Church – Tithes and Offerings
Tithes and offerings, these words hold a strange definition in the mind of a religious individual. To those of a more secular mindset it probably has a bit more of a negative stigma.
This entry is not meant as an attack upon the process of tithing which to me means understanding that what you have in this life is a gift and wanting to share a portion of it with those that you love. It is more intended to be the thoughts of a young man on a tradition that could use to be questioned and possibly altered.
When you hear of religious organizations expecting tithes and offerings from their constituents to keep funding their gatherings it has a sense of logical merit. When you look at how much those organizations spend on keeping that location then you start to question. Then you might even be able to notice that a good portion of the people who do tithe are not in the best financial situation and the building that houses this gathering appears to be less important.
Gratefully we have some amazing demonstrations of this concept in society today for the million dollar campuses of these religious bodies seem to provide a clear representation of our warped values. Now this does not just mean religious values but also our social misconceptions. Is it really a surprise that the hardest thing for any church to do is raise money? Shit let’s get real people some of us are having a hard time paying our bills much less those of the building we meet at maybe twice a week.
Within the realms of modern society there is even an anecdotal reference to the panhandling preacher and his brand new car. Of course there is hesitancy to contribute to these “Non profit corporations”. Not even for the simple reason of inadequate understanding of how the money is spent or the pestering necessity of raising more funds. Most likely it is due to people questioning the rationality of this process considering how cumbersome their organization has become.
Now is a tax of guilt or condemnation any different from one forced upon you by means of imperial might? Some might say yes for the simple method or approach but hopefully most can the see point I am trying to illustrate by using the comparison. What is more disturbing about this process is the sense of validation some people get from making their financial contributions. The idea of paying your way to grace or forgiveness is completely asinine.
Let me take you along for a hypothetical tour of my inner thought process, I know it sounds scary but you have me as your guide and i kind of know my way around.
What if we decided to meet at the houses of the members of the organization? Are there not parks and other free places to gather at and share in communion? Have you ever thought maybe you could split the rent of office space with that of a small business owner?
Of course there will always be objections to these kinds of thoughts because it’s natural for our minds to create problems out of nothing in order for it to have something to work on. But if the people involved in the community are truly passionate about what they want then they wont just listen to their head but their hearts as well.
Moving on let’s look at what those members could do with their saved or at least reduced tithes. You could start a group fund that would be used as a way of helping your members through tough times and instantly your church has gone from financial burden to blessing. How nice would it be for you to be able to help your friend out who just lost their job by providing them and their family with groceries while they get back on their feet? Personally I would feel like my money is no longer going to the pockets of individuals but to the benefit of everyone.
I am willing to admit that there are other things I would rather spend my money on in today’s world other than rent, utilities and insurance for some building that is only meant help you connect with your spiritual family. This idea or concept was brought up out of sheer simplicity but where simplicity loses its value is when it becomes a distraction from what the original objective was, connecting with your higher power.
Now after reading all of this I hope you can see that I am not saying you shouldn’t tithe, but more appropriately tithe towards something that really moves your heart. If you are willing to contribute 10% of your income towards a cause or charity should that not be considered the same? If you are willing to contribute towards the health of the people in your life by helping them out when they are in need should you consider that less important?
I guess what I am really saying is that the world is your church and so don’t limit your tithing. Like I said in the beginning, tithing means understanding that what you have in this life is a gift and showing gratitude by sharing with those that you love.
As always you are worth MORE THAN GOLD.
THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU.