This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday on the blog usually means that I get to share some of what I have seen, read, and found interesting with all of you. This usually happens every week, but last week being in the midst of moving across country disrupted the usual schedule. So, consider this, though a couple days late, a bit longer dose of links this week to cover the past two weeks.

To help make sense of all of these links, I have grouped them by the following categories: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboraton; 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 all of you preparing for worship or a sermon this weekend, and if you follow the revised common lectionary, check out these thoughts on “Pentecost 14B” from Bishop Michael Rinehart, as well as on, “Pentecost 14B– Tradition” from Rev. Dr. David Lose. If you are looking for some commentary thoughts on this week’s gospel passage from Mark 7, check out this commentary post by friend, professor and adviser Rev. Dr. Matt Skinner. For more focus on this week’s appointed gospel passage from Mark 7, spend some time with this post about “Heart Tellings” by friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis.

Last week Karoline also wrote that it’s “Not Just Bread Anymore,” in reference to the series through John 6 over the past five weeks.

If you are following the narrative lectionary, check out this “Commentary on Hebrews 9:1-14,” by Rev. Dr. Craig Koester. Also, be sure and check out this “Overview of Year 2” of the Narrative Lectionary written and prepared by Karl and Rolf Jacobson.

Looking ahead to the following weekend, the “ELCA to join AME Church Sept. 6 for prayer, commitment to end racism.” Join in this shared commitment.

Beth Lewis shared news from Augsburg Fortress that is searching for Board Nominees. Check this out, and if you know someone who would make a great board member, please let Beth or Augsburg Fortress know.

Will Willimon shared a couple thought provoking posts over the past few weeks, including reflections about the “Sad Truth about United Methodist Racial Diversity,” and why he thinks this is “The Best of Times for Church Leaders.” Do you agree?

Regarding Will Willimon, John Meunier writes that, “Will Willimon (is) still causing me trouble.”

John Pavlovitz wrote and shared, “What Church People Really Need to Know about Once-Churched People.”

First day of kindergarten... long, long ago (before social media)
An appropriate picture for “Back to School.” What do your back to school pictures look like?

Church and Social Media (#ChSocM) shared transcripts of their two most recent chats. The first was about “Social Media Listening for Church,” as moderated by Seth Hinz. The second was a “Back to School Edition with Lots of Tips,” moderated by friend and pastor David Hansen.

Christina Embree asked and shared, “Why Intergenerational Worship? And Why Now?

Erik Parker shared, “5 Reasons Why Underpaying Pastors is poor stewardship for congregations.”

Friend and Ph.D. student Timothy Snyder wrote, “Introducing: The New StudyingCongregations.Org.” Definitely check this out! I’m excited to see what comes from and through this new effort.

LEAD shared about “Keeping the Day Camp Experience Alive Year Round.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Joe Smith pondered about, “What Comprises the Value of Diversity & the Importance of Public Temples.”

If you haven’t seen or heard about this by now, you really should check out about how “John Oliver Exposed Televangelism, then forms his own tax-exempt church.”

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Silos
Silos

Edgar Wilson wrote about silos and how they get in the way of leadership (and growth), writing and sharing, “Break Out of the Silo- Silo Thinking is the Enemy to Building Skills.”

Anne Loehr explained about “Why You Need a New Strategy for Retaining Female Talent.”

In thinking about the social age and organizations, Ted Coine explains that “The Future Is the Connected Organization.” What do you think? Ted reflected and pondered about, “What Companies are Best Poised to Rock the Future of Work?” Ted also pondered about, “How Do You Define Influence in the Social Age?

Monica Zent shared helpful tips for all remote workers and groups with remote workers in “5 Ways to Effectively Lead Remote Teams.” The ways she notes are: set clear standards of communication; optimize the right kind of communication tools; pay close attention to what is happening within teams; hold people accountable; and pick your remote partners wisely.

In an example (ultimately) of collaboration across sectors, check out this story about “Fiber Optic Bliss.”

Social leadership theorist and blogger Julian Stodd has shared a number of thought provoking posts over the past couple of weeks. These have included a look at “16 Amplifiers of Change,” and “16 Resisters of Change“; a number of discussions about the “Change Curve,” especially regarding “The Antibody Effect,” “The Constrained Organization,””Generating or Losing Momentum in Change,” and “Co-Creating and Co-Owning Change Stories“; reflections about “Investing in Community: the Long Term Return“; and “Reflecting on Engagement in the Social Age.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Julian Stodd shared about “Humility in Leadership.”

In one of the best posts I have read over the past couple weeks, Seth Godin shared, “The interim strategy.” What do you think of these implications? Seth also shared about, “Looking for change in all the wrong places.”

A Wordle display of the concepts of Emotional Intelligence (and what comes to mind to people about it)
A Wordle display of the concepts of Emotional Intelligence (and what comes to mind to people about it)

Paul Sohn shared this infographic, “How Does Emotional Intelligence Affect Your Career.”

Tanveer Naseer shared a couple of guest posts over the past couple of weeks. First, he shared this post by Dan Ward who wrote, “Let’s Not Confuse Hardwork with Meaningful Work.” Second, he shared thoughts about, “3 Big Mistakes that CEOs Must Fix to Inspire Employees,” as written by Ben Decker.

Felicity Barber shared, “Everything You’ve Wanted to Know About Thought Leadership (But were scared to ask).”

Dan Rockwell shared a number of intriguing leadership posts, ideas, and questions over the past week. These included: thoughts about “The leadership behavior employees most want“; ideas for “Coaching Insecure Employees“; “How to be Authoritative without Being a Jerk“; a helpful list of “7 Ways to Make Team Meetings Work Today“; reflections about “Finding Your Greatest Contribution“; and some thoughts about “The Behavior Leaders Fail at Most.”

Lolly Daskal shared, “Lead from Where You Are and with All that You Have.”

Steve Keating wrote that, “Good Enough Seldom Is,” and “Feedback is Required.”

Margie Warrell over at Switch & Shift shared, “6 Leadership Lessons from Necker Island,” inspired by time spent with Sir Richard Branson.

