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Do you want to make a true difference in the world? Dr. Ron Sider does. He has, since before he first published Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger in 1978. Despite a dramatic reduction in world hunger since then, 34,000 children still die daily of starvation and preventable disease, and 1.3 billion people, worldwide, remain in abject poverty. So, the professor of theology Do you want to make a true difference in the world? Dr. Ron Sider does. He has, since before he first published Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger in 1978. Despite a dramatic reduction in world hunger since then, 34,000 children still die daily of starvation and preventable disease, and 1.3 billion people, worldwide, remain in abject poverty. So, the professor of theology went back to re-examine the issues by twenty-first century standards. Finding that Conservatives blame morally reprehensible individual choices, and Liberals blame constrictive social and economic policy, Dr. Sider finds himself agreeing with both sides. In this new look at an age-old problem, he offers not only a detailed explanation of the causes, but also a comprehensive series of practical solutions, in the hopes that Christians like him will choose to make a difference.


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Do you want to make a true difference in the world? Dr. Ron Sider does. He has, since before he first published Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger in 1978. Despite a dramatic reduction in world hunger since then, 34,000 children still die daily of starvation and preventable disease, and 1.3 billion people, worldwide, remain in abject poverty. So, the professor of theology Do you want to make a true difference in the world? Dr. Ron Sider does. He has, since before he first published Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger in 1978. Despite a dramatic reduction in world hunger since then, 34,000 children still die daily of starvation and preventable disease, and 1.3 billion people, worldwide, remain in abject poverty. So, the professor of theology went back to re-examine the issues by twenty-first century standards. Finding that Conservatives blame morally reprehensible individual choices, and Liberals blame constrictive social and economic policy, Dr. Sider finds himself agreeing with both sides. In this new look at an age-old problem, he offers not only a detailed explanation of the causes, but also a comprehensive series of practical solutions, in the hopes that Christians like him will choose to make a difference.

30 review for Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity

  1. 5 out of 5

    Josette

    Wow! I figured that if I actually read this book, I would have a responsibility to act on what I learned. I am still processing what that might look like, but it's definitely true. American Christians are woefully out of touch with the situation of many in the world. My eyes were opened not only to the plight of a "billion hungry neighbors", but also to the concern that God has for the poor of this world, as evidenced in His word. It seems that almost every time I open my Bible now, I am seeing Wow! I figured that if I actually read this book, I would have a responsibility to act on what I learned. I am still processing what that might look like, but it's definitely true. American Christians are woefully out of touch with the situation of many in the world. My eyes were opened not only to the plight of a "billion hungry neighbors", but also to the concern that God has for the poor of this world, as evidenced in His word. It seems that almost every time I open my Bible now, I am seeing verses about the poor and oppressed. While I believe I need to make changes in my thinking and spending as a result of this book, I would also love to connect w/ other believers who have been equally moved by this book and are ready to act.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I was really floored by this book. The author first presents some startling and informative statistics on world hunger and poverty, where we have been and what is projected. Then he talks about God's intense love for the poor, and that if we want to "be imitators of God" we must as Christians learn to share in that love. I left this book really wanting to do more to make a difference... even with specific ideas how! The best thing about this book was also the worst thing - sooo much information. I was really floored by this book. The author first presents some startling and informative statistics on world hunger and poverty, where we have been and what is projected. Then he talks about God's intense love for the poor, and that if we want to "be imitators of God" we must as Christians learn to share in that love. I left this book really wanting to do more to make a difference... even with specific ideas how! The best thing about this book was also the worst thing - sooo much information. Never before have a seen a pastor (no offense John haha) talk so intelligently about ALL facets of poverty. Politics, economics, environment, sociology, religion - these topics were all included in great detail and from a Christian perspective. I have not seen anything more complete out there. That said, it was also very overwhelming (as it probably should be). The book was first published 30 years ago, but this new addition has substantial updates and was published in 2005. Many of us avoid reading books like this, afraid that God will inevitably ask something of us. After reading this, I find myself welcoming God to start asking.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    A passionate plea for social justice, this book, first published in 1967 but regularly revised and updated, still stirs the conscience. Is still powerful. Unfortunately it can longer be read with the degree of hope that originally greeted it, with the hope that all Christians could unite in changing society - that the hungry would be fed, the wounded healed, the oppressed freed. Reading it today is depressing because it describes a road not taken. The intervening years have destroyed any hope th A passionate plea for social justice, this book, first published in 1967 but regularly revised and updated, still stirs the conscience. Is still powerful. Unfortunately it can longer be read with the degree of hope that originally greeted it, with the hope that all Christians could unite in changing society - that the hungry would be fed, the wounded healed, the oppressed freed. Reading it today is depressing because it describes a road not taken. The intervening years have destroyed any hope that evangelicals, the "moral majority", the fundamentalist churches, would be convinced by Sider's Biblical arguments and would become a force for social justice. And it is in them that Sider placed his hope. To them, he addressed his argument. Based it completely on the Bible. Filled his book with "proof texts" (at tedious length) to convince them. Used the words of the Old Testament prophets, the words of Christ, to argue that Christianity must be about more than interior spirituality, that there must be a balance in emphasis between personal transformation and the transformation of society - that the faith must be about creating a Christian community of brotherly love, creating a just society for all, creating God's reign on earth. However, the response to Sider's trumpet call has been meager - only a few evangelicals answered it (e.g., Jim Wallis and his Sojourner Group). The majority have not. Have taken a different path. Some are expecting an imminent rapture when they, the elect, will be lifted up into heaven and escape the "time of tribulations" - viewing the suffering of others, at that time as well as now, as inevitable and deserved. Others, not so apocalyptic, are satisfied with current social and economic arrangements, and regard the capitalistic market forces as the invisible hand of God, see economic Darwinism as part of God's inscrutable providence, and believe their own and their nation's wealth and power to be a divine blessing, a reward for their righteousness. Any interest these folks have in changing society is to make it as "righteous" as they are - in improving it only by forcing a general conformity to their own beliefs and practices. None of these folks are ever going to accept Sider's argument, no matter how Biblical it is. They are not going to answer his call for structural change. And so, sadly, Sider's argument is "useless" - "a chasing after the wind" - but although "useless", it is still persuasive. Striving for justice, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick is an integral part of what it means to follow Jesus. It is the narrow path.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Caleb

