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Tithing

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 
I hope I am not offending anyone by asking this question but it is starting to really bother me.

I see mention on here of people who are going in to debt, really struggling to make ends meet, taking advantage of programs to help feed, clothe, house, care for the family - and yet they still tithe 10% to their church.

I guess I don't understand and I hope that someone can help me. What churches have this requirement that you pay 10% off the top to them? Do they really make no provision for families that truly cannot afford it? Is there no support system available within the church for families to tithe in ways other than strictly financial donations to help families that are struggling so much?

Part of me gets a little bit upset when I see this, because I do know of some people who faithfully tithe 10% while receiving food stamps, gov't healthcare, and other gov't subsidies - which basically means that the government is paying to support a religious group in part, since the family would probably not be receiving as much in aid if they did not give their money first to the church. Am I truly interpreting this correctly?
post #2 of 80
I agree with you. I cannot believe these churches would happily be acceptign 10% of someone's income when there are children in these families going without some pretty basic stuff
post #3 of 80
Catholic churches and I believe Mormon churches tithe. I am not sure exactly how it works because my mom was Catholic and she told me a little about it but not that much.

I don't think the level of government aid depends on tithing at all. Aid is based on total income and tithing comes out of your budget like food would. ETA: The Catholic and Mormon churches I know are great resources to those in need, not the other way around.
post #4 of 80
We tithe 10% to our church, based on our gross income. (If I get a tax refund, I don't retithe on the refund.) We aren't receiving any government assistance.

My church (LDS) has its own welfare system in place to take care of struggling members. This is paid for out of a different fund, not tithing funds. It helps members with anything from food, clothing, personal care supplies, to help with utilities & rent. We donate monthly to this fund as well as well as volunteer in the church canneries & food storehouses, donate time & money to humanitarian aid programs through our church (making baby blankets, washclothes, cloth diapers, etc for the poor, usually in 3rd world countries).

Even when we were at our poorest we tithed 10% of our income every month. I feel we are blessed because of it, and wouldn't trade those blessings-whether you call it blessings or karma or whatever I do believe it comes back to you greater than you put out.
post #5 of 80
I don't tithe, because all our income right now comes from federal assistance {FS, SSI, etc} and I don't think it would be right to tithe from that.

Plus I'd rather feed and clothe my own family instead of letting mine go without to help feed and clothe another family.
post #6 of 80
I don't get it either, my moms a fundie christian and her dh just retired, there having trouble paying bills but yet they still tithe 10% to the church, thats over $200 a month! I could see 1% but 10%?
post #7 of 80
Our church believes in tithing what you can. Some give alot and others give what ever they can.
post #8 of 80
Those who tithe are generally coming from a place of faith, in the book of Malachi (exact verse and wording not handy) it states bring the whole tithe to God and you will get a increase. I have tithed and I do beleive I have been blessed when I was faithful in tithing. I have even given a tithe when I did not have a church home so its not so much about a specific church demanding a tithe or else.. not to say there are not such churches, to me its personal and its about my faith in God and his ability to provide..

I understand you are trying to not be offensive but there is a little part of me that read your initial post and was offended.

Frankly the people who mention tithing as not optional here IMO are not any different than those who swear by 100% organic food no matter what. Its just a matter of personal belief.

That said as a Christian I would run like hell from any church that demanded I give money after all the bible also states God likes a cheerful giver.

Shay
post #9 of 80
I'm Catholic, and while we do get little cards with suggested percentages on them at annual giving time, I don't take it as a requirement but rather a suggestion. I give what I feel comfortable with, based on how we're doing at the time. If I ever felt a push or obligation to give a set amount, I'd be out of there so fast! I don't think that's right morally, nor biblically correct.
post #10 of 80
We tithe 10% of our income to our church. It is not a requirement by the church at all. They don't expect us to or ask us to. We do it from a Biblical stand point. This is the basis for our tithing. Now, you also have to understand that that is where we give our only charitable contributions. Some people give to other places (charities, organizations, etc.), we do not. We are under no obligation to tithe, we just feel that it is what we were called to do. From our standpoint, everything that we have is a gift from God and thus we are truly just giving back what he has blessed us with. I don't think that a person who receives assistance should have to give a tithe. I don't think a church should tell people how much to give or to give at all. I think it should be a personal decision for each person.

