In Toxic Charity, Lupton urges individuals, churches, and organizations to step away from spontaneous, often destructive acts of compassion toward thoughtful paths to community development. He delivers proven strategies for moving from "toxic charity" to transformative charity.
Proposing a powerful "Oath for Compassionate Service" and spotlighting real-life examples of people serving not just with their hearts but with proven strategies and tested tactics, Lupton offers all the tools and inspiration we need to develop healthy, community-driven programs that produce deep, measurable, and lasting change. Everyone who volunteers or donates to charity needs to wrestle with this book.
Public service is a way of life for Americans; giving is a part of our national character. But compassionate instincts and generous spirits aren't enough, says veteran urban activist Robert D. Lupton. In this groundbreaking guide, he reveals the disturbing truth about charity: all too much of it has become toxic, devastating to the very people it's meant to help.
In his four decades of urban ministry, Lupton has experienced firsthand how our good intentions can have unintended, dire consequences. Our free food and clothing distribution encourages ever-growing handout lines, diminishing the dignity of the poor while increasing their dependency. We converge on inner-city neighborhoods to plant flowers and pick up trash, battering the pride of residents who have the capacity (and responsibility) to beautify their own environment. We fly off on mission trips to poverty-stricken villages, hearts full of pity and suitcases bulging with giveaways-trips that one Nicaraguan leader describes as effective only in "turning my people into beggars."
Veteran urban activist Robert Lupton reveals the shockingly toxic effects that modern charity has upon the very people meant to benefit from it. Toxic Charity provides proven new models for charitable groups who want to help—not sabotage—those whom they desire to serve. Lupton, the founder of FCS Urban Ministries (Focused Community Strategies) in Atlanta, the voice of the Urban Perspectives newsletter, and the author of Compassion, Justice and the Christian Life, has been at the forefront of urban ministry activism for forty years. Now, in the vein of Jeffrey Sachs’s The End of Poverty, Richard Stearns’s The Hole in Our Gospel, and Gregory Boyle’s Tattoos on the Heart, his groundbreaking Toxic Charity shows us how to start serving needy and impoverished members of our communities in a way that will lead to lasting, real-world change.
ROBERT D. LUPTON is founder and president of FCS (Focused Community Strategies) Urban Ministries and author of Toxic Charity; Theirs Is the Kingdom; Return Flight; Renewing the City; Compassion, Justice, and the Christian Life; and the widely circulated “Urban Perspectives” newsletter. He has a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Georgia.
To learn more, visit www.fcsministries.org.
“Lupton says hard things that need to be said, and he’s earned the right to say them. Believers would do well to receive his words with the mindset that ‘faithful are the wounds of a friend.’”
“[Lupton’s] new book, Toxic Charity, draws on his 40 years’ experience as an urban activist in Atlanta, and he argues that most charitable work is ineffective or actually harmful to those it is supposed to help.”
“Lupton’s work, his books and, most importantly, his life continue to guide and encourage me to live and serve in a way that honors God and my neighbor. I highly recommend Toxic Charity.”
“Lupton’s book reminds us that it is more blessed to give than to receive. He shows how the people called poor can be blessed by supporting opportunities for them to give their gifts, skills, knowledge and wisdom to creating the future.”
“A must-read book for those who give or help others.”
“In Toxic Charity, Lupton reminds us that being materialistically poor does not mean that there is no capacity, no voice, and no dignity within a person. If we truly love the poor, we will want to educate ourselves on how best to serve. Let our charity be transformative not toxic.”
“A superb book. Toxic Charity should serve as a guide and course correction for anyone involved in charitable endeavors at home or abroad.”
“Toxic Charity provides the needed counterbalance to a kind heart: a wise mind. Though I often thought, “Ouch!” while I was reading the book, Robert Lupton gave this pastor what I needed to become a more effective leader.”
“When Bob Lupton speaks of the inner city, the rest of us ought to sit up and take notice... [His work is] deeply distrurbing—in the best sense of the word.”
“Top 10 book of the year.”