Author Topic: The Non-negotiable Tithe  (Read 56057 times)

Davids

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #50 on: November 16, 2015, 11:09:36 AM »
My take is i won't criticise people who tithe. If you feel you have to do it that is your choice and when i respond to a post helping to cut spending i don't mention cut tithe.

Faraday

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #51 on: November 16, 2015, 11:13:29 AM »
It's a fair cop, ARS. I may be expecting The Proletariat to back me on this. More accurately:

I expect them to agree and get rid of it. That's why I don't comment in case studies any more. I believe everything must be open to question, always. Otherwise, you're not being truly open minded.

What proletariat? We're all bourgeois (or at least wannabe bourgeois) here...

Ironically, that's part of why cable TV is objectionable: it is itself for the proles -- just half of the modern bread and circuses, along with HFCS.

(Note: that came out a lot more elitist than it really was. In reality, mustachianism is a counterexample to Marxist theory, or at least an exception to it.)

+1! Bwahahah!

RetiredAt63

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #52 on: November 16, 2015, 11:14:56 AM »
Tithing goes back quite a bit further than the Middle Ages, my friend.
Sure, tithes are all over the place, depending on what geographical area and what time period you look at.  That is why I identified my example.  I chose England since so many American churches have their origins there.  Does anyone who is not a historian really have a clue about the whole history of tithing in western society?  Is there some place and time that you think is a better example?  Feel free to post it.  Just producing a negative is not helpful.

My main point was that the historical reasons for tithing are outdated in modern Western society, but some people still adhere to them in a very rigid fashion.  Sure I made an offering when I was a more regular church-goer, but no-one ever suggested any set amount or %.  Maybe I am a bit more cynical since I am Anglican (American Episcopalian).  Knowing your church was founded because back in the day the king had an argument with the pope does tend to make one a bit more, not cynical, but pragmatic about churches/organized religion?

I also take issue with the concept that charity (including tithing) has to be money.  My contributions to society are volunteer work more than money.  But I have seen suggestions in case studies that the OP donate more time and less money, and that is rejected.  Even historically some/most of the tithe, both to lord and church, was in time/labour, not money.  After all, a poor peasant could still work in the lord's or church's fields, but have nothing of value to tithe beyond that labour.

And it just struck me - in a society that thinks hiring is by merit, the idea of someone getting a job because there was a connection with their church is actually very off-putting.  Basically it is the same as nepotism or cronyism.


I look at tithes as a historical relic.  Back in the day (I am thinking England during the Middle Ages) 10% went to the lord and 10% went to the church - that is where the tithe comes from.  But the church housed travelers, provided education and medical care, and supported those in need.  The local lord also provided services in return.

In Canada and Australia, etc., the state has taken over not only the job of the lord (maintains roads, provides security, etc.) but most of the roles of the church (education, medical care, welfare, etc.) And the church has dropped some of its other jobs - can I get housing in a nunnery when I travel?  Or from any other religious institution?   


Tithing goes back quite a bit further than the Middle Ages, my friend.

RetiredAt63

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #53 on: November 16, 2015, 11:16:43 AM »
What do hydrofluorocarbons have to do with anything?

Ironically, that's part of why cable TV is objectionable: it is itself for the proles -- just half of the modern bread and circuses, along with HFCS.

Faraday

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #54 on: November 16, 2015, 11:21:18 AM »
What do hydrofluorocarbons have to do with anything?

Ironically, that's part of why cable TV is objectionable: it is itself for the proles -- just half of the modern bread and circuses, along with HFCS.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Quote
And it just struck me - in a society that thinks hiring is by merit, the idea of someone getting a job because there was a connection with their church is actually very off-putting.  Basically it is the same as nepotism or cronyism.

Strongly agreed. That freaked me out. Plus there's the added implication that the tithe is the price of admission to the Cool Kidz Club.  But all that's tangential to the thread, so I stayed chill. Good to know that's what I'm up against.

RetiredAt63

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #55 on: November 16, 2015, 11:32:31 AM »
HFCS - thank you.  I was trying to tie it to Cable and failing, googling HFCS instead of HFC gets me that.  Sugar - the other addictive white crystal.  (The CCS club - caffeine, cocaine and sugar).

Yes, the Kool Kidz Klub - I haven't seen this happen here more than any hiring influenced by a person's social network.  But some of the examples I have seen on the Forums were way more than that.  Equally icky were assumptions that you would preferentially hire a plumber/electrician etc. from your church (so a wonderful plumber who was not in your church would not be hired), and that they would give you preferential rates.  So you are a roofer, I am not in your church, no discount?  And if most of your clients are in your church, you end up losing a lot of income?

Sorry this got a bit off topic, but it is the whole "must tithe 10% in actual money" mind set that is being examined here, so why not?

What do hydrofluorocarbons have to do with anything?
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Quote
And it just struck me - in a society that thinks hiring is by merit, the idea of someone getting a job because there was a connection with their church is actually very off-putting.  Basically it is the same as nepotism or cronyism.

Strongly agreed. That freaked me out. Plus there's the added implication that the tithe is the price of admission to the Cool Kidz Club.  But all that's tangential to the thread, so I stayed chill. Good to know that's what I'm up against.

reader2580

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #56 on: November 16, 2015, 11:38:05 AM »
Certainly, churches would either be flush with cash or spend a lot on charity if every family gave 10%.  The reality for many churches is a lot of families will give much less than 10%.  There will also be a number who don't give anything at all.  Very few churches check your membership at the door and they generally welcome everyone.  There are some of the new non-denominational mega churches that are obviously doing quite well when they can build buildings to seat 3,500 for a service.  There are a number of churchgoers that never actually sign up with the church because they don't want to be solicited for donations.

My parent's religion asks parishioners to donate 5% to the church and 5% to other charity.  I don't know how many parents decide how much to give now that they are retired.

RetiredAt63

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #57 on: November 16, 2015, 11:44:25 AM »
@Reader2580.  Sure, most churches are not hard-core about tithes, which gets me to wondering about the case-study posters who are.  Are their churches really that fussy?  Are they being more doctrinaire than their church?  In a case study those are questions worth asking.  And the OPs should be able to answer them, or at least start asking themselves those questions.

Given that some posters here have said their churches make their budgets public and everyone can look at them, it seems to me that anyone who is committed to tithing should also be getting to see exactly where their church's money goes.  People object to taxes being spent in ways they don't like - but what if your church is spending money in ways you do not like?  If we are examining all our choices here, where our charitable donations (religious or secular) are going is worth looking at as well.

