The following is an excerpt of a post that I wrote for the COMPASS blog in late November, pondering about faith and life in light of the ups and downs of our consumer culture. Please read this if you are interested, and then follow the link to the whole post and join the #faithandfinances conversation with COMPASS.
I want us to dig into the question of “why?” What really matters this time of the year, and how might focusing on that question make for a more faithful response and richer holiday experience?
For a Christian, the why can be found in the heart of the Christmas gospel in Luke 2:1-20, often read every Christmas Eve. Within that rich text, we hear the proclamation from the angel of the Lord,
“Do not be afraid, for see- I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”
– Luke 2:10-11, NRSV
It might sound trite to say that this is the “reason for the season.” And I am not exactly trying to say that. But if we remember that this is at the heart of the celebrations, festivities, food, fellowship, and all of the gift giving this time of year; if we remember that it is the fulfillment of the promises of the prophets which guide our journey through the season of Advent to the manger; we might just have a chance to get off the consumer escalator.
Happy 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 Miscellaneous. I hope that you enjoy these links!
Church and Ministry Thought & Practice
For those of you preparing for worship this coming weekend or preaching, I have a few helpful links for you. If you are following the revised common lectionary, consider these thoughts on “Lent 4C” from Bishop Michael Rinehart as well as from Rev. Dr. David Lose in, “Lent 4C: The Prodigal God.” Digging more into the gospel story, friend and professor Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis writes and reminds that “Perspective Matters.” For a good listen on the Fourth Sunday in Lent, check out friends and professors Rev. Dr.’s Rolf Jacobson, Karoline Lewis, and Matt Skinner with their “Sermon Brainwave” Podcast. In wrestling with the gospel and New Testament lessons for this week, friend, pastor, and blogger Diane Roth wrote about the “Ministry of Reconciliation,” and just how messy and risky it is.
If you are following the narrative lecitonary, check out this “Commentary on Mark 12:28-44,” from N. Clayton Croy. To dig more into this text check out the Narrative Podcast featuring the thoughts of friends and professors Rev. Dr.’s Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker.
Friend and pastor Brian Mundt shared this list and post by Rich Birch who wrote that, “Most Churches Will Make These 8 Mistakes This Year – Will Yours?” The mistakes noted include: worrying about keeping rather than reaching; under-investing in the next generation; playing it too safe; your next steps are non-strategic and unclear; not caring for the community; jack-of-all-trades pastors; treating the teaching lightly; not having fun.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has had a motto for the past couple of years of, “God’s Work, Our Hands.” Dave Daubert makes a move in this post about the importance of giving voice and words writing, “In praise of service – and words,” with a possible revised motto, “God’s Work. Our Hands. God’s Word. Our Voice.” Give this a read and see what you think.
Brian Dodd also shared a great post for both leaders and Millennials in unpacking, “6 Things You Must Do to Effectively Lead Young Leaders.” The things Brian notes are: encourage their hopefulness; put them in early; let them create their own economy; be a mentor; projects are more important than careers; and don’t be mad when they leave.
Mike Kineman at Young Adult Money shared “7 Money Rules for Millennials.” The rules that Mike highlighted include: create a budget; always sleep on a big purchase; your spending reflects who you are; prioritize paying your debts; invest now; have an emergency fund; and give to something you believe in.
On this blog I continued my journey through Lent with daily devotional reflections inspired by the “Lent Photo A Day” group. As part of this series I wrote a post about having “heart“; some thoughts about growth by thinking about the symbol of a “Tree“; a reflection about what it means to have a “clean” heart; and I also wrote about “fruit” and the exciting story of a congregation donating more than 100,000 pounds of food.
Bishop Michael Rinehart reminds about how it is important and essential to “Take sides.” Within this reminder, Bishop Rinehart quotes Elie Wiesel who wrote, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
If you are in Minnesota, I highly encourage you to attend the “Stewardship Lab” on April 16, 2016, as friends and great stewardship minds Adam Copeland, Grace Duddy Pomroy, Catherine Malotky, and Chick Lane will all be speaking at it.
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
The WordPress.com stats people prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog, and I am grateful for their work.
Based on the following report, it has been another great year of: conversation, engaged discourse, and pondering; of readership and growth; of new topics and questions. Looking back at 2015, I am grateful for all of you who continue to join me in the conversation. I look forward to where our conversations in 2016 take us. If you have particular topics or questions that you would like me to consider on the blog in the new year, please let me know.
