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The Myth of the Undeserving Poor - A Christian Response to Poverty in Britain Today Paperback – 22 Sep 2014

4.9 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Grosvenor House Publishing Limited (22 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781488754
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781488751
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 0.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 353,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this excellent and very challenging book.

The point of the book is to challenge our common reactions to poverty in the UK, and suggest more biblically grounded alternatives, and biblical ways to help tackle poverty.

For me, it inspired some serious soul searching, in terms of how i react to stories about people who would rather stay on benefits than work; people who beg on the streets and spend any money they are given on drugs or alchohol; families on long term benefits who have 7 children and a massive flat screen tv. Am I really mirroring the grace that God showed us, or do I expect certain criteria to be met, and certain responses to be given, before i give my time or money?

Using Jesus' example, the authors (Martin Charlesworth and Nathalie Williams), show that at no point did Jesus make judgements about how much people 'deserved' healing, or food or ministry. So why do we?

That's the other great thing about this book, it helps us to unpack why we react and understand poverty in Britain, in the ways we often do.

The first third of the book explains some of the realities of poverty in Britain, the second looks at poverty from a biblical perspective, and the final third pulls all of this together to look at how, as Christians we should react to these realities.

I would recommend this fantastic book to anyone who has ever made a snap judgement about anyone in poverty (which, let's face it, is probably all of us).

It's strong, inspiring and challenging stuff!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A ggod reminder that thre butfor the grace of God go I.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very informative, intelligent and challenging book.

The book begins by looking at the history of how the church has been involved in looking after the poor in Britian throughout the ages since the early Celtic church, the Roman Catholic Church, through the reformation and carried on by the Anglican Church and later by the Methodists and then into the 20th Century evangelical movements.

It honestly looks at how the church retreated from social action in the second part of the 20th century with the rise of secularism and liberalism and increasing state benefits from the wealth fare system and the national health.

It then goes onto look at how the state has started to withdraw some of this help and how attitudes in Britain have changed towards the poor since the 1980s and into the most recent recession of 2007/2008. The authors discuss how these attitudes have been influenced by the media in a negative way. They further look at how the church in 21st century Britain is starting to respond to these attitudes and the rise of poverty, with food banks, debt advice, credit unions, job clubs, toddler groups and much more. Particularly interesting, is how the church has franchised these ideas and are replicating them all over the country.

The book then returns to the bible and explores how and what God sees as poor and how the Jews in the Old Testament, and then Christians in the new testaments should treat and look after the poor.

Basicall, the book is calling all Christians to think ! and not just believe all that we see and hear in the media, to read the bible and act out what it commands us to do.

I highly recommend reading this short but challenging book.
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Format: Paperback
This is a profound, timely and challenging read. At the heart of the book is a challenge to be aware of the powerful media messages constantly shaping our views, and challenging the reader to hold on to a more compassionate and biblical view. However this book is also well researched and objective in its overview of the subject. A must read for anyone choosing to make a difference to UK society in the 21 st century.
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Format: Paperback
This was an unexpected jewel, and a timely book considering all the press and TV programs that vilify the poor as benefit-scrounging scum. The book is short, and presents intelligent, statistical analysis of poverty and faith in the UK and a reasoned biblical and theological response to poverty without being emotive. This makes it essential reading for Christians of all political persuasions, to challenge their assumptions and check they are basing their opinions on fact rather than myth. I found it inspiring – in a world that is so often dark and depressing, it makes me glad that there are people like Natalie Wiliams and Martyn Charlesworth. They give me hope.

Through the authors’ research (which was of a high standard and moderated by an independent researcher) I was shocked to discover these facts:

- “Children living in poverty were twice as likely to come from a working household than one in which no adult works”
- Academic analysis of media coverage of the poor shows “a thinly veiled attitude…that poverty is a character defect.”
- Under Thatcher’s government, welfare spending (as a percentage of GDP) was higher than Blair’s, which was lowest since 1950s. Now lower still.
- “Inequality between richest and poorest has risen faster in Britain that in any other developed country since 1975.”
- When Christians were asked about the morality of economic inequality the answers split according to which political party they supported.
Conservative-voting Christians were significantly less sympathetic to poor than Green or Labour-voting Christians.

There were so many other brilliant facts and observations that my book is worn out from all the underlining. Highly Recommended.
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