Passing the Plate

Ron Sider has a informative review of Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don’t Give Away More Money over at Christianity Today. Among other bits of information from the book by Christian Smith, Michael O. Emerson, and Patricia Snell, he shares the findings that 20% of American Christians give nothing to the church and that a mere twenty percent of all Christians give 86.4 percent of the total. I was saddened, but not surprised, at the affirmation of my hunch that higher-income Christians in America give less as a percentage of household income than their poorer counterparts. Near the end of the review, Sider writes:

“A good deal of the problem is that pastors are not leading their congregations to think clearly about this issue. I have often said (without any hard data) that I do not think one American pastor in fifty is talking about God’s concern for the poor as much as the Bible does. … overall, our pastors, seminary professors, and denominational leaders are simply unbiblical in their failure to lead their people into persistent, honest wrestling with faithful Christian stewardship of resources and the way that generosity could advance Christ’s kingdom.”

I myself am guilty as charged, but thankful for the thankful generosity shown by so many of the members at Coffeyville First. The article in its entirety is well worth the read. and I plan to order the book.

Update: I have the book on order.

Link: http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2008/novdec/5.11.html?start=1