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The Economics of Neighborly Love: Investing in Your Community's Compassion and Capacity

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2017 The Gospel Coalition Book AwardWhat does the good news of Jesus mean for economics? Too often, Christian teaching and ministry have focused only on the gospel's spiritual significance and ignored its physical, real-world ramifications. But loving our neighbor well has direct economic implications, and in our diverse and stratified society we need to grapple with them 2017 The Gospel Coalition Book AwardWhat does the good news of Jesus mean for economics? Too often, Christian teaching and ministry have focused only on the gospel's spiritual significance and ignored its physical, real-world ramifications. But loving our neighbor well has direct economic implications, and in our diverse and stratified society we need to grapple with them now more than ever. In The Economics of Neighborly Love pastor Tom Nelson sets out to address this problem. Marrying biblical study, economic theory, and practical advice, he presents a vision for church ministry that works toward the flourishing of the local community, beginning with its poorest and most marginalized members. Nelson resists oversimplification and pushes us toward more complex and nuanced understandings of wealth and poverty. If we confess the gospel of Jesus, he insists, we must contend anew with its implications for the well-being of our local communities. Together we can grow in both compassion and capacity.


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2017 The Gospel Coalition Book AwardWhat does the good news of Jesus mean for economics? Too often, Christian teaching and ministry have focused only on the gospel's spiritual significance and ignored its physical, real-world ramifications. But loving our neighbor well has direct economic implications, and in our diverse and stratified society we need to grapple with them 2017 The Gospel Coalition Book AwardWhat does the good news of Jesus mean for economics? Too often, Christian teaching and ministry have focused only on the gospel's spiritual significance and ignored its physical, real-world ramifications. But loving our neighbor well has direct economic implications, and in our diverse and stratified society we need to grapple with them now more than ever. In The Economics of Neighborly Love pastor Tom Nelson sets out to address this problem. Marrying biblical study, economic theory, and practical advice, he presents a vision for church ministry that works toward the flourishing of the local community, beginning with its poorest and most marginalized members. Nelson resists oversimplification and pushes us toward more complex and nuanced understandings of wealth and poverty. If we confess the gospel of Jesus, he insists, we must contend anew with its implications for the well-being of our local communities. Together we can grow in both compassion and capacity.

30 review for The Economics of Neighborly Love: Investing in Your Community's Compassion and Capacity

  1. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Moss

    I don't feel like getting to elaborate with my review so I'll simply say: Two stars because he makes a decent case for economic education and action within the church body. But only two because Mr. Nelson is a statist who advocates government regulations, taxation, and solutions to perceived market failures. Very disappointing. I don't feel like getting to elaborate with my review so I'll simply say: Two stars because he makes a decent case for economic education and action within the church body. But only two because Mr. Nelson is a statist who advocates government regulations, taxation, and solutions to perceived market failures. Very disappointing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brad Linden

    Pretty disappointed by this book. When I saw the title, I was thrilled: I'm very into discussions of how followers of Jesus do practical, everyday life, and so "The Economics of Neighborly Love" sounded like a great chance to examine how our basic economic choices and the economic environments we live in are an arena for applying Jesus' command to love our neighbors. The book did touch on these ideas, but I felt like it only stuck to broad concepts, and barely scratched the surface of real life Pretty disappointed by this book. When I saw the title, I was thrilled: I'm very into discussions of how followers of Jesus do practical, everyday life, and so "The Economics of Neighborly Love" sounded like a great chance to examine how our basic economic choices and the economic environments we live in are an arena for applying Jesus' command to love our neighbors. The book did touch on these ideas, but I felt like it only stuck to broad concepts, and barely scratched the surface of real life choices. For instance, there was little to no discussion of how my choices as a consumer/homeowner/business owner/investor might impact my neighbors for good or for harm. This is not a bad book by any means: I'm thankful for any writing that helps to develop Christian ideas of "secular" work and broaden our sense of calling. However, books like Tim Keller's "Every Good Endeavor", Sherman & Hendricks' "Your Work Matters to God", and Andy Crouch's "Culture Making" do a better job of building a framework for Christian vocation, and Fikkert & Corbett's "When Helping Hurts" does a better job of explaining the relationship between the church, charity, and economics.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bill Pence

