Theology of Stewardship

Saints and the Search for Moral Presence

Today is All Saints Day, so it’s appropriate to think about the saints in our lives and world. These days, every day seems to be the opposite of saintly: national brink-of-war tactics, political partisan diatribes, hate crimes, and horrendous violence. So maybe All Saints Day is really important right now, whether we ascribe to official…

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Breathing in the Image of God

In my latest book, Growing Generous Souls (soon to be published), I wrote about ways we can grow increasingly into “the image of God.” God sees us, not just how we have been or are now, but how we can become more radiant with God’s love, both within who we are and in our relationships…

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Sources of Authority and John Wesley’s Creation Theology

The four sources of authority for John Wesley – Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience – have long been an important decision-making guideline for me. As a lifelong camper, I’ve tended to see this “quadrilateral” as the four corners of a tent with the crossbar of Jesus Christ holding them together in the center. Some people’s…

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Stewardship in Living Context

I was thrilled to learn about the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s plans for resourcing churches starting next year! When our Resource Editorial Team met today, we heard about future possibilities for congregational resourcing, networking opportunities, and the growth of a digital stewardship library. For many years, the Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation magazine has…

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Stephen Hawking: A Vast Legacy

I learned a long time ago that if math is the language of the cosmos, I’m in big trouble! But A Brief History of Time, by theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, gave me a whole new way of seeing the universe and imagining it beyond any ability to view or comprehend. Don’t get me wrong: I…

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Assets and Liabilities

“Generosity is a spiritual disposition, not a quantifiable percentage of income,” said author James Hudnut-Beumler in Generous Saints. Generous people are grateful to God, affirming that “they know their worth comes from God, and not from money – not from money earned, hoarded, spent to purchase things, or used to exercise power.” 1 As I…

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Pursuit and Possessions

Jesus says that what we pursue is what we treasure (Luke 12:33-34). The trouble with pursuing wealth as a source of security, adds author Sondra Ely Wheeler, 1 is that “it usurps God’s role as source and measure and guarantor of life.” By contrast, Wheeler notes, the Book of Luke lays out “a confidence of…

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The Morning-After Net

It’s doubly hard when a dream turns to dust, when people who have gone through a dramatic life event (a significant relationship, a turn-around experience) see all the goodness vanish. The dream dies, our new life doesn’t pan out, loved ones drifts away. Unsure of what to do, we ask ourselves, Can I go back…

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Simple Rules for Money: John Wesley on Earning, Saving, & Giving

James A. Harnish, Abingdon Press, 2009 Written for the “Live Simply” (2016) issue of Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation published with permission In Simple Rules for Money, James Harnish offers Methodist founder John Wesley’s guidelines for financial living, still strikingly appropriate for us today. “Wesley’s rules are not about fund-raising for the church,”…

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What’s in a Box

Inspiration can come in some surprising forms. An article in the January-February 2016 issue of Smithsonian left a lump in my throat. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen archaeological finds in seminary, so I was pleased to see pictures of Galilean treasures unearthed in recent years. One item is particularly intriguing: a quartzite…

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