Blog, Thoughts

Americans only tithe 2%? (& news about upcoming interviews with Five Good Answers)

Friday’s Five Good Answers will return in two weeks to feature interviews about new book releases, faith, and culture with an exciting collection of authors, activists, and pastors. Here are just a few to look forward to (in no particular order):

Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society by Tim Willard & Jason Locy who challenge Christians to discard identities cobbled together from popular culture.The book promises to explain how stripping the veneer to reveal one’s true self is the only way to live a life and faith of freedom, honesty, and beauty.

Third Way Allegiance by professor, actor, and activist,Dr. Tripp York, is a poignant collection of essays that challenge Christians to recognize the great divide between the call of the Gospel and living the American dream.

Becoming King: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Making of a National Leader (Civil Rights and the Struggle for Black Equality in the Twentieth Century) by Troy Jackson, who is the senior pastor of University Christian Church in Cincinnati. He is a well-known activist who has a deep passion for pursuing justice in his own neighborhood. His look at the life of Dr. Kingis a wonderful book that hasreceived a ton of critical acclaim.

A Charitable Discourse: Talking about the Things that Divide Us by Dr. Dan Boone, who is a university president and popular speaker. It is a joy for me to interview Dr. Boone. His commitment to the grace and compassion ofChrist as communicated through his writing, preaching, and his leadership deeply shaped my thinking about the Gospel as a young man (and continues to do so). His newbook focuses on the need for honest dialogue inside thesanctuaries of the American church.

Between Two Kingdoms by Joe Boyd is a wonderful piece of allegorical fiction. Joe Boyd is a teaching pastor at Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati; he is a gifted speaker, professional actor and screenwriter, who is also finishing work on his first film.

As I work on my next book, Faith on the Fringe (working title), I amperiodically wrapped up writing about one particular theme or issue. This week it has been giving.

I love that CS Lewis challenges us to give to the point that it makes our lifestyle uncomfortable. A quick look at studies on American giving clearly shows that people of faith (myself included) don’t always respond in that way. I want to end this week’s reflections by sharinga few lines from my “research” that have made me take pause and reflect on my own finances, resources,and lifestyle. I hope you find them as meaningful asI did:

Pity may represent little more than the impersonal concern which prompts the mailing of a check, but true sympathy is the personal concern which demands the giving of one’s soul.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.” ~ Mother Teresa

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” ~ Maya Angelou

I think this quote by Bono is particularly moving because it gets to the heart of how we can impact the world with our gifts:

Eight million people die every year for the price of going out with your friends to the movies and buying an ice cream. Literally for about $30 a head per year, you could save 8 million lives. Isn’t that extraordinary? Preventable disease – not calamity, not famine, nothing like that. Preventable disease – just for the lack of medicines. That is cheap, that is a bargain.” ~ Bono

CNN posted this piece on their blog today about the state of giving in the American church. The article details, “A recent study by group that tracks church giving, called Empty Tomb, Inc., found that evangelicals on a wholegive an average of 4% of their income to their church, though Olson suspects the average is much lower, around 1% or 2%“. When I wrote The Mockingbird Parables and looked at figures in American charitable giving, it totaled far less than 10% of the average American income. You can read more of the CNN report here:

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