Poverty and economic justice is one of those issues that is everywhere in the Bible, but somehow rare in the church. Because we haven't talked about it, we don't notice it when we read the Bible, and the cycle repeats itself.
Ronald Sider has some eye opening facts about the scale of the injustice, the inadequate response of the church, and the weight of the Biblical mandate for social justice. It should shame us and change us.
Well researched and clearly presented in both theology and sociology, this is the first port of call for anyone who has noticed how often injustice comes up in their Bible.
I first read this book many years ago, in an earlier edition. Now it's been totally rewritten for a new generation. And, boy, does our generation need it! It's to the absolute shame of Christians that so many crucial issues have been faced head-on by those of other (or no) faiths, while Christians maintain the silence of happy ignorance and profit from the oppression of the poor. If you're like most of us, you could go to your kitchen or look at the logos on your clothing, and you'd quite possibly find that you've been adding to the profits of a company that oppresses people who are already poorer than we in the West can imagine. *WE* are the bad guys. *WE* are guilty of the crimes the Old Testament prophets protested about. "You that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land... buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals." (Amos) As Christians, we need to repent not only our individual sins, but the sins of the society to which we belong. This book points out many (not all) of the issues, but more importantly, suggests some ways we can begin to put our faith into practice by addressing those issues.
Ron Sider will challenge you to live radically, following Jesus' example of all-out community. You won't be able to buy anything after this without considering whether your off-handed affluence is condemning another 1,000 children to death by starvation. A little repetitious and statistic-heavy at times, this is still an essential, non-judgmental, life-breathing book. You can afford to skim the parts that don't interest you, but you can't afford to miss God's call to you in the area of global community.
I read this book years ago and I can happily say it is one of the best books for a Christian who is serious about their faith. It is challenging and I think many who think they are leading the Christian life would be challenged by this book, as it challenges our consumeristic attitude, and our cosy way of living.
Many people will suggest books that will change your life and many of those people will be wrong. This book really will change your life. It will change the way you view other people and the blessings in your life. Ron Sider has written a true Christian masterpiece!
Excluding the Bible, this is probably the book that has had the most impact in my life.
This is the third time I've tried to read this book. The previous two times I have read a bit, been very challenged at my lifestyle, prayed, made some changes, read some more and given up because it made me uncomfortable.