A consistent theme in most congregations is stewardship. Most of us take an offering each week as part of worship. We sing some sort of doxology. We talk about the good gifts that God has given us, and thus return a portion for the work of God. The funds collected goes to pay for the heat and the cooling, salaries for people like me, and ministries that include outreach into the community. Martin Marty writes this week about a slight drop in giving levels among religious communities. I had heard that this was happening -- perhaps as a result of the economic downturn. The decline in worship attendance and church membership doesn't help. What has gone up is giving to education, arts, and animals. The first two likely due to foundation grants, whereas religious giving comes from individuals who participate in congregations. I invite you to read along and offer your thoughts on the value accorded religious institutions..