I do hope to someday soon post stories and pictures from recent trips to Costa Rica, Missouri, and New Mexico. And pictures of the remodeled full-bath, which has been done for months...
But for now I'll mention something else that I'm excited about. The idea of Giving has been on my mind a lot in the past year or so. We discussed Money and Giving in our small group over the course of several weeks and a few months ago I led a communion meditation during a Sunday service whose theme was Giving. It's a very important topic for me and an important part of my spiritual life.
I remember discussing among our small group the idea of tithing via automated withdrawal. The idea would be to have, each month for example, 10% of my income automatically transferred to churches and charities and whomever else I choose to give to. I already have an automated withdrawal set up from my checking account to Shiloh each month. It makes me happy to know that I am consistently giving to Shiloh, so the idea of extending this consistency to my other giving is very attractive.
However, as my friend Bill pointed out, there may be negative aspects to making giving so convenient. It's possible that the act of remembering and choosing, week after week, to write that check is as important as the giving. As I told him then, I'm not exactly convinced; But Bill is a smart guy, so he's probably on to something. In addition, there is always giving that is irregular. It's never going to be the Gates Foundation, but the idea of accumulating some money to contribute to the starting of a mission team or a new building project is attractive to me.
So here's what Beth and I recently decided to do. We have two checking accounts, one "personal" and one "giving". Each month, 10% of our income is automatically transferred into the giving account. I'm not a legalist with an attitude of "not a penny more or less", I promise. But it does make me feel good to know that it's "not a penny less". My life is busy and there are at least a hundred things that I don't get done each week... sometimes giving is one of them. So now we can write checks from the "giving" account (which will still involve remembering and choosing to give, I believe) and whatever is not given will stay in the account. Over time, perhaps, that extra $100 or $200 a month will become $10,000, which we can use to jump-start some project that is important to us.
It's not the Gates Foundation, but it's a start.