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A Christian View of Hospitality: Expecting Surprises

A Christian View of Hospitality: Expecting Surprises

Biblical, Resource Review
By Michele Hershberger. (Scottdale, Pennsylvania: Herald Press, 1999), ISBN: 083619099, 284 pp., $10 US paperback Review by Marta Poling-Goldenne, director for witness ministries in the Division for Congregational Ministries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Michele Hershberger plumbs the depths of Scripture, contemporary church life, ancient and current cultural rituals, and the ever-present abundance of God's grace in this must-read book. A Christian View of Hospitality invites the reader to reexamine well-read biblical texts through the lens of extraordinary attention to the stranger/guest, the host, and God. The book is delightful combination of devotional refreshment for the haggard parish pastor, often inundated by sad life tales, and spiritual “a-ha” moments for preachers who seek a new look at common lectionary texts. It evokes both laughter and sighs as the reader journeys…
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Speaking of Stewardship: Model Sermons on Money and Possessions

Speaking of Stewardship: Model Sermons on Money and Possessions

Leadership, Resource Review, Stewardship
edited by William G. Carter. (Geneva Press: Louisville, 1998), ISBN 0664500315, 137 pp. $20 US Review by Juanita Weaver, an adjunct professor of speech communication at Temple University and a consultant for The Giving Project: Growing Faithful Stewards in the Church William Carter is pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Clark Summit, Pennsylvania, and trustee of Princeton Theological Seminary. As general editor of this book, he collected twenty-three sermons addressing a variety of stewardship topics. The book is a helpful guide for preachers wanting to preach on the topic of stewardship as an integral part of Christian discipleship. This not only includes the need to fund God's work, but even more importantly to make stewardship a daily concern in the lives of a faith community that lives in an age of…
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Congregations at the Crossroads: Remembering to Be Households of God

Congregations at the Crossroads: Remembering to Be Households of God

Biblical, Congregations, Resource Review, Theology
By Ronald E. Vallet. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998), ISBN: 0802813670, 256 pp. $29 US Review by Herbert Mather, director of stewardship for the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church Here is a book that does not fit the mold. It is both faithful and practical. Most of us have read books on Christian stewardship, agreed with most of what the author thought, "So what?" Many writers develop a sound theology but provide no clues about relating it to real life in the church. Other books have an abundance of how-to recommendations based on the latest management or marketing techniques with a few Bible verses tossed in to furnish legitimacy. Congregations at the Crossroads is different. Ron Vallet talks theology but doesn't simply theorize.…
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Plain Talk About Churches and Money

Plain Talk About Churches and Money

Congregations, Resource Review
By Dean Hoge, Patrick McNamara, Charles Zech. (Bethesda, Maryland: Alban Institute, 1997), ISBN: 1566991854, 138 pp., $15.75 US Book review by Jerry Dean Weber, a development officer for the PCUSA Foundation This book by Dean Hoge (professor of sociology, Catholic University of America), Patrick McNamara (professor of sociology, University of New Mexico), and Charles Zech (professor of economics, Villanova University), is based upon the extensive research for their earlier work, Money Matters (1996). Both works wrestle with important issues about faith and money within North American congregations at the end of the twentieth century. This new work, however, goes beyond the previous book in its importance, because the issue of money in the church is talked about in a manner accessible to everyone. The authors have outlined for us the…
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