How to reduce Your Titheable Income

The last two weeks at QBC have focused on the issue of giving and I thought it would be helpful for people to be able to work out how much to actually give.

So here’s how to work out your titheable income…

How much do you earn?  Let’s say $150k to get an average household income.

But… You only take home $100k of that…
Then you pay gst on everything you buy so technically not income either… Reduce by another 10%
And if you can salary sacrifice then you can reduce it even further!
Then there’s housing which you have to have so not really titheable..
Clothes…  A result of the fall so really not something we should be responsible for…
Education in a Christian school to keep your kids pure…  God would want that right?
And so the list goes on of things that aren’t technically titheable and that’s before I even get to my expenses!

Yes – expenses – because it costs me to go to church, take kids to youth group, and all those meetings. Surely I am not supposed to bear that cost myself?
Then we have people from church around for dinner and they eat my food and drink my wine…  That costs me.. So I pass it on to God because he needs to know the real cost of this Christian life.
There’s trips to Bali to visit the orphanages, church camps… It’s not cheap following Jesus.

By the time I had finished I worked out that God owed me

He owed me $5630.95 so I figured that if ‘God is no man’s debtor’ I should send the church an invoice…

Such is the problem with tithing as a practice. It is a rubbery concept at best and for those with short arms and deep pockets it can be easily evaded.

If the law was our teacher to prepare us for faith in Christ as Galatians 3 says then perhaps we can see tithing as trainer wheels that prepare us for actual bike riding?

I know many churches preach tithing because pragmatically it works to make ends meet, but what if in doing that we are actually keeping people in spiritual infancy, with the illusion of having matured?  It would look silly for me to ride a bike with training wheels once I know how to ride, but this is what happens often in church.

John Ortberg says a tithe is a good floor but a very poor ceiling.  The NT expectation is that we will reflect the generosity of God rather than be restricted to a set amount. It also allows space for those in dire poverty to be supported by others while they find their feet again.

Research shows that Christians give away around 3% of their income on average (which is a disturbing statistic ) so the challenge is not to get people tithing but rather to have them know God in such a way as to desire to reflect his heart.


1_19ihv67-19ihv69I’ve been following the unfolding drama of Flight MH370 as it has happened over the last two weeks – a massive tragedy for those with loved ones on board – but at this point I find myself wondering how much more money will be invested in searching for the dead?

I began thinking this a few days after it had disappeared. The prognosis was that it was unlikely for the plane to be found with people alive on it, but as the search has gone on and taken on epic proportions I have become disturbed at how much of our resources have gone into finding ‘dead people’ while millions who are still alive go hungry etc.

Its an ongoing conundrum – I get that – but maybe its past time to say ‘tragic/sad/devastating’ but from here on the money that would have gone into locating the dead will be rerouted into helping those who are close to death, but still have hope.

So maybe that’s not a popular thought, but if I think we sometimes lose perspective.



Train Wreck

trainAnd the big lesson from this week is make sure you are committed to your decision before going public with it…

Sadly the folks at World Vision have egg on their face and a major mess to clean up after their announcement that they would now hire people in gay relationships, only to retract the statement and revert to their original position just 48 hours later.

The problem is that the damage is done now. They have smashed a heap of trust and its going to be hard to rebuild it. Whatever you think of World Vision the issue here is the flip flop.

Now rather than just having alienated one group of constituents they have angered two. The first decision clearly made the right wing mad, while the left were happy WV had ‘seen the light’, but clearly the right have many more $$ because the reversion was for their benefit. Now the right won’t be sure if WV have genuinely recanted and the left will hate them for their back down. Lose – lose

I didn’t know WV were still an overtly Christian organisation and I figured they hired staff who had no faith affiliation. So the original decision surprised me as I thought that was the lie of the land anyway. While the original decision obviously was a political hand grenade, it would be interesting to know what genuinely motivated both decisions. It would seem the first may have been a response to culture (and I think many theological shifts are a result of cultural change, moreso than new ‘learning ‘) but the reversal is confusing – it presents as theological but I wonder to what extent it is driven by the need for the organisation to keep running, for people’s jobs, leader’s reputations etc. Yeah – I’m a bit cynical there.

Maybe it was motivated by the fact that the decision will hurt the poor – the reason for WVs existence , but my guess is that it’s a combination of all of the above to a greater or lesser degree depending on who you ask.

And which decision was the correct one?… I’m not sure at the moment.

If we are arguing that sexual orientation is central to the gospel then you’ve lost me there. If WV are as keen to take a hardline on other sin then perhaps that would seem fair. But we all know that nothing riles a conservative more than being kind or fair to gay people. For some reason they belong in a different category of ‘nasty’ to adulterers, pornographers and hetero-sexual-sinners.

Unfortunately what presents as a decision based on theological conviction seems to be more likely driven by bottom lines, people’s jobs and maybe even the folks at the end of the line who end up suffering because people won’t allow their funds to channel through a ‘sinful’ organisation.

I wonder if those same folks who boycotted WV are willing to allow WV to take money from gay folks? Or are they allowed to give money to sponsor kids who are gay. If you are gay should you starve?


Yeah I think it can be…

Or maybe its not complex and we’re just bloody stupid sometimes.


Noah Scmoah

Last night was looking like a night at home until the phone rang at 5.00pm and someone wanted a retic control box installed in Currambine. I didn’t need to do it on the spot, but as it was my job to take the kids to their youth groups I figured I’d drop them off, do the control box, grab some dinner, see the Noah movie, pick the kids up and head home. It’d save driving back to Yanchep… I thought I was on my own until Danelle decided she didn’t want to miss out so came too.

So we managed to cram in drop off, dinner and control box before the 6.30 movie and then sunk back into the chairs to enjoy a movie – first one in a long time and at $19.00/ticket its hardly surprising…

So – Noah… Honestly it was a bit ho hum. I found myself a bit bored with it and while not offended or disturbed by its content it just didn’t strike a chord for me. Plenty of others have written analytical reviews of its biblical truth and error, but I didn’t go there to see someone try to match it word for word. What I did see was a mix of Mad Max, Lord of the Rings and the Bible with Noah as the first nut job fundamentalist, willing to kill his own granddaughters in the name of the cause. There was enough Bible for it to be recognisable as the story, but enough interpretation and adaption to fill it out and make it into a movie length drama. If you’re thinking of going to see it, then I’d say ‘go ahead, but don’t expect it to be either completely biblically accurate or riveting as a story.

What it did, was compel me to re-read the story to see what was actually there originally and what was added in and I am guessing it will be food for conversation around the place. I agree with those who say our job isn’t to defend the bible and its accuracy but rather to engage with the culture as it reads the story. From there we can have a conversation rather than a lecture in correction.

So – Noah – its not the duck’s nuts, nor is it the antichrist… Enjoy it for what its worth, but if I were you I’d wait for the DVD…