Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


The Joy of the Dance

A recent post at Dancing on the Head of a Pin, the blog for St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Waynesboro, Georgia was on a talk Dr. A.L. Addington gave there on stewardship. As A.L. is known to many at King of Peace through being a supporter of this church since before there was a church (congregation or building), I thought his words might be particularly worth sharing. This is what the Rev. Steve Rice wrote about A.L.'s talk:

Most people I know (including myself) do not like stewardship messages/talks/etc. Most of the time we don't like them because the approach includes something like:

  • if we don't give more, we can't pay the bills
  • we're behind budget and we need to dig deeper
  • we want to do A, B, and C and it is going to cost us D, E, and F

The problem is we view stewardship as giving towards a campaign, paying dues, or contributing to the membership fee and not giving as a natural response of gratitude for God's goodness. The Episcopal Church has established that the biblical tithe of 10% is the norm, or minimum standard in giving. Most communicants give between $2500 and $3100 a year, which suggests two things:

  1. the average income is between $25,000 and $31,000 a year or
  2. we are not giving a tithe.

One of the things A.L. mentioned, and he is right, is that we should not be caught up in percentages and questions of pre-tax, after-tax, and the like. He called this negotiating with God. He tells the story of how he learned to dance. He learned to count, one, two, three, and four, as he moved his feet in the shape of a square as he lead his partner in the dance. Over time, as his buddies were, in his words, "whispering sweet nothings in the ears of their dates," A.L. was counting "one, two, three, and four."

In other words, A.L. was so focused on the numbers, on getting it right, that he missed the dance—the joy of the dance, the beauty of the dance, and whom he was dancing with. Giving to God should not be about counting the steps, but about enjoying the dance. How are we doing? The tithe (10%) is not meant to be a stumbling block, but as a reference to help us determine if we are truly enjoying the dance, or if we are standing by the punch bowl.

A sermon in the archives that puts this into a biblical perspective is The Story of Bread.


  • At 9/27/2005 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sad to say that many do not make it as far as the punch bowl, rather "hang out" at the door, ready to run for cover instead of embracing the only true partner that we could ever have, poised on the head of the pin with HIM.


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