New books from evangelical Christian publishers--and one classic that helped lay the groundwork--refresh an understanding of Jesus' message and tell the stories of activists motivated by their faith to start NGOs, found charities, and raise money for causes they are passionate about.
Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity by Ronald Sider. In 1978, InterVarsity Press published Sider's pioneering book, which took to task Christians riding the crest of a feel-good theology that had God wanting the faithful to be healthy, wealthy, and comfortable. Instead, Sider wrote, the true message of Jesus is care and concern for the poor and oppressed. This July, the W Publishing Group of HarperCollins Christian Publishing will release a revised and updated edition.
Mama Maggie: The Untold Story of One Woman’s Mission to Love the Forgotten Children of Egypt’s Garbage Slums by Marty Makary and Ellen Vaughn. In March, HCCP’s Zondervan division published this biography of Maggie Gobran, a successful professional in Egypt who gave up a comfortable life to work with outcast Coptic Christians living in a garbage dump on the outskirts of Cairo. Mama Maggie—called the “the Mother Teresa of Cairo” and regularly on the shortlist for the Nobel Peace Prize—founded Stephen’s Children, an organization that now has more than 1,200 workers providing food and services to the slum dwellers.
Fallen: Out of the Sex Industry and Into the Arms of the Savior by Annie Lobert. Ending sexual exploitation is a cause that has been taken up by many evangelicals in recent years. In February, Worthy Publishing released this memoir by Lobert, a former escort and prostitute who founded Hookers for Jesus to help other victims of sexual exploitation.
Live Beyond by David Vanderpool. Coming in August from Worthy is this autobiography of a trauma surgeon who founded the disaster relief organization Live Beyond in the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Miracle on Voodoo Mountain: A Young Woman’s Remarkable Journey of Pushing Back the Darkness for the Children of Haiti by Megan Boudreaux. Boudreaux also went to Haiti to help after the earthquake, and she returned in 2011 at age 24 to found Respire Haiti, a ministry that provides food, medical care, and education to nearly 500 students. W Publishing released the book on January 12, the 5th anniversary of the earthquake.
The Mother and Child Project: Raising Our Voices for Health and Hope. Global health organization Hope for Healing Hands was founded 10 years ago by Senator Bill Frist, M.D., to combat HIV-AIDs. Now Hope for Healing Hands executive director Jenny Eaton Dyer spearheads the organization’s Mother & Child Project, which raises awareness about medical hazards confronting mothers and children in the developing world and encourages political action and fundraising. In March, Zondervan published this collection of essays by such luminaries as Hillary Clinton, Nicholas Kristof, Jimmy Carter, and Desmond Tutu. The Gates Foundation is among the funders of the project, and Melinda Gates wrote the preface; the foreword was written by Kay Warren, activist and cofounder with husband Rick Warren (The Purpose-Driven Life) of Saddleback Church in California. A portion of royalties for the book go to the Mother & Child Project.
Wanted: A Spiritual Pursuit Through Jail, Among Outlaws, and Across Borders by Chris Hoke. Published by HarperOne in February, Wanted recounts Hoke's work as a jail chaplain and pastor to Mexican gangs in Washington’s Skagit Valley. He works with Tierra Nueva--a Christian ministry serving immigrants, inmates, ex‐cons, and the homeless—and co‐founded its coffee‐roasting business, The Underground Coffee Project, which provides jobs to men emerging from prison and addiction, partnering them with coffee growers in Honduras. Hoke has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Seattle Pacific University and has been published in magazines including The Sun, Sojourners, and Christian Century and featured on NPR’s Snap Judgment.
The Drop Box: How 500 Abandoned Babies, An Act of Compassion, and a Movie Changed My Life Forever by Brian Ivie and Ted Kluck. Ivie directed The Drop Box, a documentary film (released in March from Focus on the Family) about the work of Lee Jon-rak, a South Korean pastor who saves unwanted babies with a “drop box” built into an outer wall of his home, where mothers can leave their babies safely and anonymously. In the book, published by David C. Cook in March, Ivie tells the story of his conversion to Christianity while he was making the film and of his work with Pastor Lee.
Runaway Radical: A Young Man’s Reckless Journey to Save the World by Jonathan Hollingsworth and Amy Hollingsworth. Jonathan Hollingsworth warns idealists of pitfalls like the ones he encountered when he dropped out of college, gave away everything he owned, and moved to Africa to become a missionary. Co-written with his mother, (The Simple Faith of Mr. Rogers), the book shows that the greatest dangers Jonathan encountered in Africa were not the pickpockets, hustlers, and thieves he had been warned about, but con artists and exploiters lurking in churches and mission agencies, who took advantage of his faith and sent him fleeing home feeling manipulated and exploited by those he saw as his spiritual leaders.