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. I hope you enjoy these links!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

If you are preparing for worship or writing a sermon for this weekend, I have a few links that might be helpful. First of all, if you are following the revised common lectionary, check out this reflection about “A Merciful Advent” from friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis as she focuses on the gospel passage from Luke 1:39-45. Dig into the gospel passage more with this piece from friend and professor Rev. Dr. Matthew Skinner who wrote about, “Learning from Mary in our Age of Endless Wonder.” Bishop Michael Rinehart also shared this look at “Advent 4C,” and Rev. Dr. David Lose wrote and shared about, “Advent 4C: Singing as an Act of Resistance.”

If you are following the narrative lectionary, check out this “Commentary on Luke 1:5-13, 57-80” from James Hanson.

This year I am serving as a congregation’s mission developer. I shared a new post this past week about that role on the congregation’s website, “Telling the Story of Messiah’s North County Campus.”

This time of year can be hard, especially for those greiving, mourning, or alone. In response to this, congregations and faith communities offer “Blue Christmas,” “Longest Night,” “Comfort and Hope,” or other type experiences to create a time of peace and comfort during the long dark nights and hard times around Christmas. If you are in the Vancouver area, check out this good list and resource. I personally invite you to the “Comfort and Hope” service at Messiah Lutheran on Wednesday (12/16) at 6pm. If you are not in the Vancouver area, check out congregational websites near to you, because there is a good chance a local congregation may also provide a service like this over the next week or so.

I am a believer that our faith and baptism requires us to speak up. This belief has been shared by many “faith leaders” this past week by signing an “Open Letter to Donald Trump.”

ELCA Presiding Bishop, Rev. Elizabeth Eaton issued this important letter last week to the Muslim-American community.

John Pavlovitz wrote about “When Rebuilding the Church looks like destroying it.”

Friend, pastor, and blogger Aaron Fuller shared, unpacked, and outlined “The Bi-Vocational Pastor’s Manifesto.” I hope you give this a read and see what you think. I think Aaron is on to something very important, but also reality related to current and future ministry. Do you?

As you prepare for Christmas, check out these “Sustainable ways to observe, and cherish the season” from Wendy Healy.

Salt shared a nice “Christmas Affirmation of Faith” that you might want to incorporate into your worship liturgy during the Christmas season.

Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared this list of “Five Keys to Thriving in Seminary” by Eileen R. Campbell-Reed.

Church and Social Media (#ChSocM) shared a transcript from their weekly chat which focused on looking back on 2015, and ahead to 2016.

Friend and stewardship mind Adam Copeland authored this look at “Crowdfunding a New Church- A multimodal analysis of faith-related giving rhetoric on indiegogo.”

I’m so excited to share with you the broadcast schedule in the Pacific Northwest of PBS’ presentation of Pacific Lutheran’sA Christmas Invitation,” this year’s choral and orchestra Christmas concert series. Be sure and catch the concert on your local PBS station in the Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland areas this year. Next Christmas, the broadcast will be shared nationally on most PBS stations as well in case you miss it this year.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Joel Connelly shares news about “The KPLU sale: (writing that) Pacific Lutheran University regents did not receive critical letter.”

Ari Shapiro wrote that, “Much of the world (is) perplexed that climate debate continues in U.S.

For those of you who freelance, or do some extra projects, consider these “Three elements to go beyond hourly freelancing,” from Seth Godin.

Early this year Beloit College released its annual “Mindset List,” which puts things in perspective for how this year’s incoming class of students know (or are not aware) certain words, topics, themes, and meaning based on their life experience. Check this out, as it is a very useful list for helping relate across and to different generations (and even among generations and ages).

Social leadership theorist Julian Stodd wrote about “Developing Social Roles in your Organization,” as well as “Why Learning Informs Strategy.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Julian Stodd reflected about “The Humble Leader.”

Ron Carucci writes that, “Great Leaders Know They’re Not Perfect.”

Mt. Rainier, as seen on one of my many flights over the years by it.
Mt. Rainier, as seen on one of my many flights over the years by it.

Brian Dodd shared “4 Leadership Lessons from Mt. Rainier and the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Business List.” I particularly appreciate the lesson, “make sure everyone knows why they’re doing what they’re doing.” Check out the post for the other reasons.

Justin Irving reflected some more this past week on “The Power of Vision.”

Susan Mazza asked and shared, “Are You Leading Leaders? Tips for Cultivating Leadership.” Three things that Susan shares to focus on for developing leaders and leading other leaders, are to: support and encourage people to lead themselves; make bold requests for meaningful results; and develop partners vs. good soldiers. What do you think? What tips would you add for helping cultivate other leaders?

Eileen McDargh writes and ponders, “If Real Human Connection is Dying, What Can We Do?

Dan Rockwell shared a number of good leadership reflections and tips. These included ideas on “How to be a Great Mentor” and thoughts about “How Negative Leaders become Positive Thinkers.”

Steve Keating wrote about, “Compassionate Conflict Resolution.”

Anne Loehr wrote about the importance of failure, writing, “Bring Back Failure!

Friend, professor, and blogger Dr. Ron Byrnes reflected about “The Cold, Hard Reality of Teaching’s Artificiality.”

