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Tithing: Test Me in This
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Tithing: Test Me in This

3.4 35
by Douglas Leblanc, Phyllis Tickle (Foreword by)

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In these uncertain economic times, does it really make sense to tithe?

Douglas LeBlanc thinks the answer is clear enough in Malachi 3:10, where God goes so far as to tell us, "Test me in this." The people profiled in this book have done exactly that-and the effect on their lives has been dramatic.

In these intimate journalistic portraits, LeBlanc shows us


In these uncertain economic times, does it really make sense to tithe?

Douglas LeBlanc thinks the answer is clear enough in Malachi 3:10, where God goes so far as to tell us, "Test me in this." The people profiled in this book have done exactly that-and the effect on their lives has been dramatic.

In these intimate journalistic portraits, LeBlanc shows us true tithing in action. From members of the clergy, to best-selling authors, to social activists both conservative and liberal, these are the lives of real people who tithe in joy and plenty, in the face of poverty and natural disaster, in community and missionally, and as a spiritual practice commanded by God. They come from different backgrounds and live in varying degrees of financial comfort; but they all tithe-and wouldn't have it any other way. Through their eyes, we come to understand this ancient practice as God's call to a life of generosity, compassion, and joy.

The Ancient Practices

There is a hunger in every human heart for connection, primitive and raw, to God. To Satisfy it, many are beginning to explore traditional spiritual disciplines used for centuries…everything from fixed-hour prayer to fasting to sincere observance of the Sabbath. Compelling and readable, the Ancient Practices series is for every spiritual sojourner, for every Christian Seeker who wants more.

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Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
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Test Me in This
By Douglas LeBlanc

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2010 Douglas LeBlanc
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8499-0095-2

Chapter One


Gregory and Frederica Mathewes-Green

In the summer of 1991, Frederica Mathewes-Green attended the Episcopal Church's 69th General Convention, which met that year in Phoenix. I had admired Frederica's witty articles in the national newsletter of Feminists for Life, which she edited for a few years, and this convention was my first opportunity to meet a woman who was quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. From a distance, I saw Frederica handing out free copies of a document printed on a modern imitation of parchment. The document was the Baltimore Declaration, an effort by six Episcopal priests-including Frederica's husband, Father Gregory-to identify ten points of theological struggle for the church. The closest the declaration came to causing any change in the Episcopal Church was the publication of a thoughtful and largely ignored book, Reclaiming Faith: Essays on Orthodoxy in the Episcopal Church and the Baltimore Declaration.

I interviewed Frederica during that convention, and I have forgotten most of what we talked about. What I remember, though, is her crying. That year's convention featured a daily morning Bible study combined with the Holy Eucharist. Deputies, bishops,journalists, and visitors gathered together at round tables in a vast and gloomy exhibit hall to read Scripture together and discuss what they thought God might be saying to the convention on any given day.

One morning the text told the wonderful story of John the Baptist leaping for joy, in utero, merely upon hearing the voice of the pregnant Blessed Virgin Mary as she greeted her cousin Elizabeth. Frederica, who was attending convention not only to help promote the Baltimore Declaration but also to volunteer with NOEL (the National Organization of Episcopalians for Life), pointed out the clear pro-life lessons to be drawn from this passage. Frederica's tablemates disagreed with this plain-sense reading of the text. As Frederica told me about this encounter, she cried, explaining that she was not crying because her feelings were hurt but because she was so heartbroken for the church. Frederica and I have been friends ever since.

The General Convention of 1991 was the final national convention that Frederica attended as an Episcopalian. The convention's anemic response to the Baltimore Declaration, and its refusal to affirm that Episcopal clergy ought to limit their sexual activity to the covenant of marriage, convinced the Mathewes-Greens that they should think about serving in another Christian church. They considered the Roman Catholic Church and what are called continuing Anglican churches-bodies that broke away from the Episcopal Church after it decided to ordain women to the priesthood and adopted a modern version of the Book of Common Prayer (1979). Frederica had attended Virginia Theological Seminary at the same time as her husband, as they both explored whether to become Episcopal priests. When the Mathewes-Greens decided to leave the Episcopal Church, they ultimately joined the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, a branch of Orthodoxy that has been most pastoral toward Protestants-evangelical Protestants in particular-whose search for a deeper spiritual life has led them toward the East. Frederica told her family's story in her book Facing East: A Pilgrim's Journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy.

