Author Topic: The Non-negotiable Tithe  (Read 60085 times)

smilla

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #150 on: November 17, 2015, 04:37:17 PM »
MMM is about optimizing your life choices, reducing your consumption and achieving FIRE, more or less in that order. And no doubt each forum member defines and weights these goals somewhat differently in their own lives.

As a tither (~50/50 Church/charities) of average income, I accept that FIRE will take 5-7 years longer than if I had invested that money. This is fine because FIRE is not a first priority, and in fact its only importance is in how it can help me achieve other priorities (which disciplines like tithing also help to achieve). Other tithers, pet owners, health nuts, fill-in-the-blanks, may feel similar. 

In case studies for persons who tithe with little to no consumer debt, making the OP's points that if they want to FIRE 1) they'll need to be more hard-core in cutting back (or earning more), and 2) it will still take longer than if they were investing their tithe, is important. Suggesting, as many have posted, that they consider substituting time/service for some/all of their tithe is also fine.

Where the tither has significant consumer debt, it would be reasonable to (gently) point out that, because money is fungible, they are not actually tithing at all - they are spending their full income and then borrowing to give God the "first fruits" of their labour. Maybe suggest they stop giving temporarily and go hard-core to get their debt paid off ASAP, so that they can then tithe in truth (and within their means).

After these points/suggestions are made though, move on to dissect the rest of the budget, accepting that, while the poster may want to reduce expenses, earliest FIRE is not their priority. 

boarder42

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #151 on: November 17, 2015, 04:45:32 PM »
I think the biggest issue most non tithers have with tithing on these forums. Is there is no way to optimize it. When you say I spend 10%of my salary on something that can't be optimized.

Just about everything else you spend money on can be optimized to the nth degree.

Stop using things like pets and hobbies etc to prove a point that it's the same as having cable. Guess what it isn't. The only way its the same is that it's a choice. The cable company or vet or health food store doesn't ask for 10% of your income. Each of these things are as expensive as you make them and can all be optimized. A non negotiable 10% of your income tithe is not optimizable. And that's a choice you make but its not close to the same choices others male to have pets or choose to eat healthier foods bc these can be optimized.

If your tithe was attached to your spending level vs income level then I think this would have a lot smaller impact on how people react who don't tithe.

But to each his own.

shelivesthedream

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #152 on: November 17, 2015, 04:58:48 PM »
Jlee - just seems if someone is stuck on tithe, then the next step is to get them to increase their income.  We once had a tax preparer mildly encourage us to ditch the tithe to save more money.  Had he instead said "I get this is important to you, but you must make and save more money to retire, if you want help with figuring that out, I'd be happy to help" that would have been much more impactful for us.

I agree - increasing income is generally beneficial in all respects.  I will admit that I am intrigued by people who don't have an inherent drive to increase their income, though...I don't really understand that.

I am a low earner (freelance creative) who is not actively chasing a higher income. I come to the MMM forum so that I don't need a higher income, but can live and even save on what I make now. I'm not hustling for more work or starting a side gig - I'd rather have the free time and flexibility I have now. I am very on board with not working for my whole life but I have made a conscious decision not to frontload my working hours but instead to spread them out more thinly. Mustachianism gives me security (savings and low expenses) and the ability to make choices without putting money into the equation (e.g. turning down work that I know will suck). Why would I try to increase my income when the trade off is more stress and less "me and my interests" time?

smilla

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #153 on: November 17, 2015, 05:13:19 PM »
I think the biggest issue most non tithers have with tithing on these forums. Is there is no way to optimize it. When you say I spend 10%of my salary on something that can't be optimized.

Just about everything else you spend money on can be optimized to the nth degree.

Stop using things like pets and hobbies etc to prove a point that it's the same as having cable. Guess what it isn't. The only way its the same is that it's a choice. The cable company or vet or health food store doesn't ask for 10% of your income. Each of these things are as expensive as you make them and can all be optimized. A non negotiable 10% of your income tithe is not optimizable. And that's a choice you make but its not close to the same choices others male to have pets or choose to eat healthier foods bc these can be optimized.

To clarify, I meant they might also feel that FIRE isn't the main priority, not that the cost or optimization potential was comparable.   

True, 10% of income is 10% of income, but on the plus side, my tithe will go down proportionally with my income (amount I withdraw from investment accounts) when I FIRE on ~40% of my current annual earnings.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2015, 05:15:30 PM by smilla »

Sailor Sam

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #154 on: November 17, 2015, 06:08:35 PM »
I wondered if the tithe was 10% of gross income or 10% of paycheck.

It probably depends on the church.  10% of gross would be a large blow since considerable taxes and pension come off of my paycheck.

For someone in debt, I would double check the expectations.

How to calculate a tithe is debated even within the faith community. In the end, I think the response should be left the individual. However, I've heard people in authority answer parishioners with this little probe: would you rather have net blessings, or gross blessings? Hearing it makes me pretty angry, but that's probably my own issue.

Where the tither has significant consumer debt, it would be reasonable to (gently) point out that, because money is fungible, they are not actually tithing at all - they are spending their full income and then borrowing to give God the "first fruits" of their labour. Maybe suggest they stop giving temporarily and go hard-core to get their debt paid off ASAP, so that they can then tithe in truth (and within their means).

I really like how you phrased that, smilla. Seems like a really good starting platform when someone is in huge debt, but also wants to continue donations.

JLee

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #155 on: November 17, 2015, 07:01:02 PM »
I wondered if the tithe was 10% of gross income or 10% of paycheck.

It probably depends on the church.  10% of gross would be a large blow since considerable taxes and pension come off of my paycheck.

For someone in debt, I would double check the expectations.

How to calculate a tithe is debated even within the faith community. In the end, I think the response should be left the individual. However, I've heard people in authority answer parishioners with this little probe: would you rather have net blessings, or gross blessings? Hearing it makes me pretty angry, but that's probably my own issue.

Where the tither has significant consumer debt, it would be reasonable to (gently) point out that, because money is fungible, they are not actually tithing at all - they are spending their full income and then borrowing to give God the "first fruits" of their labour. Maybe suggest they stop giving temporarily and go hard-core to get their debt paid off ASAP, so that they can then tithe in truth (and within their means).

I really like how you phrased that, smilla. Seems like a really good starting platform when someone is in huge debt, but also wants to continue donations.