Jack

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #58 on: November 16, 2015, 11:49:19 AM »
HFCS - thank you.  I was trying to tie it to Cable and failing, googling HFCS instead of HFC gets me that.  Sugar - the other addictive white crystal.  (The CCS club - caffeine, cocaine and sugar).
What do hydrofluorocarbons have to do with anything?
High Fructose Corn Syrup

Eh, why not both? Some folks here object to air conditioning too! ; )

(But the biggest sin is top-posting!)

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #59 on: November 16, 2015, 11:59:45 AM »
Something to consider on the whole tithing front:  It may very well be the thing that brought them to the boards in the first place.

For many Christians, especially your southern baptist variety, talking about finances is rude.  About the only time you'll ever hear it discussed as you grow up is in the context of tithing.  Tithing is how responsible budgeting and personal finance management are introduced within the culture as necessary moral imperatives.  In order to meet your obligation you must be deliberate in how you spend money.  Younger/struggling christian people will wail at their elders, "how can I possibly give 10%?  I can't afford that!"

And the elders respond, "How much do you give now?  Is it 9%?, Is it 1%?  No, it's 0, because you haven't made it your priority to manage yourself to meet this obligation.  You spend too much, and save too little.  Get your own house in order before you voice doubts upon the commands of the Lord."

There is a direct line between a conversation about how hard it would be to tithe and my own path to my current 65% savings rate.

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.  Volunteering at the church only one day a week more than meets your tithe obligation (1/7 > 1/10).  Any pastor/priest that denies this denies the word of God.  Providing some necessary service for the church (bookkeeping, janitorial, landscaping, project management, cooking, decorating, music) can also go a long way towards meeting the obligation with no cash outlays.

If someone insists they have to give 10% as money, they just haven't been exposed to a serious discussion of what tithing really is, what it really means.  Or they just really hate volunteering/working, and would rather spend money on that particular problem (which as OP points out, is pretty un-MMM).

If I was responding to a case study (and I rarely do) I'd just point that out.  They may list it as non-negotiable, but a fundamental of MMM is that  we recognize our time and freedom as MORE valuable than money.  Therefore an MMM person volunteering 1/10 of their time is making a bigger sacrifice than if we tithe 1/10 of our money.  Likely we're being far truer to the biblical intent as well.

Anyone wondering what to do in retirement re:tithe take note.  10% of your investment income, or 10% of your spend, isn't going to come anywhere close.  The Lord demands 10% of everything.  It isn't a system you can game, and only you know if you've given enough.  No one can offer you absolution, and the best advice anyone can offer from a spiritual perspective is that you probably can't give too much.

lbmustache

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #60 on: November 16, 2015, 12:05:15 PM »
Quote

Sort of like you are taking out yourself, 8 friends and JESUS's guest to dinner tonight...  LOL.

This made me lol. I think that would be a more reasonable form of tithing for most people, tbh.

Metta

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #61 on: November 16, 2015, 12:27:40 PM »
And it just struck me - in a society that thinks hiring is by merit, the idea of someone getting a job because there was a connection with their church is actually very off-putting.  Basically it is the same as nepotism or cronyism.

Or a way of practicing religious discrimination on the down-low.

Neustache

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #62 on: November 16, 2015, 12:32:37 PM »
I look at it as more as a character reference.  The person who hired me wasn't a member of our church or religious, the person who referred me was.  It's a way to vouch for someone, and if you know the referrer, then you have a better idea if they are telling the truth or not (versus just a resume with references that may have reasons to lie for the applicant - oh sure, she's on time and a hard worker (says the person who is owed money by applicant). 


RetiredAt63

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #63 on: November 16, 2015, 01:36:22 PM »
@TheYoungestOldMan

Thank you for that post, it makes sooo much sense.  And it validates donating time/effort as much as (or more than) money.  Which I like since I only get 24 hours a day, and when they are gone they are gone.  Plus many of my volunteer activities are activities that there is no paid equivalent for, so they cannot be arranged for with money.  Really, isn't that the same trade-off a lot of people make in all areas of life?  Not enough time to do whatever, pay someone (house cleaner, lawn care, etc.) or not enough money, pay in time (1.5 hours commute to work on public transit versus 15 minutes in a car).

As an example of different financial educations, I still remember discussing my history class at the dinner table - I was so indignant that the poor peasant ended up giving 20% (money, labour) to the lord and the church.  That was the night I lost my financial innocence - my Dad explained taxes to me.

Vertical Mode

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #64 on: November 16, 2015, 01:51:41 PM »
Something to consider on the whole tithing front:  It may very well be the thing that brought them to the boards in the first place.

For many Christians, especially your southern baptist variety, talking about finances is rude.  About the only time you'll ever hear it discussed as you grow up is in the context of tithing.  Tithing is how responsible budgeting and personal finance management are introduced within the culture as necessary moral imperatives.  In order to meet your obligation you must be deliberate in how you spend money.  Younger/struggling christian people will wail at their elders, "how can I possibly give 10%?  I can't afford that!"

And the elders respond, "How much do you give now?  Is it 9%?, Is it 1%?  No, it's 0, because you haven't made it your priority to manage yourself to meet this obligation.  You spend too much, and save too little.  Get your own house in order before you voice doubts upon the commands of the Lord."

There is a direct line between a conversation about how hard it would be to tithe and my own path to my current 65% savings rate.

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.  Volunteering at the church only one day a week more than meets your tithe obligation (1/7 > 1/10).  Any pastor/priest that denies this denies the word of God.  Providing some necessary service for the church (bookkeeping, janitorial, landscaping, project management, cooking, decorating, music) can also go a long way towards meeting the obligation with no cash outlays.

If someone insists they have to give 10% as money, they just haven't been exposed to a serious discussion of what tithing really is, what it really means.  Or they just really hate volunteering/working, and would rather spend money on that particular problem (which as OP points out, is pretty un-MMM).

If I was responding to a case study (and I rarely do) I'd just point that out.  They may list it as non-negotiable, but a fundamental of MMM is that  we recognize our time and freedom as MORE valuable than money.  Therefore an MMM person volunteering 1/10 of their time is making a bigger sacrifice than if we tithe 1/10 of our money.  Likely we're being far truer to the biblical intent as well.

Anyone wondering what to do in retirement re:tithe take note.  10% of your investment income, or 10% of your spend, isn't going to come anywhere close.  The Lord demands 10% of everything.  It isn't a system you can game, and only you know if you've given enough.  No one can offer you absolution, and the best advice anyone can offer from a spiritual perspective is that you probably can't give too much.

Thank you for this post, I've never considered this perspective before.

I've learned something new today.

CommonCents

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #65 on: November 16, 2015, 02:02:15 PM »
And it just struck me - in a society that thinks hiring is by merit, the idea of someone getting a job because there was a connection with their church is actually very off-putting.  Basically it is the same as nepotism or cronyism.

For my sister, it was a character reference.  Apparently he was over their house, and he heard she had interviewed, said he knew the CEO, pulled out his phone and called him then and there to say why exactly my sister was awesome and should be hired.  He gave details not just a "hire her" directive.

Other times it seems to be foot in the door for a look at a resume or an interview.  I totally forgot that as a student in college, I received a job through a church member my parents knew.  I was supremely well (over?)qualified for the position, but it didn't hurt that my parents knew the head of HR and could put my resume in front of her.

Companies spend a lot on bad hires and try to weed out the undesirables/find the best (should we have them take a test?  do a behavioral interview?  group interview? etc.).  I've heard that interviews are really fairly useless in telling how people will perform at a job, and often people just hire "people like them".  So having an added data point from someone - such as that they are a hard and talented worker (as a church volunteer), can't hurt.   

AllieVaulter

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #66 on: November 16, 2015, 02:15:20 PM »
And it just struck me - in a society that thinks hiring is by merit, the idea of someone getting a job because there was a connection with their church is actually very off-putting.  Basically it is the same as nepotism or cronyism.

Or a way of practicing religious discrimination on the down-low.

Oh PLEASE.  If you're upset that any networking affects job prospects that's one thing.  But singling out a religious connection creating a networking possibility as unfair is just ridiculous. 

Do you have a Linked-In account?  That's an unfair advantage! 
Do you volunteer at the Humane Society?  That's an unfair advantage!
Do you have references on your resume?  That's an unfair advantage!

Personal recommendations are a fact of life in the hiring world.  Railing against religion is insanely misplaced on this topic.

Jack

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #67 on: November 16, 2015, 02:23:02 PM »
And it just struck me - in a society that thinks hiring is by merit, the idea of someone getting a job because there was a connection with their church is actually very off-putting.  Basically it is the same as nepotism or cronyism.

Or a way of practicing religious discrimination on the down-low.

Oh PLEASE.  If you're upset that any networking affects job prospects that's one thing.  But singling out a religious connection creating a networking possibility as unfair is just ridiculous. 

Do you have a Linked-In account?  That's an unfair advantage! 
Do you volunteer at the Humane Society?  That's an unfair advantage!
Do you have references on your resume?  That's an unfair advantage!

Personal recommendations are a fact of life in the hiring world.  Railing against religion is insanely misplaced on this topic.

Hypothetical: consider a town that has two churches, one historically (and therefore, currently) white and one historically (and therefore, currently) black. A local business happens to be owned by an attendee of one of the churches, who decides to strongly prefer job applicants referred to him by his fellow parishioners. Racial discrimination, or not?

AllieVaulter

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #68 on: November 16, 2015, 02:26:10 PM »
I am on the board of my church. We discuss the spending at every monthly meeting, and the books are open to every member. The yearly budget is voted on by the whole membership, after open discussion. I know some churches are little better than scams, but I suspect my church is closer to the norm.

I actually don't think your church is closer to the norm. You are actually the first person I have "met" who has a similar structure to my church. We don't have monthly budget meetings, but we have a yearly budget on which we vote, and every single cent is laid out, including pastor salaries. I have grown up in the church, as well as having parents who have worked for and served in leadership capacities at numerous churches. Most budgets are very opaque and are agreed upon by the elders and not by the congregation.

Regarding tithing in retirement, I should ask my parents what they do because I think they tithed over 10% when they were working. I'm pretty certain they don't tithe on investments, because I remember my dad saying the amount they contribute now has gone down considerably.

I understand the reasoning behind the tithe and even respect it, even though I personally do not tithe. But my point of the thread was more practical for us Mustachians who read and post Case Studies. Like Faraday expressed,  many times I think those who post Case Studies with a very large tithe (sometimes that reaches or eclipses their mortgage!) are expecting us to find some magical solution that will allow them to FIRE in ten years or allow them to build their wealth significantly. And that solution doesn't exist if you tithe and don't have a very high income. You are left with the option to cut your entire budget to the bone. To FIRE with a tithe when you don't make much means you essentially have to live an austere lifestyle otherwise. And usually with these case studies I don't see a realization of this. They somehow think there is another way. But you can't get blood out of stone.

I've only ever belonged this this kind of church.  The monthly budget meetings are usually just attended by the church staff, but the yearly budget meetings are open to everyone.  Only members can vote, but non-members, first time attenders, anyone can get a copy of the budget and see exactly how the money is spent.

I also volunteer to help count the offering.  My church has very strict rules to make sure that everything is above board.  (Two people must be present at all times, detailed records about who was present when the money was counted, recording exactly how much money was received each week, sending the records to multiple people to check them over, etc)

No one is required to tithe.  Anonymous giving is also completely acceptable.  However, we do record who gives money and how much, if they record their name.  The reason for that is for the GIVER'S tax purposes.  It's a tax-deductible donation for the individual.  Come tax season, everyone that has given to the church is given a receipt of how much they gave, for when they file their taxes. Nobody's asking what percentage you give, or asking for your income so they can figure out what percentage you're giving.

AllieVaulter

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #69 on: November 16, 2015, 02:29:32 PM »
And it just struck me - in a society that thinks hiring is by merit, the idea of someone getting a job because there was a connection with their church is actually very off-putting.  Basically it is the same as nepotism or cronyism.

Or a way of practicing religious discrimination on the down-low.

Oh PLEASE.  If you're upset that any networking affects job prospects that's one thing.  But singling out a religious connection creating a networking possibility as unfair is just ridiculous. 

Do you have a Linked-In account?  That's an unfair advantage! 
Do you volunteer at the Humane Society?  That's an unfair advantage!
Do you have references on your resume?  That's an unfair advantage!

Personal recommendations are a fact of life in the hiring world.  Railing against religion is insanely misplaced on this topic.

Hypothetical: consider a town that has two churches, one historically (and therefore, currently) white and one historically (and therefore, currently) black. A local business happens to be owned by an attendee of one of the churches, who decides to strongly prefer job applicants referred to him by his fellow parishioners. Racial discrimination, or not?

If the decision is based on race, yes.  It's racial discrimination. 

Hypothetical: consider a town with two businesses, one historically (and therefore, currently) white and one historically (and therefore, currently) black. A former employee of one of those businesses applies to work at a third company. The owner of company 3 used to work at one of the other businesses and therefore prefers job applicants from that business. Racial discrimination, or not?

EDIT:  My point is that whether or not something is discrimination is based on the person making the decision.  The fact that we have a system that includes references is not evil in itself.

