Touchy Subject - Tithing

queenofmycastle0221November 25, 2004

I read a post that Ed posted on the Money Saving Tips Forum tonight and it really struck home to me. I left my church last fall after getting more involved in politics than I should have. I found that they were more interested in a dollar than what I cared for. The big issue was not helping others or the children of our church but whether the church was attractive and attracting high dollar tithers.

I prayed that God would lead me to somewhere that I could grow spiritually. Soon after, I got a church's mail in my PO Box at work. I took it as a sign and attended the Sunday Service. The minister preached on tithes really heavily that day and I left with a heavy heart. I am not saying it should never be preached on but there are people who need help rather than give help in every church in our area. We live in the boondocks.

I went to several churches during the next few months and then my fil got sick and I quit trying to find the right place for me. This summer I attended church with my sister several times but the spiritual feeling I was hoping for wasn't there.

I'm sorry I probably got sidetracked. This week that minister from the church where I got their mail showed up at my door asking me to come back to their church. I have been having a really hard time in my marriage and my life recently and wondered if this is a sign again. You don't have to determine that.

My sister says that one should give exactly 10% of the household income to the church that you attend. My husband never attended church with me very often and his income is the largest portion of our household income. I always gave 10% of my income plus more of my time than I probably had to give. I also think that tithing comes in form of helping others that need help with money and time.

Am I way off base?


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This only responds to a small part of your post, but our Pastor recomends 5% to the church and 5% to other causes, as your heart leads you.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2004 at 9:16AM
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Charity begins at home. I have a "problem" with ANY organization leaning on people to contribute a fixed portion of their income; esp. touting it as a "sign" of commitment, faith, devotion. I think that's wrong.

Sometimes a donations of TIME are equally valuable (often more so, and more demonstrative of personal commitment!)... if you feel uncomfortable with implied requests for money, say so! If they persist, I think you'll have your answer... and you should find a place that isn't so wrapped up in money.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2004 at 10:08AM
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I agree, Charity begins at home, that is what I told my husband when he started giving to every charity request we recieved in the mail. We have grandchildren who could use the help. When I was only 16 years old my boss told everyone they HAD to donate 50 cents to a charity of his choice. Now 50 cents is not much money even when my total weekly pay was only $8, but the idea of being told really raised my hackles. I still don't like it and won't do it. I would tithe 5 to 10% to the church.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2004 at 2:03PM
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No, I don't think you're out of line. I think discussing money is uncomfortable for most most pastors/fathers and parishioners. But I'm sure churches (especially in poorer rural areas) have been hit hard by the economy both in reduced income and increased spending (more people needing help, higher heating bills, etc.), and the subject needs to be discussed.

But you should not feel as though your financial contribution to a church is the measure of your faith. There are many things you can do to demonstrate God's love and they don't all cost money.

Contribute what you can (money or time) and don't worry about the measure of it. I suspect that contributing what you can will lead to wanting to contribute more. :-)

    Bookmark   November 26, 2004 at 7:42PM
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Kindness is the rare coin that returns a spendthrift twofold, but leaves a miser penniless...

    Bookmark   November 26, 2004 at 9:48PM
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Obviously the issue of how much to give is highly personal and is primarily a matter of your faith. I, too, would be highly suspicious of anyone who tries to make that decision for me -- especially if the one doing the arm twisting is to be the recipient of the contributions.

But as I think you alluded to in your post, there are many worthy charitable causes, and a person has to ask himself or herself whether it's really better to give all that money to one organization, or to spread it around. A lot of churches do have severe financial problems, but then there are a lot of churches that have very small congregations -- some under 100 people -- especially in rural areas. Having that few people shouldering the burden of operating a church is probably unrealistic, and causes people's resources to go primarily to the upkeep of a building and grounds rather than for helping human beings.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2004 at 10:39AM
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As you mentioned, Camarodreamer, tithing is a touchy subject. It is, of course, up to each to decide whether or not to give, and how much. But, like a gift, once given, you shouldnt complain about how it is used. For some, it is impossible to give as much as they would like, so they offer their time to help out in some of the programs the churches offer. To some it is important to have an attractive building, thinking this may attract newcomers. Personally, I donÂt care what the building looks like. I am there to worship. Our church, like many, has wonderful programs to help the homeless and needy. For those who complain that churches beg money from their members, do you think that these programs run themselves? Of course they depend on donations of money, food, and time. And please donÂt blame the church for your lack of spiritual growth. That comes from within, from your walk with God, from your time spent in His word.

