Giving Wisely?

Afghan women
I'm reading a new book that is challenging my thinking on a lot of fronts. Giving Wisely: Killing with Kindness or Empowering Lasting Transformation?, by Jonathan Martin, is one I would pick up if you can.

I bought it at the National Pastor's Convention, and had misplaced it until a few days ago. I'm still chugging away on my DMin Project Thesis (on the spiritual formation of generosity) and thus am obligated to read almost everything coming out on the subject of giving. I enjoy reading about it, and enjoy the various perspectives I've read over the years. This is a fresh one. At times, I find myself getting a bit bothered, and at other times I find myself thinking, "I've always thought that, too."

The book is really designed to challenge the creation of dependency that American philanthropy often produces. Martin really believes that much of our common giving "wreaks havoc and hurts people." He's after giving in ways that are wise, lead to self-sustenance, and doesn't further or create begging cultures or corruption. So far, he argues quite convincingly that we need to rethink how we help places like Africa and poorer Asian countries. It isn't at all a "God helps those who help themselves" treatise. It's much more of a "let's be aware of how what we're doing actually impacts people that we are trying to help." 

Here's a question: when you look at the typical benevolence or missions programs in churches, are there some ways in which we sometimes do as much harm as good?

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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3 thoughts on “Giving Wisely?

  1. You might also check out, When Charity Destroys Dignity: Overcoming Unhealthy Dependency in the Christian Movement, by Glenn Schwartz OR Compassion, Justice and the Christian Life: Rethinking Ministry to the Poor by Robert Lupton. Schwartz, and a host of other scholars, addresses, in particular, the short-term missions strategy that does so much damage to indigenous missions. After all these years of doing it poorly, it would be worthwhile to change and do it right…if we have the courage to change.

  2. sounds like a very good read!I’ll probably have to pick it up.
    Can you post a short list of other “must reads” from your DMin research?