When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
This is a wonderful book all about how we can avoid hurting others when we are trying to help them. It starts out by laying the groundwork for justice and the gospel giving a clear presentation of the holistic impact of God’s good news. For me, the best sections of the book come when the authors lay out some practical guidelines for helping without hurting. This opened my eyes and completely changed the way I look at charity and development. If you read this and haven’t thought too critically about how the church should engage in charity before, be prepared for some serious challenge!
Recommended by Tim H
Beyond Charity by John Perkins
A veteran of the civil rights movement, John Perkins has spent his life seeking justice and reconciliation in some of the most deprived urban communities in the US. This book was written in the early 90s, but much of his message is still urgent for us to hear – in particular his call that for every follower of Jesus, loving our neighbour does not mean occasionally giving some money, or going on short-term mission. All of that can be done from a safe distance. The kind of Jesus-shaped love that is needed in order to see real lasting transformation goes ‘beyond charity’ – it requires us to get proximate with people on the margins and move from being strangers to friends.
Recommended by Josh
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
I saw Bryan Stevenson speak in the Royal Albert Hall in 2018 – I think he brought the majority of people to tears and received an extraordinary standing ovation. It was the best talk I have ever experienced, by a distance. On a big picture level, Just Mercy speaks into the injustice of mass incarceration in America, in particular the racial injustices at the heart of this. It is also the story of a man who has pursued injustice with incredible integrity and compassion. Through circumstances that would have turned many of us bitter and hateful, Bryan puts together an incredible narrative of mercy, grace and hope. If you want to be deeply moved, and get yourself fired up for a life of justice, this is the book to read.
Recommended by Tom
Why I’m not Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
There’s a reason why this book has won a plethora of awards, including Blackwell’s non-fiction book of the year. This book has helped to transform and catalyse conversations about racism around the world. In a nutshell, Reni Eddo-Lodge discusses her frustration with the way that discussions about race in Britain usually play out by those who are blind to it and explores what it is to be a person of colour today. She urges readers to consider that racism is a systemic problem which needs to be tackled by those who run the system. It really is essential reading if you want to gain a better insight into race relations in Britain today.
Recommended by Tee
Doing Good Better by William MacAskill
We all have limited time and resources, and we have to make tough choices about where to focus them. This book offers an intelligent, well-researched and innovative set of thoughts around how we can do the most good possible. I enjoyed the way that Will Macaskill presents perspectives that I wouldn’t otherwise have thought of, fully articulates frustrations that I didn’t quite know how to express, and brings in some really well chosen stories and sets of data to illustrate all of it. Some of his suggestions about how to do the most good through consumer choices or careers may feel a bit controversial, but I think the broader frameworks he offers and questions he asks are something that everyone in Just Love should be engaging with. This book (and the ‘effective altruist’ movement that has built around it) really took my own pursuit of justice to a new level.
Recommended by Tom