Chelone and Steve, I agree, nobody knows an individualÂs circumstances and has no right to advise that unless you give a set percentage you are lacking in faith. That is personal and between you and God. And I dislike when I hear that if you give even when it hurts, it will be returned to you tenfold. When people go through tough times, it makes them feel as if they were not giving enough. That is just wrong.

Steve, you said it well when you said, "Contribute what you can (money or time) and don't worry about the measure of it. I suspect that contributing what you can will lead to wanting to contribute more." I give what I realistically can, both my wages and my time, but I wish I could give more. When I ponder on what I have been given, I know I could never give sufficiently back to Him.

In defense of churches, though, how do you think a pastorÂs wages, church secretaryÂs wages, electric bill, water bill, insurance, etc. are going to be paid? Donations, dear people. Do we expect them to work for free? And there are many churches in my area that do not bring in enough to pay a pastor a decent wage so those pastors also hold down part or even full time jobs in addition to their service to the church. And if they must do that, then they are not able to devote their fullest to the church. And you do know that they donÂt just show up on Sunday to preach to you about money, right? A good pastor works very hard. Just because he doesnÂt get his hands dirty (and many of them do) doesnÂt mean heÂs not putting in a lot of hours.

Sorry, I didnÂt mean to preach, but I figured my opinion would be as welcomed as the rest of yours.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2004 at 1:55AM
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I really appreciate all your replies. I guess what I want to know if is other people have doubts that a set amount goes to the church or if charity to others is the same thing as tithes.

The church where I did attend had 1 person responsible for what little charity work they did. That person got to choose where the money was alotted. That person significantly helped one person in the church but there was another couple who was not in their situation by choice left without help.

I have no problem with helping with the upkeep of a church or a paid pastor for that matter not for a minister to spend his days on the golf course living a better life than my dh could possibly afford while working in the coal mine industry.

Am I making it more complicated?

Donna, I didn't feel as you were preaching. I am open to opinion. My life has had many problems since I quit going to church but I am not comfortable making a tie to a church at this point.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2004 at 11:31AM
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When my BIL died the family decided to set up a fund for their church instead of flowers to the family. The family wanted it to go to church's kitchen, but it didn't go there. His wife spent a lot of time in the kitchen volunteering for funerals, weddings, etc., so she knew they needed the money spent there, she was very disappointed that they didn't honor her wishes.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2004 at 1:02PM
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Camarodreamer, personally, I don't feel that charity to others is the same as tithes. I believe God expects me to be charitable to others in addition to tithing. But again, you shouldn't be too concerned with the "percent" thing. For me (and I suspect for many) giving has been a process of evolution. When I first made the decision to tithe I was very concerned with the percent (should it be before taxes, after taxes, etc.). And if the church made a purchase I would have voted against, I never spoke out, but I let it bother me. Again, once I realized that I no longer had control over this money, I learned to let it go. And some people, my husband for instance, get angry if someone gives a homeless person money, because they believe it will be spent on drugs, alcohol, whatever. I say, then give them food, or clothing. But once you give it, it is no longer yours to set parameters on. Now, I understand that in a church it's a bit different, or at least should be. We have business meetings where things are decided. And lots of people do themselves no favors when they decide not to voice their opinion because they don't want to make waves. This is your last opportunity to have a say as to where the money goes. It sounds like you may be speaking of a very small church (I grew up in one), and as often happens in small churches, with few members, you end up with a core or people who decide to take things into their own hands. As in the case of the church I grew up in, one of its members is still practically supporting the church all on his own (or it would have gone under long ago), but subsequently he feels that he should be able to make lots of decisions concerning the church's welfare without consulting anyone else.

As for the pastor spending his days on the golf course, I agree it can be hard to take if he seems to be enjoying lots of benefits I don't have. I hope I don't bring to mind some image of me sitting on a mountaintop in a yoga position, having reached nirvana. I am by no means there. It used to bother me when we had business meetings and they discussed raises for our pastors; IRAs (which I had never had), vacations (I've had one in 18 years), medical coverage (I've gone through times when I had none), etc. I just had to get over my "If I can't have it, why should they?" mindset. I often vote against a raise, but if the majority carries it, so be it. I don't give it another thought. Of course, part of the reason may be because I see how hard they work.

If I were you, I would be more concerned with finding a church home than even thinking about tithing. You will never find a church that does things 100% the way you wish they would. Just go and worship. Nobody is looking to see if you are tithing (and if they are, that is their problem and they will have to deal with it). And if, at some point, it strikes you that you should be tithing (more likely it will creep up on you for a while and then, click, you'll think it just came to you), then do it. I can't stress enough that you need to just let it go. Don't let it consume you.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2004 at 1:36PM
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Donna said it all, very succinctly -- especially her last paragraph. If you find a church home in which you feel comfortable, whose focus on faith reflects yours, it will be much easier to give them money and feel good about how they choose to use it.

One way you can have a little more input is to buy something for the church that you know they need. For a while, I attended a church in which one of the members asked every year about what the church needed for computer equipment, and he provided a good chunk of it. He knew where his money was going. The church got equipment it needed. It worked out well for both parties.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2004 at 2:47PM
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When I was employed I gave 10% of my gross income. Now I am unemployed and it is beginning to look like an early retirement. I have no income of my own, but my husband and I each take 5% of his net income for our own use and I give that to the church. My husband is not a Christian. He argues that since a big chunk of federal, state, and local taxes go to social causes, he has already more than tithed. Of course, that would leave the churches out in the cold. In my previous church, a collection box was discretely placed outside the sanctuary and was never mentioned. My current church is very small and probably not in very good shape financially. I am afraid that come the first of the year they will ask me for a pledge of more than I think I can afford. I don't know how I will feel about that except uncomfortable. Time will tell.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2004 at 7:23PM
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Jeopardy Champ, Ken Jennings initially stated that he would tithe 10% to the Mormons. Maybe he will, maybe he won't.. he said that when he was winning $100K. Did the ante up to $2.5M change his mind???

We'll never know, but I grew up in a church where the Pastor was known as Dr. Bill BUCKley. Don't remember his real name, but he was always soliciting, and there weren't many poor in the parish.

For what it's worth.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2004 at 2:45AM
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Tithing is a form of worship. If you don't want to give to God don't. Thats between you and God not you and the church. God wants you to give to Him, because you want to, because you love Him. What the church does with your money is between the church and God. If your church dosen't use the money for furthering Gods ministry, then they are not Gods church and you should leave immediately.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2004 at 6:52PM
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I truly hope that you do find a church real soon. I know that the choices are difficult, but, IMHO, every church has a set of problems. No church is perfect. And I do believe in tithing. Also, I find that being involved with a Sunday School class really helps break the ice and keeps us busy with projects.

Our entire church just finished Rick Warren's book "The Purpose-Driven Life" and I'm so glad that our Sunday School class had small group meetings for discussion, etc. Wish I'd read this 20 years ago!

PS I agree with the other poster about the costs involved in running a church. If we didn't have a decent building, we'd have to meet on the corner or someone's home! Good luck in finding a church!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2005 at 3:19PM
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When we lived in Kentucky, DH's neighbor used to send him to the post office to buy stamps. When he gave her the money back, she put 10% in a jar, and always set aside 10% of every penny she had for her tithing.

My point is I think God knows our heart and our good intentions. If you have it and can give it without causing a hardship, that's okay. If you can't buy the baby's milk or tithing causes your power to get turned off, I don't think God would bring down fire and brimstone because you used your tithing money to pay the electric bill.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2005 at 9:50AM
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When I was a practising clergyperson, I didn't make a lot of noise about tithing.

In some congregations, they used to publish the list of supporters with the amount contributed. After one small congregation closed in one charge, the people wanted to begin doing that again and, though I opposed it, it being a democratic church, they decided to do it. I used to split my contributions between congregations.

It seems to me that if a family's earnings are $20,000. or $100,000. or $200,000. per year, expecting them to contribute an arbitrary percentage seems somewhat disproportionate.

I support several congregations where I grew up and which I served as clergyperson.

I feel the need to support various medical services and research into various diseases, especially since in this part of Canada until recently I did not have to pay individually for basic health insurance.

Many years ago, the churches began serving society in the medical field and in educational systems, as well - areas which were later taken over by government.

It seems to me important to support a number of projects offering assistance to disadvantaged people not only in my own community, but elsewhere in Canada as well.

There are huge needs in many other parts of the world.

Consider, for example, that in several countries of Africa there is more than 20% of the population infected with HIV-AIDS. Which will soon mean that there'll be huge numbers of orphans - now there are many families where a 12 year old child must care for her/his younger siblings. Which means no school and a shortage of other opportunities for personal growth for that child, at least, probably for the others in the family, as well.

Imagine what kind of troubles there will be in those countries in another generation.

There are millions of refugees in many parts of the world - people who have lost home, livelihood, and everything. Not pleasant.

And there's the Tsunami Disaster ringing the Indian Ocean just now, as well.

I don't see my support for my church and my help in various other areas of life as separate and distinct - everything is Holy - isn't it?

They're my Heavenly Parent's children, as well as I am.

God love you all.

joyful guy

    Bookmark   January 5, 2005 at 4:36PM
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I appreciate all your advice. The month of December was really hard for me but my New Years Resolution has been to find a church where my family belongs. My 7 yr old son and I went to the same church where we attended that one time. They had been forced to postpone their Christmas Cantata due to weather the week prior to Christmas. They performed it on Sunday. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am more determined than ever to find the right place for me!

I do not have a problem with paying tithes but I don't think it is something

    Bookmark   January 6, 2005 at 1:38PM
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Hi camaro dreamer 67,

I'm waiting to hear the rest of what you were saying when the phone line got cut off.

Have a great New Year.

joyful guy

    Bookmark   January 6, 2005 at 4:39PM
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Interesting post. I guess there is a time and place for the "cough up the money" sermon in every church. But the church I currently belong to does a tirade about it. No thanks for the time, talent or tithe that you've already given. Normally the folks there every Sunday are the ones who already give of time and money.

The other thing that bothered me and is prompting me to look for a new place to go, is that they are not fiscally responsible. Anyone you give money to - you want them to spend money wisely.

Last year they did a fund drive for a new building. They wanted to raise $3million. So we read the fine print in the budget details, and found that $1M of that was to "retire old debt".

Why would you be launching a building effort if you're still in the red on past projects?

The church I grew up in, NEVER did that. We were always solidly in the black and fiscally sound.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2005 at 12:53PM
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Hi again, TREKaren,

Either you boss your money - or it'll boss you. That goes for agencies and communities, as well.

Have you ever seen a church with a dollar sign superimposed over the cross out front?

Seems to me that a church is people, not primarily a building. And not just people that are part of the club, but others in the community, as well. And my feeling is that our true community extends worldwide.

I'm sorry that you're having the experience that you are in your congregation.

Just because one claims to be a Christian doesn't necessitate that one automatically knows how to handle money.

Most Christian agencies do teach their clients to be responsible, however.

Is yours a democratic church, or are there one or a few who make the decisions?

Being a Protestant, I'm rather heavily geared to operating democratically, myself.

Ideally, I feel that I should consult God about all of my life, including the use of all of my money, sort of praying, "Lord, do you think it advisable to spend this number of dollars on this product or service?"

My friends kid me about driving around in an old car (that has chewed up quite a few dollars within the past year), but I lived for years among a people where most folks had to save for years to afford a bicycle. Such an experience changes one's outlook on life.

On the other hand - if my lifestyle is so much out of whack with what quite a number of people consider appropriate - am I making a valid witness, encouraging them to follow a similar path, or turning them off? Are my actions encouraging them to respect the One whom I seek to serve, or encouraging them to avoid allegiance to such a Person?

Good wishes to you and yours as you continue your consideration of what God wants you to do. Sometimes S/He may prefer that we continue in an environment that somewhat displeases us, seeking to help others re-evaluate their system, rather than taking off, seeking a group who think as we do.

What do they say - where everyone thinks alike (no one thinks very much)? Our Leader taught us, after all, to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

Sometimes, when we follow the easy path of becoming lazy thinkers - we get taken advantage of, so tend to harden our hearts so that we don't get taken advantage of (suckered?), next time.

Hope this New Year is your best one, yet.

joyful guy

    Bookmark   January 11, 2005 at 2:08PM
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found that $1M of that was to "retire old debt".

What exactly was the old debt? I attended a church for several years which campaigned for a new church campus, and part of the fundraising was to retire the existing mortgage (existing building was going to be sold to another church). I guess I didn't have a problem with that. Your church's "old debt" may have been different, though.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2005 at 3:45PM
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joyfulguy, that was well said.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2005 at 7:05PM
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They said it was from general improvements and additions they had made over a period of 10 years (like a community hall). The debt had never been retired, as I understand it, because of the structure of the way it was being paid off, and because they kept doing new projects anyway, even though the old debt was still there.

I still think it's irresponsible to keep doing new projects, when the old ones - even very old ones - are still not paid off.

A mortgage might be different, although if it was my personal project (say, in my home), I would not raise money to retire the mortgage, as well as add on a new room. I would let the mortgage remain, since the financing is already in place and if in place for a long time, I'd be primarily paying principle, not interest.

Ed, I was raised protestant, where it tended to be a bit more democratic. This is a catholic church, which tends to be political, and more driven from external influences in the organization to which it belongs. People did express concerns about going further into debt, but were overruled because "the Monsignor wants this to happen."

    Bookmark   January 12, 2005 at 9:49AM
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Gotcha. I would agree that there's a difference between mortgage debt and debt from other projects.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2005 at 1:43PM
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Monsignors, like the rest of us, have two ears ...

... and only one tongue.

I hope that you are enjoying your life.

Have a great New Year.

ole joyful

P.S. Back when I was a practising clergyperson, we used to refer to a certain apparent proculivity among some clergypeople (possibly mostly male?) to develop something of a "god complex".

oj (not into the juice - most of the time)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2005 at 3:32PM
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Joyful Ed,
I'm sorry, but I must respectfully disagree with you about tithes for church and other needs in various countries----these are 2 separate issues, IMHO.

There is a scripture in the Bible about bringing 10% into the church storehouse. Now, what if I took my tithe money and sent it to Africa this month! Possibly my pastor wouldn't get paid or the electric wouldn't get paid, or worse.

Although I do agree that other countries need donations (we just had a speaker from Haiti and that was eye-opening) the first priority should be tithes to the church. And we do contribute to various organizations around the world.

And for the poster who said that when they lived in KY, DH had a neighbor who put 10% of leftover money in a jar for tithes. Well, what can I say-------that was a strange version of tithing. Poor soul. And since I'm from KY, I found that comparison somewhat condescending. KY has some very nice churches and just check on the hospitals------the most progressive in the WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!

Back to tithing-----God knows all about our tithing, and our wasting, and our hoarding. And there is a judgement day. So...

    Bookmark   January 13, 2005 at 4:43PM
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I believe in giving to my church. I do also believe in giving to other nations and other causes but I do have a hard time believing that churches have to be show places. My understanding is that a church is a group of people gathered together to worship God. I know many times some people used to stay home from church because they didn't have the money to dress the way they felt they had to. I'm noticing that the buildings are more beautiful now but the clothes are more casual. I do not believe that it is necessary to make show places out of any church. That does nothing to make the teachings more meaningful. If any thing it does the oposite for me.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2005 at 9:27PM
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I'm glad I am not the only one who feels that way.