During their childhoods, Gregory was Episcopalian and Frederica was Catholic. They made no pretense of Christian faith when they met each other, and Frederica read a Hindu prayer during their wedding. They were hippies, Frederica was a self-described hairy-legged feminist, and their spirituality was syncretic. On their honeymoon, however, Frederica found herself kneeling before a statue of Jesus and hearing the unmistakable yelps of the Hound of Heaven. When they attended seminary together in 1974 and 1975, they were still zealously renewed Christians-and they began tithing. It was not an easy commitment to make, but it would shape the rest of their life together as Christian disciples.


"We were both new Christians, new to seminary, and, for me, new to the Episcopal Church," Frederica said. "I'm not sure what it was that inspired us to begin tithing. I remember that we were doing it right from the beginning, during our seminary years. We were janitors at Church of the Resurrection; we each got twenty dollars a week, and that was our only income, apart from our being on work-study scholarship. We might have gotten a little bit of income from the work we did at the seminary. So for each twenty dollars, we put two dollars in the basket."

Gregory said, "We knew it was one of those things that committed Christians, biblical Christians, did, and obviously it said something about our commitment of our material things to God."

Frederica recalled their financial struggles during their time in seminary: "Our rent was one hundred dollars a month, and our weekly food budget was ten dollars. I remember it was a splurge to get a container of yogurt. We were vegetarians that year. That helped us save a little bit of money, that first year in seminary. We were extremely poor, poorer than most people would admit. I remember they had just invented ziplock bags, and I was at a school picnic or something, and I was saving the bags and washing them out and putting them out to dry. One of the other students teased me about exaggeratedly acting like I was poor, but I was poor. We hadn't bought a box of ziplock bags. My dad had sent us something in several bags, so we saved those bags and kept rewashing them. I didn't buy a mop, because it was eight dollars, and I could mop the floor with a sponge. It was a real sacrifice-to give 10 percent of twenty dollars is a large sacrifice-but we felt very determined about it from the beginning. In thirty-four years of marriage, we have never not tithed. Every month we've given 10 percent or more."

"I think we were aware that being truly committed Christians was going to be a life-changing thing, and there wasn't going to be any part of our lives that wasn't touched by that, so it had to mean something for our pocketbooks," Gregory said. "We certainly were biblically literate enough to know what the tithe was."

"I remember a little controversy we were in at the time," Frederica said of her senior year, when she was a part-time student. "We were on campus a couple of days a week, and I didn't want to pay two dollars for the campus lunch. In the cafeteria it was family style; everybody put in two dollars and they put the dishes on the table, but I wanted to bring food from home. The fear was that I hadn't paid and that I might eat some of the food out of the bowls as I sat there eating my sandwich. The administration was very insistent that I put in my two dollars. 'It's just two dollars, that's all you've got to pay.' But I was the one paying the bills, and I knew that we just didn't have an extra two dollars, so I wanted to bring my peanut-butter sandwich. The decision, I guess to force my hand, was that I was not allowed to come into the dining room unless I paid two dollars. So I'd go to classes, talk to my classmates, say good-bye, and then sit in the lobby and eat my sandwich. I think eventually they decided it was safe to let me back in. I think I was allowed to have some of the coffee, but none of the food."

Frederica laughs heartily as she recalls the resolution of this standoff. Gregory describes her as "holding court" while eating in the spacious lobby of the refectory, as her fellow students often gathered around to commiserate with her.


