We polled the office and put together our top 10 books for this summer, ranging from straight-up development, to Christian transformation, to readable economics, to feminism. Don't be intimidated by the titles! These books are chock-full of real-life stories and sprinkled with a healthy dose of humour. Let us know what you think and post your own suggestions in the comment section - we'd love to hear them!
#1. The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence - Gary A Haugen and Victor Boutros *A Washington Post bestseller
The hidden plague of everyday violence silently undermines our best efforts to help the poor. Rape, forced labor, illegal detention, land theft, and police abuse has become routine and relentless. This violence ruins lives, blocks the road out of poverty, and undercuts development. Public justice systems in the developing world have collapsed. Gary A. Haugen and Victor Boutros offer a searing account of how we got here and what it will take to end the violence. While their call to action is urgent, the authors provide hope, a real solution, and an ambitious way forward.
To hear Gary A. Haug talk about this topic, check out his TED Talk The Hidden Reason for Poverty the World Needs to Address Now
#2. The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger - Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson
#3. Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women - Sarah Bessey
Gender equality is one of the "cross-cutting" themes that appears in all FH programming because we believe God has created all human beings in his image with equal value - regardless of gender. Canadian author Sarah Bessey's Jesus Feminist, leads us through a thoughtful review of biblical teaching and church practices to help Christians understand how gender equality not only fits into the faith, but is a core tenant. Sarah Bessey brings us back to the fundamental question of what it means to be a disciple first and foremost, to realize one's calling and potential in the Kingdom of God.
#4. Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa - Dambisa Moyo
#5 The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good - William Easterley
If you feel intimidated by economics, here is an accessible and entertaining read to get you started. Saturated in Easterley's signature wit and real-life examples, The White Man's Burden is a good, albeit biased, introduction to development economics. This book is a brilliant and blistering indictment of the West’s economic policies for the world’s poor written out of Easterley's years of experience with the World Bank. He argues that the West must face our own history of ineptitude and draw the right conclusions as our ability to transplant Western institutions is a pressing issue.
#6. Muslims, Christians, and Jesus: Gaining Understanding and Building Relationships - Carl Medearis
Carl Medearis is an international expert in the field of Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations. Based on the author's twenty-five years of first-hand experience, this engaging book reveals what the religion of Islam teaches and the worldview of many of today's Muslims. With practical information and personal stories, Carl Medearis shows readers how they can build life-changing bridges between the world's two largest religions - one person at a time.
#7. Walking With The Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development - Bryant Meyers
Food for the Hungry (FH) Canada is all about transformational development. In this Christian development classic, Bryant Myers shows how Christian mission can contribute to dismantling poverty and social evil. Integrating the best principles and practices of the international development community, the thinking and experience of Christian NGOs, and a theological framework for transformational development, Myers demonstrates what is possible when we stop treating the spiritual and physical domains of life as separate and unrelated.
#8. Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Cultures - Darrow Miller
Darrow Miller asserts the idea that that a person’s worldview heavily influences the way they will live their life and pursue growth for themselves, and their nation. Have Christians underestimated the power of God's truth to transform a the worldview of whole societies? In Discipling Nations, Darrow Miller builds a powerful and convincing thesis that God's truth not only breaks the spiritual bonds of sin and death but can free entire societies from deception and poverty.
#9. Community and Growth - Jean Vanier
We can write a check to feed starving children or hold signs in the streets and feel like we’ve made a difference without ever encountering the faces of the suffering. In this book, Shane Claiborne describes an authentic faith rooted in belief, action, and love, inviting us into a movement of the Spirit that begins inside each of us and extends into a broken world. Shane lives out this revolution each day in his own impoverished neighbourhood by living among the homeless, helping kids with homework, and “practicing resurrection". Shane’s message will comfort the disturbed, and disturb the comfortable.
Of course, no FH reading list would be complete without When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor...and Yourself - Bryan Fikkert and Steve Corbett
Book descriptions adapted from amazon.com