This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday on the blog means that I get to share some of what I have read and found interesting over the past week with all of you. To help make sense of all these links I have grouped them by 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

For those of you preparing a sermon or worship for this coming weekend, I have some helpful resources for you. If your congregation follows the revised common lectionary, check out these thoughts and reflections on “Pentecost 6B” from Bishop Michael Rinehart.

Also, check out this great reflection from friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis, “And the Gospel Is? Hospitality.” I love Karoline’s conclusion where she writes, “A theology of hospitality requires a reassessment of everything — practices, language, and symbols; rituals, confessions, and flags; sacraments, rulings, and where we falsely assume power is located. But it’s worth it. Because to experience the kind of hospitality that Jesus has in mind is to experience the love of our God — so deep, so wide, so huge; the love of our God which shows mercy no matter what; the love of our God which became flesh so that the doors of the divine heart might be flung open to all.”

If your congregation follows the narrative lectionary, check out these thoughts and reflections in friend Rev. Dr. Rolf Jacobson’s “Commentary on Psalm 146:1-10.”

Pastor and blogger Jan Edmiston wrote and shared, “Sorry. Not Sorry. (A Post for Women in Churches).”

Friend and communications director Hannah Heinzekehr is super excited for this week’s Mennonite Church USA Convention. For all those attending, she offers an invitation to “Meetup” to “talk gender justice, anti-oppression, the happenings at convention and to just say hello and gather with new and old friends alike.” If you are going to be there, definitely get to know Hannah!

Hannah also shared this post and poem, “It Stops with Me,” by Sarah Ann Bixler, responding to the question, “How can you imagine the church transformed through the work of the Women in Leadership Project?”

Church and Social Media (#ChSocM) shared a transcript of its twitter chat from last week discussing, “Social Media During Challenging Times and Timeline Interactions.”

Friend, pastor and blogger Diane Roth shared a wonderful reflection about “Grace.”

The ELCA has assembled and released for review resources for thinking about and discussing “Women and Justice.” What do you think of these?

Friend and pastor Rachel Ringlaben made the news in New Orleans in “New Latino Lutheran ministry to serve New Orleans area.”

The Millennial Journal shared the news this morning that the “Schedule (has been) released for Pope Francis’ Trip to the US.”

Congratulations and blessings are in order for the Episcopalian Church and to its newly elected bishop, Bishop Michael Curry.

The LEAD group gathered together having fun like we did the whole weekend at the E!
Neil is pictured here at the right of this group of leaders with LEAD.

Friend and director of Camp Hope, Neil Christians shared a good reflection on what is, and what is not “Youth Leadership” over on the LEAD blog.

Pastor and blogger Nurya Love Parish wrote and shared, “Murder in Charleston: The Episcopal Church is Responding (and needs your help).”

Friend and blogger Ian McConnell shared some big questions “Straight from the Lips of Young People.”

Speaking of young people, friend, pastor and mission developer Melissa Melnick wrote and shared, “And the Children Shall Lead.

Friend and pastor Todd Buegler shared a guest post by pastor Paul Amlin about the ELCA’s upcoming National Youth Gathering, explaining “Why You Should Watch the Live Stream from Detroit (and ideas for doing so).”

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Friend from college and marketing and retail strategist Krista Gunstone explained about “How Starbucks Pioneered Mobile and Reaped Rewards.” The post was also shared here.

Chris Cillizza why he thinks last week “was the best week of President Obama’s presidency.”

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes offers a little water on that parade, however, in reflecting on “What the Affordable Care Act Gets Wrong.”

Blogger and social leadership theorist and practitioner Julian Stodd shared reflections in “Squatting,” and about “Social Learning: Birth of a Community.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Warning Sign
Warning Sign

Sir Richard Branson shared about what he sees as “The next decade of good disruptions.”

Lolly Daskal shared “6 Warning Signs that You’re Failing as a Leader and How to Avoid It.” The warning signs she expands on are: you’ve become complacent and stagnant; you concentrate more on failure than success; you take more than you give; you make your mistakes feel more significant than your lessons; you seek easy instead of challenging yourself; and you hang out in your comfort zone instead of learning and growing.

Justin Irving shared reflections about the leadership practice of “Communicating with Clarity.”

Back in March, Annie McKee wrote that “Empathy is Key to a Great Meeting.”

Dan Rockwell shared a few great leadership reflections, including thoughts about “How to Reach the Ultimate Goal of Leadership,” “How Organizations become Great at Developing Great People,” and “16 Ways to Get to the Truth.”

Tanveer Naseer shared a guest post by Dr. Nancy O’Reilly about “6 Internal Sources of Strength for Leaders to Develop.”

Jeannie Walters explained “The 5 Customer Leadership Competencies Every CCO Must Embrace.” The competencies highlighted are: honor and manage customers as assets; align around experience; build a customer listening path; proactive experience reliability and innovation; leadership, accountability and culture.

Dorie Clark wrote and asked, “Social Leadership: Are We There Yet?

Steve Keating wrote, “Don’t Worry about Mistakes and Problems,” and “Leadership Runs Downhill.”

In a good post from last summer, Jesse Singal wrote that “Companies with Diverse Boards Take Fewer Reckless Risks.”

Dan Forbes and Lead with Giants shared a guest post by Henna Inam explaining, “Why I Wrote a Book about Authenticity.”

Over at Thin Difference, Heidi Oran reflected in “Avoiding Complacency, Embracing Leadership.”

Millennials

Jon Mertz, also over at Thin Difference, shared about “MCON: Millennial Influence Rising, A Legacy to Leverage.”

Anne Loehr shared a very helpful “Nine Tips for Millennials to be Taken More Seriously at Work.” The tips include: let people talk about themselves and listen to them carefully; work on tone, grammar and overall rhetoric, edit ruthlessly; know what’s going on in the world; be both humble and confident; brush up on business etiquette, dress like a professional; display accountability; show conviction, don’t always say yes; keep posture open and upright; and be way more prepared than you think you need to be, every time.

Eric Worringer shared this look by Elizabeth Segran, “Inside Marriott’s Attempt to Win Over Millennials.”

Brigid Schulte wrote that, “Millennials are actually more generous than anybody realizes.”

Dr. Lisa Wade wrote that, “Millennials are No Less Racist than Generation X.” What do you think?

Neighbor Love

Friend, pastor and blogger Stephanie Vos shared a couple thought provoking posts over at the Salt Collective with implications for relationships, life and gender. First she wrote, “Feminists for #RealMen.” Stephanie also wrote and shared, “Stop Tryin’ to Put A Ring on It.” Check out both posts, see what you think and join the conversation.

Also at the Salt Collective, Rozella White wrote and shared about, “When I Found Out Dylann Roof was Raised in My Church.” I acknowledged and wrestled with that also in a recent sermon.

Rachel Held Evans wrote, “Repenting of ‘Colorblindness.'”

Pastor and blogger Clint Schnekloth wrote that, “We have a lot of work to do (#blacklivesmatter).” Clint also wrote and shared about, “The Non-Application Gospel.”