Thank you for continuing to be part of the conversation, and I hope to continue the discussion in 2016.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
A question i often ask myself. Most weeks on the blog, a link gets posted from Timothy’s site, linking to something i’ve written. Every week i think “that’s nice“, and go no further. There’s a broad community around the blog, providing momentum, reflection, challenge, support and ideas. It’s a broad group: doctors, directors, musicians, artists, technologists, warriors, students, professionals, poets and explorers. To name but a few. People engage for many different reasons, but for Timothy, it’s an act of curation, interpretation and sense making. Actions borne of generosity and humility and embodying what it means to be a Social Leaders in the Social Age.
So today, Timothy, the blog is for you.
I’m sat in Hutspot, Amsterdam. A collective working space that serves great coffee. Throughout the day, people come and go: students, web developers, artists. I love it: energy and a constant…
During the season of Advent, I am going to do something new on the blog. I am going to try my best to offer a daily reflection here as we journey through this season together. To help frame the devotions I have been using hashtags designed by a group with the Episcopalian church. For example, the hashtag assigned for today is #Beloved.
I have been a bit delayed in keeping up with these daily devotionals in part because it’s a busy time of year at work, but also I have been busy writing an essay as part of a process to potentially be rostered in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as an Associate in Ministry. In writing that essay, I have had the opportunity to repeat my basic theological understandings.
In that essay I begin by writing, “We are all created and loved Children of God. This is the core of my theological understanding. I believe that God is in relationship with us, whether we recognize this or not. We are also in relationship with each other, because we are all children of God. This shapes what I refer to as a theological conviction of ‘neighbor love.’ This conviction is grounded in baptism and expressed in vocation and stewardship.”
This is on my mind today as I think about what it means to be beloved. I have the words from 1 John 4:7-21 ringing in the back of my mind, especially from verse 7, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” It’s with this in mind that I feel I can do nothing else than join in the larger church tomorrow, Sunday December 14th in “Black Lives Matter Sunday,” by wearing black in solidarity and praying for an end to racism in a continuing effort to address systemic racism in church and society.
Violence, oppression, racism… these are all signs of brokenness of which we all must work to change and defeat. How do you defeat these? The only way I know how is love, and an active love which causes us to act- through word and deed. We cannot keep silent. Pastors cannot keep silent in the pulpit and we cannot keep silent in our daily lives. This is a central part of our faith. What we believe leads us and compels us to act and respond.
How do you respond to injustice in your daily life? How do you remember that you are beloved child of God? And how do you remind others that they are beloved children of God as well?
Tuesday on the blog means that it is time to share some of what I have found interesting and thought provoking over the past week with all of you. (This week’s edition actually covers the last two weeks, so I hope you enjoy this expanded version.) This week’s topic categories are: Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Millennials; Neighbor Love; Social Media & Blogging; Stewardship; Vocation; Worship and Miscellaneous. I hope you enjoy these links!
Nisha Ahluwalia wrote about “The 5 Qualities Teams Look for in Their Leaders.” The qualities include: work with founders that will broaden your business horizons, not stunt your growth; look for a generous spirit and avoid the know-it-alls or credit seekers; and question how they will support you, not only how you need to support them.
Steve Keating reflected on what he sees as “The Illusion of Leadership.” Within this Steve explains about what he sees as a distinction between management and leadership where he writes, “Never forget, if you’re doing it for the business it’s managing, if you’re doing it for your people it’s leading.” What do you think?
Dan Forbes reflected on, “Infected Leadership,” writing that “some leaders today are infected, sick, and leading in the wrong direction.” In thinking about this Dan included a few leadership lessons that he has learned: everyone and every organization is susceptible to catching a virus; leaders and organizations can be sidetracked to go off in the wrong direction; infected organizations grind to a halt; a negative issue not totally eradicated will later reoccur and continue to harm an organization; crisis management costs energy, time and money; and leaders can become better leaders by learning how to deal with negative issues.
Ted Coine asked, “Is Your Leadership Style More David? Or Goliath?” Good question. What do you think? Ted writes that in the social age, “all that matters is the willingness to: listen actively for opportunities to serve; meet the customer where they are, which is increasingly on social; engage person to person; and delight them so much they bring their friends (or maybe their parents).”
Jon Mertz reflects and writes, “Not Work-Life Balance, Work-Life Tempo.” Jon writes that, “balancing will not suffice in today’s fast paced world.” I have found that to be true personally in the nature of my work. Have you? Helpfully Jon shares some thoughts about how to find the right tempo. Thoughts include: discern moments; say “no”; and be healthy.
