Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don't Give Away More Money [NOOK Book]

Overview

Passing the Plate shows that few American Christians donate generously to religious and charitable causes -- a parsimony that seriously undermines the work of churches and ministries. Far from the 10 percent of one's income that tithing requires, American Christians' financial giving typically amounts, by some measures, to less than one percent of annual earnings. And a startling one out of five self-identified Christians gives nothing at all.
...
See more details below
Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don't Give Away More Money

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.89
BN.com price
(Save 30%)$16.99 List Price

Overview

Passing the Plate shows that few American Christians donate generously to religious and charitable causes -- a parsimony that seriously undermines the work of churches and ministries. Far from the 10 percent of one's income that tithing requires, American Christians' financial giving typically amounts, by some measures, to less than one percent of annual earnings. And a startling one out of five self-identified Christians gives nothing at all.

This eye-opening book explores the reasons behind such ungenerous giving, the potential world-changing benefits of greater financial giving, and what can be done to improve matters. If American Christians gave more generously, say the authors, any number of worthy projects -- from the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS to the promotion of inter-religious understanding to the upgrading of world missions -- could be funded at astounding levels. Analyzing a wide range of social surveys and government and denominational statistical datasets and drawing on in-depth interviews with Christian pastors and church members in seven different states, the book identifies a crucial set of factors that appear to depress religious financial support -- among them the powerful allure of a mass-consumerist culture and its impact on Americans' priorities, parishioners' suspicions of waste and abuse by nonprofit administrators, clergy's hesitations to boldly ask for money, and the lack of structure and routine in the way most American Christians give away money. In their conclusion, the authors suggest practical steps that clergy and lay leaders might take to counteract these tendencies and better educate their congregations about the transformative effects of generous giving.

By illuminating the social and psychological forces that shape charitable giving, Passing the Plate is sure to spark a much-needed debate on a critical issue that is of much interest to church-goers, religious leaders, philanthropists, and social scientists.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Why is it that Christians in the world's most affluent nation give so little of their income to charity? This sociological study, based on extensive survey data and building on prior studies of Christian philanthropy, shows that American Christian groups typically give away only 1.5% to 2% of their income. Considering that this figure is based on self-reporting, the reality is probably even less. Catholics are the worst, with many Protestant groups in the middle and Mormons (whom this study regards as "non-Christian religious believers") at the top. The first two chapters lay out the problem of Americans' ungenerous behavior, while the third ventures explanations: it's not that Americans don't have the money, but that they spend it on luxuries and fail to perceive needs outside their own circles; also, churches are vague about expectations for giving. A fourth chapter delves into parishioners' and pastors' complex feelings about giving, while a stirring conclusion lays down the gauntlet for change. Although the primary audience will be academic, any pastor who has ever had to preach a stewardship sermon should also read this book. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher

"Superb. Urgent. Well researched but highly readable. This book is a powerful summons to use our abundance to bless others. A must-read." --Ronald J. Sider, President, Evangelicals for Social Action

"Americans are, supposedly, a generous people, and religiously active Americans are supposed to be among the most generous of the generous. These stereotypes are not entirely false, but sociologists Christian Smith and Michael Emerson want to register a dissent. Their patient and diligent research explores the troubling question why American Christians do not give MORE. Passing the Plate explores this unusually important subject with unusual depth, unusual clarity, and unusual insight." --Mark A. Noll, author of America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln

"Financial giving to churches and charitable organizations has been neglected by scholarly researchers and remains poorly understood. With characteristic clarity and empirical precision, Christian Smith and Michael O. Emerson have tackled one of the thorniest aspects of American Christians' behavior. I hope church leaders will read this fine book and find ways to incorporate its insights into their thinking about church finances. Scholars of religion and nonprofit organizations will benefit from it as well." --Robert Wuthnow, author of After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion

"They are clear in their presentation of their research and in the analysis of their conclusions. Seminary professors and leaders in church organizations might be well advised to read the excellent introduction first, and then pursue those chapters that present the authors' research and analysis." --Choice

"I am convinced that Passing the Plate is urgently important for the American church. Every pastor should read it and beg God for the courage to insist that his or her congregation deal directly and systemically with this topic in an ongoing way. Every seminary professor and church leader should read it and take its lessons to heart. And every informed Christian layperson should pray over this book, asking God for a biblical understanding of stewardship and the strength to act accordingly." --Books & Culture&R


"An outstanding work that should be read by anyone interested in Christian charitable giving. Its findings may surprise and perhaps even shock scholars and church leaders." --Sociology of Religion

"This book is a stunner... Smith, Emerson, and their colleagues have done outstanding work describing and analyzing important features of American Christianity in our time." --Church History

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199887552
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/27/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 430,957
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Christian Smith is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame. He is the coauthor, with Michael O. Emerson, of Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America (Oxford, 2000), which was named the 2001 Distinguished Book of the Year by the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, which won a Christianity Today Book Award in 2006.
Michael O. Emerson is the Allyn R. and Gladys M. Cline Professor of Sociology and Founding Director of the Center on Race, Religion, and Urban Life at Rice University. In addition to Divided by Faith, his books include United by Faith: The Multiracial Congregation as an Answer to the Problem of Race, coauthored with Curtiss Paul DeYoung, George Yancey, and Karen Chai Kim.
Patricia Snell is Programs and Research Specialist for the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction The riddle of stingy Christian giving 3

Ch. 1 Giving to change the world 11

Ch. 2 Failed generosity 29

Ch. 3 Toward explaining ungenerous giving 57

Ch. 4 The view from pulpits and pews 99

Ch. 5 A mental experiment in raised expectations 149

Conclusion 175

App. A Christian church teachings on financial giving 197

App. B Data sources used in analysis 231

App. C Multivariate regressions on charitable giving 237

Notes 249

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)