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared a great and helpful list of “Resources related to Charleston.”

Nate Pyle wrote that, “Removing the Flag is a Start, But it Won’t Kill the Monster.”

Despite news about the “Confederate flag” coming down, and a call to remove it, it was raised again over the weekend. In response to this a brave and courageous woman, Bree Newsome, climbed the flag pole and removed the “Confederate flag in front of SC statehouse.” Cousin Erin Parks also shared this post and exclusive from Bree Newsome.

Friend Ian McConnell shared a sermon from Babette Chatman, “Let’s Be Fair.”

"Walking each other home" by Vonda Drees
“Walking each other home” by Vonda Drees wrote and detailed, “.”

Tiffany Stanley wrote and detailed, “For Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E., a Legacy of Hope and Resistance.”

Friend, pastor and blogger Aaron Fuller shared his sermon for this past weekend based on Psalm 40, “Struggle in these exciting times.”

Greg Howard wrote that “President Obama took him to church,” in his eulogy and message at the funeral for Rev. Clementa Pinckney. Speaking of the eulogy, you can watch and listen to it in its entirety here.

Friend, blogger and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past week. These include: “green wonder”; “respirar la vida ~ breathe life“; “embraced by the big story“; “walking each other home“; “the gift of yourself“; “I want to see the foundation“; and “liberation.”

For something totally different, Beatrice Gitau wrote about something you might see today in, “Star of Bethlehem? Jupiter and Venus Converge in night sky.”

Pastor and blogger Timothy Brown wrote about “Walking with Tragedy in One Hand and Hope in the Other.”

Kayla Koterwski wrote about, “The Day Grief and Celebration Walked Together.”

Speaking of celebration, news broke on Friday morning of the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, legalizing it nationwide.

In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding same-sex marriage, Wesley Hill wrote and shared a thoughtful perspective in “Hoping for Love.”

Also in response, Benjamin Corey wrote that, “Gay Marriage is the Law of the Land- And God isn’t Going to Freak Out About It.” I think there’s good food for thought and perspective here. What do you think?

Blogger and pastor Nancy wrote and asked, “Do I hear bells ringing?

Jeffrey Salkin wrote that, “My aunts would have loved the Supreme Court marriage ruling.”

Friend, pastor and mission developer Melissa Melnick wrote about being an “Accidental Ally.”

Bishop Michael Rinehart wrote that, “The Wall on our Southern Border is Built on Racism and a Myth.”

Friend, blogger and communications strategist Carrie Gubsch shared this post by Ben Connor on “The Giving and Receiving of Hospitality.”

Social Media & Blogging

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared his version of the links for his last week with his “Really Recommended Posts.” I’m grateful that one of my posts from last week was included. Thank you J.W.!

I also shared another post, reflecting about “Reunions, Memories and Social Media.”

Stewardship

Friend, professor and mentor Dr. Terri Elton shared a great set of 7 TED talks “On generosity.”

The COMPASS blog continued its June series about how to have fun during the summer while on a budget. Nicole Brennan from the Barnabas Foundation shared a two-part series with tips for travel and vacations on a budget. Nicole shared, “Tips for Travel, Vacations, or Staycations on a Budget,” as well as “More Tips for Travel on a Budget.”

Friend and Classy Frugalist, Grace Duddy Pomroy shared good thoughts on “How to Host a Frugal Party.”

Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, Bishop Elizabeth Eaton wrote, “Unglamorous yet vital: Our relationship with money is a profoundly spiritual issue.”

Vocation

Friends Katie and Will shared an update from their journey and time abroad in “There Is Something in Our Ceiling.” That reminds me of the creature that lived in the wall in my seminary apartment building a few years ago.

Not only instructions for life, but according to Allison, instructions for CPE.
Not only instructions for life, but according to Allison, instructions for CPE.

My wife Allison Siburg shared some life and vocational updates and reflections about “Coloring books and being a chaplain.” I’m biased of course, but I love Allison’s writing and storytelling. For example, she wrote, “But for now I’m just trying to be as much Allison as I can while also being a chaplain. I’m sure some use CPE to “try on” what it means or feels like to be a pastor or a chaplain. I don’t think that’s for me. What I think is working, is being myself, while showing up in the world through this vocation as a chaplain/pastor. Who knew it took so much courage to show up as yourself. But it’s a good challenge, a good opportunity. And I get to use colored pencils and talk about where we want to live when we grow up. I’m not sure what’s next. I just know who will be there: 1. Allison, and 2. God.”

Adrianne Jamieson wrote that “PLU’s Twin Cities Alumni Chapter Screens Award-Winning Media Lab Film.”

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared a couple of her regular installments of “Tuesday Tea Time,” and “Sunday Snippets.”

From the Twin Cities, Aimee Blanchette wrote that, “Weatherman Jerrid Sebesta forecasts a bright future after dropping out of the rat race.”

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes wrote and shared, “What I Got Wrong about Professional Golf.”

Miscellaneous

Friend, math teacher and Mariners blogger Tim Chalberg shared a few great posts with plenty of food for thought about: Taijuan “Walker’s Progress“; the exciting news that “Death to Flying Things” returned; and about how the “Mariners Could Exploit a Seller’s Market.” It’s hard to argue with that, especially since the Mariners found a new way to lose on Sunday, a walk-off by a wild pitch. Ouch.

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That will wrap up this week’s edition of the links. I hope you have enjoyed them! Next week’s edition may be delayed a bit because of the 4th of July weekend, but we’ll see. Until next time, thank you for reading and being part of the conversation! Blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits: The Links; Warning Sign; “walking each other home” and “Instructions for living a life.”

Reunions, Memories and Social Media

First day of kindergarten... long, long ago (before social media)
First day of kindergarten… long, long ago (before social media).

A couple of weekends ago, many of my peers and colleagues from high school gathered together for a reunion. If I lived closer, I would probably have been there with them. It was a little sad to not be there to gather, catch-up and hear about all of the awesome things my friends have been up to these past few years.

At the same time, I am reminded of how grateful I am for social media. At the very least social media helps stay mildly in touch with my friends- in their stories, journeys, triumphs, challenges and changes. It helps to transcend the distance across states, countries and continents.

Social Media also helps to see some of the stories these wonderful people whom I shared classes with and many of whom we spent long days in many different schools together, are up to. I’m so proud of all these peers and friends who have gone on, following their dreams and vocational callings. Some have become chemists, doctors and nurses, financial advisers, lawyers, ministry leaders, professional musicians or photographers, professors, tech and website developers, teachers, people serving their country proudly in the armed forces… I suppose that is like most graduating classes from high school or college. However, I felt like this graduating class was a special group when we graduated from high school and I still think so, these years later seeing what all of us have been up to.

Signing yearbooks on the last day of high school. (I figured it was safer to just share my own photos than to inadvertently share older pictures of others without their permission.)
Signing yearbooks on the last day of high school.

