13 Wonderful Quotes from the Controversial book Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How To Reverse It) by Robert D. Lupton

by Mark Votava

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  • When we do for those in need what they have the capacity to do for themselves

1. “When we do for those in need what they have the capacity to do for themselves, we disempower them.”

  • The kindest way to destroy people

2. “Giving to those in need what they could be gaining from their own initiative may well be the kindest way to destroy people.”

  • Doing for rather than doing with those in need is the norm

3. “Doing for rather than doing with those in need is the norm.  Add to it the combination of patronizing pity and unintended superiority, and charity becomes toxic.”

  • Compassion is a powerful force

4. “Compassion is a powerful force, a stamp of the divine nature within our spirits.  It lies within us all…”

  • Charity that does not enhance trusting relationships

5. “Charity that does not enhance trusting relationships may not be charity at all…”

  • Initiatives must be restructured to reinforce self-sufficiency

6. “For disadvantaged people to flourish into their full, God-given potential, they must leave behind dependencies that impede their growth.  Initiatives that thwart their development, though rightly motivated, must be restructured to reinforce self-sufficiency if they are to become agents of lasting and positive change.”

  • In community building, the producers must be members of the community

7. “In community building, the producers must be members of the community.  If outside actors are principally responsible for results, then the community will never change, be strengthened, or advance its capacity to deal with its own problems, solutions, and development.”

  • Listen closely to those you seek to help

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

  • One way giving can undermine relationships

9. “While one way giving may seem like the ‘Christian’ thing to do, it can undermine the very relationship a helper is attempting to build.  Such charity subtly implies that the recipient has nothing of value the giver desires in return.  To the extent the poor are enabled to participate in the systems intended to serve them, their self-worth is enhanced.”

  • Ask insightful questions, use intuition, and hear what is not being said

10. “The poor we serve may be reluctant to reveal ‘the whole story’ to would be helpers for a host of reasons – intimidation, fear of judgment, fear of losing support, fear of appearing unappreciative…  But like good physicians whose thorough examination yields an accurate diagnosis and treatment, effective helpers must learn to carefully observe behaviors, ask insightful questions, use their intuition, and hear what is not being said.”

  • The most authentic expression of affirmation

11. “Even as work is essential for life with meaning, so neighboring is essential for meaningful community life.  Becoming a neighbor to less-advantaged people is the most authentic expression of affirmation I know – becoming a real-life, next-door neighbor.  When connected neighbors move into the struggling world of those who are poor in order to be friends (rather than profit-making gentrifiers), new possibilities begin to appear…”

  • Building a sense of community

12. “Building a sense of community – so important for empowerment – is far easier when participants live in close proximity rather than commute from distant, scattered locations.  Daily interaction among neighbors allows relationships to develop, reciprocity to occur, and accountability to grow.”

  • The poor have enormous untapped capacity

13. “…the poor, no matter how destitute, have enormous untapped capacity; find it, be inspired by it, and build upon it.”

What do you think of the idea of toxic charity?  What has been your experience around this?

http://www.amazon.com/Toxic-Charity-Charities-published-HarperOne/dp/B00E293XLI/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1414238986&sr=8-14&keywords=toxic+charity

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414239151&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination