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Books to campaign by (not Bono's how-tos)

"Books to campaign by (not Bono's how-tos)" Continued...

Issue: "Africa, Inc.," Oct. 10, 2009

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself - by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert

Governments aren't the only ones to blame for misguided charity. Corbett and Fikkert remind the local evangelical church that when it sweeps into poor communities with deep pockets and good intentions, it can crush the dignity of the receiver, give the giver a "god-complex," and provide relief that only stops the bleeding instead of heals the broken relationships that create poverty in the first place.

Writing to help guide evangelicals' growing interest in social justice, the authors says poverty alleviation should address the poor as spiritual, sociological, physical, and psychological beings-focusing not just on meeting immediate needs but repairing relationships with God, others, and creation.

The book doesn't deal with international economic policy, but it does remind churches they have a mission to do what economists can't-restore relationships instead of simply bestow material goods. Some of the general principles-first drawing on the rich assets and helping people create change from within a community instead of imposing solutions from without-hold true for governments, too.

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