It is funny but important to think about social media. This graduating class from high school graduated just at the same time that Facebook was becoming a popular tool for college students to use, and shortly thereafter, anyone really. I remember that first summer after high school, waiting to receive my college email address in order to set up a Facebook account, and then looking for all those friends from my hometown who I wanted to “friend” on Facebook. I know I wasn’t alone in this.

I didn’t expect that I would use social media like I do today. I couldn’t have imagined that I would use it like I do today. I didn’t imagine maintaining a blog as a place of conversations and questions. Social Media has come a long way since high school and the start of college. It has become a norm in the way we do things and it will continue to be part of people’s lives.

I have found that for me, social media is a complimentary part of being a social leader, and connecting and being in relationship with others. I am grateful for it, because I still feel that I am somehow connected to my friends from home who, like me, have gone off following their dreams near and far.

Finally to all those remembering and reuniting- blessings, cheers and thank you for being friends and an inspiration! 

A note about the pictures: I figured it was safer to just share my own photos than to inadvertently share older pictures of others without their permission.

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 make sense of the links, I have grouped them by 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 the links.

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

For those of you preparing for worship or a sermon for this upcoming weekend, and following the revised common lectionary check out these reflections and ideas from Bishop Michael Rinehart on “Pentecost 5B.” Also, definitely read this reflection in your preparation and study from friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis on “Falling from Graces,” and check out “Pentecost 5B: Known and Named,” from Rev. Dr. David Lose.

If you are preparing for worship and following the Narrative Lectionary, check out this “Commentary on Psalm 40:1-10,” by professor Rev. Dr. Rolf Jacobson.

The largest story, in my opinion, both within church and ministry thought as well as under neighbor love this past week, was the hate crime and massacre at Mother Emanuel AME in Charleston, South Carolina. Because of this, there will be a high number of related posts under both sections this week.

For ministry leaders preparing this past weekend, or anytime, to respond to the hate crime as well as racism in our society and church, Odyssey Networks shared a number of “Preaching Reflections on the Charleston, SC, Shooting.” Among those with reflections in this includes friends and professors: Rev. Dr. Eric Barreto, Rev. Dr. Matthew Skinner, Rev. Dr. Dirk Lange, Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis, and Rev. Dr. John Nunes.

In response to Charleston, Carolyn Winfrey Gillette wrote lyrics to the tune of the hymn “Beneath the Cross of Jesus,” which she has invited anyone to use and share in worship, “They Met to Read the Bible.”

Charleston SaintsPresiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Bishop Elizabeth Eaton shared a letter in response to Charleston, and I shared that letter on my blog here.

Blogger and pastor Nurya Love Parish wrote, “Murder in Charleston: The Episcopal Church Must Respond.”

Bishop Michael Rinehart shared this post about “The Rev. Honorable Clementa Pinckney” and a memoriam to “The Charleston Victims.”

Additionally, friend and seminarian Ian McConnell shared, “The Call for White Clergy to preach ‘Black Lives Matter.'” Pastor and blogger Lura N. Groen wrote and shared about “White worship after violent racism.” Pastor Emily Scott wrote and shared, “Preaching While White: This Sunday’s Lectionary and Emanuel AME.” And pastor and blogger Jan Edmiston shared, “I Don’t Know What You’re Talking About.”

In other topics, Bishop Michael Rinehart shared news that, “Israeli Settlers Allegedly Burn the Church of the Loaves and Fishes.”

Meghan Clark at the Millennial Journal shared about “Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home,” the recent release of Pope Francis‘ “environmental encyclical.” In a related post, Natasha Geiling shared that, “The Pope’s Encyclical isn’t the first time the Catholic Church has spoken out on the environment.”

Friend and director of LEAD, Peggy Hahn shared thoughts about “Vision.”

Pastor and writer Clint Schnekloth shared, “[All] [Are] [Welcome]: New Media and Ministry.”

Pastor and blogger Nancy, pondered and reflected about “Why do we worship?

Friend and pastor Brian Mundt shared this thought provoking post by Patrick Scriven who wrote that “The Church Needs More Innovative Pastors like MTV needs more Twerking.” What do you think?

Ron Edmondson shared about “7 of the Most Dangerous Church Cultures I’ve Observed.” The seven cultures that Ron highlights are: selfish, prideful, rigid, cliquish, bullying, stingy and depraved.

Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Dwight Zscheile shared reflections and observations about “The Stories Beneath the Structures.”

Church and Social Media (#ChSocM) shared a transcript of their weekly chat, featuring discussion about “Mid-Year Assessment of Digital Ministry Efforts.”

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared a helpful detail and overview of the silence from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis related to the sexual abuse of priests, an MPR investigation entitled, “Betrayed by Silence.”

Finally, for today’s random link, how would you feel about sleeping in a church while traveling in England?

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Blogger and social leadership writer Julian Stodd shared about “Stories of Change,” and good food for thought related to “The Co-Creation of Stories: Handle With Care.” Julian also shared some more social leadership pondering and reflection in, “An Imperfect Humanity?

Michael Hiltzik detailed sadly about “From Wisconsin to California, the decline of public higher ed continues.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Tanveer Naseer shared a guest post by Dr. Alan Zimmerman detailing “2 Techniques that Transform Leadership Communication.”

Justin Irving shared about the leadership practice of “Understanding Relational Skills.”

Dan Rockwell shared about “When it’s Time to Adapt Rather than than Persist,” as well as reflections about “The Ultimate Pursuit.”

Cranston Holden reflected about “Why meetings are boring and how to make them interesting.

Steve Keating reflected about “How Leaders Think,” as well as “The Truth about Multitasking.”

Paul Jun explained about “Why Self-Awareness Is the Secret Weapon for Habit Change.”

Anne Loehr wrote and shared, “Italy Talgam: An Interview with the Leadership Maestro.”

Jesse Lipon shared reflections in this video about “The Galvanizing Power of a ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal.'”

Drew Hendricks shared a list of “15 Quotes from Famous Female CEOs and Entrepreneurs,” which will likely prove inspirational, challenging and thought provoking.

Dan Forbes shared a guest post by Ron McIntyre asking, “Are Soft Skills Overrated?

Bob Tiede shared a guest post by Don Metznik listing, “The Top 25 Questions Great Leaders Ask.” Check out these questions and put them into practice in your own leadership.

Jon Mertz at Thin Difference pondered, “How Do Holacracy and Freedom Collide?

Millennials

Michelle Silverthorn shared great thoughts about “Recognizing Millennial Leadership.” Particular attention is given to the leadership reality, a leadership disconnect, and discovering Millennial Leadership. Check out this post and see what you think.

Over at Thin Difference, Molly Page reflected about “How Millennials Are Changing the Way We Work.”

Friend Dr. Dawn Rundman and her husband musician Jonathan Rundman shared their recent podcast, “Creativity Drill,” with thoughts about Millennials and creativity as well.

The Millennial Journal shared reflections and observations from “Millennial Catholics on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si (Praised Be).

Back in early May, Jenn Jackson wrote and shared, “It Ain’t Going Away: Let’s Talk about White Millennial Racism.”

Karen Attiah reflected about “Charleston, Dylan Roof and the racism of millennials.”

