center on wealth and philanthropy
"Better Than Gold: The Moral Biography of Charitable Giving."
Paul G. Schervish. ALDE Conference Presentation. Delivered as a keynote presentation at the 2003 California Dreamin' Conference in Irvine, California.
This presentation focuses on the addition of a third key component for fundraising in congregations in addition to the traditional mission-based and spirituality-based approaches. The mission-based model of stewardship identifies congregational needs and invites the congregation to contribute to meet those needs. The spirituality-based model asks individuals to reflect upon their relationship to God and to develop their inclination to become sacrificial givers to serve God's needs rather than only meeting particular needs in the church. Although each of these models serve their own vital role, a third model that considers the needs of the donating member is of equal importance. I suggest the voluntary contribution of financial gifts will be most highly motivated and productive where we find the confluence of meeting the needs of the congregation, God, and the donor - what Thomas Aquinas describes as the unity of love of God, love of neighbor, and love of self. I discuss three important aspects of the needs of donors that should be taken into account in stewardship efforts. The first aspect is the notion that charitable giving is a practice that helps constitute an individual's life as a moral biography. The second aspect is the increasing material capacity that is increasingly forming the basis for growth in charitable giving. And finally, the third aspect is the notion that working with the inclinations of donors through a self-reflective process of discernment will make charitable giving more meaningful and more abundant.
"Christmas and the Elementary Forms of the Spiritual Life."
Paul G. Schervish. In CCCIA Annual 1995: The Church and Popular Culture. Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs: Philadelphia, 1995. 62-79.
This paper offers a novel theoretical and methodological framework for examining the most deeply seated features of cultural and emotional life, what in more common parlance is called spirituality. My purpose is to explore Christmas, while at the same time developing a mode of sociological analysis that takes people's spiritual experiences as seriously as the personal and social effects produced by those experiences.
"Culture and Emotion in Christmas: The Elementary Forms of the Spiritual Life."
Paul G. Schervish, Raymond Halnon, and Karen Bettez-Halnon. The International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 16, no. 9/10 (1996): 144-170.
In the first section of the paper, the authors examine a passage from the book of Deuteronomy about spiritual life and explore what sociological inquiry needs to add to its analytic arsenal in order to adequately interpret profound meaning. In the second section of the paper, the authors analyze several passages drawn from among the sixty interviews conducted in conjunction with the Boston College study, "The Contradictions of Christmas: Troubles and Traditions in Culture, Home, and Heart." In the third section, they chart the rudiments of a social-psychological theory of spirituality, emphasizing the elementary spiritual contradiction between nurturing mysterium and debilitating onus.
"Finding God in Some Things: Unintended Consequences for the Academy of the Faith That Does Justice."
Paul G. Schervish. Conversations: The National Seminar on Higher Education, Number 19, Spring 2001:21-2.
Schervish is concerned that the implementation of the Jesuit summons to a faith that does justice has, in higher education, unintentionally done an injustice to the more fundamental invitation to find God in all things. "I have no quarrel with the prayerfully adopted Jesuit formulation linking faith and the practice of justice. Infusion of the faith that does justice into the personal and academic vocation of the university has been on balance salutary and transformative. I do argue, however, that too narrow a focus on the meaning and practice of that injunction has impaired both faith and justice. A one-sided emphasis on certain types of service has inoculated those associated with the university from the full potency of the Ignatian prescriptions of religious indifference, finding God in all things, and discernment."
"Receiving and Giving As Spiritual Exercise"
Presented as the 2008 Lake Institute Lecture, Paul Schervish offers an examination of receiving and giving as a spiritual exercise.
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"The Sense and Sensibility of Religion: Retrieving Spiritual Experience as an Authentic Sociological Variable."
Paul G. Schervish. Presented at a joint session of the American Sociological Association and the Association for the Study of Religion, session on "New Theoretical Directions in the Sociology of Religion", New York, NY, Aug. 15-20, 1996.
In this paper, I seek to transcend the Enlightenment treatment of religion. My goal is to return spiritual experience to its rightful place as an authentic cause and consequence in the unfolding of what Anthony Giddens calls the duality of structure. Drawing on 60 intensive interviews with a broad range of people in the Boston Metropolitan area about their Christmas experiences, I tender a dialectical retrieval of spiritual experience as an authentic sociological variable.
"A Spirituality of Philanthropy."
Paul G. Shervish, (2009) Patheos.com.
"The Prayer for Peace ascribed to St. Francis of Assisi can become an exercise in receiving and giving. It may be taken up as a practice of receiving and giving for self, and then moving outward in concentric circles as far as the praying emissary envisions..."
“The Spiritual Secret of Wealth: The Inner Dynamics by which Fortune Engenders Care.”
Paul Schervish, with Mary A. O’Herlihy and John J. Havens. Paper presented to the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy’s Fourteenth Annual Symposium, Faith and Philanthropy. Indianapolis, October. 25, 2001.
Accepted for publication in New Directions in Philanthropic Fundraising. Understanding the Needs of Donors: The Supply-Side of Charitable Giving. Edited by Eugene R. Tempel and Dwight F. Burlingame.
"Wealth and the Spiritual Secret of Money."
Paul G. Schervish. In Faith and Philanthropy in America: Exploring the Role of Religion in America's Voluntary Sector, edited by Robert Wuthnow and Virginia A. Hodgkinson. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990. 63-90.
An ever-expanding literature exhorts or documents the connection between religion and philanthropy, yet the process by which religion actually induces charitable outcomes remains largely unexamined. In this paper, I seek to take a modest first step in this direction. My purpose is to take a fresh look at the fundamental meaning of wealth and religion and to explore how and under what conditions religion opens the wealthy to a more generous and encompassing care for others.
Wealth and the Will of God
by Paul G. Schervish and Keith Whitaker
The Center on Wealth and Philanthropy is pleased to announce the release of a new book co-authored by Paul G. Schervish and Keith Whitaker,Wealth and the Will of God, published by Indiana University Press. The book looks at some of the spiritual resources of the Christian tradition that can aid serious reflection on wealth and giving. Beginning with Aristotle-who is crucial for understanding later Christian thought-the book discusses Aquinas, Ignatius, Luther, Calvin, and Jonathan Edwards. Though the ideas vary greatly, the chapters are organized to facilitate comparisons among these thinkers on issues of ultimate purposes or aspirations of human life; on the penultimate purposes of love, charity, friendship, and care; on the resources available to human beings in this life; and finally on ways to connect and implement in practice our identified resources with our ultimate ends.