Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What a difference fifty or sixty years makes

In the late 1950’s and through the 1960’s the focus was on Stewardship
v  Emphasis was on being a steward of what God had given to you, not what you had earned
Ø  everything one had was a gift from God
Ø  this included one’s job and one’s earnings
v  A tithe or offering was a return to God, an obligation to be fulfilled
Ø  The focus was not to “fund” anything, it was on an individual’s  responsibility
Ø  it was an offering of one’s first fruits to God, an act of thanksgiving
The focus of stewardship begins and ends looking at God

Noticeable from the 1990’s to present is a focus upon a Pledge: 
v  Consider the wording of a Diocesan Support Appeal as well as parish commitments–
Ø  we make a difference in the lives of thousands of our brothers and sisters in faith. . . By sharing our gifts. . .”
v  The understanding of “gifts” here is different than in the earlier time period
Ø  one sense is “haves versus the have-nots”
Ø  another and probably stronger understanding is as “income”
v  Therefore, the focus shifts away from stewardship of one’s gifts and becomes a redistribution to others.
v  Focus is not on a return to God, focus is on what your income can do, i.e. your income will not be wasted.
Ø   “The financial resources generated by the DSA provide current operational funding for our Church’s educational, vocational, multicultural, and housing ministries. . .”
v  From this a “consumerist” focus develops and the “Pledge” request is presented to show, in effect, what your money “buys”

The focus begins looking at you and ends looking at goods and services purchased!

Is it, in today's world, possible to think about one's responsibilities to God? Is the idea of an obligation to God a thing of the past?

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