Request for Reader Information on Jobs, Tithing, and the Economy

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Anyone who reads Cerulean Sanctum knows that I tackle plenty of business issues and the American Church’s response to them.

Well, I have a huge post coming up that will be looking at the dichotomy between all the positive comments we hear about the health of our economy and the reality of many Americans. For instance, The Wall Street Journal just ran a front page story about our strong economy, while another story on the same page said that singles’ ads are now including pleas for possible mates who have good health insurance policies. To me, that latter story negates the former and tells a much different story.

What I’d like to hear from readers are answers to the following nine questions:

    1. Are you better off financially today than seven years ago?2. Are you saving money or is the money coming in going out as fast?3. Have you personally seen that giving more money in tithing resulted in more coming back?

    4. Do you actually tithe ten percent?

    5. If you are married, do both you and your spouse work? How might that have changed in the last seven years?

    6. What message do you hear in your church or among churchgoers about employment, finances, and the economy? Does that message reflect your reality?

    7. Have you or your spouse been laid off in the last seven years? When you found a new job, was it for more or less money?

    8. Have you moved in the last seven years in order to follow work?

    9. What extended family lives within thirty miles of your home?

If you find that these questions are too personal for this blog’s comment section, PLEASE e-mail at the address listed in the sidebar. I get many e-mails from people who are struggling with issues like these, so if this is a tough area to write about in a public forum, send me a private e-mail. Know, too, that every e-mail I get like this receives prayer—that I promise!

If you are married or single, please let me know which one applies to you. Also, your age would be nice to know.

I hope to have this post (it may turn into a series) out next week.

Thank you all in advance.

Tags: Economy, Jobs, Work, Tithe, Tithing, Church, Faith, Christianity, Jesus, God

28 thoughts on “Request for Reader Information on Jobs, Tithing, and the Economy

  1. I think we could error in our conclusions about whether a good economy is translating into a better financial situation for many people if we don�t factor in the impact of materialism. I.e., is the reason for my perceived poor financial situation the result of not getting the benefit of a better economy or is it the result of conforming to the worlds materialistic model of how I should be living?

    I talk to a fair number of people who are struggling to make it financially, yet they still have two cars, cable TV, cell phone, take annual vacations, etc. and consider them part of the necessities of life.

  2. codepoke

    1. Are you better off financially today than seven years ago?
    > Much better.

    2. Are you saving money or is the money coming in going out as fast?
    > Saving.

    3. Have you personally seen that giving more money in tithing resulted in more coming back?
    > I cannot imagine this being presented as biblical truth after Pentacost.

    4. Do you actually tithe ten percent?
    > Currently, yes, though at other times I have not. I feel conviction for neither.

    5. If you are married, do both you and your spouse work? How might that have changed in the last seven years?
    > Married until 2003. Single income until a year before she left. (Single income again.)

    6. What message do you hear in your church or among churchgoers about employment, finances, and the economy? Does that message reflect your reality?
    > Use wisdom in deciding what to do with your money. Plain discussion of credit, investing, and tithing. Nothing from the pulpit about the economy.

    7. Have you or your spouse been laid off in the last seven years? When you found a new job, was it for more or less money?
    > No.

    8. Have you moved in the last seven years in order to follow work?
    > No. Moved 3 times for the church.

    9. What extended family lives within thirty miles of your home?
    > None.

  3. Blind Beggar,

    What you say is true.

    I would put a caveat on that, though, in that society often sweeps people along and they have no choice. Society dictates what the “standard equipment” is and failing to meet that standard means swimming against a tide, usually with no support (like from the Church.)

    Some companies require employees to have cell phones, and sometimes they have to pay for them themselves. Not having one is a sign of not being in the game, and not being in the game means you won’t keep your job.

    With our society more hostile than it used to be, ask any woman who keeps a cell phone for emergencies if she wants to part with it. All it takes is one story from a girlfriend about how a cell phone helped her get out of a frightening situation and there’s no way that cell phone is going to vanish willingly. I don’t need one, but convincing my wife to do without when her car breaks down and Mr. Creepy comes over to “help her out” and you see what I mean.

