A Theology for Christian Stewardship

A Theology for Christian Stewardship

Holistic, Resource Review
A. Kantonen, Muhlenberg Press, 1956 I took some time to revisit an old friend recently. A Theology for Christian Stewardship by T. A. Kantonen was part of the bibliography for my doctoral research in the late 1980s. Published in 1956, it is a classic. As I re-read the book, I was struck that all the stewardship principles I have learned over the course of more than 26 years of stewardship ministry are summarized here in a mid-twentieth century treatise. Those principles were all unpacked for me some thirty years ago in a concise but thorough exposition of biblical theology specific to the topic of stewardship. Kantonen (1900-1993) was a Harvard-educated theologian who, at age three emigrated with his family from Finland to the United States. In a succinct manner, he…
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The UNkingdom of God

The UNkingdom of God

Holistic, Resource Review
By Mark Van Steenwyk, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2013 Mark is founder and pastor of Mennonite Worker, a small intentional community (commune) in a poorer neighborhood of Minneapolis. The second and fourth chapters of Acts portray the church after Pentecost as a community of radical simplicity and sharing. While not evident much in the rest of the New Testament, and while always a minority position, this model of community has a persistent presence throughout the history of Jesus-followers, including the Mennonite Worker community today. The book, parts of it autobiographical, is about Mark’s understanding of what it means to follow Jesus here and now. Mark will make you uncomfortable. To give you a flavor of the book, here are some quotes: “Our entire way of life depends on this pursuit…
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Sabbath and Jubilee

Sabbath and Jubilee

Biblical, Holistic, Resource Review
Richard H. Lowery, (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2000) This is not an easy read. Written by a professor of Old Testament, Sabbath and Jubilee is a study of biblical references to Sabbath and jubilee. The subject is complicated by many factors: roots in a subsistence rural economy, uncertainty concerning origins of the Sabbath, educated guesses as to original meanings, uncertainty as to what was practice and what was ideal. “Jubilee laws [on slavery and land redistribution] are…mostly impractical as social policy. But they establish important and revolutionary theological and ethical principles” (p. 77). “By celebrating a divinely ordered cosmic order, built on natural abundance, self-restraint, and social solidarity, Sabbath critiques the oppressive consequences of a royal imperial system built on tribute, forced state labor, and debt slavery” (p. 3). Households…
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Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate: A New Vision for Financial Stewardship

Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate: A New Vision for Financial Stewardship

Congregations, Holistic, Resource Review, Stewardship
By J. Clif Christopher, Abingdon Press, 2008, ISBN-13: 9780687648535 What motivates twenty-first century people to be generous in supporting their congregations? How can congregations craft a stewardship ministry that both raises funds for the church’s mission and helps people grow spiritually? Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate offers insight into the answers to questions such as these. Christopher presents not another theology of stewardship but rather a practical guide for translating theology into action. Filled with engaging anecdotes and concrete suggestions, this book will be most useful for pastors who want to approach stewardship not as one more responsibility but as a key for helping people connect their faith and their material lives. Review by D. Michael Bennethum, director for evangelical mission/associate of the bishop for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod of…
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From Cooperation to Competition

From Cooperation to Competition

Holistic, Resource Review
By Lyle E. Schaller (Abingdon Press, 2006) This book touches on issues important to how we do stewardship in today’s church, though it doesn’t specifically address stewardship in the church. Whether we established leaders or our church members like it or not, the cultural landscape has changed, and it affects how we do church and stewardship. From Cooperation to Competition asserts that we have moved from a cooperative church atmosphere to a competitive one, and it focuses on surviving this shift—a shift author Lyle Schaller believes will not be reversed. Church organization guru Schaller gives an insightful perspective on what is happening in the churches as a result of this cultural change. Schaller's most important advice centers on the different generations and how they will shape what happens in our churches.…
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On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (and Always Have) in the Future Tense

On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (and Always Have) in the Future Tense

