Progressive Tithe Explained:
In the world of the Ancient Hebrews many generations would live on the same subsistence farm along with others such as servants. The whole household would give ten percent of their produce to the temple. While some would be offered as a sacrifice to God, much of this would be used for the poor— basically it was a big part of their support to the poor, orphan, immigrants, and widows. In doing so they fostered peaceful communities and valued human beings over capital.
Today we tend to live in single generation housing and give a part of our income to the government, to non-profit agencies and churches to support the vulnerable. Further, income and wealth inequality have been on the rise since the 1980's. With the rise of automation, we are likely to see even more inequality. We see vast income inequality between white people and people of color.
Yet we also need enough money to operate as a church, even if our model does not require as much as some other models of church.
Because of these factors we have developed a different expression of the Biblical concept of a tithe: the progressive tithe. We feel that a full ten percent is not actually possible for many people and that the ideal of tithing excludes people, leads to a loss of commitment, and generates tensions between people who give different percentages.
The idea here is that everyone will commit to the same discipline of the progressive tithe, but will be giving at different percentages depending on their total household annual income. This helps us to honor the gifts of those at all incomes while still providing what the church needs to support its ministry of nonviolent leadership in the larger world.
Each participating household will commit to a progressive tithe on the scale outlined below. If one member of a household does not participate then the participating member will participate in the progressive tithe based on 50% of their adjusted gross income.
If your household income changes or if there is some financial hardship talk with your leaders and/or the pastor. Commitment is good – undue stress is not.