This Week’s Links

Internet1Happy Tuesday! 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; and Vocation. I hope that you enjoy these links!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

For those of you preparing for worship or writing sermons for this coming weekend, like myself, I have a number of links that might prove helpful for you. If your faith community is following the revised common lectionary check out these thoughts on “Lent 2C” from Bishop Michael Rinehart. Spend some time also thinking about “Love and Belonging,” as written about by friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis. For a focus on the weekend’s appointed gospel text from Luke 13:31-35, consider this Commentary on the passage from Ruth Anne Reese.

If your faith community is following the narrative lectionary, check out this “Commentary on Mark 10:32-52,” from N. Clayton Croy.

In huge news that broke last week, “Philadelphia and Gettysburg Seminaries (will now) offer tuition-free education.” The question is, will more seminaries follow suit in this way in supporting church leaders and future ministry leaders, and as a way to combat the rising levels of student debt incurred by all students and seminarians?

Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson shared thoughts about “Why You Should Join the ELCA Youth Ministry Network.” I couldn’t agree more!

Pastor and blogger Clint Schnekloth wrote about, “Coming Out as Church.”

Jonathan Storment wrote about, “Valentine’s Day, the Church, and Single Awareness Day.” With Valentine’s Day just past, save this link away for thinking about it next year.

From the Pacific Northwest, pastor Richard Dahlstrom shared this “letter to a young pastor about ministry in Seattle,” and the importance of “Reflecting Beauty in the Emerald City.”

Pastor and blogger Nurya Love Parish shared this look at “The Roots of the Christian Food Movement.

My wife and currently a pastoral intern herself, Allison Siburg, shared a couple posts about ministry she found interesting from the past week, including this post by John Vest about how the “Attractional Church No Longer Works,” as well as a post that is particularly helpful for me and my role as a mission developer who meets in local coffee shops about, “Why I Offer ‘Free Prayer’ in a Coffee Shop,” from Thomas Rusert.

Speaking of my role as mission developer, I shared my latest post as part of that role at Messiah Lutheran, writing about, “Temptation & Valentines in the Wilderness.”

My friend Mark Hundley also pondered on the Messiah Lutheran Church blog about Christians and Christianity, writing, “Are We All Like That? Really?

Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill meeting together last week
Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill meeting together last week

Late last week Pope Francis made major news by meeting with Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Pope and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church have not met since the two excommunicated each other historically in 1054.  Out of their historic meeting, the two faith leaders released this “Joint Declaration.”

Rev. Dr. Will Willimon shared his recent article thinking about “Why leaders are a pain: Truth telling in the parish.”

Rev. Erik Parker reflected about “How Churches Confuse the Method for the Mission.” How have you seen this play out in your congregations or faith communities?

LEAD wrote and pleaded, “Stop Making People Happy!

Cross-Sector Collaboration

Taylor Soper writes that, “Microsoft employees raised a record $125M for non-profits last year, up 7% from 2014.”

My wife Allison Siburg shared this opinion piece from The New York Times by Lawrence M. Krauss about “Finding Beauty in the Darkness.”

Sean Keely notes that, “Seattle (is) now among U.S.’ most densely populated big cities.”

Mary Pratt wrote about, “Big data’s big role in humanitarian aid.” Within this, Mary notes that, “Mission-based organizations, including those helping the recent wave of Syrian refugees, are using big data to improve their response efforts.”

Julian Stodd provided this look at some “Future Trends and Innovations in Learning.”

Leadership Thought & Practice

Brian Dodd shared this very interesting look inspired about leadership and communication, writing about, “What Pastors and Leaders must know from Hillary and Bernie about Communication.”

In a post appropriate for all leaders, but also especially leaders in ministry, Eric Geiger writes that “You’re Not a Leader if You Never Say You’re Sorry.”

Tom Schulte reflected some about “How Successful Leaders Ensure Continued Success.”

Ted Coine asked and pondered, “Is the Future of Work about Pay Transparency?” What do you think?

Justice Scalia
Justice Scalia

In light of the news of Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing this past weekend, David Axelrod detailed about “A surprising request from Justice Scalia,” which I believe says something about leadership and the importance of having a diversity of big thinkers and perspectives from across the board with whom you work and collaborate with.

Kriti Kapoor explained about, “Why It’s Time to Reinvent Yourself.”

Dan Rockwell shared some thoughts about “Mastering the Art of Creating Accountability,” as well as how, “Unstructured Brainstorming is an Offense to Creativity.” Dan also wrote and shared that, “Pessimists Can’t Lead” and countered this by offering “7 Ways to find Optimism.

Inspired by Valentine’s Day, Justin Irving wrote and pondered, “Leadership… What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Kimber Lockhart wrote and explained, “Don’t create a sense of urgency, foster a sense of purpose.”

Former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright took some time to write, reflect, and apologize as a good leader does when they make a mistake writing and sharing about her “Undiplomatic Moment.”

John Bell asked and pondered, “Does Your Company Need to be a ‘Fast Company?‘”

Tracking Wonder shared this interview and profile of Jon Mertz as part of it’s “Thought(ful) Leader Series.”

Speaking of Jon, he shared this list of “6 Business Books you should consider reading in 2016,” as compiled by Mike Michalowicz.


Jon Mertz at Thin Difference wrote about “Building a Storyline: Millennials + Health + Technology.”

Also at Thin Difference, Molly Page reflected about, “The Difference Between Colleagues and Community.” Within this Molly shares about “How to recognize the difference between colleagues and community.” Molly notes that: a community inspires and encourages; a community cheers you on and gives moral support; a community enables your chutzpah; and a community celebrates victory together.

