Voices from Russia

Sunday, 5 February 2017

5 February 2017. Vox Pop on Tithing

collection plate



I find the following “read n’ heed”… I’d only add that tithing has never been a part of Orthodox churchmanship and it’s been pernicious amongst us. There are priests who refuse the chalice to “non-tithers”. That’s putting a pricetag on the mysteries, and I can imagine nothing more demonic. It puts Christ up for sale. If that doesn’t offend you, then, I’ll say that you need to look at what you call “Christianity”… it just may well not be so Christian after all.



I know the tithing scam isn’t Orthodox, that’s why I said, “Even the Americans who do tithe”. I didn’t want to single out the delusional by name [though I did hint at it]. What I’m trying to say is that most American generosity has motives that benefit the giver in a superficial way. I’m not sure about consumerism, materialism, selfishness, and greed in Canada… but they’re virtues here. You live near the liberal Northwest corner. They’re not as self-consumed, they’re more ideologically consumed, but philanthropic in many regards. Come to the Midwest or the South for a year or so. Even the smiles are fake and have an ulterior motive. The realest Americans are poor. The higher up the socioeconomic ladder you climb, the more boujee Americans are.


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

RT Stepped in a Juicy Cowpat… Righties DON’T Give More to Charity… They Give Tons o’ Cash to Greasy Preachers and Tin Tabernacles… Get it Right



Here’s a crank article from RT… let’s keep it simple. The right doesn’t give more to charity… it gives more to religious cranks, which is another thing altogether. In short, this entire article is rubbish, as it has a flawed and cracked foundation… it equates charity with religious giving, which just isn’t so. Shame on you, RT… who put you up to writing this POS post? Righties do NOT help others… they put their money into their tin tabernacles… where the “preachers” live high off the proceeds. In short, it’s “anti-charity” of the foulest description. For instance, some sources listed Willy Romney’s forced “tithes” to the Moron Church as “charity”. That isn’t charitable giving… that’s a tax levied by a religious organisation… do note that the Church doesn’t do that… but “Evangelicals” do! That is, religious giving isn’t charitable in the least, and we shouldn’t treat it as such.

This time, RT struck out… and struck out badly.


Sunday, 8 December 2013

NO TIP FOR YOU! I ALREADY GAVE THE MONEY TO GOD! Tips aren’t Optional… They’re How Waiters are Paid in America

00 Pastor's Applebee's Reciept. NO TIP FOR YOU. 07.12.13


Editor’s Note:

Read this through to the end. It’s why I oppose tithing, and why I detest the mindset that it creates. In any case, “tithing” is a quirky Evangelical notion; why should we pick up such arrant nonsense? The Church NEVER put a price on the Mysteries… that’s called simony, kids, and it sets up a nasty, self-righteous, and smug attitude in those who practise it. Truly, if the parish needs money, bingo is better spiritually, unbelievably (you see, it’s corporate and requires cooperative effort, it’s not something individual and pridefully personal). Anyone who advocates tithing wants to bring all sorts of Proddie nonsense into the Church that we don’t need. Tithing is insidious and corrosive… think on that.

OPPOSE “TITHING” WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT. God demands it of you…



I was a waitress at Applebee’s restaurant in St Louis MO. They fired me on Wednesday for posting a picture on Reddit.com of a note a customer left on a bill. I posted it on the web as a light-hearted joke. This didn’t even happen at my table. The note was for another server, who allowed me to take a picture of it at the end of the night. Someone scribbled on the receipt, “I give God 10 percent. Why do you get 18?” I assumed the customer’s signature was illegible, but I quickly started receiving messages containing Facebook profile links and websites, asking me to confirm the customer’s identity. I refused to confirm any of them, and all were incorrect. I worked with the Reddit moderators to remove any personal information. I wanted to protect both my fellow server and the customer. I had no intention of starting a witch-hunt or hurting anyone. Now, they’ve fired me.

The person who wrote the note came across an article about it, called the Applebee’s location, and demanded that they fire everyone… me, the server who allowed me to take the picture, the manager on duty at the time, the manager not on duty at the time, everyone. It seems that they fired me not because I misrepresented Applebee’s, not because I did anything illegal or against company policy, but because I embarrassed this person. In light of the situation, I’d like to say something for wait staff everywhere… we make 3.50 USD (115 Roubles. 3.75 CAD. 3.85 AUD. 2.50 Euros. 2.15 UK Pounds) an hour. Most of my pay-cheques are less than pocket change because I have to pay taxes on the tips I make.

