Item description for Just Generosity: A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America by Ronald J. Sider, Charles Colson & Eugene Rivers...
Overview Ron Sider calls Christians to examine their priorities and their pocketbooks in the face of the tendency to overlook those among us who suffer.
Publishers Description Just Generosity calls Christians to examine their priorities and their pocketbooks in the face of a scandalous tendency to overlook those among us who suffer while we live in practical opulence. This holistic approach to helping the poor goes far beyond donating clothes or money, envisioning a world in which faith-based groups work with businesses, the media, and the government to help end poverty in the world's richest nation. This updated edition includes current statistics, policy recommendations, and discussions covering everything from welfare reform, changes to Medicade, and the Social Security debate. "Sider's most important book since Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger."--Jim Wallis, author, God's Politics "Sider knows how to lift up people in need.... An] important and challenging book."--John Ashcroft, former Attorney General of the United States
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Studio: Baker Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6.1" Height: 0.86" Weight: 1.25 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2007
Publisher Baker Publishing Group
ISBN 0801066131 ISBN13 9780801066139
Availability 0 units.
More About Ronald J. Sider, Charles Colson & Eugene Rivers
Ronald J. Sider (PhD, Yale University) is the founder and president emeritus of Evangelicals for Social Action and professor of theology, holistic ministry, and public policy at Palmer Theological Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. He is the author of many books, including the bestselling Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience.
Ronald J. Sider currently resides in Philadelphia, in the state of Pennsylvania.
Reviews - What do customers think about Just Generosity: A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America?
Christians should read this Apr 3, 2001
I agree with the review by Jean-Luc for the most part, but I also wanted to add a few of my own thoughts.
As Sider says early in the book, he's not a policy wonk, so that is his weakest point. Trust him on that one. As a more policy oriented person, I agree that some of those things would be great, if implemented, but that's the hard part of all policy - getting it passed and implemented. Some of his suggestions are not politically feasible (yet).
Some of his other policy ideas are, IMHO, just questionable. Not just politically difficult, but I'm not convinced that all the ideas are that great.
His Biblical framework is wonderful. I enjoyed reading his perspective on that, as he exegetes quite well. I also was biased to begin with, in that I had already done some thinking on my own about this issue, and was finding myself just saying "Wow, that's kinda what I was thinking."
yeah. so good book. read it. don't take the policy stuff to seriously. but take the Biblical stuff seriously. He does a good job there. and the principles of the more holistic view of things, too. Those are good.
"Beyond Charity - A Critique of Sider's 'Just Generosity'" May 1, 2000
At the end of the introduction to his new book "JustGenerosity", Sider sets forth the agenda of this book. He writes: "This book seeks to define the problem, sketch a biblical framework, outline a comprehensive holistic vision and then develop ...................." (p. 23) Accordingly, I will structure my critique and reflection of his book in reference to this phrase.
Definition of the Problem: Who the poor are is well described by Sider, including age groups, family-types, education-level of poor and the relation between poverty and race. He sketches well the major factors that cause poverty. I fully agree with him, that structural reasons, as well as behavioral ones, as well as sudden catastrophes all contribute to widespread poverty. Even though structural reasons play a major influence in facilitating wrong moral choices, the latter should yet be ascertained as a cause for poverty. All negation of this point of view tends to take away responsibility from poor people and thus disqualifies them as whole persons. I also appreciated Sider's good assessment that it is basically the wealthy who contribute to political campaigns, which as a result brings people into positions who represent the interests of those few wealthy, rather than the masses'.
Biblical Framework: I fully agree with Sider's analysis and presentation of the biblical material and believe it is compelling in its call to do justice. Love without justice is simply unbiblical, because the Bible is clear that those who follow God are called to live justly and love mercy.
Comprehensive holistic vision: Sider is consistent with the biblical material and with sociology when he brings the role of civic society into the discussion. It confirms the "biblical anthropology" that humans are not mere autonomous individuals, but are interrelated beings. In the same way it acknowledges a holistic view of people, who are neither solely directed by bureaucratic decisions, nor by individual moral choices. Hence, civic society plays a detrimental role in solving the pressing problems, because it is in civic society that people learn the values that make this very society function in a healthy way. Inner moral and spiritual renewal cannot be mandated but is nevertheless crucial if family renewal, for instance, is to come about. Sider displays a balanced view with regards to the role of government and civic institutions and their interaction as well as contribution to each other, which I deem to be the only way in which long-term solutions can be reached. However, Sider presents too few concrete examples of realistic ways, in which civic societies (like inner city churches) can be strengthened, who in turn would raise local leadership and thus strengthen the political power of the poor from within.
Social Analysis: His explanation for the low work-effort of poor people, for instance, as well as his interpretation of how the inability of low-skilled men to earn enough to support a family, feeds into the disintegration of the family as an institution, are convincing. Moreover, he makes clear how family unfriendly government policy (tax-exemptions, etc...) encourages single-parent families. Sider's analysis with respect to the educational system is also compelling. He argues that a good educational system is absolutely necessary in the fight against poverty. In fact, high school dropouts produce high costs in the long run, which, in any case are carried by the taxpayer. Additionally he builds a strong case for the necessity of healthy two-parent families. Most of his bias toward this form of family-life derives, as he says, from Judeo-Christian roots, as well as the statistics who demonstrate, that children from two-parent families are less likely to experience poverty.
Concrete Agenda: In most of the chapters 4-8 Sider develops quite concrete and seemingly good proposals, which could help alleviate poverty. Even though I won't go into details at this point, this is the bulk of the book that needs to be discussed in student circles, among policymakers, in civic societies etc... Yet, throughout Sider's social analysis and enlisting of concrete ideas for implementation, one great question remains: How can partnerships between governmental and faith based programs be established? How could more clergy-government coalitions come to life? How are inner city churches helped to seek the holistic wellbeing of their neighbors, if they themselves lack personnel resources and struggle hard to survive? Sider offers little concrete steps in this respect. He gives some examples, but these seem to be the exception.
Sider makes clear that the political as well as the theological climate has changed, which makes it more favorable for Christians today to getting involved to fighting poverty. And this they must, if they call themselves followers of Jesus Christ. Overall I believe the book has the potential to reach a great number of people, because it presents, deals well with and offers, to some degree at least, practicable solutions to a highly problematic theme of our time. Will it accomplish what Sider has in mind, namely reaching millions of Christians, who in response, will get practically involved in addressing the issues at hand? We hope. We pray.