Neighbor Love

Friend, pastor and blogger Aaron Fuller shared reflections on “Our Preoccupation with Individualism.”

The massacre in Charleston and the reality of racism has inspired a multitude of reflections, sermons and responses which I include in the following links.

The steeple of Mother Emanuel AME
The steeple of Mother Emanuel AME

Meghan Keneally detailed about how the “Charleston Shooting Sparks Outpouring of Grief.”

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared his sermon grounded in the narrative lectionary’s focus text of Psalm 27, in “Psalm 27, Racism, & Christian Love.” Within this Aaron writes, “Christian love is above all things honest.  It is a love that isn’t afraid to say what is true and real, even if that truth is painful.  Christian love has the courage to stand with others in facing that reality and speak honestly about the harshness of realities like racism and speak out against the injustice of suffering caused by it.  And Christian love is also confident, a confident trust that God is found right in the midst of that harsh reality with us, hanging on a cross alongside us, right in the thick of the tragic, sobering honesty of sin and evil in this world.”

Pastor and writer Nadia Bolz-Weber shared her “Sermon on the Martyrs of Charleston and the Power of Christ Crucified and Risen.”

Pastor Michael Waters wrote about, “The Sound of God’s Grief in Charleston.”

Friend and soon-to-be ordained (as in this evening) pastor, Beth Wartick shared “thoughts on pedicures and Mother Emanuel.” [Congratulations and blessings on your ordination Beth!]

John Pavlovitz shared both “A Prayer of Lament to a God who seems late (Charleston, Ferguson, Uganda…),” and explained, “Why We’re Going to Talk about Racism and Guns and Flags and Privilege…Now.”

Benjamin Corey asked, “Yo America- How Many Mass Shootings will it take for you?

Friend, pastor and Ph.D. student Amanda Brobst-Renaud shared reflection about “Privilege and Apathy.”

Blogger and pastor Jan Edmiston openly shared what she was wrestling with this past weekend in “Look Out for Sick People.”

Bronwyn Lea shared, “A Letter from a White South African to White America.”

Friend, intern pastor and blogger Chris Michaelis shared, “Christian, We Need to Talk…” and a sermon from a week ago about, “A Girl’s Best Friend.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote, “Take Down the Confederate Flag- Now.” I completely agree, and I can’t fathom how a symbol of hatred and bigotry could still fly so openly in our country.

I shared a sermon that I gave for this past weekend, “Tears, Change and Trust,” as well as a copy of the sermon that I had planned to preach earlier in the week before Wednesday, “Climbing in Trust & Facing Trust.”

In speaking of trust, forgiveness and the hope we have and share, Elisha Fieldstadt shared about the families of the victims in Charleston and their words and reaction to the murderer/terrorist who took the lives of their family members.

Lawrence Richardson wrote about how “We Created” that murderer.

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared, “Grieving with Emmanuel AME Church” and “Grieving, Acting, Loving…

Kayla Koterwski wrote and shared, “Stop. Pause. Silence,” as well as, “Get into the Boat.”

Melanie Eversley writes that the “Juneteenth celebration resonates in wake of Charleston.”

Friend, professor and mentor Dr. Terri Elton asked, “How will you use your words today?” This is a profound question, worth reflection each day. Within this post Terri writes, “As a realist that wants to lean into a new future I often think my job is to state the problem. But maybe, just maybe, recasting my words in light of the new future I picture might help the world move a bit closer to making it come true.” Check out the post and the included video.

"May peace flow like a river" by Vonda Drees
“May peace flow like a river” by Vonda Drees

Bishop Michael Rinehart shares a quick reflection about the start of “Ramadan.”

Friend, blogger and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past week. These posts included: “grateful for accompaniment“; “dream ~ risk ~ create“; “that call goes on“; “jungle rain“; “Tu eres la luz del mundo“; “May peace flow like a river“; “a star’s beauty” and “pink dolphins.”

Alexandra Zaslow shared a feel good story about how a “Valedictorian (posted) anonymously to Instagram to make 657 classmates feel special.”

Friend and educational director Ryan Cumming at ELCA World Hunger shared a post by Raymond Pickett, “Exploring: Community Organizing.”

Friend and pastor Melissa Melnick asked and shared, “What if…? (If you know me, you will know that I am always dreaming! How about you?)”

Social Media & Blogging

Venchito Tampon shared, “24 Untapped Ways to Get Ideas for Your Next Blog Post.”

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

Nathan Ellering shared about “How to Republish, Repurpose and Reinvent Your Content Using LinkedIn Publisher.”

Stewardship

Friend and “Classy Frugalist,” Grace Duddy Pomroy shared some great reflections and observations from her new role in “What I’ve Learned So Far (Part 1)” and “What I’ve Learned So Far (Part 2).”

The COMPASS blog continued its June series about having fun on a budget during the summer this past week with, “Fun and Frugal Ideas for the Summer,” from Nicole Brennan at the Barnabas Foundation.

Friend, communications strategist and stewardship thinker Carrie Gubsch shared, “The 4 T’s of Amazing Fundraising Appeals,” by Caryn Stein. The 4 T’s are: timely; touching; trustworthy and tangible.

Erin at Young Adult Money shared “5 Things to Consider Before Becoming Self-Employed.” The five things that Erin notes are: you’re 100% responsible; it can be lonely; you need a financial backup plan; you need a strong network; and you can’t be afraid of failure.

Vocation

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared her weekly installments of “Tuesday Tea Time,” “Friday Favorites,” and “Sunday Snippits” featuring life and vocational thoughts and reflections.

As an economics major from Pacific Lutheran University, I was delighted to see this post by Zach Powers about “A PLU Economics Degree: The First Step For Many World-Changing Lutes.”

Speaking of PLU, friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes detailed some of his experiences from this past week and weekend in serving and volunteering at the U.S. Open Golf Tournament. Ron shared, “2015 US Open…Halftime Report,” and “US Open Postscript.”

Also with ties from PLU, congratulations and blessings are due to friends Jenna and now Dr. Andrew Reyna.

If you are in, or visiting soon, Washington state, check out these “12 Awesome Things to do in Washington without Opening your Wallet.”

Friend, pastor and blogger Diane Roth shared vocational reflections in “Singing Harmony.”

Friends, bloggers and world travelers Katie and Will provided an update about their experiences and journeys in “Here in Africa…

Miscellaneous

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared some reflections and reviews of the movie, “‘The Giver’- Hope, Freedom, and Suffering.

Troy Larson at “Minnesota Connected,” shared news that the “U.S. Bank Claims Naming Rights to New Stadium.”

Friend and blogger Tim Chalberg shared a couple Mariners related posts, arguing that the “Mariners Should Give Up,” and also about his (and mine) excitement that “Edgar Returns” to the Mariners, joining the club as its Hitting Coach.

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

Image Credits: The Links; “Charleston Saints“; “Mother Emanuel” and May peace flow like a river.”

