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