Author Topic: Spouse wants to tithe  (Read 9336 times)

Sailor Sam

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #100 on: August 17, 2019, 01:17:23 AM »
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We all bring our own kinda crazy into our marriages. It's just that my specific kind of crazy is obviously very logical, whereas her's is, well, crazy.

What makes her beliefs crazy?

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but the older I get the more I realize there are vanishingly few objective rights or wrongs in the world.

is it that her beliefs are actually crazy or you just think that

More that I was being wry about the vicissitudes of being human. I see her as crazy and myself as logical because I'm eternally trapped into a tight first person POV. I'm not actually right

DadJokes

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #101 on: August 17, 2019, 07:46:00 AM »
@DadJokes, I think a good point to keep in mind, in order to meet your spouse with joy and respect, is that being 'mustachian' is just as weird, socially awkward, and flat fucking crazy as being 'religious.' Being deeply into either is not the social norm.

We all bring our own kinda crazy into our marriages. It's just that my specific kind of crazy is obviously very logical, whereas her's is, well, crazy. She of course feels the same, but inverse. I like the Jesus dude, and I do donate 10% to charities of my choosing, but the older I get the more I realize there are vanishingly few objective rights or wrongs in the world. Your marriage is what you forge it out of, though the good ones do seem to have a common theme of shared vulnerability and respect.

Like others have suggested, I'd say you need to be open with your wife, and you need to be curious. Ask her 'why' a lot, in a genuine bid to know her better. If things are going right, she'll be curious back, and ask you why, and want to know you better. And thus, you forge a marriage. It's not always comfortable, but it's almost always worth it.

I’m a Christian husband and I second the suggestion above - lovingly invoke Ephesians 5:22-24.  :)
Whooo, boy. All I can picture is my wife lovingly burning all of my shit on the front lawn, in a fiery and pointed lesson on religion and modernity should I ever claim to tell her what to do. But what does it matter? Because she's a goddamn miracle of evolution and/or creation (pick your poison), and she frequently smells good, and she sometimes does that mysteriously feminine thing where she bends over her own knees to clip her toenails, and how do they do that? It's a mystery, and I love the beating heart of the whole thing.

Thanks for the thoughtful response.

Along with this process, we did go a little into discussing my lack of belief. She is a person who relies pretty much entirely on her emotions, whereas I am a very logical person. And she even said that she knows it is a lot more difficult for a logical person to accept religion.

As for the Ephesians verse, the wives were instructed in the class that if their husbands refused to tithe, then they should accept their husbands’ decision. Something something God will see the intentions of your heart and whatnot. So they really do still believe in the traditional teachings that men are the head of the household.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #102 on: August 17, 2019, 11:07:50 AM »
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Well I was talking about (catholic) priests, who have made a vow of poverty, so no, the whole point of that is you don't get to own a nice car. Yes, it's a very demanding job and you get very little in return, except for living rent-free in some of the nicest real estate in the city with a fulltime housekeeper. But that's the deal they signed up for.

You forget the biggest benefit, lifetime access to little boys to rape, with full legal protection provided by the church. 

I grew up Catholic, though I don't go to church anymore.  But the above is the reason I lost faith in any Christian based churches and wouldn't support tithing them.

That's a pretty fucked up post there. Sorry you lost your faith, but not all priests, ministers, whomever commit crimes against children.

This seems to be a common view of the Catholic church. My husband grew up Catholic and felt this way. He stopped going to church after the whole sex abuse scandal was exposed.  It definitely is hard to shake the thought that so many priests hurt children and the church covers it up.

My husband is the same.  He grew up Catholic but as an adult has lost his religion and his respect for the Church.  It isn't only the sexual abuse scandals but also the way the Church behaves here in Italy.  It campaigns against reproductive rights (not just abortion but also IVF), women are still not able to be ordained, they still insist on celibacy and gay people are not welcomed into the church.  Also living here and seeing how fabulously wealthy the church is, it's hard to reconcile that with Jesus' teachings.

mastrr

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #103 on: August 17, 2019, 12:08:13 PM »
...
Well I was talking about (catholic) priests, who have made a vow of poverty, so no, the whole point of that is you don't get to own a nice car. Yes, it's a very demanding job and you get very little in return, except for living rent-free in some of the nicest real estate in the city with a fulltime housekeeper. But that's the deal they signed up for.



