This isn’t the first video I’ve posted from The Parody Queen, but it is the first one I didn’t feel was a complete throw-away. Yes, it’s one of those cheesy, Christian rip-offs of a popular song, but the guy’s not a bad singer and the message is actually kind of good. Now, I have to admit don’t agree with much the church has to say when it comes to financial matters. We recently went through Stewardship month in the UMC, a month of sermons about committing to tithe and how God will bless you if you do, capped off by Commitment Sunday. I’m not a big fan of the church asking for money, because I’ve seen how it can go wrong. If you want an example of that, you need look no farther than your friendly neighborhood televangelist. Probably the worst of these is Joel Osteen, whose church meets in a multi-million dollar facility which is just a few blocks away from one of the poorest areas of Houston. If you want a positive example, you have to look local. More than likely, there is at least one ministry in your town working to feed the hungry, clothe the needy and house the homeless. And, they’re doing it with a miserable fraction of the money people like Osteen rake in daily. And, that’s just obscene.
It may not be biblical, either. Tithing is never mentioned in the New Testament, it’s strictly an Old Testament thing. That’s not to say the New Testament doesn’t say anything about what to do with your money. It mentions giving in numerous places, it just doesn’t specify an amount. In fact, when asked, Jesus generally told people to sell everything they had and give the money to the poor. And, in the early church, most groups held everything in common, which bypasses socialism and goes straight to communism. When people did tithe in those days, it wasn’t in cash money, it was usually in agricultural goods. Here’s a idea, next time your church has their stewardship campaign (which is usually in the fall, after the harvest) bring in a mess of turnip greens or toss a ham on the altar and when the pastor asks you what you’re doing, tell him you’re trying to tithe biblically and see what he says.
Look, I know churches need money to operate and, unless they’re incredibly lucky, the lion’s share of the money comes from the congregation. And, I know that the economy has hit the church as hard as the rest of society. What I’d like to see is the church acknowledge the same for it’s parishioners. Why do tithes have to be cash money? Churches need to think outside the box and find a way to offset their reduced cash flow with their members time, talents and service. Because draining people’s bank accounts to build a really nice sign out front isn’t really Kingdom work.