Tag Archives: Thompson

We’re Moving!

Dear Friends,

In a few days, we will be launching a new website at www.CTSnet.edu. (Note: this is the same address as our current website.) This is an exciting development for us at Columbia Theological Seminary, and we look forward to the many ways it will serve you as members of our wider community who have been following along with us.

One of the greatest developments over the past couple of years has been the creation and rapid growth of this, our Columbia Connections blog. It started out as a small experiment, and is now one of our largest venues for talking about the issues that are important to us. Thousands of visitors have been finding their way here each month!

With the creation of the new website, we will be moving and merging the blog as a permanent part of our website and our larger communications efforts. It is our hope that the website and blog will be of mutual benefit in raising the profile of all that we do here at Columbia Theological Seminary. As soon as the new website goes “live,” you will be able to reach Columbia Connections blog at www.CTSnet.edu/columbia-connections.

You will also be able to reach our enews updates about The Center for Lifelong Learning called Journeying Together at www.CTSnet.edu/journeying-together.

For those of you who are already followers of this blog either through WordPress or via email, we plan to bring you with us. If you are not yet a follower on WordPress or by email, we hope that you will consider doing so once the new site is live.

Again, we thank you, our wider community, for all the great ways you supports us. Your interest in our work is what has made this blog great!

Grace and Peace,

Michael Thompson, Director of Communications

5 Strategies for Listening to Support Others

By Michael Thompson, Director of Communications

When I first met my wife, she was intrigued by the fact that I had taken a course in college entirely devoted to Listening. “Every man should take a course in listening!” she exclaimed. I can’t say I disagree.

The common distinction between hearing and listening is the difference between taking a passive or an active stance toward the other person. Even when we are speaking, we should be observing carefully as others respond. It’s not just about the words, but the context, culture and expression of both speaker and listener that are critical to the effort.

For now, I would like to outline a few things that set the context for listening in group meetings, and even close relationships, in such a way that supports everyone’s needs. Continue reading 5 Strategies for Listening to Support Others

A Brief Guide to Smart Giving

By Michael Thompson, Director of Communications

If you even passively use Facebook or some other social media platform, you are likely aware of the “Ice Bucket Challenge.” Originally, this started out as a fun way for folks to advertise the charity of their choice, but gained new steam this summer raising awareness about ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease). It hasn’t taken long for this internet phenomenon to be followed up by various commentators discussing the effectiveness of the exercise, advocating for the greater needs of other charities, and expressing plain exhaustion from watching so many videos.

While I am not one to throw “cold water” on the good intentions of others, I thought it might help to provide some guidance on charitable giving. Before working at Columbia Theological Seminary, I did communications for a number of great organizations including the Association of Philanthropic Counsel. APC is an international professional association of consultants working with various nonprofit organizations, not just to do fundraising, but building the full capacity of charities to execute their mission. Distilling all of the great advice out there down to a few points, I provide these recommendation for you when mapping out a giving plan for yourself or for your church. Continue reading A Brief Guide to Smart Giving

What If Jesus Disagrees?

By Michael Thompson, Director of Communications

We are definitively in a season of disagreement. On any given day, I could drop just a few otherwise neutral words onto social media about the latest Supreme Court rulings, or decisions made at the General Assembly of the PC(USA), or even the World Cup. (We can’t even agree whether to call it soccer or football!) Rather immediately, I can expect to see my newsfeed light up with reactions from many sides–some facetious, but many filled with bitterness.

I am aware that people will likely disagree with me, and I can accept that. My biggest fear is that my friends, who often don’t know each other, may be hurtful as they engage the issue rather than the person. I generally have a policy for my little space on social media that we welcome intelligent disagreement, but will not tolerate rudeness, disrespect, or otherwise hurtful comments.

But we are passionate people, myself included. I want to be right. I strive to be thoughtful. And yet, I wonder sometimes, “What if Jesus disagrees with me?” Continue reading What If Jesus Disagrees?