Gregory and Frederica speak fondly of this time, as they believe it established patterns of generosity and trust in God that served them well, especially when Gregory made the financially costly decision to leave a well-paying career as an Episcopal priest and to plant Holy Cross, a new Antiochian Orthodox mission in metropolitan Baltimore. Gregory refers to that period as "our second poverty."

Frederica landed a full-time job in 1992 in which she helped work on a pro-life referendum for Maryland. Knowing the financial sacrifices that lay ahead, Gregory and Frederica saved all the income from Frederica's job so they could use it as a cushion in the future. "As we were looking toward becoming Orthodox, we were quite nervous about it, because we had three children, and we'd have to find health insurance somehow, and we'd have to move out of the rectory," Frederica said. "I kept saying, 'Lord, if you give us ten tithers, we will have our church.' We were surprised, as we kind of canvassed the Episcopal parish, that not very many people wanted to join us. We thought that in a high Episcopal church, you just jump off that onto the escalator and go to the slightly higher Orthodox Church. We were surprised that we didn't get very many takers-more arrived as the year went by, but not right away. I kept saying, 'Ten tithers make one income.' I kept praying, 'Give us ten tithers,' and we got five.

"It was very threadbare there for a while. Right from the start, the church decided what Gregory's income was going to be, and it was $1,500 a month or something. It was quite low. They determined that this was our income from February 14, 1993, the first day we had worship, but they couldn't pay it, so month after month went by and we would draw on our savings to pay him the salary, and the church would still owe us. But we kept tabs of how much was owed, and within those first three years it was all paid off. They got to where they could pay a salary and then pay a little bit more to make up the prior shortfall. It's another example of how God brings things together. If it hadn't been for that job with the referendum, I don't know what we would have done. But everything was arriving at the time it was needed, not before, and we were able to make it work."

Gregory wondered during some weeks and months whether he should drive a truck for United Parcel Service. "Looking back, you can see it so much clearer. But as we all know, sometimes being in the midst of creative activity, you don't always know that it's increasingly getting better," he said.

"We insisted that the church tithe to the diocese, and the diocese at that point was providing very little financial support for mission priests," Frederica said. "They sent us $200 a month, and our mission's income was about $2,000 a month, so we sent them $200 a month back. These identical checks would cross in the mail as they supported us and we paid our tithe to the diocese."

For the first several years of its life, Holy Cross met in a community center near Catonsville. In 1997 it bought a church building in Linthicum, near Baltimore-Washington International Airport. The Mathewes-Greens live just around the corner from the church. The building they bought was constructed for a Methodist congregation and had become Full Gospel Mission Church, a Korean congregation, by the time Holy Cross purchased it. The members of Holy Cross poured hundreds of hours into transforming it from a Pentecostal worship space into the icon-rich and incense-friendly church it is today.

As Holy Cross has grown, Gregory has worked his way back toward a reliable income and Frederica has developed a vocation as a prolific author (nine books) and speaker (pro-life groups, churches, college lectures). "As things have gotten better, as Holy Cross Church has put down roots and thrived, I decided (I think it was a year and a half ago) to actually break through the wall to 20 percent," she said. "We gave 20 percent for a year, kind of nervous, but turned out great. It's so true that you can't outgive God."


In Eastern Orthodox theology, the Mathewes-Greens have found an anchor for a spiritual discipline they had begun in the mid-1970s, and a deeper explanation for what that spiritual discipline is meant to achieve. "When we became Orthodox, it didn't feel like a radical departure from our sense of what tithing was about and stewardship questions," Gregory said. "It felt like a deepening of it, and we could see much more continuity in the tradition. We could see almost immediately the connection with the whole idea of spiritual disciplines, of the Orthodox emphasis on theosis-being like God, growing into the image of God.

