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; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Millennials; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; Stewardship; Vocation; and Miscellaneous. This week the neighbor love section is particularly long- both because of people’s Advent inspired reflections, and more so because of current events demanding responses. I hope you enjoy these links!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

I have a number of links for those of you preparing for worship or writing a sermon for this weekend. If you are following the revised common lectionary, Bishop Michael Rinehart shared this look at “Advent 3C” with particular focus on “The First Song of Isaiah.” Rev. Dr. David Lose also shared his look at “Advent 3C: Ordinary Saints.” Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis reflected about the gospel message from Luke 3:7-18 in “Advent Expectations.” In also digging into the gospel text, friend and professor Rev. Dr. Eric Barreto wrote about the text for Advent 3C in “Ordinary Acts of Grace.”

If you are following the narrative lectionary, Michael Chan shares this helpful “Commentary on Ezra 1:1-4; 3:1-4, 10-13.”

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared a bunch of good links in these “Advent Resources.”

Speaking of Advent, Tangled Blue shared, “111 Songs for the Season.”

Church and Social Media (#ChSocM) shared a transcript of their weekly Twitter chat, “It’s beginning to look a lot like #Christmas.” Seth Hinz moderated the chat which offered good thoughts about how to engage social media more intentionally and effectively for an awesome Christmas season.

Friend and stewardship director Adam Copeland reflected about “Saying, ‘No,’” and ministry.

LEAD shared about potentially “The best gift every leader can give their congregation.

Friend, pastor, and blogger Diane Roth reflected about church, ministry, strategy, and identity in writing, “A Culture of Grace.”

Gay Clark Jennings wrote, “Anxious white Protestants.”

Carey Nieuwhof wrote about how he believes that “Pastoral Care Stunts the Growth of Most Churches.” Check out his thoughts and see what you think.

Friend and mentor Dr. Terri Elton shared some good reflection about community and Holy Communion in writing, “Breaking Bread together- in a new way.”

Jan Edmiston shared about some “Stuff Church Offers (that the world needs right now).”

Brian Dodd shared some thoughts about “11 Things Church Staff Can Do to Make Highly Successful Volunteer Leaders.” If you find yourself working alongside and cultivating volunteer leaders and volunteers, check out this list and see what you might add based on your experience.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

In the story that continues to evolve, the PLU mess related to KPLU continues to get messier. PLU’s President, Dr. Thomas Krise shared some thoughts about “Public Radio Sustainability.” Joel Connelly at the Seattle PI, shared news and a response to this in writing that the “Advisory council condemns ‘misguided’ KPLU sale, calls out university for ‘misleading, flatly incorrect’ statements.” In a related post to the topic, Joe Boyle wrote and shared, “Westside Story- Death of KPLU.”

Julian Stodd reflected about “Denying Innovation.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

NWB wrote and noted, “All right, everyone, we need to freak out more about nonprofit leadership.”

Tanveer Naseer shared a guest post by Kevin Kruse highlighting, “4 Secrets to Making Time for Leadership.” The secrets that were highlighted are: energy; capture; calendar; and concentrate.

Clare Kelly wrote about “Why you need to bring humanity back into the workplace.”

Former United States Secretary of Defense, Robert M. Gates wrote this column related to leadership about “The kind of president we need.”

In a related post, Al Cardenas and Mark McLarty shared this video and story about a “Freshman senator (who) delivers blunt message: ‘The people despise us all.‘”

Justin Irving shared a continued look at “The Power of Vision.”

Vivienne Walt shared about “How Big Business Found Religion on Climate Change.”

HBR shared this video look at how to “Turn Cooperation Into Collaboration.”

Brad Tilden, Alaska Airlines CEO
Brad Tilden, Alaska Airlines CEO

Dan Rockwell unpacked what he sees as being “The 5 Ultimate Responsibilities of Leadership.” The responsibilities he lists are: define and focus on what matters now; develop and maximize talent through coaching; get out of the way while staying connected; smooth the path to achievement; and lift people out of the weeds.

Christina Pazzanese wrote, “Beware those toxic co-workers.”

Congratulations are in order for “The 2015 PSBJ Executive of the Year,” Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden, a fellow PLU alum.

Steve Keating wrote about, “When It’s Time to Decide.”

Lolly Daskal shared, “In the Words of a Leader.”

Seth Godin wrote, “Full speed, then stop, gracefully.”

Thin Difference shared this guest post by Rugger Burke on the “5 Mantras that Will Make You a Better Leader.” The mantras Rugger shares about are: be the example; ask first, tell second; find a way; delegate, delegate, delegate; and share the insomnia.

Also at Thin Difference, Jon Mertz wrote about “Opportunity Windows.”


Jeremy Chandler at Thin Difference asked, “Will You Help the Next Generation Accomplish Greater Things?

Julian Stodd wrote about, “Why tech savvy millennials are precisely not your problem.”

Anne Loehr wrote and shared, “Dear Generational Guru…

Chelsea Krost shared this recent podcast which pondered the question, “Do You Really Know What Millennials Want from Events?” Good question.

Neighbor Love

I am tired of having to write and share stories about the prevalence of guns and gun violence. It should not be so easy to have weapons. They are a direct result of fear and cynicism. There are common sense things that can and should be done to tighten loop holes, and to make sure people can handle their guns safely. Related to this, Norma Cook Everist asked, “When mass shootings become typical, what do we believe?Nate Pyle also wrote powerfully about “The Dead Faith of Empty Prayers about Gun Violence.” Digging into prayer and this particular complaint or question, Margaret Felice pondered about “What we need alongside ‘thoughts and prayers.'” Also related to the topic, John Pavlovitz shared this “Letter to an American gun lover.” Friend, pastor, and blogger Todd Buegler asked, “How Long O Lord?