Jon Mertz was also profiled by McCombs in this look at, “Jon Mertz: Health IT Leader Focuses on Millennials.”

Isaac Fornarola shared some thoughts from his perspective on “Why Millennials Should Reconsider Hillary Clinton.”

Bill Murphy Jr. noted about, “9 hours of sleep: why millennials are so successful.” Reasons that are given for why Millennials are so successful include: they sleep a lot; they throw their arms around technology; they want to be their own bosses; they’re focused on keeping daily activities in line with strategic goals; they multi-task like it’s going out of style; and they are totally cool with the 24 hour work schedule. What do you think?

Tracy Benson writes that “Motivating Millennials Takes More Than Flexible Work Policies,” though flexible work policies are important too. Five ways to adapt to management and communication styles with the intent of motivating Millennials offered include: create a deeply compelling vision of what the company or team is contributing to society; train managers and supervisors to communicate openly, effectively, and frequently; embrace technology and make collaboration a way of doing business; build an entrepreneurial environment that encourages employees to research and develop their ideas; and loosen up the idea of the career ladder.

Neighbor Love

Friend, blogger, and seminarian Ian McConnell shared, “We Are Called to Do More than Just Talk,” an adapted post and message from friend and Director of Young Adult Ministries in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Rozella White.

John Pavlovitz blogged about “The Gospel According to Ellen: Living a Practical Theology of Love.”

"Your light shall rise" by Vonda Drees.
“Your light shall rise” by Vonda Drees.

Friend, blogger, and artist Vonda Drees shared a number of beautiful posts over the past week. These included: “everywhere we go“; “hidden in plain sight“; “your light shall rise“; “pray and act“; “led by the Spirit“; “Jessica’s story“; and “Benny’s sweeper.”

Pastor and blogger Timothy Brown writes that “Christianity isn’t about passing tests, and sermons on obedience shouldn’t be obeyed, by and large.”

With Ash Wednesday being last week, a number of people were inspired by the day, or shared sermons they gave on Ash Wednesday. First, friend, pastor, and Ph.D. student Mandy Brobst-Renaud reflected about “The Fragile Resilience of Life,” beginning by noting that, “Today, I will place an ashen mark of mortality on my 7-week old son.” Definitely give this post a read. Rachel Held Evans shared an excerpt from her new book Searching for Sunday, entitled appropriately, “Ash.” Friend, pastor, and blogger Frank Johnson shared his Ash Wednesday sermon based on Luke 9:3o-37 pondering, “Who’s the greatest?

Friend Mandy Brobst-Renaud also wrote and shared about “The Story We Tell.”

Over at FTE, Dori Baker wrote about “Leading with Love in the Wake of Islamophobia.”

During Lent this year I am blogging daily with posts based on the words identified by the “Lent Photo a Day,” group on Facebook. The daily reflecting and blogging began with Ash Wednesday’s focus on “Ash,” and followed by focusing on the words: sorrowpain; child, with a story about a recent trip to Disneyland; rich with special focus on friends, relationships, and Valentine’s Day; and wise including some thoughts about John 8 as well as Justice Antonin Scalia.

From this past Sunday, friend, pastor, and blogger Aaron Fuller shared his sermon based on Mark 10:17-31, “Entitlements & the Kingdom of God.”

From the political sphere, Sam Levine shared news last week about how “Bernie Sanders just made history as the first Jew to win a Presidential Primary.” Friend and professor Dr. Mary Hess shared this video and commercial look, leading many to be “Moved to action.” Also, Michelle Goldberg wrote about “Why one feminist woman is voting for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

Lisa Nikolau at The Humanosphere shared horrifying news that “UNICEF finds 200 million (are) affected by female genital mutilation worldwide.”

In other horrifying news that you may not have heard, Shaun King wrote about football quarterback Peyton Manning and an “ugly smear campaign against his alleged sex assault victim.”

Now for some good news, friend, pastor, and blogger Diane Roth reflected about what it means to be a “Child of God.”

Additionally in the good news department, my wife Allison Siburg shared this cartoon inspired by C.S. Lewis, “To Love at All.”

Peter Marty wrote about “Curiosity” and how “questions may be our desire to kindle a relationship with the Lord,” in the most recent edition of The Lutheran

In a powerful post, friend and professor Rev. Dr. Eric Barreto shared this personal and moving piece by Kate Bowler entitled, “Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me.”

Social Media & Blogging

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

Dionne Lew shared and asked, “Social Media is Now Driving Venture Capital. What Do You Do?


Mike Kineman at Young Adult Money unpacked and listed, “13 Things that Make Traveling Easier.”

Friend, blogger, and stewardship director Adam Copeland wrote and reflected about, “The Money Lie: Consumerism’s Empty Promise.”

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner shared a timely and helpful post for all people trying to clean up their budgeting practice in sharing, “How to Make a Budgeting Guide; How to Create a Budget That Works.”


Friend and “sister” Megan Leibold continued detailing about her journeys and experiences in Europe in sharing about “Day 30-35- Riga, Latvia.”

Tara Ulrich shared reflection and vocation about life, ministry, and the Youth Ministry Extravaganza in writing, “You’ve Taken a Piece of my Heart!

My wife Allison Siburg shared this look by Belle Beth Cooper at, “How I Became a Morning Person, Read More Books, and Learned a Language in a Year.”

Ken Levine, TV Comedy writer, blogger, and former Mariners announcer, wrote “Thanks for liking me on my birthday.” I appreciate this post, because like Ken, I share my birthday with Valentine’s Day.


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. Thank you for reading and being a part of the conversation! Blessings on your week-TS

Image Credits:  The Links; Pope Francis & Patriarch Kirill; Justice Scalia; and “your light shall rise.”

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