I'd rather have net blessings because then all the tax is taken care of already. :D

sonjak

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #156 on: November 17, 2015, 08:28:49 PM »

I'd rather have net blessings because then all the tax is taken care of already. :D

LOL

Faraday

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #157 on: November 17, 2015, 11:02:09 PM »
Where the tither has significant consumer debt, it would be reasonable to (gently) point out that, because money is fungible, they are not actually tithing at all - they are spending their full income and then borrowing to give God the "first fruits" of their labour. Maybe suggest they stop giving temporarily and go hard-core to get their debt paid off ASAP, so that they can then tithe in truth (and within their means).

That might be the best response in the whole thread.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #158 on: November 18, 2015, 04:39:14 AM »
Where the tither has significant consumer debt, it would be reasonable to (gently) point out that, because money is fungible, they are not actually tithing at all - they are spending their full income and then borrowing to give God the "first fruits" of their labour. Maybe suggest they stop giving temporarily and go hard-core to get their debt paid off ASAP, so that they can then tithe in truth (and within their means).

That might be the best response in the whole thread.

Agreed, this captures how I feel and is phrased much better than I could have put it.

Gyosho

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #159 on: November 18, 2015, 08:34:34 AM »
One niggling doubt I have about this topic is that people are making the assumption that the income stays the same whether you tithe or don't tithe. Thus the argument for not tithing is that you will be able to save/invest what you could have tithed and therefore will have more money for spending/tithing/etc. in the future.

But what if, after tithing (or donating to charity) your income actually increases past the point of what it would have been if you had not tithed/donated? You would tithe/donate and end up with more money than you would have had if you had not tithed/donated.

Surely this is one of the religious arguments for tithing - God smiles on the giver; God's smiles = greater income.

Or to take a non-religious view - giving money to charity produces a psychological change in the giver than leads to greater awareness of connectedness to the whole and the giver's contribution to the greater good which naturally includes the giver him/herself who is therefore rewarded with increased self-esteem which leads to promotions at work.

kite

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #160 on: November 18, 2015, 08:55:03 AM »
One niggling doubt I have about this topic is that people are making the assumption that the income stays the same whether you tithe or don't tithe. Thus the argument for not tithing is that you will be able to save/invest what you could have tithed and therefore will have more money for spending/tithing/etc. in the future.

But what if, after tithing (or donating to charity) your income actually increases past the point of what it would have been if you had not tithed/donated? You would tithe/donate and end up with more money than you would have had if you had not tithed/donated.

Surely this is one of the religious arguments for tithing - God smiles on the giver; God's smiles = greater income.

Or to take a non-religious view - giving money to charity produces a psychological change in the giver than leads to greater awareness of connectedness to the whole and the giver's contribution to the greater good which naturally includes the giver him/herself who is therefore rewarded with increased self-esteem which leads to promotions at work.

God smiles = greater income is a theological trap.  It's a popular theme amongst prosperity gospel preachers, but is actually unsupported by Christian scripture. 
Just want to clarify. 
No comment about other religious traditions that include tithing.

johnny847

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #161 on: November 18, 2015, 09:28:01 AM »
One niggling doubt I have about this topic is that people are making the assumption that the income stays the same whether you tithe or don't tithe. Thus the argument for not tithing is that you will be able to save/invest what you could have tithed and therefore will have more money for spending/tithing/etc. in the future.

But what if, after tithing (or donating to charity) your income actually increases past the point of what it would have been if you had not tithed/donated? You would tithe/donate and end up with more money than you would have had if you had not tithed/donated.

Surely this is one of the religious arguments for tithing - God smiles on the giver; God's smiles = greater income.

Or to take a non-religious view - giving money to charity produces a psychological change in the giver than leads to greater awareness of connectedness to the whole and the giver's contribution to the greater good which naturally includes the giver him/herself who is therefore rewarded with increased self-esteem which leads to promotions at work.

Sounds like the prosperity gospel to me.

Milizard

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #162 on: November 18, 2015, 09:37:18 AM »
Might work if you're in sales, but how about constantly struggling and being in debt up to your eyeballs lowers your self esteem as well as your credit rating and increases stress, making it harder to get a better job or make more money.

Faraday

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #163 on: November 18, 2015, 10:18:52 AM »
But what if, after tithing (or donating to charity) your income actually increases past the point of what it would have been if you had not tithed/donated? You would tithe/donate and end up with more money than you would have had if you had not tithed/donated.

Surely this is one of the religious arguments for tithing - God smiles on the giver; God's smiles = greater income.

Or to take a non-religious view - giving money to charity produces a psychological change in the giver than leads to greater awareness of connectedness to the whole and the giver's contribution to the greater good which naturally includes the giver him/herself who is therefore rewarded with increased self-esteem which leads to promotions at work.

Sounds like the prosperity gospel to me.

Atheists who I count as dear friends regularly rant about this and they couldn't be more right.

Goldielocks

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #164 on: November 18, 2015, 10:58:20 AM »
One niggling doubt I have about this topic is that people are making the assumption that the income stays the same whether you tithe or don't tithe. Thus the argument for not tithing is that you will be able to save/invest what you could have tithed and therefore will have more money for spending/tithing/etc. in the future.

But what if, after tithing (or donating to charity) your income actually increases past the point of what it would have been if you had not tithed/donated? You would tithe/donate and end up with more money than you would have had if you had not tithed/donated.

Surely this is one of the religious arguments for tithing - God smiles on the giver; God's smiles = greater income.

Or to take a non-religious view - giving money to charity produces a psychological change in the giver than leads to greater awareness of connectedness to the whole and the giver's contribution to the greater good which naturally includes the giver him/herself who is therefore rewarded with increased self-esteem which leads to promotions at work.

I think this is way off track....

Volunteering and donating (within your means) helps tremendously to increase our own happiness with life, and also, to greatly prioritize helping others and being in the moment over "things" for ourselves.   I completely agree that everyone in debt should be giving something back, even if it is just $10, or better yet, being a volunteer soccer coach.  The renewed focus on thankfulness, others, and life beyond "things" is the prosperity that comes back to you, not money.

So, giving leads to a happier, MMM lifestyle of reduced consumerism and taking joy in everyday experiences as well as spending where we will get the most from it. 

Tithing, often portrayed as a command to give 10% (non negotiable), is not quite the same as giving generously, to your means. .

