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Age: Over 65
5 Stars Out Of 5
Good ideas, very truthful
October 17, 2013
Age: Over 65
Looking back over our years in the ministry of 45 years, I see where we made so many of the mistakes that Mr. Lupton spoke about. Christians always want to help and give and we need to learn more about the areas to serve and what is best in the giving. Is it going to help the recipients or are we just enabling them more because it makes us feel better as Christians that we helped? I passed the book on to the Deacon in charge of benevolence at our congregation. All in all, I found it very interesting and informative.
Lupton brings to light the need for churches and individuals tp seek what is God's will for those in need. Christians want to help the poor and that is Biblical, but giving a man a fish is temporary relief while teaching a man to fish results in eliminating need.
Robert Lupton has been engaged in urban-renewal efforts for over 40 years and brings his expertise to light in this excellent book. It seems that Toxic Charity is often mentioned in the same breath as When Helping Hurts - after having read both, this makes a lot of sense. Both came out roughly around the same time and both deal with the question of "Are our efforts to alleviate poverty actually working?" The answer that both books give is "no".
This is a difficult thing to hear, as many of us (myself included) regularly give to and work with various charities and have gone on different service and missions trips. While Toxic Charity doesn't write these endeavors off completely, Lupton does point that that Africa has received billions in aid over the past several decades and is seemingly in a worse position. Churches will spend 1000s of dollars to send a group of under-qualified volunteers to do work in a foreign land that the locals could easily do. We pass out free clothing and food locally, without knowing the folks we're trying to help and not realizing that our basic one-size-fits-all solution of hand-outs isn't the most effective thing we could be doing to help.
Obviously we do these things because we care - so instead of beating ourselves up over possibly being too in-effective (I've gone on two short term missions trips myself), maybe we should start asking the question of "How can we work with the poor?" instead of wondering how much money is needed to fix a certain problem. Like with any issue, it's good to be able to take a step back and ask difficult questions and if you're looking to challenge yourself with your understanding of aid/charity/missions etc, then I would highly recommend you picking up this book. While it's written by a Christian and mostly to a Christian audience, it would also be useful to non-Christians who give/participate in charity endeavors.
This was a very good book on the subject of charitable giving and work. The basic premise is that one should consider the person/ people who are receiving the charity. After emergency charity, one can strive to help the people help themselves and that will help motivate them to continue to work to solve their problems themselves. Basically this is "a hand up is better than a hand out" after the emergency is over.