"Since clearly one of God's characteristics is generosity-the overflowing of his compassion, his love, and his self-giving-there are different ways the church gifts us in exercising that in ourselves. When we give, the muscle grows, the God-likeness. In the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus talks about prayer and fasting and almsgiving, those three seem to have a special connection-not just because Jesus talked about them in the same sermon, but also because they're three facets of the Christian life that demonstrate our commitment to the dominion of God over everything and also give us ways to internalize that work.

"By all that, I mean that the dominion of God is over the whole material world. We're given some control over it, but we demonstrate that we know he has the lordship and the dominion, because we tithe. It's even kind of a sacramental illustration, I think."

"The Orthodox continuity with the ancient practices was something we frankly didn't believe until we had been in the church for a while, and we saw that they really fasted on Wednesday and Friday, and maintained other practices from the first century onward. You can just drop into the devotional literature or the records at any point in history, in all of these different ethnic backgrounds, out of touch with each other for centuries, and find that the practices are still the same," Frederica said.

Gregory cites author Randy Alcorn's image of tithing as a set of training wheels for Christians who want to become serious about their giving. He believes the same is true of fasting. "All these practices are training wheels for learning how to live fully in the kingdom," he said. "At this point in our lives, we need the training wheels, for the most part. Tithing is a really good example, because it may feel like a constriction at first, like training wheels, but after a while grace does move a person to a place where, in a sense, you can take those wheels off and feel truly more generous in your heart, not having to worry so much at the end of the month, 'Did we give the 10 percent?' It's less about the mechanics of it than the growth that really does happen into grace.

"I would say it's really the same dynamic in most of the spiritual disciplines. We come into a fallen world as fallen people, and our relationship to the fallen world is just not as it was meant to be by God. I don't get it right in relation to money; I don't get it right in relation to my stomach; I don't get it right in relation to the use of time or any of these things. In the tradition, there are these great mechanisms and disciplines that help me get it right."

Looking back on their decades of tithing, Gregory and Frederica see consistent evidence of God's faithfulness and his call on them to grow in generosity. "Things have been tougher sometimes, financially, but there's never really been a strong temptation to stop tithing," Gregory said. "What there has been is a realization that we really can give more. God has given us so much, not just financially but in so many different ways, that one of the ways we can clearly give back is by supporting various ministries and outreach and so forth beyond the tithe, which we always give to 'the storehouse,' which we understand as being the church."

"Even at the beginning, we could see that tithing did not make us impoverished," Frederica said. "In fact, somehow we ended up having more money. There were a couple of times, that first year in seminary, we went and looked in the savings account and mysteriously found an extra fifty dollars there that we hadn't put in. That happened at least twice, and we were never able to discover where it came from. (That was in the day when you actually would give them the bank book, and they would stamp it and give it back.) We would get unexpected refunds, bonuses, or things we were never looking for.


Excerpted from TITHING by Douglas LeBlanc Copyright © 2010 by Douglas LeBlanc. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Douglas LeBlanc has been religion editor of The Advocate in Baton Rouge and editor for Christianity Today, Compassion International, and Anglicans United. He and his wife attend Saint Matthew's Episcopal Church.

