Tuesdays on the blog mean that I have the pleasure of sharing some links to things that I have found interesting and thought provoking over the previous week with all of you. 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; Millennials; Neighbor Love; Stewardship; Vocation; and Miscellaneous. I hope you enjoy these links!
Church and Ministry Thought & Practice
Are you preaching this week? If so, I highly encourage you to spend some time with friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis‘ column on “Wilderness Preaching.” Also, for some stewardship preaching ideas, I humbly offer my thoughts on this week’s readings for the revised common and narrative lectionaries.
One of the awesome things about ministry in the Nebraska Synod of the ELCA is Mission Field Nebraska. For some of the stories of these great ministries, and to help join in their mission and continue to make this ministry possible, please check this out.
Friend and pastor Beth Wartick wrote an important article on “Preaching + Disabilities.” Beth shares some of her personal story, and offers helpful things to keep in mind while also raising awareness.
Martin Zimmann interviewed Rev. Dr. Michael Cooper-White for The Living Lutheran, and wrote about in, “Uniting seminaries, a life of service and retirement.”
In perhaps an example of lack of collaboration, the U.S. Senate passed a tax bill late into the night last Friday night/early Saturday morning. Dylan Matthews has a look at “4 Winners and 3 Losers in the Senate Tax Bill.” Among those who could be “losers” are nonprofits, charities, and congregations who may receive less in the way of charitable gifts because people’s incentive to give to charities may go down as a result of this tax bill. (Of course, there are even more problems with these bills, not the least of which is some of the immoral inclusions like the potential cutting of funding for treatment for cancer patients on Medicare.)
My wife Allison Siburg shared this post from “A Pastor’s Poetry Practice,” entitled, “Advent 1: During my bible study on Mark 13 at the nursing home, after I ask ‘How do you try to follow Jesus’ instructions to ‘Keep Awake?'”
Rachel Held Evans shared an important, timely, and most powerful reflection on “Mary, the Magnificat, and an Unsentimental Advent.” Rachel places the Magnificat in context, and makes me think. She makes observations like the following which really catch me, and point to the importance of neighbor love. Rachel writes, for example, “To claim that the lighting of a national Christmas tree each year makes this country ‘a Christian nation,’ while its powerful systematically oppress the poor, turn away refugees, incite violence against religious and ethnic minorities, molest and harass women and girls and call them liars when they dare to speak up, is, in the words of the prophet Amos, sickening to God.” Please check out this post and spend some time with it. It’s critically important this Advent season. Thanks to my wife Allison Siburg who first shared it with me, so I can share it with you.
Ronnie Polaneczky at The Philadelphia Inquirer is writing a hugely important multi-part series called, “Falling Off the Cliff- As children with disabilities age into adulthood and well beyond, their families face a crisis that will impact us all.” This series points to the importance of work of groups and organizations like Mosaic. Please read and share this.
The United States has been in the news quite a bit in the past week. I would argue most of it has been for not good reason, and largely because the U.S. continues to retreat from its position of leadership in the larger world, and turning its back on those in need. An example of this comes from Rick Gladstone at The New York Times who writes that, the “U.S. Quits Migration Pact, Saying it Infringes on Sovereignty.”
Mitch Stutzman wrote the latest post in the on-going series for COMPASS, “Hymns and Hopes for the Holidays.” Mitch wrote, “Gold, Myrrh, and Brokenness,” and shared a look at the song, “Helpless and Hungry.” Check out this reflection and spend some time pondering it.
The COMPASS series helped inspire me this year into my blogging practice for daily Advent devotionals. This year, I am reflecting on head and heart stuff daily with the words of an Advent or Christmas hymn or carol. So far, the series has included: “All Earth is Hopeful,” “Lost in the Night,” “Light One Candle to Watch for Messiah,” “Awake! Awake, and Greet the New Morn,” and “Prepare the Royal Highway.”
If you are preaching this week, I shared some stewardship preaching ideas yesterday to help with your writing, reflecting, and preparation.
This past weekend I preached a sermon on stewardship at Emmanuel Lutheran in Tekamah entitled, “Hope, Connect, Go,” thanks to the invitation from friend and pastor Tyler Gubsch.
Friend and stewardship director Adam Copeland shared a post by Chad Martin, who asked, “How will your congregation’s value be assessed?” There’s good insight and food for thought in here related to stewardship, adaptive leadership, and change.
Jeremy Chandler at Thin Difference wrote about “The Most Valuable Thing You Can Do Heading into the New Year.”
In an editorial that hits close to home about my alma mater, Pacific Lutheran University, my wife Allison shared this commentary, “Inspirational era ends at PLU; identity search goes on.”
As a huge Seattle Mariners fan who fell in the love with the baseball team growing up in the 1990s and rooting for the likes of Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, and Randy Johnson, I think Larry Stone is right on writing and arguing that, “It’s time to put Edgar Martinez in the Hall of Fame- and these stats prove it.”
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, and blessings on your week. -TS