings; ask for help; and find a good story.

Steve Keating wrote and shared about, “The Difference Between If and How,” as well as about “Old Ears.”

Karin Hurt shared a festival of thoughts in “Spring Cleaning Our Priorities, Attitudes and Skills,” as well as “37 Questions to Ask Yourself When Your Team Lacks Energy.”

Dan Rockwell, the “Leadership Freak,” shared a number of thought provoking and helpful posts this past week. These posts took up interesting topics such as, “The Most Important Leadership Idea, Today,” “There is No Halo of Exceptionality,” “The Leader You Don’t Like Doesn’t Like You Either” and “Maintaining Motivation.” Dan also shared, “5 Ways to Rise Above Self-Affirming Nonsense,” “12 Refueling Strategies that Work Today,” “How to Prepare for 7 Dangerous Failures” and “7 Ways to Reach Bull-Headed Teammates.”

Justin Irving shared, “The Web of Work: Serving and Being Served Through Work.”

Good and Big Questions
Good and Big Questions to Consider and Ask

Back in October, Bhavin Parikh and Aaron Schwartz shared “6 Questions Entrepreneurs Should Ask during an Investor Meeting.” The questions include: When was the last time you made an investment? What is your typical bite size? What is your decision-making process? Who do you co-invest with? How does our business fit within your portfolio? And, how do you interact with founders after investing?

Speaking of entrepreneurs, here are “10 Facts about Entrepreneurs that may Surprise You.”

Tanveer Naseer shared about “How to Simplify the Way We Work.”

Jesse Lyn Stoner shared, “4 Ways Leadership Drift Can Catch You Unaware.” Jesse highlights the following ways: a huge external shift; sedated slowly; seduced by momentum; and going with the flow.

Skip Prichard shared thoughts about “12 Rules for Managing Your Employees as Real People,” as well as “5 Lessons on Innovation from Outlander’s Diana Gabaldon.”

Back in October, Matthew Gallizzi shared “The Growth Paradox For Startup CEOs (Life-Changing Growth Hack).”

Also in October, Greg McKeown shared, “Two Questions to Ask Yourself Every Morning.” The questions are: Are you proud of the choices you are making at home? Are you proud of the choices you are making at work?

Bob Tiede shared a guest post by Kathy Rapp which raises, “3 Questions Leaders Should Ask Now.” The questions highlighted are: What do you tell your family or best friend about working here? Are most days glorious or is it really “just a job?” And, are we hiring retainable employees?

Jon Mertz at Thin Difference shared and unpacked, “The Self-Leadership Golden Rule and Law.” Jon also shared some reflections about “The Leadership Self-Control Rule” and “The Cost of Ineffective Self-Leadership.”


At Thin Difference, Molly Page shared about “Workplace Flexibility: From Conversation to Implementation.”

Hannah Becker wrote and shared, “Millennials: The Purpose Driven Generation.” Check out these thoughts on purpose, profession and related insights. This piece resonates well with my experience, hopes and observations for the most part. What do you think?

Emma Green shared “An Interview with the author Rachel Held Evans about her new book and searching for authenticity in the church,” asking, “Is Christianity Dark Enough for Millennials?

Pastor and blogger Erik Parker shared, “Confessions of a High Church Millennial- The Church According to ‘Friends.‘”

Friend, pastor and blogger Aaron Fuller shared this post by Aristotelis Orginos, “Social Justice Bullies: The Authoritarianism of Millennial Social Justice.” Check out this post, and see what you think.

Aaron also wrote and shared, “Not all Millennials Want to Take Over the Church: A Letter to ‘Elderly’ Churches.”

Neighbor Love

Friend and ELCA World Hunger education director Ryan P. Cumming shared some thoughts, links and reflecions about “Relief.” Check this neighbor love rich resource out.

Tom Paulson at Humanosphere shared news that “Xenophobic violence flares again in South Africa.”

Robert Christian shared news from Martin Richard’s parents at the Millennial Journal, sharing that the parents hope the justice system gives “the Boston bomber life in prison, not the death penalty.”

