That was my original title, but the suits in Auburn toned it down. An excerpt:
It seems counterintuitive, but when a religious person tithes (or when a nonreligious person gives to charitable causes) there is somehow more money each month to work with. For tithing — where a person is supposed to give a specific percentage of income to the church — I think it’s because the practice forces a person to stay on top of his finances.
More generally, by focusing attention away from oneself, things become clearer and it’s easier for a person to do the “responsible” things like avoiding impulse purchases and doing the extra work needed to bring in more income.
This last point is crucial for people who are suffering from depression and are in a financial hole. Part of what keeps them there is that, deep down, they don’t think they deserve to live stress free like the other people they see around them, who somehow have their act together and don’t let bills pile up on the kitchen table. By bringing in the church (or a charity that the person really respects), the depressed and financially beleaguered person can stop dwelling on self-loathing and instead focus on helping others.