Toxic Charity

Posted on November 22, 2011


A reflection on Robert D. Lupton’s new book Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It), New York, NY: Harper One, 2011.

What are YOU doing for the poor?  Before you hand out that free turkey or wrap those free toys for the poor, consider Atlanta community developer Robert Lupton’s “Oath for Compassionate Service”:

1.  Never do for the poor what they have (or could have) the capacity to do for themselves.

2.  Limit one-way giving to emergency situations.

3.  Strive to empower the poor through employment, lending, and investing, using grants sparingly to reinforce achievements.

4.  Subordinate self-interests to the needs of those being served.

5.  Listen closely to those you seek to help, especially to what is not being said–unspoken feelings may contain essential clues to effective service.

6.  Above all, do no harm.



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