When I was growing up, we ladies couldn't even wear slacks to church when the snow was kneedeep outside. I would never wear spaghetti straps or a miniskirt.

Now the people come to church either looking like they are going to do yard work, or looking like they are jailbait. To me, it's disrespectful.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 9:22AM
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Is it more important that they're there or that they're dressed more formally? Just askin' is all. I've attended churches at which everyone on the platform was wearing a suit and others in which even the senior pastor wore jeans and a sweater. The faith was the same in both kinds of places.

I used to dress in a suit and tie for church -- and wondered why others didn't or wouldn't. As my faith became more integrated with my life, it became less important to me to dress differently on Sunday compared to when I was busy in church on Wednesday night or Saturday morning.

While I would agree that some clothes (the skirt that leaves nothing to the imagination, t-shirts advertising beer or cigarettes, etc.) are just inappropriate for that setting, at this point in my life, I'd rather people were there -- in body and mind than dressed well but not really "there." :-)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 10:47AM
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I know what you mean. I didn't mean to come across that way. I am not talking here about judging people becuase they don't have the nicest clothes.

I mean there are folks that come in with not much more than a bikini. That is a bit past casual.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 12:27PM
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I thought tithing was based on the Old Covenant, along with dietary restrictions against pork, etc. that we generally don't consider ourselves bound to. Wasn't Abraham commanded to put aside 10% of profits from war? Weren't the Old Testament people supposed to put aside part of their funds for feasting? Wasn't there some command that everyone gave half a shekel regardless of status?

If I don't disremember, the only New Testament command is that we give cheerfully; I don't recall at New Testament 10% rule, and don't find one when I search.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 1:06PM
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As I mentioned earlier, I think that a tithe of $20,000. annual income is somewhat different from a tithe of $200,000. annual income (let alone a million).

I don't regard the 10% rule as hard and fast, I guess is what I'm saying.

Stages in life have a bearing on the issue too, I think. In my earlier years, when establishing a family, etc. (and I did not have to provide my own home, though my annual income somewhat reflected that fact) I gave less than 10%, and a larger proportion of the total contribution went to the church.

After being dismissed from ministry, in what seemed to me a somewhat unfair manner, I seldom attended church or was involved in its affairs for a number of years.

I now regret that I did little to support vital overseas relief and development work through those years. More than that - I am ashamed of that record, despite having had low levels of income, at times. To be honest, I do not regret having not supported the national church during those years - they were getting along reasonably well.

In the intervening years, I contributed, as I was able, to socially helpful agencies and have continued to follow that pattern, as well.

Now I contribute to churches to which I was related as a youth and to some others where I ministered (including the one from which I was dismissed).

Now, being single and retired, I have adequate income and, as I live quite frugally, have personal need of a smaller portion of my income.

My total givings are more than 10% - I don't know offhand whether my current giving to the various congregations (and my seminary) is up to 10%, but I'm fairly sure that it isn't.

I don't see my relation with the church as seperate and distinct from my connection with the world in which I live.

But it isn't just that - I don't see my relationship with God as I saw/see that Being represented in Christ as in a different compartment of life than my daily life.

Christ was criticized for being somehat unserious, as I recall. Or rather, too much so for the "religious" bunch at the time. Keeping the wrong company, for one.

Sometimes I wonder whether, should He appear again today, we would treat him much differently than the religious gang, who felt that they had religion all tied up in a little box, did before. I think that they felt that there wasn't room in the world for their way and his - and his was the one that had to go.

On the other hand - many would ignore him. Perhaps especially we who live in the Western world, who have lived quite comfortably for a few generations, leading many to consider that they are doing all right on their own, thank you very much.

As a matter of fact - I rather think that He is here now, in a way. Remember the folk in the Old Testament who, having heard that God's representative would visit them that day, while rushing around to clean house, cook, etc. turned away a needy widow, a crying child and possibly a leper, etc.?

Then sat wondering at the end of the day how come God's rep. hadn't showed.