Holistic, Resource Review
By David Brooks (Simon and Schuster, 2005) Review by John A. Kroschel, who serves with the Upstate New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In On Paradise Drive, David Brooks takes us on a tour of middle-America that is poignant, entertaining, and oftentimes satirical, but always thought provoking. Brooks describes our motivations and our longings, noting that just out of reach, just beyond the next ridge, just with the next home or entrepreneurial scheme or diet plan; just with the next political hero, the next credit-card purchase, or the next true love; just with the right all-terrain vehicle, the right summer home, the right meditation technique, or the right motivational seminar; just with the right schools, the right community values, and the proper morality; just with the…
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Credo

Credo

Holistic, Resource Review
by William Sloane Coffin (Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), ISBN 0-664-22707-4, 192 pp. Review by Joe Bleakley, stewardship specialist and assistant to the bishop of the Central/Southern Illinois Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Editor Stephanie Egnotovitch has stirred together a lifetime of Coffin's thought on the subjects of faith, social justice, patriotism, peace, the church, life, and the end of life. Credo is a gourmet assortment of vintage William Sloane Coffin—advocate, churchman, prophet, revolutionary, and sage While it could be savored as only a leftist-liberal devotional, Credo has potential for more than that. In Credo we all have an opportunity to relish the values that undergird faith in Jesus the Christ and the vision that empowers Christ-like living. In a world that is fond of mixing everything with Christianity, Coffin reminds us that…
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The New Context for Ministry: Competing for the Charitable Dollar

The New Context for Ministry: Competing for the Charitable Dollar

Holistic, Resource Review, Stewardship
by Lyle E. Schaller (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002), ISBN: 0-687-06580-1), 244 pp., paper,$25.00US/36.25CDN. Review by Scott Jacob, assistant to the bishop and shared stewardship staff for the Northeastern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In this book Lyle Schaller reviews the historical, economic, and ecclesiastical changes and events that have taken place over the past seventy-two years. With that as background, Schaller helps us to see the new setting for stewardship and ministry for churches in the twenty-first century. Schaller begins by focusing on the statement, How the world has changed since I was a boy. Using the stock market crash on Black Tuesday in October 1929, and the terrorist attacks on another “Black Tuesday,” September 11, 2001, as bookends, he reviews the many changes in American life and…
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Money and the Soul’s Desires—A Meditation

Money and the Soul’s Desires—A Meditation

Holistic, Resource Review
by Stephen Jenkinson (Toronto: Stoddart Publishing, 2002), ISBN: 0-7737-3343-4, $29.95US/43.45CDN Review by Vincent Alfano, executive director of the Toronto United Church Council. What is the origin of the fear so many people experience in money matters? Where does money get its power to provoke conflict and friction in our lives? It is possible to live an authentic life in the presence of money? These important questions give shape to Money and the Soul's Desires, a new book by Stephen Jenkinson. Jenkinson has come to the conclusion that most people believe that their money and their soul stand apart from one another...and that when they are not apart, they are in conflict. For Jenkinson, however, the opposite is reality. Money and the Soul's Desires takes us in a totally different direction—an…
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A Woman’s Book of Money and Spiritual Vision—Putting Your Financial Values into Spiritual Perspective

A Woman’s Book of Money and Spiritual Vision—Putting Your Financial Values into Spiritual Perspective

Holistic, Resource Review
by Rosemary Williams with Joanne Kabak (Philadelphia: Innisfree Press, Inc., 2001) ISBN: 1-880913-44-5, 224 pp., $15.95US/23.00 CDN Review by Barbara DeGrote-Sorensen, shared stewardship staff for the Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We can always use more help when it comes to aligning our actions with what is important to us. A Woman's Book of Money and Spiritual Vision offers that kind of help. Through open-ended statements, real-life stories, spiritual encouragement, and yes, cash flow charts, readers move past the fears that can keep them from living generously. This book will make you grateful. It will also unleash the giving potential in each reader to make a difference with the resources they've been given. Williams asks the questions. How we fill in the blanks is up…
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