Jon Mertz at Thin Difference reflected and shared about the importance of compromise in writing, “Compromise vs. Compromising: More of the First, Less of the Latter.” Jon also explained, “Why Deep Thinking is Needed Now More Than Ever.”

Megan Dougherty at Thin Difference noted “3 Signs Your Boss Has Your Back.” The signs she highlights are: they’re empathetic; they’re empowering; and they put you before your job.


Jessica Stillman unpacked “4 Things Millennials Absolutely Hate Hearing from Their Bosses.” The things or expressions Jessica highlights are: “You can’t use tool X”; “Why did you arrive at 9:08 today?”; “Because I said so”; and “We’ll discuss it at your review.” What things do you hate hearing from your boss? I suspect these aren’t just limited to Millennials.

Dan Fergusson shared ideas for “How to Inspire Millennials in a Growth Business.

Neighbor Love

NBC News Anchor and legend Tom Brokaw shared one of the more powerful video essays you will ever see as he reflected on “Donald Trump’s ‘Dangerous Proposal’ to Ban Muslims.” If you haven’t seen this yet, you need to watch it.

Bishop Greg Rickel wrote about “Being Neighbor to Our Muslim Sisters and Brothers.”

I was excited to see my Uncle Jeff Tengesdal, a pastor in the Appleton, WI area quoted in this article by Jorge Rodas about “Religious leaders from different faiths supporting local Muslims.”

My sister Tamara shared this story by Amy Clancy about how a “Family of dead teen asks those on social media to focus on truth.”

Tamara also shared this powerful post by Doyin Richards who wrote, “I am a black man and interviewed a former white supremacist. It was a powerful experience.”

"Christ is Near" by Vonda Drees.
“Christ is Near” by Vonda Drees.

Friend, blogger, and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past week. These included: “be born in me“; “Christ is near“; “capacity for waiting“; “stir a longing“; “our turn in the light“; “least likely relationships;” and “rise up, Joy!

Blogger and pastor Clint Schnekloth shared some thoughts about “Why Lutherans Fight Over Sin and Social Justice.”

Friend and seminarian Jake Schumacher shared this reflection by Nijay Gupta pondering, “What Would Jesus Conceal and Carry?

Nate Pyle asked and pondered, “A Fork in the Road: Civil Religion or Christianity?

Friend, blogger, and seminarian Kristen Lee shared some thoughts “On Sexism.” I greatly appreciate this post, especially her statement that, “It’s time to stop ignoring that we have a problem. It’s time to start an honest conversation about the experiences of women in our lives.”

Wes Granberg-Michaelson wrote about “Holy Refugees.”

Rebecca Joseph shared news that the “1st planeload of Syrian refugees land on Canadian soil.” My wife Allison also shared that “Photos of Canada Welcoming Syrian Refugees Put American Leaders to Shame,” as reported by Inae Oh. It’s hard to argue that claim, that’s for sure. Good job Canada.

Allison continued her weekly Advent reflections by writing and sharing, “Advent Week 2: Love, the start.”

Allison also shared this post by Shannon T.L. Kearns about “Mary The Bad Ass Mother of God.” I bet that’s not quite the title for the Virgin Mary that you are used to seeing, is it?

Friend and pastoral associate Stefanie Fauth shared a beautiful “Advent Poem” on her blog.

Over at The Mennonitemy friend and the magazine’s director, Hannah Heinzekehr have been sharing a wonderful series throughout Advent this year. Check out this post by Christine Crouse-Dick and Jill Rob about “Making peace with the pain of Advent joy.”

I continued my journey through the Advent Photo Devotional with reflections titled: greet; come; eternal; see; branch; shout; promise and doubt; and light.

Over at LEAD, my friend Lynn Willis asked, “Are you ready for Christmas?

Friend, pastor, and blogger Aaron Fuller shared his sermon from the past weekend based on Ezra 1:1-4, 3:1-4, 10-13, “Ezra, digging holes & joy.”

Based on the same passage from Ezra, friend, pastor, and blogger Frank Johnson also shared his sermon, “God chose Cyrus, God chooses anybody.”

Speaking of Ezra, Martha Spong references Ezra in her prayer for pastors, “Let every heart.”

Social Media & Blogging

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

DC at Young Adult Money shared some “30+ Ways to Improve Your Blog.”


The COMPASS blog shared its latest post in its December series all about giving, with this post by Nicole Brennan, “Giving: A Practice in Joyfulness.”

For those of you still in the midst of Christmas shopping check out “The Broke Millennial Checklist to Avoid Overspending at Christmas.”

Friend and stewardship director Adam Copeland reflected about, “Gratitude, Stuff, and the Simplicity Movement.”


Friend, pastor, and blogger Diane Roth shared some life, ministry, and vocation reflections in “Rain, Mud, Light.”

Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared her regular vocational and life update installment of “Tuesday Tea Time.” Be sure and take your tea time some time today with Julia.


Friend and pastor Brian Mundt shed some light on how Allison’s and my cat Buddy may not be so different after all, as apparently lots of cats like to crash nativity scenes. Does your cat do this?


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 and “Christ is Near.”

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