Tithing: Religious Exploitation Or An Expression Of Faith?

Whenever I have little to give at church such as a few coins I feel a little embarrassed. I won’t take out the coins until the coast is clear, I hold it in my hand tightly closed so it makes no sound and when the collection plate comes around, my clenched fist goes all the way in and there is a quick release. If ever it makes a clashing sound I would hold down my head, accepting no responsibility for my actions. Isn’t it ironic how slowly the deacons walk by with the offering plate when your offering is low? By contrast, if I have a lot of offering to give at church, for example a fresh-from-the-ATM one thousand dollar bill I proudly hold it up to the light so everyone knows it is real. I would take it out of my pocket 30 minutes before the offering is being collected and when placing it in the collection container I would do oh so slowly, it would appear as if time stopped. Am I the only only one who does this? Yea? Just me? ok? I may have exaggerated just a little bit there, that’s not me at all, but when It comes to tithe and offerings, How much is enough? How much should we give?

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Remember the story of the people  in the temple giving of their wealth, while a poor lady gave a few coins? Well take a look at Mark 12:41-44. This proves that God disregards the quantity but focuses more on the percentage. So, if Donald Trump, who is allegedly worth billions gave USD 1000 during offering collection, his offering would not be significant and possibly he would be rejected like an orange peel.

The Bible gave instructions regarding the percentage of your ‘increase’ that you should give back to God. Here are some texts which outline the details of tithing:

“Lev. 27:32 And concerning the tithe of the herd or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, a tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.

Malachi 3:

7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

2 Chronicles 31

4 Moreover he commanded the people who dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the Lord.

And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.

And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, who dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the Lord their God, and laid them in heaps.”

The first title mentioned in the bible can be found in Genesis 14:19-20. Abram defeated the armies of the four kings and was met by a high priest of God named Melchizedek, who blessed Abram and gave credit to God for the victory. In response Abram gave Melchizedek 10% of his possessions. Many argue that is was not actual tithe, but a pagan tradition, sharing the spoils of war and was not quoted anywhere in the bible to support tithing.

“Deuteronomy 14

22 “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed that the field bringeth forth year by year.

23 And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks, that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always.

24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it, or if the place be too far from thee which the Lord thy God shall choose to set His name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee,

25 then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose.

26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after: for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth; and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou and thine household.”

What we understand from the bible is that tithes usually came in the form of food presented to the priests and Levites. We also established that 10% should be given back to God.

How do we give back to God?

In modern society, the context is not the same, it would not be practical to donate food as our ‘increase’ does not come in that form. We give tithes to churches, which uses it to pay pastors and fulfill the vast duties of the church. One may argue, ‘How do pastors pay tithe?’ Wouldn’t it go back to the church, then back to them? Numbers 18:21 indicates the tithe was established for the Levites. Tithes was given to the Levites for an inheritance. At God’s command they didn’t share in the other tribe’s inheritance so tithe was their sustenance. They had a special function as priests. The Levites were required to pay tithe, ‘a tithe of the tithe’ to God.

Well the concept of tithe is more of an expression of faith than anything else. But how we tithe today may be a little hard to follow and there are some who believe that modern tithing is exploitation. This belief is due to the establishment of tithe as food and that is was narrowly defined by God. It was only from the Israelites and under Old Covenant terms. Research has shown that tithing did not become a law in the church until A.D 777 when Emperor Charlemagne legally allowed the church to collect tithe. It is also believed that given that the new Covenant began at Jesus’s death, when Jesus spoke about tithing in Matt. 23:23 he was commanding Jewish obedience to the old Covenant, which he supported until death.

The bible encourages us to give in secret (Matt. 6:1-4) and not to neglect more important issues (Matt. 23:23). In any case the bible encourages us to give freely, so if it is possible to give 50%, give willingly. Kindness is the engine that can propel the end of poverty and being  Christians, kindness is a fundamental requirement.

What are your thoughts? Should we tithe? Leave a comment below.

– Aldeam Facey 2017

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Unwritten Rules And Norms Of The Jamaican Culture

For such a small country, Jamaica has one of the richest cultures worldwide. While many try to duplicate, a significant portion of or norms can only be experienced here. Let’s Look at some of our norms that have been etched in our culture.