This is what I found about tithing. It really sums up how I feel about it:
Tithing is an issue that many Christians struggle with. In many churches tithing is over-emphasized. At the same time, many Christians refuse to submit to the Biblical exhortation in regards to making offerings to the Lord. Tithing / giving is intended to be a joy, a blessing. Sadly, that is rarely the case in the church today.

Tithing is an Old Testament concept. The tithe was a requirement of the law in which all Israelites were to give 10% of everything they earned and grew to the Tabernacle / Temple (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites of the sacrificial system. The New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. Paul states that believers should set aside a portion of their income in order to support the church (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

The New Testament nowhere assigns a certain percentage of income to set aside, but only says it is to be “in keeping with his income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). The Christian church has essentially taken the 10% figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving. Although the New Testament does not identify a specific amount or percentage to give, it does talk about the importance and benefits of giving. They should give as they are able, “in keeping with his income.” Sometimes that means giving more than a tithe, sometime that may mean giving less than a tithe. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the church. Each and every Christian should diligently pray and seek God’s wisdom as to whether to participate in tithing and/or for how much he or she should give (James 1:5). “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
post #11 of 80
Well, I have to agree it's about being a cheerful giver and what your own belief system dictates for you. Tithing will not have an impact on your income, therefore it does not effect the level of government help. I must say it never ceases to amaze me that one's personal beliefs are fine, unless they are supporting more "mainstream" causes. To me, someone tithing out of income coming from the government should really be no different for you than someone buying all processed food and formula with food stamps. I've been at the store and seen someone buy a 20$ cake from Wal-Mart with food stamps. Do I agree, not really, but it's their choice. To me the same applies for someone who is on SSI and wants to give to a church or other charity. As a society we have collectively decided to apply taxes and benefits, and to some degree leave it up to the beneficiaries of the benefits to determine how they spend the money. Someone can cash their SSI check, and within a very short amount of time spend it all on tobacco and alcohol, or crack or weed or whatever they want. That same person can then go to a food bank and apply for food for the rest of the month. The majority of food given away comes from religious charities that depend on donations. I guess my point is, unless society is going to decide to give people the goods someone feels they need or deserve rather than allow for free choice, the ablilty to give as someone feels fit should be protected as well.
Pamela
post #12 of 80
We don't have much money but we always try to tithe. Sometimes its $25 a week, sometimes its .25 a week. I do so even when we are struggling because I have faith that our creator will provide for me and my family.

Being a part of a church isn't just a Sunday thing, its a community. We are called to share and live together in communion with God. In Acts, the first Christians sold everything they had and lived together, sharing belongings and giving to anyone that had need. This is a Tithe. To selflessly give knowing you may be just as "needy" as the person receiving is pure love and faith.
Mark 12:41-44 talks of how rich people were tithing large sum of money but then a poor widow comes up and gives 2 small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Then Jesus says "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of surplus, but she out of poverty..." and this was very pleasing to God. Im very confident that she was taken care of, for she was blessed.

The 10% starts in Genesis where Abram gave a tenth of all his possessions. Then Jacob makes a vow later on in genesis 28, "20 if God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, 21 and I return to my fathers house in safety, then the Lord will be my God. 22 This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be Gods house, and of all that you give me I will surely give a tenth to you."
I have never assumed I should tithe 10% but some people look at scripture like this one and wish to follow it. Thats fine for them and thats their choice. I would never approach tithing in a negative way, 0% or 50%. Tithing is between God and that family. Its a sacrifice for some and that is sacred.


ok, im going to stop because I could go on.
post #13 of 80
We aren't up to our goal of 10% tithing yet, but we do tithe as much as we can.

Yes, that means sometimes we do without things that others might choose to have.

But I believe very strongly that everything I have is a gift and not mine. Whether I earn the money, etc. - it's all been given to me and it's my *responsibility* to share it. Some I do share with my children and immediate family and some is spread throughout my community and around the world.

Very recently we've decided as a family not to tithe to a church organization. I was, quite frankly, tired of seeing a building funded and not seeing people being helped.

My husband and I decided to look to the bible for inspiration and decided to look to the "least of us" for tithing opportunities. For us that means the women and children who need help in our community as well as any adults who cannot help themselves.
post #14 of 80
Our church says 'give what you can'.

I think that 10% was useful when churches did most of the social work - taking care of the sick, elderly, and poor. When 7.5% of our income already goes to social security, plus medicare and medicaid... it's hard to choose to give another 10% to the church.