    This is a MUST READ for every Christ follower (particularly those in the affluent West). With a title like this, you would expect the author to be mostly led by warm fuzzy feelings and few pieces of scripture twisted out of context. This book really gave new meaning to the old saying "you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover!" This book is loaded with scripture which I found just about completely in context (A few passages on environmentalism I could not connect a proper exegesis). I took more n This is a MUST READ for every Christ follower (particularly those in the affluent West). With a title like this, you would expect the author to be mostly led by warm fuzzy feelings and few pieces of scripture twisted out of context. This book really gave new meaning to the old saying "you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover!" This book is loaded with scripture which I found just about completely in context (A few passages on environmentalism I could not connect a proper exegesis). I took more notes on this book than any I've read before, mostly scripture passages, talking about wealth, greed, poverty, and stewardship. It is downright frightening to realize how much scripture has to say about money! Here are just a few of the passages that really spoke to me, Prob 19:17, Psalms 140:12, Psalms 146:5-9, Matt 8:20, Matt 25:35-40, James 2:5, Luke 6:20-25, James 5:1, James 5:3-5, Jer 22:13, 17, Ezek 16:49-50, 1 John 3:17-18, 2 Corin 8:1-15, and Prov 23:4. How have we chosen to glaze over this issue so close to God's heart?! There are plenty of powerful statistics and charts fully cited in the massive appendix in the back. I learned how the poor really are powerless. Most of them have no option of lifting themselves out of poverty. Governments, large institutions or wealthy individuals carry most of the power and carry huge responsibilities to assist the poor. If the powerful don't help the powerless, their conditions simply won't change. The last 1/3 of the book you may find controversial, or just disagree with. The author takes what economics knowledge he has to suggest ways we can tackle issues of poverty today. He will offend some by bashing the American capitalistic model, but even if you disagree his points are worth a listen. Think about an economic system sustained by a backbone of greed. If the Bible labels greed as a major sin (enough to excommunicate someone from a local congregation 1 Cor 5:1-10), should we use this as a major ingredient to propel society? Will this system ultimately crash due to it's rebellion from God's design? It gets very political, but there are some really interesting points to think about! Western Christians are proven skeptical in their giving towards the local church. Giving percentages are dropping each year. How ironic to think that we, as members, are not the ones misusing God's blessings and kingdom resources!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Frits Haverkamp

