The following are a list of book recommendations by staff in the Love Thy Neighborhood office that helped when each of them faced convictions about poverty. Each recommendation is to assist and provide insight to this current age of poverty and how to better prepare oneself.
Jesse Eubanks’s Choice:
Beyond Charity by John M. Perkins
I first read this book 20 years ago. Perkins’ life story, spiritual wisdom and practical strategies still stand as some of the greatest insights on urban ministry I’ve read. Perkins and his family are people who have suffered significantly at the hands of white folks throughout the 20th century. His dogged determination to confront racism with the forgiveness and truth of Christ is an invitation to all Christians. Also, the 3 R’s of a Christian approach to neighborhood transformation – Relocation, Reconciliation and Redistribution – are a portable, practical way to remember how Christ’s ministry is achieved in a modern urban context. I respect few men as much as I do Dr. Perkins and I cannot recommend this book with enough esteem.
Kiana Brown’s Choice:
Under the Overpass by Mike Yankowski
This is the book that opened my eyes about poverty and really lit a fire under me to actually do something about the poverty I was seeing. As someone who grew up with little exposure to poverty, this was a real life changing book that I still feel the impacts of today. I read this book in college and it was really the catalyst for me coming to Louisville for LTN to serve in a homeless shelter for a year. It was one of those books that is set as a marker in my life and extremely transformational. It is very story-driven so it makes it a quick and easy read!
Leandro Lozada’s Choice:
- Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Hillbilly Elegy is the autobiography of J.D Vance, a successful Yale graduate lawyer who grew up in deep poverty in Appalachia. An excellent storyteller, J.D shares the grueling details of his upbringing in poverty -primarily the broken parts of his family and Appalachian culture- while highlighting the elements that allowed him to success. As you read his story and reflections, you will come to understand the complexities of poverty (hint: it’s not about money) in Appalachia and really benefit for his insights about it.
Sam Stevenson’s Choice
- When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett
This was the first book I had read that acknowledged the dangers of short/long term missions and their economic, sociological, and spiritual implications. I’ll admit, I had always been a little skeptical about the “helpfulness” of short-term missions, and this book validated some of those concerns but offered practical measures to live a life on mission that is actually helpful and beneficial for the people groups we choose to do life with. It was a game-changer when I served in LTN, and it’s something I think about often now, living outside of the parameters of the program but still with the desire to “love my neighbor as myself.”
These are books or other resources we have heard great things about put haven’t had a chance to personally read yet.