Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Robbed of my tithing

Growing up in church my whole life, tithe is not some foreign word to me. In fact my parents gave us an allowance growing up and split it into 3 piles for us (1 for personal, 1 for the bank, and 1 for church). I used to love taking that little bit of money and stuffing it into the church shaped box in my Sunday school class.

The joy I felt as a kid probably wasn't because my heart was in the right place and I was glad to give my money to God, but because I felt special that I had money to put in that church shaped box. Not the most honorable thing, but the fact that I felt joy at what felt like losing money is something I try to go back to. When I tithe I try to take time to pray over my offering that it will go to things and people of integrity that will help carry out God's plans.

I say all this because I feel the church has moved in some strange directions with tithing. I have been to the stereotypical church that really pressures you to give and you feel like the ushers are starring you down as you pass the plate. I have also been to churches who don't want people to feel any pressure so they hide the offering in a black box back in the corner. I've been to churches that play songs during offering, ones that play videos while the offering is going and also ones that say the announcements while the plates pass.

I am not saying these are necessarily bad ways to do it...maybe it follows the churches style, but I walk away from church feeling robbed of the chance to worship when tithing, a lot. Tithing and giving offerings (which should also include your skills, talents, and time, but that's another blog for another time) should be giving the time, thought, and care that your worship songs, media, and sermon are given. We need to improve on how we take offering instead of blowing by that part of the service as fast as we can. We need to put some thought into it.....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Some friends and I were talking one day about our lives growing up. Talking about this adventure and that, as I thought about it, I realized that my memories, the mythologies of my childhood, are probably more vivid than the actual events. Have you ever seen the film "Big Fish"? This idea that things have happened in our lives, and they color our lives one way or another, but how true are these experiences? Does that even matter?

In a way, mythology is truer (more true, whatever...) than history. History is what has happened - what is happening. But myth...

Myth is what we live, that is what we remember, integrate into our lives and believe. Myth isn't necessarily something untrue. Myth starts with history.

As Christ followers, how much of what we believe are these myths? What is made by man? Baptism/communion rituals, worship styles, how we reach out, can we bring coffee into the sanctuary? How we see God in our every day lives? Do we need an hour to pray each day or does the spirit flow freely through us? What is our story? How have these things colored our lives?

And in a way, aren't we glad they did?