"Invited into my story" by Vonda Drees
“Invited into the Mystery” by Vonda Drees

Friend, artist and blogger Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past week. These included: “may our YES be love“; “How were my conversations?“; “Oh, the comfort…“; “a sense of wonder“; “Isaiah 35:5″; “Invited into the Mystery“;  “holy, common ground“; “Where did I allow myself to receive love?“; and “oh goodness…” Be sure and check out all of these beautiful reflections!

Blogger, writer and intern pastor Eric Worringer shared powerful and important neighbor love reflections in “On Being Wrong.”

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared this “Great piece on cultural appropriation.”

Bishop Michael Rinehart writes that “This week we are all Ethiopians,” in reflecting about the “Execution of Ethiopian Christians in Libya.”

Friend and seminarian Beth Wartick shared this news about a woman in Texas who is using, “Texas’ ‘religious freedom’ law to fight $2,000 fine for feeding the homeless.” (The story was also picked up here.) Again, as I have asked in this section for weeks, how is it possible that one can be fined or imprisoned for feeding the hungry and caring for those in need? These laws and ordinances are the opposite of neighbor love. All municipalities with such ordinances truly do not know what it means to care, support and love. How is it possible that such things can be lawful and constitutional? I call for all elected officials in such places to be held accountable. I also hope that if I ever find myself in such a municipality that I would continue to serve all neighbors in need, no matter the laws that might say otherwise.

Blogger RJ Grunewald shared about “Disciple-Making in the Living Room.”

Friend, blogger and communications director Hannah Heinzekehr shared some wonderful reflections “On busyness.”

John Pavlovitz shared, “Losing My Loopholes: A Meditation on Forgiveness.”

Friend, pastor and blogger Frank Johnson shared his sermon for this past weekend based on Acts 10, “God shows no partiality, but we confuse law and Gospel.”

Have you ever wondered what’s the “Secret of a 70-year marriage?” If so, check out this story about being “a good giver-inner.

Friend, blogger and musician Stephanie Johnson wrote that “Things must change.”

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

You had to think that eventually someone would take up the question and idea about “God and the Seattle Seahawks.” Well, apparently it happened last January and I must have missed it. So, Matthew Kaemingk and Christ  & Cascadia shared these propositions: Pete Carroll and a Theology of Fun; Pete Carroll and a Theology of Creative Competition; and Pete Carroll and a Theology of Community of Individuality.” There was also a follow-up post, which looked at, “Fan Worship: The Seahawks and Northwest Spirituality.” Check out both of these posts and see what you think.

Friend, pastor and blogger Diane Roth shared reflections about “Eating What is Set Before You.”

Karen Tatis notes that, “What the World Needs Now is Christian Feminism.”

David Brooks wrote and shared about, “The Moral Bucket List.”

Friend, pastor and blogger Jamie Brandt Brieske shared and wrote, “Jesus Loves Me,” with reflection on 1 John 3:1-7, especially.

Social Media & Blogging

Andy Ellis at Minnesota Connected shared a helpful post about “Being Kind Online: A Much Needed Change.”

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

As a curator this article from last summer by Maria Konnikova on “Being a Better Online Reader” caught my eye.  In a related article, I saw this one by Molly Wood, “Making Adjustments in the Search for the Perfect Newsfeed.”

Back in October Reid Bandremer shared, “The ABCs of Content- 26 Ways to Always Be Creating.”

Last summer, Gini Dietrich shared, “21 Must Haves in Your Social Media Policy.” Definitely check this out for yourself, but also for your organization, company, congregation, etc.

Friend, blogger, social media coach and communications director Carrie Gubsch shared a couple great posts to check and keep handy, including, a “Big List of Twitter Chats for Nonprofits,” as well as “10 Steps to Creating a Winning Social Media Strategy.”


Michelle at Making Sense of Cents shared a couple intriguing posts including, “Important Money Lessons my Dad taught me- Money doesn’t have to make your life miserable,” as well as a “Beginner’s Guide to Earning Passive Income.”

Friend, blogger and “Classy Frugalist,” Grace Duddy Pomroy continued her series about earning additional income with a guest blogger, Emily Joynton.

