Economy of Love – A Conversation with Relational Tithe
What would happen if a group of people pooled 10% of their personal income, and used it to help people within 1° of separation, in short, a “relational tithe?” That’s exactly what Darin Peterson, Shane Claiborne and their friends did with some pretty interesting results, which they share with ThinkFWD host, Spencer Burke.
At first, it was difficult rounding up people to beta test of the concept of a relational tithe. While the idea of trying to find the “Calcutta” in your own community sounds good, it’s a little scary to be so “up close and personal.” But with a time limit of a six-month experiment, some brave souls agreed to jump in. And it wasn’t too hard to find people with needs, no further than 1° of separation from anyone in the group.
We live in a relatively wealthy country. We may seem to be surrounded by people who don’t have a lot of needs, or at least we don’t hear about them. But, Darin says, if we have eyes to see the need, it’s there. The widows, the orphans, the aliens, the people living on the margins are in our midst, and we can share a relational tithe, so that together we living in an economy of love, and economy of “enough.”
The Relational Tithe group developed a resource – a book and DVD – that walks through the practice of an Economy of Love, of Relational Tithe, sharing the stories of life-change. Stories like Nancy’s, who grew up in a family of generational poverty, who is learning how to live not just day to day, but planning for tomorrow and knowing she isn’t alone in the walk anymore. The story of a friend who needed help fixing his car and through Relational Tithe, they worked on it together, the three or four rounds it took to get it fixed. The family whose father died suddenly and Relational Tithe paid for the funeral – no strings attached.
The bottom line of Relational Tithe and Economy of Love is that there is a difference between brokering resources, and journeying with someone. Relational Tithe works when we are in direct relationship with others and saying by our actions, “I don’t stand alone and you don’t stand alone in this Economy of Love.”
What is the value of enough, and how do we become more like the God who is close to the poor, the hungry, the meek, and the merciful? Check out this five-week study, designed to help unpack the patterns of God’s kingdom compared to the patterns of our world. Maybe you want to give it a try?
How would your giving chance if you were no more than 1 degree of separation from those you help?
Was there a time you needed a start over or help from someone else?
Small Group Questions
Do you see a difference between brokering resources and journeying with someone in terms of a tithe?
Could you see Relational Tithe complementing your community’s acts of compassion.