Jeremy Chandler shares, “One Thing Every Millennial Should Learn from Our Mentors.” The thing to learn, is to learn how your mentor thinks. You can do this by: learning how they approach situations; identify the questions they ask when faced with problems; use the resources that helped them gain the wisdom and knowledge they have today; and identify the principles behind the decisions that made them successful.
XY Planning shared, “5 Options for Millennials and Cash Savings.” Options offered include: save with an online bank; create targeted savings accounts; start investing with a Roth IRA; max out a 401 (K); and get the help you need.
From the past couple weeks one of the local stories in Minnesota that has quickly become a major neighbor love concern is what is now being called “Pointergate.” Involved in the story, was the report followed by KSTP, the local ABC station in the Twin Cities; the local police; Mayor Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis and the young man she is standing next to, Navell. At that first link in this paragraph, if you feel compelled to ask for an apology, I urge you to join me in clicking on it and then signing a petition calling for an overdue apology.
Much has been written about this story, and I’m not going to link to everything I have seen. In these links I am offering a sampling of perspectives and responses to this story that I have found interesting, convincing and effective in calls for change. Kristopher Tigue provides some context in, “KSTP reports Mayor Hodges flashing gang sign; Social Media erupts in anger.”
The sad thing is, what makes the story worse is that the local news station which reported this story has continued to defend it. That continued defense has also been widely (and rightfully) panned locally and nationally. Jason Linkins and Ryan Grim write, “Even KSTP’s Response to its racist ‘gang signs’ story is racist.”
That’s more than enough links on that story for now. If KSTP continues the nonsense or finally apologizes, I will be sure to let you know in the upcoming editions of the links. As for this week’s version, let’s turn now to other neighbor love stories from the past couple of weeks.
Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared his sermon for November 9th grounded in Micah 3, 5 and 6, “Elections, Politics and a Third Way.” In explaining this “third way,” Aaron writes, “This third way, this invitation to relationship leads somewhere. It leads to God’s vision of God’s inclusive family where security and peace isn’t just an empty promise – but it becomes a reality. Real change that makes a difference. Real change….that changes us, and changes how we live.” Go and read the whole sermon.
Peter Crutchley wrote and asked, “Did a prayer meeting really bring down the Berlin Wall and end the Cold War?” If you are unfamiliar with this story, check it out. It’s a very helpful reflection and one that makes for a good way to think about the common Isaiah Advent text theme of “turning swords into plowshares.” I know this is so, because it was the passage for the Narrative Lectionary this past weekend and friend and pastor Diane Roth made this very connection powerfully.
In preparing and thinking about Christmas, famous travel guide (and Lutheran from Washington State), “Rick Steves Has a Christmas Challenge for You,” in thinking about supporting Bread for the World. This is a great challenge with some wonderful gift incentives. What do you think?
Friend and seminarian Beth Wartick shared some good “thoughts on loving evildoers and sinners.” Within this Beth writes and summarizes the depth of neighbor love well writing, “If these are our two choices, it seems clear to me that we are obliged to take the choice that leaves the other person with hope and the possibility of reconciliation. We are obliged to hate evil and sin, yes, but we are also obliged to love other people, whatever their sin might be, and see them as our neighbors, as fellow children of God.”
In response to this story, friend and pastor Erik Gronberg offered good neighbor love reflections in “Help vs. Hype.” Within this Erik profoundly writes, “to help people, to accompany our sisters and brothers in need, requires much more than setting up a table with some food in a park. It takes engagement, relationships, case-management, knowledge, and connections to services and spiritual care. There is work to be done year round. So I applaud Mr. Abbot’s desire and take a challenge from him. If a 90 year old can do it, so can you. Let go of the hype and get to work with help.”
On my blog during November I am sharing a weekly post on Fridays to share some self things about what I’m thankful for. I am calling these posts “Friday Thanksgivings.” Here are the first and second such posts.
Friend and blogger Julia Nelson shared a number of vocationally rich pieces as always over the past couple of weeks. A couple weeks ago share shared some Sunday Snippits. She also shared some “Tuesday Tea Time” as well.
Nate Pyle explained, “Why I’m Becoming a Mentor.” I love his conclusion in explaining why it is so important for people to have the courage to risk and share their gifts. He writes, “You have something to offer. You have stories to share. You have wisdom learned. Your presence can comfort and heal. Don’t keep it from us.”