    I think this book is right on. However, my adult discussion group I read it with struggled with it. They questioned the very backbone of the book biblical analysis, especially the concept of the Jubilee. The book starts with Biblical analysis from an evangelical conservative perspective. Moves to an economic review of the world which the author reminds us is much less trustworthy than his biblical analysis and then to prescriptions for Christians. Demanding without being overbearing the 5th edit I think this book is right on. However, my adult discussion group I read it with struggled with it. They questioned the very backbone of the book biblical analysis, especially the concept of the Jubilee. The book starts with Biblical analysis from an evangelical conservative perspective. Moves to an economic review of the world which the author reminds us is much less trustworthy than his biblical analysis and then to prescriptions for Christians. Demanding without being overbearing the 5th edition of the book is a worthy read if you are concerned about Jesus beatitude Blessed are the poor and his alternate woe to the rich!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This book has taken me months to finish. Sometimes the reasons were as simple as I was too tired to invest energy into learning more about Gross National Incomes, Foreign Polices or Multinational Corporations in Developing Countries. However, most of the time it was because it was difficult to read. Not difficult because it had complicated words, but difficult because it presented complicated problems and even more complicated suggestions for personal change. The original book was written more This book has taken me months to finish. Sometimes the reasons were as simple as I was too tired to invest energy into learning more about Gross National Incomes, Foreign Polices or Multinational Corporations in Developing Countries. However, most of the time it was because it was difficult to read. Not difficult because it had complicated words, but difficult because it presented complicated problems and even more complicated suggestions for personal change. The original book was written more than 40 years ago. It has been quoted and referenced in multiple books I’ve read over the years and I was determined to read it for myself. The sixth edition, that was released 2015, is full of thoughts, ideas, information and facts that are hard to take in all at once. The book deserves time to process the material. It was life altering. In my opinion, part 2 of the 4 part book should be read by every believer. In this section, Ron Sider gave a thorough Biblical overview of God’s love and concern He has for the poor. On Page 52 he declares, “According to Scripture, defending the weak, the stranger, and the oppressed is as much an expression of God’s essence as creating the universe.” Mr. Sider challenges us, his readers, to live differently, spend differently, love differently and sacrifice differently. The book has reiterated the urgency of living simply so others may simply live. This continues to be an ongoing conversation in our family as to what that actually looks like. Thankfully this book has provided plenty of real life examples.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    Ronald Sider is nothing short of a modern day prophet. The fact that this book has been in print for over 40 years (with meaningful updates), and continues to go mostly unheeded in most of western Christianity says more about the audience than the author. Much like the experience of Biblical prophets, hard truths are easy to ignore and rationalize away. I have some theological quibbles with the author, but they don’t detract too much from the overall message of the book. And early on I was concer Ronald Sider is nothing short of a modern day prophet. The fact that this book has been in print for over 40 years (with meaningful updates), and continues to go mostly unheeded in most of western Christianity says more about the audience than the author. Much like the experience of Biblical prophets, hard truths are easy to ignore and rationalize away. I have some theological quibbles with the author, but they don’t detract too much from the overall message of the book. And early on I was concerned that he was going too light on systemic injustice, and it seemed like he believed throwing money at the problem of poverty would solve it. Part 3 of the book is much more nuanced and thoughtful about appropriate Christian responses and how it isn’t as easy as living frugally and being more generous. Having said that, he gives a ton of practical steps we can take to move toward the heart of God on this issue. It may seem painful, but that illustrates how deceived we’ve become by a culture of affluence and materialism. I feel compelled to make changes to the way I live my life so that I can be more generous with the resources that have been entrusted to me, and invest in organizations that are fighting systemic injustice among the poorest populations.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Caleb

    Whether or not you agree with all of his assertions or proposals, Ronald Sider forces Christian readers to confront the reality of poverty and our responsibility to the poor and dispossessed. This is important in a self-satisfied age such as ours that, to quote Amitav Ghosh, "so congratulates itself on its self-awareness" and, I would add, its 'woke' empathy. As Sider points out, charitable donations have dropped significantly compared to the spring of my grandparents' generation (late 1960s). Th Whether or not you agree with all of his assertions or proposals, Ronald Sider forces Christian readers to confront the reality of poverty and our responsibility to the poor and dispossessed. This is important in a self-satisfied age such as ours that, to quote Amitav Ghosh, "so congratulates itself on its self-awareness" and, I would add, its 'woke' empathy. As Sider points out, charitable donations have dropped significantly compared to the spring of my grandparents' generation (late 1960s). The book is a (still) timely reminder that Christianity is a-capitalist: it pre-dates capitalism and will remain after it is gone. Having said that, Sider is remarkably centrist and genuflects before the 'wisdom' of economists perhaps too much in response to criticism of earlier additions. Still, it is important to figure out the implications for our current socioeconomic norms and values of things like: Jubilee, the Sabbatical Year, tithing and gleaning, and the NT's many (many) statements regarding the poor? And which poor? There is plenty of misery and poverty in our own neighborhoods and nations that is complicated enough - how do you redress global poverty rooted in a complex global economy that renders us all complicit? If you let it, "Rich Christians" will challenge you.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rachel B

    A much-needed book for today's Christians, especially those living in the West. Sider invites readers to compare their budgets and lifestyles not to their affluent neighbors, like usual, but to the poorest half of the world's people. This book makes some very good, important points. The focus is on extreme, global poverty, and the large systems that perpetuate deep poverty; problems and solutions are both very big-picture. Certainly, systemic issues need to be brought to light and remedied, but I A much-needed book for today's Christians, especially those living in the West. Sider invites readers to compare their budgets and lifestyles not to their affluent neighbors, like usual, but to the poorest half of the world's people. This book makes some very good, important points. The focus is on extreme, global poverty, and the large systems that perpetuate deep poverty; problems and solutions are both very big-picture. Certainly, systemic issues need to be brought to light and remedied, but I think Sider downplayed how important "small" acts by individuals are, and how influential they can be. Parts 3 and 4 were a bit difficult to get through - there were so many numbers/statistics that they all seemed to blur together after a bit. (And that's coming from someone who enjoys stats.) They also were somewhat repetitive and could have been combined/condensed. I do wish the author had offered a few more options for giving more generously other than just his "graduated tithe" system, which seemed cumbersome. He also is a proponent of "population control" in the form of higher education for women, family planning, etc. While I have nothing against education for women or natural family planning, I disagree that humans "should" limit reproduction as a norm. (And education for women should be happening for reasons other than population control!) I believe that children are always a blessing, no matter what circumstances they're born into. I don't think this means everyone needs to get married and have as many children as possible. But I wish Sider had emphasized that if all Christians were living in ways that honored God, children wouldn't be going hungry and the earth wouldn't be being destroyed at the rate it currently is. The solution is not population control, it's obedience to God. There are many people in our churches today who have never really considered issues of poverty, and I think this would be an excellent resource for a small group Bible study, since members can encourage and support each other through making lifestyle changes, and perhaps choose one organization to generously support financially - together.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Justin Tapp