You forget the biggest benefit, lifetime access to little boys to rape, with full legal protection provided by the church. 

I grew up Catholic, though I don't go to church anymore.  But the above is the reason I lost faith in any Christian based churches and wouldn't support tithing them.

That's a pretty fucked up post there. Sorry you lost your faith, but not all priests, ministers, whomever commit crimes against children.

This seems to be a common view of the Catholic church. My husband grew up Catholic and felt this way. He stopped going to church after the whole sex abuse scandal was exposed.  It definitely is hard to shake the thought that so many priests hurt children and the church covers it up.

My husband is the same.  He grew up Catholic but as an adult has lost his religion and his respect for the Church.  It isn't only the sexual abuse scandals but also the way the Church behaves here in Italy.  It campaigns against reproductive rights (not just abortion but also IVF), women are still not able to be ordained, they still insist on celibacy and gay people are not welcomed into the church.  Also living here and seeing how fabulously wealthy the church is, it's hard to reconcile that with Jesus' teachings.

Faithful followers of Christ wouldn't lose faith in Him because the sinful actions of men.  They lose it because of their weak faith and the scandal can be the catalyst for them to lose it all together.  The scandal and cover up are terrible acts of violence and we are working to uproot the evil that has infested the Church and purify it.

To say that the gay people are not welcome is absurd although they may feel that way because a subset of Christians act in a sinful way.  The other things you mention are traditional teachings that have merit although counter cultural to modern society which is largely atheist/agnostic and self referential.

slappy

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #104 on: August 17, 2019, 12:10:10 PM »
As mentioned already, abuse/cover up is not specific to the Catholic Church.

https://www.wmur.com/article/silent-no-more-part-1-the-survivors/28659357

Sailor Sam

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #105 on: August 17, 2019, 12:48:58 PM »
To say that the gay people are not welcome is absurd although they may feel that way because a subset of Christians act in a sinful way.

Tight first person POV indeed. Sometimes a stranger on the internet just has to laugh, and tell the world about the amusement of it all.

Silly gay people, Trix are for kids.

mastrr

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #106 on: August 17, 2019, 01:16:57 PM »
To say that the gay people are not welcome is absurd although they may feel that way because a subset of Christians act in a sinful way.

Tight first person POV indeed. Sometimes a stranger on the internet just has to laugh, and tell the world about the amusement of it all.

Silly gay people, Trix are for kids.

It's not only my point of view, it's the Catholic Churches as taught in the Catechism. 

robincanada

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #107 on: August 17, 2019, 04:23:36 PM »
My wife has recently decided to become much more serious about her faith. I have never been religious, and she has known this. When we first got together, she was what I would consider a “Christian in name only,” but she has started going to church every week, joined a life group, and tonight dropped a bombshell that she wants to tithe after returning from a church membership class.

Current income is around $96k, and we currently invest ~50%. My goal with investing is to reach a point where I can spend more time with our current and any future children. She proposed only tithing her income, which would come out to $4,400 per year in donations, adding roughly two years to our FI journey.

It means a lot to her, but I just can’t wrap my head around why people fall for this stuff. They’re guilting people into giving money, to the point where it hurts relationships- all for a deity who, from my understanding of the Bible, is kind of an asshole even if he is real.

Unfortunately, all of the articles I found online were written to the spouse that wants to tithe, not the one that doesn’t, so I feel like I’m in uncharted waters here.

I’m considering consenting to 10% of her income on the condition that I can still retire when I am currently projecting, at the expense of her having to continue working. Most importantly, I don’t want a rift in our marriage, as I love her very much.

Thoughts?

I was an atheist all of my life.  I realized I hate Capitalism.  I sold a town house in Ottawa and moved to a city of 15000 in the Maritimes.  I own a $135k house outright, a $9k used Fiat 500. 

In moving in the Fiat 500 I got rid of most everything but photos, clothes, and some art that means a lot tto me.  But I move and buy more crap than I need?  Because I have money.  MMM is right.  Never shop!  It is like a casino. But I needed a lot of things.  And with PTSD... patience was not my virtue.  I didn't wait for 8 weeks of Saturday Garage Sales.  Dollarama, Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, Winners...  mot patient enough to wait on decent colourful dishes at the Salvation Army Store. Gotta buy a $50 plus tax set for 4.... I even bought some Spider-Man action figures?  Because apparently I needed to fill up a house too big for one person and a small dog? 