Justin Irving shared thoughts about “Solution-Based Leadership,” and a helpful “11 Lessons for Those Feeling ‘Stuck’ or ‘Trapped’ in their careers.”

Dan Forbes at Lead with Giants shared a guest post by David Greer about “Leading with Peak Personal Performance.”

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared this piece from Harold Jarche explaining that, “The Connected Leader is not the status quo.”

Bob Tiede shared a guest post by Hal Gregersen arguing that, “Teachers Should Reward Questions, Not Answers.” I love this idea as a proponent of life-long learning and thoughtful inquiry. What do you think?

Brian Dodd highlighted “14 Things Young Leaders Can Learn from Experienced Leaders.”

Jon Mertz at Thin Difference shared about “When Imbalance Strikes the Activist Leader Formula.” Jon also shared, “6 Questions with Daniel Pink: Generations, Career, Leadership.”

Thin Difference also shared a guest post by Scott Savage featuring, “5 Lessons on the Road from Intern to Executive Team.”

Millennials

The first type of person who comes to mind when you think about curators may be an art curator such as this person.
The first type of person who comes to mind when you think about curators may be an art curator such as this person.

With a post such as this, sharing links weekly, I guess I have become a curator of sorts. This is one of the many reasons I was intrigued by this question posed by Heidi Oran over at Thin Difference who asked, “Are Curators the New Experts?” What do you think?

Also over at Thin Difference, Molly Page shared about Bobby Hoyt in writing, “How the Millennial Money Man Created Life Liquidity.”

Adam Hanft shared about, “The Stunning Evolution of Millennials: They’ve Become the Ben Franklin Generation.”

Chelsea Krost shared a post by Sarah Landrum explaining about, “12 Things Millennials Won’t Spend Money On.”

Neighbor Love

Friend, blogger, and seminarian Ian McConnell shared a “Walking the Walk Report: Redeemer Block Party 2015.” You should read this and hear some of the stories about Redeemer Lutheran in North Minneapolis. For more, follow Ian and my brother Thomas.

Speaking of Thomas, you should check out his recent reflections which he shared in writing, “I Claim… We Claim.”

Sad news came over the past couple weeks as “Julian Bond, Charismatic Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 75,” as detailed by Roy Reed.

Friend, pastor, and blogger Aaron Fuller wrote and shared, “The Beatitudes: Re-thinking Law Enforcement Officers & Race Relations.”

Parker Palmer wrote about “Scars Born of Love.”

"earth, our teacher" by Vonda Drees
“earth, our teacher” by Vonda Drees

Friend, blogger, and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past couple of weeks. These have included: “a peace channel“; “deep calls to deep“; “the rhythm of the heart“; “nurturer, bearer, provider“; “a blessing“; “inside-out living“; “your version matters“; “Dare we touch the fringe?“; “a community grid“; “earth, our teacher“; “a color-amazed society“; “so that all are fed“; “resurrection revolutionaries“; “something happens at the table“; and “the Holy Spirit’s hot mess,” which was inspired by friend and professor Rev. Dr. Eric Barreto.

Martin Pengelly shared about how “NBC appear(ed) to silence Janelle Monae during Black Lives Matter speech.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Diane Roth shared about “Children of God, or, Boys and Girls,” and also wrote, “You Used to Sing to Me.”

A couple weeks ago Nate Pyle wrote that, “Target Reveals just how anxious we are about Gender.” In a related post, Rachel Held Evans asked and shared, “10 Questions for Target Critics regarding ‘Boys’ Toys’ and ‘Girls’ Toys.'”

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes asked, “Can You Will Yourself to be More Humble?

Pastor and blogger Lura Groen shared about, “Sitting Vigil for Sandra Bland.”

Friend, professor, and adviser Rev. Dr. Matt Skinner has a new book coming out that you should all check out entitled, “Intrusive God, Disruptive Gospel: Encountering the Divine in the Book of Acts.”

Robert Christian at the Millennial Journal explained about, “How the Church’s Both/And Approach can close the Opportunity Gap and Reduce Poverty.”

Friend, pastor, and Ph.D. student Mandy Brobst-Renaud built off of Mary Oliver’s question asking you, “what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” in writing about “Eternal Moments in the Middle of Life.”

Pastor and blogger Clint Schnekloth wrote about, “Multiple Consciousness: Challenging the Sloth of White Theology.” Clint also shared, “Speaking out about Racism in the #ELCA.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Frank Johnson shared his recent sermon on Psalm 128 in writing, “The strange (backwards) blessing of faith.” Frank also wrote and shared, “Stop. Listen for God.”

As this week marks 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, Megan Brandsrud shared in The LutheranHurricane Katrina: Ten years later.”

Friend, professor, and mentor Dr. Terri Elton shared this beautiful tribute from Kathie Lee to her husband Frank who recently passed away.

Bradley Burston wrote, “It’s Time to Admit It. Israeli Policy is What It Is: Apartheid.”

My wife Allison shared this open and important post from Rozella White over at The Salt Collective, writing, “My Ministry- Young, Black, & Medicated.” Rozella also shared, “A Word on Publicly Embracing My Shadow.”

Friend and Ph.D. student Timothy Snyder wrote about, “Restlessness: a life within limits.”

"Dare we touch the fringe?" by Vonda Drees
“Dare we touch the fringe?” by Vonda Drees

RJ Grunewald reflected about “Public Shaming, Monica Lewinsky, and the Gospel.”

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared this helpful, “Short piece on the social construction of race.”

John Pavlovitz wrote about, “Why gun violence is a heart problem.” I can’t help but share John’s conclusion, because I share it. John writes, “Unless you’re willing to offer a foolproof, immediate, measurable, sustainable plan for fully fixing all of our heart problems and you’re ready to start implementing it today, I’m going to have to assume that you simply value guns more than you value the dozens of lives they take every single day, and will take on this one. If you’ll fight more passionately for your own right to protect yourself from an imagined Bogeyman you’ll very likely never face, than for those innocent souls who will most surely die if we don’t change our national response to gun violence, then I’m gravely concerned for your heart too. I’m worried about the collective heart of America. As for my heart, it is breaking again.”

