I read your essay on tithing, and while i am in agreement with some of your points, i cannot agree with all of them.
I would like to try to explain below why.
But I also understand well your point about the poor tithing much more proportionally than the rich. Every month my wife forces me to "tithe" 10% when we end up with barely enough money for food and rent, and fight over almost every penny. she always tells me that tithing will enable me to see God's blessings. all i can say is if the situation between is "blessing" then I am glad not to see "cursing".
Hope my points will prove edifying to you!
Shalom beShem Yeshua,
Thoughts on Gary's Tentmaker essay on tithing
1. Excellent point that Abraham's "tithe" to Melchitzedek appeared to have been a one time phenomenon and taken from the spoils of war.
2. Jews today do tithe, but not to Levites (as you said because the genealogies are not certain) but they use the Biblical tithe as a principle for all charitable giving.
3. Jews do not tithe to the synagogue. The synagogue is supported usually by free will offerings (money raised on sabbath by auctioning off the torah readings, for example) and/or by dues usually imposed at the time of the Fall Holy Days.
4. Although your point is valid that the Biblical tithe appears to have been imposed on agricultural products only, I see nothing wrong with extending this idea to all forms of income. Income is fruits of one's labor as much as agricultural products. Why should a farmer have to tithe and not a merchant? And Jesus clearly implies in his parables a correlation between agricultural tithing and financial tithing. Finally, as you yourself note, it is inconvenient to haul around vast quantities of food and monetizing them as financial donations makes much more sense.
5. Your point about Joseph in Egypt also was well taken. Joseph functioned like a despotic dictator, forcing the people to sell themselves into slavery for bread. He also forcibly expropriated the lands of Egypt. Was the ruthless behavior of another Yosef, Stalin in the USSR, really so different?