Camarillo Brillo

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #70 on: November 16, 2015, 02:34:02 PM »
The tradition of tithing is mystifying to me. I don't get why anyone would want to give money to a conventional church. If you want to help people in need, why not do it directly? How about letting some worthy person who is out of work move into an unused extra bedroom in your house rent free for awhile until she can get pack on her feet? How about giving extra food or money to a family you know who is struggling financially? Why not cut out the middle man and give directly to people who need it?

My grandparents religiously gave an envelope full of money to their suburban Catholic church every Sunday for 60+ years. Other than to pay for maintenance on the building and grounds and to keep the lights on in the church, it seemed pretty unclear to me where the money was actually going, and my grandparents didn't seem to know or care either. Apparently, a lot of the money gets siphoned off to higher levels of the church bureaucracy to pay for bishops and cardinals and their ilk to live pretty lavish lives on the backs of people who are living pretty modestly, some who are just scraping by. When my grandfather was lying in the hospital dying at 90+ years old he was really bitter that no one from his church, including none of the priests, came to see him in the hospital...

Can't people who want to tithe to their churches just donate in-kind services instead? This would free up cash that could be invested to pay off their debts and speed up FIRE. OP, if you want to persuade case-study subjects to redirect money they are tithing towards paying down debt and investing to speed up FIRE, maybe you could convince them by arguing that the sooner they FIRE, the sooner they can begin volunteering more time to help their churches if that's what makes them happy...

If tithing truly is "non-negotiable" for some people, maybe you should just accept that. It's just like people who like driving fancy cars, taking expensive vacations or drinking lattes every day at Starbucks. It's their choice, and if that's what makes them happy, then they'll have to work a few extra years to pay for it. As I read here on the MMM Forum recently, "You should never work harder to help someone than he is willing to work to help himself."
I agree with your viewpoint.  My wife and I donate to many local causes.  But, for the life of me I cannot understand why people feel obligated to give 10% of their income to support causes that aren't even clear.

But, I realize my view is very clouded.  When I was 8 years old my 35-year-old father died of a massive coronary, leaving behind a  young widow and 5 children. Instead of providing any help, our Catholic church instead chose to kick us out since we no longer had any money to contribute.  Their nicely worded letter said we could attend services but, of course, we were no longer welcome as members of the church.   Yeah, real fricken nice.

MMM365

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #71 on: November 16, 2015, 02:35:38 PM »
First time poster. 

I am enjoying this discussion about the merits of tithing, but I wonder if the poster had instead mentioned, "non negotiable charitable giving," would people be disagreeing with the decision making?  If someone chooses to place a priority on percentage based charitable giving, whether they decide to give it to a church, a temple, a synagogue, or a non-profit that is a priority that this person decides is more important than putting money into the brokerage account to increase the dollar figure. 

I particularly enjoy MMM blog because of the fact that he has decided to spend his life figuring out efficiency of spending and living that way.  If he spends a full day on a repair on the house or souping up his bicycle, this is something he feels he wishes to prioritize his time; also, his decisions are his own. 

In the same way, the person who chooses to give to something that they feel is a bigger cause than themselves should be lauded and not ridiculed for not getting to FIRE faster. 

norabird

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #72 on: November 16, 2015, 02:39:15 PM »
I think tithing and either waiting to FIRE or cutting everything else are both great options. Personally I'd rather save less and give more--it's an individual calculus.

K-ice

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #73 on: November 16, 2015, 02:46:05 PM »
For those of you on the non-negotiable tithe side.

I will assume you work 40h per week.

Could you just give 4h of your time to the church each week until your debts are in order?

Historically in-kind contributions were accepted.

Depending on the skills you could provide, that may even be more valuable than your money.

RetiredAt63

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #74 on: November 16, 2015, 02:56:59 PM »
The discussion started out as a discussion on case study posters who were adamant their (large) tithes were untouchable.  The expansion of the discussion has been interesting.  I think few if any of the determined 10% cash tithers are here - am I wrong?

On the case study aspect, when people post they are asking others to look at all their expenses and question them, and possible suggest alternatives.  How many people here have cut cable?  Or downgraded cell phone plans? Or changed commuting habits? Or coffee drinking habits?  All these were acceptable spending patterns at some point for them.  Tithing or other charitable donations should be in the same case - examine them, are they necessary/valuable, can you get the same benefit some other way?  Maybe cut back?  maybe do time instead of money?  Or maybe that is the most important line item in your budget and everything else can be played with, but not that.  If people have a thought-out reason for the tithing then fine - if it is a knee-jerk reaction "(I have to do this") then it needs examining.

Re the job aspect, it depends. 

If being a member of a congregation is the main reason to either get a job or hire someone for a job, not good.  I have seen posts where if you belonged to a church, you were expected to hire other members of your church for no other reason than that they are fellow members. And if you were a contractor, you were expected to give discounts just because they were fellow congregationalists. 

If it is just one data point among many, then it is like all our other social contacts.  Of course employers want to have a good employee, but people can recommend someone for all the wrong reasons, out of the goodness of their hearts (S/he has had bad luck, s/he really needs that job, etc.).  And then it should work the other way as well, the contact (church, club, whatever) can also say so and so is a slacker, bad attitude, always late, etc.  I only have issues if the church membership really skews things.

Jack

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #75 on: November 16, 2015, 02:58:32 PM »
And it just struck me - in a society that thinks hiring is by merit, the idea of someone getting a job because there was a connection with their church is actually very off-putting.  Basically it is the same as nepotism or cronyism.

Or a way of practicing religious discrimination on the down-low.

Oh PLEASE.  If you're upset that any networking affects job prospects that's one thing.  But singling out a religious connection creating a networking possibility as unfair is just ridiculous. 

Do you have a Linked-In account?  That's an unfair advantage! 
Do you volunteer at the Humane Society?  That's an unfair advantage!
Do you have references on your resume?  That's an unfair advantage!

Personal recommendations are a fact of life in the hiring world.  Railing against religion is insanely misplaced on this topic.

Hypothetical: consider a town that has two churches, one historically (and therefore, currently) white and one historically (and therefore, currently) black. A local business happens to be owned by an attendee of one of the churches, who decides to strongly prefer job applicants referred to him by his fellow parishioners. Racial discrimination, or not?

If the decision is based on race, yes.  It's racial discrimination. 

Hypothetical: consider a town with two businesses, one historically (and therefore, currently) white and one historically (and therefore, currently) black. A former employee of one of those businesses applies to work at a third company. The owner of company 3 used to work at one of the other businesses and therefore prefers job applicants from that business. Racial discrimination, or not?

EDIT:  My point is that whether or not something is discrimination is based on the person making the decision.  The fact that we have a system that includes references is not evil in itself.

FYI, both of those examples probably count as racial discrimination. Analogously, the original religious example does too.