    "Can overfed, comfortably clothed, and luxuriously housed persons understand poverty?" is how the book opens. The first chapter closes with this summary of what the book talks about: "Imagine what one quarter of the world's Christians could do if they became truly generous. A few of us could move...to desperately poor areas. The rest of us could defy surrounding materialism. We could refuse to let our affluent world squeeze us into its consumeristic mold. Instead, we could become generous non-co "Can overfed, comfortably clothed, and luxuriously housed persons understand poverty?" is how the book opens. The first chapter closes with this summary of what the book talks about: "Imagine what one quarter of the world's Christians could do if they became truly generous. A few of us could move...to desperately poor areas. The rest of us could defy surrounding materialism. We could refuse to let our affluent world squeeze us into its consumeristic mold. Instead, we could become generous non-conformists who love Jesus more than wealth. In obedience to our Lord, we could empower the poor through small loans, community development, and better societal systems. And in the process, we would learn again his paradoxical truth that true happiness flows from generosity." Sider gets much of the economics correct in this book, and I wouldn't skip over any of the more "technical" chapters. He is advocating not just confronting the system with our choices, but fundamentally advocating changing the unjust system itself. This is where he steps on toes, but my only concern was that I think some liberal-leaning Christians use this book to say things that Sider does not say. For example, Sider understands the incredible potential for free trade to empower poor people in developing countries to move up the economic ladder. However, because the North (wealthy countries) uses its enormous leverage to negotiate trade deals in a manner that benefits the North rather than the South (poor countries) the poor don't get as large a benefit as they should. I know some misguided Christians who take this and begin advocating against free trade deals, not understanding (as Sider does) that some trade is better than no trade. Sider, like James Halteman, calls for a more Book of Acts style community way of living. To help each other make consumption decisions and to find ways to better invest in our communities. Sider is basically talking about house churches and deep community. Of choosing to live at a lower standard of living so that your income can be given to others. I struggle with thinking of these aspects as they relate to economic development. Let's suppose that tomorrow all Christians in the U.S. lived more simply-- buying much less stuff, refusing to buy on credit, growing much of their own food, and sharing their possessions as needed rather than replacing items. This would have an immediate negative impact on U.S. GDP. Prices would fall, output would decline, and unemployment would rise. As much of the stuff we buy comes directly or indirectly from developing countries, the negative impact would be felt there as well. Christians would all be healthier and happier (and the environment would be better off) but what about the rest of the world? It's plausible that, providing income remains constant, the decrease in consumption would increase private saving and national saving. As that occurs, money would flow abroad to foreign countries, funding investment opportunities there, lowering interest rates for poor people to borrow to start new businesses, etc. This is a question not fully explored in any text I've read. I think the implicit assumption is that so few Christians would choose to adopt a simpler lifestyle that it's overall effects would be nil. We would essentially still free ride off the consumption habits of everyone else (and hence, still have jobs). While I agree with 95% of Sider's book, I just struggle with the overall macroeconomic picture. Is it better to send your $10 to sponsor a World Vision child, or spend your money on stuff that the child (or her parents) manufacture in a factory where they live? My basic answer is that one should be aware of the consequences of your choices. If you're spending $10 on a meal, are you aware that that $10 could go to feed a child somewhere else for a month? Are your repeated purchases of new electronics helping fuel the war and rape in the Congo, where the valuable raw materials are mined? No easy answers. I give the book 4.5 stars out of 5. It's a book that I think every Christian should read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Reid

    This book was kind of what I expected. Long, confusing at times, but also full of lots of information. We can all do a lot more to change our lifestyles to be less wasteful and more generous to help the world's poor. Cultural and institutional change is a big project to manage and he offers some good ideas and suggestions; but I felt that his description of the massive, complex problems was underscored by what I considered simplistic answers and solutions - ("end corruption, decrease military spen This book was kind of what I expected. Long, confusing at times, but also full of lots of information. We can all do a lot more to change our lifestyles to be less wasteful and more generous to help the world's poor. Cultural and institutional change is a big project to manage and he offers some good ideas and suggestions; but I felt that his description of the massive, complex problems was underscored by what I considered simplistic answers and solutions - ("end corruption, decrease military spending,increase aid to the poorest of the poor, increase taxes to decrease usage of fossil fuels".) I just didn't trust all his analysis and/or all of his solutions. (I understand that he believes that God judged the Israelite people for their unjust treatment of the poor. I believe that was a symptom of a larger problem. I understand that the core issue was that the Lord's covenant people fell away from living and worshiping their covenant God. Their mistreatment of others was a symptom of them failing to live in relationship to their covenant God. They were no longer a blessing to other people. - Gen 12) He certainly is motivated to work on the problem and his work motivates me to do what I can do. It seems to me that he trips over his left wing bias much too often.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    Christianity Today named this one of the "Top 100 Religious Books of the Century" a blurb on the front of this latest revised edition tells me. Anyone who gets through this book will come away knowing: 1) Hunger is a BIG problem; 2) Christians have the resources to stop it; 3) Caring for the poor is presented in the Bible as a paramount issue for Christian discipleship; and 4) We need to do more, and there are things we can do. However, the best thing about this book was also the worst thing - w Christianity Today named this one of the "Top 100 Religious Books of the Century" a blurb on the front of this latest revised edition tells me. Anyone who gets through this book will come away knowing: 1) Hunger is a BIG problem; 2) Christians have the resources to stop it; 3) Caring for the poor is presented in the Bible as a paramount issue for Christian discipleship; and 4) We need to do more, and there are things we can do. However, the best thing about this book was also the worst thing - way too much much information. The book is extremely comprehensive and covers politics, economics, environment, sociology, religion in exhaustive detail and from a Christian perspective. The amount of detail in this book is astounding. That said, it was also very overwhelming in quantity and quite dryly (sp?) written. The thing is, if it was a slog for me to read, there aren't many people I know who will pick it up & fewer yet who will finish it, which is unfortunate because the problems are real and we CAN do something about it. It would have helped a great deal to reach more people had Mr. Sider's editor insisted on the book being readable and cut some of the information to make it an easier read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike E.

