I hear a fearful refrain coming from church leaders, from every denominational level. They twist their fingers into knots as they say: If we don’t have our endowment, we will die. It’s our job to protect the endowment for future generations. Our future depends on a healthy endowment.
Belief in the incarnation places suffering bodies within the realm of Christian responsibility.
Surprisingly, evidence showed that the environmental movement’s most significant moments were overwhelmingly led by lapsed Presbyterians.
I knew life was a gift to be shared, not a possession to safeguard, even before my wife collapsed on the kitchen floor. But it was abstract knowledge then.
As I sat in a circle of church planters discussing ministry, a stream of confession emerged: "I've made a lot of mistakes."
There is a prevalent idea in culture that pastors are money-grubbers. I think I have met one of those. Maybe. But, for the most part, we hate asking for money. The majority of church budgets go to salaries, and we feel bad about that, even if we make less than a third of the average person in our congregation. So we can get embarrassed during stewardship time.
The New Testament offers two compelling models for our relationship with money. When translated into a vision for a whole society, each is flawed.
We know about all of the shifts in communication and technology, but there are also huge changes when it comes to giving money. Younger generations often think much differently when it comes to finances and budgeting, and we should think differently as a church as well.
The passage (Mark 12:41–44) about the poor widow who put “everything she had” in the temple treasury was among the lectionary readings a few weeks ago, and it’s a frequent text for stewardship sermons. The example of the widow’s generosity seems clear enough, and it’s part of the church’s standard repertoire about sacrificial giving. But Fergus Kerr suggests that the story is about not generosity but exploitation.
I cherish Thanksgiving for its cultural institutionalization of the practice of gratitude. And because there are no gifts and few cards.
My files are full of stewardship sermons. So it came as a shock when people would say, “We know you don’t like to talk about money.”
What might God have to say about the creatures most people don’t think of as lovable?
Docetic offertory prayers imply that the money inside the envelopes in the offering plates is unimportant, even embarrassing.