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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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24 Responses to 953

  1. I really struggle with this as we’re missionaries supported by churches. I wish we could become ‘tentmakers’ and earn money locally, but God and the German government aren’t making that any easier to achieve…

  2. Tithing (can it be spelt with a y?) does hit the poorest hardest – simply because they have less disposable income. The richer can afford to give much more than a tithe without it affecting their necessities. It’s just that we get used to the luxuries. I think there is a strong case for churches actually giving to poorer members of their congregation to support them.

  3. Wulf says:

    What’s even more difficult than tithing? Tithing with a happy heart. Always struggling with that one …

    PS: If giving the tenth is tithing what’s the fancy word for giving the fifth?

  4. John James says:

    Just to be an anorak:

    tithing comes from the old english word for tenth. The old english word for a fifth was fifta so its probably going to be fifthing.

    Dissapointing isn’t it :P

  5. Wulf says:

    Thanks John. I love trivia like that!
    Your use of the term “anorak” has also been taken note of :-D

  6. subo says:

    oh, ouch. we give so little to the wonderful causes we’d like to support

    and yet I still think – I could have put that towards a new pair of shoes!

    it’s very hard to trust God cares about the important things in life (‘nice’ shoes & clothes’, face cream, hair care ….)

    and yet, over the last few months, when we haven’t had a spare copper, I’ve been given the odd free face cream or something

  7. dgsinclair says:

    Tithing,and preaching on it, is a tough subject.

    While there is a principle that God will bless you when you tithe, what do we tell people who are now overwhelmed with debt, sometimes due to necessity, sometimes to greed?

    Tithing is a great spiritual discipline, and I think we should require it of our leaders, but not our congregants. But we should teach it in a balanced manner, which includes taking care of your obligations and getting out of debt.

  8. JF says:

    The world – and the UK financial crisis – is so much more complex than “rich” and “poor”.

    Some “rich” people should contribute more. Some “rich” people should be given a break. Some “poor” people should be given a break. Some “poor” people should contribute more.

  9. Ros says:

    Where did Jesus say we should give a tenth (exactly) of our income?!

    PS. Loving the political satire in this cartoon.

  10. Ann Onimus says:

    I’m not so sure about tithing, as I remember being taught a while ago, the old testament principle was actually to give more like a third of your income! (especially if you were wealthy)

    I’m trying to up my giving to that level. Now, I’m not saying that to boast (hence anonymous name), but I find I’m having to do it as a spiritual discipline, to help me learn how to live a more simple life… to learning how to make do with what I have, to learn how to do without and I have to confess that I find it very difficult :-(

    I just want to buy the stuff I like! so giving is less about giving to others a more about disciplining myself.

  11. Dawn says:

    we give because it is God who gives us money in the first place. i dont notice the tenth i give, and i’m a “poor uni student”. we give so we can support the work that God is doing in the world, and to support those who carry out the work. if a church has more money, then theoretically they can help the poor more.

  12. I think I prefer comment #2: It makes sense for people to be supported by their local church as opposed to some big organisation. At least that way, there’s relationship between giver and receiver. It concerns me that by giving to an organisation to help the poor we keep them at arms length, out of the way, then feel better about ourselves for ‘helping’.

  13. JF says:

    Dawn – if we are truly to believe that it is God who gives out the money, then we also have to believe that he is either incapable of distributing it fairly… or simply unwilling to do so.

    If a church has more money, it is more likely to do some expensive building work, put in a nice sound system, pay the minister more, maybe buy a jet, buy the drummer a new set of cymbals, appoint an “assistant minister”, send the main minister on a “sabbatical” to India, etc. etc. Just my experience / observation.

    What would really help the poorest MOST is if the church encouraged education about (and access to) contraception in the third world and preached equality for girls/women. Its record on both is not good.

  14. linus says:

    some thoughts:

    The Israelites’ tithing (in my limited understanding) had more in common with our paying tax to the state than it did with the idea of giving as an act of generosity or worship (which many Israelites did on top of their tithing). So i think that the correct application of the principle of tithing is that Christians should be encouraged to pay their taxes. I think there is a lot more evidence in the new testament letters for people being encouraged to do what David is talking about @2 than to tithe.

    2. There is a problem if people assume that, because they tithe, the other 90% of their income is theirs to do whatever the hell they like with. Actually, we have a responsibility (which i often don’t live up to) to use all our financial resources wisely (within this, sometimes it is wise to spend some of our money on ourselves)

    3. Paul of Tarsus is of the opinion that giving all you possess to the poor is of no benefit to you if it is not motivated out of love (at least, that’s what he wrote to those peeps in Corith). So if we want to help people benefit from following Jesus, we need to focus on teaching and encouraging each other how to love, rather than coerce guilt induced giving.

    4. People in need (and i include myself in that category in some ways) need encouragement, advocacy, community and love as much as they need financial support. The church has an amazing opportunity to give people so much more than financial assistance. As Andy says, this opportunity can’t be grasped unless we get up close and personal with each other and the communities we are in.

  15. mmp says:

    …and how seriously do i consider The Coat Discussion in Luke 3…if i tithe do i get outta that one….

  16. ... says:

    the poor lady gave all her two pennies. i think no need give if it causes bad kine repercussions..!! god loves a cheerful giver~~ try li’dat if can!

  17. Dawn says:

    JF, if we are Christians, everything we have belongs God, and that includes our money. some churches would spend money on buildings, but some do spend on people, look at the Salvation army.

    how can a church help the poor if they have no funds to do so? how can they pay a pastor if they have no funds to do so?

  18. laura says:

    People can help the poor even if they have no funds. They can offer to clean up the yard for poor elderly people, they can change the oil in their cars, they can baby sit in one room while providing a free dinner to parents in another, they can have a clothing exchange, they can have a household goods swap…
    They can do many things that do not require vast amounts of money.

    Also, a pastor can be bi-vocational and work like all the other people of the church.
    There can be a rota of who is on call from the community in case of emergency for example.

    Many house churches do things this way.

  19. @Laura: The church you describe there is not only more cost-effective, but also more resilient to shocks, and a lot more attractive than a program-based one that needs lots of money to run it.

  20. Dawn says:

    i think its better for a pastor to have one job. not many. they have more time to foucs on caring for God’s people, if they dont have other work as well.

  21. how are you supposed to give a tenth of your already depleting income (if your lucky to have one) and then watch your church irresponsibly squander it on complete and utter crap!!??

    Its not good for the soul.

  22. Dawn says:

    how should churches spend their money?

  23. Xenobio says:

    There’s an interesting book called “Passing the Plate” on tithing and other charitable giving by American Christians. It’s based on actual quantitative data. Surprisingly or not, poor people actually give away a larger proportion of their income than do rich people. So the parable of the widow’s two pennies is true. I suspect you’d find a similar trend in any country except the very poorest. http://www.amazon.com/Passing-Plate-American-Christians-Money/dp/0195337115/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1290611305&sr=8-1

  24. vicarvernon says:

    “It’s harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than a camel to pass through the eye of a needle”

    I try to encourage people to “thanks” giving. Unfortunately being part of a denomination means there is a disconnect between the giving and what it is spent on. It seems the giving goes to the ‘centre’ without an understanding that it helps to provide the ministry they receive, and could be supporting worshipping communities not as well off as ours is. Lots of camels eyeing up the needles here.

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