Tithing: The Increase / Integration Polarity

Perhaps the greatest challenge in this economy is funding our ministries. With churches having to compete with other non-profits for donation dollars, it is no wonder that ministry leaders are eager for innovative ways to manage finances in an arena where support for churches is in systematic decline. And yet, it is next to impossible to evolve the ministry–to get to the next level when the prevailing climate is one of not enough.

It used to be an effective approach to teach prosperity classes when ministry finances were insufficient to meet budgeted expenses. One has to wonder why our New Thought movement is so impoverished given that we practically invented prosperity teachings. You’d think (mistakenly) that Unity and CSL ministry leaders would be some of the most affluent individuals given the assumption that credentialed leaders should be expert at living our principles. While many of us who are clergy do a good job of speaking abundance, we nonetheless struggle like everyone else to keep our earth act functional.

Just as I have claimed over and over that our current ministry practice (model of ministry) is no longer sustainable given the dynamics of today’s social / political environment, I also believe that our current context for teaching prosperity principles (tithing) is problematic.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with teaching tithing as a spiritual practice, the issue is that the motivation to teach tithing or prosperity classes is often primarily done to relieve the discomfort of not enough that is a source of organizational distress. We do so under the guise of helping people experience an “increase” in their lives by suggesting as they give so will they receive. The part of this that is out of integrity is that we want their tithe to help us deal with the ministry’s not enough.

The second issue is that until an individual deals (integrates) with their own sense of not enough any increase will become insufficient in time. Eventually, peoples’ generosity becomes eclipsed by their own sense of lack, in spite of how profound their increase or how inspiring the prosperity class. This is especially so after they figure out that the church is not necessarily the primary source of their spiritually nourishment. While they begin in full earnest to practice tithing, they eventually abandon the practice when overwhelmed with financial issues in their personal lives. The sense of not enough is more than just a limiting belief, there is a brain map and a neural architecture that is a part of the emotional circuitry that makes insufficiency a hardwired component of our default self-system. Tithing that is taught as a pathway to increase is insufficient to alter the body-mind dynamics of not enough when it is a component of one’s identity.

Consider the difference between translational teachings and transformational teachings as they relate to the practice of tithing. If  the context of the prosperity class is about a tithing practice that has increase as the value proposition, then we are teaching tithing as a translational practice. But what if we create a prosperity program that focuses on a transformational approach that has integration as the primary objective? What if we teach tithing as a practice that counteracts the sense of not enough?

Jane and I are planning to create such a program that focuses on teaching tithing as an integration practice BEFORE we roll out a more traditional prosperity program. It makes sense to first help people disentangle from their sense of not enough as a foundation for amplifying their experience of abundance. The issue here is helping people to understand that whatever they HAVE is their abundance already. Once they have redrawn accurate brain maps that underlie their perceptions and meaning-making, they will no longer make what they have be insufficient. Prior to this tipping point, however, where a person is able to flip the illusion of not enough and gaze directly into the well-spring of their own abundance, what they HAVE will be construed as not enough because at their core is still the belief that “I am not enough.”

We will offer a transformational approach to tithing that has integration as its primary aim to those who have completed the Q Process™as these individuals have already experienced the benefit of integration as a spiritual methodology. They understand the necessity of restructuring their neural pathways and that it takes effort and practice to override the circuitry that previously sustained their sense of not enough.

By the first of next month over 125 people in our congregation will have completed their initial journey through the Q Process™. We are nearing at a tipping point where the entire community will utilize the very same tool for integration.

Polarity 3Just as tithing to Source and tithing as Source is a polarity to leverage, so is the practice of tithing as both integration and increase. As is the problem with most polarities, we over-function on the down side of one pole to the exclusion of the complementary pole. We have over-focused on tithing to Source as a practice to create more abundance to the neglect of tithing as Source which is not about creating abundance, but is about embracing whatever one HAS as abundance when we divest from ourselves from our sense of not enough.

Once the community has sufficiently integrated the shadow of insufficiency, there will be no basis for organizational lack. Jane and I are grateful that our entire Board understands its role in leading the way by their commitment to this work. We are taking 100% responsibility for the ministry’s sense of not enough by addressing our personal sense of not enough. Our entire community is soon to join us in this adventure.

Blessings, Gary

2 thoughts on “Tithing: The Increase / Integration Polarity”

  1. Thank you, Gary & Jane! This has helped me clarify prosperity teachings a great deal. I have recently been struggling with explaining why Unity stresses prosperity with the idea of increasing one’s own abundance to a congregant, who is having a huge problem with finances. I have had a great deal of conflict about it myself, and am looking forward to working with exploring the idea of tithing as abundance. Blessings.

  2. Hi Dr. Gary,
    I am the senior minister at my spiritual center, Joyful Gathering Spiritual Center in new Jersey. I love the blog you just wrote, and would love to implement it in my community. I am currently teaching Mary Morriseys’ program and have had great success with it.
    I do however, like your ideas very much. Please include affiliated New Thought network, ANTN in your blog mail outs. I believe everyone can benefit from your ideas.
    Blessings,
    Rev. Margaret Palagye

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