Tears, Change, and Trust

The following is the sermon that I shared this weekend at Woodlake Lutheran Church in Richfield, Minnesota. It is a message based on the focus text of Psalm 27:1-6 and the accompanying gospel reading of Matthew 6:25-34, the readings assigned for this weekend by the Narrative Lectionary

As we read from and proclaimed with the Psalmist, hear these words again, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh- my adversaries and foes- they shall stumble and fall. One thing I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock. Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.”

Let us pray.

“Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it. I am weak in the faith; strengthen me. I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent, that my love may go out to my neighbor. I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you altogether. O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in you. In you I have sealed the treasure of all that I have. I am poor; you are rich and came to be merciful to the poor. I am a sinner; you are upright. With me, there is an abundance of sin; in you is the fullness of righteousness. Therefore I will remain with you, of whom I can receive, but to whom I may not give. Amen.”

That was one of Marin Luther’s “go to” prayers in times of distress and doubt, and it seems appropriate today.

I have a confession to make. On Wednesday afternoon I was writing a sermon all about mountains because of Vacation Bible School this week. I was going to talk about the trust needed to climb them, and their beauty and challenge. That would have been a fine sermon. But by the time I woke up on Thursday morning, it became just a nice reflection or potential blogpost. It was no longer the sermon I was felt I was being called to preach and the message to wrestle with for this week.

Instead, I am confronted, like I think most of us are. I am confronted by the horrific hate crime spewed by the evils of racism that our country again experienced this past week, this time within the “shelter of sanctuary,” a church in Charleston, South Carolina. I am confronted by the fact that the one doing this evil, could have been among us, a young adult growing up in an ELCA congregation just like ours. We cannot hide from this and we must do better.

Charleston SaintsWe remember the saints: The Rev. Clementa Pinckney; the Rev. Sharonda Singleton; Myra Thompson; Tywanza Sanders; Ethel Lee Lance; Cynthia Hurd; the Rev. Daniel L. Simmons Sr.; the Rev. DePayne Middelton-Doctor; and Susie Jackson.

I would like to think that these African American brothers and sisters of ours were martyred because of their faith, a faith we share. I think we all know deep in our hearts, they were killed because of the color of their skin.

An appropriate response might be, “Kyrie eleison- Lord have mercy.” But I don’t think that is enough today.

We can say that “All Lives Matter” and that is true, as we are all God’s children created in the image of God. But today we need to say that “Black Lives Matter,” because when we just go straight to the all-inclusive “All Lives,” we allow ourselves to gloss over the pain and injustice that is happening in our world, in our societies, communities, congregations and even in our own hearts.

The steeple of Mother Emanuel AME
The steeple of Mother Emanuel AME

In my ears ring the words of trust from the Psalmist who has seen and experienced the good and bad of life, knowing neither lasts forever, “Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.” This is the story of Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church. A congregation which was built with the funds of slaves and former slaves, burned to the ground for being a congregation of Black people in the south, met underground to continue in worship and praise of God, has spoken out and been a leader in proclaiming and working for the rights of all people. This week’s hate crime within the confines of Mother Emanuel is sadly not new to the congregation, and not new to our society.

Enough! It’s time that we join with our sisters and brothers of Mother Emanuel. They have been a leader for nearly 200 years in working for justice, peace, and reconciliation. It’s time that we don’t just cry “Lord have mercy,” it’s time that we hear the words of the gospel writer, “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” The work of tomorrow, the work of salvation is done. That’s God’s work and it was taken care of about 2000 years ago. We proclaim with the psalmist, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” The work for today though is the work of the kingdom. It’s the work of breaking our hearts open, and of meeting our neighbors among and outside this gathering.

We also ask and ponder with the psalmist, that even though we know, trust and profess that “The Lord is my light and my salvation,” we still wonder and fear. We fear that we aren’t enough. We fear that we don’t know enough, that we aren’t capable of talking to someone we have never met, or having a conversation with someone who we think might be different than us because they look different. We fear that we won’t know what to say when see a stranger at the store.

We try and convince ourselves that the problems of this world of racism, sexism, ageism, guns and violence, injustice, evil that they’re not here, that they are “over there.” We fear that it’s hopeless and that there is nothing that can be done but to just leave it to God.

As a good Lutheran, to do anything else might sound like it’s a work on our part, something we need to do. Well, we don’t get off the hook that easy.

I am reminded of the story of the man by the river.

“There once lived a man by a river. One day he heard on the news that the whole town was going to flood, but the man said to himself ‘I’m a religious man, God loves me, God will protect me.’ Then the town began to flood, a man came by in a row boat and yelled, ‘The town is flooding give me your hand we’ll go to safety,’ but the man replied, ‘I’m a religious man, God loves me, God will protect me.’  The town continued to flood. A man in a helicopter with a megaphone came and yelled, ‘The town is flooding I’ll throw down this ladder grab on, and we’ll fly to safety,’ but the man replied, ‘I’m a religious man, God loves me, God will protect me.’ Then the man drowned in the flood.

When the man got to St. Peter’s door he demanded an audience with God. The man said to God, ‘I’m a religious man, I thought you loved me, why didn’t you protect me?’ God replied, ‘I sent you a news report, a man in a row boat and a helicopter, what were you thinking? What more do you want from me?”

We have seen the evils of racism from Charleston to Baltimore, from New York to Minneapolis, from Los Angeles to Miami. We have seen the evil that is caused by the prevalence of violence and the easy access to weapons in our world, and especially our country. We tried to tell ourselves that Columbine was a one-time thing. We did the same with Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Seattle Pacific University, and so many more.

How many times must we witness this before we act and change? It would certainly be easy to give into the fear and cynicism that there is nothing we can do about it. The fact is, however, there is, and we believe deeply that there is because we believe in a loving God who is building up the kingdom. In building the kingdom, we, all of us are called into that work by God, to be a part of it in our lives and vocations. That’s the work of today that we are called into, when the gospel writer reminds about the “trouble of today” being enough to focus on.

As we have been baptized and affirmed in our faith, we have made promises that we will be part of this work. In affirming our faith we all have promised “to live among God’s faithful people, to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper, to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, to serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.”

Yes, it might be easy to be cynical and to give into the fear or feeling that there’s nothing we can do to respond to the racism and evils of society, and those that are and exist in each of our hearts. We may well feel like our whole world has been shaken, that we are being circled round and swarmed by doubts, insecurities, fear and evil. In the midst of these challenges our doubts, worries, and fears can seem more present than the assurance of God’s peace.

But that’s where we come together as the Body of Christ with God, and we trust that God not only calls and gathers us and feeds us, but that God sends us out and is with us.

When we think that hope is not to be found, we are reminded of these words again from Jesus, “do not worry about your life” and “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.” The gospel writer seems to remember the claim and promise that “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”

Today may not be easy. Working for justice and speaking out against hate, injustice and racism is not easy. But in the midst of all of this, we still join with the Psalmist in rejoicing and “singing and making music to the Lord.” Just when we might give into the doubts and frustrations that things are out of control and hopeless, we are reminded that the sun will rise again tomorrow.

A cross covered in pictures of the
A community of the faithful called and gathered together, and sent to serve in building up the kingdom of God.