    Sider calls for rich Christians to live modestly and give generously. In general, Sider is against charity/handouts. He is for wealth-generating micro-enterprsies. I recommend this highly for all Christians--especially those of us who teach and disciple others about stewardship. This book should be read along with John R. Schneider's book, "The Good of Affluence." The combined reading of these two opposing books will help Christ's servant discern both biblical teaching on wealth as well as assist Sider calls for rich Christians to live modestly and give generously. In general, Sider is against charity/handouts. He is for wealth-generating micro-enterprsies. I recommend this highly for all Christians--especially those of us who teach and disciple others about stewardship. This book should be read along with John R. Schneider's book, "The Good of Affluence." The combined reading of these two opposing books will help Christ's servant discern both biblical teaching on wealth as well as assist in making personal decisions about saving, giving, spending, and investing. Sider's passion is for Christians to live modestly in order to advance the gospel and help the poor develop wealth. He calls Christians to live radically modest lives, forsaking unnecessary material possessions in order to advance the kingdom of God. He gives specific examples on how to do this with a clear aim to avoid legalism. =============== Quotes: Affluence is the god of twentieth-century North Americans, and the adman is his prophet (191).

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Reading this book was amazingly awkward and uncomfortable for me and, yet, exactly what I needed to hear. I read a copy published in 1979 so some of the stats were off. Off, but still alarming. The world Sider writes about is a terrible place to be poor. And at the time of publication, many Christians were doing little to change the structures that kept poor people poor. What's disturbing to me is the realization of how little has changed since "Rich Christians" came out. If anything, the divide Reading this book was amazingly awkward and uncomfortable for me and, yet, exactly what I needed to hear. I read a copy published in 1979 so some of the stats were off. Off, but still alarming. The world Sider writes about is a terrible place to be poor. And at the time of publication, many Christians were doing little to change the structures that kept poor people poor. What's disturbing to me is the realization of how little has changed since "Rich Christians" came out. If anything, the divide between have and have-nots in this world has grown exponentially wider. Sider calls on Christians to live mindfully, with intention, and with regard to all those living in poverty, everywhere. This is not a quaint call to give more money to your church, volunteer at a homeless shelter, or hold a canned food drive at Thanksgiving. All these things are good deeds, but this author demands nothing short of revolution in our personal lives, the life of the Church, the life of our nation, and the life of the world--if we are to address poverty as Christ calls us to do.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brett

