I have been having a discussion over at signposts.org.au about the socalled stewardship theology as opposed to "poverty theology" and "prosperity theology"
Some clever people have tried to make those that believe following Jesus means making a huge change in how your money is used, into some new breed ascetics that find some kind of personal piety in not having much. And they have profered this idea of stewardship as the proper balance between two equally extreme abherant teachings.
Well let me just put my opinion out there, and I hope you will all be able to understand where I am coming from: that is a pile of shit!
The accurate portrayal of the so called poverty gospel, says that we take the issue of stewardship to be part and parcel of the gospel. We see it as impossible to say we worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore one on Monday. We see the idea of living in splendour while people are starving all around the world, and people are dying because they have no clean drinking water, and people dying for lack of medicine for preventable disease, as all issues of stewardship. We believe that there is enough stuff to meet all of the needs of the world, but that our consumerist society has embraced this insane philosophy of more, to the detriment of our neighbors afar and close.
The "poverty doctrine" says that we will not only live more fulfilled lives but actually follow Jesus more accurately by living simply, so others might simply live. That if you have too much stuff, you have someone elses stuff.
This doctrine states that we are to be stewards of this world, and that means cherishing it and protecting it as the maginificent artwork God has created. To seek for ways to erase our dirty foot prints, and live in ways that are complementary to nature, not just consuming of it. This is all about stewardship.
However, this idea of stewardship is turned on its head by a faulty interpretation of scripture. The idea of stewardship becomes the idea of "God gave me all this money I should use it and invest it and make myself as secure as I can with it, so I am being a good steward of what God has given me. In other words, we have take our individualistic consumeristic culture and used it to turn Gods word into an excuse for us to take care of number one. It is simply a justification for selfishness. Or in some of our more virtuous friends, for familyishness. And it gets more extreme, "if I have this extra money I should invest it not give it to the poor, because then I can make more money, and then I will have more to give to the poor, but why shouldn't I invest that too? And ofcourse I should by a bigger house so I can use it for Gods glory, (which usually means I will have a church barbeque there once or twice a year and maybe have someone over for dinner, rather than taking in a single mother or asylum seekers. And ofcourse I should be the Mercedes, it has a higher resale value and is safer and I want to protect my family its all about being a good steward mate!"
Yes I believe in stewardship, but not in this Christian version of it, no thats not what I mean at all.