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Tithing: Test Me in This 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Jessicabo More than 1 year ago
I recently received a copy of Tithing: Test Me In This by Douglas Leblanc in exchange for agreeing to write an honest review about it. As a writer myself (and a perfectionist one, at that), this review is hard for me to write. I don't like writing negative reviews, but because I promised to report honestly on my feelings about the book, here I go. I did not enjoy this book. The premise is a good one, obviously. The book is a collection of stories of individuals and families whose decisions to tithe (that is, return at least one-tenth of their financial resources to the Lord) blessed them immensely and, over time, brought them to a place of knowing the Lord better. Sounds great in theory, but the execution of the book was less than stellar. My main complaint is that the book seems to be written primarily for those with a background in the Episcopalian church. The terms used assume a knowledge that I, from a different denomination of the Christian faith, do not have. That was very frustrating and made it difficult to weed through the language to find the story lying underneath. The stories of lives blessed by dedicated obedience to the Lord were good, but the language got in the way for me. As the book went on, it improved somewhat, but still was difficult to get through. Because each chapter was centered on the life and story of a different family, much of each chapter (and consequently, much of the book) was dedicated to simply telling who each person was and putting their story in context. While necessary for the purpose of the book, I didn't feel that it was well done and I simply did not enjoy reading it. The introduction to the book did provide helpful background information on the discipline of tithing. and if that is what you are interested in reading, this book may be what you are looking for. However, I feel that there are almost certainly better-suited volumes for that purpose. If you are looking for personal accounts of lives blessed by tithing, I would more easily recommend simply talking to those in your church family.
FaithfulFoliosvLogReviews More than 1 year ago
Vertical Reach = 2 The nature of this books layout left little room to discuss the author's personal relationship with God. Ministry Message = 3 When you give to God He takes care of you. Craft = 3 This book has a solid command of the craft and is written in a journalistic format and style. It took me quite some time to read this book because it really didn't hold my attention or deliver the in depth information about tithing I expected. Aesthtics =2 I have to be honest, I just didn't get this cover. Dollar$ & $ense = 2.5 I was a bit disappointed by this book. I am still looking for answers about tithing and I didn't find it in this book.
deemckay More than 1 year ago
"In these uncertain times, does it really make sense to tithe?" This is the question that the author of Tithing sets out to answer in this book from The Ancient Practices series which explores traditional spiritual disciplines used for centuries in the Christian Church and tithing is one of these disciplines. Tithing, in my opinion fails to answer this question. The book contains a collection of stories about different families and individuals that tithe. The collection of stories recants the importance of tithing in the daily lives of these people but it fails to illustrate the connection of tithing to the spiritual promises of God and the biblical discipline's relationship to spiritual growth. It only discusses how each family views tithing in their lives but not if tithing "makes sense." The author does try however, to convey the results of tithing as compassion, generosity and joy. Perhaps relating how tithing causes reliance on God for daily needs and through this reliance and sacrifice, the tither draws closer to God,one may make sense of tithing as a way to grow in a relationship with God. The collection of individuals in the book was growing closer to God through their practice of tithing. A reader of Tithing would have to put this together himself because the book was somewhat of a "dry" read. Leblanc did do well with his research and in putting a collection of such diverse believers of the Christian world together in one place with a common practice-tithing. If you are looking for a book to reassure you that tithing is a discipline that God requires of a believer, this would not be it. If you are looking for reassurance that you are not alone in tithing, this would be encouraging. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
DawnatSeekOutWisdom More than 1 year ago
Tithing by Douglas Leblanc The book Tithing is a religious journalist's view of the ancient practice of tithing. Through the stories of many people across the country, Leblanc tells the benefits of tithing. He uses real-life examples of people associated (or formerly associated) with the Episcopal Church to bring a face to tithing. Leblanc uses the stories of these people to encourage the reader to return to the "ancient practice of tithing." The concepts of living simply and being generous are thoroughly discussed as well. As a practicing tither, I was excited by the possibilities presented in a book dedicated to the subject. Though the book is interesting and fairly easy to read, it deals more with the politics of the Episcopal Church than tithing. Many of the biographies and anecdotes in the book don't even mention tithe or giving. Unfortunately, I was bogged down enough by the church politics and so distracted by the numerous off-topic anecdotes that after 3 hours of reading over half of the book, I couldn't finish. The author gave a good effort, but the result fell far short of my hopes. I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson publishers in exchange for a review. All views and opinions are my own. I am not under any obligation to give this book a positive review.