Young Adult Money shared a couple posts that got me thinking. Erin asked a life, stewardship and vocational question, “What Would You Take if Your House was on Fire?” Erin also shared, “Why Parents Should Consider Their Financial Needs First.”

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared a good pause and food for thought, especially related to creation care and environmental stewardship in his “Sunday Quote!- Ecological Ignorance.”

LEAD shared and asked an important environmental stewardship question, “What kind of a world do I want to live in anyway?

Last week (4/14/15), friend and professor Rev. Dr. Kathryn Shifferdecker shared a great reflection on the “Stewardship of Creation.” (To read this post, you will need to follow the link and then on the drop-down archive email, select 4/14/15.)


Friend, blogger and ministry leader Julia Nelson shared a number of vocationally rich posts, including her usual weekly offerings of “Tuesday Tea Time,” “Friday Favorites” and “Sunday Snippits.”

Friend, blogger and communications director Hannah Heinzekehr shared a new edition of “Femonite Bites.

Eva at Teens Got Cents shared some personal reflections and thoughts about the “Strengths Finder Assessment.” What are your strengths?

Friends Katie and Will continued to detail their experiences in South Africa on their blog, writing and reflecting about, “Excrement, statues, foreigners, and riots.”


Allison and I at Disney World (2013)
Allison and I at Disney World (2013)

If you love Disney World and/or are planning to visit it in the near future, check out these “21 Disney World Hacks For Your Family’s Dream Vacation.”

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes shared some life updates, sports thoughts and more in this “Sports Report with a Touch of Mad Men.”

If you or a friend or family member uses Netflix regularly, check out this helpful list from Kristy Puchko of “The Only 15 Netflix Hacks You’ll Ever Need.”


That will conclude this week’s edition of the links. I hope you have enjoyed them! As always, if you have questions to consider or ideas for me to unpack on the blog, please let me know. Also, if you have types of things you would like to see included in future editions of the links, please let me know that too. Until next time, thank you for reading and being part of the conversation! Blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits: The LinksBig Questions and “Invited into the Mystery.”

This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday on the blog means that I get to share some of what I have read, seen and found interesting from the past week. To help make sense of all these 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; Worship and Miscellaneous. I hope you enjoy these links!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

If you are preparing a sermon or designing worship for this coming weekend and follow the revised common lectionary, check out these reflections on Easter 3B from Bishop Michael Rinehart. Also check out the ideas from Rev. Dr. David Lose in Easter 3B: Resurrection Doubts.

If you are using the Revised Common Lectionary you might also like to check out this news from friend Beth Lewis about Augsburg Fortress’ “Year B, 2015 Resources (being) on Sale.”

Kim Hunt asked and shared, “Should Your Church Care More about Justice?” As part of this she shared “6 practical steps churches can take to get more involved in justice issues.” The steps include: recycle; go fair trade/ethical; give sacrificially; volunteer as a community; create a prayer group and visit your elected representative.

Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis shared a timely reflections and commentary for the season of Easter. She shared some reflections about doubt in “The Courage to Ask,” and also shared that post on her own blog.

Church and Social Media (#ChSocM) shared a transcript of their chat from last week on “Building Community Throughout the Easter Season.” The questions considered in the chat included, “What worked and what didn’t during Holy Week? Also, how about some self-care?”

Jeff Strickler shared about a Twin Cities in Minnesota about a church program that “offers hot soup, warm welcome.”

Are you looking for a new job opportunity? Here’s an urgent opening from the ELCA for an English Teacher in Japan. Check this out.

This post listing “5 reasons why young people are seeking old ways of doing church,” has been making the rounds the last couple of weeks. Reasons noted include: authenticity, rootedness, mystery, icons & symbolism and participation.

Sad news to share from last week as “James R. Crumley Jr., bishop of the former Lutheran Church in America” passed away, as did Rev. Beverly Conway, whom Todd Buegler remembered in “The Loss of a Friend.”

For a congregation to partner with the neighborhood, it first takes going out, meeting and listening like this.
For a congregation to partner with the neighborhood, it first takes going out, meeting and listening like this.