    For dual-income homes, two cars are essential. The question there is whether those cars are being turned-over all the time (a new car every couple years) or whether they are being kept up to last a long time. Folks who are not from the United States marvel at our cars, but also marvel at how spread out this country is. We don’t live in self-sufficient villages, though we should. Thus cars are a necessity.

    It balances out, too. If you live in a city, your cost of living is higher, but you can use public transportation. If you live in the country, the cost of living is cheap, but you need a car and a truck all day every day.

    TV is not a necessity, but in these times I think it is foolish not to have one, if for no other reason than public connection. Should a bird flu pandemic hit or another terrorist attack come, you’re going to want that TV. Not everyone gets reception via TV aerials, either. In fact, some stations are looking into dropping their broadcast towers. It’s expensive to operate one and with cable and satellite comprising the majority of their connections, what happens when the towers are turned off?

    All these things aside, nothing changes the fact that real world wages are at a fifteen-year low in this country. Sure, tacking on this stuff doesn’t help, but eliminating some of it doesn’t do much, either. Eliminating a cell phone, Internet service, cable TV, and a few others like that might save you $2000 a year, but with rising energy and healthcare prices, that $2000 is gobbled up elsewhere. With the median family income being around $66,000 in this country, $2000 is only 3.3% of one’s income. Again, that’s not where the major hits come. For instance, my property taxes have soared even though my property value is only going up about 3% a year. My electric is up 30% and my water about 20%. What can most people do about any of those increases? Don’t they more than offset the savings one gets from dumping the things you suggest?

    As you can see, I’m not as firmly convinced that materialism is the culprit all the time. Is it to blame for some people’s situations? Sure! But some people keep on cutting back and there’s less waste to eliminate every year.

  4. Anonymous

    1. Are you better off financially today than seven years ago?

    — Graduated college in 04, so it’s hard for me to compare.

    2. Are you saving money or is the money coming in going out as fast?

    — I was saving, but my wife just quit her job (about to give birth) so we’re not anymore

    3. Have you personally seen that giving more money in tithing resulted in more coming back?

    — I’ve never changed the amount we give.

    4. Do you actually tithe ten percent?

    — Yes

    5. If you are married, do both you and your spouse work? How might that have changed in the last seven years?

    — She quit her job a month ago.

    6. What message do you hear in your church or among churchgoers about employment, finances, and the economy? Does that message reflect your reality?

    — The biggest issue for me and my friends is housing — I live in Fairfax County, VA and the pastors encourage us to value building community among the church above our finances, and live near the church if at all possible. So the choice I face is continue renting indefintely near the building or buy something further away. In Northern Virginia, most people who are at the beginning of their careers or only on one income will have to move away to settle permanently, or settle for living space that seems cramped.

    7. Have you or your spouse been laid off in the last seven years? When you found a new job, was it for more or less money?

    No.

    8. Have you moved in the last seven years in order to follow work?

    Yes — but only leaving college.

    9. What extended family lives within thirty miles of your home?

    Father’s cousins — there’s about 15 of them nearby.

  5. Anonymous

    1. Are you better off financially today than seven years ago? —NO. Worse.

    2. Are you saving money or is the money coming in going out as fast? —I am saving.

    3. Have you personally seen that giving more money in tithing resulted in more coming back? —NO.

    4. Do you actually tithe ten percent? —YES and NO.

    5. If you are married, do both you and your spouse work? How might that have changed in the last seven years? —Not married.

    6. What message do you hear in your church or among churchgoers about employment, finances, and the economy? Does that message reflect your reality? —Don’t hear anything about it.

    7. Have you or your spouse been laid off in the last seven years? When you found a new job, was it for more or less money? —YES, twice. Less.

    8. Have you moved in the last seven years in order to follow work? —YES, and I’d do it again.

    9. What extended family lives within thirty miles of your home? —One.

    I need to comment. I was tithing regularly when I was making 75k. 10% or more. I got laid off (32% RIF), on unemployment, moved elsewhere for cheaper living costs, got hired at 30k, now laid off again (RIF), and on unemployment. Again.

