I Can’t Rid Myself of My Christian Charity

I recently read an article on the Facebook about how more religious people in general, and Christians specifically, are less likely to act charitably in monetary situations than the less or not at all religious.

As a Christian, I want to be all sputtery and offended by this, but as someone who has waited tables in and out of the Bible Belt for years, I can tell you this is totally true. I wish I had a really interesting story illustrating my point, but it’s always the same. I walk up to the table, the dad makes lightly embarrassing dad-jokes; the whole family or group of people is super, extra nice. They all order with nary an alcoholic beverage between them (except sometimes, when the mom will get a glass of Chardonnay). I turn my back to go input the order and they all put their heads down. The backwaiter delivering bread and olive oil and I exchange a look: Every person in the service industry knows that if someone is bent over their breadbasket in prayer, your tip is going to be paltry.

20120507-233456.jpgTipping isn’t charity; it’s a standard expense and Americans all know this. Christians are supposed to be beacons of kindness and generosity of spirit. I don’t remember the Bible instructing “When separating the wheat from the shaft, ensure your waiter always receives the latter”, but I went to a pretty liberal Church, so maybe we didn’t cover that in Sunday school.


…or maybe that was covered the same day as “Judge not, lest ye be judged”, which I obviously missed.



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