Friend and pastor Diane Roth shared some great life reflections in “Sunday Afternoon.” I’m guessing that many people can relate to this. I know I can.
That will conclude this week’s edition of the links. With Thanksgiving being next week, the next couple Tuesday editions may be a bit shorter than usual. I hope you don’t mind though. Until then, if there are things you would like to see included in future editions of these, please let me know. Also, if there are particular topics you would like me to think about in future blog posts, please let me know that as well. Thanks for reading and blessings on your week! -TS
Tuesday on the blog means that I get to share links to things that I have found interesting or thought provoking over the past week with all of you. I must have done more than my usual amount of reading judging by the length of this post. There’s a lot of good stuff this week, even if I say so myself. To help you navigate the links, this week’s topic categories are: 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!
There were many big stories over the past week. In addition to Mark Driscoll’s resignation, a story out of Houston nearly spread like wildfire. Sarah Pulliam Bailey shared the story that “Houston Subpoenas Pastors’ Sermons on Gay Rights Ordinance Case.” As might be expected this story got picked up quickly with thoughts and responses all across the board. The most common sort of response though usually involved some conception of “Separation of Church and State.”
A few of the responses that I found particularly helpful were from Nate Pyle and Bishop Mike Rinehart. Nate Pyle wrote that, “We Need a Less Anxious Response to Houston Subpoenas.” I completely agree with that sentiment. I also think Nate is on to something as he wonders, “do we, the church, know how to exist in our culture when we do not have political and cultural power?” What do you think? Bishop Mike Rinehart also shared his thoughts and perspectives on the “Subpoenaed Sermons.” I like his pondering, when he writes, “If your church’s goal is to proclaim the Good News of the gospel to all nations, then let them have the sermons, let them be published on the web, on your blog, podcast them, put them in the radio, televise them, go tell it on the mountain. Shouldn’t we want lawyers and city officials pouring over our sermons?” Would you agree with that?
David Lose shared some great reflections about the church in “An Emboldening Thought.” There is a real richness in the discussion that Lose gives to contemplating questions like “What” and “Why?” In many ways, he is pondering the questions that I have been pondering on this blog since its beginning about a year and a half ago. One particular passage that strikes me, is where he writes, “It’s not that the way ‘we have always done things’ (which of course isn’t the way we’ve always done it but just what we have experienced) is wrong. It’s that the group of people who seem best served by those patterns seems only to be shrinking, while the group of people who are not touched by our current practices seems only to be growing. Similarly, the question before us isn’t really about the what – a more conversational style of preaching, different hymns, a less-scripted and more participatory form of worship, different ways of establishing Christian community, or whatever. The question before us is why – because there are people we love who are not here – our children, grandchildren, friends, neighbors – who we hope will experience God’s life-changing love. And so we are willing to take risks and experiment — and you can’t experiment without experiencing some failure — in order to share Christ’s love with others.” Give this post some deep thought and reflection.
This coming weekend, many Lutheran and Protestant congregations and faith communities will be remembering and celebrating Reformation. Mike Poteet wonders, “Reformation Sunday: A Day to Celebrate?” Reflection is given to ideas like: by grace through faith; the 95 Theses and beyond; and the notion that the church is always forming and reforming. (Clint Schnekloth receives a nice shout-out in this as well.)
One of my alma-maters, Claremont Graduate University, shared some great tips and resources related to “Resumes, Cover Letters, and Networking Tools.” I particularly appreciate their suggested action words to replace some common resume words with words that might help make your resume stand out.
Julian Stodd offered good pause and reflection for your leadership and organization in “Building a culture of sharing.” I particularly like where he writes and asks, “Reflect on the culture in your own organisation: does it welcome sharing, is it permissive of sharing? Or do you still use knowledge as a mechanism of control?”
I honestly try not to share too many overtly political stories, but I did find this article, “In Defense of Obama” intriguing from both a political and economic perspective. Paul Krugman lays out his thoughts in a way that definitely has made me think and reflect. What comes to mind for you? What implications are there for the different sectors of society nationally and internationally?
Lolly Daskal shared what she sees are “The 4 Biggest Myths About Leadership.” The myths have to do with: entrepreneurial leadership; management as leadership; trailblazer as leadership; and position as leadership. Lolly writes that “true leadership” is about: influence; it cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned; and it can never be mandated, only earned. What do you think?