Friend, blogger, and pastor Beth Wartick shared some wonderful, “thoughts on Shark Attacks.” I particularly love how she writes, “So ask. Ask with curiosity and compassion, knowing that you are asking someone to share their brokenness with you. And tell. Tell with hope and boldness, trusting that your story of brokenness may make someone else’s whole. That sounds exciting to me.”

Social Media & Blogging

Jeremy Golman shared, “The Write Stuff: 8 Steps for the Perfect Blog Post.”

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared his version of the links twice, with a first and second post of his “Really Recommended Posts.”

Stewardship

Over on the COMPASS blog, Adam Copeland shared some thoughts for families, couples, young adults and faith communities about the importance of having regular conversations about money, writing about, “Money Meetings.”

COMPASS also featured a great post on Millennials and stewardship written by friend and Ecumenical Stewardship Center CEO, Marcia Shetler, who wrote and shared, “Young Adults, Faith, and Finances: Provide a Conversation Table.”

Speaking of Adam, I highly encourage you to subscribe to the Center for Stewardship Leaders’ weekly email newsletter. If you check out the archives here you will find articles written the past two weeks by friends and pastors Jodi Houge and Scott Simmons.

LEAD shared some stewardship thoughts, arguing that “Generosity can be Taught.”

Paul Bonner shared about “Giving Beyond What is Expected.”

Kayla shared, “3 Reasons a Part-Time Job is what you need to pay for Christmas this year.”

Vocation

Friend and blogger Hannah Heinzekehr shared a beautiful letter in writing and sharing, “Three Years Old: A Letter to Little E.”

Friend and blogger Brigitte Leininger wrote and shared, “Time for Transparency.”

In thinking about the crazy summer, #Siburgsonthemove, and all of the new adventures that we are embarking on, my wife Allison understandably wrote, “Goodness gracious.”

Friend, professor, and blogger Dr. Ron Byrnes shared his hypothesis about “Why So Many Teachers Quit.”

Friends and very soon to be pastors Katie and Will shared a quick update about their journeys and adventures in writing that they are, “Coming Home!” Will also shared a series of “5 Reflections in Keflavik.”

Miscellaneous

Friend and blogger Tim Chalberg wrote and shared, something most Mariners fans are probably feeling by now… “What The…

For all of you music and movie lovers, looking for a nice little moment of distraction, check out this “Mental health break” from friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess, “Jurassic Park by the Piano Guys.”

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That concludes this edition of the links. I hope you have enjoyed them. The plan is that next week they will return to their regularly scheduled frequency, but we’ll see how it goes. As always, if you have particular questions or topics for me to think about on the blog, please share them. Also, if there are things you would like to see included in 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; Silos; Emotional Intelligence wordle; an Art Curator; “earth, our teacher“; and “Dare we touch the fringe?

This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday on the blog means that I get to share some of what I have seen, read, and found interesting with all of you. To help make sense of these links, I have grouped them by the following categories: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboraton; 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 planning a sermon or preparing for worship this coming weekend using the revised common lectionary, check out these thoughts on “Pentecost 12B” from Bishop Michael Rinehart. Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis offers thoughts on the gospel reading from John 6:51-58 in “A ‘Living’ Bread.” Also in thinking about this coming weekend, Rev. Dr. David Lose shared, “Pentecost 12B: Meeting the Carnal God.”

If you are preparing for worship or writing a sermon for this coming weekend and following the narrative lectionary, check out this “Commentary on Hebrews 2:10-18,” from Rev. Dr. Craig Koester.

Speaking of lectionaries, I have been meaning to write a blogpost on my experience using the Narrative Lectionary this past year. As I contemplate that post, blogger and pastor Chris Duckworth may have beat me to the quick in writing, “Why I Left the Revised Common Lectionary Behind.

The LEAD group gathered together having fun like we did the whole weekend at the E!
Some of the great minds from LEAD, led by Peggy on the far left.

Friend and director of LEAD, Peggy Hahn, shared, “Three things I learned about being a Christian leader by traveling in Turkey and Greece.” Peggy’s insights included thoughts about: Biblical perspective; God’s love; and our part.

Pastor and blogger Clint Schnekloth asked, “What do we have here?

Church and Social Media (#ChSocM) shared a transcript of its weekly Twitter chat which last week focused on, “Prepping for Autumn,” and was moderated by Katy Dunigan.

Joanna Piacenza and Robert Jones from the Public Religion Research Institute shared findings about “The Top Two Religious Groups that Dominate American Cities.”

Friend and pastor Kent Shane shared this related article by Antonia Blumberg outlining “The Largest Religious Groups in American Cities.”

Last week I was formally approved toward being an Associate in Ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and shared a more detailed update about that here on the blog.

Check out this post on Young Lutherans joining together from around the world in “Workshop Wittenberg,” from The Lutheran World Federation.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared this interesting look from Zeeshan Aleem at last week’s Republican debate, featuring, “The 6 Most Surprisingly Un-Republican Moments from the Republican Debate.”

Also with the Republican debate in mind, Robert Christian at the Millennial Journal shared about “The Wisdom of Donald Trump.”

Tom Murphy at The Humanosphere shared that the “World Bank (is) regressing on environmental and social protections, critics charge.”

Friend, professor and mentor Dr. Terri Elton shared this intriguing post by Monica Anderson and Andrew Perrin from the Pew Research Center noting and sharing, “15% of Americans don’t use the internet. Who are they?

Julian Stodd shared about, “3 Organizational Change Curves: Dynamic, Constrained, Resisted.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Steve Keating shared thoughts about, “Assumptive Leadership,” and “The Look of Leadership.”

Anne Loehr shared about “The Future of Work: (with) 13 Tips to Prepare Your Organization.”

Dan Rockwell shared a number of intriguing posts over the past week, including: thoughts about “The Real Work of Leaders“; “12 Secrets for Successful Coaching Conversations“; and “How to Hold People Accountable.”

Lolly Daskal wrote about, “The Secret Source of Great Leadership,” which she believes is love. I tend to agree. What do you think?

Jean Lipman-Blumen
Jean Lipman-Blumen

Tanveer Naseer wrote about “Understanding Leadership and the Meaning of Life.”

