This Week’s Links

Internet1Each week on the blog I get to share some of what I have seen, read, and found interesting and thought provoking over the past week. To help make sense of all of these links, I have grouped them by the following categories: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice, including a special sub-section related to Pope Francis’ visit to the United States; 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 preparing for worship, or writing a sermon for this weekend, I have a few helpful links. First, if you are following the revised common lectionary, check out friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis‘ take on the gospel reading from Mark 10:2-16, “Dependence Needs.” Also, spend some time with Rev. Dr. David Lose’s thoughts as well with his reflection, “Pentecost 19B: Communities of the Broken and Blessed.”

If you are following the narrative lectionary, spend some time with this “Commentary on Exodus 1:8-14 [15-2:10]; 3:1-15,” by Patricia Tull. As you consider where to go with this long text, spend some time with friend, pastor, and blogger Aaron Fuller’s reflection on the reading in his, “For you, Narrative Lectionary Preacher,” post.

If you are celebrating the “Feast of St. Francis,” or doing a “blessing of the animals” service, consider these thoughts and ideas from Bishop Michael Rinehart.

Also, you are participating in “Five Practices for Passionate Worship,” consider these readings and reflections from Bishop Michael Rinehart.

Changing gears, friend, adviser, and professor Rev. Dr. Matthew Skinner has a new book out, Intrusive God, Disruptive Gospel: Encountering the Divine in the Book of ActsYou should definitely check this book out and hopefully add it to your offices and libraries.

Author and theologian Phyllis Tickle passed away last week. David Gibson shared this profile about her, and Jana Riess wrote poignantly, “Rest in peace, Phyllis Tickle.”

In exciting news from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the “First class of ELCA International Women Leaders have begun their studies this fall.

Beth Lewis is seeking responses from various stakeholders of Augsburg Fortress, to respond and participate in a “Survey for Faith-based Organization Research,” developed jointly by friend, mentor, and professor Dr. Terri Elton and Dr. Hayim Herring.

Church and Social Media (#ChSocM) shared a transcript of their weekly chat, which recently discussed, “Social Media and Mission Trips.”

Are you planning on participating in Social Media Sunday on October 25th?

Christopher Scott shared some ideas for “Creating Simple and Effective Volunteer Job Descriptions for Your Church,” helpful tips for any faith community, but perhaps also some insights applicable to other nonprofit and volunteer based organization as well.

Pastor and blogger Tim Brown shared about, “5 things that happen when you get a new pastor” in The Lutheran. What do you think of this list?

And now for a whole host of posts about Pope Francis‘ Trip to the United States:

You can read Pope Francis’ speech to Congress here.

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and first lady Michelle Obama wave with Pope Francis during an arrival ceremony for the pope at the White House in Washington September 23, 2015. The pontiff is on his first visit to the United States. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
President and Mrs. Obama with Pope Francis at the White House in Washington D.C.

Friend, and Ph.D. student Sara Wilhelm Garbers shared an annotated reading of “The pope’s address to the United Nations.”

Bethania Palma Markus wrote and shared, “Fox’s Shep Smith: Those angered by Pope’s call to care for poor and environment ‘should consult a mirror.'”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Joe Smith shared a timely post in light of Pope Francis’ recent trip to the United States, writing and sharing a, “Critique of Pope Francis and the Pastoral Role.”

Blogger, pastor, and writer Clint Schnekloth reflected about “A Pope and a President,” and “A Bottled Pope: How can water do such great things?

Father Sean Carroll wrote and shared, “‘A Church Without Borders’ – A Jesuit priest shares a letter he received from Pope Francis. And testifies to the inhumanity of America’s deportation system.”

Janell Ross detailed about, “A Spanish-speaking pope, and America’s complicated relationship with bilingualism.”

Mark Berman wrote that, “Pope Francis tells Congress ‘every life is sacred,’ says the death penalty should be abolished.” I wholeheartedly agree, and cannot believe that such a “penalty” is still allowed and used.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Tom Murphy shared that, “The Pope lays out his own development goals,” over in The Humanosphere

Friend, professor, and mentor Dr. Terri Elton shared about “Global Goals,” and a video proclaiming, “We the People For the Global Goals.” Check these posts out, especially if you are unaware of what the “Global Goals” are.

Terri also shared this post by Eloise Todd which helped explain, “Why connecting everyone to the internet could help end extreme poverty.”

Friend, blogger, and communications strategist Carrie Gubsch shared this post by Jane McConnell on “The Company Cultures That Help (or Hinder) Digital Transformation.”

Social leadership theorist and writer Julian Stodd shared some more thoughts about “The Dynamic Change Process- Narrative,” as well as more thoughts on change, including the “Change Curve: The Energy of Change,” and “Change Curve: Filling in the Gaps.”

Friend and lawyer Andrea Goddard shared this thoughtful take on communication, dialogue and relationships from Sherry Turkle who wrote, “Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Joe Smith shared this interesting post from last year detailing, “How to Tell Someone’s Age When All You Know is Her Name.” See what you think.

Leadership Thought & Practice

Tanveer Naseer shared thoughts about “Learning to Focus on What Matters Most.”

Lee Simmons wrote about “What Investors Want to See in Your CEO.” What do you think of these observations?