You probably don't realize it since Portland is pretty homogeneous (and therefore the issue doesn't come up much), but as far as courts etc. are concerned the decisions in both of those examples would very likely be assumed to be based on race. Even if the decision-maker claims otherwise, outside observers (and/or a jury) will believe either (a) the person in question is lying, or (b) subconscious or structural discrimination existed anyway. In other words, the results (of a workforce skewed towards a particular demographic) speak for themselves. In fact, it almost reads like the EEOC's example of recruitment discrimination:

Quote
It is also illegal for an employer to recruit new employees in a way that discriminates against them because of their race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

For example, an employer's reliance on word-of-mouth recruitment by its mostly Hispanic work force may violate the law if the result is that almost all new hires are Hispanic.

JLee

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #76 on: November 16, 2015, 02:59:04 PM »
First time poster. 

I am enjoying this discussion about the merits of tithing, but I wonder if the poster had instead mentioned, "non negotiable charitable giving," would people be disagreeing with the decision making?  If someone chooses to place a priority on percentage based charitable giving, whether they decide to give it to a church, a temple, a synagogue, or a non-profit that is a priority that this person decides is more important than putting money into the brokerage account to increase the dollar figure. 

I particularly enjoy MMM blog because of the fact that he has decided to spend his life figuring out efficiency of spending and living that way.  If he spends a full day on a repair on the house or souping up his bicycle, this is something he feels he wishes to prioritize his time; also, his decisions are his own. 

In the same way, the person who chooses to give to something that they feel is a bigger cause than themselves should be lauded and not ridiculed for not getting to FIRE faster.

I think the problem many of us have with the 'mandatory tithe' situation is that often this situation comes up when somebody is up to their eyeballs in debt. Once your own house is squared away, I don't see a problem with donating as you see fit. I do have a hard time putting church-funding ahead of digging yourself out of a terrible financial situation.

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #77 on: November 16, 2015, 03:00:54 PM »
I think it's highly illogical, but then again, I'm an atheist.  I certainly don't think there is merit to the idea, although I do think donating to efficient charities dedicated to helping people is an excellent practice.  There is a huge difference between donating to efficient charities an donating to religious organizations, which I think is mostly self-serving.  I could not be in a relationship with someone who insisted on tithing in any way that would include the income I earn, nor would I provide financial assistance to a family member who tithed. 

I find a lot of things that people say are "non-negotiable" in their budgets to be baffling.  "We have hair on fire debt and are in danger of being homeless, but a 100% organic paleo diet rich in unicorn and phoenix meat is non-negotiable."

But providing for my children's college education is non-negotiable, and lots of mustachians are appalled by that.  I doubt many of us are logical about all things all of the time.
 

MMM365

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #78 on: November 16, 2015, 03:01:03 PM »


I think the problem many of us have with the 'mandatory tithe' situation is that often this situation comes up when somebody is up to their eyeballs in debt. Once your own house is squared away, I don't see a problem with donating as you see fit. I do have a hard time putting church-funding ahead of digging yourself out of a terrible financial situation.

Completely agree with you.  In fact, I would add that if one does work hard to get their house in order, that the ability to give much more freely becomes apparent.

index

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #79 on: November 16, 2015, 03:03:39 PM »
I don't understand a required or suggested tithe. All the directives toward a tenth are from the old testament and no where in the new testament is 10% mentioned. The Jewish faith considers tithing as commanded by the old testament a sin.

If Christians are under the "new covenant" which does not require or suggest tithing, and the Jewish faith that still abides by the law of Moses "the old covenant" (aka old testament) considers tithing a sin; then how do Christian churches justify the tithe?   

Pigeon

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #80 on: November 16, 2015, 03:07:53 PM »
I don't understand a required or suggested tithe. All the directives toward a tenth are from the old testament and no where in the new testament is 10% mentioned. The Jewish faith considers tithing as commanded by the old testament a sin.

If Christians are under the "new covenant" which does not require or suggest tithing, and the Jewish faith that still abides by the law of Moses "the old covenant" (aka old testament) considers tithing a sin; then how do Christian churches justify the tithe?

You really haven't come across Christian churches that apply OT standards when it suits their purpose, but fall back on the "new covenant" thinking when it doesn't?

Jack

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #81 on: November 16, 2015, 03:11:25 PM »
how do Christian churches justify the tithe?

Somebody's gotta pay for Creflo Dollar's jet, and he ain't gonna do it himself!

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #82 on: November 16, 2015, 03:30:02 PM »

So, in essence, it's not the tithe I guess that is bothering me, although it can tend to make up for a much larger chunk of a person's budget than pets or cable or whatever, but it's the non-negotiable aspect of a large line-item in someone's budget that really makes it very difficult for any of us to help someone.


We all make choices in life.  If someone feels tithing is important enough they are willing to have difficulties in other areas, that is their choice and no one else's. 

Telecaster

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #83 on: November 16, 2015, 03:34:11 PM »
If Christians are under the "new covenant" which does not require or suggest tithing, and the Jewish faith that still abides by the law of Moses "the old covenant" (aka old testament) considers tithing a sin; then how do Christian churches justify the tithe?

See also the 10 Commandments. 

justajane

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #84 on: November 16, 2015, 03:45:45 PM »

So, in essence, it's not the tithe I guess that is bothering me, although it can tend to make up for a much larger chunk of a person's budget than pets or cable or whatever, but it's the non-negotiable aspect of a large line-item in someone's budget that really makes it very difficult for any of us to help someone.


We all make choices in life.  If someone feels tithing is important enough they are willing to have difficulties in other areas, that is their choice and no one else's.

That goes without saying. But why post a case study and solicit advice about how to achieve FIRE? In my mind, if you create a case study, you are asking people to put your entire budget under a microscope. I'm not a facepuncher - I even hate the violent (albeit it tongue in cheek) nature of the term. So of course, I back off if someone says they are not going to change. But, unlike cable or food or vacations, the nature of the tithe and how the budget usually says "non-negotiable" in parentheses in the list of expenses means that someone can't really even politely question it. Discussion is dead in the water. I imagine case studies with a tithe listed probably get much less traffic and helpful advice, in large part because there's not as much to optimize.

I almost want to link to some case studies, but my whole point of starting a new thread was precisely because I didn't want to make this personal or call anyone out. I've noticed this for a while and was just wondering if I was the only one who struggled with it when they encountered it.

johnny847

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #85 on: November 16, 2015, 03:54:42 PM »
In my experience, if they say their tithe is non negotiable, they get really defensive if you start questioning that. So I usually leave that alone.

