When Helping Hurts
- Product Review (submitted on March 10, 2010):
When Helping Hurts is a must read for anyone considering missions involvement, especially those going on short-term missions. First, the authors redefine "poverty" from how we tend to view it. Many times Americans think of poverty as a lack of material goods. Actually poverty is a reality we all face and live in, even those who've been materially blessed.
Though this book has very focused content drawing from economics and sociology, it is very biblically based. The whole explanation of poverty revolves around the first chapters of Genesis, drawing on the creation account and the results of the Fall—poverty of relationship with God, with others, with creation (environment), and with ourselves.
One chapter in particular focuses on short-term mission trips. The authors tackle an unpopular idea—rethinking the way we do and support short-term mission trips. They hit hard on the selfish reasons why we go and the negative consequences of failing to properly address the situation when we go or send people overseas.
The narrator wasn’t as great as the book, but I did get used to him. His voice is somewhat grandfatherly, though not as smooth as I would have enjoyed for the hours it took to listen to the book. Also, and I don’t know if this was his fault, he read the scripture references before quoting from the Bible, which broke the flow of the sentence. The book was excellent and I wouldn’t let those few quirks influence my decision on getting the book.