cover image Just Generosity: A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America

Just Generosity: A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America

Ronald J. Sider, Author, John J. Dilulio, Jr., Foreword by, Charles W. Colson, Foreword by Baker Books $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8010-6015-1

Evangelical theologian and activist Sider gets down to specifics in this book about American social programs, which at points reads like a policy wonk's textbook. But it is not written so much for policy insiders as for the constituency of Evangelicals for Social Action, the organization Sider founded and for which he serves as president. Unlike other social theorists, Sider freely bathes his antipoverty program in biblical language and prophetic imperatives, but unlike many of his fellow evangelicals, he sees the government's role in addressing American poverty as inescapable. Sider's prescriptions do not fit into familiar left-right categories: while he argues for a ""living wage,"" guaranteed government-funded jobs and universal health care, he also urges a national experiment for school vouchers, commends faith-based community service organizations and speaks urgently of personal responsibility and the breakdown of the family. One of the few evangelicals to have sat at table with both the conservative Christian Coalition and the left-leaning Call to Renewal, Sider seems to have learned from, and to genuinely appreciate, the policy goals of both sides. Notably missing from the book is the hard-headed strategy that has made the Christian Coalition so potent. Sider is more prophet than politician but by basing his policy arguments on something more than political expediency, he makes the somewhat tired idea of Christian politics seem plausible, even exciting, again. (Sept.)