The Rev. Rob Baldwin, pastor, Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 Vermont St.:
Tithing is for giving thanks
I think the biggest differences are that taxes are the way in which the citizenry of a community — local, state or nation — contribute to the public dimension of our life together. The things we all enjoy such as roads, police and firefighting services, and our public schools, are provided for by everyone contributing as part of the tax base.
Tithing, on the other hand, is grounded not in duty or to provide for what we want, but in thankfulness for what God has given us. I don’t know how many people pay their taxes with a feeling of gratitude, but God desires that our gifts be given out of thanksgiving and love. Taxes are for what we make; tithing is in response for what we have been given. And while the determination of how taxes are spent is (in theory) at the direction of us and our elected representatives, the use of the tithe is always to the question of what God is calling us to do. It isn’t “do we want to do this” but rather “will we do what God wants us to do as the body of Christ?” As such, unlike taxes which tend to often call us to wonder what benefit it has for us, tithing is explicitly with the mindset of what the world needs to be closer to the world that God has envisioned for us.
— Send email to Rob Baldwin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rev. Mitch Todd, associate pastor, First United Methodist Church, 946 Vermont St.:
Ten differences come to mind
My top 10 answers:
- Taxes are a civic obligation. Tithing is between you and God.
- You won’t be audited for not tithing. (At least not in this life.)
- Taxes require forms and calculators. Tithing requires scripture and prayer.
- The IRS makes allowances for tithers, but Jesus actually loves tax collectors.
- God asks for 10 percent as a goal. The IRS thinks of 10 percent as a good starting place.
- Your tithe will be used to build something better than bombs.
- Death and Taxes? Christians believe there is life after both.
- The Church is a place where Republicans and Democrats CAN work together.
- When you tithe, you always get something back.
- Taxes go to pay off a huge debt. Tithes thank Christ for paying an even bigger one.
— Send email to Mitch Todd at email@example.com.