Karl Vaters shared some thoughts about “How Pastors and Congregations see Sundays differently- and how it changes everything.”

Christina Embree shared a couple ministry and church related posts. She reflected about “Defining ‘Success’ in Ministry,” as well as about something we have probably all heard from children, other people or possible even ourselves at times, “Church is Boring.” Check out both reflections and see what you think. How might you respond in your own context?

Joshua McElwee shared about Pope Francis and the Jubilee, writing, “Proclaiming jubilee, Francis envisions non-judging, non-condemning church.”

LEAD shared some ideas about “Sparking Collaboration between the Neighborhood and Congregation.”

In a story with insights, implications and questions for the church and ministry in the Pacific Northwest, Isolde Raftery writes, “Northwest Church Shopping: ‘It’s Kind of Like Going on a Date.'” What do you think?

Also from the Pacific Northwest, Marcie Sillman & Hannah Burn shared and asked, “What’s the Future of Religion? One Researcher Looks to Seattle for Answers.”

Blogger and pastor Jan Edmiston shared a couple interesting posts. First, she shared some humor but good ideas in asking, “Which Seminary Should You Attend?” Jan also asked a fair and important question that I hope all ministry leaders reflect about every once and a while, “Is Your Pastor a Tool?

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Azeem Azhar shared great thoughts about innovation and change in “Think Big, Start Small, Act Fast.”

Do you find yourself working often from a coffee shop? If so, here’s some perspective about productivity you may not have considered. What do you think?

From the Pacific Northwest, Kipp Robertson writes about a “Group fighting for Seattle broadband to become a public utility.”

Over at Humanosphere, Tom Murphy wrote about how “Governments (are) looking to social progress as new development benchmark,” as well as how apparently “Aid to poor countries fell” based on the findings of a recently released report.

Friend, blogger and nonprofit communications strategist Carrie Gubsch shared this article by Lisa Wirthman about “How One Nonprofit is Using Data Science to Transform Lives and Communities.”

Rob Wile shared some insights and observations about climate change, and its observance in the United States. According to this, “Florida residents are more likely to recognize man-made climate change than the average American.” Does that surprise you?

Jeannie Walters asked an important question, “Is Your Mission Customer-Focused, or an Empty Promise?

Rick Wartzman, the executive director of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University, wrote and asked about “The future of work: Say goodbye to HR?” What do you think?

The Center for Appreciative Inquiry shared this post by Robyn Stratton-Berkessel, “Investing for the greatest return.”

Anne Loehr shared, “Three Tips for Managing Communication in a Digital Context.” The tips include: define the core message and stick to it, find the right frequency and keep listening.

Leadership Thought & Practice

Connective Leadership shared this article by Daniel Goleman about “How to Be Emotionally Intelligent.” Within this is discussion about self-awareness, self-management, empathy and relationship skills.

Steve Keating shared a couple leadership reflections in “Unconventional Wisdom,” and some thought about “Your Most Expensive Employee.”

Jeff Boss shared that a “Study Reveals 4 Leadership Trends in Dealing with Complexity.” Four principles included in this post are: how we see the problem is the problem; unleash the creative beast; forget the ‘fixed’ mindset of leadership; and take a vertical and not horizontal leap into leadership development.

Julian Stodd shared a number of posts with implications across sectors and for leadership as well. These included thoughts about “The Complexity of Equality,” “Scaffolded Social Learning in action: exploring competition” and “Disruption: Catalyst of the Social Age.”

Who is Timothy? I think that's probably a fair question.
Who is Timothy? I think that’s probably a fair question.

Julian also shared a humbling post about social leadership in asking, “Who is Timothy?” That inspired my own reflection about “Social Leadership.” What do you think about social leadership? What might it mean to be a social leader or a leader in the social age?

For a story about a real servant leader, read about the life well lived of Dr. Charles “Les” Salmon, in “Prominent doctor lived a life of compassion.”

Lolly Daskal wrote, “Wear Your Life Like a Loose Garment.” Lolly writes that, “When you wear life as a loose garment, you can…”: get to the naked truth; give the shirt off your back; walk in someone’s shoes; don’t dress others down; wear your heart on your sleeve; don’t be a stuffed shirt; take off your hat; treat people with kid’s gloves; don’t keep it in your pocket and dress your best.

