Monday, October 8, 2012

Implementing a postmodern tithing system in keeping with Christian tradition

After posing an important question in my previous blog post entitled Questions about paying pastors monetary wages, I feel compelled to offer an alternative to the problem posed in that post.

For me, I'm at that age where I really begin to become critical of traditions and how we interpret and practice traditions today. The problem posed is the question regarding how do we continue to practice Christian tradition today? In this case, how can we maintain a Jewish tradition of tithing in contemporary times, seeing that Jewish tradition of tithing as taught by the Torah did not compel any mandatory monetary tithe? Even the "New Testament" endorsement by Jesus of the good of tithing (see Matthew 23:23) makes it clear that we tithe grains, spices and of things that are come naturally from the creator, and not from some man made economic system.

In a greater urbanised world and the movement away from agriculture, can we legitimately practice a Judeo-Christian tradition of tithing without using State-printed money? What about those who advocate that the church must be separate from the state, but still accept the use of state-printed funds to pay their shepherds?

I propose this alternative. That instead of pastors receiving monetary wages, that they receive wages in kind from the congregation that they serve or shepherd. This can be implemented through tithing of grocery and clothing. Let every member of the church reserve a tenth of their shopping and purchases to give to the pastor and those who minister. Tithe not the state-printed money, but the farm produce and other goods purchased with the state-printed money. Hence, even those who don't have farms, can still legitimately partake in a Judeo-Christian heritage of tithing without the use of state-printed money. This will truly liberate the church from state, an essential value of American Protestant Christians.

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