    Some say his controversial or communist. Perhaps in earlier editions he was more radical. This seemed to me to be balanced and sensible. I may contend with some of his interpretations, but the general tenor, I don't contend with. If anything, I would say the Scriptures are more radical. His call for Christians to move past their mass consumption to concern and sacrificial generosity for the poor is biblical. But he doesn't even ask us to sacrifice all that much. He is asking for the biblical min Some say his controversial or communist. Perhaps in earlier editions he was more radical. This seemed to me to be balanced and sensible. I may contend with some of his interpretations, but the general tenor, I don't contend with. If anything, I would say the Scriptures are more radical. His call for Christians to move past their mass consumption to concern and sacrificial generosity for the poor is biblical. But he doesn't even ask us to sacrifice all that much. He is asking for the biblical minimum.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    Poorly thought out solutions to very real issues.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    “God wants every person and family to have equality of economic opportunity, at least to the point of having access to resources necessary (land, money, education), so that by working responsibly they can earn a decent living and participate as dignified members of their community.” –Sider xiv Ron Sider presents several complex arguments. Early in his book, he speaks about world hunger, free trade and the wealthy elites. In the end of his book, he speaks more about Policy and change. No matter o “God wants every person and family to have equality of economic opportunity, at least to the point of having access to resources necessary (land, money, education), so that by working responsibly they can earn a decent living and participate as dignified members of their community.” –Sider xiv Ron Sider presents several complex arguments. Early in his book, he speaks about world hunger, free trade and the wealthy elites. In the end of his book, he speaks more about Policy and change. No matter one’s political stance or religious affiliation, as Christians we are given via biblical text a moral responsibility to live humbly and show charity to our brothers and sisters, willingly. Sider speaks of pivotal points of revelations in history and how he relates it to biblical text. “Yahweh is the one who frees from bondage. The God of the Bible wants to be known as the liberator of the oppressed.” I grew up in a generation where hard work paid off and you lived within your means. To this day, I pull out a certain amount of money for charity, even if I don’t make much. I do so willingly and from my heart. The perception that the richest people must provide money to them is wrong at so many levels. In 1 John 3:16-18 the prophet warns us that, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” This is telling us not to desire material items and to live within our means, however, it also warns us that we are to love one another enough to willingly give to help the least of these. By forcing the rich to give more of what they have goes against the teachings, because it must be given willingly. I believe the greedy will be held accountable for their selfishness. We must think different ways to reach the poor at another level. It is hard to feed the poorest in our world with genocide being committed in many of the other countries. Are we denying future Newton, Martin Luther Kings, Marie Curie and so on because we are not educating our poorest? Where I felt the astounding connection and revelation with Sider was when he said, “The Liberty Bell handing in historic Philadelphia could become a powerful symbol for citizens working to share resources with the poor of the world.” Sider attributed this to the biblical verse in Lev. 25:10 which promised freedom and the land necessary to earn a living. I believe that Sider is saying that we as Christians are not doing enough to help the poor. Loving one another would be reaching out to help each other as true brothers and sisters; God tells us how to be liberated by helping each other in acts of love. Sider is also trying to make us aware that, “Regardless of what we do or say at 11:00 AM on Sunday morning rich Christians who neglect the poor are not the people of God.” I believe he is prompting us to discern as Christians that we are responsible for and to be available to our brothers and sisters. We are not just to show up and look good at Church, but put acts of love behind our word. Another good point Sider makes is, “God’s Word teaches a very hard, disturbing truth. Those who neglect the poor and oppressed are really not God’s people at all-no matter how frequently they practice their religious rituals nor how orthodox are their creeds and confessions.” I wholly agree with that statement, however, the majority cannot seem to come to a consensus on which is the correct way to help the poor. Perhaps each of us individually should take it upon ourselves to reach out and make the effort to help those in need. I was challenged with this read because Sider prompted me to look at another perspective and understanding that point of view, which I might not have thought of before reading this book; this is why I said it was so complex. If I had a magic wand with the ability to end poverty, it would be to all Americans to have access to a higher education. This would include a better public education starting with grade K. If my theoretical magic wand could extend into the world, I would end warlords and everyone would have water and access to farming, consequently allowing them the ability to produce their own food. This is what Sider meant by, “so that by working they can earn a decent living and participate as dignified members of their community.” By educating those in the most impoverished countries we are liberating them and an act of love. Loving the poor while taking action is social justice and finding a way to reach the darkest corners restores hope. Isn’t this what Sider means by the Liberty Bell and its significance? Sider moves us to feel something then perhaps for us to do something.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Rich Christians contains no surprises for Christians today, though when it was originally published in 1977 it may have caught quite a few people off guard. World poverty is a common theme in the news and in many Christian circles today, perhaps due in part because of the efforts of the author and those like him who promoted the cause of the poor. The book is easy to skim for those familiar with the general themes - the distribution of wealth between rich and poor is unhealthy, we need to invest Rich Christians contains no surprises for Christians today, though when it was originally published in 1977 it may have caught quite a few people off guard. World poverty is a common theme in the news and in many Christian circles today, perhaps due in part because of the efforts of the author and those like him who promoted the cause of the poor. The book is easy to skim for those familiar with the general themes - the distribution of wealth between rich and poor is unhealthy, we need to invest in programs which help countries to develop infrastructure and programs from the bottom up, babies die everywhere from preventable causes, trickle down does nothing for the lower class, microlending is great etc. etc. It was interesting for me to watch the author's perspective. He obviously comes from a conservative position. I could tell he was trying to win the support of evangelicals by his continued "proof-texting" his points and his almost apologetic defense of his call for more government regulation. He seemed very worried about being labeled a socialist. "Communism, Marxism, boo, bad! Market economies, Capitalism! Yay! But not too much! It still has problems, but yay!" (Not a direct quote.) What is nice is that those who have more liberal tendencies and those who have more conservative tendencies can come to the same place of concern for the poor. They may get there by following different paths, but in the end justice can be done both by the treehuggers and the fightin' fundies. Review originally posted on my blog: http://mrsundquist.blogspot.com/2011/...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    The books is divided into three parts, I'll explain each section from his point of view. 1)Poor Lazarus and Rich Christians, or I don't understand what causes poverty: There are currently 218 gizmos running around and America is currently using 130 of them. We're such jerks. If we distributed the gizmos evenly, everything would be peachy fine. 2)A Biblical Perspective on the Poor and Possessions, or I don't know what the Bible says about mammon: Look! Woe unto you rich folkies! Take that!... hmmm? The books is divided into three parts, I'll explain each section from his point of view. 1)Poor Lazarus and Rich Christians, or I don't understand what causes poverty: There are currently 218 gizmos running around and America is currently using 130 of them. We're such jerks. If we distributed the gizmos evenly, everything would be peachy fine. 2)A Biblical Perspective on the Poor and Possessions, or I don't know what the Bible says about mammon: Look! Woe unto you rich folkies! Take that!... hmmm?... Job? Never heard of him. 3)Implementation, or I'm going to apply my mental dystopia: Live in a commune, eat veggies, stop having so many kids (surprise, surprise), start a garden, and vote for Socialists! My personal favorite of his "practical" suggestions: use "the postage paid envelopes of direct mail advertisers to object to their unscrupulous advertising." In the words of Dave Barry, I am not making this up. Of course, my heart goes out to any poor sap who actually bought this idea. He must live a guilt-ridden, steakless existence.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Estelle

