From Publishers Weekly
This is not a book for the casual reader. Barker (Surrender All
), founder of a missionary order working among the poor, asks the question: how should Christians respond to poverty? And the compelling answers he extracts from often-ignored passages in the Bible—both Old and New Testaments—will push most readers out of their comfort zones. It is certainly a punch in the gut to prosperity gospel, which purports that Gods design includes personal riches. As the author writes: This book is aimed particularly at those who have a sneaking suspicion that the Christian faith is more than a cultural ornament, that it is a call to follow Jesus as he stands in solidarity with the poor. Barker is not a great writer and some of his fictional parables fall flat, but his stories of life in the slums of Bangkok, where he and his family have chosen to live, have considerable moral authority, as do his wonderful exegeses of Moses being called to stand with his people and the rich young man confronting Christ. Designed as a study guide with thoughtful exercises and a foreword by activist Shane Claiborne, it is an excellent tool for small groups of Christians ready to take their religious practice to the next level. (Feb.)
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From the Back Cover
God is concerned about poverty. Are you?
In a world of plenty, poverty abounds. But poverty is not new. And neither is God's deep concern for the poor; it is a theme deeply woven throughout the pages of Scripture. Yet, sadly, churches and individual Christians have too often been blind to this biblical emphasis, or they have been paralyzed into inaction by feelings of helplessness. It's time for this to change.
In this urgent, provocative book, Ash Barker offers both challenge and hope. Working his way through both testaments, Barker reflects on significant passages related to God's concern for the poor. These studies are interlaced with personal reflections--firsthand accounts from fifteen years of ministry among the poor. Whether you read this book alone or with your small group, you'll be challenged to make poverty personal.
"Ash Barker and the UNOH revolution invite us to hear, smell, and touch Jesus in his most distressing disguises, in the slums, with the poor, in the most abandoned places of empire in which we find ourselves."--Shane Claiborne, The Simple Way, Philadelphia
"A harrowing, deeply personal manifesto on our responsibility to the poor. Humane, grace-filled, and literally reverberating with prophetic vigor, Make Poverty Personal
deserves to be read by a wide and grateful audience."--Alan Hirsch, author of The Forgotten Ways
"An invitation to unlearn so much of conventional church faith and to learn afresh about God's good news for the world. There is a clarity that will let many readers come to grips, perhaps for the first time, with the revolutionary, subversive intention of the Bible."--Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
Ash Barker has served the poor for nearly twenty years. He is the founding director of Urban Neighbours of Hope (UNOH), a missionary order founded in Melbourne, Australia, in 1993 to work among the poor. Since 2002, Ash and his family have been involved with planting UNOH's first overseas community in Klong Toey, the largest slum in Bangkok, Thailand.