K-ice

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #165 on: November 18, 2015, 01:16:06 PM »
I think the big problem is when someone is in debt and is still paying a tithe.

I am not really versed in this, but isn't holding debt frowned upon in the bible?

Something like you are a slave if you borrow, you should pay it back etc.

And if money is lent, shouldn't it be interest free?

We are living in very different times and I think that prioritizing paying off debt over the tithe makes common sense and could also be justified by the bible.   

"Should people borrow to do the work of the Lord? If a person knowingly violates biblical principles, it’s wrong, no matter how noble the purpose. It is unlikely that God would direct anyone to violate His Word to accomplish His work. Since borrowing is not God’s best for His people, why would He endorse borrowing in order for His work to be accomplished?" ( http://www.cbn.com/finance/crownborrowingquestions.aspx?mobile=false)

These quotes were also interesting:


http://www.openbible.info/topics/borrowing_money


After all debts are paid, it makes sense to tithe,  be generous and potentially slow down your FIRE plans based on your faith.

Vertical Mode

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #166 on: November 18, 2015, 02:23:36 PM »
Where the tither has significant consumer debt, it would be reasonable to (gently) point out that, because money is fungible, they are not actually tithing at all - they are spending their full income and then borrowing to give God the "first fruits" of their labour. Maybe suggest they stop giving temporarily and go hard-core to get their debt paid off ASAP, so that they can then tithe in truth (and within their means).

That might be the best response in the whole thread.

Agreed, this captures how I feel and is phrased much better than I could have put it.

smilla, not sure what it is that you do, but I think you may have missed your calling as a diplomat :-)

Speaking someone else's language is a good way to frame the issue in a way that will resonate. Our rational brains may want it to be purely a math problem, but it seems to me that tithing is driven more by emotional/social/cultural factors. When something is deemed "untouchable", we should remember that it may not necessarily be a choice that has been derived from mathematical analysis.

I think the big problem is when someone is in debt and is still paying a tithe.

I am not really versed in this, but isn't holding debt frowned upon in the bible?

Something like you are a slave if you borrow, you should pay it back etc.

And if money is lent, shouldn't it be interest free?

We are living in very different times and I think that prioritizing paying off debt over the tithe makes common sense and could also be justified by the bible.   

"Should people borrow to do the work of the Lord? If a person knowingly violates biblical principles, it’s wrong, no matter how noble the purpose. It is unlikely that God would direct anyone to violate His Word to accomplish His work. Since borrowing is not God’s best for His people, why would He endorse borrowing in order for His work to be accomplished?" ( http://www.cbn.com/finance/crownborrowingquestions.aspx?mobile=false)

These quotes were also interesting:


http://www.openbible.info/topics/borrowing_money


After all debts are paid, it makes sense to tithe,  be generous and potentially slow down your FIRE plans based on your faith.


Somewhat relevant here because you bring up the subject of interest on debts - are you familiar with Islamic banking/Sharia-compliant banking laws? Apparently the Quran specifically prohibits charging interest (usury), so Sharia-compliant banking requires that banks essentially be structured as a giant collective profit-sharing arrangement to get around this.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_banking_and_finance

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #167 on: November 19, 2015, 03:31:58 PM »
I think the big problem is when someone is in debt and is still paying a tithe.

I am not really versed in this, but isn't holding debt frowned upon in the bible?

Something like you are a slave if you borrow, you should pay it back etc.

And if money is lent, shouldn't it be interest free?

We are living in very different times and I think that prioritizing paying off debt over the tithe makes common sense and could also be justified by the bible.   

"Should people borrow to do the work of the Lord? If a person knowingly violates biblical principles, it’s wrong, no matter how noble the purpose. It is unlikely that God would direct anyone to violate His Word to accomplish His work. Since borrowing is not God’s best for His people, why would He endorse borrowing in order for His work to be accomplished?" ( http://www.cbn.com/finance/crownborrowingquestions.aspx?mobile=false)

These quotes were also interesting:


http://www.openbible.info/topics/borrowing_money


After all debts are paid, it makes sense to tithe,  be generous and potentially slow down your FIRE plans based on your faith.

Nope, you hit the nail on the head.

The pop culture representation of the prayer "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us" is more accurately translated into the vernacular as "forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."

At least, that's what I was told at Jesus school!

You think of the whole of what religion asks you to do (or not do), that's proper living.  Any piece of it you don't do, that's sin.  The idea is that we sanctify ourselves by trying to live as close to sin-free as possible.

So someone with debt is, strictly speaking, committing a sin.  Debt really should be avoided.  We make all sorts of rationalizations for mortgages, but they are just that.  Other debts are even worse.  Jesus makes a special point of faulting both the borrower and the lender.

Seeing the tithe line item, or really any significant charity from an indebted person, you want to nudge them toward sanctifying themselves first, as reasonably as is practicable.

Probably best not to think of it as an IOU situation with respect to you and big G.  If you are in debt, then spending that money to get out of debt is WHY big G let you have that money in the first place.  Remember that, and once you are out of debt put that surplus to good use.

Alternatively, you can point out that being in debt is living in sin regardless.  So like...what's a little more sin by not tithing for a little bit.  You can't really check that spiritual box for "finances" with heavy debt.  So to the extent you are already in sin, big G doesn't equivocate.  There's no partial credit when it comes to this stuff.  You are either having an affair or not.  Treating people kindly or not.  Living a humble life or not.  Managing your finances or not.  You can't tithe and be in debt and be accomplishing much.  There is forgiveness for your failings, a perfect and wonderful forgiveness as long as you are genuinely trying, but it isn't like one good thing cancels out another bad.  Salvation is not a destination achieved once you reach a certain balance, it is a process, a path, of continual sanctification and renewal.

As for how to calculate the tithe, Reverend Lovejoy said it best: "That's off the top people! Not after taxes!"

But yea, I always had significant issues with where the church spent the money, so I'd donate time instead.  The money stuff I find my own causes, frugal charities and the like.  It's similar to my reasoning behind being willing to give a bum a sandwich but not cash.

As for the prosperity gospel, that's a load of absolute hogwash borne of a superficial understanding by some religious communities, and/or those who attend actual christian worship and don't hear what they are trying to say.

