Bishop Chooses Stewardship-Themed Books for Lent
Books by climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe and theologian Henri Nouwen have been selected
Posted January 25, 2022
This year, Bishop Susan Bell has once again chosen to recommend two books for study during the season of Lent: Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World by Katharine Hayhoe and A Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri Nouwen.
"My two choices for Lenten books are my attempt to redirect our attention to some other deep concerns," says Bishop Susan Bell. "Not that the pandemic is over or not important – but that we must begin to live with its rhythms - and other things must now regain their importance in our hearts and minds."
Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World is Katharine Hayhoe’s landmark work and compelling invitation to all of us to engage in small but meaningful conversations with family, friends and neighbours that connect our shared values and move us to collective action.
“Dr. Hayhoe’s relational and practical approach to grappling with the reality of climate change is not only a breath of fresh air, it is a model for re-establishing connection across ideological divides and compassion where violent disagreement has encouraged dehumanization,” says Bishop Bell.
Hayhoe’s only regret is all the time she’s wasted arguing about climate change, and she’s found a way beyond that impasse; conversations that begin from the heart with shared values and move to positive changes everyone can make. Hayhoe maintains that “using our voice is the most important way we can effect change” and Saving Us coaches its readers in effectively speaking with one another and in so doing, changing the world.
“Dr. Hayhoe is a Christian, a Canadian and a climate scientist who is doing her best to tackle this crisis in grounded conversations that seek to galvanize humanity into collaborating to save our planet and preserve a future for our children and grandchildren,” observes Bishop Bell. “There is no more important issue in our time and I am recommending this book as an urgent act of discipleship.”
A Spirituality of Fundraising captures Henri Nouwen’s deep-seated belief that the discipline of stewardship is about us being invited to participate in the building of God’s community of love. It’s also about proclaiming what we believe in such a way that we offer others the prospect of joining with us in God’s vision and mission.
Acknowledging that many will have read this classic of Christian stewardship, the bishop says it is a work that is worth returning to again, to let the theology work its way more fully into one’s heart and head.
“Nouwen invites us to retrain ourselves and let go of resistance when it comes to talking about money and instead to consider stewardship as a ministry,” says Bishop Bell, or as Nouwen puts it, “as spiritual as giving a sermon, entering a time of prayer, visiting the sick, or feeding the hungry.”
Nouwen’s reframing of our relationship with money is life changing for individuals and for faith communities.
“All of this sits on the assumption that we have a sense of what our contextual mission is; how we are answering the call to life, compelled to love - and what resources we need to accomplish this Gospel work,” notes Bishop Bell. “Reading Nouwen’s book marries incredibly well with the parish mission action planning process and I hope and pray that many of our parishes will combine the two and find new life as a result.”
The Bishop points out that her choices this year are connected, “stewardship is caretaking – using our resources to be the face and hands of Christ.” As Dr. Hayhoe writes in her book, “Climate change disproportionately affects the poor, the hungry and the sick, the very ones that the Bible instructs us to care for and love,… What is more Christian to be good stewards of the planet and love our global neighbour as ourselves?”
Both books are available through online book suppliers at an affordable price.