My friend and mentor, Dr. Jean Lipman-Blumen is cited in this article, so you should check out why, “Everything we bash Donald Trump for is actually what we seek in leaders,” as written by Jeffrey Pfeffer.

Brian Dodd shared, “44 Leadership Quotes from Jim Collins.”

Kristof De Wulf at Switch & Shift shared, “7 Provoking Questions Critical to Your Purpose in Business.” Check out this post from some great leadership and purpose questions.

Jon Mertz at Thin Difference asked, “What Are Your Aspirations?

Thin Difference also shared a guest post by Andrew Cravenho who wrote about, “Leading from Behind in the Business World.”

Millennials

Molly Page at Thin Difference shared about Tru Pettigrew, Millennials, and vocation when writing about, “When Gifts, Passion, and Purpose Collide.”

Stefanie wrote, “Dear 20 Somethings, Build Your Identity Capital.”

Friend Kari Osmek shared this post by J.T. O’Donnell featuring “3 Reasons Millennials Are Getting Fired.” The reasons noted include: employers don’t want to be parents; the anti-work attitude isn’t appreciated (or tolerated); Millennials’ happiness isn’t the employer’s responsibility. What do you think?

Chelsea Krost shared this post by Samantha Massaglia who asked, “Can Millennials Change the World?

Claire Cain Miller wrote that, “Millennial Men aren’t the Dads they thought they’d be.”

In a related post the Millennial Journal shared, “Helping Millennial Dads live out their family values, egalitarian ideals.”

Neighbor Love

This past week there has been a great deal written and shared in response to racism, one of the biggest neighbor love challenges we all need to confront in our own lives. I think part of what has spurred on this conversation was a webcast broadcast last week on “Confronting Racism.”

Friend, pastor and blogger Diane Roth shared about “A Nice Person, and Racist.”

Blogger and pastor Lura Groen reflected about “Authentic Relationships and Racism.”

Ulysses Burley III wrote and shared over at The Salt Collective, “Justice for #MikeBrown: 4 Ways White Allies Can Get in the Game.”

we are story
“we are story” by Vonda Drees

Friend, pastor and blogger Aaron Fuller reflected and shared, “‘It’s not a problem, it just is’: Race, Ethnicity, Culture & the Church, Part 2.”

Goodwell Nzou shared some important and good food for thought in writing that, “In Zimbabwe, We Don’t Cry for Lions.”

Friend, blogger, and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past week. These posts included: “the peace of wild things“; “rhythm and harmony“; “eternal love gives“; “un cielo nuevo y una tierra nueva“; “we are story“; “with’ness“; and “Great Commandment breaks into Psalm.”

My brother Thomas shared some long and deep thoughts about society, neighbor love, and faith, writing, “I Claim…We Claim.”

Friend and pastor Diane Roth also reflected about “Being Here, Not There.”

 

 

Social Media & Blogging

Monica Anderson at the Pew Research Center shared, “6 takeaways about teen friendships in the digital age.”

Michael Hyatt shared thoughts about “How to Blog if You Don’t Have Time.”

Stewardship

Friend and director of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center, Marcia Shetler, asked and reflected, “Will Our Children Be Generous?” What do you think of these ideas for generosity and stewardship across generations?

Erin at Young Adult Money shared “6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Purchase.”

For those of you in development, cultivating stories, or building relationships with donors and potential givers, read this take from Simone Joyaux at Nonprofit Quarterly, writing that, “Fundraising Isn’t about Money…Neither is Giving.”

Vocation

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes wrote, “Don’t Ask Me How to Raise Teenagers.”

In celebrating my wife Allison’s and my anniversary last week I shared some thoughts in writing, “What a Wonderful World.

Speaking of East Coast, here's a picture from one of Allison's and my East Coast adventures last year.
Speaking of East Coast, here’s a picture from one of Allison’s and my East Coast adventures last year, outside the Jefferson Memorial.

Meet Danita Abiola, one of LEAD’s interns this summer, who shared all about that in writing about “A Day in the Life of a LEAD Intern.”

Friend, world traveler and blogger Ben Tully shared about his recent travel adventures in writing, “From the Eastern Hemisphere to the East Coast.”

Miscellaneous

Football and broadcasting legend Frank Gifford passed away over the weekend. Ken Fang shared a nice overview and tribute to Frank here.

20140802_191928
Happy Birthday Tamara!

If you like visiting state and national parks, check out this article which my wife Allison shared with me from Kristin Jackson about “Free day coming up at Washington state parks,” with added info about National Parks as well.

Finally, join me in wishing my sister Tamara (who is on Twitter now), a Very Happy Birthday today!

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That concludes this week’s edition of the links. I hope you have enjoyed them. As always, if you have particular questions or topics for me to think about on the blog, please share them. Also, if there are things you would like to see included in 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; Jean Lipman-Blumen; and “we are story.”

What a Wonderful World

One of my favorite songs of all time is “What a Wonderful World.” I’m sure you know the song, but to refresh your memory about the song and its beautiful lyrics by George David and Bob Thiele:

CMP
It’s hard not to think of that song when remembering this gathering of such a wonderful family.

“I see trees of green, red roses, too, I see them bloom for me and you, and I think to myself what a wonderful world. I see skies of blue and clouds of white, the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night, and I say to myself what a wonderful world. The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky, are also on the faces of people goin’ by. I see friends shakin’ hands, sayin’, “how do you do!” They’re really sayin’, “I love you.”  I hear babies cry, I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know, and I think to myself what a wonderful world. Yes, I think to myself what a wonderful world.”

– “What a Wonderful World.” Words and Music by George David Weiss & Bob Thiele

I am thinking about this song today because it was the song that Allison and I shared for our first dance together five years ago.

Exchanging vows
Exchanging vows

Five years ago today, Allison and I shared vows between one another, before our families and loved ones, and before God. I vowed:

“I give myself to you. Each and every morning I promise to wake you up gently, and always I promise to be faithful and honest with you. I promise to respect and trust you, to help and care for you, and to forgive and strengthen you. I promise to share my life with you, so that together we may serve God and others as long as we both shall live. These things I promise with all my heart.”