    The author’s previous book, Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work is one of my favorite books on integrating faith and work. He writes that far too little has been written or taught about how theology and economics seamlessly intersect. As a pastor, he realized that he had been spending the majority of his time equipping the congregation he served for the minority of their lives. He calls this pastoral malpractice. This pastoral malpractice was impoverishing his congregation in The author’s previous book, Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work is one of my favorite books on integrating faith and work. He writes that far too little has been written or taught about how theology and economics seamlessly intersect. As a pastor, he realized that he had been spending the majority of his time equipping the congregation he served for the minority of their lives. He calls this pastoral malpractice. This pastoral malpractice was impoverishing his congregation in its spiritual formation and gospel mission. He tells us that neighborly love requires that we wisely and intentionally integrate faith, work, and economics for the glory of God and the good of the world. In this book he addresses the following questions: • What does the Bible say about economics? • What does a life of fruitfulness look like? • What role do Christian leaders have in nurturing the economic well-being of their congregations and organizations? • What about the economic well-being of the cities where they minister and serve? Themes covered in the book are economics, work, wealth, poverty, economic injustice, human flourishing and generosity. He finishes this challenging book by asking the reader “When it comes to faith, work, and economic integration, how are you and your church doing? Are you thoughtfully addressing the Sunday-to-Monday gap?” I highlighted a number of passages in this book. Below are 10 of my favorite quotes: 1. A primary way God designed us to love our neighbors is for us to do our work well, and from our work to have the capacity to be generous to neighbors in need. 2. If we have compassion without capacity, we have human frustration. If we have capacity without compassion, we have human alienation. If we have compassion and capacity, we have human transformation. We have neighborly love. 3. Jesus teaches us that neighborly love speaks into the collaborative work we do every day. He insists that our neighborly love should fuel economic flourishing. 4. Jesus came not only to save us from our lives of sin but also to save us for lives of flourishing and fruitfulness. 5. You cannot help your neighbor well if you do not understand economics well, because human flourishing and economic flourishing go hand in hand. 6. Doing our work well matters to God and to our neighbor. The best workers make for the best neighbors. 7. Whether our work is paid or not paid, our work is to glorify God, honor others, and add value to their lives. 8. No matter what our vocational calling is, whether our work is paid or not, our contribution of productivity is a vital manifestation of the flourishing, fruitful life from which we serve and love others. 9. A vital part of spiritual formation is growing in economic understanding, financial management, work productivity, and generosity. 10. One telling sign of resurrection power in any local congregation is that Sunday worship is understood as being closely connected to Monday work and the economy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Robert Durough, Jr.

