I sometimes pick up christian magazines that my parents have laying around the house and flip through, reading any articles that seem interesting (know your enemy, right? ha.) and December's issue of Christianity Today has a depiction of Scrooge on it, hoarding his money. The article is something like "Christian Scrooges, why people aren't tything more". Right away I said out loud, "What does Scrooge have to do with tything? That doesn't make any sense." Sister is behind me making Oreo balls for the church dinner tomorrow. "Scrooge was mean and didn't give to charity so if you don't tythe you're like scrooge." So I say "Tything isn't charity, though ... unless your church does anything for the poor. Church isn't charity. It's just an organization." My sister was indignant and my mom gave me a brief look of despair. More than once I've heard people in my family mention charity that is given to a church. These are not churches that do anything for the poor or those in need, just regular churches. They may help members in dire circumstances who ask for help but other than that, nothing. Now, you could call this a donation, financial support, whatever, but it's not charity! This also made me slowly realize that my family sees itself as living off of charity. They live off of tythes right? I don't understand how they can live this way. In my mind when I was growing up the tythe was an obligation (something you have to do when you don't want to) to God and we just happened to be doing God's work therefore God provided us with that income. It still bothered me, though.
It never ceases to amaze me that Christians think that converting people is more important than feeding mouths, providing shelter, medical needs, etc. I sometimes wonder if people would give more, tythe more, if their churches did more for those in need and they actually got some good feeling from it instead of painfully squeezing out ten percent of their hard-earned money only to never really see where it goes.