The Poor Will Be Glad: Joining the Revolution to Lift the World Out of Poverty

I don’t usually write about books before we get them here in the shop, but sometimes we get advanced copies or have such stellar reviews from our sales reps (yeah, you know who you are) that we are sold on the thing before it is released, and are itching to talk about it. Every once in a while we shout about a title before it actually arrives.

Since last week I tried to remind our readers that you H&M-ish, thoughtful and well-read, relevant, Christian folk need to be living out our vision of God’s reign by attending to issues of the global economy—the kind of stuff raised in the debates about the G20 Summit—I have wanted to tell you about a book that we expect to show up here any day now.  It is a perfect book to follow up some of the others I’ve mentioned.

The Poor Will Be Glad.jpgThe Poor Will Be Glad: Joining the Revolution to Lift the World Out of Poverty by Peter Greer & Phil Smith (Zondervan; $19.99) is a new book that the publisher is releasing with a happy degree of unsuspected fan-fair;  I am surprised, I suppose, since most publishers know that international micro-financing isn’t, well, very sexy (as they say.)  It sounds rather arcane and, if not depressing, at least complicated.  Maybe we’re glad somebody has devised this simple way to enhance the lives of the poor, but what do we know? What should we do?

Well, for starters, we should read up on this stuff, and this could be one of the great introductions to the ways in which we really can make a difference.  I did that hefty bibliography last month and you know I think everybody should read Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ron Sider.  I shared how excited I was about the new Baker/emergent release The Justice Project.  This new title illustrates that the current younger generation of new leaders understands that we have to be involved, that most of the world is in great need and the gospel simply cannot be presented as abstract dogma, but only makes sense as a community lives out the ways of God’s Kingdom, working for justice in the great issues of the day.  One doesn’t have to be Ron Sider or Bono to get excited about these new initiatives that transcend ideologies left or right. Greer & Smith show us that through this ingenious plan of small loans (that must be paid back) development can happen through local economies of scale, human dignity, genuine justice as folks are given (to use the Habitat for Humanity slogan) a hand, not a hand-out. You can see it for yourself in the very handsome pictures (by award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart) in this nicely designed book.  Believe me, once you see this, you’ll want to share the book.  Once you get involved in donating to this cause, you’ll want the book as a keepsake reminder of it all.

The Poor Will Be Glad is the work that came out of an extraordinary international ministry of increasing renown: Hope International. (Do check out this website—there are podcasts and videos and great stories and stuff for you to do;  be sure to see the spiffy “Hands Up” pictures.)  Started by young, thoughtful, good, folk from Lancaster PA (yay) they have developed this way of investing in the lives of local communities, using micro-financing ideas and wholistic ministry to truly change lives and whole regions.  As they invest in “hope entrepreneurs” they truly see multi-faceted change and development.  Greer, their director, did his undergrad in the great business department at Messiah College, and has an advanced degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School, and did micro-financing in Africa for several years before coming to Hope.  We know of his background and work, have investigated their ministry, sold books to ’em even (and can report that they’ve had a presence at Jubilee in Pittsburgh, as they will this year, as Peter takes the stage at Jubilee 2010 in February.) So, we vouch for them.  Peter is speaking at the big Catalyst “next leaders” event in Atlanta this week, too, and Seattle’s remarkable “Faith, Film & Justice” film festival this weekend, for that matter, so it is clear he’s quickly growing to be a respected spokesperson for what ordinary people can do to invest wisely and fruitfully in the lives of the poor.  It makes me glad to know that folks are promoting such an important and strategic plan, and that sales of this book is part of it all.  We are part of it all.  You can be part of it all. 

Rob Bell wrote the forward to The Poor Will Be Glad, a move that, again, illustrates not onlypoor will be glad image.jpg that Zondervan is really pushing this, but that this represents a newer, younger generation of activists– savvy, sharp, theologically mature and very passionate about being effective in ways that are faithful.  We expect the book to arrive this week, and we are pleased to offer it at the same G20 20% discount we were offering on these sorts of titles last week.  We are very excited about this, are fully confident that it will be informative, inspiring, and practical.  It is a book you should know about right away, will want to see, and maybe share with others.  We are sure that H&M readers are the very kind of people that this book is made for.  We are grateful that we are in this sort of work together, and very, very glad that evangelical publishers like Zondervan are investing in such socially significant books, beautifully made and exceptional in every way.  Indeed, the poor shall be glad.  God will be too.

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6 thoughts on “The Poor Will Be Glad: Joining the Revolution to Lift the World Out of Poverty

  1. Hello, Byron,
    I clicked on “Order here” but it didn’t take me to your site. I would like a copy of this book, please and thank you.

  2. Sorry about that…fixed that link (I had mis-spelled “heartsandminds” in my link address. Imagine.)
    Thanks for your interest, one and all. The book has since arrived and it is even more attractive than I thought. Bell asks “how” this stuff can change the world, if this is really true. He ends his foreword by writing, “And to answer that question you’ll have to turn the page and start reading this inspiring, informative, moving, world changing, extraordinary book.” Nice.

  3. I was glad to see that you mentioned in a recent post Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo. Would you be willing to consider another book that takes a skeptical point of view toward government involvement in economic development–specifically, education? It’s The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey Into How the World’s Poorest People Are Educating Themselves
    by James Tooley (Cato Institute, 2009).

  4. I feel a bit badly that I didn’t note in my initial review that central-PA home town boy Peter Greer’s co-author is himself a pretty prestigious scholar of this micro-financing work. We stock Phil Smith’s very important A Billion Bootstraps which is very inspiring and loaded with the details of important insights about the global economy, the role of capitol in development, and how to foster self-reliance through micro-loans. THANKS Phil!

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