After sharing my tips with hosts, bussers, and bartenders, I make less than 9 USD (295 Roubles. 9.60 CAD. 9.90 AUD. 6.50 Euros. 5.50 UK Pounds) an hour on average, before taxes. They expect me to skip bathroom breaks if we’re busy. I go hungry all day if I have several busy tables to work. They expect me to work until 01.30, then, I have to come in again at 10:30 to open the restaurant. I’ve worked 12-hour double shifts without a chance to even sit down. They expect me to portray a canned personality that they found is the least offensive to the greatest amount of people. They expect me to do all of this, every day, and receive change, or even nothing, in return. After all that, they can fire me for “embarrassing” someone who directly insulted their server on religious grounds.

In this economy, 3.50 USD an hour doesn’t cut it. I can’t pay half my bills. Like many, I’d love to see a reasonable non-tip-dependent wage system for service workers as they have in other countries. However, having a flawed system isn’t an excuse for not paying for services rendered. I need tips to pay my bills. All waiters do. We spend an hour or more of our time befriending you, making you laugh, getting to know you, and making your dining experience the best it can be. We work hard. We care. We deserve compensation for that. I’m trying to stand up for all of us who work for just a few dollars an hour at places like Applebee’s. Whether it’s a chain steakhouse or a black-tie establishment, tipping isn’t optional. It’s how we earn our living.

I posted a picture to make people laugh, but now I want to make a serious point. Things like this happen to servers all the time. People seem to think that the easiest way to save money on a night out is to skip the tip. I can’t understand why they fired me over this. I was well liked and respected at Applebee’s. My sales were high, my managers had no problems with me, and I was even hoping to move up to management soon. When I posted this, I didn’t represent Applebee’s in a bad light. In fact, I didn’t represent them at all. I did my best to protect all parties involved. I didn’t break any specific guidelines in the company handbook… I checked. However, because this person got embarrassed that their selfishness became public, Applebee’s made it clear that they’d rather lose a dedicated employee than an angry customer. I can’t understand that policy.

I’m equally baffled about how a religious tithe is in any way related to paying for services at a restaurant. I can understand why someone could be upset with an automatic gratuity. However, it’s a plainly stated Applebee’s policy that they add tips automatically for parties over eight, like the one this customer was part of. I can’t control that kind of tip; the computer that processes the orders does it. People have stiffed me on tips before, but this is the first time I’ve seen the “Big Man” used as reasoning. Obviously, the person who wrote this note wanted it seen by someone. It’s strange that now that the audience is wider than just the server, the person’s ashamed.

I have no agenda here. I seek no revenge against the note writer. I have no interest in exposing their identity, and, at this point, I’m not even sure that I want my job back. I was just trying to make a joke, but I came home unemployed. I’ve waited tables to save up some money so I could finally go to college, so I could get an education that would qualify me for a job that doesn’t force me to sell my personality for pocket change. This story garnered immense media attention, but my story isn’t uncommon. Bad tips and harsh notes are all part of the job. They fire people to keep customers happy every day. As this story has gotten popular, I’ve received inquiries about where people can send money to support me. As a broke kid trying to get into college, it’s certainly appealing, but I’d really rather you make a difference to your next server. I’d rather you keep that money and that generosity for the next time you eat out.

1 February 2013

Chelsea Welch

The Guardian



When Pastor Alois Bell wrote a rude note along with a zero tip on her receipt at Applebee’s, she didn’t know her callousness would become a viral sensation. Her first response was to get the waitress who posted the receipt (and if possible, everyone she works with) fired. After that, she tried apologising… sort of. Neither response won the St Louis minister any fans.

3 February 2013

Huffington Post


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

17 April 2012. A Busted Clock is Right Twice a Day… Love BT Gets it “Right” on “Tithing”


Recently, Love BT posted the following on Monomakhos (not the greatest venue, but that’s where it was:

Ten percent isn’t a Mystical, Holy, or Sacred rate, even though the Scriptures mention it, along with circumcision and other practises. Of course, Christ only had one standard for everything… perfection. His standard was the widow who gave everything, and the requirement that the rich young man (besides “not leaving the others undone”) should give EVERYTHING. He said, “Be ye perfect”; He didn’t say, “Be as perfect as much as you can be”. The goals the Church sets before us shouldn’t be “minimum requirements to be a respectable Christian”. In addition, charity shouldn’t be secondary to institutional well-being and functionality in priority.