We have grown a lot as a couple these past five years. We have grown a lot as individuals over them too- both understanding our own selves, our gifts, our passions… but also discerning together what God is up to, and calling us to be part of. When we made our vows five years ago, we each vowed, “I promise to share my life with you, so that together we may serve God and others as long as we both shall live.” This is central to who we are and our vocations.

Earlier this week, to celebrate Allison's birthday we went to a Pentatonix and Kelly Clarkson Concert in St. Paul. This was certainly a new experience for me, and one of many that Allison has shared with me along our journey thus far.
Earlier this week, to celebrate Allison’s birthday we went to a Pentatonix and Kelly Clarkson Concert in St. Paul. This was certainly a new experience for me, and one of many that Allison has shared with me along our journey thus far.

It took on a new level this week with my approval to be an Associate in Ministry, and is also taking on a new level as Allison prepares to begin a pastoral internship, and if all goes well, to be an ordained Pastor by sometime late next year.

All of this is great, but for today, as I pause to say Happy Anniversary to my wife and to thank you all for being part of our lives and journeys… let me say this, if it weren’t for Allison, I would not be who I am today, I would not be living as fully and abundantly, and I certainly would not know as much about vocation, identity, being able to be most authentically me… and of course, love.

Core to my blog here are reflections about church, leadership and the love of the neighbor. These are made most real for me when done in concert with my wife. Today, I’m grateful for her, and blessed beyond measure to be able to say Happy Fifth Anniversary!

The world we live in is not perfect, and there are plenty of needs we are called to respond to. But it is also wonderful, because it is a gift created by God and one we are called to love, live in, co-create in, and to serve. Such a calling and opportunity is a wonderful gift. It’s one I think that it is best to share with others, especially my life partner.

Happy Anniversary Allison! I love you!

Approved… Now What?

Earlier this summer I wrote and shared about being “Towards Approval.” Well, I can happily report that I have officially been approved by the candidacy committee of the Southwestern Washington Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to be an Associate in Ministry. To translate, this means that the larger church that I am a part of has formally approved me for being an official leader in the church.

What does this mean? 

In short, this means that I can now officially be called as an Associate in Ministry to any institution, organization or non-profit related to the church or larger church, as well as to any congregation or church body within the ELCA. Once I receive a formal call, I would be commissioned and “rostered” as a leader in the church.

As Allison and I will be in the Pacific Northwest this year while she serves her pastoral internship, I will be doing some work in the same faith community she will be interning at as well as doing some work for the synod and a few other projects. I may be called and formally commissioned this year for any of these roles, or I may wait for a formal call to be commissioned next year in partnership with Allison receiving a call. I’m not sure yet how the process will play itself out, but I’ll keep you posted.

One thing is very clear, the Holy Spirit is very much at work and I’m excited to continue pondering and discerning in conversation with communities and the church, “What might God be up to?

To all of you who read, follow and engage with me here on the blog, thank you for being a part of the journey and conversation, and for your prayers, support, partnership and collaboration!

This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday on the blog means that I get to share some of what I have seen, read, and found interesting with all of you. To help make sense of these links, I have grouped them by the following categories: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboraton; 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 sermons or for leading worship this coming weekend, check out the following resources. If you are following the revised common lectionary: Bishop Michael Rinehart shared some reflections and ideas about “Pentecost 11B“; Rev. Dr. David Lose wrote and shared, “Pentecost 11B: Ordinary Things“; and friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis shared some deeper reflections about the gospel reading from John 6:35, 41-51, writing that the “Past Matters.” For a broader thematic look at this month’s readings and about how “Food fills the menu in August’s lectionary,” check out “Bread from Heaven,” by Patricia Tull.

If you are following the narrative lectionary check out the “Commentary on Hebrews 1:1-4,” written by Rev. Dr. Craig Koester.

Friend, pastor and blogger Aaron Fuller shared an important and honest reflection writing, “‘I am not welcome…’ Reflecting on race, ethnicity, & the Lutheran Church.”

Church and Social Media (#ChSocM) shared a transcript of its weekly Twitter chat which last week focused on “Training Your Church’s Social Media Team,” which was moderated by Neal Fischer.

Friend, pastor and blogger Joe Smith shared this report from the Public Religion Research Institute by Joanna Piacenza and Robert Jones about “The Top Two Religious Groups that Dominate American Cities.”

Blogger, pastor and writer Clint Schnekloth shared this announcement about the “Reformation 500th Anniversary and ELCA Churchwide Assembly 2016.”

Friend and blogger J.W. Wartick shared what I think is a helpful post about “A Sacramental/Lutheran Response to Women in Church Leadership.”

Augsburg Fortress CEO and friend Beth Lewis shared an “Open Letter” to Sundays & Seasons subscribers.

Friend, pastor and blogger Frank Johnson wrote about, “One way the Youth Gathering showed me we have a long way to go.”

Friend and LEAD executive director, Peggy Hahn, shared about being part of a “Global Village.”

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Friend and blogger Chris Michaelis shared this detailed and thought provoking article on “Why the Iran Deal makes President Obama’s critics so angry,” by Peter Beinart.

Tom Murphy at the Humanosphere wrote and asked, “U.N.-style justice for Cecil the lion?

Blogger and social leadership theorist Julian Stodd shared thoughts and reflections especially this past week about culture writing, “A Sense of Culture,” “Transient Culture,” and some other “Reflections.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

The Connective Leadership Institute shared this post by Lolly Daskal detailing “7 Smart Habits of Great Innovators.” The habits listed that will help likely become more innovative include: constantly connect the dots; commit to asking questions; actively try new things; find points of intersection with others; have a sense of purpose; cross-pollinate ideas; and make innovation a daily routine. Lolly also shared that, “The Act of Empowering Others Changes Lives.”

Tanveer Naseer explained about “Why Vacations are Critical for Successful Leadership,” noting in particular that vacation breaks: give us the opportunity for reflection and review; fuel our creativity muscles by allowing us to pursue other interests; and they create opportunities for employees to grow.

A bunch of seminary friends together at Will and Katie's wedding doing an epic selfie!
Speaking of women leaders, in this picture alone are four very strong and big-hearted ones, which I am grateful to call my friends, colleagues, partners, etc.

