July 12, 2013

"Plastic Donuts" by Jeff Anderson is a great introduction to spiritual giving

As a member of Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group's Blogging for Books program, I get free copies of Christian books in exchange for posting reviews.  With MN 2 Hollywood focused on the film and television industry, the books are often not particularly in line with my purposes for maintaining this blog.

But my faith is important to me.  Not because I want to shove it down other folks' throats, but because the core teachings of Jesus Christ center on loving God and each other.  Christianity aside, nobody can convince me that love is not the exact thing this world needs.

The most recent book I read through this program is "Plastic Donuts" by Jeff Anderson.  It's about tithing, giving to God a portion of what He first gave us.  My view of tithing is likely inconsistent with the view of most Christian leaders in this country.  I don't believe we are called to give specifically to a church, but to give to outlets to which God leads us to give.  This very well may be a church (or churches), but it could also be a charity dedicated to helping others.  I believe we are called to spread the gospel of love that Jesus preached while He was living among us.  I don't believe we are required to fund fancy sanctuaries, extravagant light and sound systems, and inflated pastoral salaries.

But that's another topic for another time.

Here's the review I posted at Amazon for "Plastic Donuts."  I truly do think it's worth a read, especially if you've been hesitant in the past about tithing.

This is a short, easy read. Light on theological jargon, heavy on practical insight, Plastic Donuts is a great introduction to the idea of spiritual giving.

Rather than pound out black and white laws about giving, author Jeff Anderson approaches the subject in a loose manner. He doesn't answer longstanding questions about whether a 10% tithe is intended to come from one's net earnings or gross earnings or whether or not 10% is the benchmark for being right with God. It's a matter of giving what one's heart feels compelled to give, whether it be more or less than 10% and whether that 10% is calculated to the penny off gross or net income.

Nor does he demand a person's tithe go entirely to one's church. Spiritual philanthropy is a far too often overlooked calling for God's people, and Mr. Anderson's words inspire readers to cheerfully give back to God a portion of what He first gave us, whether that be directly to church or to help our brother man.

The parallel between a child offering her father plastic food and God's children offering a portion of their finances to Kingdom work is a little thin, but the message within these concise pages is desperately needed, especially in today's first-world consumerism.