I dunno. I'm still wrestling with the sermon I heard yesterday that tried yet again to make the point about giving money back to God.
The preacher used the familiar image of the Sea of Galilee being fresh because water flows in and flows out, and the Dead Sea being dead because water flows in but it doesn't flow out. Therefore, he reasoned, we need to give money back to God in order to stay fresh and whatever. I simplify unfairly.
Nevertheless, I found this problematic for a number of reasons:
1) Money flows out all the time, not all of it in life-giving ways.
2) If we're talking about giving money to the church, I think we can agree that the church is not God. So how exactly do you give money to God?
3) Finally, I thought to myself, sitting there in the pew, I'm not sure that God gives us money.
Let me look at this last thought a little bit.
Here's the thing: if God gives us money, God does a really lousy job of it, distributing money in a completely inequitable way. Partly I think I am changed by my short time in Uganda, seeing up close and personal people with no money at all. But I am no longer so sanguine about this notion of God giving us money.
I understand the thinking behind it: God is the source of all good things; money is (or can be) a good thing; therefore, God is the source of money. But money seems to me to be a human creation rather than a divine creation and so I am not sure that the same principle applies. The thing is, I don't have a better theology or a more thought-through principle to offer. Just a vague uncomfortable feeling that this model doesn't quite work. Or at least it isn't working for me right now.