What I think is just plain dumb though is when people tithe 10% of their GROSS salary while putting the rest of their budget in after tax amounts. If you want to tithe .1/(1- <your marginal FICA + federal + state + local tax rate>) percent of your net salary, which would be 16.3% of your net salary for someone in the 25% federal and 6% state brackets and not exceeding the SS tax ceiling, then sure, be my guest. But at least write down 16.3%, NOT 10%, especially when you've written your monthly budget in terms of your actual take home paychecks (which are post tax withholding!) and spending.

use2betrix

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #86 on: November 16, 2015, 04:22:28 PM »

So, in essence, it's not the tithe I guess that is bothering me, although it can tend to make up for a much larger chunk of a person's budget than pets or cable or whatever, but it's the non-negotiable aspect of a large line-item in someone's budget that really makes it very difficult for any of us to help someone.


We all make choices in life.  If someone feels tithing is important enough they are willing to have difficulties in other areas, that is their choice and no one else's.

That goes without saying. But why post a case study and solicit advice about how to achieve FIRE? In my mind, if you create a case study, you are asking people to put your entire budget under a microscope. I'm not a facepuncher - I even hate the violent (albeit it tongue in cheek) nature of the term. So of course, I back off if someone says they are not going to change. But, unlike cable or food or vacations, the nature of the tithe and how the budget usually says "non-negotiable" in parentheses in the list of expenses means that someone can't really even politely question it. Discussion is dead in the water. I imagine case studies with a tithe listed probably get much less traffic and helpful advice, in large part because there's not as much to optimize.

I almost want to link to some case studies, but my whole point of starting a new thread was precisely because I didn't want to make this personal or call anyone out. I've noticed this for a while and was just wondering if I was the only one who struggled with it when they encountered it.

So if someone has "tithe non-negotiable" in a case study, it's pointless to have the case study?

What about the other 90% of their budge that IS open to scrutiny? Can they not get advice on their federal witholdings or food budget because they tithe? Come on..

I honestly don't understand what's so hard about seeing someone say They tithe, and simply moving on.

It's a basic part of respecting peoples' beliefs. Adulting 101... Not that hard

reader2580

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #87 on: November 16, 2015, 04:45:11 PM »
Think about what happens if every churchgoer went to the pastor and said I am going to donate 4 hours a week of my time instead of donating any money.  Where does the money come from then to pay the utility bills, staff and pastor salaries, and other expenses of the church?

I donate a significant amount of my time to a non-profit youth organization, but I also donate some money too.  (I spend a week at organization's summer camp doing construction work plus a lot time throughout the year.)
« Last Edit: November 16, 2015, 04:47:09 PM by reader2580 »

justajane

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #88 on: November 16, 2015, 04:52:30 PM »

So, in essence, it's not the tithe I guess that is bothering me, although it can tend to make up for a much larger chunk of a person's budget than pets or cable or whatever, but it's the non-negotiable aspect of a large line-item in someone's budget that really makes it very difficult for any of us to help someone.


We all make choices in life.  If someone feels tithing is important enough they are willing to have difficulties in other areas, that is their choice and no one else's.

That goes without saying. But why post a case study and solicit advice about how to achieve FIRE? In my mind, if you create a case study, you are asking people to put your entire budget under a microscope. I'm not a facepuncher - I even hate the violent (albeit it tongue in cheek) nature of the term. So of course, I back off if someone says they are not going to change. But, unlike cable or food or vacations, the nature of the tithe and how the budget usually says "non-negotiable" in parentheses in the list of expenses means that someone can't really even politely question it. Discussion is dead in the water. I imagine case studies with a tithe listed probably get much less traffic and helpful advice, in large part because there's not as much to optimize.

I almost want to link to some case studies, but my whole point of starting a new thread was precisely because I didn't want to make this personal or call anyone out. I've noticed this for a while and was just wondering if I was the only one who struggled with it when they encountered it.

So if someone has "tithe non-negotiable" in a case study, it's pointless to have the case study?

What about the other 90% of their budge that IS open to scrutiny? Can they not get advice on their federal witholdings or food budget because they tithe? Come on..

I honestly don't understand what's so hard about seeing someone say They tithe, and simply moving on.

It's a basic part of respecting peoples' beliefs. Adulting 101... Not that hard

I take issue with your snark here about "Adulting 101", as if somehow it is infantile of me or others to struggle with knowing how to help someone who has sacred cows. Clearly this is not an issue for you, but just because you haven't noticed a problem doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

Of course they can still post a case study, but it's not going to go very far. Plus, more often than not, the tithe usually ends up being far, far more than 10% of their budget, since they calculate it based on gross income.

I do often have a sense that certain case studies expect some sort of magic bullet that is going to enable them to keep everything as it already is, only tweaking a few things here and there, and that somehow the numbers will magically be in their favor. Clearly not only tithers struggle with this, but this is going back to my earlier point that almost the only way to gain traction in your budget if you tithe and make closer to the average American income is to have an austerity budget. Not surprisingly, people don't take too kindly to that.   
« Last Edit: November 16, 2015, 04:54:40 PM by justajane »

Milizard

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #89 on: November 16, 2015, 05:02:58 PM »
I don't understand a required or suggested tithe. All the directives toward a tenth are from the old testament and no where in the new testament is 10% mentioned. The Jewish faith considers tithing as commanded by the old testament a sin.

If Christians are under the "new covenant" which does not require or suggest tithing, and the Jewish faith that still abides by the law of Moses "the old covenant" (aka old testament) considers tithing a sin; then how do Christian churches justify the tithe?

Because they wants the money!  ;-p

From what I remember, a tithe was supposed to be the 10th calf, or the 10th bushel of the harvest.  That would mean the first 9 are yours, and the 10th goes to support the church.  If you were to keep going with that logic, it would mean you should be able to support yourself with the basics first--the first 9, then you help the church.  It also makes the case for using after tax amounts.

There might be more to it than I've read about, but that's what I remember.  Being Catholic, I have a lot more issues with a tithe that I won't go into here. 

I have mentioned to people that God also wants you to keep your word, which would mean paying back debts.

AllieVaulter

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #90 on: November 16, 2015, 05:07:57 PM »
And it just struck me - in a society that thinks hiring is by merit, the idea of someone getting a job because there was a connection with their church is actually very off-putting.  Basically it is the same as nepotism or cronyism.

Or a way of practicing religious discrimination on the down-low.

Oh PLEASE.  If you're upset that any networking affects job prospects that's one thing.  But singling out a religious connection creating a networking possibility as unfair is just ridiculous. 

Do you have a Linked-In account?  That's an unfair advantage! 
Do you volunteer at the Humane Society?  That's an unfair advantage!
Do you have references on your resume?  That's an unfair advantage!

Personal recommendations are a fact of life in the hiring world.  Railing against religion is insanely misplaced on this topic.