We are also reminded that God is indeed with us and for us. We see the face of God in our neighbors, the little children, those helping us when we fall or stumble. We see the face of God in the stranger or neighbor who helps us up, and provides a hug or a shoulder to cry on when we need. Perhaps a neighbor or stranger sees the face of God in you when you cast them a reassuring smile or bend down and help?

It’s in these moments, where we are reminded what it really means that the “Lord is the stronghold of my life.” We may have fears, but today, be reminded that you are enough to do this work, and that you have been called in your baptism to “learn to trust God, to proclaim Christ through word and deed, to care for others and the world God made, and to work for justice and peace.” Live fully, serve fully, and strive for the kingdom of God.

When we know, trust, and are reminded that “God is our light and our salvation,” we are reminded of this promise, a promise the Psalmist doesn’t just make, but it’s one God makes to you, that is God is for you, as we will be reminded of again here in a few moments at the table, and God is with you.

When times are tough, God is our light and our salvation. When times are good, God is our light and our salvation. It takes a great trust to remember this at all times, but even when we forget, and the doubts and uncertainties seem to get the better of us, indeed, God is still our light and our salvation. Amen.

Image Credits: The Saints and Mother Emanuel AME.

Climbing in Trust & Facing Change

I am preaching this weekend at Woodlake Lutheran Church in Richfield, Minnesota. The following is a draft of sermon I will not be giving, based on the focus text of Psalm 27:1-6 and an accompanying gospel reading of Matthew 6:25-34, the readings assigned for this weekend by the Narrative Lectionary. What follows was going to be the majority of my sermon this weekend as of this past Wednesday afternoon, but the massacre in Charleston has confronted me and called me to change directions. If you were curious about what I was thinking about earlier this week, here you go. 

Mount Everest
Mount Everest

This week in Vacation Bible School, many of you have traveled to Mount Everest.  You have imagined and envisioned yourselves climbing up the highest peak in the world, the highest point and closest you can get to touching the stars before taking flight.

Now, I can’t say that I have ever been to Mount Everest before, but I know something about mountains. You see where I grew up no matter which way you looked you could usually see a mountain. To the west, across the bay you could see the beautiful snowcapped peaks of the Olympic Mountains. To the northeast, you could glimpse the peaks of Mt. Baker and due east, that of Glacier Peak, the two most northerly volcanoes in the lower 48. But to the southeast towered the majestic and most beautiful mountain of all, Mt. Rainier. No, Mount Rainier is not Mount Everest. In fact, Mount Everest is almost exactly twice as high as Mount Rainier. But, it’s equally as beautiful to see and witness, or to go and visit.

In thinking about today’s reading, Psalm 27, I am struck by the sense of trust we hear from the psalmist. That’s the sort of trust that is required to climb mountains I imagine, and to be willing to leave the known comfort of solid ground and to ascend to the higher and more challenging heights, peaks and summits that they offer. It’s the kind of trust needed to endure the unknown, change, trials, tears and fears.

Psalm 27 is a Psalm like many others expressing an idea of trust and reliance in and on God. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

The Psalmist doesn’t hide who or what he thinks the Lord is. The Psalmist comes out and directly names the identity of God, saying that “The Lord is my light and my salvation…” It’s similar in this way to Psalm 23 where we join with the psalmist in proclaiming that “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.”  This is a rarity in the Psalms, as only 2 of the 150 of them, begin with the words and claim that “The Lord is my…” This is important, and speaks to a sense of trust in the psalmist’s and our relationship with God.

This trust though is not one built off of an easy or always positive life. The trust the Psalmist has here is that of someone who has been around. They have experienced the hard things and pain that life can bring. They have witnessed and lived through the battles of life, and the feeling that problems are all around them. At the same time, this Psalmist has lived long enough to have experienced the great joys of life, and knows that neither the pain nor joys are permanent or final.

There is wisdom in recognizing this. It takes someone who can draw from their experience and trust that in the midst of the good, bad and ugly of life, God is present and for you no matter what is happening, the changes, the challenges, the problems, or fears and anxieties you might be facing.

It’s kind of like the mountain climber, the person hiking, who comes to a major point of challenge, to a decision point, do you trust your fellow hikers, guides and team to keep going or do you turn around while you can? If you keep going, you are going to need to cross the glacier, and take your ice pick and climb up a sheer and steep cliff face. Of course, you will also need to make camp for the night and want to be out of the wind before darkness falls or the storm picks up. These aren’t easy challenges, but if you have been through the experience of the journey up a mountain before, you probably expect them, and know that as stressful as this may be, you are not alone.

The Psalmist acknowledges the challenges, yet boldly claims, “Though an army encamp against me, my heart will not fear. Though war rise up against me, my trust will not be shaken.” It seems to be an acknowledgement that life is not always easy.

Sometimes the changes we face may be uncertain and stressful. Think about yourself for a minute, and how you have aged and experienced different periods of life. The transitions from being a child entering kindergarten to a teenager a few years later to a young adult, from being a working adult to being retired, from living on your own to a retirement home or other setting, these changes aren’t easy and require a great deal of trust.

Taking a funny picture with Grandma around the table
Taking a funny picture with Grandma around the table

I’m thinking about my grandma today. Here’s a person that her whole life has had one huge servant’s heart, opening up her homes offering a place to stay for those who need it. She’s someone who has read the Bible probably more times than I could ever hope to or imagine. She could probably give a Bible Study or sermon just as well, and perhaps better, than my pastor Grandpa could. But she, like so many, has had to grieve the loss of a son far too young long ago, say goodbye to her precious love of her life before her a few years ago, and is now dealing with the challenges of not just old age, of having her grandkids grow older somewhat far away from her, but also of having to come to terms with the challenges of some dementia. None of these things are easy, and plenty of tears have fallen because of this.

All things considered, Grandma has already lived a long and full life, though a few of you around this church might still call her a relative young one. When she and I last talked, she told of one of the greatest challenges that she has these days. It’s not the occasional falling, or even her relatively occasional short term memory lapses. It’s the fact that for the first time in her life, she feels like she has to repeat the same Bible lessons day after day. One of the things that has always brought her great joy is engaging her neighbors, friends and fellow faithful in conversation and study of the scriptures. She has taken it upon herself to do this with her fellow residents at her assisted living home. But it’s a great challenge, because she wants to be able to move onto other passages, themes and topics in the scriptures, but because of the different memory levels of her neighbors, she keeps having to go back to the same repeated stories about God’s promises that they talked about the day before.

She admitted to me though, she finds comfort in these words of the Psalmist, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom then shall I fear?” She knows that her memory may be going. But it’s important for her to be able to hold on to these promises of God, just as she works hard to make sure she continues to tell those in her life that she loves them dearly.

I’ve heard that “Growing old isn’t for babies.” I think that’s true. There are challenges that life throws our way. There are changes in relationships, life, locations, jobs, passions and dreams. Often, we can feel like our whole world has been shaken, that we are being circled round and swarmed by doubts, insecurities and fear. In the midst of these challenges and changes, our doubts, worries, and fears can seem more present than the assurance of God’s peace.