We give 1% right now. I'd like to increase that to 3% in the near future.

I'm not sure whether I'd rather have churches in charge of all social work or the government... both have a history of sometimes doing it well, sometimes not doing it well.

Aven
post #15 of 80
I am Protestant and our church has never actually asked for 10%. That is the Bible guideline, but my church has always stressed that tithing is not always in the form of money. When I was a college student I helped teach the Wednesday night Children's Group. Giving of time is still considered giving in my church, but it might depend on other religions though, I am not sure. My church does not have a clue how much income we make to know whether or not I was giving 10%.
post #16 of 80
When my DH was a poor college student living on student loan, he always volunteered in his church instead of donating money. He thought student loan is borrowed money and not really "income". Give what you can sounds pretty good to me.
post #17 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by KariM View Post
We aren't up to our goal of 10% tithing yet, but we do tithe as much as we can.

Yes, that means sometimes we do without things that others might choose to have.

But I believe very strongly that everything I have is a gift and not mine. Whether I earn the money, etc. - it's all been given to me and it's my *responsibility* to share it. Some I do share with my children and immediate family and some is spread throughout my community and around the world.

Very recently we've decided as a family not to tithe to a church organization. I was, quite frankly, tired of seeing a building funded and not seeing people being helped.

My husband and I decided to look to the bible for inspiration and decided to look to the "least of us" for tithing opportunities. For us that means the women and children who need help in our community as well as any adults who cannot help themselves.


i am so touched by your post. I am so impressed at how you and your family have thought it out an made the commitment.

Imagine, for a moment, if all people did this.(in some form)

I read no pity for those less fortunate in your post. (now I am crying) Poverty is a social disease, not a personal shortcoming. From your post I feel you understand that.
post #18 of 80
I actually had this conversation with my brother - who's a preacher - this morning. We are flat broke and don't tithe. It's something that's been waying on my heart quite a bit lately, but my husband and I disagree about tithing. He doesn't think we should, but I do.

As a miniters, my brother said that he feels Christians should tithe 10%, but if they can't, then just tithe what they can. He said it's all about faith and thanking God for all the gifts in our life.

We go to a very small church where the the preacher doesn't even draw a salary. All tithes go towards rent (in a small building), electricity, and to helping the community. Our church partners with a local shelter and most of our tithes go towards helping people get back on their feet.

I can understand where people would question someone who continues to tithe when they are broke- especially as we are broke and we don't tithe. But, honestly, I find it so admirable that these people are so faithful and such followers of God - and continue to tithe. I wish I could be more like that.

Leslie
post #19 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by KariM View Post
But I believe very strongly that everything I have is a gift and not mine. Whether I earn the money, etc. - it's all been given to me and it's my *responsibility* to share it. Some I do share with my children and immediate family and some is spread throughout my community and around the world.
<snip>
My husband and I decided to look to the bible for inspiration and decided to look to the "least of us" for tithing opportunities. For us that means the women and children who need help in our community as well as any adults who cannot help themselves.
I too believe that everything I am given is a gift. I would rather get to Heaven and have God say, "Job well done," to me, rather than, "You could've done without that new television and fed a family for a month." It goes into my budget just like my car payment does.

That said, I got hit hard with a bunch of unexpected bills this year, and loaned money to a friend over a year ago that has yet to be paid back, and had to drop my giving down to 5%. Half of it goes to church, and the other half to various charities. (One charity/non-profit per month, though next year, I may go up to one every two weeks, because I keep finding out about good ones that aren't as well known as some others.) But NOT giving is just not an option to me; there will ALWAYS be someone worse off than I am.
post #20 of 80
I say this as a Christian.....I believe in doing what you can, be it $5 or $500. I do not believe in the set 10 percent....

Here's my issue, which I just blogged about so I feel weird rewriting it, many of the churches in my community have gone the route of the mega-church. The church we finally left (the people who married us, dedicated our daughter, baptized me) constantly talked about $$ and their new building...their second one. How big? Well, over $22 million for phase one alone.

So, no, I'm not going to give them 10 percent while I struggle daily to survive. I do not feel it is right to fund a fancy gym and the pastor's $$$$ house because they expect it.

When I find a church that has not bowed down to the Almighty Dollar, then I'll feel free to give what I can then.
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