Friday, April 18, 2008

The first fruits of all your crops

Tithing is a very big thing in American churches and I was scarcely aware of the word prior to my arrival in this fair country lo these many years. I think the English church goer gives of the change that might be rattling around in his pocket; in America whole sermons are devoted to expositions of how to calculate a tenth (10 %). It's on the gross, before tax, inclusive of everything. Tithing enables the poor overworked pastors to have a little security in their retirement, witness the Rev. Jeremiah (biblical) Wright shuffling off to his $1 million golf course "parsonage" courtesy of the Trinity faithful; or the fella over at Harvest Bible Chapel moving, with much less publicity, into a $4 million shack.

I was just reading about the Obamas' publication of their 2007 income, which enjoyed a healthy bump over 2006. A whopping $3.9 million net on book sales, which just goes to prove that the world is full of dopes. We are always being urged to read; the public responds by spending masses of money on completely worthless books enriching a few frauds, vagabonds and swindlers (The Secret). Read a good book, like a novel or something. Come to think of it, perhaps that's what Audacity of Hope is.

Anyway, I noticed that, among the charitable donations, the Obamas yielded $26,270 to Trinity, which is almost exactly 10 % of their combined $260,735 salaries. Giving at the tithing level. The Rev. Wright should be thrilled you think to receive $26 K from one member. But wait, God says 10 % of the total: books aren't excluded; so I reckon the Obamas are in the hole to the tune of about $390 K. They could just about pay for the modest little retirement parsonage by themselves.

In fact it is the practice in many churches to make the 10 % rule the entry level minimum stake and encourage giving above and beyond for long-term senior members. So I could see a rounding up to about half a million would be in order here.

I noticed that Michelle has gone part-time at UofC Medical Center, her income plummeting to about $100 K. That is a cool part-time job - a job that is suitably vaguely defined and illusive of purpose. I would like that kind of part-time gig to fill in the idle hours between classes. Those gigs are hard to find, although one or two of my COD colleagues seem to have managed it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is written that what a man soweth he shall also reap. You have published that they have sowed unto God. Guess what? You didn't discuss the blessing he received and she. You made their blessings (his gaining presidency and her being given more time with her family to cover his absence as president)seem unholy and unclean. God bless your soul.