In September, we attended a service by a guest minister at our Unitarian Universalist (UU) church. UU is a religion built on principles of inclusion, compassion and individual search for truth and meaning, and places priority on social justice issues. We have found it to be a tremendously welcoming community, and always leave the services feeling inspired to work in partnership with others to build the communities — and the world — that we want to live in.
The guest minister’s sermon that day was titled “Money and Me.” Many of us in the congregation were slightly anxious, anticipating a request to open our wallets and pocketbooks for an annual fundraising effort for the church. However, the sermon did not carry that tone at all; instead the minister told a story about how he and his wife began “tithing” 10% of their yearly income… not to the church, but to charities, friends in need, and any causes they deemed important. The minister went on to explain that although he and his wife did not have much money when they began tithing, they found they could spare that small amount. Furthermore, giving this money away to worthy recipients made their lives so much fuller. Our initial reaction to the idea was that it was a wonderful aim, but not the right fit for us at this point in our lives — as newlyweds on a limited budget, there was no way we could afford to give away 10% of our resources!
Then in November the election happened. After months of campaigning, we were absolutely shocked when the other candidate won. A candidate who preached against many of the values that we cherish most and dedicate our time and efforts to uphold. Our lives became inundated with news, speculation, complaints, and despair. We posted on social media and indulged in the endless litany of posts from our like-minded friends and family about the outcome of the election and the new President’s and Congress’ actions. Faced with the taste of bitter defeat, as well as fear surrounding the impending discriminatory actions to benefit only a few, we knew we needed to do something positive. Remembering the minister’s story, we decided to follow his example of “tithing” to support important institutions and the countless individuals they serve each and every day.
And so our journey began. In 2017, we are making one donation each week to an organization that is threatened by the actions of the current administration. We hope you will join us each week to learn about the issues at hand, voice your opinions to your elected Representatives, and support whichever causes you believe in.
“What you keep for yourself, you lose. What you give away, you keep forever.” – Axel Munthe