Tuesday 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. As you might expect with this being the week after Holy Week and Easter Sunday there are quite a few reflections and posts related to that. To help make sense of those and all of the links, I have grouped them by the following topic 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
On Good Friday, “The Primate of Kenya (shared this message) on the Garrissa University attack,” where 147 people, mostly students, were killed in a siege that targeted Christians.
Rev. Dr. David Lose asks some great questions in “Inspiration for daily life: A preacher asks what do you want from a sermon?” Among the great questions he reflects on is, “Must sermons be monologues?” Check out these thoughts and questions! David also shared some Holy Week themed reflection in thinking about “Why is this week called ‘Holy?‘” as well as, “Why ‘Maundy’ Thursday?”
In thinking more about Holy Week, especially as it relates to faith and inter-generational ministry, Christina Embree writes, “Don’t Shield Kids from Good Friday; it’s what makes Easter Really Alive.” What do you think?
Friend, pastor and blogger Frank Johnson shared an important and powerful Easter sermon grounded in Matthew 28:1-10, “Wake Up! An Easter sermon for a sleepy church.” This is so powerful that I need to share a few excerpts for you. Frank writes, “We need to wake up. We need to care. Not because the church is dying, and not because Christianity is slipping away. It’s not (in spite of the narrative spun by too many preachers and secularists alike). There are over two billion Christians in the world—more than at any other time in history. The major change in the last forty years has been that those Christians now come from places where life-or-death questions are still at the front of peoples’ minds. Christianity is leaving the western world of comfort for the marginalized world of Africa and Asia, which should give us pause…Wake up. It’s Easter morning, and the candy doesn’t matter; the dinner doesn’t matter. Those little comforts of the day do not matter, because without an understanding that we are resurrection people, that we live in a world that is irretrievably broken, that we will try to make it all add up and it won’t work; without understanding that the only hope we have is an empty tomb, nothing else matters. If Christ is not risen, then nothing else matters. Your life will be forgotten; your children will die, perhaps even before you. But if Christ is risen, then nothing else matters either. So trust him and trust him now. Then, we can live. Then we can have hope. Then the messed up course of history is just a prelude to something different.” Check out and reflect deeply on the whole sermon.
Alison Morrow shared a report and story about how “Theologians study Seattle for the future of ‘church.‘” Check out the video and report.
Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Dan Peterson launched a new website and resource called KeepQuestioning.org. Be sure and check this out!
In an example of what not to do as a person, let alone as a pastor, see this awful story from Wisconsin about one pastor’s content in comments over a blog and through email.
The Pew Research Center released some interesting and thought provoking projections last week about “The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050.” In a related post Michael Lipka shared “7 key changes in the global religious landscape.” Check these both out!
If you love choral music, and especially church choral music, check out this piece on Anton Armstrong, the choir director at Saint Olaf College.
Rev. Robert Schuller passed away last week. He was the longtime pastor of the Crystal Cathedral in Southern California.
Friend, pastor, blogger, wrestler and chaplain (among many other things) Aaron Fuller wrote and shared, “You’ve been drafted, now what? 5 Tips for Navigating First Call.” Aaron’s great tips include: chuck the “pastor/spiritual/theological” language; interviewing goes both ways; be prepared to say no and while challenging the process should be exciting. Check out this post for all of Aaron’s tips and ideas. What tips might you add?
Sarah Pulliam Bailey shared news that on Easter Sunday, “Civil rights leader, friend of MLK and iconic preacher Gardner C. Tayler” passed away.
As someone who is a sort of non-pastor church leader, I find this post about “Why We Should Formally Recognize the Vocation of Lay Ecclesial Ministry” from the Millennial Journal very interesting.
Have you ever wondered why the internet is more expensive in the United States than in Europe? Check out this expansive article with lots of maps and graphics from Allan Holmes and Chris Zubak-Skees to learn more and see what you think.
Julian Stodd wrote and shared, “From Complexity to Chaos: a lens on the Social Age.”
Friend and pastor Rev. Dr. Brian Mundt shared this interesting piece from The New Yorker by Hua Hsu, “A Guide to Thesis Writing that is a Guide to Life.” What do you think?
