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Make Poverty Personal: Taking the Poor as Seriously as the Bible Does

Ash Barker, Author . Baker Books $14.99 (203p) ISBN 978-0-8010-7189-8

This is not a book for the casual reader. Barker (Surrender All ), founder of a missionary order working among the poor, asks the question: how should Christians respond to poverty? And the compelling answers he extracts from often-ignored passages in the Bible—both Old and New Testaments—will push most readers out of their comfort zones. It is certainly a punch in the gut to prosperity gospel, which purports that God’s design includes personal riches. As the author writes: “This book is aimed particularly at those who have a sneaking suspicion that the Christian faith is more than a cultural ornament, that it is a call to follow Jesus as he stands in solidarity with the poor.” Barker is not a great writer and some of his fictional parables fall flat, but his stories of life in the slums of Bangkok, where he and his family have chosen to live, have considerable moral authority, as do his wonderful exegeses of Moses being called to stand with his people and the rich young man confronting Christ. Designed as a study guide with thoughtful exercises and a foreword by activist Shane Claiborne, it is an excellent tool for small groups of Christians ready to take their religious practice to the next level. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/15/2008
Release date: 02/01/2009
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