    The first RIF – I had successfully dodged 3 or more other RIFs, and I was getting bored with my job. I didn’t figure it would take a year to find another one, but it did. I don’t tithe 10% to the church, but 15% or more of my paycheck has gone to help the homeless, feed the poor, clothe the naked. “Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.” I give some to the church, but not 10%.

    Am I blessed in other ways than financially? Yes, I am.

  6. Christine

    1. Are you better off financially today than seven years ago?
    Yes.

    2. Are you saving money or is the money coming in going out as fast?
    No, it’s going out as fast.

    3. Have you personally seen that giving more money in tithing resulted in more coming back?
    No. I usually ended up “paying” for it.

    4. Do you actually tithe ten percent?
    No.

    5. If you are married, do both you and your spouse work? How might that have changed in the last seven years?
    Not married.

    6. What message do you hear in your church or among churchgoers about employment, finances, and the economy? Does that message reflect your reality?
    They say that tithing improves the finances, etc., but it didn’t for me. Now I fear tithing 10% again. I just can’t afford the dent it will leave.

    7. Have you or your spouse been laid off in the last seven years? When you found a new job, was it for more or less money?
    My new job was out of college, so it was double what I made before college.

    8. Have you moved in the last seven years in order to follow work?
    No. I moved for a better environment for my kids, not for work.

    9. What extended family lives within thirty miles of your home?
    I don’t think any do.

  7. 1. Yes, but I’ve only been working fulltime for six years.

    2. Currently putting money into long-term savings, virtually nothing into short-term savings.

    3. Yes, but not necessarily in money.

    4. Yes, and then some.

    5. Yes. We’ve only been married six months, so that doesn’t really apply to us yet.

    6. Not much on the economy as a whole, but my church offers extensive programs on job searching and personal finance.

    7. Yes, I have. I was paid the same gross amount, but I took a 2% hit from local taxes.

    8. No.

    9. My mother and father, my wife’s immediate family, (mother, sister, brother, spouses and kids), and most of my mother’s family.

  8. candleman

    1. Are you better off financially today than seven years ago?

    No, not right now, up to a year ago we were about the same, mainly due to double income, but my wife was laid off in March 2005, and has not returned to work yet. We currently receive WIC and also qualify for heating subsidies, but I have not received word back yet on approval for heating subsidy. This is the first time in my life I have applied for programs like these, but with a family of 6, and my yearly income, we qualify, and right now every little bit helps.

    2. Are you saving money or is the money coming in going out as fast?

    We were able to save as double incomers… paid off all car loans ( ’97 Honda Civic and a ’96 Ford Windstar), college loans and credit cards, but right now it is going out faster than coming in and we are running a monthly deficient, that I am currently making up by tapping some savings and lines of credit. I may have to tap a 401K on April 15th…..

    3. Have you personally seen that giving more money in tithing resulted in more coming back?

    No, I never have, but I also seem to notice that when I don’t tithe ( like 50% less than a tithe), it does seem like we get hit with all type of stuff.. traffic tickets, high car inspection bills, appliance break downs. I can’t explain it…but I have noticed this occur over the years… is this God removing his blessing?
    This whole area of tithing is something I would love you to delve into and write on in this series. I have heard so many messages on it over the years, …”you must tithe on the gross and not your net (“first fruits”)…”Tithing is a direct reflection of your spiritual state”……”tithing is course 101 in Christianity, if you don’t tithe your a baby Christian still on milk….

    4. Do you actually tithe ten percent?

    I tithe on my net, but I reduce it by $95, what we pay to our churches preschool for our son’s tuition. Towards the end of the month, sometimes I have to reduce it or the check won’t clear.

    5. If you are married, do both you and your spouse work? How might that have changed in the last seven years?

    We were married in ’98, and for the most part we were both working or one of us was working while the other was laid off. I was laid off in May of 2001, from Lucent Technologies. I worked in a clean room operating an electron microscope that measured the line sizes on wafers that would become electronic chips in cell phones, modems ect. After my lay off, I did qualify for the TRA program which extended my unemployment and paid for college as long as I was a fulltime student with good grades, which has enabled me to get an Assoc in Computers degree.