If you go to church long enough you'll see it eventually:

"Would everyone here who regularly gives as much as they can, and who have seen the Lord work in their lives to more than pay them back, please stand up?"

I hate to see it, because as a young person you simply Do. Not. Understand. The. Message.  What you hear when this happens is the prosperity gospel, but that isn't what is being said.

As you force yourself to deliberately manage your money, to live below your means, in some cases well below your means, you receive far more in benefit than you would have gotten from that money.  It isn't the "you will be financially rewarded, this is an investment."

It's the whole MMM argument.  Learn to live on less, and you'll be better off.  There is a diminishing utility to additional money, but it's hard to recognize that when you've never had any before.  The parallels between the philosophy of MMM and what Jesus advises are many.  Eschew the pursuit of things, there is no eternal satisfaction in them.

There is nobody on this forum doing MMM for awhile that can say living on a budget didn't save them more than 10%.  That's what should be taught, but the prosperity gospel is all too often what people hear instead.



Faraday

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #168 on: November 19, 2015, 04:46:57 PM »

But yea, I always had significant issues with where the church spent the money, so I'd donate time instead.  The money stuff I find my own causes, frugal charities and the like.  It's similar to my reasoning behind being willing to give a bum a sandwich but not cash.

As for the prosperity gospel, that's a load of absolute hogwash borne of a superficial understanding by some religious communities, and/or those who attend actual christian worship and don't hear what they are trying to say.

If you go to church long enough you'll see it eventually:

"Would everyone here who regularly gives as much as they can, and who have seen the Lord work in their lives to more than pay them back, please stand up?"

I hate to see it, because as a young person you simply Do. Not. Understand. The. Message.  What you hear when this happens is the prosperity gospel, but that isn't what is being said.

As you force yourself to deliberately manage your money, to live below your means, in some cases well below your means, you receive far more in benefit than you would have gotten from that money.  It isn't the "you will be financially rewarded, this is an investment."

It's the whole MMM argument.  Learn to live on less, and you'll be better off.  There is a diminishing utility to additional money, but it's hard to recognize that when you've never had any before.  The parallels between the philosophy of MMM and what Jesus advises are many.  Eschew the pursuit of things, there is no eternal satisfaction in them.

There is nobody on this forum doing MMM for awhile that can say living on a budget didn't save them more than 10%.  That's what should be taught, but the prosperity gospel is all too often what people hear instead.

Damn TOYM, preach it! I'll say amen!

HAPPYINAZ

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #169 on: November 24, 2015, 12:11:40 PM »
MMM is about optimizing your life choices, reducing your consumption and achieving FIRE, more or less in that order. And no doubt each forum member defines and weights these goals somewhat differently in their own lives.

As a tither (~50/50 Church/charities) of average income, I accept that FIRE will take 5-7 years longer than if I had invested that money. This is fine because FIRE is not a first priority, and in fact its only importance is in how it can help me achieve other priorities (which disciplines like tithing also help to achieve). Other tithers, pet owners, health nuts, fill-in-the-blanks, may feel similar. 

In case studies for persons who tithe with little to no consumer debt, making the OP's points that if they want to FIRE 1) they'll need to be more hard-core in cutting back (or earning more), and 2) it will still take longer than if they were investing their tithe, is important. Suggesting, as many have posted, that they consider substituting time/service for some/all of their tithe is also fine.

Where the tither has significant consumer debt, it would be reasonable to (gently) point out that, because money is fungible, they are not actually tithing at all - they are spending their full income and then borrowing to give God the "first fruits" of their labour. Maybe suggest they stop giving temporarily and go hard-core to get their debt paid off ASAP, so that they can then tithe in truth (and within their means).

After these points/suggestions are made though, move on to dissect the rest of the budget, accepting that, while the poster may want to reduce expenses, earliest FIRE is not their priority.


I really like what you said (the part in Bold).  I think that is a good way to handle it. 

Captain and Mrs Slow

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #170 on: February 20, 2017, 04:59:15 AM »
I’m reviving this old thread as I just joined a new church (expat moving every few years) and the wife and I are discussing how much to give. Due to the move we’re in a bit of a short term cash flow crunch and have limited our “tithe” to 3%. Right now the church is running a “test the tenth*” campaign to encourage people to give. Normally I'd wait but we both feel it's the right time. Along those lines Noticed here that people here see “tithing” or “giving” as a zero sum game, I lose you win, I win you lose. I prefer to see tithing as reflecting a life of generosity rather than one of greed!

To me tithing reflects discipline and the reason we decided to up it now. I remember as a child my Dad typing out post-dated cheques to give to the church and I asked him why. He said “so they can budget”. Whenever we move to a new church (expats so this happens regularly) I always make the point of talking “finances” with people and invariability those who “tithe” are those you assume could least afford it. Families with a SAHM living a very middle class lifestyle. Inspite or perhaps because of many faithfully give 10%. If someone is saying they can’t afford to tithe due to debt it usually (but not always) reflects but a lack of financial discipline not generosity.

There is an intangible to tithing that I can’t really explain. We tithed our way out of a huge debt hole (some 75,000€ of consumer debt). Started off at 5€ a week and keep increasing it till over a year or so we reached 10%.
I’m leaning strongly towards taking the challenge so every so often I’ll post an update of what choices and trades off we made


*a lot of churches teach tithing on the gross but I’ve never agreed. I give 10% of whatever comes in the account.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 05:08:55 AM by Captain and Mrs Slow »

arebelspy

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #171 on: February 20, 2017, 07:46:19 AM »
*a lot of churches teach tithing on the gross but I’ve never agreed. I give 10% of whatever comes in the account.

Definitely max that 401k then. Saves you on taxes AND tithes.  ;)

(This was tongue in cheek, if it wasn't obvious.)

I don't see tithing as a zero sum game, I see it as a win for the church, loss for other charities who could use it, especially the poor. Even if some of it goes to the poor, a lot won't.
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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #172 on: February 20, 2017, 08:17:56 AM »
*a lot of churches teach tithing on the gross but I’ve never agreed. I give 10% of whatever comes in the account.

Definitely max that 401k then. Saves you on taxes AND tithes.  ;)

(This was tongue in cheek, if it wasn't obvious.)

I don't see tithing as a zero sum game, I see it as a win for the church, loss for other charities who could use it, especially the poor. Even if some of it goes to the poor, a lot won't.

