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Charity Detox: What Charity Would Look Like If We Cared About Results Paperback – July 5, 2016
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“Lupton is one of the sharpest, freshest, sassiest community developers out there. He is helping us all become wiser so that we don’t settle for charity when we could have justice.” (Shane Claiborne, author of Irresistible Revolution)
“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.” (Philip Yancey, author of What Good Is God?)
“Throughout reading Charity Detox the lyrics “How can it be wrong when it feels so right?” were buzzing in my head. That is the tension Lupton describes so deftly with practical illustrations of how we can change the dependency creating relationships formed by well-intentioned servers.” (Fred Smith, The Gathering)
“His enthusiasm for this method is evident throughout the text and brings hope to readers that if more organizations adopted these practices, there really could be a better future ahead for all of us, not just the poor.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“In Toxic Charity, Bob identified a weakness with charity as a tool for poverty reduction. In Charity Detox, Bob addresses the more complicated question of what might work better. Bob reaches the conclusion that wealth creation must replace wealth redistribution if poverty reduction is the goal.” (John Coors, Former CEO of CoorsTek)
“[Charity] efforts, while necessary in a crisis, do little to improve people’s socioeconomic status. Lupton uses this well-worn critique of churches’ charitable activities as a springboard for positive action… all readers will find in this book a useful way to reexamine outreach programs.” (James Wetherbee, Wingate Univ. Libs., NC)
“Lupton uses [his] critique of churches’ charitable activities as a springboard for positive action…the author advocates that churches need to be more involved in communities by living and investing in them… all readers will find in this book a useful way to reexamine outreach programs.” (Library Journal)
“Lupton continues his mission to transform the way charities operate. Most efforts to help relieve poverty are ineffective, he says...The road to charity hell has been paved with good intentions, but Lupton provides an inspiring roadmap for an alternate route.” (Spirituality and Health magazine)
“Lupton weighs the future of effective efforts to reduce poverty . . . confronting popular practices and assumptions. . . . Inspiring.” (U.S. Catholic)
“Lupton offers a roadmap for turning short-lived good intentions into lasting transformation [and shares] his vision for a new way of doing missions.” (Christianity Today)
From the Back Cover
Charity Has Failed. Let’s Reinvent It.
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Robert Lupton, a Presbyterian, believes that a chief part of the Church’s mission in the world is to relieve and reverse world poverty. I reject this remise as unbiblical. At the same time, we know that helping the poor is to be a norm of our Christian existence as God gives opportunity.
The author is also a revolutionary who champions radical reform in the world of charity and the aid industry. Lupton sees the vast majority of aid work in the world as unprofitable, even destructive, both materially and spiritually, to its recipients. To this my experience heartily agrees.
While criticism of the status quo is a point of this volume, it is not the main point. He has made that point elsewhere (Toxic Charity). This book is more about how to help the poor in ways that lead to genuine economic long-term benefit. In short, his book is a call to Christian businessmen to go into the world and use their business acumen to help the poor by creating jobs and teaching job skills. This, Lupton says, is what really works.
I found it very helpful to think through what the author is saying. It helps our family think through how to best help others who are in need.
Here are some quotes from the book that give a taste of what he communicates:
“Giving to people in need what they could be gaining from their own initiative may well be the kindest way to destroy them.”
“The fact is, we cannot serve others out of poverty, no matter how much we may want to. That is a core concept of both my mission and this book. And the reason I am so passionate about broadcasting this bad news about the status quo is that I care deeply about charity’s goals and results: I want to move people out of poverty. That is my life’s work.”
“The only effective charity is the kind that asks more from those being served, rather than less. Asking for more sends an affirming message to the recipient that he or she also has something of value to offer.”
“IS HURTFUL CHARITY BETTER than no charity at all? The answer is no.”
“One of the most significant, rational decisions that determine the outcome of our charity is distinguishing between crisis and chronic need. An emergency response to chronic need is at best counterproductive and, over time, is actually harmful.”
“The Creator has entrusted to all of us certain abilities that, when rightly employed, align us with our created purpose. That’s how we gain our lives. It is not unloving to expect people to do their part. Just the opposite. It is cruel to send the message that a person has nothing of worth to offer. Being needed is the ultimate affirmation of human worth. The compassionate volunteers of “compassion central,” in their zeal to help, have tragically missed this fundamental truth.”
“The only thing that will enable the poor to emerge from poverty is a decent job. And the primary creators of decent jobs are business people who believe deeply in the free - enterprise system.”
“The reality is that without for - profit, wealth - generating businesses, the poor will remain at a subsistence level, scratching out an existence, their hopes and dreams shackled to the daily pressures of survival.”
“We could offer to the poor our most valued talent: business acumen. Making money with the poor, after all, is the highest form of charity.”
“Only living - wage jobs can move the poverty needle — jobs that local residents create through their own hard work and ingenuity, and jobs produced by for - profit businesses created by outside investors and operators.”
He calls for an little introduction of capitalism to fix the problem. He lays out an argument in why and how that should be accomplished. That for sure alone would cause intense discussions by many. Then he dives even deeper. He reinvents the principle of example. People need to move back into the war zone which as become the inner city of so many of our cities. This power of getting involved in those communities first by living there then getting involved would change things. I personally am not so sure about that but it is an interesting thought.
The book has a lot of fascinating ideas. The author does lay it out in easy to understand terms. The book is very simple to go through. However there is a lack of empirical research to illustrate and prove his points.
of this book to hand out to new recruits in my non profit. Can’t afford it yet but I still refer them to this book.