It is personal.  My family got very rich in the last decade running shifty websites.  And decided to ruin my life?  The richer they got, the worse they acted.

I feel like Jesus actually talked to me.  About 10 days ago.  I have been a staunch atheist since I was 6 or 7 years old.  Probably like you. 

He told me "The less you have, the happier you are."  I believe it happened.  My neighbour's heard me in my back yard screaming at God. I have bruises on my chest from punching myself.  I called out God and he taught me to submit and own my sins and change.    I feel, or felt so guilty for all my own waste and consumerism.  I feel bad having a car.  Since I don't truly need one.  But I will wait until Spring to sell it.  I am quite the mess and might actually need it some until I am physically and mentally healthy enough to go full in badassitry. 

It is weird.  I could have had a psychotic break, I am a complete mess. Maybe I did?  But I sm happier.   I gave all the tthings I bought I didn't need to charity for back to school in this poorer city.  Then I gave $2300 to the Food Bank.  Pretty much what I wasted.  So I doubled my penalty for being a selfish, wasteful fool.

I understand how you feel, I would have maybe felt the same.  I am all alone.  i can be a Jesus Communist all I want.  Let poor people stay in my house?  I have a half acre.  Thinking of planting trees in the back and a free campsite for anyone, like bikers and hikers.

You two are a couple.  I would suggest you just agree.  Maybe tithe your income to a charity you believe in, and not her church.  Because you have a family and wife with faith willing to sacrifice for others.  Money is not very important compared to that.

Bite you tongue, or better yet join in and fully buy in to giving more than feels comfortable. 

 Since then, I am randomly picking up litter here and there.  I am changed.  I was losing faith in the goodness of people, with politics as it is.  If you retire 2 years later, you probably will enjoy working more until then.

Just my opinion.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2019, 04:41:11 PM by robincanada »

robincanada

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #108 on: August 17, 2019, 05:07:11 PM »
“You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.”

- L. Ron Hubbard

He was a conman.  Jesus was an honest politician and community leader in a nation dominated and oppressed and enslaved by Romans.  I was always against most organized religion, but I knew the real Jesus was some Peter Parker/Mr. Rogers/MLK package.  I hated religion not for the supernatural, but the hypocrisy.  But I can follow Jesus myself.  I don't need a church.  I want one and am looking.  But as a Canadian that even had to go to a food bank for 4 months at a point in my life.  I am wealthy beyond belief.  People in communities in Canada are not.  Children. Their parents on opiates or speed?  Like I don't care about religion here.  These kids need someone to care about them more.  Everyone to do it.

Was Terry Fox a Christian?  Is MMM?  Well they sure act like it.  Even they don't "believe"... they do.  Jesus was the king of being a badass and screaming truth to power with empathy and peace.

MMM is a Christian, even if he never said it, and does5 believe it.  Evil is teaming up obviously with these billionaires. And Good is teaming up too. MMM is one of the people doing it.

I hate looking at the world biblically.  Jesus vs Satan.  But MMM is like the opposite of Trump.  Running a blog about money to help the world, snd communities and families and the environment.  Without taking a profit from it, or losing his soul. 

Sailor Sam

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #109 on: August 17, 2019, 05:11:36 PM »
To say that the gay people are not welcome is absurd although they may feel that way because a subset of Christians act in a sinful way.

Tight first person POV indeed. Sometimes a stranger on the internet just has to laugh, and tell the world about the amusement of it all.

Silly gay people, Trix are for kids.

It's not only my point of view, it's the Catholic Churches as taught in the Catechism.

Ah, don't worry internet friend. No harm, no foul here. I'm just getting a wicked kick out of participating in the actual literary definition of irony. Mostly I slum it in the colloquial definition, and this experience is, no exaggeration, making my entire fucking day.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #110 on: August 18, 2019, 04:17:28 AM »
Well, this thread got weird fast.

BicycleB

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #111 on: August 18, 2019, 11:07:05 AM »

I feel like Jesus actually talked to me.  About 10 days ago.  I have been a staunch atheist since I was 6 or 7 years old.  Probably like you. 

He told me "The less you have, the happier you are."  I believe it happened.  My neighbour's heard me in my back yard screaming at God. I have bruises on my chest from punching myself.  I called out God and he taught me to submit and own my sins and change...

It is weird.  I could have had a psychotic break, I am a complete mess. Maybe I did?  But I sm happier.

