Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Toxic Charity (Robert D. Lupton) might challenge your world of intended generosity.  Lupton is surely not anti-generosity.  Neither is he even hinting at tight-wad-ism. 

Quite the opposite.  His desire is we become more efficient and effective in our caring for those who need assistance.

He ponders our repeated free handouts; Is the need crisis or chronic?  Anyone who has served among the poor for any length of time will recognize the following progression:
  • give once and you elicit appreciation;
  • give twice and create anticipation;
  • give three times and you create expectation;
  • give four times and it becomes entitlement;
  • give five times and you establish dependency.
I must point out that Mr. Lupton is not a grump trying to stifle kindness toward the poor.  He is pleading with us to awaken to the damage we are ignorantly creating by failing to evaluate a deeper need among those we wish to cheer; their personal need for self-respect.

I'm impressed with his courage as well as his solutions.  Philip Yancey says it well when he reviews this book, When Bob Lupton speaks of the inner city, the rest of us ought to sit up and take notice...(His work is) deeply disturbing--in the best sense of the word.

As the church becomes increasingly serious and helpful within our needy communities, I believe this book will prove to be a valuable tutor for those of us who have the will yet lack the experience.


TerryC said...

This looks like a really useful and important read. I've already downloaded it for my e-reader ($10.99 on Kindle, $13.10 for hardback on Amazon).

Benevolence seems more of a struggle for churches than it should be. We seem to get caught between trying to care like Jesus would and being good stewards. Oh, and we want to bring them to Christ, too. I recall once organizing a food giveaway at my church and feeling good about how much we gave out, but later scolding myself for not offering to pray with a. lady who came in needing food but was also facing surgery in the coming week. We can't forget the power of prayer. This summer my wife and I had opportunity to serve residents in Colorado Springs after the devasting wildfires. A lady came to where we were preparing to hand out meals asking if we knew of where she could get help going through the rubble of her burned home. She had lost everything, not even having an opportunity to get. back to her home before mandatory evacuation to collect at least a few precious mementos. We had nothing to offer her at the time other than to take her name and promise to contact her when that type of help arrived. We could, though, listen to her story and pray with her. It was healing and helpful for us all. Jesus was there that day.

DarrelM said...

I just purchased this book and having finished the first chapter, this is spot on target folks.

We need to put aside our defensive attitude and seriously consider the questions raised in here.

Thanks Terry for introducing this book.