This book has a great deal of wisdom about charity and community development in the life of a Christian. Much of it is composed of things I already knThis book has a great deal of wisdom about charity and community development in the life of a Christian. Much of it is composed of things I already knew from much more tedious reading or life experience but these insights are packaged winsomely and easily understood and digested by a broad audience. The chapters are short, the book is thin, and you will not come across many things so profitable that are its equal in ease....more
This is a thought provoking and insightful look at reaching out through word and deed. However, it was written almost 30 years ago, and much of the daThis is a thought provoking and insightful look at reaching out through word and deed. However, it was written almost 30 years ago, and much of the data and examples are very dated. I'd hesitate to recommend it to someone who didn't have a solid understanding about how evangelicalism and the world have changed in that time period....more
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman is simply an excellent read. Fadiman skillfully describes the collision of two worlds, westerThe Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman is simply an excellent read. Fadiman skillfully describes the collision of two worlds, western medicine and traditional Hmong culture, by using the case of one little girl as a springboard to explain the historical, cultural and spiritual background of this collision. As these two cultures had to coexist for optimal treatment, the reader is shown honestly and sympathetically how difficult that coexistence can be to develop and maintain.
For me, the book’s greatest merit is how Fadiman weaves the historical, sociological and anthropological background into Lia’s story so well that it reads almost like a novel. It’s informative, but also powerful, personal and thought-provoking. As a westerner, Fadiman is sympathetic to the doctors, their training and their perspective, but at the same time, she isn’t afraid to criticize them or the Western medical system. This book was highly recommended to me (thanks Charlene!) and I would pass it along with the same high recommendation. Even if learning about the Hmong isn’t high on your list of intellectual pursuits, I found a lot of the same observations and lessons about medical care were applicable to families who prefer alternative and natural treatments, a growing population. It’s truly a must read if you are in any medical field, and a good read no matter who you are. (10/10.) ...more
I suppose this book is helpful to people who are genuinely at a loss to understand poverty at all. It would be infinitely better if there were more coI suppose this book is helpful to people who are genuinely at a loss to understand poverty at all. It would be infinitely better if there were more concrete ideas and strategies and far less generalizing. ...more
In a world with great poverty and despair, what does God expect of his people? If our neighbors are people of relative affluence, what concern shouldIn a world with great poverty and despair, what does God expect of his people? If our neighbors are people of relative affluence, what concern should we have for the poor? Grappling with these questions and others, Richard Stearns, president of World Vision US, writes an engaging and informative treatise to all Christians to life out the gospel with word and deed in the context of the world's poor.
Weaving in his own personal testimony, Stearns considers the problem of poverty from various perspectives. As he explains how he left his position as the CEO of a large corporation to begin a new work he felt unequipped for in the private sector, he is also expounding on the Bible's call to love the poor and needy. Describing his first visits to the third world, he embodies the statistics about poverty that he is also providing.
In an age where our influence can spread beyond a few square miles of our homes, Stearns lays out for readers how they can help to serve the suffering and why they ought to. I found the book compelling and thought provoking, but also winsome and easy to read. This book is one that I'd commend to any Christian, but in particular those who feel ill-equipped in their call towards mercy and justice. (9/10)
**I received this book from the publisher to review. My opinion I've expressed is my own.**...more
When Helping Hurts is a helpful and necessary book that I'd recommend to others interested in the best practices of mercy ministry and community develWhen Helping Hurts is a helpful and necessary book that I'd recommend to others interested in the best practices of mercy ministry and community development from a Christian perspective. Coming out of a reformed worldview of creation, fall, and redemption, the authors see the purpose of mercy ministries as restoring people to right relationships with God, one another, creation and having a healthy and biblical view of themselves. They have many years of experience and research to share and great examples of applications both in the US and abroad.
The basic theology of ministry and paradigm shift for readers from relief to development and also how to evaluate short term mission work, are worth re-reading regularly. I took the Chalmers Center's Foundations & Principles of Holistic Ministry distance class a few years ago, so much of the groundwork was familiar to me, but I still appreciate having it all together in one succinct package.
A few things perplex me. Though the authors mention that we should not be paternalistic and that we all have poverty in our lives and relationships even if we are not materially-poor, this wasn't as well fleshed out as I would have liked, especially in the examples. I think people are at a loss as to how to have equity in relationships with the materially poor and this book won't help much.
The tone is very instructional, almost to the point of being condescending. Though I do see many doing ministry in ways that hurt the poor and themselves, I also see the way God uses those who act out of compassion, even when their efforts aren't always perfect. I wanted to tell Brian, "stop beating yourself up!" Best practices are excellent to strive for, but I have felt paralyzed by the thought, "am I doing this right?" Readers need to be told that the mandate to care for the poor is worth putting yourself out there and making mistakes. ...more
If you are not familiar with Bryan Stevenson and his work at the Equal Justice Initiative, please watch his TED talk, it's worth the time. https://wwwIf you are not familiar with Bryan Stevenson and his work at the Equal Justice Initiative, please watch his TED talk, it's worth the time. https://www.ted.com/talks/bryan_steve...
This memoir of Stevenson's work for equal access to justice for the poor, the mentally disabled, and other vulnerable people is a must-read for those concerned about the mass incarceration problem in the United States and for Christians committed to justice. It is a compelling, interesting account that I could not put down until I finished. Stevenson is fighting the brokenness in the world, kicking back at darkness, and I am deeply grateful....more