@robincanada, it's possible you did have some sort of mental illness episode. I grew up in a small town in a rurul area. Once I talked to someone who worked in the nearby mental hospital. "There's at least six Jesuses in there," he told me.

My guess is that since you're just saying Jesus talked to you, not that you yourself are Jesus, consulting with some professional mental health expert is a wise thing to do. I have a friend who, starting at a certain point in adult life, has experienced intermittent outbreaks of mental illness. It was always helpful when he got in touch with mental health professionals. I was surprised at how consistently helpful they were.

One thing I learned from watching him, picking him up when needed, retrieving his car after outbreaks, listening to his remarks and generally being a friend is that "do I feel happier" is rarely a complete or sufficient measurement of mental health.


I gave all the tthings I bought I didn't need to charity for back to school in this poorer city.  Then I gave $2300 to the Food Bank...

... I am all alone.  i can be a Jesus Communist all I want.  Let poor people stay in my house?  I have a half acre.  Thinking of planting trees in the back and a free campsite for anyone, like bikers and hikers.


So these altruistic moves aren't necessarily crazy. Even if it was a hallucination, not the Word of God, the things you have done in response may be loving and emotionally liberating gestures. You are certainly free to do them. You could build a perfectly healthy and uplifting life doing such things.

My hope is that you can balance any needed mental health support with an altruistic yet financially secure life. I apologize if my remarks are intrusive or out of line. Best wishes!!!!!
« Last Edit: August 18, 2019, 11:12:11 AM by BicycleB »

Bernard

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #112 on: August 19, 2019, 03:47:00 PM »
I discovered that any discussion of politics, religion, or money, can turn beautiful calm weather into a storm. That's a real problem in regard to married couples. If one is a Republican and the other a super-liberal Democrat, there's a problem. If one spouse is a Jew wanting to destroy all Muslims, and the other spouse is a Muslim wanting to kill all Jews, there's a problem. If one is thrifty and the other one Mr./Mrs. Spendipants, there's a problem.

When my wife and I got together, we were politically on the same page. She is still super liberal, but I have become a great deal more conservative. When she listens to MSNBC, I move over to another room. The less we talk about politics, the better. She'll vote for whoever she wants to, and I'll do the same.

While I can manage the political issue, it's much more difficult with religion and money.
I personally think any form of religion with a personified God or personified gods is plain stupid. I wouldn't be able to live with a spouse that believes in such nonsense, the same way I couldn't deal with a spouse who needs to buy a new pair of shoes per week or considers going to the mall a great advanture.

I.O. . . . if I were in your shoes, I'd tell my wife that I'm relieved that she stepped out in the open with her religious identity. That gives you the chance to do the same. After all, you really wanted to join the Church of Scientology and given the cost of the programs you'll have to attend, she won't have any problems with it as she is spending money on her belief as well.

magnet18

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #113 on: August 20, 2019, 09:02:29 AM »
DW and I tithe 10% after tax, often not directly to the protestant church we attend, often to other charities

Perhaps you could come to a middle ground where you would feel better if her 10% went directly to a charity you were comfortable with, if you don't trust her church management. 

Btw, if the church management can't readily tell you exactly where every penny goes, then I'd start to be suspicious, and if they demand it be given directly to them anyway otherwise you're a sinner, then I'd say run like hell (pun)

Other $.02 bits
I'm generally suspicious of any church that requires membership classes, or in any way distinguishes between those that are and are not members via anything more than "thanks for the contact information, we'll be sure you get the newsletters"

Regarding inclusion, my favorite bible study group leader was gay.  I invited him to my wedding. Definitely an internal struggle for him.  If your church doesn't welcome everybody, find a different one

norajean

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #114 on: August 20, 2019, 09:59:06 AM »
I could understand if she had an addiction to crack or online poker or was a clothes horse, but she wants to give a small amount of her own money to a charity.  Where is the problem?  Get on board, man, or be ready for a rocky marriage.

