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Stewardship


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Recently the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and an evangelical group issued statements opposing the President’s immigration moratorium from seven predominantly Islamic countries where the rule of law has broken down. They rightly point to the love of neighbor and need to support religious liberty for all, but their positions are not intellectually honest as they do not present all the relevant issues.

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It is obvious people today are looking for a change; at least from the last seven years, but more likely from the last couple of decades.  A couple of facts supporting this assertion.  First, 60% – 75% believe we are on the wrong track; figures that have remained in this range since 2013.  Second, this year’s presidential race has largely been driven by outsiders – anti-establishment candidates – in both parties.  Third, polls show that there is considerable anger with the political establishment, especially on the right.  So much so that the word betrayal is at times used to voice what people are feeling.

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The previous post started to discuss the inconsistency that collectivists have regarding the use of redistributed wealth by those who receive it – that it will be used for its intended purpose.  One of the main arguments for government forced redistribution is that people who have wealth will not do the right things with it.  On the other hand, collectivists assume that those who receive the redistributions will do the right things with them, or at least will be better stewards of what they receive than those from whom it came.  Why else would a redistribution be warranted unless it were to be used for some greater good?  Otherwise a redistribution is simply legalized theft.  The assertion underlying wealth redistributions implies that virtue among those receiving the redistribution is greater than those whose wealth is redistributed.  During the Middle Ages, the general view was that those who accumulated wealth possessed greater virtues related to physical things (stewardship, frugality, etc.), while those who were poor possessed greater spiritual virtues (piety, humility, etc.).  It was not thought that one group’s virtue was greater than the other; but rather that the virtues they possessed were merely different – neither was better than the other.

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04

There is a relationship between the other two points from the previous post:  those around the government’s role in achieving a fair distribution of society’s wealth, and whether people will do the rights things with the redistributed wealth they receive.  At the heart of this matter is the answer to the following question, ‘Who is best able to direct society’s resources, its individuals or its government?’ – for its answer is directly connected to charity.  Historically, until somewhat recently, charity has consisted of providing things such as bread, food, shelter, care for those unable to care for themselves (widows, orphans, aged, and the dying), and debt relief.  Charity is about service and providing sacrificially, simply because another is in need, and throughout the Middle Ages there was a direct connection between the giver and the receiver.

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Posted in: Stewardship
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In the last post we made the point that we often use money as though it is a significant part of a solution.  We throw money at everything from education, to various forms of welfare, to the war on drugs, to developing alternative energy sources.  However, many times it seems that money is more closely related to the problem.  It is spent and there is either no effect or a problem often worsens.  Why?  Take social justice.  The whole idea underlying social justice is the notion that problems will be solved simply by a ‘fairer’ distribution of wealth – accomplished by the transfer of wealth from those who have to those who do not, with the determination of who has and who needs left to the discretion of a ruling elite.  The underlying belief is that it is morally wrong to accumulate wealth for the sake of wealth itself, and there is truth in this notion.  However, money is just a tool.  It is fungible, meaning that it can be used for many things.  It can be used well, or it can be used badly. 

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Posted in: Stewardship
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As discussed in the last post, stewardship is about using your gifts and abilities well, not only for oneself, but for others as well.  Committing to that kind of stewardship, and acting upon it, is agape – the kind of love that finds its expression in charity.  Charity is about providing to those in need what they need.  This is much broader than the focus we have today on simply providing for the poor.  It is within that broader focus that we find a relationship between stewardship and education.

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Posted in: Stewardship
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We’ve mentioned several times the concept of stewardship, but what exactly is it?  If we look at a dictionary today we’ll likely see something like this, ‘the employment or use of one’s time, talents, or abilities.’  It is a definition focused on us, but I would suggest that this focus is a relatively recent development. As an example, we have no further to look than the titles of some of our leading magazines over the last seventy years or so, as they are a reflection of our society.  At the beginning of that time span we had publications like Time and Life, and they did quite well.  Fast forward to the early 70’s and we first had People, and a mere ten years after that we had Us and Self.  Notice the progression?  It is no different from many of our other basic concepts and ideas, including stewardship.  We’ve ‘progressed’ from being fascinated by the big picture of things outside of ourselves, to one absorbed with ourselves.  Don’t get me wrong.  There is nothing wrong with self-examination, if it is balanced with a valid objective.  That objectivity within individualism is provided by a set of virtues and a given morality.  Within collectivism that objectivity is provided by the dictates of the state.

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About Dan Wolf

Dan WolfMy goal is that my writing will help you to get started on your own journey of discovery, or help you along the way on a journey you may have already begun. Our Founders considered education, religion, morality, and virtue to be the cornerstones for any successful society. Being successful requires understanding both the languages of reason and faith; reason alone is insufficient.