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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Christian community should read this book, July 19, 2004
This review is from: The Greater Good: How Philanthropy Drives the American Economy and Can Save Capitalism (Hardcover)
"Most people think that Americans are generous because we are rich. The truth is that we are rich...because we are generous..." So writes Claire Gaudiani. Why should Christians read this book? We don't want to save "Capitalism," do we? Perhaps not, but we know we'd miss it, if it was destroyed. Yes, the Christian community ought to find time to read this wonderful book on the history of American Philanthropy and how it has, in the past, played a vital role in helping to maintain the uniqueness of the American experiment. More importantly, Gaudiani explains the perils of our current "giving habits," the cultural reasons for the trend, and solutions to restore the spirit of philanthropy. She writes, "As more of us are better able every year to satisfy our wants and needs, we are not sharing a larger percentage of our income and wealth. We are retaining it in savings or spending it on ourselves and our families. Yet some segments of the population...are experiencing reductions in their well-being, notably children." Christians for the most part should appreciate America's history of philanthropy, for much of it stems from either the Judeo-Christian worldview or simply from a genuine Christian faith that seeks to "give away what God has given to make other people's lives better." The Christian community should also find a welcome friend in her words: "Philanthropy has, in the past, been quicker than government to imagine, test, and implement innovative methods for solving social problems." Of all people and social groups, the Christian community should read this book, if for anything to learn to appreciate the history of Philanthropy. Giving and developing strategies for philanthropic adventures are more than mere altruism. After reading Gaudiani's book, I find that philanthropy of any kind (American or Christian charity) is the human experience where self-interest and compassion are not in conflict. It is in the best interest of Americans (dare I say Christians) to ensure that everyone has access to the American Dream--the dream of upward mobility. In the humble opinion of this reviewer, more Christian communities and churches should design their own philanthropic adventures and meet the social needs that are knocking on their church doors.
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Location: Bridgeport, CT

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