- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Moody Publishers; Assumed First edition (March 5, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802401589
- ISBN-13: 978-0802401588
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Becoming Whole: Why the Opposite of Poverty Isn't the American Dream Paperback – March 5, 2019
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From the Publisher
Read When Helping Hurts if:
- You want to help the poor but aren't sure how
- You're doing poverty alleviation as part of a long-term or short-term missions program
- You want a more relational approach to poverty alleviation
When Helping Hurts
A Field Guide to Becoming Whole
Praise for Becoming Whole
Becoming Whole is a hard-hitting, transparent read that will force you to think and act differently as you are confronted with poverty at home and abroad. It will help you understand the root of poverty, whether the unhappiness of the affluent West or the material poverty in the global South. This book will introduce you to an alternative universe, one in which human flourishing, born inside of man through a change in the heart and mind, bears external fruit in the present reality of the coming of the City of God. Metaphysical capital is more important than physical capital in the path to human flourishing.
Author of Discipling Nations
Cofounder of Disciple Nations Alliance
In Becoming Whole, Fikkert and Kapic build upon the watershed legacy of When Helping Hurts by challenging latent assumptions and awakening essential truth. Becoming Whole is a torch of wisdom to lift high, a beacon to help us to exemplify God’s love in cultures across the world and also our own backyards. Read at your own risk, however: these words will transform!
Coauthor of Seeking Refuge
Former President and CEO of World Relief
Thanks to the principles of love and leadership as articulated in this book, as well as in the related work, When Helping Hurts, the church I serve has been able to come alongside disadvantaged, vulnerable, oppressed, and marginalized communities in more informed, life-giving, and sustainable ways. Backed with sound biblical theology and practical guidance and stories, Becoming Whole is a must for any Christian community aiming to make a difference. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
Senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee
Author of Befriend and Irresistible Faith.
The kingdom of God is about life as God intends. In Becoming Whole, Brian Fikkert and Kelly Kapic help us understand the robust narrative that the kingdom creates and supports. Unfortunately, we have settled for puny competing storylines that make people poor—in every way. The Spirit is shouting to the Western church to abandon the worldviews and idols that are keeping us from becoming whole. This book serves as a gracious but prophetic invitation to partner with God in his mission to enable us to become fully human.
Author of Kingdom Come and Kingdom Collaborators
Becoming Whole is about the rest of the story, our story and how having it right can help in dealing with poverty and the real needs of people. It examines cultures and religions, even religions that claim they have nothing to do with religion. It is revealing and will cause people to reflect in fresh ways on how they see the world and our role in it.
Darrell L. Bock
Executive Director for Cultural Engagement, Howard G. Hendricks Center for Christian Leadership and Cultural Engagement; Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
The big story (or the metanarrative) that one lives by is not benign; rather, it really, really matters. Our brothers Fikkert and Kapic show us how to identify and jettison false metanarratives, like the American Dream, expressive individualism, and consumerism; so that, we can wisely appropriate and live by the True Big Story found in Scripture for the sake of escorting the poor from their impoverishment to a flourishing position, for the sake of our flourishing and personal wholeness, and for the sake of the flourishing of our communities and cities.
Director of Curriculum and Resources, Made to Flourish
Why aren’t Christians making more progress at becoming whole? The economic systems that shape our daily lives have been warped to keep us broken, so the world can exploit our brokenness. No one has done more to open our eyes to this, and show us what we can do about it, than Brian Fikkert. This book is a perfect way to start—or continue—the eye-opening process that we all so desperately need if we want to become whole.
Gregory L. Forster
Director of the Oikonomia Network, Trinity International University
This is a book about transformation. I’m grateful that it’s not just about how American Christians can help transform the poor, although that is a worthy topic. No, as surrendered people, we need to constantly yield to the Holy Spirit for our own transformation—to become more and more like Jesus Christ. And we are not truly whole until we give and serve and love like Jesus. There is no more urgent, inspiring, and satisfying mission than bringing God’s vision of fullness of life to the ends of the earth. Thank you, Brian Fikkert and Kelly Kapic, for this helpful resource for our journey!
Edgar Sandoval Sr.
President, World Vision U.S.
