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#61 of 80 Old 12-31-2007, 12:18 AM
 
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My church has always been very, deliberately, low-key about giving. We don't pass around an offering plate during the service, there's just a discreet box in the foyer (or an online option if you want it). The pastor (my father) would NEVER dream of pressuring someone into giving, or checking up on people to make sure they were contributing, despite the fact that my family struggles financially. After all, it would come across as rather hypocritical to go to families and say 'We don't have enough money, YOU need to trust God more and give us yours!', wouldn't it? And we've never starved--God does provide.
My church does the basket as well. No online (or direct debit) option. Tithing is talked about rarely, generally just in the fall around the time of the annual meeting, once or twice. My pastor doesn't even WANT to know how much each household donates. The treasurer is the only one.

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#62 of 80 Old 12-31-2007, 12:46 AM
 
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You are lucky that 10% wouldn't effect you, 10% for me would be impossible. As for your friend, you can get designer clothes for cheap in thrift shops or on ebay. She may drive a new car but do you think she owns it? I bet you the bank does and she has a 7 yr loan to keep the payments down and depending on her situation those pay payments may be cheaper then public transportation and I'd rather have a reliable new car with payments then an old unreliable clunker that may fail on you at any moment and cause you to miss what could be a life saving Dr appt or even just going to work. A good working car is a NEED to getting out of poverty unless you live in a city with an awesome public transportation program which most do not. I doubt you know her total situation and I'm betting that car is her ticket out of poverty.
we have been everywhere between making 9,000 a year and $75,000. When I said 10% doesn't effect me it is because it just isn't my money any more than my neighbors tax return isn't my money. it is not in the budget. never has been. just like taxes. not my money. can't decide i need it so I am going to keep it. If we are short on cash we pull our belts in a little tighter somewhere. We eat more frugally. we don't drive even if we are going stir crazy. we turn the heat down . . .whatever . . but that money is not ours to spend . . its not even on our radar. My paycheck says i make about $300 a week but in my budget I make only $270. because that $300 just isn't really there. that is someone else's money.

as for my friend I know her pretty well, shopping is a hobby, at the mall almost 7 days a week, her husband makes pretty good money, they have no debt but they have a truck load of kids so qualify for a lot (our state has pretty high income standards and pretty low cost of living if you live in town), I am sure she is making payments on the car, they have plenty of money to do so. I am not judging her.

My point was people spend their disposable income on lots of things even when they have public assistance (and we have never had more disposable income than when we were on public assistance, I won't lie) and just because someone doesn't have a lot doesn't mean they shouldn't be giving to church/charity whatever. however it didn't sound like the OP cared if people were spending their disposable income on crap they don't need so long as they weren't spending it on church (which in my opinion is a need, and I consider it a bargain at 10% of my income).

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#63 of 80 Old 12-31-2007, 12:51 AM
 
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We tithe 10% and give an offering on top. DH is clergy. We are WELL below poverty lines.
We give as soon as the money comes in. 100% of our income is God's money- that 10% isn't ours to spend. No matter how tight things get, we give to God's what is God's.
It's not a choice.

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#64 of 80 Old 12-31-2007, 12:59 AM
 
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Wow...is that something that EVERYONE *has* to do? Go in front of a bishop and they show you a printout of your giving (or lack thereof) then ask you if you donate a full 10% (as if it would be obvious...you know, if you only gave a couple hundred bucks that year).

That seems very uncomfortable to me...i'm not trying to diss your church - but if my church did that to me - i would leave. That seems like pressure AND humiliation
No you don't have to. There are sign up sheets if you want to do it. If you don't want to, you don't have to. My brother is one of the people in charge of coordinating tithing settlement for his ward and he says the vast majority of people actually don't, in his ward anyway.
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#65 of 80 Old 12-31-2007, 01:13 AM
 
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I woudl think the tithing settlement sounds liek it is a cross between "here is your reciept" and the sacrement of confession. a lot of people don't understand why someone would volunteer to go to confession but for those of us who willing do it makes sense. we see it as valuble to our spiritual growth. I would think refusing to tithe would be something that came up in confession (or should) if you were inclined to confess. i see the whole tithing settlement as a way to help people look at their sin and work it out. you can choose not to do it at all . . you could choose to lie (in which case I am not sure why you would do it but whatver . . . ) or you take it as an oppritunity to really loko at your giving and decide if you need some sort of heart change on the matter.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#66 of 80 Old 12-31-2007, 01:15 AM
 
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I know of one large church that does an annual "tithing settlement" which is an audit, adults and children alike have a private meeting with leadership in which they pray, go over financial records, and pledge their worthieness to be a full member of the church.