ARS, for once I find myself in disagreement with you.  First off, I think we are in agreement that charitable acts are one of the most important things a person can do, no matter the intended end state.  If it helps make the world better for someone else, it's a good thing.  To believers the church is a major part of their lives.  Their tithes go into the running of the church, evangelical pursuits of the church, and in the case of my church, community outreach programs.  Our church is truly a community church providing many services from foodbank and weekend lunch programs for kids to providing a safe, nurturing environment for kids to play sports, have scout meetings, and youth activities, AA and other support groups and adult education tutoring.   Of course the primary mission of these activities is spreading the word, but we all share in a common concern for our community and its residents.  Our tithes fund these activities.  Having said that, I only give five percent as opposed to ten.  that is the amount that fits into my budget. For believers Tithing is not a matter of salvation or a steadfast rule. Its being faithful to what the bible teaches.  Tithing does affect the lives of the less fortunate and transcends the immediate needs of the church. 

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #173 on: February 20, 2017, 08:51:38 AM »
*a lot of churches teach tithing on the gross but I’ve never agreed. I give 10% of whatever comes in the account.

Definitely max that 401k then. Saves you on taxes AND tithes.  ;)

(This was tongue in cheek, if it wasn't obvious.)

I don't see tithing as a zero sum game, I see it as a win for the church, loss for other charities who could use it, especially the poor. Even if some of it goes to the poor, a lot won't.

ARS, for once I find myself in disagreement with you.  First off, I think we are in agreement that charitable acts are one of the most important things a person can do, no matter the intended end state.  If it helps make the world better for someone else, it's a good thing.  To believers the church is a major part of their lives.  Their tithes go into the running of the church, evangelical pursuits of the church, and in the case of my church, community outreach programs.  Our church is truly a community church providing many services from foodbank and weekend lunch programs for kids to providing a safe, nurturing environment for kids to play sports, have scout meetings, and youth activities, AA and other support groups and adult education tutoring.   Of course the primary mission of these activities is spreading the word, but we all share in a common concern for our community and its residents.  Our tithes fund these activities.  Having said that, I only give five percent as opposed to ten.  that is the amount that fits into my budget. For believers Tithing is not a matter of salvation or a steadfast rule. Its being faithful to what the bible teaches.  Tithing does affect the lives of the less fortunate and transcends the immediate needs of the church.

(I'm not religious, but an example from my dad, who was).
I believe my dad gave 10% (probably more, actually) of net.  BUT.... he would also give 10% (probably more) when he took his RMDs from his retirement plan.  And he gave 10% off the top in his will.  It could still work this way.

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #174 on: February 20, 2017, 09:38:58 AM »
I’m reviving this old thread as I just joined a new church (expat moving every few years) and the wife and I are discussing how much to give. Due to the move we’re in a bit of a short term cash flow crunch and have limited our “tithe” to 3%. Right now the church is running a “test the tenth*” campaign to encourage people to give. Normally I'd wait but we both feel it's the right time. Along those lines Noticed here that people here see “tithing” or “giving” as a zero sum game, I lose you win, I win you lose. I prefer to see tithing as reflecting a life of generosity rather than one of greed!

To me tithing reflects discipline and the reason we decided to up it now. I remember as a child my Dad typing out post-dated cheques to give to the church and I asked him why. He said “so they can budget”. Whenever we move to a new church (expats so this happens regularly) I always make the point of talking “finances” with people and invariability those who “tithe” are those you assume could least afford it. Families with a SAHM living a very middle class lifestyle. Inspite or perhaps because of many faithfully give 10%. If someone is saying they can’t afford to tithe due to debt it usually (but not always) reflects but a lack of financial discipline not generosity.

There is an intangible to tithing that I can’t really explain. We tithed our way out of a huge debt hole (some 75,000€ of consumer debt). Started off at 5€ a week and keep increasing it till over a year or so we reached 10%.
I’m leaning strongly towards taking the challenge so every so often I’ll post an update of what choices and trades off we made


*a lot of churches teach tithing on the gross but I’ve never agreed. I give 10% of whatever comes in the account.

This thread piqued my interest because it is an area that I felt was ignored a lot in the MMM world, probably because MMM only spoke of it as something he never understood.

We do tithe 10% of what comes in.  If I get an unexpected bonus, 10% goes to our church before I assign it to anything else in my YNAB account.  I would agree that other than my mortgage, tithing is the single largest line item in our budget.  For us it is absolutely a matter of faith and following biblical teaching on the subject.  Our church is a first century evangelical church so we are very focused on what the bible tells us on any topic.  My first wife was not a believer so trying to tithe then was not something I did because the arguments were too much.  After my divorce and then getting married to a believer the tithe was one of the first things we did several years ago and is the first time in my life I have truly tithed.

It was difficult at first and therefore why I feel it is truly a matter of faith.  I recently had a job situation where I was uncertain about what would happen, it I would have a job, etc. and my wife and I discussed what to do with the tithe and in the end decided it was a sign of our faith in God to keep giving even with the uncertainty.  I know if we had asked our pastors that would have been the teaching as well, and I am comfortable with that because I can clearly see for myself the passages in scripture that teach this behavior regardless of the poverty level (the parable of the poor beggar giving all she had (yes that was not strictly a tithe, but it illustrated the concept) versus the religious leaders giving for show as a prime example).  Our hardship would not have immediately been as harsh as those examples, but it did create a different mindset, feeling and faith in God providing.  Since our church is not prosperity gospel, we understood that it may have not been monetary provision.  Everything worked out better than we could have imagined, and while we look at it as God's provision we are careful not to get into the false teaching that the prosperity gospel can lead one down.  We truly view our position as stewards of what it God's so therefore giving 10% back to Him of what is already His is very easy to maintain. 

I think for those where it is non-negotiable, this is what may drive them.  It certainly is the belief that drives us.  I do think it is critical to couple this with prudence is locating a true Bible believing church and not the majority of churches that are programatically driven or more obviously made to enrich the pastors such as mega churches like Lakewood and Willow Creek.  Our church budget is totally transparent and is very clearly focused on Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world in that order as taught in Acts 1:8.  We also have clear teaching that volunteer work is not acceptable as a replacement for giving 10% of your income.  There were some churches I had attended that left that ambiguous and at times I fell into that trap, thinking that it was OK.  Our church also does not collect any public offerings.  Giving is done in collection boxes near the entrances to the church or can now be done online.  This removes the "giving for show" that many people get trapped into at church with the collection plate. 

