In an age of unprecedented affluence, why do so many feel discontented? Exposing the social and spiritual perils of rampant materialism, Simon offers biblical teaching and personal stories to free us from the shackles of consumerism; help us trust in God; and encourage us to share our wealth with the needy. 192 pages, softcover from Baker.
In a world filled with both prosperity and poverty, how can Christians handle their finances in a way that honors God? In How Much Is Enough?, Arthur Simon takes an uncompromising look at America's wealth, reflecting what dominates the hearts and motivations of its people. He diagnoses Western civilization as sick with "affluenza," or runaway materialism, and shows readers how to reject the disease and set new priorities.
Churches, social ministry groups, and thoughtful readers will be enlightened by Simon's grasp of Western affluence against the backdrop of a world where 800 million people are chronically starving. Readers will gain a clearer understanding of how money becomes an object of worship when passion for material things is stronger than compassion for the poor. Simon's life-changing book also reveals how affluenza takes control of people's lives and goals.
Without discounting prosperity as a blessing, How Much Is Enough? proposes new pathways to living as disciples of Jesus. It suggests a myriad of solutions for taming materialism and sheds light on the profound reality that possessions may capture our hearts, but they are unable to nourish our souls.
Arthur Simon is the founder and president emeritus of Bread for the World, a nonpartisan citizens' hunger lobby. His books include Bread for the World, a national Religious Book Award winner; The Politics of World Hunger, coauthored with his brother, former Illinois senator Paul Simon; and most recently Grace at the Table: Ending Hunger in God's World. Simon lives in Colmar Manor, Maryland.
"Why is it that in the face of unprecedented prosperity, so many of us feel
discontented?" asks Simon, founder and past president of Bread for the World.
In this hard-hitting and well-written book, Simon encourages North American
Christians to examine how their materialistic culture has stunted their
compassion and driven a wedge between themselves and God. Drawing on writers
such as Richard Foster, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Johann Christoph Arnold, Simon
speaks compellingly of "the poverty of riches" and "the weakness of power."
This book does not make simplistic arguments about money being evil, but
instead cautions about what money can do to corrupt people if they are not
vigilant and rooted in God's kingdom. One especially insightful chapter
explores the titular question of how much is enough, arguing that while there
are no easy formulas, there are strong reasons for Christians to "stay behind
the Joneses." This book stands with others by Tom Sine, Ronald Sider and Tony
Campolo in arguing that social responsibility is just as important a value for
Christians as personal holiness. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business
"This is one of the easiest books you will ever read-and one of the most difficult. Though there is not a word here that will be unintelligible to anyone, the challenge that Art Simon presents to every reader will leave you gasping for breath at times and at other times may prompt you to hurl the book across the room. Within the context of the United States of America at the beginning of the twenty-first century, this book may even strike some as a kind of obscenity-how dare he speak to us this way? It is, in fact, a sign of contradiction for our age, the very thing we don't want to know about, the only way that can bring us peace."
Author of How the Irish Saved Civilization,
The Gifts of the Jews, and Desire of the
Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus
"Affluence not only compromises obedience to God; it also consumes one's hunger for God, says Bread for the World founder Simon. This highly recommended book is as unsettling as Jesus' teachings on possessions, but the prophetic sting is balanced with pastoral encouragement. Pages are laced with substantive quotes, Bible commentary, and personal stories. Simple living is espoused, but readers aren't made to feel guilty over Third World poverty. Simon targets how our drive for wealth and security usurps the desire we could have for God's ways. This excellent work effectively combines issues of stewardship and sanctification, finance and faith...At best, readers will hear Jesus say, 'Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also' (Matthew 6:21, KJV)."
-Ted Lewis, CBA Marketplace
"Direct, concrete, deeply rooted, and compelling."
-Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
"Art Simon deepens our trust in God's bountiful grace and thereby empowers us to apportion our wealth more openhandedly. Share this book with everyone you know-the world can't wait for justice!"
-Marva J. Dawn
Author of Unfettered Hope: A Call to Faithful Living
in an Affluent Society
"Art Simon invites us to a new way of living that, freed from the shackles of consumption, is the way of gratitude and generosity. And he leaves it up to each of us to think through, and pray through, exactly what that means for us."
-Richard John Neuhaus, editor in chief, First Things
"Superb. The distilled wisdom of a lifetime of faithful obedience and creative leadership. If American Christians would truly read and understand this powerfully simple book, the result would be a cascading abundance of joy and justice."
-Ronald J. Sider, president
Evangelicals for Social Action