To be told that indeed such a rep had visited - and that more than once.

Sometimes I think that we rather underplay the potential influence that the Holy Spirit might have, not only in our individual lives but in various issues that are part of our Christian agencies, communities and nations.

How awe-inspiring - and humbling - that God should have granted us the great boon to be co-creators with Him of the world of tomorrow.

Good wishes as you seek to know and grace, courage and strength to follow, God's will.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 4:47PM
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Yes, there is much in the old Testament about tithing. I believe in the old Testament, and the New. The Ten Commandments are also in the old Testament. I also believe in them.

I have been of the mindset for many years that if one is a *Christian* ------one will join a local church and be a productive member of said church. (I believe that Bible backs this up and I know that many clergypeople do) And that includes paying tithes on one's salary-------whether it be $20,000 or 2 Billion. A tithe, according to the Bible and Webster's Dictionary is 10%. Anything above that is an *offering*.

The first tithe should be to the local church. How else can they operate? See, God knows all about this. He developed the *tithe* so his churches could operate.

Now, many churches have overseas programs and support missionaries. That's great! But, the first priority should be, imho, to the local church. God's churches.

PS Ed, sorry about that dismissal thing. That must have been a painful experience for you and your family.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 7:49PM
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In order to accomodate my spouse's plan to take an internship in hospital diet, after a small congregation on that pastorate closed and the other congregation was a bit antsy, I told her that if that ministry did not go well and I needed to leave, I'd either find another congregation to serve in that area, or drive a truck, or whatever, until her training was complete, then we could make plans for the future.

I heard later that that congregation feared that we would part and didn't want it to happen when we were in their church. Before I'd gone there, a leading minister in the area had suggested that I not, that they had developed a reputation for being hard on minsters. I more or less shrugged my shoulders, felt that I'd been in some rough spots before, and would take my chances.

When that congregation asked me to resign, I found a part-time position with a small suburban congregation where they expected growth to take place as the city expanded.

In our church, clergy are called to full-time ministry by the congregation, with Presbytery's approval, but for part-time service a congregation and minister each need to ask Presbytery to appoint him/her to that work, for only a one-year term. At the end of the year the congregation and the minister each must ask the Presbytery for the minister to be appointed again.

My ex- chose to live on her own a few months after finding her new position, early in the second year of my ministry, just before the annual meeting of the congregation.

When I announced that news to the annual meeting, they decided that they would not ask for my reappointment in the summer.

So - I lost my marriage and my position in the same week.

Not a pleasant experience.

Also, as it was over 30 years ago, when separation and divorce were uncommon in Canada, the church folk took a dim view of such happening to clergy families, so my ongoing career suffered substantially.

Sue, having fed millions during her more than twenty years as head dietitian in that hospital, took early retirement with the golden handshake ten years ago when there was consideration of closing that hospital, rather than risking a severance package.

Ironically, she recently fought colon cancer and passed away last summer. As our son and daughter said at the time - in the ordinary course of things, she'd have retired a year ago (and I said that she'd have been sick for half of that) but she's had ten years to enjoy her hobbies, spending a few months in her motor home in the southern States (she was an Iowa girl) and having a ball.

Over more than thirty years she found it difficlt to have any relationship with me.

As we all know, every family has suffered cancer. Usually after a bout of it, there is not a recurrence for a substantial period, but hers had aggressive growth and at her sixth month rtest they could only do a bypass, for it was terminal.

No one will ever know whether carrying that load of bitterness for all of those years had anything to do with the beginning or the agressive progress of her illness.

But - I've often said, that carrying a load of bitterness like that is something that we should not do. With our body, mind, spirit, and emotions being as inter-related as they are, such things can cause us serious problems.

Good wishes to all.

The library is about to close - see you all later.

joyful guy

After my spouse's training was completed and she found a position as assistent to head dietitian in a local psychiatric hospital

    Bookmark   January 15, 2005 at 4:55PM
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To the Original Poster: Pray and pray hard. Everything about your church and tithing will become clear. God bless you.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2005 at 12:03PM
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