After having tithed for many years now, for us it would be a non-negotiable but we do responsibly include it in our budget.  Once I stepped away from the wordly view that it was somehow taking money from myself or my family and understanding what its purpose truly was, it was not longer a burden.   

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #175 on: February 20, 2017, 10:23:54 AM »
For people who tithe, this is more fundamental than paying other bills, more fundamental than retirement, etc.  If the decision is being made with open eyes, then it makes no sense to try to talk someone down from something that is honestly part of their faith.  I candidly don't understand it, just as I don't understand most things about religion, but that doesn't mean I don't respect it a great deal.  I could afford to give 10% of my net or gross income to charity every year, but I won't, because it's not a sacrifice I'm willing to make while I'm still on the path to FI; I have noting but respect for people who choose to make that sacrifice.

I  do hope though that everyone who tithes does their homework on how the money is actually being spent.  Of course, many people don't do that homework, and there are a lot of crappy churches out there (just like there are crappy charities).

Prosperity gospel is another kettle of fish, and the prosperity gospel "pastors" that play on ignorant peoples' hopes and gullibility should be thrown in jail.

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #176 on: February 20, 2017, 10:33:08 AM »
I was religious most of my life. The churches I belonged to encouraged a generous spirit but did not require a tithe. Some asked for budgeting purposes that we estimate at the beginning of the fiscal year how much we would be donating to which funds (there were general church funds, disaster relief funds, food pantry/soup kitchen funds, etc.). Even at my most poor, I found money and time to give to charity, the church, and friends and strangers in need. Sometimes that meant I ate less. I never went into debt over it, though; I don't think you can give what you don't have. I do think you can give up extravagances and even occasional necessities (say, a meal) to help someone else. Whenever I notice my spending on myself creeping up, I increase my charitable giving in kind. My spending on myself immediately decreases as I realize how much more I value helping others over getting stuff that isn't necessary for myself.

Since becoming an atheist, not much has changed: charitable giving of time and money is still incredibly important to me and makes up a decent chunk of my spending. I also still observe Lent, though in a non-religious, character-building way. I spend less time on charitable pursuits only because my disability prohibits the hours of standing and walking that usually entails.

This is a rambly way to say that for me, both planned and incidental charitable giving ARE a non-negotiable. I would give up internet, all subscription services (Netflix and the like), new clothes, fancy veggies, and just about any other first world comfort before giving that up. The fact that I CAN give things up if I choose means I have something to spare for those less fortunate. Lately I've been thinking of creating a scholarship fund for low-income students.


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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #177 on: February 20, 2017, 12:41:08 PM »
Just a question, not a comment for or against tithing.

Tithing discussions always seem to be about money.  But what about time? 

I have always given some to charities.  But more than money, I have given time.  Even when I was working full time, married with a husband and small child and a long commute, I volunteered.  Now that I have more time I donate more time.  If tithing is seen as giving to the community and those in need, my time donations were worth more than my money donations.  They certainly made more of an impact.

Thoughts?

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #178 on: February 20, 2017, 01:44:52 PM »
Just a question, not a comment for or against tithing.

Tithing discussions always seem to be about money.  But what about time? 

I have always given some to charities.  But more than money, I have given time.  Even when I was working full time, married with a husband and small child and a long commute, I volunteered.  Now that I have more time I donate more time.  If tithing is seen as giving to the community and those in need, my time donations were worth more than my money donations.  They certainly made more of an impact.

Thoughts?

Varies from church to church.  Stricter interpretations of the text don't permit this kind of time-for-money swapping--you're expected to donate both (as someone above mentioned).

arebelspy

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #179 on: February 20, 2017, 02:36:02 PM »
*a lot of churches teach tithing on the gross but I’ve never agreed. I give 10% of whatever comes in the account.

Definitely max that 401k then. Saves you on taxes AND tithes.  ;)

(This was tongue in cheek, if it wasn't obvious.)

I don't see tithing as a zero sum game, I see it as a win for the church, loss for other charities who could use it, especially the poor. Even if some of it goes to the poor, a lot won't.

ARS, for once I find myself in disagreement with you.  First off, I think we are in agreement that charitable acts are one of the most important things a person can do, no matter the intended end state.  If it helps make the world better for someone else, it's a good thing.  To believers the church is a major part of their lives.  Their tithes go into the running of the church, evangelical pursuits of the church, and in the case of my church, community outreach programs.  Our church is truly a community church providing many services from foodbank and weekend lunch programs for kids to providing a safe, nurturing environment for kids to play sports, have scout meetings, and youth activities, AA and other support groups and adult education tutoring.   Of course the primary mission of these activities is spreading the word, but we all share in a common concern for our community and its residents.  Our tithes fund these activities.  Having said that, I only give five percent as opposed to ten.  that is the amount that fits into my budget. For believers Tithing is not a matter of salvation or a steadfast rule. Its being faithful to what the bible teaches.  Tithing does affect the lives of the less fortunate and transcends the immediate needs of the church.
And donating to your local social club could have those benefits as well.

I'd still feel bad for the people living in poverty around the world.

It's about where it's going, to me. Highest and best use.  Sucking up a bunch of money intended for charity for a very pretty building, for example, I feel is immoral.  (Luckily most tithed money is not intended for charity, beyond the church itself, I guess?)

Some don't do this. Most do.

I'd consider it on the same level of immoral as, say, donating to the local YMCA, even if they provided free youth swimming classes and summer BBQs for the community.  That money could literally save lives.

20% of children living in poverty die before the age of 5.

It's not like "you're evil" immoral but more like "you're negligent" immoral.

Obviously your opinion will differ, and that's fine. I don't expect we'll change each other's minds. I hold you, or other people who give money to their church instead of directly to the poor, no ill-will. It's just a big missed opportunity to do real good, IMO (or at least maximize the good, as some money may go to the poor while trying to convert them, so a little good may be done).
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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #180 on: February 20, 2017, 06:47:31 PM »
Just a question, not a comment for or against tithing.

Tithing discussions always seem to be about money.  But what about time? 

