This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesdays on the blog usually mean that I get to share links to things that I have found interesting and thought provoking with all of you. I have been out of routine though for the past month, so today I’m trying to catch-up. As you might expect, there have been a lot of big stories over the past month. Many of them have not been good- Charlottesville, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the decision regarding DACA… Because of this there are quite a few neighbor love reflections this week.

To help make sense of all that I have read, I have grouped these links 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
Are you preparing for worship or preaching this weekend? If so, check out this reflection by friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis about, “A Beatitude Kind of World.” Also, if you are looking for some stewardship ideas for your preaching, check out this week’s look at stewardship from the lectionary texts.

In light of Charlottesville, the ELCA shared and reaffirmed its “commitment to confronting racism and anti-Semitism.”

ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton was recently subject of a wide-ranging interview in a Chicago Sun Times podcast. Check it out and see what Bishop Eaton thought in response to some familiar questions that ministers of the church are asked, and some not so familiar ones too.

From one bishop to another, Time shared this look at Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman elected presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.

Back in the Pacific Northwest, Rev. Kristen Kuempel was recently installed as Bishop of the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod of the ELCA.

Are you a rostered minister in the Nebraska Synod? If so, have you registered for TheoCon yet? If not, be sure and do that as you won’t want to miss this year’s special edition from Lincoln, part of the synod’s commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the start of the Reformation.

In sad news, the brilliant systematic theologian Robert Jenson recently passed away. Jordan Cooper shared this post, “In Memory of Robert Jenson.”

As fall is now upon us, it’s a good time to plan ahead for Advent and Christmas. To help, my friends at LEAD have released their 2017 “Advent Resources for your Home and Congregation.” Please check these out and use them. I believe they are beautiful, powerful, and timely.

Cross-Sector Collaboration
Friend and Executive Director of LEAD, Peggy Hahn, shared a powerful and personal message to all those who help and want to help in “Responding to a Natural Disaster,” particularly in this case, for Hurricane Harvey, but insights that are important for anyone volunteering to help in light of any natural disaster.

The decision and debate about Dreamers and DACA is not just an ethical and moral one. Countering the number one argument that is attributed to why DACA is in the process of being ended, is economic reality. Economist Jodi Beggs writes that, “For the (Probably Not) Last Time, the Dreamers are Not Taking Your Jobs.” Thanks to friend and professor Dr. Norris Peterson for sharing this with me first.

Also regarding Dreamers, Julia Horowitz looks at the related career hopes and uncertainty because of the President’s Administration’s DACA stance.

Leadership Thought & Practice
Lolly Daskal highlighted “10 Important Skills All Good Leaders Share.” These skills include: build collaboration; focus on your team; call out dysfunction; challenge the status quo; concentrate on learning; be accessible and available; establish your values and convictions; demonstrate accountability at every level; lead with character; and pass your leadership on. Check out this great post and see what skills you might highlight.

A number of people lately have been writing about Secretary Hillary Clinton. Of all these posts, I appreciated Michelle Ruiz’s perspective who argues that, “the first woman to win a major-party presidential nomination, does not need to shut up about it.”

Scott Savage at Thin Difference took up leadership and conflict writing, “I Hate Eggshells: Why we avoid tough conversations and what we risk in the process.”

Over at Thin Difference Jeremy Chandler pondered, “How should Millennials respond to difficult people in the Workplace?

Neighbor Love
In response to Charlottesville, Jim Wallis at Sojourners wrote and shared, “What your church can do after Charlottesville: 5 Steps Forward.” Steps include: pulpit; penitence; pastoral care; prophecy; and policy.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden also shared an important reflection after Charlottesville.

Football season is now upon us. With this in mind, David Zirin writes regarding Seahawk Michael Bennett, “Stand with Michael Bennett, Even if It’s Uncomfortable.”

My wife Allison shared this important new poem by Poet Sherman Alexie, entitled, “Hymn,” addressing the hatred and bigotry currently plaguing the United States.

In response to Hurricane Harvey, Jimmy Fallon hosted a Houston Gospel Choir as the Tonight Show shared support and donations to help all those affected and displaced.

baseball hug
Little League hug after a dramatic win/tough loss, depending on which team you are.