But just when we think that hope is not to be found, we are reminded of these words, from Jesus, “do not worry about your life” and “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.” The gospel writer seems to remember the claim and promise that “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”

Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier

Today may not be easy. Growing old will have its challenges. Climbing a mountain is not a walk in the park. But in the midst of all of this, we still join with the Psalmist in rejoicing and “singing and making music to the Lord.” Just when we might give into the doubts and frustrations, we are reminded that the sun will rise again tomorrow. We see the face of God in our neighbors, the little children, those helping us up when we fall or stumble. We see the face of God in the stranger or neighbor who helps us up, and provides a hug or a shoulder to cry on when we need. It’s in these moments, where we are reminded what it really means that the “Lord is the stronghold of my life.”

When we know and are reminded that “God is our light and our salvation,” we are reminded of this promise, a promise the Psalmist doesn’t just make, but it’s one God makes to you, that is God is for you, (as we will be reminded of again here in a few moments at the table) and God is with you.

When times are tough, God is our light and our salvation. When times are good, God is our light and our salvation. It takes a great trust to remember this at all times, but even when we forget, and the doubts and uncertainties seem to get the better of us, indeed, God is still our light and our salvation. Thanks be to God for that. Amen.

Image Credit: Mount Everest

 

Repentance, Mourning and Work to be Done

 

Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, released the following statement and letter yesterday:

It has been a long season of disquiet in our country. From Ferguson to Baltimore, simmering racial tensions have boiled over into violence. But this … the fatal shooting of nine African Americans in a church is a stark, raw manifestation of the sin that is racism. The church was desecrated. The people of that congregation were desecrated. The aspiration voiced in the Pledge of Allegiance that we are “one nation under God” was desecrated.

Mother Emanuel AME’s pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was a graduate of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, as was the Rev. Daniel Simmons, associate pastor at Mother Emanuel. The suspected shooter is a member of an ELCA congregation. All of a sudden and for all of us, this is an intensely personal tragedy. One of our own is alleged to have shot and killed two who adopted us as their own.

We might say that this was an isolated act by a deeply disturbed man. But we know that is not the whole truth. It is not an isolated event. And even if the shooter was unstable, the framework upon which he built his vision of race is not. Racism is a fact in American culture. Denial and avoidance of this fact are deadly. The Rev. Mr. Pinckney leaves a wife and children. The other eight victims leave grieving families. The family of the suspected killer and two congregations are broken. When will this end?

The nine dead in Charleston are not the first innocent victims killed by violence. Our only hope rests in the innocent One, who was violently executed on Good Friday. Emmanuel, God with us, carried our grief and sorrow – the grief and sorrow of Mother Emanuel AME church – and he was wounded for our transgressions – the deadly sin of racism.

I urge all of us to spend a day in repentance and mourning. And then we need to get to work. Each of us and all of us need to examine ourselves, our church and our communities. We need to be honest about the reality of racism within us and around us. We need to talk and we need to listen, but we also need to act. No stereotype or racial slur is justified. Speak out against inequity. Look with newly opened eyes at the many subtle and overt ways that we and our communities see people of color as being of less worth. Above all pray – for insight, for forgiveness, for courage.

Kyrie Eleison.

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

This Week’s Links

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

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

For those of you preparing for worship or planning a sermon for this coming weekend, and if you follow the revised common lectionary, check out these reflections and ideas from Bishop Michael Rinehart in “Pentecost 4B,” as well as this reflection from friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis about “The Other Side” and “Pentecost 4B: On Miracles and Change,” from Rev. Dr. David Lose.

If you are following the Narrative Lectionary, be sure and check out the commentary on Psalm 27:1-6 from friend and professor Rev. Dr. Rolf Jacobson.

Bishop Michael Rinehart and much of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod staff has been traveling over the past week. As part of that travel and learning, they checked out the “House for All Sinners and Saints.”

Thom Schultz shared some ideas about church and engaging worship in writing “Done with ‘Sit Down and Shut Up.'”

Jason Evans shared “7 Tips for Theology on Tap.” If your faith community offers something similar check this out and see if these tips correspond with your learning and experience. If you are considering starting something like this, definitely check this out. And if you have never heard of such a thing, you need to read this and see what you think.

Anthony Moujaes shared news that the United Church of Christ has agreed to a sale of its national headquarters, but that it will remain in Cleveland.

Friend, mentor and professor Dr. Terri Elton shared this article from Religion Dispatches by Jesse James DeConto, “Seattle ‘CultureMaker’ Nathan Marion: We Need New Abbeys in America to Foster Community, Arts.”

Clint Schnekloth shared “The Three Best Strategies for Utilizing Media as Faith Formation.” Clint shared reflection on: Pathos, Logos and Ethos.

The Millennial Journal shared news about the release of the theme and logo for Pope Francis‘ upcoming trip to the United States in “Love is Our Mission.”

Church and Social Media (#ChSocM) shared a transcript of its weekly chat from last week reflecting about how “Our stories are ‘content.’ How do we encourage more people to share that content?” Check out the ideas and responses to this great question.

Friend, blogger and pastor-in-waiting Eric Worringer shared a reflection from Bishop Matthew Gunter which highlights some of the complexity and great variance of views on baptism and communion (and do you need to be baptized to take communion), in “An Odd Work of Grace- The Problem with ‘Open’ Communion. Some Anecdotes.” (For the record, I don’t agree with the conclusions in this post, but appreciate it for the conversation on what can be a difficult topic.)

Anna Webb shared news from Nampa, Idaho about how “Nampa’s Trinity Lutheran Church gets into the landlord business to help low-income families.”

In sad but long overdue news from the Twin Cities in Minnesota as well as the Vatican, Pope Francis has accepted the resignations of the St. Paul Archbishop John C. Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee A. Piche.

LEAD shared quick blurb about one of my new favorite books, The Agile Church by professor and friend Rev. Dr. Dwight Zscheile.

Frederick Schmidt shared “6 things people need to hear from churches (but are rarely said).

Some volunteers working in the Loaves & Fishes Community Garden at Woodlake Lutheran Church
Some volunteers working in and developing the Loaves & Fishes Community Garden at Woodlake Lutheran Church

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared the latest free issue of Lifelong Faith: Models & Practices for Lifelong Faith Formation

If you are in the Twin Cities area, I invite you to join KARE11 in “Serving with Sunrise: Community Gardening on June 17th,” which includes the Loaves & Fishes site at Woodlake Lutheran Church in Richfield. Check this out and join the fun!

Pastor and blogger Rev. Nurya Love Parish shared a first-part post and video about “Growing Disciples in a Digital Age.”

Rich Birch shared a great list of “33 Ways to Show Appreciation to Volunteers at Your Church.”

Over at the ELCA Youth Ministry Network, pastor and director Todd Buegler shared about “Innovation Grants for Youth and Young Adult Ministry.”