Avery Augustine shared, “5 Things Managers Should Never Say Aloud.” They are: “my boss has no idea what she’s doing”; “did you hear about…”; “that client drives me crazy!”; “he really messed this up”; and “I hate my job.”
If you follow this blog regularly, you know by now that I am a Peter Drucker fan. Here’s one more reason why I am one. Rick Wartzman explained, “What Peter Drucker Knew About 2020.” Drucker really coined the phrase, “knowledge worker,” and could see long before it happened that the economy would largely be driven by a “knowledge society.” In reflecting on this, Wartzman shared “six aspects of running an enterprise that should now be front-and-center”: figure out what information is needed; actively prune what is past its prime; embrace employee autonomy; build true learning organizations; provide a much stronger sense of purpose; and be more mindful of those left behind. What I hear in this not only has implications for leadership and management, I think Drucker may have (without knowing the term) sensed what millennials would come to value too (especially the corporate purpose and autonomy pieces). What do you think?
Rene Lacerte shared, “7 Acts of Generosity that help Leaders Grow Great Businesses.” The acts of generosity are: be a role-model; be generous with yourself; pull together team building activities around giving; center the program on gratitude; stay away from religious or political charities at a company level; provide a forum for employees to raise awareness about causes they care about; and make sure no one ever feels pressured.
Jon Mertz shared “5 Ways to Celebrate Boss Day Every Day.” The ways to celebrate are: celebrate what you read; celebrate the time dedicated to self-reflection; celebrate the time to laugh and have fun; celebrate the relationships of those who make you better; and celebrate what you have learned and what you have shared. I love the question at the end of this piece especially. Jon asks, “How do you celebrate and practice being your own boss?”
Also, over at Thin Difference, they are seeking some input from readers in a “Reader Survey.” Check out this post from Molly Page to hear more and participate in the short survey. Your input will help them as they continue to provide great leadership and millennial resources and perspectives.
I stumbled onto this great post from July about “Leading Gen Y.” Elena Iacono offers these great tips for effectively leading millennials: stay present; be accessible; consistently coach; reward and recognize; hold people accountable; prioritize feedback; keep it cool; and be trusting. What other advice might you add?
Chris Martin shared, “5 Reasons Why There Are No Millennials in Your Church.” The reasons he notes are: there are no millennials in your leadership; you reject the idea of contextualization; “Sunday School” literally feels like school on Sundays; your political preferences are clearer than your gospel proclamations; and your idea of a “social media presence” is finally getting that Myspace page finished. This is a great list. What might you add?
Shifting gears a bit, here’s a couple stories related to the current situation related to the spread of Ebola. First, Tom Murphy shared, “Some common sense on Ebola… from Fox News?” Next, friend and pastor Erik Gronberg shared some honest reflections related to Ebola and the way communication has been handled (or not) related to it, writing, “Yes, I am afraid.”
Here’s a story that likely will just make you want to shake your head. An attorney who was currently on maternity leave was not granted a delayed hearing because of that leave, so, Kate Brumback shares the story of an “Attorney Denied Hearing Delay Appears with Baby.” The judge in this case, I think it’s safe to say, is out of touch with what it means to be a basic relational human being. Maybe that’s harsh, but the description in this story suggests otherwise.
Friend and blogger Jenna Reyna shared a very moving and profound reflection, “Cherub Choir,” remembering and acknowledging pregnancy and infant loss awareness day. Definitely give this a read!
Tomorrow, Wednesday October 22nd, Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) will be hosting the 2014 David and Marilyn Knutson Lecture. Rev. Dr. Monica Coleman will be the speaker. In preparation for this speech, “You Can Have it All: Theorizing Transreligious Spirituality from the Field of Black Studies,” she participated in a “Q & A” session with Taylor Lunka. Kathleen Cooper shared more about this speech tomorrow in an article, “Scholar at the intersection of faith and justice.”
The ability to vote isn’t just a civic right, its also I believe a neighbor love concern. Because of this, a story like “Ruth Bader Ginsburg Pens Scathing Dissent on Texas Voter ID Law,” catches my attention. If you are a citizen of the United States, make sure you vote on Tuesday November 4th, or earlier if you vote by absentee mail.
