July 4 - 10, 2005 



G8 Summiteers tackle stewardship. Really!
Who would have thought it possible? Stewardship, of all things, is dominating the press and agenda at the G8 Summit in Scotland.
As the world's most powerful leaders gather, poverty eradication in Africa and global warming emerged as the two hot topics, both of which are essentially stewardship issues with tremendous religious implications. Especially for Christians. (Read all about the Summit in this week's Gleanings!)
Poverty assistance is about rich nations sharing their overabundance so that poor people will have enough. Any Christian who has read Matthew 25 should know what Jesus would do when it comes to poverty eradication. In that particularly blunt chapter, Jesus warns that our very salvation is at risk if we ignore the plight of least among us. If that does not cause American Christians to think, then I suspect we are generally a nation of goats. We just think we're sheep.  
Global warming has to do with developed nations leading the world in reducing fossil-fuel consumption that is linked to climate change. There are dire implications for life on this planet. As the opening chapters of Genesis reveal, God created the world, called it good and appointed human beings to take care of it. Now scientists note that the polar ice caps are melting, the oceans are warming up, extreme weather storms are on the increase and species and habitat that have been stable for centuries are suddenly under enormous stress. And most of the world's best respected scientists say this is due in large part to human energy consumption. I don't think God would call that good. Do you?
Astonishingly, these two stewardship issues have gained the support of millions of highly vocal people around the world. Live 8 concerts, awareness-raising events, newspaper columns, web blogs and street demonstrations in Scotland all show that there is growing consciousness that the status quo is simply unacceptable. And with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the current G8 chairman, championing the two causes, it seems certain big things will be done this time around.
As Christians who are called to love our neighbor as ourselves and to care for creation, what can we do? Here are some ideas:
-Stay informed. Stay on top of the news from multiple sources.
-Find out what your church says about poverty and the environment. 
-Discuss these issues with friends and colleagues.
-Make the issues priorities in your life, family and congregations.
-Write letters expressing your views to your Congressional delegation as well as the President.
-Give generously to a Christian world relief charity. Ask that your congregation do the same.
-Then pray again. And again. And again. ...
-Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster
New this week:

 'Generations of Generosity' Bible study

This study explores stewardship through several passages of scripture. Each segment of the study asks participants to examine the role of money in our lives, our faith, our congregations and our society. Click here for the Bible study. One of many resources available from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada's 2005-2006 resources. Click here for previous years' offerings.


 What do we see for our stewardship?

"Look any Sunday and see what I see.  See the faces of the children in Sunday School and the upturned face of an old man who can no longer kneel when I say, "The body of Christ given for you."  Click here for the Rev. Dana Reardon's weekly stewardship column.

 Can corporations assume responsibility for the environment?
In this essay, eminent process theologian John B. Cobb Jr. discusses the environmental implications of the growing power of transnational businesses. "Personally, I am not happy that the future of the Earth is now in the hands of corporations rather than governments. I believe that power should be in the hands of those who have other goals than economic gain in view as part of their primary job description." Click here for Cobb's essay. Posted on Religion Online.
 Stewardship is more than money -- it's your life
"Holistic stewardship encompasses all that we are, all that we hope to become. We use four “c” words to summarize scores of biblical passages upon which we base our theology of holistic stewardship: conversion, commitment, communion, and concern." Click here for the article. Insights from Congregations magazine, published by the Alban Institute. This week's Treasure Chest offering.

 The overlooked key to success

In working with congregations over the years, there is one key factor that keeps coming back, loud and clear. If the Pastor and the lay leaders aren’t "out in front " of the stewardship efforts, there’s very little chance of growth! Click here for this piece by Tuck Aaker, columnist for ELCA stewardship resources.