The Wealth of the Poor: How Valuing Every Neighbor Restores Hope in Our Cities

Larry M James, Author
Larry M. James. Abilene Christian Univ., $24.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-89112-380-4
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When most people think of Dallas, they don't think poverty. This captivating memoir by first-time author James, a Church of Christ minister before heading up CitySquare (formerly Central Dallas Ministries) reveals what the Big D's 28 percent inner-city poverty rate looks like at home. James and CitySquare approach economically poor neighborhoods by first identifying their critical assets—social capital, survival skills, indigenous knowledge, and capacity for change—in a process James calls "re-neighboring." Skillfully blending social entrepreneurism, an adroit acquaintance with urban planning policies, and a profound love for his neighbors, James and CitySquare are not only lifting individuals out of poverty, but economically revitalizing neighborhoods by incubating for-profit microenterprises, including landscaping, a used-car lot, and even solar power. Readers move seamlessly through James' hard-won lessons, biblical insights, and engaging community profiles to a deeper theological point about hope and the gospel. While some of James' examples may not translate well beyond Dallas, his fresh engagement with the practicalities of "loving one's neighbor" in an era of austerity will inspire readers everywhere. (May)
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