BrickByBrick

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #115 on: August 20, 2019, 11:28:03 AM »
I will not repeat good advice that others have already suggested on this thread. I'll simply comment here that for the non-Christians or non-religious commenting that they don't understand why many Christians tithe I just wanted to offer up this to aid in understanding:

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." - Malachi 3:10

The reason this verse is so important, particularly the "Test me in this" part, is that God repeatedly throughout scripture cautions against and punishes those that seek to "test" Him.  However, this verse, in relation to the tithe, is the only time in scripture that God specifically invites believers to "test" Him "in this" (the act of tithing).  It lends very heavy weight to the act of tithing for devout Christians.  Reasonable people and even other Christians/theologians can disagree on the finer points of the scripture and its actual message, but it nonetheless impacts many Christians views on tithing today.

freeat57

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #116 on: August 20, 2019, 12:41:29 PM »
Here are my qualifications for entering this discussion: Never been married, believe in Jesus, but not in religious institutions.

To bring "love" and religion into this confuses the matter.  This seems to me to be more a matter of trust. Trust is a practice, not a feeling.  I mean this in the same sense that one practices medicine or law.  It sounds as though both of you are being honest and reasonable about this. She believes this is important for her and wants to do it with the share of income she contributes to the relationship.  He believes, and has calculations to show, that it will alter their joint FIRE plan.  I would suggest that DadJokes trust his wife and allow her to do this.  In the same manner, she should trust him and agree to reevaluate the situation on an annual basis, being open to changing course.

obstinate

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #117 on: August 20, 2019, 06:52:34 PM »
This is a tricky one. That's a lot of money. If you keep separate financial accounts, then it's a little easier, but even then, there are a lot of implications. The tough bit is that, even though the tithes are something only she wants, she will likely feel equally entitled to the other 95% of your shared income. And legally she would be. When you have joined finances, if one partner spends on something, it's really the same as both partners spending on that thing.

In a perfectly fair world, she would treat this as her main hobby, and cease a commensurate amount of hobby spending on other things. But at an income of $100k, y'all probably don't each spend $4k on your hobbies (that would be a very high hobby spend at that income). So she would basically be agreeing to cease spending on all other optional pursuits outside the church. That would be the fair thing, but I'm not sure that would feel good to her, or that you would like the results of asking her to hew to that stricture.

Really tough situation. It's tough when one partner wants to spend a significant amount of money on something the other partner finds useless or actively harmful. Talk about it a lot and try to come to an agreement that feels fair to both of you is all I can advise. If she's a high quality person and you are too you'll probably be able to come up with something. Maybe something like, "You tithe 50% of your fun money, and I'll match that donating to a secular charity." That might still add up to 5% of your total, but some of it is going to something you can believe in, and also she'll still have fun money left when she wants to spend on something other than church.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2019, 06:58:37 PM by obstinate »

Goldielocks

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #118 on: August 20, 2019, 09:45:40 PM »
This is how DH (atheist, won't attend more than 2 church related events a year) and I (now on the church board) do this. 

We have joint finances and individual spending allowances.   From the joint account $200-$400/yr is donated to one or two charities (usually a food program at christmas and a health research drive).

From my personal account, I give my donations.  This account is what I think of as my "income".  I need to buy my clothes, gifts for my kids / others, non-essentials, hobbies, haircuts, I got a dog,  take a college class, mini vacations and my share of "date nights" with it.   My donations amount to nearly 40% of my personal spend allowance.

DH has an identical spend allowance.  He spends his money primarily on his hobbies, but he also donate a bit -- to political parties that he supports.  He also buys lottery tickets in a work group buy and fast food for lunch sometimes.

Each of us can not criticize the other's spend choices. 

   If i deeply felt that I needed more (for tithing) or he needs more (to upgrade the car beyond basic rust bucket, FIRE earlier), then we would talk, and increase BOTH allowances, equally.

Oh, and I make up the difference between cash donations by donating a significant amount of my personal time and talents.

robartsd

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #119 on: August 22, 2019, 09:59:30 AM »
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." - Malachi 3:10

The reason this verse is so important, particularly the "Test me in this" part, is that God repeatedly throughout scripture cautions against and punishes those that seek to "test" Him.  However, this verse, in relation to the tithe, is the only time in scripture that God specifically invites believers to "test" Him "in this" (the act of tithing).  It lends very heavy weight to the act of tithing for devout Christians.  Reasonable people and even other Christians/theologians can disagree on the finer points of the scripture and its actual message, but it nonetheless impacts many Christians views on tithing today.
Thanks for pointing this out.

For Christians who believe the church they belong to is actually organized by Christ, there can be no question about paying tithes to that church. My understanding is that most protestant churches claim authority simply by preaching based on the bible; thus I can understand that members of these churches don't feel a need to give the church all of their tithing.

E.T.

