New ideas and approaches toward charity.
Charity is often carried out with a compassionate intent and the belief it will lift people out of poverty. Yet, after decades of working with the poor, charities, and ministries, Lupton (Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help, and How to Reverse It, 2012 etc.) writes, “I have witnessed firsthand how food, clothing, and money given to assist those in need more often than not produce unhealthy dependency and end up harming those the donation was intended to help.” His ideas regarding charity turn the concept upside down, as he suggests that more should be expected of the poor so that they wind up helping themselves rather than waiting impatiently for the next handout. In times of extreme crisis—e.g., emergency situations such as earthquakes or tsunamis, Lupton readily agrees that aid is necessary and should arrive rapidly. However, once the initial crisis has passed, the drive should be to rebuild self-esteem by asking those in need to contribute to their own advancement. Using numerous examples, particularly of Christian ministries, Lupton shows how many charity-based organizations have taken his ideas and restructured their methods so that people learn to care for themselves. He bases his ideas on the solid belief that to end poverty, one must be able to work: “the most effective method of poverty alleviation is economic development. Jobs…are the key.” Lupton shows how this can be accomplished in a variety of scenarios. 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.
Radical new methods that could take charity to a new, more effective level.