    In March of 2005 my wife was laid off after 10 years at her job, is currently looking, but has not found anything in her skill set as of yet.

    6. What message do you hear in your church or among churchgoers about employment, finances, and the economy? Does that message reflect your reality?

    I don’t hear a lot of messages from the pulpit on this topic. Our current church does provide a great meal ministry, and on occasion I hear of an account in our budget that is for people who need financial help, and the goal is to fund the account at 500K per year to give cash for hurting people. Plus our preschool offers scholarships for the parents of kids who need financial help. The church also has a “Job Hunting” small group that meets monthly and brings in outside help paid by the church to professionally help those seeking employment.

    There does seem to be a lot of talk about only the husband working and the wife staying home in evangelical circles, but in practice I see a lot of working women.

    7. Have you or your spouse been laid off in the last seven years? When you found a new job, was it for more or less money?

    Yes I was laid off in 2001, the week I hit full pay scale at Lucent, after being off for two years and going to college, my new job started at $28,500 down from $49,000 at Lucent….. this doesn’t include OT which easily was another 7K-10K at Lucent. So, no, the new pay scale wasn’t even in the same ballpark.

    8. Have you moved in the last seven years in order to follow work?

    No, never had to do that, local economy is pretty diverse. I did drive 45 miles one way for 10 years to a job that paid a good wage. I thank God evryday I don’t have to do that at $2.60 per gallon.

    9. What extended family lives within thirty miles of your home?
    My mother and father.

    {{{Candleman}}}

  9. Anonymous

    1. yes
    2. saving
    3. I have always received economic blessings from God but I have always attributed that to my father’s faithfulness to God not to anything I have done.
    4. If your definition of tithe means contributions of money then I qualify. I believe I am not so good with time and other resources.
    5. married. spouse not employed. no change
    6. varies with personal circumstances of the individual
    7. I have not been laid off.
    8. no
    9. several brothers and sisters

    Pilgrim

  10. darla

    1. Yes and No. We have more school loans and less income but better real estate investments and overall (besides school loans) less debt. Fewer vehicles needed since I work from home. Last year we started a new business which will continue to be a financial strain until the business is more stable. We hope to turn a healthy profit this year.
    2. Not saving. Lost a big portion of our “nest egg” in the crash. Fell behind last year but hopeful of saving more this year.
    3. Yes. I believe this is because tithing is an act of obedience, and when we consciously tithe (FIRST 10th) we are paying better attention to the family finances.
    4. Yes, but have not always done so.
    5. Married, both work. Both have different jobs than seven years ago. We both have our own businesses now.
    6. Financial responsibility classes are taught from time to time with empasis on budgeting. Informal discussions about employment difficulties, increase in fuel and housing costs, how to save money on purchases and cutting back on spending. Very little from the pulpit.
    7. Yes, my husband has been laid off and has worked for less money.
    8. No. We did move to pursue more education.
    9. None for 600 miles. (It stinks.)
    10. Ages: His, 51, mine, 43.

  11. Noah

    My responses:
    1. Yes, I am certainly better off financially than I was seven years ago.
    2. I am “saving” (investing, paying off debt) 10% of my income.
    3/4. I have been tithing (10% of gross) for about 12 years as well as giving on top of that. I have not seen that the more you give the more you get back per se, in fact a few years ago we decided to reduce the money we gave on top of our tithe and our finances have been in a better position since.
    5. Married, my wife does not work outside the home. She does manage our rental property.
    6. If you mean the state of the economy, I would say that people are generally positive. Although home prices are a concern. If you mean at Church, I hear a lot about Biblically based financial wisdom at Church.
    7. Neither one of us have been laid off.
    8. No
    9. My wife’s parents, my mom and sister and her family all live within 30 miles of us.

