The Wealth of the Poor: How Valuing Every Neighbor Restores Hope in Our Cities

Overview

A compelling memoir by an urban minister and community development practitioner with more than thirty years of experience in the field.

Larry James appeared to be exactly where he was supposed to be—ministering with a large, suburban Dallas church. Then came the intriguing invitation to move his ministry to inner city Dallas among some of the "poorest" people in the community. Encouraged by his wife, Brenda, to follow the truth he had so often ...

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The Wealth of the Poor: How Valuing Every Neighbor Restores Hope in Our Cities

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Overview

A compelling memoir by an urban minister and community development practitioner with more than thirty years of experience in the field.

Larry James appeared to be exactly where he was supposed to be—ministering with a large, suburban Dallas church. Then came the intriguing invitation to move his ministry to inner city Dallas among some of the "poorest" people in the community. Encouraged by his wife, Brenda, to follow the truth he had so often shared as a pastor, Larry accepted.

As the new director of a food pantry, Larry was quickly overwhelmed, and oneday when trying to communicate with Spanish-speaking families, he asked a woman named Josefina to help translate. She had come for assistance, but Josefina ended up helping Larry that day, and the next. She came back the next day for nine years.

Since that day Josefina began helping two decades ago, Larry has been asking neighbors to help solve their own problems, and this new way of serving side by side has transformed a small food pantry into one of the largest non-profit food distributors in the world. With a budget of fourteen million dollars annually, the organization— now called CitySquare—also develops housing for the formerly homeless and manages health clinics and community medical outreach in economically depressed and under-served places like East and South Dallas.

This is an organizational success story you expect to see in the Wall Street Journal, and yet it is like no other. The author's own journey provides the platform from which he provides a practical, theological, market-savvy manual written for others who find themselves living, serving, and investing in the work of urban transformation. Using the foundation of Jesus' teaching and love for the poor, the book shows practical and visionary ways Christ's teaching can be made real.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When most people think of Dallas, they don't think poverty. This captivating memoir by first-time author James, a Church of Christ minister before heading up CitySquare (formerly Central Dallas Ministries) reveals what the Big D's 28 percent inner-city poverty rate looks like at home. James and CitySquare approach economically poor neighborhoods by first identifying their critical assets—social capital, survival skills, indigenous knowledge, and capacity for change—in a process James calls "re-neighboring." Skillfully blending social entrepreneurism, an adroit acquaintance with urban planning policies, and a profound love for his neighbors, James and CitySquare are not only lifting individuals out of poverty, but economically revitalizing neighborhoods by incubating for-profit microenterprises, including landscaping, a used-car lot, and even solar power. Readers move seamlessly through James' hard-won lessons, biblical insights, and engaging community profiles to a deeper theological point about hope and the gospel. While some of James' examples may not translate well beyond Dallas, his fresh engagement with the practicalities of "loving one's neighbor" in an era of austerity will inspire readers everywhere. (May)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780891123804
  • Publisher: Abilene Christian University Press
  • Publication date: 4/22/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 422,952
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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