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.
The new Century editorial offers that if the Republicans nominate Rick Santorum for president, his regular rhetoric about poverty might challenge President Obama to engage him on it--giving voters a chance to hear two different analyses of the problem instead of, you know, not hearing about it all. Somewhat more quixotically, I've found myself wondering whether there's an opportunity as well in Santorum's recent claim that environmentalism amounts to a "phony theology." Stephen Prothero's reaction is to challenge Santorum's desire to draw who's-a-real-Christian lines; Rachel Tabachnick's is to trace the "phony theology" line to the influence of the Cornwall Alliance. Good points both, but what interests me here is that Santorum's comments point to one of the basic theological questions for Christian eco-engagement: Is the emphasis on human membership in the wider creation or on human responsibility for it?
Most fund-raising board meeting discussions, when stripped to the core, become one common, persistent question: "How can we persuade people to give more?"
We need to repent of offering the world our charitable leftovers and then pouting when the world doesn’t say thank you.