Cranston Holden reminds, “Get rid of your accusatory tone.”

Bob Tiede shared a guest post by Vernon Myers that “Leaders Ask Questions to Make Better Decisions.”

Dan Rockwell shared a number of great posts over the past week. These included reflections about “How Confusion Gives Way to Clarity,” “12 Ways to Deal with your Incompetent Manager,” how “Only 35% of U.S. Managers are Engaged” and “10 Phrases Incompetent Leaders Keep Saying.”

Dan also shared a post helpful for leaders and Millennials and other young leaders in “10 Ways to be a Mature Leader even if You’re Young.” Some of the ways he notes include: maintain perspective; continue striving for excellence; seek input and listen to suggestions; admit failures without making excuses; rise to service quickly and freely and commit to learning. Check out the whole post!


Jeremy Chandler shared a helpful post at Thin Difference about “The Two Best Questions Millennials Can Ask Older Leaders.” The questions that Jeremy highlighted are: What have you learned from your failure? And, who do you know that I should know? What do you think?

Also at Thin Difference, Jon Mertz shared thoughts about “A Challenge: Be a Student as Much as a Leader.” Within this Jon shares some guiding thoughts about how to be a student as much as a leader. These include learn more than you tell, learn to act better and learn to help others learn. Check out the whole post!

In one of the more depressing posts I have seen about Millennials, Anthony D’Ambrosio shared, “5 reasons we can’t handle marriage anymore.” I don’t tend to agree, but what do you think?

Broke Millennial shared some thoughts about “The Compromises Millennials Make to be Homeowners.”

Val Matta at Switch & Shift shared what I think is good advice for all leaders, but especially younger leaders like Millennials, in “The 5 People You Need to Know to Win in Business.” The people are: the role model; the career coach; the Mom; the best friend and the mentee. What do you think?

Neighbor Love

Friend, mentor and professor Rev. Dr. Matt Skinner shared this editorial from The New York Times, about “152 Innocents, Marked for Death.” How do we faithfully respond to this?

Allen Ottaro wrote that, “After Garissa Killings, Kenyan Catholics Seek Answers, Offer Solace.”

Last week marked the 70th anniversary of the date that the Nazis executed theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. With that in mind, Kristin Berkey-Abbott reflected about “Cheap grace, valued community.”

Blogger, author and pastor Clint Schnekloth shared a couple thought provoking posts. These included a recent article by him in Word and World on “The Humanity of Posts,” as well as some of his own reflections on Dietrich Bonhoeffer in “The Integrity of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: April 9th, 70 Years after his death.”

Samuel Rocha wrote and shared a “Symposium Introduction” for “Before Auschwitz- What Christian Theology Must Learn from the Rise of Nazism.”

Mike Axisa shared the neighbor love in action story of the week about how the San Diego Padres have signed a “wheelchair-using pitcher for 20th straight season” for health insurance reasons.

Friend, pastor and blogger Diane Roth shared a beautiful reflection that would serve as part of her sermon this past weekend in “But Some Doubted.”

Trevin Wax asked and pondered, “Must Christianity Change Its Sexual Ethics? History may hold the key.”

Michelle Sokol shared news about Goshen Biblical Seminary in “Mennonite seminary apologizes to victims of famed theologian John Howard Yoder.”

John Fischer reflected, “Don’t let your past control your future.”

"transformation and the story" by Vonda Drees
“transformation and the story” by Vonda Drees

Friend, artist and blogger Vonda Drees shared a whole bunch of beautiful posts over the past week. These included “What did I do today for the poor and excluded?” As well as: “God keeps loving us,” “infinite, kind, beautiful,” “breakthrough,” “transformation and the story” and “shake and shine!

Rev. Dr. Will Willimon shared more post-Easter Sunday thoughts in “Preaching after Easter- Part 2.”

Friend, blogger, ministry leader and pastor-in-waiting Emmy Kegler shared her sermon from this past weekend at Mercy Seat Lutheran, “Stories of faith in a world that wants proof.”