Last month, little leaguers representing their countries from around the world descended upon Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the annual Little League World Series, little did they know they would make up the Good News story of the links. This led to many moving scenes, especially when Team Venezuela hugged the pitcher from Team Dominican Republic after a walk-off win.

Friend Kari Plog reported on exciting news from my alma mater Pacific Lutheran University as just in time for the academic year, “PLU debuts inclusive space for prayer, meditation.”

In light of the debate about Dreamers and DACA, I think it would be helpful to read friend, mentor, and professor Rev. Dr. Matt Skinner’s letter on values written to the President’s Administration back in March. I would also spend some time with friend and professor Rev. Dr. Eric Barreto’s look at “The Biblical Case for Saving DACA.”

For another story of neighbor love in action and good news, read about the Mexican bakers who made pan dulce for hundreds of victims of Hurricane Harvey.

In late August, some evangelical leaders released what has now been called the “Nashville Statement.” In response to this, thousands of Christians have emphatically said “No,” including myself.

Responding to the Nashville statement, and the general feeling of the lack of neighbor love in the United States of late, Jonathan Martin writes that, “Our Resistance, is Repentance (on the Nashville Statement and most everything else).”

My wife Allison shared this great sermon from Elsa A. Peters on Luke 4 entitled, “Friend, Move Up Higher.”

Speaking of sermons, I also preached a neighbor love themed type sermon recently, “To Take Up the Cross and Follow.”

Social Media & Blogging
Heidi Stevens writes, and I completely agree, that President Trump’s “golf ball tweet should earn unanimous rebuke from congressional women.” Mr. President, we expect better of you. Your re-tweet of this offensive nature is a promotion of violence against women, and it is against everything that I stand for as a husband, son, deacon, and Child of God.

Clint Parker at brightpeak wrote, “Why I use the 50/30/20 Formula,” in a helpful post for all to keep in mind as they review their personal and family budgets.

Friend Adam Copeland shared a few great stewardship posts on the Center for Stewardship Leaders blog from Luther Seminary. Among them, Adam shared space for Ellie Roscher to reflect about “Stewardship of the Body.” Adam also shared this reflection by Heather Wood Davis about, “Anxious Stewardship,” one that I drew from in my most recent sermon this past weekend. Adam also shared this beautiful post about “Fostering Stewardship,” by Andy Nelson.

One of the stewardship scenes I have seen recently when out preaching and visiting congregations in Nebraska. This is from the chapel at Grace Lutheran in Lincoln, which offers a beautiful reminder of God’s presence and peace.

I have been preaching on stewardship quite a bit lately. Sermons preached have included “Stewardship, Forgiveness, and a way forward in times of Anxiety,” and ‘Who do you say that I am?’ – and the stewardship of relationships.”

Angela Denker reflected about, “The Truth about Debt.”

Sad news was announced from Pacific Lutheran University, as the school’s provost Dr. Rae Linda Brown passed away.

In other sad news from PLU, more attention was given over the past month importantly to the school’s current financial challenges which aren’t dissimilar to many other institutions like it. The Tacoma News Tribune wrote about current faculty committee discussions that are underway. Friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes reflected on this, writing about “How Colleges Tend to Lose Their Financial Way.”

In case you haven’t heard, apparently Poulsbo, Washington is one of the 20 best small town summer vacation spots in the United States.

If you are like me, you made sure to check out the solar eclipse last month. If you’re looking forward to the next one, check out friend and professor Dr. Ron Byrnes‘ post for the “Next Total Solar Eclipses in North America.”

Now that fall is starting to arrive, some of your favorite shows on TV might be returning. (Assuming you are like me and have a few favorites?) If you are wondering when they might be returning, or what new shows you might want to check out, here’s a look at the Fall 2017 TV Premiers.

Speaking of TV, the Emmy’s were awarded this past weekend. Without comment, two stories related to this that I enjoyed reading included this look at a “9 to 5” reunion; and about how Alec Baldwin won an Emmy portraying the president.


That will conclude this week’s edition of the links. I hope you have enjoyed them! If you have any ideas for future editions, or types of articles or links you would like to see, please let me know. Thank you for reading and being a part of the conversation. Blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits: The Links; and Little League hug.

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