Members, of course do not see it as a guilt audit as someone on the outside might, but as a helpful guidance session to assist them in following the laws.

No matter how you phrase it, there are churches that put a very large effort into making sure they get their 10%.
As a PP said, there is no prayer or "pledge of worthiness" or any other conversation that could be construed as guilt inducing language or behavior. There is simply a statement about whether or not, to you, this represents a full tithe. As the PP said, people's interpretations vary on what a full tithe means. I know some people who pay on their gross, and others who only pay 10% on what is left over after the bills are paid, which is what they interpret as their "increase." It is a "private meeting" in the sense its not open to the public, but I've always attended with my family, never in a one-on-one situation with a member of the clergy.

It is not a "helpful guidance session" or to "assist in following the laws" in any way. I've gone to tithing settlement every year for my entire life and I've never experienced that. It's completely voluntary, and I've never ever recieved any sort of counseling about my finances, obedience to church laws or any other conversation-oh wait, they do ask things like "how are you doing? Can the church help you with anything?" and this year my Bishop did ask how we like the new house/neighborhood.

The whole thing lasts about 5 minutes-they give you a print out, ask if it coincides with your records of what you have donated for the year, ask if it represents a full, part, or non tithe, ask if you have any more to contribute that you want to have show on the records as a tax deduction for the year, and if you do they edit the report & give you a temporary receipt. That's IT. A week or two later you get a formal record for filling taxes with, based on the final report from the settlement.

It amazes me how people are so determined to make something sinister out of something that really is not. I appreciate that the LDS church allows us the opportunity to compare records. This year in fact, my print out was wrong. Most of our contributions had been recorded under my 6 year old sons membership record. We are new in the area and the person recording the donations in the computer wasn't sure who was who in the family. Had we not caught this error at tithing settlement, this would have had huge tax implications for us.

Tithing settlement is open to people who aren't members-if you really are curious about what it entails go sign up and attend one.
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#67 of 80 Old 12-31-2007, 04:49 PM
 
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Wow...is that something that EVERYONE *has* to do? Go in front of a bishop and they show you a printout of your giving (or lack thereof) then ask you if you donate a full 10% (as if it would be obvious...you know, if you only gave a couple hundred bucks that year).

That seems very uncomfortable to me...i'm not trying to diss your church - but if my church did that to me - i would leave. That seems like pressure AND humiliation

I am Methodist and my church sends us a print out every 3 months of the total tithes we have given the church. I assumed it was more for my own records than for anything else. Like, I do not feel like they are insinuating that I wasn't giving enough or anything.

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#68 of 80 Old 12-31-2007, 05:17 PM
 
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What ever happened to passing a basket and people just putting in money? It seems odd that people would be attaching there names to a church donation.

Seriously?
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#69 of 80 Old 12-31-2007, 06:02 PM
 
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What ever happened to passing a basket and people just putting in money? It seems odd that people would be attaching there names to a church donation.
Easy - if you want the charitable deduction on your taxes, it HAS to have your name attached to it, particularly now. IRS regulations have now changed so that you HAVE to have either documentation from the charity indicating how much cash you donated or a copy of a cancelled check (even the photocopy you now get with statements) from your bank.

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#70 of 80 Old 12-31-2007, 06:45 PM
 
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I have never attatched my name to my tithes or offerings (we don't itemize or give enough or something so it is a non issue with taxes) but the church I am going to now asks for a yearly pledge (and you have to make one and keep it to be a voting member, I don't have voting privileges for other reasons) so i did because I want them to know they can count on me for a certain amount, and so now I put my money in an envelope with my name on it (I don't use checks - just cash) so they can keep track of pledges and such for budgeting purposes. We have a very small congregation and our operating expenses just tripled (funny how much it costs to add a full time pastor when before you weren't paying one) so it is important to them to keep up with what has come in and what they can expect to come in.