Leadership Thought & Practice
Patricia Overland shared “Mindfulness and Leadership: Three Easy Ways to Be a Better Leader.” The three ways highlighted are: practice deep breathing, lessen distractions and notice when your inner talk goes off topic.
As last week was the first week of April, you also may have observed (and survived) April Fool’s jokes. With that in mind, Niall McCarthy shared that “Bosses are set to Escape the majority of April Fool’s Day Pranks.” Did you pull a prank or joke? Or did you experience one perhaps?
Bob Tiede shared a guest post by Perry Noble featuring “Five Questions Leaders Must Ask.” The questions highlighted include: Who have I encouraged lately? Do I care more about who people are becoming or what they are doing? What is the one problem that I know I need to deal with… but have been putting off because it is too painful? Do I cause fear and uncertainty or joy and excitement when I walk into a room?
In Minnesota 11 protesters have been charged for a protest that was held at the Mall of America back in December. Jim Walsh provides a helpful introduction and overview in “Meet the Mall of America 11.” Thanks to friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess for first sharing this story with me. I am sharing this story under leadership because I believe that these 11 protesters are leaders, drawing attention to serious societal and world issues. The way the city of Bloomington and the Mall of America are responding is an example of failed leadership. For a further example of this, see this story about “Mall of America hashtag #ItsMyMall backfires.” Until the Mall of America and city of Bloomington drop all charges and admit their stupidity in the way they have handled this, I will continue to boycott and refrain from shopping or visiting the mall.
Do you experience “Time Thieves” which get in the way of your productivity? Cranston Holden shares some thoughts in highlighting: busy work, smart phones, television and people who just want to hang out. What do you think?
Kelly Batke wrote and shared, “Leading On Careers: Why It’s So Hard to be Yourself at Work.”
Brian Dodd shared a list of “20 Things Leaders Need Around Them.” Some of the things that Brian highlights are that: Leaders need a great team around them; leaders need friends that they can “be real” with; leaders need time to prepare; leaders need people who get things done; leaders need to be calm in challenging times; leaders need purpose, a higher caller; leaders need to embrace change and leaders need to embrace change. Check out this post to see the whole list.
Joel Gascoigne shared “A Simple Guide to Better Coaching and Feedback in Your Company.”
Lolly Daskal wrote and shared, “The Most Useful Leadership Guide to Managing Your Moods” and “7 Reasons Why Your Work Place Sometimes Feels Like High School.” Lolly notes the following reasons: the daily grind; cliques and exclusion; climbing the social ladder; drama club; rampant gossip; authority rules and competition forever. What do you think of these possible reasons? Do you experience your workplace like this sometimes?
Here are some helpful thoughts on how to “Manage Change in a Hyper-Changing World.”
Also at Switch and Shift, Jon Mertz wrote and shared, “5 Ways to Move a Culture to a Community.” Jon highlights: citizenship; a serving approach; lead from anywhere; accountability- large and small; and local to global.
Thin Difference shared a guest post by Stephanie C.N., “3 Things Highly Successful People Master Consistently.” The things noted are: your beliefs/thoughts, your emotions and your actions.
Alison Green wrote and shared about “5 Workplace Stereotypes about Millennials that Aren’t True.” The stereotypes she debunked are that Millennials: are entitled and don’t want to pay their dues; need special hand-holding at work and are high maintenance; all Millennials are great at social media; Millennials are job hoppers and because Millennials grew up with the internet and social media they have no concept of privacy. Check out this great post!
Chelsea Krost shared a post by Courtney Benisch asking, “Are You Up to the Challenge to be a Millennial Entrepreneur?”
Friend, blogger, pastor and Ph.D. student Amanda Brobst-Renaud shared her Good Friday reflection, “There Are No Disciples Here.”
Bishop Michael Rinehart shared a couple neighbor love themed posts in sharing some reflections about “Maundy Thursday,” as well as “The Incarceration of Children and Other Abominations.”
Friend, artist and blogger Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past week. These included: “Did I remember the dead today?“; “nets to towels“; “Isaiah 53:4-6“; “this day when we wait“; “Christ is risen!“; “Colossians 1:17” and “holy everywhere!”
Friend, pastor and blogger Frank Johnson shared his Maundy Thursday sermon based on Matthew 26:17-30, “Eating as religious exercise,” as well as his Maundy Thursday sermon, “Not a transaction but a promise,” based on Matthew 27.
