Tuesday, 29 October 2013


Tithing is setting aside 10% of income for the church. I don't do that, but the concept of ring-fencing some money for altruistic purposes is something I have found to be beneficial.

The image pinned to my mental calendar as a memory tag for 26 May 2013 is visiting a church my wife likes in the capital. They announced the guest preacher would actually appear in a recording of a sermon given recently at another church and would help us with our finances.

It was about giving 10% of income to the church, which seemed to be more about helping the church with its finances. The key message was to make the payment as soon as any income was received.

While churches undeniably do a lot of good work, such as in helping the homeless, reaching out to the lonely, and so on, there are other things I would not like my money to be used for, such as the attack on homosexuality. Bible teaching is often cited as justification for homophobia, while other texts are ignored, such as that banning women speaking in church, prohibiting divorce and extolling trial by ordeal to detect adultery. I am told some texts have to be seen in the context of their time, whereas others are the unchallengeable instruction of God to be followed today. Which is which seems to be the choice of the speaker.

All the same, I decided to put away 10% of income, whether from my salary, freelance work or - should it ever amount to anything - advertising income from this blog.

A substantial sum of money builds up quite quickly in this way. While this hasn't helped my finances, as making ends meet with what remains is a bigger challenge, it is satisfyingly liberating: this tithe money is for God's work, as I understand it to be.

That sometimes has involved giving the money to good causes, such as donating to aid work for Syrian refugees (a far more generous amount than I would otherwise have considered), a project I support in Africa, exceptional expenses where I have been the unfortunate victim of fate (the car breaking down) or whatever.

It is not just a saving fund as there are some things that do not feel right to pay from it, such as my forthcoming air ticket to my wife's country. That, I feel, should come from "my" money. But when she had to return suddenly due to a family illness recently and we had to buy a special ticket, my special fund could be used.

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