    Although I am VERY appreciative of having a great job right now that is well paying, that has not always been the case and my wife and I have had to make difficult decisions at times. Although it can be very difficult, I believe that with a certain amount of financial wisdom and discipline most people would be in a very different financial position today. For example we make pretty good money, even on my income alone, but we are much more frugal than most people we know that make much less money than we do… it is all a matter of living according to your priorities.

  12. rev-ed

    #1 – Financially better off? Much.

    #2 – Saving money? Some, but not as much as we’d like.

    #3 – Giving more means getting more? The way that’s phrased, I’d have to say it’s a false premise. Nowhere are we promised that if we give more money, we’ll get more money back. We give because it’s God’s to begin with, not so we will receive more.

    #4 – 10%? Not sure, but it’s pretty close. My wife has all the figures.

    #5 – As of now, we both work. Seven years ago that wasn’t the case, but eight years ago and six years ago it was.

    #6 – I talk to a lot of small business owners and factory workers. No complaints beyond the obvious, “I could always use a raise” which is always offered. Those I have talked to who have been laid off have found other jobs.

    #7 – Laid off? No. My wife has changed jobs a few times. She has no problem finding a new one, usually for more money.

    #8 – I moved eight years ago to be closer to my church. Not exactly what you’re looking for though.

    #9 – Absolutely no extended family within 30 miles. My family is about 60, my wife’s family is about 75.

    I’m 44, my wife is 36. We have three kids.

  13. Anonymous

    1. Are you better off financially today than seven years ago?

    Yes. You need to make more, not save more.

    2. Are you saving money or is the money coming in going out as fast?

    Saving money…but giving more away..and making more

    3. Have you personally seen that giving more money in tithing resulted in more coming back?

    Yes…and not just in monetary ways

    4. Do you actually tithe ten percent?

    Yes. Offerings are added on to the base 10% of gross

    5. If you are married, do both you and your spouse work? How might that have changed in the last seven years?

    Single… =)

    6. What message do you hear in your church or among churchgoers about employment, finances, and the economy? Does that message reflect your reality?

    Varies a lot. Some people say only give what you can afford, and some say give until it hurts. Most people are also slave to their boss…I am pretty ambitious and consider my employer a buyer of my time. I guess it is just an attitude. No employer will take care of you or your family for the duration they are alive. Unfortunately, a lot of Christians have broke mentality. Let’s face it – broke people can’t help broke people, especially in disasters like Katrina or the SE Asian Tsunami.

    7. Have you or your spouse been laid off in the last seven years? When you found a new job, was it for more or less money?

    Yes…always more money.

    8. Have you moved in the last seven years in order to follow work?

    No. Other things are more important (like the church). There is money to made anywhere in this country.

    9. What extended family lives within thirty miles of your home?

    Cousins and step-family

  14. Thank you all. Please invite others to comment.

    Again, if you would like to comment by e-mail, please do. Some of the stories I’m getting via e-mail are just heartbreaking.

    I will pray for all who ask for it.

    Thanks again.

  15. Dire Dan: “To me, that latter story negates the former and tells a much different story.”

    Frankly speaking, Dan, I don’t believe any economic reports nowadays. I think most of it falls into one of the three categories of “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics”.

    And when I hear someone like Larry Kudlow on the radio gushing all over himself about how absolutely wonderful everything is, I can only shake my head and sigh.

    I don’t care what the Fed Reserve says, there’s something seriously goofed up going on. It sure looks like inflation to me.

  16. Ronni

    1. Nope. Worse actually.

    2. Can’t save right now… barely making it…

    3. Yes I have… and when I forgot, odd things happened and we lost ground.

    4. Yup.

    5. No we don’t. I can’t work due to complications from Cancer 6 years ago. That is our main problem, that and the job I had doesn’t exist anywhere but india now.

    6. Don’t hear much but I know friends are struggling.

    7. Yes twice, less money each time. Keep losing ground it seems.

    8. Yes, moved from PA to here.

    9. His, his brother and cousin.. mine… none. All back in PA. Sucks big time…

    oh, to answer about the cars earlier… we have three cars… all over 150k, one just got totalled by a hit and run last week, and that is setting us back badly as its basically which are runnign this week?

