Poverty is one of the great challenges of the 21st century. But poverty is not new. And neither is God's deep concern for the poor--it is a theme deeply woven throughout the Bible. Yet sadly, churches and individual Christians have too often been blind to this emphasis, or they have been paralyzed into inaction by feelings of helplessness.
In this urgent, provocative book, Ash Barker offers both challenge and hope. Pulling out and reflecting on significant passages from both testaments, he reveals what the Bible says about both the nature of poverty and about how God calls his people to respond. These studies, ideal for either individual or small group use, are interlaced with personal reflections--first-hand accounts from fifteen years of ministry among the poor.
This is not a book for the casual reader. Barker (Surrender All), founder of a missionary order working among the poor, asks the question: how should Christians respond to poverty? And the compelling answers he extracts from often-ignored passages in the Bible both Old and New Testaments will push most readers out of their comfort zones. It is certainly a punch in the gut to prosperity gospel, which purports that God's design includes personal riches. As the author writes: "This book is aimed particularly at those who have a sneaking suspicion that the Christian faith is more than a cultural ornament, that it is a call to follow Jesus as he stands in solidarity with the poor." Barker is not a great writer and some of his fictional parables fall flat, but his stories of life in the slums of Bangkok, where he and his family have chosen to live, have considerable moral authority, as do his wonderful exegeses of Moses being called to stand with his people and the rich young man confronting Christ. Designed as a study guide with thoughtful exercises and a foreword by activist Shane Claiborne, it is an excellent tool for small groups of Christians ready to take their religious practice to the next level.