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Nurturing Generous Living

Stewarding Our Story

Our regional writers group had a booth this past weekend at the Gold Country Fair in Auburn, California. It was an engaging time, as fifteen of us took shifts talking with people about reading and writing and inviting them to join us and to buy our books. What surprised me most was how involved members…

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Stewards of Our Stories

When I walked into the great hall one evening this week, about a thousand chairs were arranged in circles of six, set up for small-group conversations. For this one session, it was not the usual set-up for a United Methodist Annual Conference of local-church pastors and leaders. “Be a steward of your story,” the speaker…

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Generosity of Inclusion

I hadn’t heard of Rachel Held Evans until her shocking death last month at the age of 37. I don’t tweet, and I’m a lot older than Millennials. But in her case that was my loss – I celebrate her intentionally generous life as an “apostle to outsiders,” and am grateful for how her influence…

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Tornado Heroes

The news was terrifying wherever we looked last night, May 28, with mind-numbing numbers: 500 tornados touched down in the last thirty days, roaring through 22 U.S. states. Heavy rains, flash flooding, continuing storms, tornados everywhere. “It looks like a war zone,” said dazed residents, looking over the rubble of their communities. Yet in the…

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Grateful for Ordinary Days

            In our church service a while back, the worship leader said she had looked to see if that date was a special church day. Nope, apparently it was “just an ordinary day.” God knows there are times when things are going so badly, we wish it could be an ordinary day, she continued. But…

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Being in Advent

This far into the pre-Christmas period, many of us may be up to our chins in busyness, whether from shopping, community holiday events, or gatherings of family and friends. And did I mention shopping? So how can we re-focus ourselves on being instead of frenetic doing? On the birth of Christ in our hearts and…

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The Social Contagion of Generosity

Generosity is not just an individual trait; 1 it can have a huge effect on our communities. I was excited to see that scientific studies are actually documenting how generous behavior creates and builds our relationships with others. I’ve always thought of contagion as a bad thing: as in viruses, diseases, a plague. So an…

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Curiosity — Stewarding Our Attention

This past weekend on retreat, I was thrilled to get reacquainted with curiosity as one of the seven key attributes named by Lacy Ellman in her book, Pilgrim Principles. Last year I wrote about two studies of curiosity among Millennials, in my blog, Generous Stewards – Curious and Creative. It was exciting to think of…

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Live Courageously

I was thrilled to receive Live Courageously, this year’s issue of Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation, from the Ecumenical Stewardship Center.  In addition to a center section Leader’s Guide for an annual financial commitment program based on small groups, it includes “Bright Spot” stories celebrating real people practicing faithful stewardship and generosity, book…

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Rescuers

There have been so many natural disasters these recent months that it’s hard not to lose hope, even as we pray for the people and animals in harm’s way from fires, hurricanes, and floods. But I do see hope, in the response of so many rescuers – many of them strangers – who are coming…

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Seven Attributes of Generous Churches

Patrick Johnson has worked with innovative U.S. churches for almost ten years, seeking to answer the question, “What does it take to create a culture of generosity in a local church?” In “Seven Attributes of a Generous Church,”1 he names seven common characteristics he has discovered. The more generous congregations he has encountered: 1. Are…

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Generous Stewards — Compassionate and Caring

     I listened to a fascinating TED Talk on National Public Radio about compassion a while ago.1 It featured political analyst Sally Cone, and journalist Christa Tippet. “Compassion [is] the ability to appreciate and respect another person’s viewpoint, even if it isn’t your own,” said Cone. It includes communicating that your feelings are valid, and…

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