Religion, Politics, Sex, and Money. –the topics many of us were taught to avoid in polite company. As I mentioned recently in a sermon, we Unitarian Universalists are working to get more comfortable talking with one another about our religious experiences. And most of us are quite comfortable discussing politics with one another, at least when it comes to issues of social justice and our shared UU values. Sex is still a sensitive topic for some, but the “Our Whole Lives” program has created a helpful path forward there.
So what about that fourth topic? How are we doing when it comes to talking about money in our congregation? Is that still a vulnerable one for you? It can be for many people in our culture. Many of us were raised with an implicit or explicit message that money is somehow linked to a person’s ultimate worth. And if some part of us has absorbed that message, conversations about how we share our financial resources can feel awkward. But as UUs, we affirm and promote a countercultural message about the inherent worth and dignity of all people. As we live into that affirmation, discussing money becomes easier. We recognize that every person in our congregation has resources to offer. Inviting one another to commit those resources to our shared mission is a way of respecting that inherent worth and dignity.
In this pledge season, let’s talk about money. Some religious traditions teach adherents to give a specific percentage of their household income (such as the 10% “tithe” standard used in Christian churches). We don’t have that type of setup in our UU tradition. But we have just as much to accomplish together! So I encourage you to reflect on what a personal standard might look like for you and your household. Is there a percentage you could commit to now? Do you seek to grow in your ability to share resources in order to accomplish greater goals? How does your household budget reflect your values and commitments? And can we talk about such matters together this month?