I have nothing against any religious views unless they face off against my values. Then watch me fly at the wrong that I see.

After all, how could I take away a religious view that someone believes that brings comfort and joy? How wrong would be that?

So this Christian lady, who I met in a grocery store, told me that her mother had died and she accesses her by rubbing her arm since her body is fifty percent her mother. Likewise her grandchildren are infused with her Mom by a smaller percentage. So by hugging them, she finds her mother.

It is not a destructive vision that she holds. It is, though, a bit fanciful, wouldn’t you think? In any case, it is her positive Christian view, which harms no one.

Other views are not so favorable. For example, a friend of mine was born blind, a condition born from scientifically provable reasons. Yet Hindus whom he knows blames him as this failure of eyes is, according to them, due to his being bad in a past life, a viewpoint somewhat like Christian original sin catching up with you.

Then there exist some Christians, who think that lbgtq people are evil sinners relegated to Hell. Many of them breed out of control since they see the beginning of the Bible as a blueprint for doing so.

Jews. I knew of two that were Freedom Riders of which one died a brutal death for his actions. (Check out Andy Goodman online if you want the details.) Yeah, they were my social justice oriented pals.

Yet some Jews breed like all get-out. Their lot think that they are God’s chosen people and commanded by Him to have lots of children to please him, his high holiness in heaven.

So I met a young woman from Northern Ireland and she was shocked that Americans revealed their religious backgrounds. This is because you could have been killed where she lived if revealed About religion except if you were a Quaker.

You see, Quakers took in Protestants and Catholics when their homes and places of business burned down. The action of warring between the two groups was often accompanied by death while there were even children gunned down in the street in the mentally messed up ruckus of one Christian religious group against another.

Well, the Irish Quakers took them all into their place of worship — a place called Meeting. There they all had to live together, and the Catholic and Protestant children played together while adults did activities together, including taking conflict resolution classes.

What a great method to defuse the mutual hatred! You get to meet and live with your presumed enemy!

Well, I like the Quakers, Religious Society of Friends. I like them all — the atheists, the Buddhist Jewish oriented ones, the dyed in the wool of the Lamb ones (fundamentalists who worship Jesus) and other sorts. It is because they nearly all of them try to uplift others and the environment.

So I learned tithing from Quakers. I was five years old.

The Scarsdale, NY Friends Meeting set up a tree before Christmas. Huh, what was that to do in my five year old thinking?

I was baffled at the scene, but quickly figured it out. Yeah, it was a mitten tree to provide gloves to financially poor children in the north. Wow was my reaction.

So I had made money by doing household chores. I’d make a salad, take out trash, sweep floors and so on. Thus I had enough coins to buy two pairs of mittens to drape on the tree.

Boy, was I excited! I kept imagining my boy and my girl wearing my mittens since I bought a boy pair and a girl pair to add to the heap on the tree. Why, I even imagined all of the boys and the girls getting OUR mittens, all of them, represented on the tree.

What a thought for a five year old’s mind. I simply loved it as I would imagine the kids finally with mittens. Out of this world as a vision!

It really made an impact on me and I have tithed every year since age five (and I am in my sixties). This action has included helping a leper’s colony and giving money and goods to homeless shelters, feeding street people and more.

Now, most people think that tithing means giving back to a church, a temple or a mosque. Not I!

I adore tithing. Yet I have my own divergent way of doing it, which means not giving back to a place of worship. So thank you Quakers for showing me the path forward with mere mittens. I am very grateful every year that I tithe. It reminds me about whom am.

Sally Dugman lives in MA, USA


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