Listening to the NPR show Tell Me More this evening, I was reminded of how disconnected much of the media remains from middle America. A conversation between host Michele Martin and CNN's Soledad O'Brien about a new CNN documentary on blacks in America turned to the subject of tithing. Both O'Brien and Martin seemed shocked that many Americans give to their churches before they start to pay their bills. The two may be right that this is not always the most practical approach to economics but for people who feel that charity is a religious duty, it is hardly uncommon.
It made me want to send both of them a recent story in the Chronicle of Philanthropy called "Some Donors of Modest Means Give Until It Hurts -- And Love It," about couples who gave significant portions of their income to charity, often for religious reasons. It's available by subscription only but the inspirational stories of their decisions to give what amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars over years will make many readers wonder whether they couldn't be giving a little more.