Happy New Year and Merry Twelfth Day of Christmas! Each 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. As I took last week off largely from blogging for some family Christmas time, this week’s edition of links has a bit more than usual. And as you might guess, there are a number of Christmas and New Year’s themed posts. There is much more too, and I hope that you enjoy these links!
Church and Ministry Thought & Practice
For those of you preparing for worship this coming weekend, I have a number of links and resources for you. First of all, if you are following the narrative lectionary, check out this “Commentary on Mark 2:1-22,” from James Hanson.
If you are following the revised common lectionary, check out this look at “The Baptism of Christ,” from Bishop Michael Rinehart. For a deeper look at the appointed gospel passage from Luke 3:15-17, 21-22, check out this Commentary from Ron Allen. Friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis shares a nice look at the connections between Jesus’ baptism and Epiphany in reflecting about “Baptismal Epiphanies.”
Over the past week, friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis also shared a number of other posts and reflections including this look inspired by this past week’s reading from John 1 in “A New Genesis,” one inspired by the Luke 2 text from the previous weekend in “Divine and Human Favor,” and some thoughts about Christmas and “The Need for Christmas Preaching.”
Speaking of Christmas, I greatly enjoyed this article by Martin Clarke at Sir David Willcocks in writing, “The choirmaster whose carols became the sound of Christmas.”
In December I started blogging weekly as part of my role as a mission developer at Messiah Lutheran Church. Over the past couple of weeks I shared some thoughts on “Christmas, Communion and Prayer,” as well as “The Incarnation, a North County Meeting, and More.”
In the spirit of the new year and year end, friend and pastor Peter Braafladt reflected about “Beginnings and Endings.”
In the same new year’s spirit, Samantha Tidball shared, “Faith Resolutions for 2016.”
Brian Dodd shared a good list of “The Top 30 Blogs Christian Leaders Need to Read in 2016.”
Kathleen Tarrant shared a fascinating look at “How Christianity Infiltrated Seattle Music with a little help from Mars Hill Church and the City Council.”
Kristin Berkey-Abbott reflected about the challenges, joys, and beauty of “Extending an invitation to church.”
Thom Rainer pointed to “One Sentence That Pastors and Church Staff Hate to Hear,” which to me is a good summary of how much of the triangulation, finger pointing, and potential conflict emerges or manifests itself in congregations and faith communities.
Blogger and pastor Nurya Love Parish invited her readers to partake in a reader survey to help improve the blog and conversations for the new year.
Congratulations are in order for Gustavus Adolphus College as in December it received a “Lily Endowment Grant to establish summer academy for faith, science, and ethics.”
The Seattle Times Editorial Board shared an important editorial writing that, “Keeping KPLU would preserve region’s media voices.”
Joel Connelly adds news in the Seattle PI that according to at least one official, “UW will ‘gladly step aside’ if community buyer for KPLU steps forward.”
In looking back at 2015, NWB shared a list of “15 lessons for the nonprofit sector we learned in 2015.”
I came across this nice post from Joe Myers back in November considering, “How does your economy compare to US states?”
Angus Hervey shared an important look at why “2015 was a Great Year for Humanity.” See why.
My wife Allison shared a couple posts and thoughts for creating effective education and learning experiences. Allison shared this list of “22 Powerful Closure Activities” from Todd Finley, as well as this video tour of “Flexible Classrooms: Providing the Learning Environment that Kids Need.”
Leadership Thought & Practice
With the new year in mind, Justin Irving wrote about “Rethinking Resolutions- Prioritizing for the New Year.”
Ted Bauer shared some thoughts on “How to Actually Manage Your Time at Work.” Ted also asked, “Is Empathy the Next Great Management Trend?” I also greatly appreciated this look at the relationship of story telling and effective leadership in this post about a, “Key, Oft-Ignored Leadership Aspect: Good Storytelling.”
Dan Rockwell shared a number of great leadership posts over the past few weeks. Among these Dan highlighted, “5 Questions that Release the Power of Humble Leadership,” particularly questions like: Who is helping you succeed? What are they doing? How are you honoring them? How might you energize, engage, and enhance them? How might you get out of their way?
Dan Rockwell also shared some thoughts about “The First Habit of Highly Successful People,” “The Exponential Leadership Goal for 2016,” “The Question to Answer in 2016,” and why “Yapping Dogs Make Lousy Leaders.”
Ted Rubin wrote and invited, “Lets Help Everyone in 2016 ‘Metaphorically Skip’ with Every Interaction.” There is both practical advice in the practice of skipping, but also some good food for thought here about improving leadership, relationships, and healthily responding to and reducing stress.
Eric Torrence at Thin Difference shared a look at “Four Biographies for Every Leader’s Must-Read List.”
Thin Difference shared a guest post by Rachel Allen which pondered, “What Will a Millennial-Dominant Workplace Look Like in the Future?” What do you think?
Friend, pastor, and blogger Aaron Fuller re-shared an updated post from a few years ago about, “Baby Jesus, John the Baptist, 2013 & Leadership… What do they have in common?”
