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How Much Is Enough?: Hungering for God in an Affluent Culture

Overview

Why, in the face of unprecedented affluence, do so many feel discontented? Because possessions may capture the heart, but they cannot nourish the soul. How Much Is Enough? maintains that only the source of joy can give us joy. It points the way to release from captivity to things and to the joy of following Christ.

"This is one of the easiest books you will ever read-and one of the most difficult. Though there is not a word here that will be unintelligible to anyone, the challenge that Art Simon presents to every...

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How Much Is Enough?: Hungering for God in an Affluent Culture

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Overview

Why, in the face of unprecedented affluence, do so many feel discontented? Because possessions may capture the heart, but they cannot nourish the soul. How Much Is Enough? maintains that only the source of joy can give us joy. It points the way to release from captivity to things and to the joy of following Christ.

"This is one of the easiest books you will ever read-and one of the most difficult. Though there is not a word here that will be unintelligible to anyone, the challenge that Art Simon presents to every reader will leave you gasping for breath at times and at other times may prompt you to hurl the book across the room. Within the context of the United States of America at the beginning of the twenty-first century, this book may even strike some as a kind of obscenity-how dare he speak to us this way? It is, in fact, a sign of contradiction for our age, the very thing we don't want to know about, the only way that can bring us peace."
Thomas Cahill, author of How the Irish Saved Civilization, The Gifts of the Jews, and Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus

"Direct, concrete, deeply rooted, and compelling."
Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"Art Simon deepens our trust in God's bountiful grace and thereby empowers us to apportion our wealth more openhandedly. Share this book with everyone you know-the world can't wait for justice!"
Marva J. Dawn, author of Unfettered Hope: A Call to Faithful Living in an Affluent Society

"Art Simon invites us to a new way of living that, freed from the shackles of consumption, is the way of gratitude and generosity. And he leaves it up to each of us to think through, and pray through, exactly what that means for us."
Richard John Neuhaus, editor in chief, First Things

"Superb. The distilled wisdom of a lifetime of faithful obedience and creative leadership. If American Christians would truly read and understand this powerfully simple book, the result would be a cascading abundance of joy and justice."
Ronald J. Sider, president, Evangelicals for Social Action

Arthur Simon is founder and president emeritus of Bread for the World and author of The Politics of World Hunger, Bread for the World, and Grace at the Table: Ending Hunger in God's World.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Why is it that in the face of unprecedented prosperity, so many of us feel discontented?" asks Simon, founder and past president of Bread for the World. In this hard-hitting and well-written book, Simon encourages North American Christians to examine how their materialistic culture has stunted their compassion and driven a wedge between themselves and God. Drawing on writers such as Richard Foster, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Johann Christoph Arnold, Simon speaks compellingly of "the poverty of riches" and "the weakness of power." This book does not make simplistic arguments about money being evil, but instead cautions about what money can do to corrupt people if they are not vigilant and rooted in God's kingdom. One especially insightful chapter explores the titular question of how much is enough, arguing that while there are no easy formulas, there are strong reasons for Christians to "stay behind the Joneses." This book stands with others by Tom Sine, Ronald Sider and Tony Campolo in arguing that social responsibility is just as important a value for Christians as personal holiness. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801064081
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/1/2003
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 798,661
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur Simon is the founder and president emeritus of Bread for the World, a nonpartisan citizens' hunger lobby. His books include Bread for the World, a national Religious Book Award winner; The Politics of World Hunger, coauthored with his brother, former Illinois senator Paul Simon; and most recently Grace at the Table: Ending Hunger in God's World. Simon lives in Colmar Manor, Maryland.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 11
A Preliminary Word 13
1. That Seductive Urge 15
2. Fat Wallets, Empty Lives 19
Two Paths
The Snare of Wealth
Hunger and Poverty
Control of the Heart
3. Hope and Purpose 31
A New Identity
Earthly Pilgrims
Whole-Life Christians
Compassion for Others
Spiritual Hunger and Poverty
Returning Home
4. Rushing to Nowhere 49
Putting Life in Focus
Our Children
Sabbath Wisdom
5. The Poverty of Riches 61
Having or Being?
Mammon as Master
Mammon as Servant
Servant Churches
The Riches of Gratitude
6. The Sorrow of Pleasure 77
Pleasure as Master
Points of Pleasure
Pleasure as Gift
Joy
7. The Weakness of Power 89
The Corruption of Power
The Pretense of Weakness
Power Doing Good
8. Faces of Affluence 101
Consumerism
Capitalism
The Moral Ambiguity of Affluence
Those Left Behind
9. How Much Is Enough? 111
Staying behind the Joneses
No Easy Answers
The Bible on Possessions
Our Calling
The Grace of Giving
10. Living Simply So That Others May Simply Live 129
Choices Have Consequences
Why Me, Lord?
A Couple of Complications
Linking Personal Efforts to Public Policy
11. Love and Justice 141
Justice as a Form of Love
More Than Private Piety
Making a Difference
12. Saying "Yes" to Life 155
God's "Yes" to Us
The Life of Compassion
13. Filling the Heart with Something Better than Cash 163
Prayer and Solitude
Praise and Thanksgiving
A Community of Faith
Celebrating Grace
14. The Meek Inherit the Earth 175
Who Are the Meek?
Inherit the Kingdom
Postscript: A Few Suggestions 183
Notes 187
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