Joelle Jackson shared about “5 Qualities of a Conscious Leader,” highlighting: self-awareness; win-win; recognizing that everything is a learning opportunity; reconciling differences; and wisdom.

Steve Keating asked an important leadership question, “Can you Adapt?

Friend, professor and mentor Dr. Terri Elton shared this article by Lauren Kent from the Pew Research Center, noting that the “Number of women leaders around the world has grown, but they’re still a small group.”

Dan Rockwell shared a number of good leadership reflections and insights over the past week. These included thoughts about: “When Effort is High but Performance is Low“; “The Toxic Leader Score“; “10 Things We All Want from our Leaders“; “5 Painful Leadership Blunders Successful Leaders Avoid“; and “The 7 Pursuits of Successful Leaders.”

Barbara Wallraff wrote and shared, “Improve Your Writing to Improve Your Credibility.”

Daniel Goleman shared thoughts about “What it Takes to Become a Socially Intelligent Leader.”

Michael Hyatt shared about “5 Ways Reading Makes You a Better Leader.

Anne Loehr wrote this fascinating post about “What 3 Fictional Heroines Can Teach Future Female Leaders,” reflecting on Hermione Granger, Katniss Everdeen, and Beatrice Prior. Check this out.

Seth Godin shared about “Three things that make CEOs stupid,” highlighting: power, exposure, and the truth. Awhile back Seth also responded to a common misconception, “I don’t have any good ideas.”

Skip Prichard explained “12 Ways Going Social Improved My Leadership as CEO.”

Cynthia Bazin and Dan Forbes shared “The Best of Lead with Giants- August 2015,” definitely check this roundup out for more great leadership thoughts, ideas, questions and reflections.

Over at Thin Difference, Megan Dougherty wrote about “Keeping Your Focus on the Details.”

Millennials

Jeremy Chandler at Thin Difference wrote and shared, “Before You Hire Your Next Millennial… Read This.” Definitely read this post and spend some time with it and its implications. Within this Jeremy shares 3 things to know before you hire your next Millennial: We need to feel like we’re more than just another number; We need to know the why behind what you do; and we don’t expect to stay forever… and we expect you to be okay with that.

Gail Marks Jarvis wrote, “On the money: Dear millennials, you’re ruining the economy; now move out.” What do you think?

Art Rainer shared about “Nine Financial Decisions Millennials Need to Make Right Now.”

Chelsea Krost shared this post by Alyssa Huntley, “Power, purpose and passion: 3 keys to happy millennial workers.”

Neighbor Love

Jesse James DeConto shared an extensive interview titled, “For All the Sinners and Saints,” with pastor, blogger and writer Nadia Bolz-Weber.

"beauty's Artist" by Vonda Drees
“beauty’s Artist” by Vonda Drees

Friend, pastor and blogger Stephanie Vos wrote over at The Salt Collective about the distinction of “I Have Fat vs. I Am Fat.”

Rozella White shared an honest, powerful and moving reflection in writing, “A Word About Not Knowing What to Do.”

Friend, blogger and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past week. These included: “when we dare“; “beauty’s Artist“; “let’s dream“; “the same pattern“; “Lawrence’s gift“; “one and many“; and “dancing with Paradise.”

On this blog I shared a sermon from this past weekend based on Song of Solomon entitled, “Passionate Love.

Friend, blogger and Mennonite Church communications director, Hannah Heinzekehr shared a sermon she gave earlier this summer based on Luke 24 entitled, “On ascensions and chaos.”

Hannah also shared this post by Lauren Markoe, “Why stay? A new book looks at feminists who refuse to give up on faith.” Congratulations are in order to Hannah especially, because she authored a section of this book! Go and check it out!

John Pavlovitz wrote that, “Evangelical Christianity’s Love Affair with Ronda Rousey Reveals its Hypocrisy.”

John Pavolvitz also wrote and asked, “Are We All Selectively Pro-Life People?” What do you think?

Friend, blogger, pastor, and Ph.D. student Amanda Brobst-Renaud shared this post by Leslie Salzillo about how a, “Catholic Nun Explains Pro-Life in a Way that Will Stun Many.”

Amanda also shared this reflection she wrote about “Fast Food Jesus, Drive Through Grace.”

Nate Pyle wrote and posited, “When Tissue is a Person: How Thomas Gray Helped Me Think about Planned Parenthood.”

Friend, pastor and blogger Frank Johnson shared his sermon for the past weekend based on Psalm 51, “Repentant Songs, sinful kings, and why good people aren’t just rare but impossible.”

Pastor and blogger Todd Buegler shared about “Being Together,” as well as his sermon for the past weekend based on John 6, “I Know You, I Know Your Heart.”

Friend, professor, and blogger Dr. Ron Byrnes shared a little about “The Art of Getting Along.”

Social Media & Blogging

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

For those who assemble and curate sets of resources or “roundups” like this, check out this post from Brian Honigman, “The Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Effective Expert Roundup Blog Post.”

Stewardship

I came across this great post from last December by Krista Tippett, writing and offering some alternative ideas to Christmas and giving in explaining, “Why I Don’t Do Christmas.”

Over on the COMPASS blog I shared reflection inspired by packing and moving and the blog’s “Christmas in July” series about “Meaningful Gifts- Stories Remembered While Packing.” This also appeared as an excerpt on this blog.

Also on the COMPASS blog I shared the introductory post to the blog’s August series, writing about “Planning for the Fall- Stewardship and Young Adults.”

Kristi at Young Adult Money shared about “5 Budget Rules You Should Break.” Good advice. What would you add?

Also at Young Adult Money, DC shared ideas about “How to Maintain Good Credit.”

Vocation

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared some life and vocational updates with her “Tuesday Tea Time.”

Blogger and social leadership theorist Julian Stodd shared thoughts about “Taking Time.”

Friend, blogger and pastor Diane Roth reflected on life, work and vocation while “Listening to the Rain.” Diane also shared a little potential discernment and thoughts about possible signs in writing, “As The Deer.”