    A convicting and unapologetic call to "rich" Christians living in the affluent global superpower of the United States to take seriously the claims of the Bible in general and Jesus in particular relevant to money, the poor, and economic justice. Sider makes a strong biblical case spanning throughout Scripture from Levitical "Jubilee" law to Jesus' words to the rich young ruler, from Amos' scathing critique of Israel's unchecked material prosperity at the expense of the poor, to Paul's plea to th A convicting and unapologetic call to "rich" Christians living in the affluent global superpower of the United States to take seriously the claims of the Bible in general and Jesus in particular relevant to money, the poor, and economic justice. Sider makes a strong biblical case spanning throughout Scripture from Levitical "Jubilee" law to Jesus' words to the rich young ruler, from Amos' scathing critique of Israel's unchecked material prosperity at the expense of the poor, to Paul's plea to the Corinthians to live simply. Not content to bring conviction without action, Sider moves from theological weightiness to the hard realities of economic disparity in the globalized world today. He reveals sobering statistics and vivid word pictures of poverty and suffering worldwide that the United States is responsible for today, and concludes with a practical method for Christians to give away a significant percentage of their income to help combat the injustice of some Christians living in incredible comfort and others making a few dollars a month for their families.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    Every western follower of Jesus should read this book, but beware: don't read it if you're not open to having your mind changed by Scripture. It's not a comfortable book, but has been a crucial part of my discipleship--it's shaped my worldview profoundly. The book has 3 parts: Sider does a fantastic job of exploring (1) the biblical teaching on wealth and poverty, (2) the realities of wealth and poverty in our world, and (3) creative ways of responding as believers. His biblical work was well-ba Every western follower of Jesus should read this book, but beware: don't read it if you're not open to having your mind changed by Scripture. It's not a comfortable book, but has been a crucial part of my discipleship--it's shaped my worldview profoundly. The book has 3 parts: Sider does a fantastic job of exploring (1) the biblical teaching on wealth and poverty, (2) the realities of wealth and poverty in our world, and (3) creative ways of responding as believers. His biblical work was well-balanced, challenging, and eye-opening. The current realities were informative, challenging, and eye-opening. And his creative responses were encouraging and hope-producing--lots of real-life examples of what people are currently doing to live in response to the Scriptures and the problems in our world.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Robb

    Much info, inspiring, Biblical, whet my appetite to learn more about what we can do in America to not ignore the billions of our neighbors around the world who are barely or not surviving, and how our actions affect them without our even realizing it. Great balance of evangelical and social justice, and advocacy of capitalism with some restraints. Primary theme seems to be the idea of the Jubilee from the Old Testament where some type of redistribution needs to happen, otherwise the rich will ge Much info, inspiring, Biblical, whet my appetite to learn more about what we can do in America to not ignore the billions of our neighbors around the world who are barely or not surviving, and how our actions affect them without our even realizing it. Great balance of evangelical and social justice, and advocacy of capitalism with some restraints. Primary theme seems to be the idea of the Jubilee from the Old Testament where some type of redistribution needs to happen, otherwise the rich will get richer and the poor will die in hunger and disease at an even faster rate than they do. Some readers may glaze over some of the stats, and there were probably some theological thoughts I don't entirely resonate with, but definitely thought provoking and has discussion questions after each chapter.

  23. 5 out of 5

    J.D.

    This book is certainly well researched and includes a lot of valuable information. I believe there was too much trying to be accomplished by this one book, however, so I really look forward to reading his others where I can get a more comprehensive look at the different aspects he brought up in this book. This should be required reading for anyone, not just Christians. Ideally we would all be convicted in a sense that if we were to try and live more simply, we could aid others to simply live. A This book is certainly well researched and includes a lot of valuable information. I believe there was too much trying to be accomplished by this one book, however, so I really look forward to reading his others where I can get a more comprehensive look at the different aspects he brought up in this book. This should be required reading for anyone, not just Christians. Ideally we would all be convicted in a sense that if we were to try and live more simply, we could aid others to simply live. A little goes a long way. This definitely leaves me thinking, especially after just getting married and beginning to think of our budget, etc.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aubrey