I have always given some to charities.  But more than money, I have given time.  Even when I was working full time, married with a husband and small child and a long commute, I volunteered.  Now that I have more time I donate more time.  If tithing is seen as giving to the community and those in need, my time donations were worth more than my money donations.  They certainly made more of an impact.

Thoughts?

From the church perspective, very few people actually give 10%. And you can't pay bills with people's donated time. Can you give both? Most church members and employees do. It's not really an either/or proposition

No one thinks about the "impact" paying the heating bill or keeping the doors open or keeping the parking lot plowed have, and it can feel less satisfying. But maybe add up some of those intangibles and list all the services the church provides, and it may be easier and more fulfilling to give both :)

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #181 on: February 20, 2017, 07:00:48 PM »
So, I'm not religious (actually I'm anti-religious) but I used to be a fundie. So I can at least try to help you understand.

Some people believe the man in the sky is a real, actual thing. Like, something that REALLY EXISTS. He says to pay ten percent, under certain interpretations of their holy book, which they believe LITERALLY are the infallible words of their god. So, the cold economic calculation is, on the one hand, risk pissing off a being so powerful that it could literally CREATE THE UNIVERSE, or on the other hand retire a bit later.

Under these initial assumptions, the non-negotiable tithe makes sense. If you want to dissuade something of making it, you'll have better luck attacking their religious beliefs directly. Of course, we all know how well that tends to work.

MOD EDIT: Let's not go there, please. My bad. Edited to removing the offending excess.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 09:49:50 AM by obstinate »

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #182 on: February 21, 2017, 08:07:34 AM »

From the church perspective, very few people actually give 10%. And you can't pay bills with people's donated time. Can you give both? Most church members and employees do. It's not really an either/or proposition

No one thinks about the "impact" paying the heating bill or keeping the doors open or keeping the parking lot plowed have, and it can feel less satisfying. But maybe add up some of those intangibles and list all the services the church provides, and it may be easier and more fulfilling to give both :)

Sure you can.
option 1: pay the cleaning crew and yard crew to maintain the look of the church every week. 
option 2: church members do it voluntarily

Option 2 effectively pays the bills with donated time.  Repeat this exercise for "the church's web site" and various other things deemed necessary.

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #183 on: February 21, 2017, 08:42:31 AM »
I would also appreciate any links to budgets of yore in which the tithe does work. Is it just in the budgets of those with higher incomes in which the tithe doesn't run counter to FIRE? Or have those families with more modest incomes managed to make it work? In my experience, I haven't seen this as explicitly as I would like.

I haven't read the whole thread, but here's a link to a tithing family that I know personally. They are a one-income family with 13 kids, and until recently their income was less than $50k, in a very HCOL area. They are on track not quite for RE, but retiring at 62 after 13 years of income over $50k.
http://www.madfientist.com/how-to-retire-early-with-13-kids/

If they can retire in 13 years with 13 kids on $100k, I have to believe it's possible to retire early on a smaller salary with only 2-3 kids.

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #184 on: February 21, 2017, 08:53:43 AM »
I would also appreciate any links to budgets of yore in which the tithe does work. Is it just in the budgets of those with higher incomes in which the tithe doesn't run counter to FIRE? Or have those families with more modest incomes managed to make it work? In my experience, I haven't seen this as explicitly as I would like.

I haven't read the whole thread, but here's a link to a tithing family that I know personally. They are a one-income family with 13 kids, and until recently their income was less than $50k, in a very HCOL area. They are on track not quite for RE, but retiring at 62 after 13 years of income over $50k.
http://www.madfientist.com/how-to-retire-early-with-13-kids/

If they can retire in 13 years with 13 kids on $100k, I have to believe it's possible to retire early on a smaller salary with only 2-3 kids.

They should thank their fellow taxpayers ;)

Impressive non the less.

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #185 on: February 21, 2017, 08:58:55 AM »
Quote
The MMM answer to the serial tither is to demand the biblical passage that requires the 10% in cold hard cash.  The MMM'er has the no-brainer answer to the tithing expense: time/services. 

Malachi 3:10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Proverbs 3:9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;

Genesis 28:20-22 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”

That's pretty close to cold hard cash.  Those verses and others like them aren't suggesting they opt out with volunteering.  If you can't give up 10% of your possessions, perhaps your trust in your possessions is misplaced.

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #186 on: February 21, 2017, 09:09:53 AM »
This is an interesting thread! Can't believe I missed it. My personal situation is that I'm "tithing" on a somewhat smaller income (grad student) but only 1/4 of that tithe is going to my chuch. I like the idea that someone mentioned about Sikh's having a similar perspective - giving away 10%, but not necessarily all to their church.

An earlier post I read said that only the OT mentions tithe and the NT doesn't. Wrong. It was important enough that Jesus commented on it - implying that it wasn't the most important thing, but that it should still be done regardless. This and this passage from Malachi have led me to conclude that tithe is non-negotiable given a straightforward reading of the words. But there must certainly have been some things different back then, such as the nature of people's income and the differences between the Temple back then and churches today.

Thinking about these differences led me to donate only partially to my church - some of their spending seems too wasteful. I wish I had a system like some other posters' where every member gets to vote on every line item. But I can definitely see how most churches wouldn't be cool with that ("just trust your leaders" etc). So I've arrived at the happy medium of giving most of my tithe to effective charities overseas.

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #187 on: February 21, 2017, 09:24:56 AM »
What a wonderful discussion. Thanks to all for contributing. I need to take a look at what I'm giving to charity to try and get my % up.

obstinate

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #188 on: February 21, 2017, 09:45:37 AM »
Genesis 28:20-22 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”

That's pretty close to cold hard cash.  Those verses and others like them aren't suggesting they opt out with volunteering.  If you can't give up 10% of your possessions, perhaps your trust in your possessions is misplaced.
Ah, I love biblical interpretation. Why would Jacob's promise to god mandate everyone else promise the same amount? Because we decided it did and then did post-hoc rationalization. Other supportable perspectives:
  • The parable of the last penny suggests that no fixed percentage is sufficient. You must give everything.
  • Jesus' statements on the rich (easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man enter the kingdom of God) suggest that you might want to give enough such that you are no longer rich.

