A place to Connect, Grow, and Serve
Several weeks ago, lisa Miller's Washington Post column http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/the-generosity-of-t... addressed the relationships between generosity and religion. As we at UUCA consider how we each can support the church in the coming year, her research and observations are relevant. The theme of the column is that giving is about acknowledging our connections and shared responsibility.
To me, that's what stewardship is all about.
"Giving," she writes, "forces you to recognize...that you're responsible for other people....When you lay down your money, you say, 'This (church, child, environmental hazard) is my problem.'" She quotes Rabbi Sharon Brous: 'What draws people into relgious life is that desire to be more than you would otherwise be." Americans overall give between 2% and 3% of their income to charity, according to the Philanthropy Roundtable. Newt Gingrich, with an income of $3.1 million, gave 2.58% in 2010; Barack Obama, with an income of $1.7 million, gave 14% in that year. Mitt Romney gives 10% to his church alone. I don't make millions--not by a long shot--but I want to be more generous than Mr. Gingrich. And for me, UUCA is so much at the center of my life that it beckons me to support it more generously than I do other charitable causes or a lot of other aspects of my life.
I DID come to UUCA in the hope of becoming more than I would otherwise be. Rabbi Brous's assertion resonates with me. Does it with you?
We all have different reasons for becoming a part of this church community. Yet in talking with congregants over the past few weeks, I have heard a common theme about how the "values" of the church are important to us as individuals and to our community both within and outside of the church. I have also heard that most people want more from the church, not less. Well, if we WANT more....
These conversations are reinforcing for me the notion that our needs and our obligations are connected with one another's. They suggest that we know we have shared responsibility and shared opportunity to make a difference in the world. I believe that UUCA is worth committing to. I want to see this community grow in strength and in ability, not shrink. And I want to become a generous person. I want to be a steward of UUCA.
What does stewardship mean to you?