Nevertheless, they are, are they not? Don’t we approve of that? For those who’re concerned with accountability and transparency, He seems to have encouraged us to be opaque about our fasting, no? We’re supposed to PRETEND we aren’t fasting. With the coming of Grace, it seems wrong to revert to the Old Dispensation and its oikonomia and limits. The tithe is neutral. Requiring it is approving a standard that‘s lesser than the one Christ proposed. As I previously mentioned, my copy of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (an old one… from the 60s) has a large article on tithing that concludes with the information that the Eastern Orthodox Churches have never practised tithing.

Also on the same blog:

Tithing was a 20th Century innovation in ANY Orthodox Church, or, at best, a re-formulation, and Orthodox who landed in Protestant America instinctively perceived it as such. I realise that many converts may have felt that tithing was an obviously virtuous practice that, astonishingly, “cradle” and “old world” Orthodox, found to be innovative and even radical, but that we, having all kinds of experience in the game called “stewardship” based on a Gospel account of a steward, would be able to improve this aspect of Orthodox life, thus, perhaps, at last, showing them all that an American Orthodoxy must be and truly is, an Improvement! Take the list of the ancient Patriarchates and the Local Churches whose hierarchs are in their dyptichs and tell me which one EVER practised tithing.

There are SINGULAR and MEMORABLE instances of the extraordinary practice, for example the “Church of the Dime (or Tithe)” in Russia, which was famously and so UNIQUELY funded by a tithe that this became the source of its fame. I know, some will say, “There goes crazy, deluded Tikhon (excuse me, it would be, of course “+Tikhon”) again, being the Arch-Conservative among us, not allowing a more liberal attitude toward Tradition. Why, he even defines something as Tradition only if it has been actually transmitted, passed on to us in the Church. He always claims that the ending of a practise in the history of the Church is as much an indicator of Tradition as its continuation!

However, of COURSE, we can revive dead customs and call them “the original tradition!” If we decide (in a conciliar way, of course) that circumcision of males (the “Original Tradition” before the Apostolic Council) is a good thing, we can restore it… its fully Orthodox. Moreover, since St Paul says a bishop must be the husband of one wife, that must mean that SOME had two or three or more, in other words, “polygamy” was… you’ve got it, an “Older Tradition!” Even if the Orthodox Churches never EVER required their members to tithe, we can have a Council, pass the measure, and thereby have the Holy Spirit inspire the practise!

There are holes in both of the above… but Tikhon Fitzgerald is right on this, the tithe isn’t part of our Orthodox heritage. The unknown commenter is also right in that we shouldn’t be mucking with Tradition, even in mundane matters. However, neither caught the main reason why the Church shies away from tithing. Of necessity, tithing sets up a “two-tier” membership. That is, those who do tithe, and those who don’t do so. Well, what do you do with those who can’t, won’t, or refuse to tithe? What’s the “stick” of the “carrot and stick?” Are you going to emulate the Mormons, deny such people Communion, and deny them the right to attend their children’s weddings? Are you going to keep records of who gives what, so that the Church meeting knows precisely who gave what? The latter was one of the banes of the Metropolia. It was one of the dark spots of that period. To require tithing would make things even worse than that was (and it was quite bad enough).

In short, prelest would walk in wearing Size 12s and proceed to stomp true religion to death in short order. There’s already a grave problem with hubristical konvertsy, who believe that their level of religiosity is higher than that of the Church Fathers. If I were to name the three besetting sins of this group, it’d be linking faith and politics, quoting the Fathers and Canons out of context… and tithing. These three are the sources of the juvenile rot we see spewed about us. Indeed, we need to put out the fires that they’ve caused. Whatever we do, any solution won’t be easy, brief, or congenial. We can put things right, but it’ll be a job of two generations to do properly. It’s easy to rip things down… it’s much harder to build them back up. We’re paying dearly for Schmemann, Grabbe, Bloom, Podmoshensky, Meyendorff, Metropoulos, and all the other paladins of the 1960s Church, both OCA/Metropolia and ROCOR. We need to go “home”… but shall we?

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Albany NY 

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