“God thinks within geniuses, dreams within poets, and sleeps within the rest of us.” – Peter Antenberg
Although my partner and I are still childless, we continue to have the “how will we raise our child” conversation when it comes to religion. Needless to say, we’re still on a quest to add a spiritual element to our lives. I think we’ve found the place: the Unitarian church, billed as the Uncommon Denomination. It’s a denomination with no formal creed and typically keeps a low profile.
We have attended a few times and dubbed it the Church of PBS. Our local congregation is super intellectual and the service feels more like an 18th century French salon than church. Recently we learned about the Immortal Chaplains, sang a song in Sanskrit, heard someone quote poetry and an atheist guest speak. The choir and flutist should be paid… they’re quite good.
All this brings me to the topic of money. Church costs money to run. The first Sunday that we attended, I put $20 in the offering plate. My partner thought this was way too much. Afterwards, we talked about it and I said that it would cost us twenty bucks to go sit at a movie so it only seemed reasonable to somewhat pay our way while we’re guests and checking things out.
This progressed to a bigger conversation about what membership would eventually cost us. So one Sunday during coffee hour, I met one of the trustees and quizzed her about the topic. Of course, there’s no mandatory amount but on average each family gives approximately $1,200 a year.
When we got in the car, my partner said that she thought $100 a month was outrageous. She grew up Catholic and her mother just dropped her off at catechism… I don’t think they ever really attended church or belonged anywhere as family. I grew up tithing. Ten percent of our income went to church. I was expected and “encouraged” to give ten percent of any money I earned as a teenager. And I was all about earning money. At 15, I had my first “real” job and from then on I tithed until I left the church at the age of 24.
We have yet to agree on tithing 10 percent of our income. But $100 a month seems reasonable to pay if we want to become members. Everything else in life costs money, why should we expect church to be free. I told her if we go and get something out of it, then we should be willing to pay for this experience. Personally, I like it so much that I would pay more.
What about you? What’s your view on tithing or giving money to church? I would love to hear your comments below. Also be sure and catch the God and Mammon series still running at Queercents.
Nina blogs about money over at Queercents.