Here is the audio (transcript below) from the radio interview Thursday on KNPR radio about tithing in the Recession. I only spoke for a minute or two within the last 7 minutes of the program, so you may want to skip to that part.
I wish i could have explained more, but the program was not really setup to go into any detail. Here is a transcript below of just my conversation with the moderator.
Moderator: “Joining us now is Jared Bartholomew. Jared Bartholomew is based in Jacksonville, FL, which is where he is today. He’s the founder and director of a website called “Church Stewardship and Tithing Report”. It’s a site critical of tithing practices. Jared Bartholomew, you’ve come down as critical of tithing. Tell us a little bit about why? Churches offer faith salvation, camaraderie, community, shouldn’t they ask for some support of compensation in the form of tithing?
Me: There is nothing against sacrificial, charitable giving. We believe there are causes and reasons that people should give, whether for religious or personal reasons. We have nothing against that. More or less, we have some issues against the obligation, the pressure that is put on the people to actually give a set amount of 10%, first and above and beyond even their own needs and their families needs in order to fulfill an obligation that the leadership feels is in their religion, whether based on scripture or any other law
Moderator: Yet we are hearing from callers who are saying that they’ve got no problem with the notion of tithing, given even their own difficult financial circumstances.
Me: We believe giving is a personal matter. If you decide in your heart that you wish to give 10%, than by all means, but i think before anyone gives away their ten percent, they need to first figure out their other obligations besides giving. I don’t know of any religion that states giving is their only obligation they have. There’s obligations in every relgion that states you have obligations to your debtors and debts. So we cannot forgo those things as well in order just to give ten percent to a church or a religious organization
Moderator: You have said on your website that tithing is easy . . . for sissies, cause it allows people to give without having to deal directly with the recipients. Say a little more about this if you would. Do people prefer tithing because it is an easier, or perhaps a less direct way of giving?
Me: I guess an example we can expain. I’m sure we’ve all watched TV and seen that starving child or we’ve dealt directly with some who is indegent and looks really helpless. To us personally that’s uncomfortable. We don’t want to confront that person. So the easiest thing for us to do is hand that check over to a nice reputable organization without us having to personally interract with friends family or with people we don’t know, that we would be uncomfortable with.
Moderator: So what do you think a person should do if he or she wants to make a difference? Is there an alternative?
Me: I think it’s up to a personal matter between you and whatever your faith is. I think that you should give sacrificially and liberally; based on the amount of income. I do not think that you should be getting into debt in order to give. You’ve gotta be smart, not necessarily sacrificial.”