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #120 on: August 22, 2019, 12:06:46 PM »
I'd check with her on the "why" of her tithing. I tithe because of my faith but also because I feel it's an important way for me to continually prioritize and demonstrate generosity in my life. I could see myself becoming tight fisted and fearful about money, so continuing to give away a decent percentage of it when my paycheck hits keeps me honest with myself. There may be an important reason for her tithing beyond religious teachings that you could empathize with her on. I have a non religious spouse, so I just tithe on my earnings and try to balance the extra money outflow by being a little more conscious of my own spending. I'm lucky that my spouse is on board with my choices and he's interested in charitable giving too so maybe that made it easier for him to understand.

BlueHouse

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #121 on: August 22, 2019, 02:23:00 PM »
Yikes.  I haven't read all the replies, but it does make sense to be respectful. 

I don't know if this works in faith, but with any large financial obligation, I always try to get at least three different "quotes".  Would she consider visiting 2 other churches or faiths with you to make sure she still feels as strongly as she does with this one?  I would strongly suggest a Unitarian church as one of the options.  She might like the life focus and community goals enough to keep her head out of the overly religious part. (sorry, I'm not religious at all)

slappy

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #122 on: August 26, 2019, 06:37:19 AM »
Yikes.  I haven't read all the replies, but it does make sense to be respectful. 

I don't know if this works in faith, but with any large financial obligation, I always try to get at least three different "quotes".  Would she consider visiting 2 other churches or faiths with you to make sure she still feels as strongly as she does with this one?  I would strongly suggest a Unitarian church as one of the options.  She might like the life focus and community goals enough to keep her head out of the overly religious part. (sorry, I'm not religious at all)

Yeah...faith doesn't really work that way. :) I see where you are going though. You take that analogy and say something like three "quotes" or different ways that she could contribute. She can give money, she can give time/talent and maybe there is something else? Maybe she already owns something she can donate to the church that they can use to auction/sell and get money that way?

DadJokes

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #123 on: August 26, 2019, 07:26:50 AM »
Update:

It took a couple weeks to get something back as far as financials, and what I got seemed a little lackluster, but maybe that's because I'm an auditor and was expecting actual financial statements. Instead, I got a pie chart with 8 categories.

26% Next-Gen Ministry
23% Worship and Teaching
12% Adult Discipleship (Our bi-weekly life group falls under this category)
11% Missions
8% Facility
6% Debt
3% Easter/Christmas

Each category had a couple bullet points, but I would certainly have appreciated more detail. One of the bullet points under Missions states 8 local ministries. What are those ministries, and is that the only thing going in to help the area? I'll send a follow-up email, but since it took two weeks just to get this, I'm not exactly optimistic.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2019, 07:49:26 AM by DadJokes »

Car Jack

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #124 on: August 26, 2019, 07:40:18 AM »
DW is very religious and I basically tell her to say hi to the flying spaghetti monster when she goes to lead church meetings.  We do not tithe and never will.  But we've both done volunteer work for the church which they have even said is much more important to them and difficult to find then money.  I've played guitar in the church band (I respect their right to believe what they want...I just like playing guitar) and she's lead a number of church groups.  Perhaps your wife could become more involved leading or helping existing groups.  I know in my wife's case, she leads a couple of groups, one of which she started from nothing and if she left, both groups would disband. 

StarBright

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #125 on: August 26, 2019, 08:13:08 AM »
Update:

It took a couple weeks to get something back as far as financials, and what I got seemed a little lackluster, but maybe that's because I'm an auditor and was expecting actual financial statements. Instead, I got a pie chart with 8 categories.

26% Next-Gen Ministry
23% Worship and Teaching
12% Adult Discipleship (Our bi-weekly life group falls under this category)
11% Missions
8% Facility
6% Debt
3% Easter/Christmas

Each category had a couple bullet points, but I would certainly have appreciated more detail. One of the bullet points under Missions states 8 local ministries. What are those ministries, and is that the only thing going in to help the area? I'll send a follow-up email, but since it took two weeks just to get this, I'm not exactly optimistic.

This makes me really appreciate my church's commitment to financial transparency. We have a full financial meeting every year where the entire previous year's budget is gone over. Paper copies are also available to everyone and it gets into the nitty gritty: the cost of our priest's health insurance, church organ repair, lightbulbs, all the various community outreach programs etc.

