P is for Poor

Posted: October 11, 2007 in books, change, emerging church, missional, poverty

One of my favorite authors and thinkers, Brian McLaren has a new book out this month entitled, Everything Must Change. Of course, I ran out and bought it though I’m 6,000 feet deep in reading. I had dinner with Brian last year as he was working on the book. The working title was “Jesus and the Suicide Machine.” They changed it. But, honestly, can you think of a book title more provocative than “Everything Must Change”?

Anyhoo, I’ll be slowly making my way through the book and from time to time share some thoughts I find particular useful and/or provocative. Here’s one from chapter 2.

“… I also knew that most churchgoers, including myself, either didn’t share that concern for the poor or didn’t know how to turn concern and good intentions into constructive action. Even though we believed that the poor should be helped–that poverty should be fought–we didn’t know how. We had heard liberal and conservative arguments blaming poverty on everything from capitalism to communism, from corruption to bad trade policies, and from debt, to selfishness or immorality of the poor, government regulation of business, and badly administered charity. We seemed polarized by our idealogical diagnosis of the causes and cures of poverty, and even worse we were paralyzed by our polarization, and so the poor continued to suffer–trapped by their poverty and our polarizing, paralyzing arguments about poverty.”

  1. cpm98f says:

    i’ve got about 60 pages left…convicting. Here is my question for you – how do we teach this stuff to our youth – when their parents (and most in our churches) have a blind capitulation to consumer capitalism, among other destructive systemic “narratives”?

  2. Sean says:


    I’m trying to integrate all this into my own life first. Though this next Sunday our church begins the H2O Project, wherein you give up all drinks but water for 2 weeks and then give the money to Living Water International. They build wells. I think you have to introduce these issues slowly. They seem overwhelming at first — very overwhelming in fact.

    My wife is reading through Will and Lisa Sampson’s book. “Justice in the Burbs.” I feel like we’re barely getting our feet wet and it has already been a hard journey.

    Blessings…by the way, I met your parents at Lectureship. Good folks!

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