A debut autobiographical work champions tithing.
Cooper’s slim book begins humbly enough, with her recollection of getting her very first job—at a McDonald’s—working for a grand total of $48 a week. She was already conscientious with money, and when her mother urged her to consider tithing part of her paycheck to their church, a lifelong passion was born. She eventually developed an “Is God Worth a Dime?” fundraising template, complete with T-shirts, suitable for encouraging Christian youth groups to be mindful of their own giving. Cooper naturally grounds her thinking on the subject firmly in Scripture, citing familiar passages like this one from the Gospel of St. Luke: “Give and it will be given….For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” She emphasizes the doctrinal nature of the activity, noting that St. Paul “did not excuse anyone” from the duty of tithing—not seniors, not pastors, not large families, and not even children. “One of the key characteristics of a mature Christian is generous financial giving,” she asserts unequivocally. “Christian giving is not optional, but rather essential.” Yet the author also stresses that making provisions for tithing can also have purely practical purposes—that it can be “a blessing for people to learn about budgeting, debt elimination, and…financial freedom.” The point of giving, she writes, is to put God first at all times. Tithing, she insists, is a form of worship, a covenant between the faithful and God, although in clearly written passages, the book returns regularly to a presentation of pragmatic and useful financial advice. Cooper deftly encourages her readers to repair bad credit ratings and gradually achieve a debt-free life. Some parts of this work will strike many readers as uncomfortably close to the so-called “prosperity gospel” ministries that have been such a blight on the face of modern Christianity. But the author’s call to tithing saves itself from this kind of venality by marrying church donations to frugality and economic planning.
A short, intriguing look at the spiritual and economic benefits of consistent religious giving.