BlueHouse

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #126 on: August 26, 2019, 09:55:13 AM »
Yikes.  I haven't read all the replies, but it does make sense to be respectful. 

I don't know if this works in faith, but with any large financial obligation, I always try to get at least three different "quotes".  Would she consider visiting 2 other churches or faiths with you to make sure she still feels as strongly as she does with this one?  I would strongly suggest a Unitarian church as one of the options.  She might like the life focus and community goals enough to keep her head out of the overly religious part. (sorry, I'm not religious at all)

Yeah...faith doesn't really work that way. :) I see where you are going though. You take that analogy and say something like three "quotes" or different ways that she could contribute. She can give money, she can give time/talent and maybe there is something else? Maybe she already owns something she can donate to the church that they can use to auction/sell and get money that way?
Well, in my volunteer work, we always looked to see which of three categories people fit into (knowing that we needed to have all three)  Doers, Donors, and Door-openers.  I think you've described doers and donors, so maybe you can figure out a way to open doors to more donors?  Although in the context of religion, that starts to sound cultish or missionary or crusade-y. 


Goldielocks

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #127 on: August 26, 2019, 12:51:43 PM »
For comparison, I have put my church's budget next to yours.   We have a modest membership (around 120, fewer are regulars) and a paid off mortgage.  Half of our budget goes to Pastor's salary, and we have part time admin, musician and custodial contracts.

The mean donation per member is $1000/member, but actually there are a handful of people donating 30% of our total funds, and the remainder have an average donation of $800 per (adult) member.

One category that is missing  on yours is what we call "benevolence" - An amount of 10% of our cash donations that goes to our parent church, for administration as well as some mission / outreach work (to help smaller churches in our region and around the world).     

Our missions specific giving is a separate budget.   People that choose to give to missions do it outside of our church, or will make a note on the offering of the specific charitable cause and the money is kept separate.  Missions contributions are only a few thousand.  Most of the extra donations are ususally to help poor in our community, which amounts to more.

I do note a huge $$ for youth / young adult ministry in your budget.  This would be for things like a youth minister salary, and maybe a youth choir, summer camp, outings.   A strong budget is important to engage and retain youth in their faith, but I also considered this as the equivalent of funding my children's programs, and I estimated that to be worth about $100-$150/mo per child, compared to other recreation activities available locally.   (e.g., $800+ per kid per year).

Currently we don't have many youth at our church, due to its size / demographics, so our budget is small.

Update:

It took a couple weeks to get something back as far as financials, and what I got seemed a little lackluster, but maybe that's because I'm an auditor and was expecting actual financial statements. Instead, I got a pie chart with 8 categories.

26% (3% - youth) Next-Gen Ministry
23% (50% - Pastor's salary and benefits)Worship and Teaching
12% (3% includes social activities like dinners and get-togethers, movie night as well as bibles and study supplies, mens breakfast subsidy) Adult Discipleship (Our bi-weekly life group falls under this category)
11% (0% - see Benevolence / other notes) Missions
8% (20%, utilities and basic maintenance, ppty tax, PT custodian at 8hr/wk) Facility
6% (0%)Debt
3% (0%- this seems like a large %total spend? I am curious what your church is doing here, our food hampers are not included in our budget / kept separate, so maybe that is it?) Easter/Christmas
7% Worship Committee (supplies for worship on Sunday, including musician salary, )
10% Office Administration (PT salary and supplies)
7%  Benevolence (parent church administration and outreach)

Each category had a couple bullet points, but I would certainly have appreciated more detail. One of the bullet points under Missions states 8 local ministries. What are those ministries, and is that the only thing going in to help the area? I'll send a follow-up email, but since it took two weeks just to get this, I'm not exactly optimistic.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2019, 12:58:18 PM by Goldielocks »

BicycleB

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #128 on: August 26, 2019, 01:53:00 PM »
I think the breakdown they gave makes it pretty clear. The vast majority (roughly 80% or more) of the church's funds go towards operating the church.

It's not clear how much goes towards paying pastors, but whether she is paying for people or a building, this is not primarily a Jesus-flavored soup kitchen. It's a religious center that serves church members and their community by providing normal religious services. From an atheist's or agnostic viewpoint, these are things like rituals, religous training, outreach, probably caring and a feeling of belonging, and so on. Probably some ethical principles respectable from an atheist's view are taught and reinforced, even if mixed with some beliefs you yourself don't believe. You can decide for yourself whether the ethical and communal aspects are sufficient to merit viewing the church as a beneficial institution. Regardless, the tithe is paying for the religion to maintain itself and perhaps spread.

