Western Civilization is wealthier, but it isn’t happier.
We are the richest people ever to walk the face of the earth, but according to research, we aren’t becoming happier. Families and communities are increasingly fragmented, loneliness is skyrocketing, and physical and mental health are on the decline. Our unprecedented wealth doesn’t seem to be doing us much good.
Yet, when we try to help poor people at home or abroad, our implicit assumption is that the goal is to help them to become like us. "If they would just do things our way, they’d be fine!"
But even when they seem to pursue our path, they too find that the American Dream doesn’t work for them. What if we have the wrong idea altogether? What if the molds we are using to help poor people don’t actually fit any of us? What if the goal isn’t to turn other countries into the United States or to turn America’s impoverished communities into its affluent suburbs?
In Becoming Whole (building on the best-selling When Helping Hurts), Brian Fikkert and Kelly M. Kapic look at the true sources of brokenness and poverty and uncover the surprising pathways to human flourishing, for poor and non-poor alike. Exposing the misconceptions of both Western Civilization and the Western church about the nature of God, human beings, and the world, they redefine success and offer new ways of achieving that success. Through biblical insights, scientific research, and practical experience, they show you how the good news of the kingdom of God reshapes our lives and our poverty alleviation ministries, moving everybody involved towards wholeness.
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About the Author
DR. BRIAN FIKKERT (PhD, Yale University) is the Founder and President of the Chalmers Center at Covenant College, where he has also served as a Professor of Economics and Community Development since 1997. He has published numerous articles in academic and popular journals and is co-author of six books, including the best-selling When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor...and Yourself. Brian and his wife, Jill, have three adult children.
DR. KELLY M. KAPIC (PhD King's College, University of London) is professor of theological studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, where he has taught since 2001. He has written and edited numerous books, including Embodied Hope: A Theological Meditation on Pain and Suffering, which won the Book of the Year Award from Christianity Today in the category of Theology and Ethics.
Table of Contents
Opening Exercise 9
Part 1 The Shaping Power of Stories
Introduction: We Need a New Story 25
1 Love Really Does Make the World Go 'Round 37
2 How Do Human Beings and Cultures Change? 51
Part 2 When False Stories Make Helping Hurt
3 You Can Become a Consuming Robot 71
4 You Can Be a Harp-Playing Ghost Forever 91
Part 3 God's Story of Change
5 Escaping Flatland 119
6 Reconsidering Creation: The Key to Understanding Human Flourishing 137
7 Reconsidering the Fall: More Than Just a Legal Problem 161
8 Reconsidering Redemption: Fully Embodied Hope 193
9 The New Creation Dawns 219
10 Living Into the Story 249
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Becoming Whole By Brian Fikkert and Kelly M. Kapic Becoming Whole is a holistic approach to ministering to those in poverty. Although the beginning was a bit long, it was necessary to understand how to see a person as a whole. The situations and needs we aim to help with are not isolated to one part of us but established by a whole person and therefore we need to be addressing the person as a whole. We can not simply look at a scenario of hunger, provide food and wash our hands of the situation. There is more going on and more to the person asking for assistance then the result of hunger. Our good intentions are not enough. “Again, the healthy human being is in some respects analogous to a wheel, with the hub (mind, affections, will, and body) and the spokes (four key relationships) perfectly aligned. Building on this analogy, we can think of the systems as the road on which the wheel travels. For the wheel to have a smooth ride, the road must be free of potholes. Similarly, for human beings to flourish, the systems must be conducive to people living in right relationships with God, self, others, and the rest of creation.” Becoming whole is a critical perspective on poverty alleviation. It picks apart all the contributing factors that have created poverty, programs of alleviation, the heart of those reaching out to help. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion which I share here. https://simplyannehere.wordpress.com
I had previously read When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert at the recommendation of an acquaintance who is a long-time missionary. Becoming Whole is a great followup to that book and gives more details about what poverty alleviation programs can do to either help or hurt the people that they serve. I highly recommend this book for church leaders, including Missions Committee members as well as leaders and board members of ministry organizations that serve the poor. This book will help churches and other organizations evaluate their services to the poor and determine whether changes may be needed. It will also be a great help for individual Christians seeking to maximize the effectiveness of their charitable donations. The theme of this book may be exemplified by a quote from its conclusion. "We are called and empowered to join with ...[the poor] in living into this new world--preaching the Word and digging wells, starting schools and administering the sacraments, offering prayers and dispensing penicillin, fellowshipping with Christ's body and financing micro enterprises. Because the goal isn't to live the American Dream now and get our souls to heaven later. The goal is to become whole." I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn more about effective poverty alleviation programs. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley.