Archive for April, 2011

Where do you draw the line between needs and wants?

Monday, April 25th, 2011

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about material possessions recently. In the Bible there’s a spectrum of wealth that ranges from the destitute (think the prophet out in the wilderness) to the opulent (think the kings). Both find favor in God, yet they live in vastly different economic conditions.

There do seem to be certain guidelines for giving that we have in our churches. But beyond that, what are we to do with our money? Should we give everything beyond our basic necessities to the church or charity? Or is there room in a Biblical view of money for buying something outside of what we need to survive?

Share your thoughts!

Is is time to rethink the tithe?

Friday, April 15th, 2011

With tax day right around the corner, it’s not surprising that finances—and in particular, tithing—is on people’s minds. Out of Ur is talking about this important, but often awkward to discuss, topic. In particular, they wonder if the notion of the traditional Christian tithe is due to be re-thought. The discussion springs from a CNN report that suggests that tithing is seen as increasingly optional in many churches:

There are a lot of different, related questions lurking beneath the simple “Is tithing mandatory for Christians?” The Bible clearly and repeatedly stresses the importance of generosity—but what does that mean in practical terms? Here are a few questions to mull over as you consider the issue of tithing:

  • Do you think the 10%-of-your-income tithing ratio is mandated by Scripture? If not, is there another formula mandated?
  • Should we consider outside-of-church giving to be separate from our tithe to church, or are they all part of the Biblical tithe?
  • Have you ever been torn between tithing to church and giving to other worthy, but non-church, causes?
  • How seriously does your church take tithing? If you went a month without giving anything to church, would your church take notice? Would they leave that entirely to your own discretion, treat it as a matter of church discipline, or something in between?
  • What formula or style of giving feels most appropriate and Biblical to you?
  • That’s a lot of questions, and I’d like to unpack some of them in future posts. But for now, watch the CNN video above and stop by Out of Ur to follow the discussion there.

    Meditating on Scripture

    Thursday, April 7th, 2011

    The pastor at my church has been carving out a few minutes at the end of his sermons for the past few weeks in order to walk us through meditating on a specific parable from the Bible. He slowly reads and rereads the passage out loud and walks us through a process of deeply reflecting on the individual components of the story. It’s a new practice for much of the congregation, and one that many are finding extremely spiritually enriching.

    Have you ever purposefully meditated on a part of scripture? If so, what verses or passages have you found to be good for meditation?

    Share your thoughts in the comments!