The Receivers’ Response When We Offer Charity

One of the first books we read when we take a class on Community Organizing by Communities of Shalom is Toxic Charity by Robert Lupton.It basically tells us that the system of charity is broken.

I recently had the opportunity to hear Lupton, author of Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It). since Christ came to break the cycle of spiritual and physical poverty. He called us not to create dependency but to encourage the poor to use their God-given talents.

I agree with what Lupton’s take on the receivers’ response when we offer charity:

· Give once and you elicit appreciation;

· Give twice and you create anticipation;

· Give three times and you create expectation;

· Give four times and it becomes entitlement;

· Give five times and you establish dependency (Lupton in Toxic Charity, p. 130).

We miss the idea of charity and we do not reflected on the consequences and issues that charity brings about.  As Lupton says, long term it reinforces the underlying issues of poverty—hopelessness, powerlessness, and helplessness.  By affirming the superiority of the giver, it subordinates the receiver.

Watch a video by Lupton on Toxic Charity


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