Friend and PhD student Amanda Brobst-Renaud shared, “Left-Behinds, Exodus and Idols.” One excerpt that stands out in particular in this, is where Amanda writes, “It is this God who refuses to allow the idols we create in our anxiety, sin, and doubt to tell the truth about who we are. Rather than being abandoned in your sin and your doubt (or perhaps because of it), as the ceaseless idols remind you, you are shielded by the divine hand, and beckoned by a glimpse of God’s glory. This God refuses to leave you behind because you are inscribed in God’s very being, even as God’s image is inscribed upon you.”
Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared his sermon from this past weekend, based on Psalm 51:1-12, “Songs of Lament.” One particular passage which struck me is where Aaron writes, “Faith is a cry to God in our sorrow, our mourning, our grief. It’s a plea for God to do what we cannot do for ourselves. Faith is asking God to wash us; to make us whole. We ask God to restore and renew our spirits, to bring joy and hope and gladness into our lives again. And in the midst of tragedy, that kind of faith – a shaken faith – is perhaps enough, because it is still faith just the same. And for God, that’s more than enough.”
Friend and soon-to-be pastor, Erika Grace Benson Buller shared wonderful personal and vocational reflections in “While You’re Waiting: Itinerant Preacher.” If your congregation or faith community is looking for a pastor, look no further than Erika!
If you are like me, you are always on the look-out for great thinkers and ideas to track and follow to learn from. Along these lines, and to be a part of the larger conversation, Rich Birch shared, “12 Hashtags Church Leaders Should Follow Today.” Those of you who are active with social media would probably guess many of these, but here’s the list: #chsocm, #kidmin, #stumin, #pastor, #leadchange, #churchmedia, #churchtech, #innovation, #mktg, #tutorial, #poverty, and #CharityTuesday.
For whatever reason, money like a few other things is still not something everyone feels comfortable talking about with others. In order to improve money management, and to be an authentic person in relationships with others, this really has to change. To this end, Stefanie O\’Connell shared, “The Sex vs Money Taboo.”
Michelle also shared, “6 Ways Being Cheap Can Cost You Money.” The ways are: buying cheap clothes; skipping insurance; shopping on “deal” websites; driving a far distance to save pennies on gas; thinking DIY will always save you money; and neglecting routine maintenance.
Bishop Jim Hazelwood writes, “I’m doing something crazy.” Check this out. It’s a wonderful idea and pitch to build up stewardship within faith communities and the larger church. Are you up for going along with this idea?
Matt DeBall provided the most recent guest post on the COMPASS blog as part of COMPASS’ series reflecting on ownership, renting and mortgages. Matt reflects on “Becoming a Home Owner.” Particularly helpful in this are four suggestions for when thinking about mortgages.
My amazing wife and wonderful blogger in her own right, Allison shared her own personal stewardship reflections in “Why I Give.” I love this! One particular passage that stands out is where she rights, “I give because it was never mine. I can stare all I want at that black or red line in our monthly budget, but that won’t do anything. I give because I am fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who I don’t always understand, but one that I love because God’s relentless love is one that I can place my hope in. Giving our money is a fraction of how we give ourselves to our people and to God. I respond to God’s dreams and love for me by giving my questions, my curiosities, my money, intellect, passions and energy to God’s people – which is partly a church, but mostly, the world, because so far I haven’t found a place where God’s presence does not exist.” Go and read the whole piece.
Friend and pastor Diane Roth also tackled the question of “Why I Give.” Diane writes, “I know that God wants me to give, because it all belongs to God anyway, and God is just letting me take care of God’s ‘stuff’ for awhile. But I give to my church because we are all related, we are related to one another by baptism, which is thicker than blood, although it is hard to remember that. I give to my church because the cross that is traced on my forehead is traced on every forehead; we belong to each other, and that is wonderful, and it is impossible, and it is essential. We have been given this impossible mission, this story to share, this story of God who created and who mends our hearts, and wants us to join in mending the world. And it is impossible to do it alone. That’s why I give. I give because these are my children, and they are my grandmothers, and they are my aunts and uncles and sisters and brothers. And I am sure of just one thing: when we give, we are running into each other’s arms. And we are running into God’s arms, too.”
Let’s end on a positive and exciting note. The residence hall that I called home while attending Pacific Lutheran University has reopened, and they shared this wonderful short video, “Stuen Hall Reopens.”
That will conclude this week’s edition. I hope you have enjoyed them! As always, if there are things you would like included in this post each week, let me know. Also, if there are particular topics or questions you would like me to wrestle with and reflect on, please let me know that too. Until next time, blessings on your week and thanks so much for reading! -TS