    I don’t listen to numbers, I listen to people and I see thousands of people out of work, losing everything… they can gloss over it as much as they want but they move all our manufacturing out of the country and alot of people suffer. I know more than 20 people who have been foreclosed on in the past year. Sad but true.

  17. Gina

    1. Are you better off financially today than seven years ago?

    Yes, definitely.

    2. Are you saving money or is the money coming in going out as fast?

    A little of both.

    3. Have you personally seen that giving more money in tithing resulted in more coming back?

    Sometimes, but mostly I have seen that when I stopped giving, I lost ground and have had financial setbacks.

    4. Do you actually tithe ten percent?

    I do try to tithe 10% of my net. I also give extra offerings when I am able. There have been times when I can’t give the full 10%, but I do try to do it.

    5. If you are married, do both you and your spouse work? How might that have changed in the last seven years?

    Single.

    6. What message do you hear in your church or among churchgoers about employment, finances, and the economy? Does that message reflect your reality?

    I haven’t heard any messages about those things lately.

    7. Have you or your spouse been laid off in the last seven years? When you found a new job, was it for more or less money?

    No. I have changed jobs several times. Some have been for more money and some have been for less. I am going to college full time and working also, so most of my changes have been determined by what was in my best interest academically. I took a pay cut when I first started going back to school so that I could be closer to my home and the university. Now, I am making more money because I got a promotion recently. So it has fluctuated quite a bit.

    8. Have you moved in the last seven years in order to follow work?

    No.

    9. What extended family lives within thirty miles of your home?

    My grandmother, my mom’s sister and a few cousins.

  18. Chris Giammona

    1. Are you better off financially today than seven years ago?
    Much Better

    2. Are you saving money or is the money coming in going out as fast?
    Saving a lot

    3. Have you personally seen that giving more money in tithing resulted in more coming back?
    Percentage of tithe has been a constant

    4. Do you actually tithe ten percent?
    Yes

    5. If you are married, do both you and your spouse work? How might that have changed in the last seven years?
    Married and both have executive level jobs

    6. What message do you hear in your church or among churchgoers about employment, finances, and the economy? Does that message reflect your reality?
    Reality for many is below where we are – there is a lot of worry about the economy but optimism for the future. Biggest issue for many is the price of housing in SF.

    7. Have you or your spouse been laid off in the last seven years? When you found a new job, was it for more or less money?
    No

    8. Have you moved in the last seven years in order to follow work?
    Yes, last year from New York City to San Francisco

    9. What extended family lives within thirty miles of your home?
    Non, but less than a 1 hour flight

  19. groovyoldlady

    1. Are you better off financially today than seven years ago? Yep

    2. Are you saving money or is the money coming in going out as fast? Saving

    3. Have you personally seen that giving more money in tithing resulted in more coming back? I don’t know that we’ve seen that direct correlation. We don’t examine our finances with a view to comparing our meager giving with God’s rich bleesings. I will say that He has met our every need financially, phyiscially, emotionally, and spiritually.

    4. Do you actually tithe ten percent? That’s a redudndant question since “tithe” means “tenth”. We regularly give mre than a tenth of our gross income to our home church and to ministries as God leads.

    5. If you are married, do both you and your spouse work? How might that have changed in the last seven years? We are commited to my being a SAHM. I do some freelance writing and occasionally make cakes for money, but I pull in VERY little income.

    6. What message do you hear in your church or among churchgoers about employment, finances, and the economy? That God will provide and that we must honor Him in our work by being a wirness for Him. Does that message reflect your reality? We’ve found it to be true…

    7. Have you or your spouse been laid off in the last seven years? Nope. When you found a new job, was it for more or less money? N/A

    8. Have you moved in the last seven years in order to follow work? Nope

    9. What extended family lives within thirty miles of your home? My in-laws live in an apartment attached to our house. Our son and family live about 35 miles away.

