Thursday, January 7, 2010

Social Justice Tithing

Yesterday, I posted a review of Francis Chan's Crazy Love. One of the ways this book has practically impacted and challenged some of my beliefs is the topic of tithing. Readers of my blog know that I have not easily accepted the standard message of tithing.

Chan does not really address tithing directly. He does discuss living modestly and simply in order to be able to give money to others. Should we be living in massive homes while someone else is literally starving? What about a reasonable home and giving several people meals?

I've struggled with giving money to organizations (including churches). That doesn't really feel like giving it to God. It's more about giving it to people. This is a controversial statement and not unilaterally true, but I think it's unfair to say that if we don't give money to a church, then we're not giving our money to God.

However, giving money to organizations that engage in social justice actually is a way of acting out of love to me. So I'm currently redefining tithing in my mind away from giving a predetermined amount to a human-driven organization to giving money for social justice. That seems quite worthwhile.

Do you think that qualifies as "tithe" or is something else?

Another piece of the tithe question is what kind of organizations would qualify as something to tithe to. Does it have to be explicitly Christian? My initial reaction is I don't think so. Does it always have to be for human support, or what about for animals or the environment, beings that truly have no voice and are definitely a part of God's creation? I also initially don't think it has to be for only human support. We need to care for all of God's creation. That's a nice way of giving our money back to God (or acknowledging that we never owned it in the first place).

1 comment:

  1. You ask, 'Do you think [giving money for social justice] qualifies as "tithe" or is something else?'

    I certainly think it qualifies as part of a tithe. Back in 2001, I helped come up with a term, the Social Justice Tithe, to refer to giving 10% of your income to various causes which help enact one's values in the world. It looks to me like you are thinking along the same lines.

    I found your blog post when preparing to write my blog post,The Social Justice Tithe, late in December 2012. Take a look, and let me know what you think.



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