Thursday, July 07, 2011

Unitarians should tithe

"We say that revelation is not sealed but we often act as if our purses were."

John Clifford, Anniversary Service Sermon, 2003

Unitarians should tithe. Yes I said it. Let me say it again: Unitarians should give away 10% of their income.

Sound radical? Crazy? Controversial? If so maybe we should ask ourselves why.

Unitarianism is a radical liberal way of being religious. We say what matters is not what you believe but how we live our lives. We've signed up to the Charter of Compassion which speaks about restoring compassion to the centre of religion and morality. Well, what do we think that means? What concretely does it mean to have a faith based on love and compassion?

What it means is, amongst other things, is giving. Let me be clear that I'm not saying that people should give 10% of their income to their congregation. Between 1% and 5% I would think is OK. And the rest should be given to other charities and groups.

Unitarianism is not an easy religon. It should not be. It's a religion that asks you to transform your life to become rooted in deeper spirituality, love and justice (as any other religion worth its salt also does). It requires us to reject the values of materialism, violence and anger. One way we begin to do that is to give generously. Generosity is an essential spiritual practice.

Unitarians should tithe.