This is a blog I wrote, along with my colleagues, about our three pilgrimages this summer.
In all of our Lake Institute on Faith & Giving courses, we refer to The Paradox of Generosity and in particular this quote from Christian Smith:
“Generosity is the virtue of giving good things to others freely and abundantly. It is a learned character trait that involves attitude and action entailing both the inclination and actual practice of giving liberally. It is not a haphazard behavior but a basic orientation to life. What generosity gives can vary: money, time, attention, aid, encouragement, and more but it always intends to enhance the true well-being of the receiver. Like all virtues, generosity is in people’s genuine enlightened self-interest to learn and practice.”
What I appreciate about this definition of generosity is that money is only one component. In their research, Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson discovered that there are five different measures of generosity: financial giving, volunteering, relational generosity, neighborly generosity, and self-evaluated generosity. It is the fourth one of neighborly generosity that three of us on the Lake Institute staff experienced deeply this summer.