Jacksonville’s Bill Walter takes his Bible seriously. It’s why he believes strongly that Christians should, as Scripture says, give at least a tenth of their income to the church.

But with the economy depressed and the housing market bottoming out, Walter said his property appraisal business – and his ability to give – have taken a hit.

“There have been times when I had to give less, I will admit,” said Walter, 76, a deacon at Park Lane Baptist Church.

The issue of tithing during tough times has taken center stage since New Orleans Saints reserve quarterback Mark Brunell, a former Jaguars tosser, declared bankruptcy in June. His legal filing revealed that despite his financial woes, Brunell gave $155,000 of his $1.55 million salary to his Jacksonville church.

Brunell’s tithing was welcome news to many pastors.

“This is a wonderful example of what the Bible teaches and what we should all be living,” said Terry Hill, pastor at The Citadel Church on Atlantic Boulevard. “Because his life is so public, not only will we see the problem but we will also see the blessing that will come from his consistent faith and obedience.”

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