Steve Keating reflected about, “The Sacrifice of Authentic Leadership.” Within this, Steve writes and asks, “Are you willing to sacrifice in order to make a difference in the lives of those you lead? Like everything else in life it is a choice…. will you make it?” How would you respond to these questions?

Carrie, Allison and Me in my office at church
Hanging out with Carrie Gubsch and Allison

Marina Theodotou shared and pondered about, “The Middle Market: The New Learning Frontier?

Friend, blogger, and communications strategist Carrie Gubsch shared, “6 Habits of Aspiring Leaders,” compiled by Darius Foroux. The habits highlighted are: they’re brief; they utilize their knowledge; they remain ethical; they don’t try to change people; they’re fully present; and they treat life’s obstacles as leadership training. What do you think?

Eileen McDargh shared about, “What the California drought can teach you about leadership.”

John R. Bell shared, “4 leadership rules for a business downturn.”

Ted Bauer wrote that, “The most important aspect of your business will always be respect.” I agree. What do you think?

Croft Edwards wrote and shared, “Leadership 101: You need to be driving, and modeling, the conversations taking place.” Put another way, “leadership is about conversation.”

Justin Irving wrote about, “Wide-Angle Leadership.”

Jon Mertz at Thin Difference shared thoughts about trust and leadership in writing, “Trust: The Diverse Tales of Kickstarter and Volkswagen.”

Thin Difference also shared this guest post by Scott Huntington explaining, “How to Be a Leader Outside of the Office.”


Erin at Young Adult Money shared a look at “4 Ways Millennials Can Put Their Finances on Autopilot.

Broke Millennial wrote and shared, “Welcome CBS Sunday Morning Viewers!

Jeff Goins shared, “3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young.”

Aaron Cline Hanbury posed a very interesting question, “Do Millennial Christians Have the Strongest Faith of Any Generation?” Give this a read and see what you think.

Neighbor Love

My brother Thomas shared this list of “9 Ways We Can Make Social Justice Movements Less Elitist and More Accessible,” as compiled by Kai Cheng Thom.

Friend, new blogger, and current seminary/graduate student Kristen Lee shared her thoughts “On the Importance of Story.” I was particularly struck by this, “Learning stories helps me to understand and better love my neighbor. This is, after all, one of Jesus’ greatest commandments.” It also happens to be good timing for me and my current sermon writing. Give this a read, and be sure to follow Kristen’s new blog.

"A Culture of Encounter" by Vonda Drees.
“A Culture of Encounter” by Vonda Drees.

Friend, blogger, and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past week. These included: “awake“; “Spirit glue“; “pray always yoked“; “What gives you hope?“; “Jesus hands“; “homeland of wholeness“; “attentiveness“; “a culture of encounter“; and “art is…

Drew DeSilver shared some about “The many ways to measure economic inequality.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Aaron Fuller shared “A wrestler’s commentary on Genesis 32,” as well as the sermon he preached on that text this past weekend, “On Genesis 32 and why we wrestle.”

Wesley Lowery wrote that, “Elizabeth Warren just gave the speech that Black Lives Matter activists have been waiting for.” What do you think?

Friend, blogger, and communications director Hannah Heinzekehr shared some thoughts “On shapewear and feeling ‘squished.'” Hannah also shared these thoughts from Marty Lehman, “On love, journey and shoes.”

Meghan Florian shared some reflections on “Defining femininity and the misuse of Proverbs 31.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Joe Smith shared a thought provoking, emotional, and challenging reflection written by Rebecca Cohen on “Why I had an abortion after 20 weeks.” This is an important perspective and story to read. When people think about being “pro life” in the fullest sense, perhaps it’s not always as clear and “black and white” as we might wish it would be?

My friends at LEAD shared a very helpful piece on “Cultural Empathy: The 10 Dimensions of Cultural Value.”

Candice Czubernat shared some “Reflections on Coming Out as a Lesbian Mom.”

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared this compelling take from Cornel West, “Love is a form of death.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Diane Roth wrote and shared, “You’re So Gracious.”

Social Media & Blogging

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


Friend, pastor, and blogger Beth Wartick shared some good “thoughts on Stewardship and Privilege.”

Erin at Young Adult Money shared, “5 Financial Considerations Before Adopting a Pet.”

Amanda and Jeremy with their new home (and their realtor)
Amanda and Jeremy with their new home (and their realtor)

I had the great privilege of interviewing my friends and pastors Amanda and Jeremy Ullrich last week. From that interview, came these two blog posts on the COMPASS blog sharing their thoughts and stories about “One Couple’s Experience” of talking about faith and finances, as well as about their story and lessons from “Purchasing a New Home.”

Stefanie shared some thoughts on “How to Empower Yourself Through Personal Finance.”


Friend and communications director Hannah Heinzekehr shared a great post with insights about the church, vocation, and leadership, in writing and sharing, “Leaving Well: Six things I’ve learned during my work with Mennonite Church USA.” Thank you for sharing Hannah, and congratulations on your new role and adventure.

For all of you readers and leaders out there, Shana Lebowitz and Mike Nudelman shared a list of “12 books that Bill Gates thinks everyone should read.”

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared her regular installment of “Tuesday Tea Time,” offering some life reflections and vocational insights.


Last week Baseball and very quotable legend, Yogi Berra passed away. I encourage you to read about some of his best quotes and great life story.


That concludes this 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; Pope Francis and President and Mrs. Obama; and “a culture of encounter.”

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