  20. Sarah

    1. Yes. But that’s not saying much, seven years ago I was in high school.

    2. Saving quite a bit—as well as investing in a 401K and Roth IRA

    3. We’ve always strived to be faithful tithers as well as giving extra to support missionaries and other ministries. God has more than abundantly provided for all of our financial needs—even when we were unemployed.

    4. On average, more than 10%

    5. My husband works full time and I stay at home full time with our two little girls.

    6. I can only speak for my peer group. I don’t know if many of my friends tithe, many don’t believe that the whole tithe should go to the local church. They give to all sorts of groups: environmental, non-profit, etc. and consider it to be part of the tithe. Most are struggling heavily under the burden of huge student loan payments (especially couples that both went to private Christian universities), credit card debt (mostly from just immaturity and poor spending habits), and high mortgage payments since most were able to buy a home with no down payment. Having said all that, we also don’t blink an eye at paying $50 a month for cable, having 2 or more cars, and eating out several times a week.

    7. We were not layed off, but we did resign from a job. We were unemployed for a couple months and when we got a new job, it payed about the same.

    8. Yes. We moved to the US.

    9. None.

  21. cwv warrior

    Interesting. Our station has remained much the same in every way: location, finances, job. We have immediate family close and some across the state. God has blessed us beyond measure because we are free from worry. Not all can say that and it would seem apparent that where socialistic intrusion has swept an area, city, state, the people are struggling because businesses leave, as here in Pittsburgh. True for Rochester, NY as well. Socialism is not God’s plan and Christians cannot be blessed where Christian world view is not applied.

  22. Anonymous

    1.Not better off.Factory closed after strike in 2001.$15/hr to less than 9 or between 9 and 10.Last year made $17,000 paid 2000 for insurance.Hauled 2 vehicles away with toal of 310k miles.Sold house that my mother had paid off so I wouldn’t be homeless, etc.

    2. Saving is for people with enough money to live off. In a word,no. We save coupons, same thing?

    3.Tithing makes me wealthier? Sigh.It made holes in my wifes dresses,rips in her undergarments,all of them,no money left to fix anything that breaks,no vacations. Church fared better though.

    4.I don’t tithe but sometimes I gave with less than $5 in the bank. I’m free from old testament law and modern legalism. Tell a single mom with 3 kids making $350/week she has to give $35 so the church can buy new sound system.

    5.Wife sporadically works,need her help.

    6.Left big church with big money and promises for small country church with small inadequate budgets.Gave as able.Sermons focus on personal growth and walk with God.

    7.Just “found” job with pay over $10/hr since 2001.May finally live without handouts or mother’s kind charity.

    8.Moved out of house to double wide but not out of area(DelMarVa)

    9.Many relatives near ,dad is gone and if mother gone would consider moving for better lifestyle and income.

    Two notes, dan.What can I do to improve job situation for working and lower middle class.Write congress,oppose free trade?

    Second,should I keep quiet and maintain peace among my brothers who think God will smite you if you don’t give enough. Scripture won’t end the controversy. But shouldn’t I stand up for the oppressed poor where 10% is a major expense.It is far easier to tithe on $100/week versus $300.

    Bob

  23. Anonymous

    1) No. About the same. I had health insurace then.

    2) No. A certain percentage at work goes into a 401K. That’s it.

    3) I don’t think in those terms, and don’t pay attention.

    4) No. Haven’t for a while. It’s actually more like 4 or 5 percent.

    5) Married. I’m the only one working for money (don’t you dare say “housewives” don’t work).

    6) Nothing in particular. When someone’s off work, they definatly get prayed for.

    7) I was laid off in Jan. 2000. It took 13 months to find permanent work in my field. My field is I.T. I had (then) almost a decade of experience, and there was at that time a supposed one megabody shortage. Dubya and Algore were both telling us that that if I were to vote for one of them the good times would continue. BTW, I make about half what the trade rags say someone with my experience and certifications typically makes.

    8) No. I don’t think we could afford to live anywhere more expensive.

    9) My folks. Stretch your limit to 50 miles, and all my siblings are (now) within it.

