This is the subtitle of the new book Hope Rising written by Scott Todd, Senior Vice President of Global Advocacy with Compassion International. My initial thought when I saw the subtitle was one of doubt and “Here is someone else who has the solution to the world’s problems.” As I began reading, I realized the key focus was on extreme poverty, people living on less than $1.25 a day. The reality of someone living on this amount doesn’t compute with my westernized way of thinking, especially when I take a hard look at how much money I waste on basically anything I choose to waste my money on. For the most part, my wastefulness will never have any bearing on my ability to eat today.
Early in his book, Todd provides statistics that are simultaneously alarming and hopeful: 1.2 billion people in the world live in extreme poverty today (that’s the alarming part); the percentage of people living in extreme poverty has been has been cut in half since 1981 (that’s the hopeful part).
This reduction in world poverty has come about, as Todd notes, because of increased action and a replacement of low expectations for making progress with high expectations for poverty elimination. Todd provides examples of individuals, Christian and non-Christian, taking a stand against poverty. He writes about the role of government, business, the church, and the individual to bring about global social change. Every part of the world, however big or small, can do something to make a difference.
The final section of Hope Rising provides strategies for eliminating extreme poverty:
- Fast Living: Doing without certain things to be able to give more (this could be food excess or money spent on a hobby or some sort of pleasure or entertainment). We all have something that consumes money that could be better used by giving to someone who often goes without basic needs.
- 10% Radical: Tithing (you know, giving 10 percent of your income to the church). Todd provides statistics that should not be accurate but are. On average, Christians keep 97.1 percent of their earned money for themselves. 20% (yes ,you read that correctly) “don’t give a red cent to anyone for anything.” However, on the bright side (more a slight glimmer), 20 percent give more than 10%. The middle 60% (statistically, probably you the reader of this review) could generate an additional $134 billion per year f they started tithing. Yes, per year. And that’s just American Christians.
- The Next Generation: Because ending extreme poverty will likely take 25 years, it is crucial that children be encouraged and inspired to do great things and take risks to end poverty, since teenagers now will be in their forties when the task is complete. They will be in positions of leadership and influence then. But they can start doing things now. Great change is already being done by young people.
- Biblical warnings and commands: Scripture is full of commands and warnings for those who are followers of Christ and the one true God. God has a heart for the poor, evidenced by the words and actions of Jesus himself. Believers cannot separate the Gospel and helping the poor and needy. Our salvation is evidenced by our good deeds. We are to love God and love people through good works.
Hope Rising provides helpful insights and action plans for all of us as we move forward in alleviating suffering caused by the lack of basic human needs. Scott Todd has done the church a great service by giving us another tool to use, a tool not to be stored away in a dusty box in the shed, but one to be held in a hand hard at work.
I received this book from Booklookbloggers.com in exchange for an honest review.