Those of us who have tasted the American Dream know that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. And when you understand what’s happening in the rest of the world, you realize that pursuing it keeps you on the sidelines of God’s great mission. You miss the most exciting adventure there is in life: demonstrating the love of Christ to the “least of these” in ways that draw people to the cross of Christ. Becoming Whole is a remarkable sequel to When Helping Hurts, and it should be required reading for ministry workers, church leaders, donors, laypeople—everyone responding to God’s call to change the world.
President Emeritus, World Vision U.S.
Author of The Hole in Our Gospel and Unfinished
Becoming Whole challenges the basis for our best intentions toward the poor, which are often consciously or subconsciously founded on American materialism rather than a holistic Christian view of transformation. Although it is a fitting prequel and sequel to When Helping Hurts, it is more than this. It lays an engaging, yet theologically comprehensive guide to the foundations of human flourishing.
Professor of Economics, University of San Francisco
Distinguished Research Affiliate, University of Notre Dame
From the Back Cover
What if we’re spreading our own brokenness to the very people we want to help?
Before we try to make Uganda into the U.S. or inner cities into affluent suburbs, we have to consider what might be wrong with our own lives. Sure, our pursuit of the American Dream has made us wealthier than ever before, but at what cost? Families and communities are increasingly fragmented, loneliness is skyrocketing, physical and mental health are suffering, and overall happiness is on the decline.
What if we’ve had it wrong this whole time?
Brian Fikkert (coauthor of When Helping Hurts) and Kelly M. Kapic look at the true sources of brokenness and poverty and uncover the surprising pathways to human flourishing for poor and non-poor alike. Exposing the misconceptions of both Western Civilization and the Western church about the nature of God, human beings, and the world, they fundamentally reframe success and the path forward—reshaping our lives and our poverty alleviation ministries in a way that moves us all toward becoming whole.
24 customer reviews
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The theme of this book may be exemplified by a quote from its conclusion. "We are called and empowered to join with ...[the poor] in living into this new world--preaching the Word and digging wells, starting schools and administering the sacraments, offering prayers and dispensing penicillin, fellowshipping with Christ's body and financing micro enterprises. Because the goal isn't to live the American Dream now and get our souls to heaven later. The goal is to become whole."
I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn more about effective poverty alleviation programs.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley.
Fikkert and Kapic point out that at "the heart of poverty alleviation is change" (17). And that, in a nutshell, is what the book is all about; "helping us to change the story of our lives in general and of our poverty alleviation efforts in particular" (35). The authors show how there are competing narratives clamoring for our veneration, such as the American Dream, and the Christian readers need to be reclaimed by the truer tale of who God is, who humankind is, and how we are made to flourish through properly order and restored relationships: with God, ourselves, one another and creation Humans "are necessarily relational creatures; love must be expressed toward someone or something. As creatures who reflect the triune God, human beings are hardwired for relationship. We are made to be lovers" (46). The book as a whole revolves around this theme, showing how we have failed at times by listening to different stories - to the wrong stories, like Evangelical Gnosticism, etc. - and how we can succeed.
Further, Fikkert and Kapic point out with great and necessary regularity, "Human beings are transformed into the image of whatever god they worship, so that the core of effective poverty alleviation is worship of the one true God" (191). Therefore, the way people can come to encounter genuine flourishing is "when they serve as priest-kings, using their mind, affections, will, and body to enjoy loving relationships with God, self, others, and the rest of creation" (247). I found myself thrilled at the authors' anti-Gnostic approach to poverty alleviation. I was also deeply challenged about the approach I have taken to this subject in the past.
"Becoming Whole" is an essential book for deciphering better ways to help those in need without furthering their self-harm and idolatry. This is not a "how-to" manual but more of a "way-to" resource. It is a encouraging, informative guide for improvisation in messy situations. Church deacons and elders should make this book a must, and work through the chapters and discussion questions together. Pastors and ministry leaders ought to have a copy and plow through it with pen and highlighter in hand. I highly recommend the book.
My thanks to the authors and Moody Publishers for kindly supplying, at my request, a copy of this book used for this review. They asked nothing more of me than that I give a written evaluation. Therefore, all remarks made in this assessment are freely made and freely given.
If we don’t understand, or find it hard to relate, judgement is not far behind and we end up doing the last thing we wanted. Instead of finding compassion and love, we find contempt and resentment.
This is a great read for community leaders, preachers, and anyone who works with society.