Hypothetical: consider a town that has two churches, one historically (and therefore, currently) white and one historically (and therefore, currently) black. A local business happens to be owned by an attendee of one of the churches, who decides to strongly prefer job applicants referred to him by his fellow parishioners. Racial discrimination, or not?

If the decision is based on race, yes.  It's racial discrimination. 

Hypothetical: consider a town with two businesses, one historically (and therefore, currently) white and one historically (and therefore, currently) black. A former employee of one of those businesses applies to work at a third company. The owner of company 3 used to work at one of the other businesses and therefore prefers job applicants from that business. Racial discrimination, or not?

EDIT:  My point is that whether or not something is discrimination is based on the person making the decision.  The fact that we have a system that includes references is not evil in itself.

FYI, both of those examples probably count as racial discrimination. Analogously, the original religious example does too.

You probably don't realize it since Portland is pretty homogeneous (and therefore the issue doesn't come up much), but as far as courts etc. are concerned the decisions in both of those examples would very likely be assumed to be based on race. Even if the decision-maker claims otherwise, outside observers (and/or a jury) will believe either (a) the person in question is lying, or (b) subconscious or structural discrimination existed anyway. In other words, the results (of a workforce skewed towards a particular demographic) speak for themselves. In fact, it almost reads like the EEOC's example of recruitment discrimination:

Quote
It is also illegal for an employer to recruit new employees in a way that discriminates against them because of their race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

For example, an employer's reliance on word-of-mouth recruitment by its mostly Hispanic work force may violate the law if the result is that almost all new hires are Hispanic.

I absolutely agree that both cases are racial discrimination.  That was my point.  The religion aspect was completely unrelated to the hypothetical situation.  The broken part of the system is making the decision (or recruiting) based on race, not because the networking relationship happened because of religion.  Relationships occur when people have something in common. 

And yes, Portland is very homogeneous. 

Shane

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #91 on: November 16, 2015, 05:34:01 PM »
Think about what happens if every churchgoer went to the pastor and said I am going to donate 4 hours a week of my time instead of donating any money.  Where does the money come from then to pay the utility bills, staff and pastor salaries, and other expenses of the church?

I donate a significant amount of my time to a non-profit youth organization, but I also donate some money too.  (I spend a week at organization's summer camp doing construction work plus a lot time throughout the year.)

To me, the best thing that might come out of that would be that they would close down the church building. I've heard of "churches" that do not own nor need to maintain a building, landscaping, etc. Congregants meet every Sunday at a different member's home. It's pot luck. Every week they all read specific passages from the bible, and then on Sunday they sit around and discuss what they read and how it is applicable to their lives. All the money they save by not having a building they put into various charity projects which they choose and implement themselves. For example, if there's an elderly widow in the community whose home needs a new roof, they all pitch in money, buy the materials, and volunteers from the congregation replace the lady's roof. To me, it sounds better than spending a bunch of money on fancy stained glass windows, manicured lawns and a giant asphalt parking lot...

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #92 on: November 16, 2015, 06:21:05 PM »
Think about what happens if every churchgoer went to the pastor and said I am going to donate 4 hours a week of my time instead of donating any money.  Where does the money come from then to pay the utility bills, staff and pastor salaries, and other expenses of the church?

I donate a significant amount of my time to a non-profit youth organization, but I also donate some money too.  (I spend a week at organization's summer camp doing construction work plus a lot time throughout the year.)

To me, the best thing that might come out of that would be that they would close down the church building. I've heard of "churches" that do not own nor need to maintain a building, landscaping, etc. Congregants meet every Sunday at a different member's home. It's pot luck. Every week they all read specific passages from the bible, and then on Sunday they sit around and discuss what they read and how it is applicable to their lives. All the money they save by not having a building they put into various charity projects which they choose and implement themselves. For example, if there's an elderly widow in the community whose home needs a new roof, they all pitch in money, buy the materials, and volunteers from the congregation replace the lady's roof. To me, it sounds better than spending a bunch of money on fancy stained glass windows, manicured lawns and a giant asphalt parking lot...

My immediate thoughts to "Oh no, everyone is donating time!" is:  Toss together a labor pool.  Raise money.  I am not religious, so I've been avoiding commenting for the most part here.  But I have to think this is the best problem a preacher could possibly have.

Tom Bri

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #93 on: November 16, 2015, 06:30:05 PM »
The tradition of tithing is mystifying to me. I don't get why anyone would want to give money to a conventional church. If you want to help people in need, why not do it directly? How about letting some worthy person who is out of work move into an unused extra bedroom in your house rent free for awhile until she can get pack on her feet? How about giving extra food or money to a family you know who is struggling financially? Why not cut out the middle man and give directly to people who need it?

Couple of reasons. A church, a good one anyway, is part of your family. We have lots of talents, and we know different people. Our charity is nearly 100% efficient, in that no one except the secretary and the pastor get paid. The people who drive food to the local homeless shelter do it on the own time and cost. These are mainly retired people. I don't know who in the community may need help, but someone does in the church. There really is hardly any middleman to cut out.
Not all churches work this way, obviously. But enough do that the tradition continues.

Shane

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #94 on: November 16, 2015, 06:37:31 PM »
The tradition of tithing is mystifying to me. I don't get why anyone would want to give money to a conventional church. If you want to help people in need, why not do it directly? How about letting some worthy person who is out of work move into an unused extra bedroom in your house rent free for awhile until she can get pack on her feet? How about giving extra food or money to a family you know who is struggling financially? Why not cut out the middle man and give directly to people who need it?

Couple of reasons. A church, a good one anyway, is part of your family. We have lots of talents, and we know different people. Our charity is nearly 100% efficient, in that no one except the secretary and the pastor get paid. The people who drive food to the local homeless shelter do it on the own time and cost. These are mainly retired people. I don't know who in the community may need help, but someone does in the church. There really is hardly any middleman to cut out.
Not all churches work this way, obviously. But enough do that the tradition continues.

It sounds like you've got a pretty good setup at your church. If you know and trust the people who are actually giving out the money or food or whatever, you can't get much more efficient than that.

Tom Bri

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #95 on: November 16, 2015, 07:15:52 PM »
Well, I grew up around here, and went to this same church as a kid. When I moved back to this area 10 years ago, I naturally started going there. The older folks are all the same people I knew when I was a kid. That helps.
In my world travels I often visit churches. I lived in Japan 15 years, and attended several churches there. It is nice to have distant, extended 'family' wherever I go. Only occasionally have I met churches that seemed unwelcoming. I'm not Catholic, but they often seem the most accepting. It is the smaller, odd-ball protestant churches that can sometimes be exclusive.

