Saturday 19 December 2015

Christian Reflection on Generosity

The latest issue of Christian Reflection, published by the Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University, is available online, this one devoted to ‘Generosity’. The whole issue is available as a pdf here, and an accompanying Study Guide is available here. The main articles, with their abstracts, are as follows:

Robert B. Kruschwitz
Since generosity echoes God’s love, practicing it in our lives and congregations is essential. Our contributors explore the distinctive features of Christian generosity, its central role in discipleship, and why its practice is so difficult in a consumerist culture.

Douglas V. Henry
Generosity of Spirit
Generosity names not merely something we do, but an admirable quality of character, something we are. Undergirding the character of truly generous people is a special awareness of themselves, others, and God’s gracious provision for the world, and this understanding inspires genuinely generous activity.

Kelly D. Liebengood
Paul’s Expectations of Generosity
True generosity requires us to give to those in need and make a place for them in our gatherings. Such generosity, Paul reminds us, is enabled by the transforming grace of God manifested in the self-emptying life of Jesus Christ and made accessible through the life-giving Spirit.

K. Jason Coker
Subversive Generosity
God’s reign, founded on God’s subversive generosity, opposes Roman oppression in the New Testament. Today it provides the moral vision to see through the distortions of consumerism and gives an alternative way to understand our obligations to one another and to God.

Patricia Snell Herzog
Solving the Riddle of Comfortable Guilt
Most of us admit that our giving behavior does not match our personal or our religion’s ideal of what it should be. Yet we are oddly content with this. Why do we have this comfortable guilt, and how can we change our habits to be rid of it? 

Ruben Swint
How Congregations (and Their Members) Differ on Generosity
Not every church member responds to the same message about giving. Not every congregation’s culture supports the same approach to developing faithful stewards, or generous givers. What variables in congregational life foster giving differences in members and congregations?

Heidi J. Hornik
Imperial Gifts

Heidi J. Hornik
Stopping to Help

Anthony Carl
All Who Thirst

Sharon Kirkpatrick Felton
Worship Service

Jonathan and Elizabeth Sands Wise
In This Old House
While generosity typically involves donating money or goods, it includes giving less material things. In this way, hospitality is a species of generosity, a making room and giving space to others in your own place, or in your attention, or in conversation. 

Richard Stearns
Time to Tithe
In our culture, the chief competitor to dependence on God is money – what it can buy and what it symbolizes. We need to give generously in order to inoculate ourselves from the virulent cultural diseases of materialism and consumerism. Unfortunately, we are not getting our vaccination shots. 

Allen Walworth
Unlikely Champions: A Widow’s Might
Scripture tells many stories about unlikely generosity champions, men and women who play out their lives, often in obscurity, except for the watchful eye of the biblical narrator – and God. They are champions of the human spirit. Upon their faithfulness the world turns, and the kingdom of God advances. 

Jo-Ann A. Brant
Generosity in the Bible
Most of us wish to be more generous. The four books reviewed here not only demonstrate the centrality of the call to generosity that runs through the biblical canon, they also provide practical advice about how we can turn our well-meaning intent into action.

Arthur M. Sutherland
Toward a Theology of Generosity
Americans long have wrestled with how God gives, the obligations of the rich toward the poor and the poor toward the rich, and how generosity shapes public life. Three recent books continue the struggle by surveying, probing, and depicting generosity as an orientation toward life.

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