When I say that I grew up in the church, I mean that I grew up going to church literally every. single. day. Yes, every freaking day. I had chapel everyday in high school and grade school. Catechism on Thursdays for three years. Sunday school and church on Sundays. AND Wednesday night lent services for about 9 weeks a year. And about twice a year we would have an entire SERMON dedicated to how poor the church was and how we needed to give to the church cause God says so. I can remember being about 9 and thinking, "Seriously. I am here ALL THE TIME and you want me to also give to the church??? I show up. The church has other people that will give money. I don't have any money. I am 9. Also, you people hate women and gay people so if I give you my money I am saying that I hate those things too." (ok, maybe that last sentence didn't come in at 9, but it certainly was implanted by about 15).
Thus far in FPU I have been giving about 2% of my income to various things that make my heart happy: a crisis intervention program for Denver youth, a humane society benefit, a classmate that is traveling to South America to do some seriously cool environmental law work... and I have never given before. I have never budgeted for giving (because I never budgeted, but still).
So when I realized that our last FPU class last night was going to be about giving, I thought HERE WE FREAKING GO. This is where the church people tell us that we have to give the church cause the church needs it and God says so. Instead what happened was that I was pushed to tears realizing that I was WRONG. MAJORLY WRONG.
I completely thought that God/the universe wanted me to give out of some moral obligation to take care of the church. Because I was supposed to and it was just an annoying church rule that 95% of Christians ignore.
Instead God wants me to give to become more like Him. Made in his image. MORE LIKE WHO HE WANTS ME TO BE: kind, giving, selfless, loving, in the world, but not a part of it/a slave to it, realizing that what I have is a gift that is not mine and I am meant to be a manager of it in a way that brings joy into the world.
HOLY SHIT. And I mean Holy Shit.
Even if you aren't a "Christian" (whatever that label means/is/used to be) I think that the central purpose of our time here is to become more kind, more loving, more giving. And hell, if you can become more like that, be in control of your families' future, not live in crisis mode, AND have some SERIOUS FUN at the same time, then why not give giving a try. I bet at worst you find joy and at best, you become the "you" you were meant to be.