  • We have the remarkable ability to replicate the American accent when talking to Americans, or after a short stay in the country. Whether or not this is done well, is a very subjective matter.
  • It is perfectly legal to park the letter ‘h’ anywhere in a sentence. Example ‘Hi am feeling very appy’. 
  • Whenever you are at a shop in rural Jamaica, often times no one is present to sell you items. You indicate your need for service by shouting “Serve”. Someone will appear to help.
  • You do not have fried dumplings for dinner. They are good for breakfast only.
  • Guys can have a complete conversation using only the sound ‘ahh’.
  • You must acknowledge the national anthem before watching any movie at the Theatre. 
  • It is your right to convey that you are filled with the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues when worshiping at a Pentecostal church, but not at a Catholic church.
  • More often than not, the biological father is absent from the household.
  • An effeminate male is immediately categorized as homosexual.
  • Rice and peas, with your choice of meat, is expected for Sunday dinner.
  • Ginger bulla, is eaten with pear (avocado).
  • Having multiple jobs is the norm.
  • If a vehicle “bad drives” you on the road, it is your duty to drive them down just so you can utter profanities at them.
  • Taxi drivers are known to be aggressive while driving. Make way.
  • Upon arrival from ‘foreign’, whichever country it may be, it is expected that you return bearing gifts.
  • There is absolutely nothing better that free food.
  • Everyone appreciates old Reggae Music.
  • We find being told negatives about our mothers to be especially offensive.
  • Most persons are not Rastafarians, most persons do not smoke weed and most persons rarely visit the beach. We find it surprising members of the international community believe those are norms.
  • The word ‘hush’ does not mean ‘shut up’. It is a sentiment of empathy. 
  • If someone is in our way when walking and we want to pass, we do not say ‘excuse me’ like the rest of the world, we say ‘sorry’. 
  • When singing the national anthem, it is ok to insert the sound ‘boom’  after ‘Jamaica’. Big up yuhself Omar McLeod. Boom! 

 

– Aldeam Facey 2016

Conflict Of Interest #7: Impregnating Two Women At Once – Part 1

This is a true story!

So we all know cheating is a big deal business in Jamaica. You are not a real Jamaican man until you have three ‘baby mommas’ you don’t care about.

 

So Matthew, 27, met a beautiful young lady, Samantha, 22, and wooed her panties to the floor. But other than falling in bed they fell in love and formed a ‘serious’ relationship. No one expected Matthew to joke around. But there is something powerful about vajay-jays that makes Jamaican men giddy headed. Matthew met another young lady, Sasha, mother of two children, and immediately fell into her. Of course, it was an accident. This accident happened over and over on the streets of an apparently busy highway, until the evidence of the mistake could no longer hide itself. She got pregnant. Naturally, the Jamaican thing for Matthew to do is to keep it a secret from Samantha for as many decades as possible, stressing about a possible revelation until he dies of a stroke. Okay so no big deal right? Wrong! Sasha is also in a committed relationship with the ‘father’ of her babies, a man who already questions the paternity of the children ‘given’ to him, who clearly lack the phenotypical characteristics that defines a father-child connection.

Sasha, naturally is afraid to tell her partner her big secret as he uses the machete very well and his mental stability has not been confirmed. So she presented the news to him in a brilliant fashion, ‘Babes, we havin a baby! I’m pregnant, for you’. Problem solved. We will get back to this later.

Matthew continued his relationship with Samantha and four months after Sasha got pregnant, Samantha had some good news for Matthew as well. Yes, you guessed it, Samantha found out she’s pregnant!…For ‘Matthew’.

At this point I’m sure Matthew shouted the very same profane words he did while he accidentally fell into those holes without head gear.

He eventually built the courage to tell his sisters that he got two women pregnant and without a doubt it was met with much surprise. No one else knew. Sasha’s baby, Kimberly, became Matthew’s first born and is loved by Matthew’s supportive sisters. It was a sibling secret and they kept their mother in the dark regarding the birth of Kimberly.

Months passed and Kimberly grew to become the clone of Matthew. So much so that Sasha’s physically abusive spouse is now asking for a DNA test. It is important to note that Sasha is a very close friend of the family, who often stays at the family house. Mathew had to break the secret to his mother, who resides overseas. But of course, he had to deliver the message in bite sizes. He told his mother Samantha is pregnant and was about to have his baby. Matthew’s mother was happy to hear such good news so he paused there for a bit.

This is where it gets interesting…

So Matthew’s mom decided to make a trip to Jamaica to meet her ‘first’ grand child, for whom she brought many gifts. She decided to have the entire family meet up at the family house. Samantha had just given birth to Shannele and they made the trip as well. It would have been a grand and happy time for stressed out Matthew except Sasha and Kimberly were staying at the house at the time.

Sasha and the siblings knew the whole story but the siblings eventually had to let their mother know. Much to her disappointment as she had given her heart and cash to Shanelle. It is important to note that during the visit Sasha felt so left out and unwanted, that she left. But to this day, Samantha is unaware that her child is not Matthews first.

Should he tell her knowing it would mean the end of their relationship?

Should Sasha tell her spouse?

In my view, to be honest, the truth sometimes really really hurts. Lets hope this is resolved soon, without injuries.

I can’t say I am excited to see how this story ends but it does encourage me to keep it in my pants until it rots.

I am an independent observer/advisor of the events. All names have been changed for privacy.

 

– Aldeam Facey (The Real Jamaican Man) 2016