    I expected there to be some overlap of between Tom Nelson’s The Economics of Neighborly Love: Investing in Your Community’s Compassion and Capacity and the arguments and jargon used by the Institute for Faith, Works, and Economics . What I did not expect was to read a book full of claims, anecdotes, and quotes with very little support for the thesis. Nelson wrote this book to encourage people to use free-market capitalism to love their neighbors with Jesus; it is written, however, in a manner I expected there to be some overlap of between Tom Nelson’s The Economics of Neighborly Love: Investing in Your Community’s Compassion and Capacity and the arguments and jargon used by the Institute for Faith, Works, and Economics . What I did not expect was to read a book full of claims, anecdotes, and quotes with very little support for the thesis. Nelson wrote this book to encourage people to use free-market capitalism to love their neighbors with Jesus; it is written, however, in a manner that requires the reader to already understand what he’s talking about and to already agree with it. Written to encourage “human flourishing,” Nelson does not articulate what “human flourishing” means. Rather than use evidence and hard data to support claims made in the book (he does use some Bible passages in and out of context to support a few things), Nelson uses quotes from others to say the same thing, but does not quote the data and reason for what other authors have written. I certainly do not mean to imply that there is nothing good in this book—there is; but I would not recommend anyone spend money on this. While one may argue certainly argue that we continue to speak, write, and do things despite there being “nothing new under the sun,” I found no reason to read this book over the better reasoned, supported, more concise, readily available, and accessible material that already exists. Instead of writing the book, a blog post of overarching claims and a short bibliography would have been more helpful so that people may actually discover for themselves what it is Nelson desires them to understand. To that end, I would simply suggest perusing the IFWE website and reading the oft quoted When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, which will certainly serve any reader well. *I received a temporary digital copy for review from InterVarsity Press via NetGalley.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    I am totally biased in my review as this is my pastor so wanted to state that up front. Very good book that takes seriously the image of God we posses and the need for human flourishing. This also points out our need for each other. Those of us who have can help those who lack and not just financially but with our time, treasure and wisdom. This book also points out the limits of Government solutions which cannot or do not take into account the Gospel and people's need for connection with their c I am totally biased in my review as this is my pastor so wanted to state that up front. Very good book that takes seriously the image of God we posses and the need for human flourishing. This also points out our need for each other. Those of us who have can help those who lack and not just financially but with our time, treasure and wisdom. This book also points out the limits of Government solutions which cannot or do not take into account the Gospel and people's need for connection with their creator. This is discussed in the section on the reality of poverty being a lack of relationship 1st being with God and his community. Many of the issues in this book are more complex than our culture wants to believe and wisdom is offered that this is a long hard journey that could take decades to solve or improve at least.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michael Taber

    Healthy Perspective of Integrating Work into the Christian Life I like how unapologetic Nelson is in encouraging the church to see economic flourishing as a contributor to human flourishing. I think he’s absolutely correct in naming all the various players (spiritual, emotional, economical, etc.) that come into play with regards to human flourishing. I hope to take some of the principles and apply them to my own life and in the way I communicate within the context I find myself in.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Clayton Blackwell

    Did not offer critiques of our current economics systems that are at play. Did not engage with intersectional ideas on work, labor, capital, or the problem of billionaires. Not all work is good work. Propped up businesses such as Uber, Airbnb, and Facebook as innovative companies, while offering no critique of practices they engage in.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dalen

    I give it three stars for the early chapters encouraging economic literacy among Christians. Unfortunately I don't think this book really helps accomplish that goal. The last few chapters felt like reading an opinion blog without much data backing it and very limited scripture references. I was disappointed by the end after what I found to be a very helpful beginning. I give it three stars for the early chapters encouraging economic literacy among Christians. Unfortunately I don't think this book really helps accomplish that goal. The last few chapters felt like reading an opinion blog without much data backing it and very limited scripture references. I was disappointed by the end after what I found to be a very helpful beginning.

  9. 5 out of 5

    William Horne

    Like Nelson’s other works, this one has some good ideas and directions but doesn’t adequately deal with systematic injustice and is missing key components for this theology of work to be of use outside of middle and upper middle class white spaces.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Evan

    Fill your life with books like this. This isn’t a life changing book but it incites your passion to do well for God’s creation around you. When you want to see someone flourish, enable their community to flourish

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mike Klein

    I might really put this as 3.75. It is good but some of the verses used to validate the author's point felt a little forced. Overall though a thought-provoking read. I might really put this as 3.75. It is good but some of the verses used to validate the author's point felt a little forced. Overall though a thought-provoking read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Thompson

    Enjoyed many parts of it and had some really good takeaways. It was a little hard to get through at points, and I’m not sure I agreed with everything he said.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Justin

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dave Peters

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Latshaw

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kyndall White

  19. 4 out of 5

    Caleb

  20. 4 out of 5

    Malea

  21. 5 out of 5

    Paulette Shilling

  22. 5 out of 5

    Evan Norfleet

  23. 4 out of 5

    Reis Pieper

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Ruhl

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rusty Rueff

  26. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jerry DeRuiter

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cliff Buttermore

  30. 4 out of 5

    David Brock

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