In The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof writes that, “On Guns, We’re Not Even Trying.” I can’t argue with this assessment, one bit. If we were trying, we would be not only offering solutions, but enacting them instead of watching in our inaction and simply throwing our hands in the air, shrugging our shoulders, and just saying “our prayers are with you.” Prayer leads to action, otherwise as Nate Pyle noted above, what kind of faith do we profess?

Speaking of The New York Times, it made history over the weekend by publishing its first page A1 editorial since 1920, writing “End the Gun Epidemic in America.”

Before moving onto a new topic, again this week I want to highlight these thoughts from Katie Day on “Gun Violence and Christian Witness.”

"the Spirit still hovers" by Vonda Drees
“the Spirit still hovers” by Vonda Drees

Friend and musician Heatherlyn shared this important post about empathy and responses, “‘Not everything happens for a reason’: The magic words to say when everything’s going wrong.”

Rev. Tiffany Chaney shared about “What I Learned About the Power of Story.”

Friend, blogger, and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past week. These included: “Spirit offering“; “keeping vigil“; “a curious thing“; “enfleshed eternity“; “love incarnate“; “the Spirit still hovers“; and “overshadowed.”

I have a couple nominees for the neighbor love in action, or “feel good” stories of the week. These include a story about how “Santa obliges dad of sleeping boy with snoozing photo.” The other story you should definitely check out is this post by Kayla Brandon about how a “Mom Knows Frat Guys Can See Through Daughter’s Window, but nothing prepares her for what’s outside.”

Linda, a Syrian refugee herself, wrote and explained, “They terrorized my daughters and killed my baby. That’s why we’re Syrian refugees.”

As we continue to journey through this season of Advent, friend Justin Heinzekehr wrote and shared, “Advent day three: Teach us to number our days.”

Friend, pastor-in-waiting, and blogger Emmy Kegler shared her recent Advent sermon cleverly and effectively titled, “The Heart of Justice– or, How the Grinch Learned the Magnificat.”

Sarah Bessey wrote that, “Advent Matters.”

I continued my journey through Advent with the Advent Photo Devotional, including posts about a “hill“; “glory“; “story“; and “king.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Aaron Fuller shared his sermon for this past weekend, the second Sunday of Advent, based on Isaiah 40:1-11, “Isaiah & what endures the test of time.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Frank Johnson also shared his sermon based on the same text, writing about, “God’s Word, or why ‘real’ preaching matters.

Martha Spong wrote and shared some Advent reflections tied well and importantly to current events in writing about “The Promise of Peace,” and “Preach peace (a prayer for pastors).”

Friend, spiritual guide, and member of the LEAD team, Lynn Willis wrote about the Advent images and idea of “Stir Up,” a theme repeated in the prayers of the season.

"a curious thing" by Vonda Drees
“a curious thing” by Vonda Drees

Nancy shared some “Good News for Big Brains,” as well as some thoughts about “Apples, oranges and terrorists.”

Rachel Held Evans reflected about “On ‘outgrowing’ American Christianity.

In an update to news out of Minnesota, Anne Winkler Morey wrote and shared this important look at how the “4th precinct Occupation Built Community in Ways that Can’t be Bulldozed.” Friend, seminarian, and blogger Ian McConnell wrote, “For me to say that Black Lives Matter shouldn’t be Offensive to You.” Laura Jones shared an “Editorial counterpoint: Protesters need support, not lectures.”

Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes explains “Why We’re Likely to See More Student Protests in the Future.” Ron also wrote that, “If You Must Be Afraid, Fear These Things.”

Jonathan Merritt reflects about, “Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Troubling Remarks on Guns,” something John Pavlovitz also wrote about in, “Jerry Falwell Jr, Liberty University, and a Hateful Christianity Off the Rails.” Rev. Dr. Will Willimon also responded to this by writing, “Pistol Whipped Preacher.”

Sarah Christian wrote yesterday in The Millennial that “Donald Trump is the Real Menace to American Values.” I have to agree, and I am sick and tired of the hate-spewing sideshow spectacle. In a somewhat related post, Rev. Dr. Will Willimon wrote and shared, “From the Huffington Post: Donald Trump is NOT a Methodist.”

Norma Cook Everist wrote about “A Child’s Silent Call for Trustworthy Action.”

Friend, blogger, and pastoral associate Stefanie Fauth-Lemke shared “A conversation between Stef & the Lord…

Social Media & Blogging

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


I helped kick off the December series on the COMPASS blog on giving and philanthropy on a budget, writing about, “Budgets, Charity, Giving, and #GivingTuesday.”

Friend Carlos Pelaez shared thoughts about “3 Reasons You Won’t Give.” The reasons Carlos unpacks are: because you think someone else will do it; you aren’t friends with a charity; and you cannot touch the donation.

Erin at Young Adult Money shared thoughts about “When (and How) to Consolidate or Refinance Student Loans.”


Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared some vocational and life reflections in her regular installment of “Tuesday Tea Time!” both last week and this week.


Friend and blogger Tim Chalberg shared some Mariners updates and thoughts, writing that, “Dipoto’s Deals Know No End,” and sharing about how “Nori Aoki (has been) Signed.”


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, I hope that you have a blessed week! -TS

Image Credits: The Links; Brad Tilden; “the Spirit still hovers“; and “a curious thing.”

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