Monday, March 03, 2014

Toxic Charity Seminar Notes

In late 2011, a college student we had been working with told me that I should read the book Toxic Charity. Her recommendation was right on and the book has been a vital part of Ember's ethos.

I was thrilled when I heard the author was coming to our town to do a little afternoon seminar. Dr. Lupton was fantastic, sharing insights from the book with stories, principles and reflections from decades of urban community development experience. His time was such a gift to us, access to this kind of content is not normal and I'm thankful that some of our Ember people could attend as well.

We were also able to host a smaller group for some debriefing over dinner. This crowd included Ember guides and ProtoGuides, some college kids highly invested in various community projects around their city via Wendy, and the IllumNation folks. Great crowd.

In short, if you are any kind of nonprofit/missional/charity leader, having any influence in that sphere at all, this should be required reading for you.

A subset of my notes are below with some various edits.
Change our outlook on our neighbors. See them as people with resources, image of God, having talents, everyone has something to contribute.
Homebound seniors = crime watch.
They are always looking out the window and on the phone with their friends.

Never do for others what they could do for themselves.
'proof of poverty'
Universal truth - everyone loves to find a bargain. Even poor people.
Fair rate on a desired commodity - the market. God's fabulous gift to us.

Food pantry -> food coop
someone wanted specific kind of food - she became the buyer
someone had to deal with accounting - who pays what, what about if they need credit/borrow
decisions as an org - what are the rules
peoples talents and giftings start to emerge
community cooking and sharing
someone wanted to start a restaurant -
church staffer connected them to a restauranteur and a grant writer
Tummy and Soul - an outgrowth of the Georgia Street Food Coop
** I absolutely loved this whole story. Beautiful.

Service Projects
people in community initiate
doing planning - community led
people in the community share about what is happening - evangelism both directions

We are in a key moment in history - time honored practices of charity are now being questioned
When Helping Hurts
Toxic Charity
Dead Aid
now talking about outcomes in ways we have never felt comfortable about before
downturn in charity as we shift

It's bad when you get kicked out of a poor country.
The community must be the first investor.
What the poor need is a connected, compassionate neighbor.
You can't do community development well unless you know people connected to city systems.
The poor are isolated and this perpetuates poverty.

Pastors/church leaders - get out of the one way giving business - church benevolence funds, etc. If you have extra money, start an employment training center.
Church subsidy systems are far less effective than government subsidies.

A rising economic tide raises all the boats.
All social issues can be addressed by connected neighbors.
Nothing more demoralizing for police when they arrest someone and the accused walks because they could not get any witnesses to come to court.
Healthy bodies/communities can isolate disease. Save or expel it.

The most strategic thing churches can do today - develop/preach a theology of the redeployment of the saints.
Does God have an opinion of where you live?
We have to become neighbors.
'Where we buy a house' is a sacred cow.
Spiritual gifts discernment.
Talents abilities calling strategic deployment
** spot on. talents, abilities, calling, vocation.

You cannot serve a community out of poverty.
The one thing that moves a community out of poverty is a job.
People that go on mission trips are people that serve. What we need are people that can create jobs to go on these trips.
The spiritual gift of wealth creation. Never heard a sermon on that.
Business people feel unspiritual because they can only create wealth. They haven't heard the affirmation that God has entrusted them with this.
America is full of entrepreneurs - it is in our DNA.
** He is so right. And the recent stat I read somewhere that 59% of Mils believe they are entrepreneurs.

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