Editor's note: The author offered a version of these remarks to the House of Deputies during General Convention in July in Anaheim, California.
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When I had my first really serious encounter with the tithe, I nearly panicked.
Mentally I went through the classic resistance ideas, like: Is it before-tax or after-tax; does it include the part of my income taxes that goes to help the needy; does it include gifts to the United Way; and so on.
Then I got a piece of paper and started making a list of things we could do without, but I quickly saw that my list consisted mostly of things that my wife and kids could do without – and that wasn't right.
Then I mentally searched for a way to do tithing painlessly. To my surprise, I found a way. Each year at raise time, I would take part of my raise and give it to God.
When I said to myself, "I can do this – I will do this," the strangest thing happened. I didn't feel poorer, I felt richer. That doesn't work numerically, but it sure works spiritually.
In my mind's eye, I suddenly could see a little bag of money, and I now had to figure out how best to use it for God's purposes. What a glorious feeling!
That decision to tithe has enriched my life ever since. Looking ahead, I have a vision. I hope that the deputies here will take Resolution D055 (which reaffirms the church's support of tithing) and present it back home at their next diocesan convention. Further, I hope that when they do, they will ask the people there to present the resolution at their next parish meeting.
It only takes a spark to get a fire going.