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #96 on: November 16, 2015, 07:32:07 PM »

So, in essence, it's not the tithe I guess that is bothering me, although it can tend to make up for a much larger chunk of a person's budget than pets or cable or whatever, but it's the non-negotiable aspect of a large line-item in someone's budget that really makes it very difficult for any of us to help someone.


We all make choices in life.  If someone feels tithing is important enough they are willing to have difficulties in other areas, that is their choice and no one else's.

That goes without saying. But why post a case study and solicit advice about how to achieve FIRE? In my mind, if you create a case study, you are asking people to put your entire budget under a microscope. I'm not a facepuncher - I even hate the violent (albeit it tongue in cheek) nature of the term. So of course, I back off if someone says they are not going to change. But, unlike cable or food or vacations, the nature of the tithe and how the budget usually says "non-negotiable" in parentheses in the list of expenses means that someone can't really even politely question it. Discussion is dead in the water. I imagine case studies with a tithe listed probably get much less traffic and helpful advice, in large part because there's not as much to optimize.

I almost want to link to some case studies, but my whole point of starting a new thread was precisely because I didn't want to make this personal or call anyone out. I've noticed this for a while and was just wondering if I was the only one who struggled with it when they encountered it.

So if someone has "tithe non-negotiable" in a case study, it's pointless to have the case study?

What about the other 90% of their budge that IS open to scrutiny? Can they not get advice on their federal witholdings or food budget because they tithe? Come on..

I honestly don't understand what's so hard about seeing someone say They tithe, and simply moving on.

It's a basic part of respecting peoples' beliefs. Adulting 101... Not that hard

I take issue with your snark here about "Adulting 101", as if somehow it is infantile of me or others to struggle with knowing how to help someone who has sacred cows. Clearly this is not an issue for you, but just because you haven't noticed a problem doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

Of course they can still post a case study, but it's not going to go very far. Plus, more often than not, the tithe usually ends up being far, far more than 10% of their budget, since they calculate it based on gross income.

I do often have a sense that certain case studies expect some sort of magic bullet that is going to enable them to keep everything as it already is, only tweaking a few things here and there, and that somehow the numbers will magically be in their favor. Clearly not only tithers struggle with this, but this is going back to my earlier point that almost the only way to gain traction in your budget if you tithe and make closer to the average American income is to have an austerity budget. Not surprisingly, people don't take too kindly to that.

You are right, it's not a problem for me because I have no issue respecting others beliefs. I find it odd that you are being accusatory towards me for pointing out the obvious of many here as opposed to realizing maybe you should be more understanding and accepting of others.



sonjak

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #97 on: November 16, 2015, 07:35:32 PM »
This thread has been really interesting for me.  I've been enjoying reading the different takes on tithing in the various denominations.

I grew up Mormon where a 10% tithe is mandatory if you want to go to the temple, which is required to go to "the best" heaven.  (The church leadership is not transparent with what they do with the money.)  Everyone volunteers their time in various "callings" so you can't volunteer instead of tithe, you have to do both, and you definitely can't give to another church or charity and have it count in any way towards this expectation.  My parents were very devout, had lots of kids, and my dad was the sole breadwinner.  He never made much money and they were "faithful" tithers for all the years they were members although they really couldn't afford it.  We did without a lot.

They were extremely frugal, took staying out of debt seriously (it was also a church teaching back in the day) and my dad was able to retire at 55.  They considered tithing non-negotiable and they believed that they would be blessed for paying it.  While they were still Mormons, they believed that they were able to do all of that *because* of tithing.

Someone up thread mentioned something about magic helping out and that's how I see these case studies.  People who post and say that tithing is non-negotiable are essentially saying, "I know that this is a huge gap but I believe God will make up for that gap in my plan so please don't focus on that.  Yes, it's irrational/illogical and you can't see how it will work if I don't stop that.  But I believe God will make it work.  So... what else can I fix?"  I find it less frustrating thinking of it worded this way.

Now, the people with the multiple items which are off-limits, who consider fun money, cable, tithing, day care, cleaners, organic food, gas money, their "dream car" payment and/or their trip to XYZ non-negotiable... 

justajane

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #98 on: November 16, 2015, 08:10:38 PM »
You are right, it's not a problem for me because I have no issue respecting others beliefs. I find it odd that you are being accusatory towards me for pointing out the obvious of many here as opposed to realizing maybe you should be more understanding and accepting of others.

Hold on. This is patently untrue. When have I ever demonstrated that I don't respect the beliefs of others? This is just untrue. I have even mentioned my own church attendance and commitment, which includes giving - just not tithing.

I have to say this whole thread has been very civil.....until now.

Here's the original post I made with the sections bolded that show my respect for the tithe, despite my frustration with how it inhibits discussions in a case study.

I'm starting a thread for this, because I regularly encounter Case Studies in which the poster has a line item for tithing that is more often than not labeled "non-negotiable", i.e. not up for discussion.

While I can certainly respect a decision to give to others, it oftentimes makes it hard to advise someone about what to do when the answer to their financial difficulties is staring them right in the face. And the whole point of Mustachianism is questioning your spending and doing radical things to up your savings rate. This is very hard to do when there are such significant non-negotiables in the budget. Tithing just tends to be much more prevalent and seems to make up a larger part of the budget than other "non-negotiables" we encounter. Plus, because of the delicate nature of the tithe, we are allowed to challenge people on other supposed non-negotiables in a way that we can't with the tithe.

In my experience, at least, the non-negotiable tithe demands that the OP be very open to cutting other parts of their budget to the bone, else they will be treading water for years to come. So basically, the OP is left with two options.

1) Be ruthless with the rest of the budget. $10 flip phones, rice and beans budget, much cheaper housing, etc.

2) Admit that FIRE is not in the cards for them, at least not on the timeline that others on here have.

What are your thoughts? I don't intend for this to be a discussion about the theological imperative or lack thereof for tithing, although I am open to anyone else's thoughts, whatever direction this discussion goes.

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.

Edited to add another quote from me earlier in the thread that contradicts your portrayal of me above. I've just been thrown for a loop that what I've said is being interpreted as a lack of respect and ability to accept the views of others. That is not what I intended, nor what I thought I was communicating.

Quote
I understand the reasoning behind the tithe and even respect it, even though I personally do not tithe. But my point of the thread was more practical for us Mustachians who read and post Case Studies.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2015, 08:51:44 PM by justajane »

justajane

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Re: The Non-negotiable Tithe
« Reply #99 on: November 16, 2015, 08:20:04 PM »
I appreciate the point that several of you have made about the discipline and sacrifice involved in a tithe and how long term that will serve a person well financially. I hadn't necessarily thought of it in those terms before - that they are honing the skill of saving and setting aside money. That is a good way of looking at it, although you still can't escape the math that X amount is not going into your investments that would be otherwise.