OP, you can ask for more detailed statements, but they won't change whatever decision you make next.

PS. There are lots of churches that need a good volunteer accountant, and will accept one even if he is not a believer. If you choose the path of accepting your wife's decision and you wish to double down on being close to her, you could volunteer to do their books.

DadJokes

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #129 on: August 26, 2019, 02:02:16 PM »
3% (0%- this seems like a large %total spend? I am curious what your church is doing here, our food hampers are not included in our budget / kept separate, so maybe that is it?) Easter/Christmas

They rent out a huge building to have one massive Easter service instead of the usual three services. I'm not sure what they do for Christmas, as we had a child a few weeks before Christmas last year and didn't go to church. 3% seems like a pretty hefty price to rent out a building for one day, so I'm guessing that there is a lot of Christmas stuff included.

@Bicycle_B - Thanks for the suggestion; I might offer that. It is a pretty big church, so bookkeeping might be a bigger project than I'm willing to take on, but who knows?

OtherJen

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #130 on: August 26, 2019, 06:21:47 PM »
3% (0%- this seems like a large %total spend? I am curious what your church is doing here, our food hampers are not included in our budget / kept separate, so maybe that is it?) Easter/Christmas

They rent out a huge building to have one massive Easter service instead of the usual three services. I'm not sure what they do for Christmas, as we had a child a few weeks before Christmas last year and didn't go to church. 3% seems like a pretty hefty price to rent out a building for one day, so I'm guessing that there is a lot of Christmas stuff included.

@Bicycle_B - Thanks for the suggestion; I might offer that. It is a pretty big church, so bookkeeping might be a bigger project than I'm willing to take on, but who knows?

A big church would hire a CPA to deal with the 501(c)3 filing. They may need people on a financial stewardship board, though.

Gizsuat2

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #131 on: August 26, 2019, 09:59:53 PM »
Lots of thoughtful answers here, and there are cons to this approach, but there's another way here to consider what tithing means.  Couldn't it also mean that you're working diligently toward your own financial independence so that she could be of volunteer service to support her church and their efforts?  If the numbers truly amount to a 2-year difference, then it seems like those things are somewhat equal ... she can either tithe now, or commit herself to devoting those two years to her church and its missions.

chairman5

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #132 on: August 27, 2019, 03:16:36 PM »
What really concerns me is that my views have not changed since we have met, but I am being asked to support her changing views, when I can see that those changing views are going to create a divide, regardless of how I respond to this particular request.

I humbly propose that people will change over time if they are truly living life.  27 years living with the same mate - so have lived it.  One of the biggest lessons I have learned is I have my "crap" my wife has to deal with - I ain't no bowl of cherries.  If this is the "crap" you have to deal with count yourself lucky.  You are loved - worth a lot more than $4,400.       

chairman5

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Re: Spouse wants to tithe
« Reply #133 on: August 27, 2019, 03:29:52 PM »
I discovered that any discussion of politics, religion, or money, can turn beautiful calm weather into a storm. That's a real problem in regard to married couples. If one is a Republican and the other a super-liberal Democrat, there's a problem. If one spouse is a Jew wanting to destroy all Muslims, and the other spouse is a Muslim wanting to kill all Jews, there's a problem. If one is thrifty and the other one Mr./Mrs. Spendipants, there's a problem.

When my wife and I got together, we were politically on the same page. She is still super liberal, but I have become a great deal more conservative. When she listens to MSNBC, I move over to another room. The less we talk about politics, the better. She'll vote for whoever she wants to, and I'll do the same.

While I can manage the political issue, it's much more difficult with religion and money.
I personally think any form of religion with a personified God or personified gods is plain stupid. I wouldn't be able to live with a spouse that believes in such nonsense, the same way I couldn't deal with a spouse who needs to buy a new pair of shoes per week or considers going to the mall a great advanture.

I.O. . . . if I were in your shoes, I'd tell my wife that I'm relieved that she stepped out in the open with her religious identity. That gives you the chance to do the same. After all, you really wanted to join the Church of Scientology and given the cost of the programs you'll have to attend, she won't have any problems with it as she is spending money on her belief as well.

yes that - plus if one is an Eagles fan and another a Cowboy fan...