Whew. I've been busting it: Marie is in NYC for the week with Michael's senior leadership class, leaving me with a ton of work at the office, kid duties at home, and (of course) getting the urban produce operation running. Jack stepped up and helped me a lot this week, allowing me to get 13 beds formed (about 3' x 60' feet each), plus two started. Three are planted with greens, two are planted with 21 tomato "volunteer" transplants. I also had nine bales of straw delivered today and started lining the beds with it. It's actually beginning to look nice.
Anyway, I'm too whipped to blog (I'm typing this while enjoying an adult beverage and game 3 of the NBA Championship). I am, therefore, merely going to share this email to my eldest son about tithing. If history is any indication, many of you are going to hate me for this, but I guess I'm too tired to care:
Christians argue about this, but I feel strongly that you tithe only on your taxable income.
On the flipside, when you start having taxable income when you retire and pull on the 401k, you will have to tithe on that. Likewise, if you get a tax refund next year, you tithe on that, too.
That's how I organize my tithing and I believe it is the most logical.
I remember discussing this once with a good Catholic who said he could find no justification for tithing on only net/taxable income. I said, "Well, your employer provides you with great health insurance and a retirement plan. Are you tithing on the value of those?" He shrugged and shook his head and said, "I don't get all technical about it."
I just chuckled, "Damn right you don't, except when it works in your favor" (I didn't say that, but I did chuckle).
Theologically, you give to God your first fruits because it's by His grace that you can earn. But the exact same applies to the taxation scheme you labor under: It's by His grace (or lack thereof) that you pay the amount of taxes you do.
There's also the reductio ad absurdum argument: If you have a 91% marginal rate, you literally couldn't tithe on your gross.