kindom musings

Thoughts and musings from a pastor in the peace tradition. Perspectives come from a progressive, justice-minded, feminist position. Responses are welcome.

Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States

I am a Church of the Brethren pastor in my thirties. While I love what I do, I started out with plans to be a veterinarian. God has a great sense of humor, and I wound up in ministry instead. However, my sojourn into veterinary science did make me a vegetarian with a love of animals. (We have two cats and a dog at home -- only a small petting zoo!) My husband is also ordained, and we have a son (LB) and a daughter (KB). My husband keeps me up to date on baseball trivia, and my children keep me giggling. All in all, it makes for a well-rounded life. I was born in Pennsylvania, moved several times for school and work, and have recently returned to my home state. On the Myers-Briggs scale, I'm an INFP.

Friday, September 08, 2006

How much? To whom?

I've been wrestling with issues of stewardship. What does it mean to give faithfully? How much is enough? In an affluent culture, when are we satisfied with what we have? What does it mean to commit to give ourselves to God?

As a pastor, it seems important to be a role model in terms of tithing. I've intentionally done it since my first pastorate (as well as less consciously before that), but it disturbs me a bit that I haven't thought much before now why I do it. I know it's not for prestige or some misguided hope to gain God's special favor. I don't resent doing it, but I can't honestly say it's been a special joy either. Maybe that says more about the relative value I place on money than on faith itself. I do get excited about serving in a soup kitchen, working on a Habitat for Humanity house, or sitting with someone who is going through a hard time. That's stewardship too, but it's harder to define or quantify.

I don't want to give out of a sense of obligation, nor do I want to urge others to do so. Right now, I'm not sure how I want to encourage people to find a deeper reason and motivation for giving. In the midst of this pondering, I wandered over to Real Live Preacher. At the end of a video clip, he said something about different ways of seeing God's presence and mentioned giving ourselves as the only thing we have. To give ourselves as a response to a pulse in the universe, in the faith or bold hope that God is actively participating in life and cares about what happens pushes me to respond in more than a passive way. It's something to think about...


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