This Week’s Links

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Internet1Tuesdays 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; Leadership Thought & Practice; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; Stewardship; Vocation; and Miscellaneous. I hope you enjoy these links!

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice
If you are preaching or preparing for worship later this week, please check out, friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis‘ column, “You Are Never Alone.” Also, for some other inspiration, I offered some ideas for preaching on stewardship this week, given the appointed lectionary readings.

Last week ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton released a response to “reported racist comments” from United States President Donald Trump.

In a new book alert which looks like a must-read to me, Luther Seminary professors and friends Rev. Dr. Craig Van Gelder and Rev. Dr. Dwight Zscheile have authored the newly released, Participating in God’s Mission: A Theological Missiology for the Church in America. Check out the book and plan to read it soon.

My wife Allison shared this piece and reflection by Nancy Small on, “Discovering my priesthood as a Catholic woman in Protestant seminary.”

In one of the more important ministry related articles that I have read recently, Patton Dodd shared this look at how, “Low-Income Communities are Struggling to Support Churches.” There are implications for ministry, faith, communities, neighbor love, and stewardship in this. Perhaps the sub-heading might help clarify. It reads, “The institutions need money to serve people. But, in many cases, they get that money from those they serve.” Give this a read and some serious thought.

Erin Strybis shared this great conversation full of insights and hope with friends and mentors Dr. Loren and MaryAnn Anderson, entitled, “Building the church for tomorrow: A conversation with the ELCA campaign’s steering committee chairs.”

Dana Ferguson reported from South Dakota about the witness done by faith leaders, and an outburst from one politician during Interfaith Day at the state capitol.

Cross-Sector Collaboration
Dylan Scott shared this great look at politics and voting results in the United States, in, “This might be the best map of the 2016 election you ever see.”

In good news from the Big Red State, Ali Breland wrote and shared that, “Nebraska becomes first red state to introduce pro-net neutrality legislation.”

Leadership Thought & Practice
John Treace wrote and unpacked, “5 Attributes You Need to Be an Effective Business Leader.” The attributes or characteristics include: you set a vision- and make sure people know what it is; you’re a good communicator; you exude excellence; you’re customer focused; and you’re employee focused.

Lolly Daskal highlighted, “8 Ways Improvisation Can Make You Into a Better Leader.” The ways Lolly notes include: you learn to own your power and embrace your fear; you develop better listening skills; you learn the value of collaboration and to adapt and be agile; and you learn the importance of creativity and discovery, as well as to lead and to follow. Check out the whole post and consider its ideas. As a jazz lover, I greatly appreciated the connections and ideas in this.

Neighbor Love
Friends Dr. Mary Hess and Rev. Gordon Straw shared this important “insider’s perspective,” in reporting on and digging into the question, “Why are America’s farmers killing themselves in record numbers?” This is a very important read for everyone, but especially for those of us in farming and agricultural communities. There are ministry and societal needs in this, and neighbor love questions, needs, and opportunities galore to explore and respond to.

In case you missed it, Oprah Winfrey gave one of the most powerful speeches you might ever hear, speaking at the Golden Globes last week.

Given derogatory and racist comments about immigration, and immigrants from President Trump, it has rightfully led to a number of neighbor love responses and rebukes. One comes from Nurith Aizenman who writes and notes that, “Trump Wishes we had more immigrants from Norway. Turns out we once did.” Judd Legum also shared this powerful news about how, “African nations issue extraordinary response to Trump’s racist comments, demand apology.”

Given these neighbor love stories, and on-going discussion in some circles about cutting benefits and services from those in need, it would be worthwhile to review this important article by friend and mentor Rev. Dr. Samuel Torvend on, “Martin Luther’s Teaching and Practice of Charity and Social Ethics.”

Social Media & Blogging
Friend, pastor, and social media expert David Hansen provided this look for Living Lutheran at “How to deepen your faith online in 2018.”

Stewardship
My January has been off to a busy and joyous start, preaching on stewardship. I was in Gothenburg, Nebraska a little over a week ago, preaching as part of American Lutheran’s stewardship theme, “It’s All About that Grace- Claimed, Baptized, Charged & Sent.” This past weekend I was in Omaha, preaching as part of Lord of Love Lutheran’s stewardship focus, preaching on “New Life in Christ & Our Response as Stewards.”

20180106_192906
One of the recent stewardship and ministry experiences I have been a part of, out in Gothenburg, Nebraska and celebrating as part of the Epiphany fun. This included making star ornaments, as demonstrated here by Pastor Jon Mapa.

Speaking of preaching on stewardship, are you preaching this week? If so, here are some stewardship questions and ideas to keep in mind as you wrestle with this week’s appointed texts by both the revised common and narrative lectionaries.

What are you doing the week after Easter Sunday? Unless you’re like me and preparing to be a new dad, I highly encourage you to register for and attend the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’sPathways to Generosity: Signs of Hope” conference, April 3-5, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. Check it out and register today! I so wish that I would be able to join you for the learning, fun, and fellowship.

Friend and stewardship director at Luther Seminary, Adam Copeland shared this reflection on the “Stewardship of Community,” by Ryan Dockery; as well as these thoughts on “The Demand of Stewardship,” by Algernon Lewis.

Friend and CEO of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center, Marcia Shetler wrote a timely post for kicking off 2018 on the COMPASS blog, writing and inviting, “This Year, Resolve to be Generous.” Marcia also pondered about, “Faith and Generosity: The Connecting Thread.”

In light of tax law changes, giving concerns, and stewardship, friend Rev. Deb Stehlin shared, “A Teachable Moment,” that is a pretty timely read for congregational giving and stewardship. Check it out.

Vocation
I have so many teachers that I am grateful for, many of whom I am now friends with here on Facebook. For all of these teachers who helped teach and mentor me over the years, I give thanks. I am overjoyed to share this great story about one teacher, friend, and arguably “second Mom,” Sylvia Cauter. 

Pacific Lutheran University’s (PLU) acting president, Dr. Allen Belton wrote and responded to recent news and pieces about PLU’s status and future in, “PLU: Eyes squarely set on better future.”

keith jackson
The legendary Keith Jackson.

Molly Page wrote and shared, “In Praise of Ordinary Time,” over at Thin Difference.

As a sports fan who grew up in the Pacific Northwest, one of my heroes of sports broadcasting was Keith Jackson who got his start in my home state of Washington. Sadly, over the weekend, “Legendary Sportscaster Keith Jackson passed away at 89.” ESPN shared this great look back and tribute to Keith’s life and career. Thank you Mr. Jackson, for sharing so many memorable moments, and for helping be part of the soundtrack of my childhood growing up and imagining being part of big baseball and football plays in my backyard which you might have called.

Miscellaneous
Josh Planos shared the exciting news that Omaha has been named as a “top up-and-coming destination” in 2018.

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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

Image Credits:The Links and Keith Jackson

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