mom2girlsnboy More than 1 year ago
In seeing this title you think that this book is going to have some insights since the book is in the Ancient Practices Series. The book is quiet boring, with other's stories. You might find it interesting, but to me, I did not. I however did find myself relating to the last family in the book, John and Sylvia Ronsvalle. Some of their story was a bit boring but when they started talking about how they used to live; paycheck to paycheck, on food stamps, using government assistance to help them pay bills and rent, this started to sound like how we used to be. They made a decision that even though they didn't have enough money to afford the basic necessities in life, they would tithe. Both John and Sylvia didn't come from a tithing family, which is the same for my husband and I, which is why I relate to them and see that if they can do it and let go of the idolatry and the "it's my money" that my family can do the same. I can tithe and be confident that it is going where it needs to go and not to the newest craze that the "Johnson's" have. I can tithe and teach my children to tithe.
Daniel_Kam More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading Tithing: Test Me in This (The Ancient Practices Series) by Douglas LeBlanc given to me by Thomas Nelson's prior to its release. The book is easy to read and contains a lot of storytelling. My only problem with the book is the title. It comes from the "ancient practices" series, but the book is really just a series of stories. It is sometimes difficult to find an overall theme or motif throughout the stories or why the author chose those stories over others. Because the book was labeled as ancient practices I was expecting a bit more church history in the book. With my criticisms aside, I would like to say the book is worth reading if you are inspired by individual stories. They did inspire me to want to give more and it had some interesting about tithing in the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the the plot and thinking u put behind this starr
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Coolness. I like it. Keepbit coming
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it you have great writing skills you should get this published
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And tada! There was epicness bursting at the pages of the story! Flippin awesome, Starr! I was hooked and am seriously cravin for more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great grammar, plot, puncuation, spelling, etc. I will say that l always post with 2 stars, so if l accidentally do that, don't think l'm really rating your story that way unless the content of my review is negative. Keep up the great work! <br> -Platinum
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi! I am Starr. This chapter is gonna explain the history of the world this story takes place in; Rian. Now, I won't need character applications, since I already have all sixteen/thirty two (if you are counting the gods) planned out, but feel free to do so. I'll try to find a way to include them in. So, please leave a review, and I'm open to suggestions! But lets start. <br> &bull;~-~&bull; <br> In the beginning, there was only the Creator. The Creator fashioned Rian out of the endless Void, dotting the Void with stars and Rian's sun to shine down on the world the Creator had just created. <br> But the Creator deemed Rian to be too empty, and created sixteen divine beings out of the Creator's own consiouness, each being taking three attributes to grant the world. Soon Rian was teeming with life, for one of those beings had granted life in the skies, another in the seas, and another on the land. But there was a special race walking upon Rian. They looked like the divines, had the same intelligence capacity as them, even talked as they did. <br> They called themselves humans. <br> They had a connection to the gods, and prayed to them when they needed guidence. The gods would sometimes provide help, feeling that they needed to help their subjects. Other times they would shun them, leaving them to their own devices. Gods were never predictable. <br> After a thousand years, humans were the dominant race in Rian, priding themselves in their higher intelligence and connection to the gods. The Creator had not felt need to interfere in that thousand years, thinking the gods had handled everything quite well. But nothing is eternal, excluding the Creator. <br> And gods, although leading very long lives, could not be either. <br> The Creator wanted to pick a human to replace the Fading god. The gods and humans were very alike, aside from their powers and life spans, so it was only natural that a human would rise to be a god when said god was fading. <br> Not just any human would do, however. So, the Creator assigned Desfeti, god of fate, time, and destiny, to pick sixteen people that had enough talent to become a god, and one that could overcome the Tests. At the end, only one would still be there, the others either dead or kicked out of the race. <br> And so the cycle began. <br> Every thousand years, an old god would fade, a new one taking their place. That time is dawing again. Who will have what it takes to become a god? Who will die? And who will just give up? <br> This is the story of sixteen people, some ordinary, some not, that fate hisself picked to have the honor to compete to replace him. <br> But who will? <br> &bull;~-~&bull; <br> So! This is The Godly Tests. Any suggestions? Questions? You can go to the next res, and i will answer them. But reviews go here. And i love reviews! So, please leave one :) ~Starr
