Tithing Enough for Love?

I think I’m ready to steal tithes from the Church.

I’m only thinking about the idea of tithes, mind you – Pagans and Christians have a long tradition of sharing ideas, and I’d like to put this one on the Mantle of Good Ideas alongside “seminary” and “Christmas carols.”

A wise man once said to me, “Anybody can save ten percent.” A longtime Boy Scout leader and surrogate father to countless boys, he explained to me that saving is all relative. The poorest of the poor could learn to scrimp by without one penny in ten and not notice the difference, just as the stratospherically wealthy could. In fact, income being no measure of financial management skills, some of the wealthy would have a tougher time of it.
Albert Einstein, birthday boy
Another man whom I admire is Albert Einstein. It’s hard not to look up to a man who owned a set of identical suits so he wouldn’t have to waste time deciding what to wear. I don’t even know if Einstein said it, but he is often quoted as remarking that compound interest is either the most powerful force in the Universe or the most powerful human invention. Einstein was a smart enough man that he probably could have said all sorts of wise things that he never did, so I’ve always taken it on faith that, at the very least, he would have agreed with the sentiment.

Anyone can save ten percent. Compound interest is an immensely powerful force. And, lest I forget, money is congealed energy. I think these ideas can be molded into a tithing model that fits the Pagan worldview.

Where would I pay a Pagan tithe?
Pagans areCan an offering bowl be a Pagan icon? a self-determined lot. Even large, organized Pagan groups tend to cluster off into smaller covens and circles. We move from one group to another as circles dissolve and new covens are born. Our legally-recognized churches aren’t known for opulent sanctuaries built as a tangible acknowledgment of the love we feel for our gods. The structure we’ve created really isn’t conducive to passing a collection bowl around and using the proceeds to run a methadone clinic. Who’s going to be responsible for the money we collect, and decide how to use it?

Well, if want want a job done well you’re going to have to do it yourself. We’re going to have to pay that ten percent tithe to ourselves.

How is a Pagan tithe spent?
Covens, groves, and solitaries should make those decisions. Who better to make sure that the money is used appropriately? Just setting aside that ten percent in a separate account is a victory, though; that’s a step towards controlling the flow of money. The larger the amount that’s saved, the more impact those decisions can make. The possibilities are boundless:

Just don’t spend the money on anything without thought. Not everyone would want to spend their tithe promoting industrial hemp, but as long as you feel dollars thus spent will improve the world, it’s appropriate.

Pagan tithing should be as individual as Pagans, but that doesn’t mean it can’t make a big impact on our world.


2 thoughts on “Tithing Enough for Love?

  1. My thought? Save that first 10%. While it’s becoming more common to have sound financial plans, I still talk to too many Pagans who are personally up to their necks in debt and who have never even thought of doing a savings plan.They can even use sites like SmartyPig to roll their money elsewhere so it saves and they can go on with whatever else they’re doing.Get enough money saved back for emergencies, and you can use that compound interest for all sorts of good things.


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