    Married. 50. Living that part of Illinois that those living crammed into the paved over upper right corner call “downstate”.

    I worry about getting sick. I worry about retiring. I don’t think I could afford either.

    Personally I don’t think we in the US are as rich as we think we are.

  24. ccinnova

    1. I’m better off, but not by much.
    2. I’m barely adding anything to my savings.
    3. No.
    4. No. I used to but found that at least for me it was legalistic.
    5. N/A (I’m single.)
    6. Usually, I hear finances discussed in my church only when it’s time to turn in the pledge cards each fall or when the church is getting ready to raise or spend a considerable amount of money, such as an expansion that has been put on hold because of problems in the denomination my church is affiliated with.
    7. No, but I’ve come close several times.
    8. No.
    9. None. My closest family lives 100 miles away.

  25. Rob

    1. Are you better off financially today than seven years ago?
    Yes. Young – so it doesn’t really count

    2. Are you saving money or is the money coming in going out as fast?
    Saving. (Also paying off a loan for our wedding as neither of our parents could contribute – should be payed off in a year – then the saving really kicks in)

    3. Have you personally seen that giving more money in tithing resulted in more coming back?
    not really.

    4. Do you actually tithe ten percent?
    yes.

    5. If you are married, do both you and your spouse work? How might that have changed in the last seven years?
    yes. Been married 1 month.

    6. What message do you hear in your church or among churchgoers about employment, finances, and the economy? Does that message reflect your reality?
    not much. Just moved from a church more aimed at uni students. Looking for a new church now.

    7. Have you or your spouse been laid off in the last seven years? When you found a new job, was it for more or less money?
    no.

  26. - R

    1. Are you better off financially today than seven years ago?
    Yes.

    2. Are you saving money or is the money coming in going out as fast?
    We are saving and investing.

    3. Have you personally seen that giving more money in tithing resulted in more coming back?
    No.

    4. Do you actually tithe ten percent?
    Yes.

    5. If you are married, do both you and your spouse work? How might that have changed in the last seven years?
    Yes. But I’m the only one getting a paycheck. My wife received a paycheck for her work before we had children, but now her full-time job is in our home.

    6. What message do you hear in your church or among churchgoers about employment, finances, and the economy? Does that message reflect your reality?
    We pretty much just hear what the Bible has to say in our church. We had a seminar almost two years ago about financial things, and we are going through some interesting times now with regard to finance as well.

    7. Have you or your spouse been laid off in the last seven years? When you found a new job, was it for more or less money?
    Yes. I was laid off from the financial services industry, and was employed by my church for significantly less money. When my interim position at my church finished, I found employment in IT consulting for significantly more money.

  27. Amy

    1. Are you better off financially today than seven years ago?
    NO—BUT THAT’S BECAUSE I’M A NEWLYWED AND NO LONGER UNDER MY PARENTS’ INCOME 🙂

    2. Are you saving money or is the money coming in going out as fast?
    SAVING

    3. Have you personally seen that giving more money in tithing resulted in more coming back?
    NOT ANY SPECIFIC INSTANCES THAT I CAN POINT TO

    4. Do you actually tithe ten percent?
    YES

    5. If you are married, do both you and your spouse work? How might that have changed in the last seven years?
    NO. WE HAVE ONLY BEEN MARRIED 9 MONTHS…MY HUSBAND WORKS AND I DON’T (EXCEPT FOR THE OCCASIONAL FREELANCE PROJECT)

    6. What message do you hear in your church or among churchgoers about employment, finances, and the economy? Does that message reflect your reality?
    HAVEN’T HEARD MUCH ABOUT THIS IN CHURCH CIRCLES LATELY

    7. Have you or your spouse been laid off in the last seven years? When you found a new job, was it for more or less money?
    NO

    8. Have you moved in the last seven years in order to follow work?
    YES—WE MOVED LAST SUMMER FOR MY HUSBAND’S FIRST JOB AFTER COLLEGE

    9. What extended family lives within thirty miles of your home?
    NONE

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