Oct. 3 - 10, 2005



What would Jesus do about poverty?

Debilitating poverty continues to be painfully present in the United States. If our faith in Jesus Christ truly leads us to follow Him and respond to the call of the Holy Spirit, how can we ignore this fact?

So begins Love for the Poor, a concise, insightful and challenging booklet that looks at the scriptural and theological understanding of God's love for the poor and the church's response to poverty. The booklet is free, and just in time to help educate Christians in the latest debate raging in church and society.

The National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States has been working on the booklet for more than two years but decided to publish it right away after Katrina and Rita exposed the deep poverty that still exists in the richest and most powerful nation the world has ever known.

Appropriately, the aftermath of the storms has occasioned introspection about our collective stewardship in this, our Christian nation.  Why, after all, do so many families live hand-to-mouth, lack health insurance, have no resources, no hope and no future? Op-Ed columns and talk radio provide plenty of answers, from blame the lazy poor to blame the do-everything government, from blame greedy corporate America to blame the pro-business government.

Whatever your understanding of why people are poor, the fact is that millions of desperate, impoverished people live in our backyard. The more important question for people of faith is what should be our response to people in need? What does our God command us? This is where Love for the Poor can help.

“The Church has wisdom about what to do to address poverty, not just what to feel about it,” said Ann Riggs, the Council of Churches official who worked on the booklet along with scholars from five faith traditions. “Christians are not just to worry about the poor but we must also have some concrete things to do together,” Riggs said.

Love for the Poor. It's a free PDF download and just 44 pages -- ideal for a workshop, presentation, Sunday school class or personal study.   

--Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster

New this week:

Free booklet: 'Love for the Poor'
Here is a great resource for personal devotion, sermon preparation or education -- a booklet looking at the biblical and theological understandings of poverty and how it informs our response to it. The book is ecumenical in outlook and prophetic in its vision. Click here for "Love for the Poor." From The National Council of Churches USA. (PDF download requires Adobe Reader. Click here for free download of Adobe Reader.)

Who benefits most when we give generously?
"I believe Jesus is calling my congregation - and all of us - to tithe and more.  I believe Jesus is calling us them lives of incredible generosity.  And Jesus is calling them to it for the same reason I am: For their sake.  There is incredible joy in a life of generosity." Click here for Pastor Dana Reardon's weekly column.

Re-teaching 6 principles of Christian giving
This article provides good, practical inspiration for any stewardship purpose -- personal devotion, your latest stewardship sermon, a workshop on giving or a letter to go out with the latest budget appeal. Click here for "Re-teaching 6 principles," from ChurchCentral.com.

An Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation
This resource is a must-read for Christians or congregations not convinced it's part of our stewardship duties to care for the environment. The declaration lays the biblical and theological foundation for environmental stewardship, as well as a call to action. Click here for "Evangelical Declaration," produced by the Evangelical Environmental Network.

Sermon:The Kingdom's cost/benefit ratio
" What happens when we take the world's common tool for evaluating worth and apply it to things of faith? Well, it gets interesting, as you can read in this sermon. Click here for "The Kingdom's cost/benefit ratio" By the Rev. Daniel Mangler, pastor of Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church, Estes Park, CO. This week's Treasure Chest offering.