PlantsandPillars More than 1 year ago
Tithing is a debated topic the world over. Is it commanded by God? Is there a amount set by the Lord? In this book Douglas Leblanc tours the country interviewing many different people from different denominations and different walks of life. From an Episcopalian to an Eastern Orthodox priest... Leblanc covers the full palette of faith. This book is informative, and well written. It was not one of the best books I have ever read, but I did enjoy the different thoughts on tithing. Score ~ ¿¿ Violence ~ None Indecency ~ None Language ~ None Age Appropriateness ~ 15 and Up
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
gadfly1974 More than 1 year ago
This book is the fifth in the Ancient Practices Series. It addresses one of the most controversial practices, too. The concept of giving God at least 10% of our income is a significant challenge. The author avoids theory in favor of story. LeBlanc interviews twelve couples and individuals to learn more about what they have experienced as they live a life shaped by generous giving. The first half of the book was quite inspiring. But some of the later interviews were more difficult to connect with. I'd suggest picking and choosing your favorite stories and skipping the rest. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in return for an unbiased review.
Kim_from_Canada More than 1 year ago
I have to admit that there was an initial disappointment when I started the book as I expected it would be a biblical study on tithing. Turns out that Mr. Leblanc put together several testimonies from people who have been blessed by practising this ancient practice (this is an installment of a multiple book series on the ancient practices). Tithing is the fifth book in the "Ancient Practices Series" by Phyllis Tickle. It is a short book at 152 pages and a short study guide at the end. Mr. Leblanc travelled the to different states interviewing people for their testimonies on how tithing has affected their lives. These testimonies are written completely seperate from each other - each chapter is a story on its own. Mr. Leblanc's writing style is easy to follow, but tends to make a long story out of a short one. Therefore leaving the reader (me) bored before the end of the testimony. The testimonies are encouraging and a quick read, however, I was left with an unsatisfied feeling when the book was completed. It seemed as though a final chapter was needed to tie everything altogether. Although I did enjoy the study that has been added to the back of the book - it, too, could have been more in depth for the reader. My final opinion is simple. This book is not worth purchasing.
MamaMirage More than 1 year ago
I hate doing negative reviews but I believe a review isn't worth anything if it's not honest so: I was hoping that somewhere in this book it would talk about the history of tithing in depth. How and why it started. How it became such a taboo in our culture. I was hoping for all this in addition to real life examples of people who have been blessed by tithing. But all I found were the stories. And they were disorganized, difficult to read. Sometimes hearing the story in the person's own words loses something when it's put into print. Especially if the author interrupts the story with back story and other relevant and irrelevant factoids at certain points during the telling. I found myself having to read that last sentence or paragraph that I just read over and over again until I finally got it. Add to that the increased confusion of an ordinary Christian with Baptist and Mennonite background trying to comprehend Episcopal terminology, and it was a very difficult read. Some chapters I re-read as many as 4 times trying to follow them but my mind kept wandering and just wouldn't seem to track the story. Not all the stories were difficult to track though. Some were just plain creepy. Like the doctrine of the interviewee is scewed and contrary to scripture and they are preaching it like it's gospel and reading that just gave me the shivers. One or 2 of the stories toward the end were actually interesting enough for me to stay focused and get something out of. All in all it was not an impressive read. I kept waiting for a final chapter to touch on those pesky historical and cultural questions I opened with, but none was forthcoming. I think the answers to some may have been scattered throughout the book but the lack of fluidity and understandability confounded any ability I may have had to mentally tie them together into a complete thought. Cons: This book was very hard to focus on, difficult to understand, hopping around, breaking up, and scattered. Difficult to get anything out of except an irritation over the time I spent trying to get into it and failing miserably. Pros: A couple of the people interviewed had some good things to say about tithing and our current culture. Bottom line? I'd give it 1 out of 5. I wouldn't read it again, I wouldn't recommend it to others, but I may flip through it and read the few good quotes again. Reading it felt like hiking up a mountain to see the view, it turns out to be a difficult climb rather than a hike, and when you finally get to the top, there is no view at all. *This book was reviewed for Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze blogger review program. I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. No other compensation was received. My opinions are my own and have not been edited or influenced by the publisher in any way.