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Julian Stodd shared thoughts, ideas and updates about the “Social Age,” in “Finding Austin.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Steve Keating shared that “Hate Isn’t Helpful,” and about how to give your employees and colleagues a chance to learn and grow in “Let Them Be Wrong.”

Dr. Jenny Darroch
Dr. Jenny Darroch

I am excited to share that one of my favorite professors from the Drucker School in Claremont, Professor Dr. Jenny Darroch, has been named as “one of the world’s most influential scholars in the field of knowledge management.”

Jena McGregor writes that “‘Queen bees’ may have hive minds after all, study shows.”

Dan Rockwell wrote and shared about: “Seven Ways to Find Extra-Ordinary Connections“; “The Greater Challenge“; and about someone’s comment which has “Irritated (him) for months.”

Tanveer Naseer asked and pondered, “Do You Motivate by Obligation or Commitment?

Dan Forbes and “Lead with Giants,” shared a guest post by Mandy Johnson which unpacks “7 Steps to Engaging Leadership.” The steps are: get the team size right; hire the ‘right-fit’ people in the first place; hold monthly one-on-ones; reduce bureaucracy; praise and reward excellence on a regular basis; brightness of future; and have fun.

Lolly Daskal shared what she sees as being “The 10 (and a Half) Commandments of of Leadership.” Check out the list and see what you think of these commandments.

Barbara Nixon shared “Four Ways to Have Fun at Work.”

Cranston Holden shared a wonderful infographic about “How Leaders Manage.”

Jeannie Walters shared and offered, “Contamination Alert! How to Purify a Toxic Workplace Culture.”

Jon Mertz at Thin Difference shared “Ten Activating Words for Activist Leaders.” The words Jon highlights and expands on are: Clarity; Aspirational; Strategic; Inner Strength; Assumes the Best; Adaptable; Economical; Restless; Integrity and Relationships.

Millennials

Thin Difference also shared this post by Jeremy Chandler featuring “7 Books Millennials Can Read to Rise Above Our Peers.”

Timothy Morey and Allison Schoop wrote and explained, “Stop Designing for Millennials.”

Jaunted shared about “6 Ways Millennials are Transforming the Travel Industry.”

William Vanderbloemen shared, “5 Secret Questions for Making a Great Millennial Hire.” The questions to include are: Tell me about an initiative you led or were part of leading; Tell me about a meaningful experience you had serving or contributing to a cause. What about that time motivated you to do more?; Describe for me a time when you faced criticism and how you responded to it; When have you been asked to work too much, and how did you respond?; and whom do you go to for life and career advice? Great questions! What do you think? How would you respond to these questions?

Neighbor Love

Friend, pastor and blogger Diane Roth shared reflections on “Silence.” Within this Diane wrote, “The world needs silence, but not just silence. The world also needs a word — not “the answer”, not a strategy, not a user’s manual.  The world also needs a word, the right word at the right time:  a question, a name, an invitation, a light.” Diane also shared about “Colette.”

"God is Love" by Vonda Drees
“God is Love” by Vonda Drees

Carol Kuruvilla shared about “Why 12 Top Religious Leaders are Proud to Support Net Neutrality.”

Friend, blogger and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past week. These included: “Thisness“; “a way of life“; “God is love“; “co-creating“; “recognizing our creativity” “all ink matters“; and “grateful for accompaniment.”

John Pavlovitz shared about “When Your Loved One Dies Again (A Lesson in the Grief Valley).”

Friend, pastor and blogger Joe Smith asked and pondered, “Is there such a thing as an authentic faith?

Tom Murphy shared some news in the Humanosphereabout how “Ebola cases (are) suddenly on the rise.”

Friend, pastor and blogger Frank Johnson shared his sermon on the narrative lectionary’s focus text for this past weekend, Psalm 69:1-16, “Lament (or approaching pain and suffering honestly).”

Bishop Michael Rinehart shared a guest post by Dr. Eileen Doll on “Immigration: Education for Justice.”

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared, “Bound…Africans and African Americans.”

Mary also shared a post by friend and pastor Rev. Angela Shannon on “Racism: The ‘White Noise’ of Black Life.”

Blogger and thinker Kayla Koterwski shared thoughts about “Words.”

Social Media & Blogging

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

Kevan Lee asked and explained in “What’s the Best Way to Spend 30 Minutes of Your Time on Social Media Marketing?

Stewardship

During the month of June, the COMPASS blog is sharing thoughts, tips and ideas for how to have fun this summer on a budget. To begin the series I shared an opening post about “Summer Fun on a Budget,” and friend and director of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center, Marcia Shetler shared about “Summer and Vacation Fun on a Budget.” Check out both of these posts, and stay tuned for more in the series coming this week and throughout the month.

Over at Young Adult Money, DC explained “Why it’s Financially important to avoid Tunnel Vision,” while Erin shared thoughts about “How to Handle Relationships and Debt.”

LEAD shared thoughts, insights, and questions in “Rethinking Stewardship” for individuals, congregations and faith communities.

Stefanie at “The Broke and Beautiful Life,” shared about “An Adventure in Financial Principles.”

Vocation

"recognizing creativity" by Vonda Drees
“recognizing our creativity” by Vonda Drees

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared her vocational weekly installments of “Tuesday Tea Time” and “Friday Favorites.”

C.J. shared about how “Meteorologist Patrick Hammer tells of highs, lows after layoff.”

Friends Katie and Will shared an update from their journeys and experiences of life abroad in “A Day in Our Cameroonian Life.”

For all you lifelong learners out there, Leo Babauta shared “Learning Tips for the Top 8 Learning Challenges.”

Friend and musician Stephanie Johnson reflected and updated in writing, “Off to see NYC, but the yellow brick road was not for me.”

For all of those graduates and recent graduates, Anne Loehr shared “A Call to Graduates: Find Your Purpose.”

Miscellaneous

All of these Miscellaneous Links this week have something to do with the Pacific Northwest. First, to the alma mater, congratulations are in order to now former PLU Baseball Coach, Geoff Loomis who has been named “head baseball coach at NCAA Div. I University of Portland.”

Second, have you ever wondered “What Tourists Buy at Pike Place Market” in Seattle? Charyn Pfeuffer explains.

Third, what are we to do in making sense of the Mariners? Friend and blogger Tim Chalberg is on the case as always recapping how and what the Mariners did in the Baseball Draft last week, as well as about the recent collapse of sorts the Mariners have had, in “Big Holes, Small Solutions.”

Finally, this week is one of golf’s major tournaments, “The U.S. Open.” It is being held at Chambers Bay just south of Tacoma, and will be the biggest sporting event the southern part of the Puget Sound area has ever hosted. It will be broadcasted by Fox, and Ken Fang shares all about that.

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That will conclude this week’s edition of the links. I hope you have enjoyed them! As always, if you have things to include in future editions, please let me know. Also, if you have particular topics, questions or ideas for posts for me to think about, please let me know. Until next time, thank you for reading and being a part of the conversation! Blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits:  The Links, Loaves & Fishes Community Garden, Dr. Jenny Darroch, “God is Love” and “Recognizing our Creativity.”