Elizabeth Rawlings shared important and powerful reflections and questions about “Nonviolence and rape.” She closes with the following thoughts and questions that I repeat now, “I would never, ever tell someone to accept rape. I don’t know how to tell someone to actively resist rape in a nonviolent way. I would fight with my last breath to keep myself or someone I love from being raped. I would accept beating, I would accept many things being done to me in the name of nonviolence. But not rape. How do we rectify this? How do we speak of nonviolence in cases of sexual violence? Is there a nonviolent option? Or do we accept violence as a necessary response in this world? Is nonviolence always the answer? Anyone?” What do you think?

John Pavlovitz wrote and shared about, “Why I’m Tired of Talking about the LGBT Community… and Why I Won’t Stop.”

Eric Worringer made it into the Boston Globe writing that the “Holy Week message (is) lost if we don’t take note of our own sin.”

Social Media & Blogging

Carrie, Allison and Me in my office at church
Carrie, Allison and Me in my office at church

Friend, blogger and nonprofit communications strategist Carrie Gubsch shared a few great posts with me. First, she shared “12 tactics that will boost your Facebook reach,” written by Courtney Seiter. If you use Facebook regularly, definitely check out these tips.

Carrie also shared this helpful reflection from Evan LePage about “The 3 Stages of Building Social Media Community,” as well as Chris Ip’s thoughts about “Why digital media and identity issues are a match.” Check out all of these great links and resources.

Michael Hyatt shared ideas about “How to Blog if You Don’t Have Time.” Michael highlights seven strategies in this that have worked for him, maybe they’ll be useful for you?

Over at Switch & Shift, Peter Symonds shared about “How to Use Social Media in the Post-Modern Marketing Movement.”

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

TK is back publishing on her blog, “Questioning Society with the Return of Chapter TK.”


Young Adult Money asked, “Do you know what actually affects your credit score?” Young Adult Money also shared a couple posts by Erin on “The Value in Spring Cleaning and Decluttering,” as well as “7 Actions You Can Take to Pay Off Your Debt.”

Eva at Teens Got Cents shared, “Achieve Lending- Make the most of student loans.”

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner shared, “6 Ways I Saved Money on College Costs,” as well as a reminder that the “Tax Filing Deadline is April 15th!

Allison and I at the Grand Canyon
Allison and I at the Grand Canyon, one of America’s famous National Parks and public lands.

During April each year we observe Earth Day. With this in mind, the COMPASS blog is providing space for reflections this month about environmental stewardship and creation care. To begin the series I shared this introductory post on “Earth Day, Creation Care & Stewardship.”

In a move that is quite contrary to creation care and environmental stewardship, the United States congress has threatened to sell off public lands or allow private control. If you are concerned about this like I am, please join me in telling Congress  that “America’s public lands are not for sale.” For more on this story, check out this piece by Will Rogers, “Our Land, Up for Grabs.”

In another example of environmental stewardship, check out the One Million Ways campaign from Christian Aid.

Friend, blogger and “Classy Frugalist,” Grace Duddy Pomroy shared a guest post and conversation by Cia Osterhouse on “How to Earn Additional Income.”

Stefanie at the Broke and Beautiful Life asked a deep question worth reflection, “Can privileged children become broke adults?” What do you think?


Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared her vocationally rich installments of “Friday Favorites” and “Sunday Snippits.”

Jamie, “the very Worst Missionary,” shared “Giving Life to Life-Giving Work.”

Friends Katie and Will shared some updates first about rugby in “Scrum! Ruck! Maul!” And also, “Happy Easter, Mephibosheth gets to eat!

Belle Beth Cooper shared some great ideas for personal growth and reflection in “Growth through reflection: The ultimate guide to writing monthly reviews.”

Friend, blogger and photographer Jessica Young shared about “a little reading in the new year.”

Justin Irving shared, “Let Your Life Speak- How to Understand Your Vocational Call.”

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes shared an interesting post with kind of a sadly humorous question for a title, “But How Will It Look On My Resume?


