Friday, October 14, 2011

Ending Extreme Poverty


The author, a senior ministry advisor for Compassion International, brings about a compelling and motivational case to end poverty. He believes that one of the main hurdles to get over in eradicating poverty is our low expectations. The point here is that we don’t think we can get rid of poverty it will always be with us, as seen and interpreted when Jesus told the disciples, “the poor you will always have with you.” The author brings out the argument that what Jesus was talking about and to were the disciples. The poor would always be with them, but not necessarily have to be with civilization forever.
He gives some statistics that show that extreme poverty is already being broken.

• In the past 8 yrs., the number of kids dying from measles has declined by 78 percent
• Twenty two countries have cut their malaria rate in half in only 6 years
• The number of children dying each day from preventable causes has dropped from 40,000 per day to 21,000
• In 1981 52% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. Today that number is 26%

As I read those statistics I could not help but think how those who feel that Jesus return is near, because everything is so bad, would respond. I suppose it would make you review your ‘last days’ theology. The author feels that for the first time in human history, we have the realistic possibility of ending extreme global poverty.

The author does not make a dichotomy between poverty work and evangelism. He says, “we don’t do anti-poverty work and share the gospel. Sharing the gospel is anti-poverty work.” He goes on to say that the most powerful ant-poverty strategy is the good news of Jesus Christ both proclaimed and demonstrated.

From a practical standpoint the author says that the best way to end poverty is by a combination of the 3 major sectors of society: government, business and the church/non-profit. Then he gives a chapter on each section to explain what he means. He closes the book out by showing the statistics of how little we as the church give financially ( 97.1% of the churches income from donations etc. is spent on themselves and that 96% goes toward buildings, carpet, staff etc)

This is one of many books written about poverty and its eradication that have come out in the last few years. If you have not read any this would be a good primer. It is easy reading, less than 200 pages and a good place to begin to motivate us to do our part to end extreme poverty

1 comment:

4granted said...

I also enjoyed this book--very inspiring and practical. I highly recommend it. While poverty and its causes are complex and multi-faceted, Fast Living helped simplify and clarify the issues for me. We can change the world, simply by choosing to obey God's call to fast and pray (as described in Isaiah 58). You mentioned the author's interpretation of "the poor you will always have" which I found very interesting. I wrote an article inspired by several books, including this one, that goes into more depth on that passage. You can use it on your blog or newsletter: