From Jordan J. Ballor at First Things, who wonders if there is not another way beyond budget cut conversation:
Even more troubling is the mounting evidence that Christians have adopted this mentality, too. We see this in giving patterns among American Christians. The majority of evangelical church leaders, for instance, seem not to think that tithing is a biblical imperative (estimates for levels of evangelical giving typically range from 2 to 4 percent of income). As Ron Sider himself put it, “If American Christians simply gave a tithe rather than the current one-quarter of a tithe, there would be enough private Christian dollars to provide basic health care and education to all the poor of the earth. And we would still have an extra $60-70 billion left over for evangelism around the world.”
The problem with the CPJ/ESA Call and the host of other Christian responses to the budget crisis is that they do not embody the urgency or the significance of this charitable responsibility. Douglas LeBlanc, author of Tithing: Test Me in This, recently described the importance of tithing as “the beginning of breaking out of that self-indulgent life, primarily because it says to you that your money is not your own. And it’s a small sacramental way of saying that your money in your life is coming to you through the grace of God, through the gifts that He’s given you.”
C. S. Lewis once said, “If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.” The federal government has been on the wrong road for decades, and the answer to the public debt crisis in America lies in turning back to basic questions about the role of government in its various forms and its relationship to other aspects of social life. A truly Christian response to the challenge of intergenerational justice and the public debt crisis demands no less.