Justin Rimbo and Clay Schmit wrote and reflected, “Moving beyond worship wars: We have capacity to make worship come alive in fresh ways.”

If you like choral music, check out John Rutter on “The Importance of Choir.”


If you like visiting National Parks like I do, check out this news about a new app in, “App Alert: Explore National Parks with Your Own Private Tour Guide.”

In celebration of the baseball season finally being underway, here’s a shoutout to all the Cubs fans out there, and how Garrison Keillor thinks they might be who they are because they are a Lutheran team. What do you think?


That will conclude this week’s links. I hope you have enjoyed them. As always, if there are questions or ideas that you would like me to think about on the blog, please let me know. Also, if there are types of things you would like to see included in future editions of the links, please let me know that too. Until next time, thank you for reading and being part of the conversation! Blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits: The Links and “transformation and the story.”

Social Leadership

New headshot
“Who is Timothy?” Fair question.

Last week I was greatly humbled by blogger and thinker Julian Stodd when Julian wrote and reflected in “Who is Timothy?” Julian and I have never met in person, but are connected through social media. I have found much of Julian’s thoughts, reflections and questions over the past couple of years thought provoking and helpful for my own thought. So, thank you Julian for last week’s post, and please allow me to return the favor. Also, if you don’t yet follow Julian’s blog, please start following it!

I want to share a few thoughts in building off of that post by Julian. Each Tuesday I offer a regular post called, “This Week’s Links.” This began almost two years ago now as an idea and way to share some of the things I found interesting in the preceding week. I didn’t know how long I would continue this practice, but as I do so, I have discovered that it has been one of the more appreciated things I offer on this blog. Julian is right when he says it is an act of “curation, interpretation and sense making.” I like to share. It’s part of my stewardship. But on a self-serving side, sharing all of these pieces like this, allows me to find them in the future for further work or research.

Julian writes and reflects frequently on “social leadership.” I haven’t written much in this area necessarily, though I do offer thoughts about leadership and leadership perspectives. To make some sense out of this though, consider what Julian wrote:

“Timothy and i are not the same: his worldview and mine are not the same. We may be aligned in values, aligned by curiosity, aligned in our intent, but our specific views on a given article or situation may not be the same. Which is the value of community: diversity of thought, diversity of perspective, diversity of opinion. But united in shared values and shared purpose. In this case, our shared values are around curiosity and making sense of the world.”

connective leadership book
In some ways this idea of social leadership is like the concept of Connective Leadership discerned and coined by my professor, mentor and friend Dr. Jean Lipman-Blumen

Leadership for me involves bringing a diversity of perspective to the table. This is community, true, but good leadership intentionally seeks out diversity in order to be able to have the widest vision, buy-in, and deepest connection. Leadership is not about bringing people who are all alike or think alike around the same table. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. The only way for innovation and new ideas to occur, are for them to be challenged by different perspectives and ways of thinking and doing things. I deeply believe this is imperative for the sake of the common good. (However you may define that term.)

In thinking specifically about social leadership, Julian lifts up the idea of “co-creation.” This is collaboration at its finest. Even when we may not set out to intentionally work together, through the sharing of ideas and questions we are in essence not only collaborating together, but also creating and sharing.

To share one’s story is risky. It takes courage. But it also invites participation. This is a true benefit of our social age that we live in, with the means to more easily share our stories across time and space through blogs and social media. Julian puts it well by noting about this, “Loose social ties across vast distances: united by interests. Unafraid to share our stories.”

In this Social Age, our thoughts and ideas are shared and connected with others. They are processed, questioned, put into practice, remixed and interpreted. This has hopefully been the case with all thought throughout history. It just so happens that in today’s world, through the access we have, we are able to go through this process a lot quicker through instantaneous posting and sharing.

Social Leadership for me then, is reflective especially of three things:

  1. A willingness to share.
  2. A desire to be connected, and part of something bigger than ourselves.
  3. A desire to learn and grow.

Social leadership for me is not about just putting information out there, or selling and marketing. Rather, it is about a desire to as Julian puts it, “co-create,” and learn together for the sake of the larger world we live in.

What do you think? What does social leadership mean to you? What might it look like?