Rachel Held Evans shared a nice series during Holy Week about the Holy Week. The five part series included reflections about: “Why the Women Matter,” “The Woman at Bethany Anoints Jesus,” “Mary’s Heart is Pierced (Again),” “The Women Wait” and “Mary Sees the Risen Lord.”
Friend, pastor and blogger Diane Roth shared beautiful reflections about “Holy Week” and “Hands Outstretched.” Read both of these posts. The “Hands Outstretched” reflection was used in Diane’s Maundy Thursday sermon, and boy is that a moving and powerful image and story!
Here’s a good question and invitation to be part of something beautiful from Bethesda Lutheran Communities, “What makes you human?”
LEAD shared a Holy Week themed reflection and devotional asking, “Are you able to drink the cup I am about to drink?”
Rev. for Real?! shared, “Truth about Holy Week for Me…Getting Real with Myself.” What do you think?
If you are looking for a little Maundy Thursday humor, check out this great post from 2013 by Chas Gillespie, the “Official Meeting Minutes from the Last Supper.”
Friend and blogger Margaret Ellsworth shared a powerful and moving post about “Singing in the Face of Death.” Within this Margaret writes and asks, “It’s harder to sing alleluia now than it has been in other Easter seasons. I do know the song by heart though, from singing it in other years. And if Easter songs aren’t true now, what good are they? If now isn’t the time to sing loudly in the face of death—when is?” Margaret, know that we’re holding you and your family in our prayers.
In a story with tons of neighbor love, social justice and creation care implications, Tim Maughan shares about “The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust.”
Last week I shared a ton of links related to the Religious Freedom law in Indiana. As you might expect, there were more things written and will continue to be some more. Ben Dreyfuss shared that, “The Largest Newspaper in Indiana Just Made One ____ of a Statement.” Nate Pyle wondered and pondered about whether the “Outrage over RFRA Might be a Fear of Christians.” Jonathan Merritt shared a post by Aaron Weaver, writing that “Not all RFRAs are created equal: What’s different about Indiana’s controversial law.” Writer, blogger and pastor Clint Schnekloth shared some good reflections “On Religious Freedom: Yours and Mine and Ours Together.” Erin Sullivan shared some reflections as well about “Indiana and the Freedom of the Gospel.” Also, Reconciling Works shared “Lutherans against ‘License to Discriminate’ laws.”
North Dakota, a state near and dear to my family, has been in the news over the past week for all of the wrong reasons. Amy Iler puts it in good perspective in writing, “We’re sorry you had to listen to that…”
Friends Katie and Will shared an update on their experiences in South Africa, as well as some Holy Week related reflections in “Religion’s Bad Taste.”
Nuri Vallbona wrote and shared that these “Faith leaders call for end to ‘harsh policy’ of detaining immigrant families.
Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Matthew Skinner shared the news from Alan Blinder that an “Alabaman Man (Anthony Ray Hinton, who had been very wrongly arrested and convicted was finally) freed after decades on Death Row.” After his release, he is quoted as saying that the case’s prosecutors will “Answer to God.”
Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin writes that “The war against Christians must end!”
Pastor Nancy shared and asked, “You Thought You Could Ruin Our Easter?” Definitely check this post out!
Friend, pastor and blogger Stephanie Vos writes that “There is Arrogance in Forgiveness.” Stephanie concludes powerfully, “So go ahead and be selfish – forgive like crazy. Let go of your grip on the past and instead extend your open hands and open heart to the world.” Check out the whole piece and see what you think.
Social Media & Blogging
My wife Allison Siburg shared a brilliant reflection I hope you read about “Storytellers and standing in the presence of the big question: who am I?” There isn’t much bigger of a vocational question than that. Check this out, and see, reflect and discover for yourself.
Do you love the Muppets? How could you not? Anyway, here’s great news for you, “ABC is Developing a New Muppets Variety Show.”
Do you travel often? If so, check out these “40 Must-See Travel Tips” that might “change your life forever.”
That will conclude this week’s edition of the links, I hope you have enjoyed them! As always if you have particular things you would like me to think about on the blog, or things to include in the future editions of the links, please let me know. Until next time, thank you for reading and blessings on your week! -TS