Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Ice Cream and Relational Tithing - Cornetto's and the Coming of the Kingdom

Thanks for the responses to 'How Great (thou) Art'. Ok here's a practical idea to follow up on the ice cream thing* and to take it a bit further.

One of the things I loved about my old church Inner City Life/Grace was the way the vast majority of money given to the church basically went straight out of the door again, through child sponsorship, giving to the needs of those in the community, the wider world and others involved in Church planting etc.

However, its a sad fact that, anecdotaly, I believe that many Christians give some money to the church but also direct a lot out to other causes separately. The sad thing is not the process as I don't think its essential to pool then give but I think people recognise the 'Christendom' model of church and its need to pay for the upkeep of its own institutional existence - and who really wants to/get excited by that! From what I can tell from both old and new testament scriptures the primary goal of giving/tithing etc, bar a small percentage to keep the basics ticking over, was essentially to redistribute resources to people who needed them. A communal, relational mechanism (if that's not a post industrial oxymoron!) to see the Shalom/Kingdom of God coming in practical ways.

SO then, especially as many of us are a bit 'churchless' at the moment (nothing to prop up - no bad thing), we have a great opportunity to do something different.

The Ideas on Rhythms of Loving Resistance post mentions 'relational tithing'. And i think we could do a bit of that kind of thing.

V Basic idea - people chip in what they want to a central pot (at least ice cream money!!).

When we come across needs that move us to do something we have some cash to do the financial bit of helping along side other stuff we could do. (E.g I get knocked over and lose job, house etc and my family needs to get some rent for our first 3 months as we sort out what to do, Rache meets a family of a dying woman who desperately wants to see here estranged, homeless daughter before she passes but can't afford the train ticket, Dee knows a destitute asylum seeker in hiding who needs a deposit to get the water back on in her squat, etc etc etc etc)

We also might have the opportunity to join in with other UK and global networks doing the same.

So we do what we can. It's an idea to pool (cos realistically we might get to do more that way) and splash cash that is nothing to do with funding an institution and everything about doing small things with great love.

I like this simple idea and hey this kind of thing if it takes of amongst Gods people might one of the answers to my podcast questions about re imagining the good life when it comes to all sorts of issues like, insurance, retirement, etc etc.

But for now we could just get it going with the account Mark has, at least our cornetto money, put a minimal bit aside for engage stuff and the other 90% into - well where shall we start?

* The ice cream thing - UN Development Report 1998 - Americans spend more on cosmetics, $8 billion annually, and Europeans on ice cream, $11 billion, than it is estimated it would cost to provide basic education ($6 billion) or water and sanitation ($9 billion) to the more than 2 billion people worldwide who go without schools and toilets.

1 comment:

Dee said...

Yeh I think thats a good idea and much more practical than trying to add up each week how much I have spent on ice-cream and working out where to give it! How about as well as keeping a bit of a pot for instances such as you mentioned, having a regular thing we support as well so that we constantly feel the money is being put to good use?