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Wasted Charity: Why the 'compassion industry' is not helping the poor. A review of 'Toxic Charity' by Christianity Today

An encouraging conversation that continues to emerge is "How do we make the maximum impact with our charity?"

Its interesting to see more groups point to how prolonged (or poorly planned) relief efforts can drag on and eventually create crippling dependency. There's obvious times Charity is desperately needed. But charity can do more harm than good if not part of a comprehensive plan.

I'm incredibly encouraged to see things like Acton's "PovertyCure" initiative talk about taking people "from aid to enterprise". Their passion to inspire economic development as a tool for sustainable transformation is incredibly encouraging.

Another eye opening book on this issue recently was release by Robert Lupton. As a 40 year veteran he speaks to the dangers, the risks and opportunities to change how we perceive transformation in
Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It). Click on the links to read Christianity Today's recent review.  


"Robert Lupton's new book is going to ruffle some feathers.
In Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It) (HarperOne), the 40-year veteran urban minister "takes the gloves off" and argues that much of Americans' charitable giving "is either wasted or actually harms the people it is targeted to help."

The reason is that the "compassion industry" is "almost universally accepted as a virtuous and constructive enterprise," but its "outcomes are almost entirely unexamined." Years of charitable giving at home and abroad, Lupton contends, have made barely a dent in reducing poverty and often encourage dependency. Toxic Charity offers some statistics, but more stories, as evidence that both our philosophy and practice of charity are frequently misguided.

The news here is painful. Our self-centeredness contributes to the problem. We evaluate our giving, Lupton argues, "by the rewards we receive through service, rather than the benefits received by the served." ... Read the full review.

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posted by Justin Forman | 12.14.2011 - 5:55 AM

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