Speaking of the Mariners, Allison had a conversation with Pitcher Felix Hernandez this week while at the ballpark during warm-ups and batting practice.
Speaking of the Mariners, Allison had a conversation with Pitcher Felix Hernandez this week while at the ballpark during warm-ups and batting practice.

Intern Pastors Ben and Kristen Eisele shared thanks, gratitude and vocational reflections in writing about “A Change of Season.”

Friend and blogger Jenna shared a beautiful post about her now one year-old.

Miscellaneous

Friend, math teacher and Mariners blogger Tim Chalberg had a lot of fun providing updates and thoughts about the baseball trade deadline last week. Tim wrote that the “2015 Trade Deadline Belongs to Sellers” based on the large number of big trades that happened last week. He also shared news and thoughts about the Mariners’ trades, noting that “Ackley goes for Flores and Ramirez,” “Happ to Pirates,” and that “Lowe (was) traded to Jays for three prospects.”

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That concludes this week’s edition of the links. I hope you have enjoyed them. As always, if you have particular questions or topics for me to think about on the blog, please share them. Also, if there are things you would like to see included in 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 “beauty’s Artist.”

Meaningful Gifts- Stories Remembered While Packing

Last week I shared another reflection on the COMPASS blog as part of its “Christmas in July” series, focused on sharing reflections and ideas about gifts and giving. The following is an excerpt of that post, and I hope you will want to check out the whole reflection here

Boxes, boxes, and more boxes... Packing, packing, and more packing...
Boxes, boxes, and more boxes… Packing, packing, and more packing…

I currently find myself in the midst of more boxes than anything else. My wife Allison and I are busy packing as we’ll be moving soon, leaving Minnesota to return to the Pacific Northwest so Allison can begin her pastoral internship.

As I have been packing, I have come across a few things which have been gifts to us over the years, and they have me thinking about meaningful gifts. Most of them aren’t special or meaningful to me because of their fiscal value (if they have any). The stories that go along with the gifts and the memories they have given have a value far beyond their monetary worth.

Here are a few stories and memories of my most valued gifts:

  • I am a pianist and vocalist. I love to work out my stress on the piano, and because of this I have quite a bit of sheet music that I’ve been packing. Last week as I was going through some of it I came across a song that had been written and dedicated to me by my good friend Tom. The gift of that song, a thank you for serving in leadership in a particular congregation, brought me to tears when I was surprised with it in worship a couple years ago. Finding the music again brought back many memories and joys from those years.

To continue reading, please see the original post on the COMPASS blog here

Passionate Love

The following is a sermon that I preached at Woodlake Lutheran Church this weekend. It was preached on the assigned reading from the Narrative Lectionary‘s summer series on “Old Testament Wisdom and Poetry,” Song of Solomon 2:10-13, 8:6-7

Over the past month, we have been reading and thinking about a couple of the less heard from books of the Old Testament. We have been reminded to choose life and live the good life. We have been reminded to enjoy life’s blessings- by eating, drinking and being merry; and thinking about how we live an abundant and full life which God has provided and been with us for. With this fourth and final reading, today from the Song of Solomon, we turn toward love.

The first verse of the Song illustrated (15th century)
The first verse of the Song illustrated (15th century)

As one of my seminary professors writes, “in the Song, we see what makes the good life… we see that the good life consists of right relationships- between each other, between humanity and the earth, and between humanity and God.” [1]

In the love described in this Song, we see a reflection of the love that first called the world into being in the form of Woman Wisdom that we heard about two weeks ago. We see a glimpse of what continues to sustain that love, season by season as we heard about last week, and we are reminded of what will bring it to new life beyond death itself today.[2]

This is a passionate love! We don’t often allow ourselves to express our feelings this way, except in private moments of intimacy, or perhaps in the occasional beauty of a love letter. How many of you still write love letters? Imagine that these poems are God’s love letter to and for us.

We hear lines like, “Arise, my love, my fair one… the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land… arise, my love, my fair one, and come away… Set me as a seal upon your heart… its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame…” I’m not sure this language would work so well in an email.

I know what some of you are probably thinking at this point. You’re wondering- what on earth I’m going to say about the “Song of Solomon?” What rating will this sermon have based on the poetry of this Song? How red will my cheeks turn? Some of you might even be wondering, why on earth is this book in the Bible?

The Song of Solomon, or as it is named in the Hebrew, “The Song of Songs,” is a collection of love poems.  The poems move back and forth between two lovers as a celebration of love and desire, like we read, “My beloved speaks and says to me: ‘Arise, my love, my fair one and come way…’” [3] Which makes for good love letter material.

The book is unusual in the Old Testament for its content, but also especially because God is never mentioned anywhere directly in it.[4] Instead it offers a glimpse into the feelings and everyday lives of ordinary people. It’s a chance to see what life might have been like for us- if we were there when…

Despite its title, the book likely couldn’t have been written by King Solomon, because it came about 600 years after him. And interestingly, the strong female character and female voice in the book suggest the author may have been a woman, another very rare thing in the Bible.[5]

If you read the whole book, you will notice that the female character actually speaks more than the male one; and in a rarity for sacred literature, mothers are mentioned instead of fathers. Some theologians and biblical writers believe that this is an intentional move toward mutuality between men and women in the narrative.

This is important to consider for the life of the church, and our belief that we are all Children of God, with equality, permission to lead, and importance- no matter our gender identities. There’s a long history of women not having complete equality in the church, and in many ways, the church and society still have lots of work to do on this.

With the Song of Solomon, women in particular find a sense of permission within the Bible to not only love, but to initiate love, and to enjoy and long for it.[6]

At its best the Song of Solomon advocates for a balance between female and male relationships, urging mutuality, interdependence, sexual fulfillment, and for love without repressed emotions. In a sense then, perhaps this book is one of the few in the Bible which fully advocates for people- males and females- to be authentically themselves- fully and honestly who God created each and every one of us to be.[7]

At the heart of these love poems is a deeply mutual love and concern for right relationships. Within the text we hear honest and passionate human emotion, a poetic celebration of love and sexual love. How wonderful would it be if the church could be a place safe enough for conversations about love and sex?

