Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Passionate Steward: Recovering Christian Stewardship from Secular Fundraising

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Passionate Steward: Recovering Christian Stewardship from Secular Fundraising

Article excerpt

The Passionate Steward: Recovering Christian Stewardship from sec ular Fundraising. By Michael O'Hurley-Pitts. Toronto: St. Brigid Press, 2001. 169 pp. $19.99 (paper).

At first glance, a review of O'Hurley-Pitts s book may seem a bit different for the Anglican Theological Review. This is not a book that explores a radically new theological perspective or method. Written by a Roman Catholic out of his experience with that church, it surely does not claim to have a particular Anglican character. Finally, one of its central topics, fundraising, is hardly a common one in the pages of this journal. But the central importance of a theologically grounded concept of stewardship as set forth by O'Hurley-Pitts, and the fact that virtually all of the readers of the ATR are in one way or another involved in fund-raising for the church, make this book pertinent and important to review.

O'Hurley-Pitts has written this book to address a fundamental problem: the confusion and conflation of the concept of Christian stewardship with the theory and praxis of secular fund-raising. In so doing, he claims, the church has lost or forgotten the theological character of stewardship as vocation. The purpose of this book is to set forth a biblically and theologically grounded theory of stewardship in deliberate juxtaposition to, and in dialogue with, contemporary fund-raising practices and theories common for so many in the church. The first two-thirds of this book (chaps. 1-9) deal primarily with the theoretical, suggesting over and over again that a more inclusive concept of stewardship is preferable to secular, and less holistic, models of fund-raising. The last third of the book (chaps. 12-15) addresses the more practical issues of "how to do" an annual stewardship appeal, a capital campaign, and so on.

O'Hurley-Pitts is not afraid to espouse and advocate an explicitly theological understanding of stewardship and to criticize the ways in which the church has misled itself. …

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