Updated: May 25
Once a year between the building funds sermon and the Catholic charities
sermon and the Peter's Pence sermon would come the dreaded tithing sermon. And this always consisted of a droning video sermon by the archbishop, followed by the living testimony of a married couple usually from Minnesota or someplace up in the cold North Midwest, testifying to the miracles that happened in their lives after they opened their hearts to the Lord and begin tithing.
These were sturdy coldweather people who inevitably looks like they had been carved out of huge blocks of unsalted butter. Anyway, there were no flat screen TVs back then, so they would wheel over from the school the largest TV they had, pop in a cassette and there before your eyes would appear the archbishop citing some worn down Bible verse or another, well really not worn down so much as ignored, about the duty and virtue of tithing (gross not net).
I say he was the archbishop because in Oklahoma the bishop of Oklahoma City is also the archbishop of an area consisting of Oklahoma City, Tulsa and some semi converted parts of Arkansas.
Anyway, the pious couple - always a couple - testified to the miraculous events that occurred in their lives once they started tithing. They always seemed to be not-yet-cynical Lutheran or Presbyterian converts. The husband and wife, whom you cannot imagine ever having sex and yet they had 10 kids, would tell you something like "we spoke to the Lord and we kneeled and prayed together and searched our hearts on the matter and began tithing" (10% off the top). And back then when you tithed, you were highly aware of the financial pain because you had to write an actual physical check, unlike today when you are encouraged to set up an automatic recurring bank draft that they hope you'll forget about.
The pious couple would tell you that they started tithing and all of a sudden their paralyzed child got up out of his wheelchair and danced, or that they won the lottery, or their lost dog Shep came home after 7 years.
It was all as predictable and boring as hell, and I don’t know if anybody fell for it, but the couple always seemed sincere.
Author's Note: this anecdote is based on personal experience and is 98.6% true. If I have offended anyone, I will light one of those little candles and put all my pocket change in the slot.