Vanguards and Lentils

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #189 on: February 21, 2017, 10:08:22 AM »
Genesis 28:20-22 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”

That's pretty close to cold hard cash.  Those verses and others like them aren't suggesting they opt out with volunteering.  If you can't give up 10% of your possessions, perhaps your trust in your possessions is misplaced.
Ah, I love biblical interpretation. Why would Jacob's promise to god mandate everyone else promise the same amount? Because we decided it did and then did post-hoc rationalization. Other supportable perspectives:
  • The parable of the last penny suggests that no fixed percentage is sufficient. You must give everything.
  • Jesus' statements on the rich (easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man enter the kingdom of God) suggest that you might want to give enough such that you are no longer rich.

All three of these positions seem weak to be. The Jacob passage at most, suggests we should follow his example, but it is certainly not any kind of injunction. The same thing with the lady giving her two coins (actually not a parable unless I'm thinking if a different story).

Using the passing through the eye of the needle passage is the weakest, however since it is again not an injunction to not be rich, and also the sentences IMMEDIATELY following say that saving is the work of God, thus possible (Matthew 19).

I am not for logical contortions of any kind; the verses I referenced above are straightforward injunctions (Malachi 3 and Matthew 20).

obstinate

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #190 on: February 21, 2017, 10:12:14 AM »
All three of these positions seem weak to be.
Well, to me too. I'm not religious.
Using the passing through the eye of the needle passage is the weakest, however since it is again not an injunction to not be rich, and also the sentences IMMEDIATELY following say that saving is the work of God, thus possible (Matthew 19).
I believe the implication was that it was unlikely. Him observing that anything is possible does not mean that it's equally likely to non-wealthy people entering the kingdom of god.

Debonair

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #191 on: February 21, 2017, 10:24:58 AM »
Is 10% normal for Christians?

Or is that Abrahamic Religions?


It makes the burning money for the ancestors or gods seem cheap.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 10:28:32 AM by Debonair »

caracarn

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #192 on: February 21, 2017, 01:08:00 PM »
Is 10% normal for Christians?

Or is that Abrahamic Religions?


It makes the burning money for the ancestors or gods seem cheap.

10% is normal for Christians as the target.  I agree few get there.  Why is going to get you as many different opinions as you have answers, so not providing mine, as I could only answer what our excuse was before we got there.

My response to those who are trying to interpret above in creative ways is that there are other passages that indicate that all scripture is profitable for learning and should be used to direct our own actions.  Hence Jacob giving 10% is not just an agreement between God and Jacob.   It is an agreement between all of us and God.  You can chose to not believe that, but those who tithe look at it through that understanding.

redbird

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #193 on: February 21, 2017, 01:30:14 PM »
I see tithing and giving to charity the same way - if you are in debt (with the exception of mortgage and possibly car loan, though I really dislike the latter), then I don't think you can afford to give money. That is my biggest issue with case studies that spell out that tithing is non-negotiable. Some of these case studies have people with massive debt, yet they're giving away 10%+ of their income every month. That just boggles my mind.

If you have zero debt and/or very little debt and want to tithe and/or give to charity, have at it. It's your life and what makes you happy. Especially if you have zero debt and have the higher income levels that the majority of these forum members tend to have - you probably don't even need all of that money for you personally anyway, so it might give you happiness to help others.

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #194 on: February 21, 2017, 02:13:02 PM »
I'm a Unitarian Universalist and a board member at my local Fellowship (church).  UUs are asked to pledge (not specifically to tithe); there are recommendations on how much to give (based on household income), but the recommendations fall below the 10% tithe requirement. 

As a UU board member, we (the board) are responsible for creating a yearly budget and adjusting it as needed throughout the year.  The board discusses each and every line item, and the Fellowship members have a voice in creating the budget and ultimately in voting on the budget.

While it is always our goal as a Fellowship to support charities and our local communities, the reality is that much of the money goes to actually paying the bills.  We employ a full time minister and 2 part time employees.  We have a mortgage on our sanctuary (our only debt), and maintain 2 buildings, a playground/garden, and parking lot.  We have electric bills, and heating bills, and water bills, and termite inspection bills, among many other costs associated with maintaining property and an ongoing, vibrant community.

We pull on volunteers to do as much work as possible to cut costs, but it still takes actual money to function.

I have to shake my head when someone complains about giving to their church.  Do folks think the pews and hymnals just magically fall from Heaven?  Do folks think the gas company is providing heat out of the goodness of their hearts?  Do folks think their minister could/would work 7 days a week for the church without due compensation?

If someone knows a way to run a church so 100% of collected funds could go directly to charities, please PM me ASAP!


arebelspy

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #195 on: February 22, 2017, 05:07:05 PM »


?
If someone knows a way to run a church so 100% of collected funds could go directly to charities, please PM me ASAP!

Well, you could just give all of the money donated, and disband the church part. Since I don't think you'll like that solution because you think the church provides benefits to its members (though not others in need), here's another idea.

Collect dues to be a part of the club church. Don't call it charity.

Collect charity, and give 100% of it.
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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #196 on: February 22, 2017, 05:29:53 PM »
Ha, ARS, I also believe in charitable giving and have been suspicious of religion, but that suggestion is so a no go! I have to say I've been amazed at the community and sense of healing at the episcopal church I've started attending. I think we can all give to an organization that nurtures us and also give to charity.


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arebelspy

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #197 on: February 22, 2017, 05:32:31 PM »
Ha, ARS, I also believe in charitable giving and have been suspicious of religion, but that suggestion is so a no go! I have to say I've been amazed at the community and sense of healing at the episcopal church I've started attending. I think we can all give to an organization that nurtures us and also give to charity.


Um, did you read my second suggestion?  How is that incompatible with what you're saying?  In fact, it literally suggests what your last sentence says. :)
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Much Fishing to Do

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #198 on: February 22, 2017, 05:49:38 PM »
I don't see how this is much different in effect than me be non-negotiable on paying taxes (which I am, less because of a moral belief and more because jail sucks).  Taxes cost me more than 10%.  To say me paying my taxes then makes cutting too tough or early retirement impossible is a cop out.

obstinate

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #199 on: February 22, 2017, 07:04:37 PM »
I don't see how this is much different in effect than me be non-negotiable on paying taxes (which I am, less because of a moral belief and more because jail sucks).  Taxes cost me more than 10%.  To say me paying my taxes then makes cutting too tough or early retirement impossible is a cop out.
Taxes are not optional -- in the sense that there is a physical authority that will compel you to pay them. They are quite different from tithes in that regard.