A number of friends, pastors, and bloggers have shared some great Christmas season sermons over the past few weeks. Friend Aaron Fuller shared his Christmas Eve sermon based on Luke 2:1-20 which he titled, “Walls.” Based on the same text friend Frank Johnson wrote and shared about, “A failure of creativity.” Frank also shared some sermon fragments from this past weekend based on Mark 1:21-45 in writing, “Just Noise.” Victoria also shared her sermon for this past weekend based on John 1 and the carol, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” cleverly titling her sermon, “Of the Parent’s Heart Begotten.”
From the weekend after Christmas, my wife Allison shared her “Third-Day-of-Christmas Sermon,” based on Luke 2:41-52. Interestingly enough, I also preached that same weekend on that text and shared my take in this sermon on, “The Boy Jesus in the Temple & Christmas Surprises.”
Friend, blogger, and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past couple of weeks. These included: “rumors of peace“; “peace calls us“; “dare we pause?“; “Stoke the hearts!“; “ever-expanding and perpetual“; “sit quiet“; “pARTicipate“; “thank you“; “Happy New Year!“; “the garden dance“; “the unbeheld Source“; “radiate beauty“; “listen for beauty“; and “experience beauty.”
With the recent release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” you might not be surprised that it has inspired a few different posts. At The Salt Collective, Jesse James Deconto reflected about “The spoiling of Han Solo’s nihilism.” Friend, intern pastor, and blogger Matt Byrd shared thoughts about “Star Wars and expectations.” Also, my wife Allison shared this look by Jon Greenberg at “6 Reasons Why ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Matters Beyond its Entertainment Value.”
As we enter this new year, 2016, the Millennial Journal shares that “Pope Francis’ Message for 2016 (is): Overcome Indifference!”
Speaking of indifference, one way we can overcome this is by taking a more active stance to respond to racism and injustice. Almost a year ago, Charles Blow wrote about “Tamir Rice and the Value of Life.” This piece has resurfaced given the recent decision not to indict a police officer for using lethal force on an unarmed, 12 year old, Tamir Rice. Friend and musician Heatherlyn also shared some important thoughts in response to this sharing, “Why the Life and Death of Tamir Rice Matters to Me.”
In response to indifference, hate and harmful rhetoric, pastor Becky Langholz writes, “Disturbed by increasingly dehumanizing rhetoric.”
I have to confess, one of my favorite TV shows of all time is The West Wing. I still hold out hope that it will return in some form some day soon. In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy this great interview from “On Being” with Krista Tippett, who recently interviewed “Martin Sheen- Spirituality of Imagination.”
In good news Bishop Michael Rinehart shared that the “Number of Police killed by gunfire (was) down 14% in 2015.”
Switching gears a little bit, I enjoy following and reading the thoughts from pastor and blogger Clint Schnekloth. He recently shared a long form reflection entitled, “Exposing ‘Exposing the ELCA.'” It’s a look at the challenges of dealing with people we disagree and who work at times to cause harm rather than helpful dialog. Sometimes in that process we mess up. I can’t say that I haven’t fallen into this challenge and trap before. As an ELCA Lutheran I have even faced a little of this myself on social media. My deep held belief on this is that by being who we are called and created to be, God will take care of the rest. If it helps to remember that “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” then use it. If, however, brokenness, neighbor love, and the hope for reconciliation and justice require a response, then respond. What do you think? How do you approach situations like this?
Social Media & Blogging
New Year’s is an opportune time to look back and look forward on your blogging and social media. Thanks to the good work of the people at WordPress, my wife Allison was able to share this “Look Back: Blogging in 2015,” and I too was able to share this look back at the blog in “2015 in review.”
Steve Nicholls wrote and asked, “Can Social Media Kill The Paper CV/Resume?”
With New Year’s, many people make resolutions. COMPASS is getting into the fun and reflection of making and sharing resolutions this month especially related to faith and finances. I shared the opening post in that series sharing five promises that I am making to myself that are somewhat related to faith and finances. What promises or resolutions are you making this year?
Sanjay Bhatt detailed about a potential alternative living situation and community for home ownership, in writing about “Seattle friends who joined forces see homeowner dreams come true.”
COMPASS board member and fellow blogger Nicole Brennan shared some “Parting Words of Wisdom” over at ModCity Magazine.
Speaking of PLU, I was excited to hear news about this new scholarship for students in “The 253” area code. That’s great news.
Conversely, as has been covered over the past few editions of the links, I have been saddened to see the way the KPLU decision has been handled by PLU and its President, Dr. Thomas Krise. I have to admit that through the way this has been handled I agree more and more with Doug Andreassen who wrote, “KPLU: PLU loses its community connection.” For me, KPLU was a way that PLU lived out its vocation to serve the larger world. Somewhere along the way, that relationship and fact has been lost. I’m hopeful though that it can be restored, or at least that KPLU can continue to grow and serve as it has for so long.
I greatly appreciated this look by Amanda Kohr at “Why Creating for Fun is Not a Waste of Time.”
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. I hope that you have had a Very Merry Christmas season, and a wonderful start to the New Year. Thank you for reading and being a part of the conversation! Blessings on your week-TS