We may try an experiment with electronic giving by creating a “donate” button with PayPal or a similar provider. And it’s possible to use a credit card with an iPhone app; this blogger never carries a checkbook so it would probably be a convenience for some. Currently, pledges are set up (for me, at least) via electronic funds transfer, which gets reviewed once a year during pledge season.
However, there’s a certain dignity watching the plate being passed, and then brought forward to the altar to be blessed. It’s corporate giving, rather than the solitary kind that we electronic givers practice.
If you think about, the offering plate is at once a ritual and a technology for collecting money. Ron Lieber of the New York Times asks how churches and synagogues are adapting to electronic giving and the decreasing reliance on cash. He notes that Mormons fill out a form, hand it in and the church does the rest…automatically deducting your tithe from your bank account. Synagogues collect dues. Episcopalians switched from pew rents to pledges at least a century ago. “So as we approach a busy season for giving among believers” Liber says, “this is a good time to ask whether we’ve settled on a form of collection that is both efficient and meaningful.”
Link: The Lead