MonicaD29 More than 1 year ago
Tithing is a good book in the Ancient Practices Series. It explains in depth the true nature behind Tithing, and how to do it without getting to detailed with scriptures explaining it, but explains it in the eyes of other Christians, as to their how & why they do their tithing. Tithing book definitely is easier to read from some of the other books in the series, but I'm starting to understand the "behind the scenes" for them all. So far I have the Sabbath, Tithing & Finding Our Way Again, and at first when Sabbath came in the mail, I didn't really understand what he was writing about, then I read the 2nd one I received, Finding Our Way Again, and they're all wrote in similar ways, as far as the theory? goes, but so far its a great series to collect & understand more of behind the scenes of the Christian faith.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pasco More than 1 year ago
TITHING By Douglas Leblanc When I first looked at this book, I thought it might contain quite a bit of theological teaching on the subject of tithing. Everyone knows that anything more than five pages of theology on any one subject could be the best sleeping pill man has come up with. It had one hundred and fifty two pages of teaching on the subject. However, the teaching came from the actual life experiences of individuals. Not all of these individuals were born tithers. Some had never been taught the subject within the framework of their church. Some had heard it but had never put it into action. Some had never heard about it all until failure came knocking at their door. However, all of them became successful in their endeavors when they decided to answer God's only "Prove Me" challenge in the Word of God. For example, the Mathewes-Greens were tithers. The challenge to their faith came when they entered seminary. Their drop in income brought them to grips with some tough decisions. Their testimony still stands that tithing was the key to their success. I found some common ground with Jerry and Stacey Kramer. In their story, they admitted that they "worshipped" Blockbuster and Domino's Pizza. After Katrina hit, they went through some tremendous struggles. Instead of leaving the area, they had the courage and tenacity to buckle down and bring healing to a ravaged area. Tithing, again, was part of their faith that brought them through. Mr. Leblanc did a great job of chronicling the doubts and fears of several others in his book. I saw them successfully face some of the things that I have faced in my life. It brought me renewed courage as I read this book. Booksneeze sent me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
WagaMum More than 1 year ago
Fasting: Test Me in This by Douglas LeBlanc is part of The Ancient Practices series put together by Phyllis Tickle. LeBlanc takes a different approach than many of the other books in the series. Instead of doing an in-depth look at what the Bible says about tithing, he travels the country to hear people's stories about tithing in their lives. He interviews people from various theological backgrounds from Randy Alcorn to Ron and Arbutus Sider to Rabbi Yisroel Miller. I appreciate looking how different people and families view tithing and how it gets fleshed out in their lives and faith. The study guide at the end provides thought-provoking questions for reflecting on each of the stories for application in the reader's own life. While I would like to see a short look on what the Bible says about tithing, it is also nice to take a different approach. Each story showed people applying tithing in different ways, but they all believe tithing to be a crucial part of their faith. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
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rhiana More than 1 year ago
Tithing is Volume VII in Thomas Nelson's Ancient Practices series, a eight volume series on the seven ancient practices from the bible. Religion journalist Douglas Leblanc takes awesome task of explaining why people tithe, not by giving a drab sermon or quoting statistical information, but by writing the stories of actual people. Leblanc traveled the country to gather up the real stories of all types of people, from Pastors, to Rabbi's to progressive couples. These people opened up to Douglas Leblanc to share with the world their view of the task of tithing, how much the tithe, to why and to whom. I found this book to be both interesting and an answer to a question I've had for a long time. Why do people tithe? I've always wondered, how people decide to tithe, how they decide what they are going to give, how they decide to whom. It's so interesting to read the answers to these questions from many different types of people across the nation. The books gives not just one answer to the question, but many points of view to consider. Sponsorship Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me for review by Thomas Nelson Books.