” As more people opt for spiritual growth outside organized religion, we tithe to the individuals or organizations who provide us with spiritual nourishment – those who support our spiritual growth or remind us of who we are.”
Dr. Kyre Adept, the Spiritual Law of Tithing
There was a time when I attended church on a regular basis. It was a Unity Church and I loved it. The Unity philosophies are more spiritual than religious and when I sat through my first sermon, I was amazed at how much the Unity philosophies echoed my own.
You may read more about the the principles of Unity teachings as copied from the Unity.org website by clicking here: Unity Principles
” Unity teachings are based on universal spiritual principles that run like a thread through the world’s religions. These are laws that seem to govern humankind no matter where we live, how we view the Divine, or even whether we are aware these principles exist. They have been expressed in many ways through thousands of years, but the essence of them is this:
- God is all there is, present everywhere, and absolute good.
- Human beings are created in the image of God and our very essence is divine; therefore, we are inherently good.
- We create our life experiences through our way of thinking.
- Our lives can be changed and transformed through the power of prayer.
- Knowing these principles is not enough; we must live the truth we know.”
Since every sermon, and many of the people who attended, all helped to inspire me, feed my spirit and brought me closer to what I believed about life and about God, I gladly added to the collection plate every Sunday. It was there that I first heard the expression “tithe where you get your spiritual food.”
I no longer attend church on a regular basis, but I do still live my life by the Unity principles and I do continue to “tithe where I get my spiritual food.”
What is a tithe? In her book, “The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity“, Edwene Gaines, a longtime Unity minister, defines tithing in this way: “The word tithe means a tenth. To tithe is to return 10 percent of all we receive to the person, place or institution where we have received spiritual food.”
Gaines goes on to define spiritual food as ” that which inspires us, teaches us, reminds us of the Truth, or causes us to remember who we are.”
For many years, I have made an effort to support the things that feed my spirit. In the past, those have primarily been nature and wildlife organizations. But recently I have begun extending my giving to include other things that feed my spirit: art, music, humor, creativity of almost any kind, deep conversation, and of course, love. By love, I mean examples of true human kindness and generosity or the people who dedicate their lives to making the world a little bit better in any way. All of these things inspire me, teach me, remind me of God and sometimes, just remind me of who I am or want to be.
Although I do still donate to large, organized charities, I have found it much more enjoyable to ‘tithe’ closer to home. I buy local art and love talking to the artists who create it. I listen to local musicians and always ‘tithe’ generously into their tip jar or guitar case.
I also enjoy giving to smaller, lesser known projects that I learn about, such as Street Books: a bicycle powered mobile library in Portland Oregon. Or Conserve it Forward: a non-profit organization started by a young woman I met one year at a Green Building conference.
And other times, if they need it, I give money directly to people who keep me grounded, keep me focused, make me laugh and help remind me of who I am.
Am I taking the term spiritual food too broadly? I don’t think so. Gaines stresses:
“A tithe goes where you are fed spiritually. A tithe says, “I want more of this!” and that you should “Consciously choose the “this.”
She continues: “For example, it might be the uplifting message of an inspirational book or the feeling of joy from a beautiful piece of music. Whatever the form, you know you’re being spiritually fed when you feel your heart sing.”
“Tithing engages the universal laws of flow, receiving and reciprocity. It forms a connection between your individual life and the universal flow of abundance.” ~ Dr. Kyre Adept
The way I see it, these tithes are a necessity and I gladly budget for them. According to the “spiritual laws of prosperity”, what you give comes back to you. So by supporting the things that nourish my soul, my soul will continue to be nourished. If you support a church, the church can continue to serve the community. If you support artists and musicians and protectors of wildlife and people who add joy and laughter to others…..well, they can continue to serve others as well.
Many people do not go to church but still participate in activities that help to feed their spirit. Whether it is a sport that helps you stay centered, such as fishing or surfing; a pastime such as reading or listening to good music or collecting art, which stimulates your mind and senses; or activities which get you close to nature, such as hiking or gardening. Anything that touches you deep inside and helps raise your level of awareness and gets you to that place of peace inside you that contemplates things like life and love and Heaven and earth is feeding your spirit.
Helping to support and protect those activities is how I tithe. It’s my way of “giving back to God something He gave in the first place.”