If we really claim to be the Body of Christ, in and for the world, then there are some things we should be talking and especially doing something more about: money, love, sex, and many more. The numbers don’t lie. Do you know what the greatest reasons for marital strife are? Money is number one, but not far behind is sex, because there is such a stigma around both.[8] It’s like we are afraid to talk about it- it’s this human thing, but it seems really to not be something for “polite company.” Well, here in this passage included in this book, we are given the opportunity to do just that, and through talking about it, as awkward as it might be, we have the hope of not only helping improve relationships and making them right, we have the hope of strengthening them.

On another level in thinking about the Song, this text could be an allegory for the mutual love of God and Israel (God’s people), or Christ and the Church. When we think about love, the love that we advocate for as Christians, it really is all built on this love. [9]

Picture a wedding or marriage. When someone gets married, they are hoping to embody the depth and passionate love of the relationship of God and God’s people, in their own relationship. I’m reminded of the old hymn, “O Perfect Love,” a song usually reserved for weddings that was really written with that allegory in mind. Human love is not possibly perfect, because we’re human. We mess up, we make mistakes, we get impatient, we don’t always communicate well, and we sin. Our hope is that our love and relationships reflect the perfect love that is God- a love that is promised and fulfilled by God.

When we hear the one lover proclaim in these love poems, “Set me as a seal upon your heart,” we are reminded of promises. We are reminded of the promises that God makes to us, God’s beloved people. This kind of seal is something that shows or symbolizes a relationship to the whole world. Think of promises, vows or for some of you, even wedding rings as a good example- anything that is a reminder of some kind of relationship that you have or are in.

Relates
Exchanging vows and rings with Allison

Though this ring is a symbol for me, I’m more reminded of the promise I made to Allison in our wedding vows. In our best attempt at poetry as young lovers five years ago, I vowed,

“I give myself to you. Each and every morning I promise to wake you up gently, and always I promise to be faithful and honest with you. I promise to respect and trust you, to help and care for you, and to forgive and strengthen you. I promise to share my life with you, so that together we may serve God and others as long as we both shall live. These things I promise with all my heart.”

Perhaps you have made vows or promises in your own life?

Five years later, I’m still falling in love with Allison each day, even during the hard and challenging ones. I think that’s what the poet is getting at in the Song, and that’s what we have been building toward in worship during this journey through Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon.

The “Good Life” is really all about love. “Love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave.” We know that in Christ, love isn’t just as strong as death, it’s stronger. Yes, death is a reality as we were reminded of last week, but it doesn’t have the final word. God’s love is so deep for us, that God calls us, not just daily to “Arise and come away,” but we believe and trust that same call will come one day, where we come away in that deep love with God to be with God in the new life beyond death.

For me, today’s reading and the whole Song is a reminder of how passionate a love God has for us, and how such passionate love is not something to hide.

I met a 75 year old man last fall at a coffee shop who is a retired magazine editor and pastor. You know what surprised me about this man? In our first conversation ever, he told me that he’s doing well and that he and his wife “make love several times a week.” I’ve never met someone quite so willing to share, let alone anyone so openly talking about their love life. I found it a bit surprising and kind of awkward. But in thinking about that today, maybe that man had a better sense of being authentically himself and was more comfortable and willing to share in the blessings and joys of life.

When we hear that, “love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame…” The phrase “a raging flame,” literally from the Hebrew can mean “a flame of the Lord.”[10] Even though God isn’t directly mentioned in these poems, God may well be linked with love at the high point of the Song. This is no surprise, given that such passionate, sensual, and beautiful love couldn’t be a gift of anyone, except for God.

Love- love that shows up through the kindness of a hug is a gift from God. Love that shows up when we get down on our knees to join a neighbor in need is a gift and calling from God. But so is the love that shows up in a deeply passionate kiss or embrace, where both partners are equals and on equal footing. That’s the kind of love that is being spoken about in the Song. It’s the kind of love we need more of in our own lives, and certainly in the life of the world which we are called to love, serve and be present in.

Don’t be afraid to share that love- the love of Christ. Don’t be afraid to talk about the different kinds of love in life. And, if for some reason, you are struggling with love and how to love, don’t be afraid to ask for help- that’s one of the things that pastors (as well as counselors) are especially here for. Reach out to them.

“Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come…” It’s time to arise and live abundantly and fully. It’s time to love and commit to the deep love that God has been committed to with you since before you were but a dream in your mother’s heart.

Love can even look like sharing a wonderful banana split with the one you love!
Love can even look like sharing a wonderful banana split with the one you love!

“Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.” Human love is frail, it takes hard work and intentionality to grow and nurture. Commit yourself to it.

At the same time, know that there’s nothing you can do about God’s love. It can’t be taken away. It can’t be quenched or flooded. It’s a raging and indistinguishable fire. It’s a gift and a mystery that far exceeds our understanding and imagination.

You have seen glimpses of what God’s love looks like- in the moments of great passion between lovers, in the flowery words of a beautiful love letter, in the stories of a 75-year old man unafraid to share his love story; in the young love which leads to vows before God and loved ones in a wedding, in the meal at this table- a feast of the foretaste to come; in the life, death on a cross and resurrection which we profess about in the creeds… God’s love is all of that and so much more.

You are loved, and there’s nothing you can do about that. Now go and love as God deeply and passionately loves you. Amen.

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Notes and Sources:

[1] Kathryn Schifferdecker, “Commentary on Song of Solomon 2:10-13, 8:6-7.” < https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2511>.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Based on “Commentary on Song of Solomon 2:8-13,” by Kathryn Schifferdecker. < https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=385>.

[4] Renita Weems, “Song of Songs,” in Women’s Bible Commentary: Expanded Edition with Apocrypha, Carol A. Newsom, Sharon H. Ringe, eds. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), 164.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., 164-168.

[8] This has been discussed in many places including here: < https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/2013/07/how-to-address-the-top-3-major-marriage-problems/>.

[9] “Commentary on Song of Solomon 2:8-13,” by Kathryn Schifferdecker.

[10] Kathryn Schifferdecker, “Commentary on Song of Solomon 2:8-13.”

Image Credit: “Song of Songs.”