    I am being totally rocked by this book. It's radical and I love it, but am simultaneously challenged by its Truth. The statistics in Section One are outdated due to this edition's publish date of 1984... Yet, the other sections relay timeless Biblical Truths and Sider highlights lots of Scripture. I've also found a great Appendix of Social Action Organizations (many of them Christian), which I am particularly excited about. I feel stirred to personalize and apply these principles in my life and I am being totally rocked by this book. It's radical and I love it, but am simultaneously challenged by its Truth. The statistics in Section One are outdated due to this edition's publish date of 1984... Yet, the other sections relay timeless Biblical Truths and Sider highlights lots of Scripture. I've also found a great Appendix of Social Action Organizations (many of them Christian), which I am particularly excited about. I feel stirred to personalize and apply these principles in my life and my family's-- and perhaps eventually use my public policy training to more overtly work for Kingdom principles. All this thought generated by words on a page. Now that's a great read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Greg Taylor

    One of the most interesting things about this book is Sider's views and edits that he made in the 20th anniversary edition. The earlier edition was decidedly more liberal policies leaning, but in later editions it seems some faith had been lost in the political answers to the problems of hunger, poverty, and injustice. Of course politics in its raw form simply means "public life" and certainly to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God we are also called to walk with others who are mist One of the most interesting things about this book is Sider's views and edits that he made in the 20th anniversary edition. The earlier edition was decidedly more liberal policies leaning, but in later editions it seems some faith had been lost in the political answers to the problems of hunger, poverty, and injustice. Of course politics in its raw form simply means "public life" and certainly to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God we are also called to walk with others who are mistreated, oppressed, and poor. This is the book form of the seven year experience I had in Uganda: the rich ought to share with the poor in Jesus name.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Susanna

    I read this book while I was in Scotland taking a class that had to do with Christianity and social justice issues. This book became very important to me that semester because it was the only book I could find about the subject that represented the evangelical perspective. Even though some of Sider's ideas might be naive, I still think that Rich Christians is worth the read, simply because it makes you think. It really helped shape my thoughts about Christianity as it relates to poverty and just I read this book while I was in Scotland taking a class that had to do with Christianity and social justice issues. This book became very important to me that semester because it was the only book I could find about the subject that represented the evangelical perspective. Even though some of Sider's ideas might be naive, I still think that Rich Christians is worth the read, simply because it makes you think. It really helped shape my thoughts about Christianity as it relates to poverty and justice.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This book really opened my eyes to the reality of hunger in the world, and the affluence with which we, here in the US, have become so comfortable with (at the expense of other people, other nations, and economies). I read it many years ago, and it inspired my husband and myself to propose to our friends, the concept of living in a "communal neighborhood" (sharing resources in order to free more resources to help others). However, we had no idea how hard it would be to sell this idea. I encourage This book really opened my eyes to the reality of hunger in the world, and the affluence with which we, here in the US, have become so comfortable with (at the expense of other people, other nations, and economies). I read it many years ago, and it inspired my husband and myself to propose to our friends, the concept of living in a "communal neighborhood" (sharing resources in order to free more resources to help others). However, we had no idea how hard it would be to sell this idea. I encourage everyone to read this book. Expect to be challenged.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    It's good for those who haven't engaged the topic before, and perhaps for those who aren't doing enough on their own to help the poor. However, it doesn't try to make an argument for why Christians should engage our government and encourage them to stand up for the poor. Perhaps this was obvious for many people, but I've ran into so many people recently who drag their heels on trying to make real change that I believe there needs to be more written to reach them. But perhaps that wasn't the focu It's good for those who haven't engaged the topic before, and perhaps for those who aren't doing enough on their own to help the poor. However, it doesn't try to make an argument for why Christians should engage our government and encourage them to stand up for the poor. Perhaps this was obvious for many people, but I've ran into so many people recently who drag their heels on trying to make real change that I believe there needs to be more written to reach them. But perhaps that wasn't the focus on the book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    this is an important book for everyone. makes a very good case for how helping the poor is central to a christian life. the book was very informative, with a lot of info/current statistics on poverty and will open your eyes to how people are living around the world. at times it was a bit overwhelming as sider gives so many different examples of things we could be doing as a government and as individuals to alleviate poverty, but it's definitely a source i'll be going back to from time to time to this is an important book for everyone. makes a very good case for how helping the poor is central to a christian life. the book was very informative, with a lot of info/current statistics on poverty and will open your eyes to how people are living around the world. at times it was a bit overwhelming as sider gives so many different examples of things we could be doing as a government and as individuals to alleviate poverty, but it's definitely a source i'll be going back to from time to time to remind myself of the responsibility that comes with the great blessings we have as americans.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Everybody should read this. It's really convicting about how we tend to spend money on ourselves while others are dying of starvation. Sider presents a case of how wealthy Americans are, explains God's heart for the poor, and gives practical suggestions. He talks a little about how developing nations face a system of oppression and steps to change that. This book encouraged me to live simply and give more. Get the new edition--in it he says he learned a lot more about economics than in the first Everybody should read this. It's really convicting about how we tend to spend money on ourselves while others are dying of starvation. Sider presents a case of how wealthy Americans are, explains God's heart for the poor, and gives practical suggestions. He talks a little about how developing nations face a system of oppression and steps to change that. This book encouraged me to live simply and give more. Get the new edition--in it he says he learned a lot more about economics than in the first edition.

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