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Gary's Newsletter 376: Rethinking Poverty

Posted by Gary R Collins on March 24, 2010 Comments 0


Last year, World Vision President Richard Stearns published a much acclaimed and sometimes sobering book titled The Hole in Your Gospel. As I expected, the book is a challenge toward a more balanced (more biblical) gospel that calls people to faith in Christ but also commits to tangible acts of compassion and love, especially toward those who cannot help themselves. Stearns does not send his readers on a guilt trip but he argues that many churches (maybe many counselors and coaches as well) are focused on their in-church programs or personal careers and largely oblivious to issues like the poverty that Jesus so often addressed.

The book reminded me of a recent letter from Edgar and Gladys Guitz, two remarkable people who work with those that struggle to eke out an existence living in the Guatemala City dump ( Most of us are not placed in that kind of environment but God has surrounded us with different types of poverty that may not get noticed or addressed. Where do each of us or our churches serve best in helping others face the following eight kinds of poverty, each based on research by Edgar and Gladys Guitz? Sometimes these are all in the same person. At other times one or more appear in the people who come to our offices or sit in our congregations.

  • Economic poverty: Lack of resources
  • Spiritual poverty: Lack of relationship with God
  • Intellectual poverty: Lack of access to accurate knowledge and mental stimulation
  • Physical poverty: Lack of health or access to medical advice and treatment
  • Relationship poverty: Lack of close family, friendships or church support and interaction
  • Isolation poverty: Lack of connection with a civic or other community
  • Emotional poverty: Lack of love or ability to feel or express appropriate emotions
  • Life skills poverty: Lack of self-control and/or the ability to manage day-to-day living.

Does (or should) this stimulate any fresh thinking, attitude change or plans for action in you?



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© 2014 Gary R. Collins, PhD.
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