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#71 of 80 Old 01-01-2008, 12:50 AM
 
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I always tithe in check form. I do not deduct from my taxes though, I just never carry cash. That is how they know how much.

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#72 of 80 Old 01-01-2008, 02:30 PM
 
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We do tithe (and give offerings above that when possible). We figure, if we can live on 100% of our income, we can also live on 90%. We do believe faithful and cheerful giving results in blessings.

I think where alot of people get into trouble is with debt, where there income is less every month then their outgo. In that case, IMO it's Biblically correct to pay what you owe to those you borrowed from, and if that means that your tithe is less, then so be it.

Our church sends out end of the year letters to those who've given, for tax purposes. They keep records only for that purpose, and do not pressure people to tithe to that particular church.

I have heard of one church (an independent one, no denomination) that required paystubs from it's members to ensure they were tithing the right amount. I think that's spiritual abuse and completely unBiblical.
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#73 of 80 Old 01-01-2008, 04:40 PM
 
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Tithing has been a great blessing in my life and one I don't mind talking about. IRL it drives me crazy my grandparents pay 10% of their income to their church and no one cares (Baptist) but since I'm LDS and pay a tithing, our family gets all up in arms about it. Maybe it's because we're so low income (DH clears about $900 a month). We're not in debt, we don't struggle, we pay all our bills early, we have everything we need and most of the things we want and we are able to save for the things that we want. We are not suffering in any way. Sometimes I don't know *how* we do it because as a single woman living with my parents with no bills before I joined my church and started tithing, I could not make ends meet on more money than we as a family of four live off of. I see it as a true miracle. I also see little miracles every day, most too special to share. I have probably learned more about faith by paying tithing than many other things. There is also the great miracle of getting back all our paid in income tax when we do our taxes (taxes are done differently in Canada).

About tithing settlement, I really don't see the big deal, but I think it's because the LDS culture is so different. In know in our little branch we are all friends and consider each other family. Our Branch President is like a cool older brother (well, he's not much older than me), laid back and very approachable. He's like, hey, how's it going? Is there anything we can do for you and your family? Are you a full tithe payer? Great! Remember that we're always here for you and you can call if you need anything. I'm a very private person and I do not feel inimidated by these. I actually enjoy going to tithing settlement. If someone can't go, it's really not that big a deal. This time of the year people are away for the holidays and can't do the settlement, they are sick or have sick kids and can't show up, ect...
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#74 of 80 Old 01-02-2008, 12:41 AM
 
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The ordinances you alluded to in your post are not available to 16 year olds
You're forgetting baptisms for the dead - you have to have a recommend for those.

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Wow...is that something that EVERYONE *has* to do?
As others have mentioned, it's completely voluntary. If you don't want to sign up for an appointment, you don't.

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You don't have to make an appointment for tithing settlement.
Did you mean you do have to make an appointment?

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As a PP said, there is no prayer or "pledge of worthiness" or any other conversation that could be construed as guilt inducing language or behavior.
I agree.

Also, I searched Google for "tithing settlement" and it appears that the LDS church is the only one to use that phrase. So the PP probably was referring to the LDS church.

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This year in fact, my print out was wrong. Most of our contributions had been recorded under my 6 year old sons membership record.
My son had $140 under his name. I'm pretty sure he didn't earn $1400 this year! He might have paid 14 cents or something, lol.
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#75 of 80 Old 01-02-2008, 12:54 AM
 
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i would also like to offer up the blessing side of tithing (i am LDS/Mormon)...
growing up in a single parent (on disability) home the church provided our food. how could they do this? through member's tithes and fast offerings. i know if my family is ever in need all i have to do is pick up the phone and we have food and our basic needs. our rent was even paid once when my mom's disability check didn't come through. also, the church has other wonderful services. even concealing and addiction help.


re: tithing settlement- we just had ours on Sunday. we almost forgot about it all together and no one mentions it. they say "remember to make an appt for tithing settlement" to the entire congregation and that's it.
i really enjoy tithing settlement just because i like the chance to chat with our Bishop. he looked over our paper, asked if it was a full tithe, we responded and then we chatted about DH's work, the kids, and so on. last year my old Bishop said something like "the reason we have tithing settlement is to touch base and to make sure member names, birth dates, and contact information is all accurate" the tithing settlements i have been to have been less about tithing and more about talking about how things are and going over our church records to make sure the information is current and correct.

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#76 of 80 Old 01-02-2008, 01:22 AM
 
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Did you mean you do have to make an appointment?

.
No, I meant you don't have to make an appointment. No one forces you to do it.

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#77 of 80 Old 01-02-2008, 10:38 AM
 
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No, I meant you don't have to make an appointment. No one forces you to do it.
It's so easy to misinterpret when you can't hear tone! I thought you meant you don't have to make an appointment because it's required for everyone, and you meant you don't have to make an appointment unless you want to
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#78 of 80 Old 01-02-2008, 05:20 PM
 
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It's so easy to misinterpret when you can't hear tone! I thought you meant you don't have to make an appointment because it's required for everyone, and you meant you don't have to make an appointment unless you want to
Yes, definitely one of the difficulties of the internet!

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#79 of 80 Old 01-05-2008, 11:35 PM
 
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wow this thread is making me feel bad... we tithe when we attend the UU church... they ask 10% as well, but take whatever you can give. We give $5-$10 a week, whatever we have left after groceries and utility bills... I don't think we could ever afford 10%... we are *just* making ends meet after taxes (DH is self-employed). I give alot of my time teaching at the various children's programs and figured when things got better that I would give more...

i guess i never thought of it as taking more that i was giving. there are a lot of empty nesters at the church who drive nice cars, etc... i soothed myself by thinking that when we were in that position we'd be able to do more.

and we do not spend our money frivoslously. i was only able to get new sneakers because my dad gave me cash for xmas and made me spend it on myself. most of the girls clothes are 2nd hand, gifts or hand-me-downs (designer- Janie & Jack from the woman my mom nannies for). We have no debt except our mortgage... there is no fat. So maybe I shouldn't go? Is that what is being said here? If you don't fell comfortable sacrificing (DD giving up preschool or cancelling our membership to the Y, which give us a lot of joy and health) we aren't committed? I just never thought of it that way.

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#80 of 80 Old 01-06-2008, 12:45 AM
 
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I am not saying you shouldn't go but that money is not going to come from thin air. I have heard a lot of complaining from people at the churches I went to (I used to be involved in ministry) . . .we need more this we need more that we need more programs, better programs, why is it always so cold/hot/smelly in here, why can't we have our own building, we want better training, back ground checks, better environment in the nursery and on and on but to be honest without people giving there is not even enough money to make coloring sheets for the kids to color on Sundays, no money for crayons and plain paper even.

So I gues what I am saying is know that there is a need for money and volunteering simply isn't going to feel that need. and if there is lack there is no point in complaining about. lack of giving (not you personally but very few people in reality tithe to their church) means lack of money and lack of money means your pastor or his wife might have to get a job, it may mean you have to wear your coat through the service on Sunday morning and your kids might be stuck sitting next to you. it may mean you don't have a building to meet in at all, but unless you are personaly willing to pay for more it might not be there. it doesn't mean your church is bad or the leadership is bad it just means no one wants to give more to church. 99% of what happens in some churches is gravy and unnecesary and has nothing to do with worship anyway but people sure seem to expect a lot these days and they seem to expect it for free or expect other people to pay for it. not bad but if people aren't going to give to church they have no reason for complaining when those aminities are not there or asking for more. curriculum, training, heat and lights, possibly rent. you may think all a program takes is a volunteer but really there are expenses everywhere. and no reason for complaining when the pastor is forced to speak about the need to contribute.

i guess I grew up with giving so it doesn't bother me, i also grew up hanging out with the pastors family. they were barely getting by for many years except for the kindness of parishoners and their hand me downs. We grew up learning that you gave 10% to church and then gave offerings and alms giving above that. I know all to well the reality of a church not be able to pay its bills.
and all the good intentions and volunteering won't change that.

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