Reading is a great way to grow in knowledge and imagination. There is so much outside my life experience and reading helps me start to see how my neighbors’ lives might be different from mine. These books are some of my favorites on poverty and racial division/reconciliation.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (2016, Desmond)
“Eviction is a cause, not just a condition, of poverty.” (Desmond)
Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How it Defines Our Lives (2014, Mullainathan & Shafir)
These authors show how experiencing scarcity affects how we think and how we solve problems. They separate the situation of scarcity from the person who is living with it. Very relevant to living in poverty, which is an environment characterized by scarcity.
Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America (2000, Emerson & Smith)
An insightful, methodical examination of how the church explicitly opposes racism but structurally recreates a society divided by race. We cannot change what we do not see. This book revealed layers to our racial division that I could not see before.
Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces the Keep Us Apart (2013, Cleveland)
Class, race, doctrine, geography… there are so many things that separate us. What does it mean to be one in Christ? Can we draw the circle of “us” so that it truly includes everyone? Cleveland explores this with wisdom and grace.
$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America (2015, Edin & Shaefer)
A vivid picture of some individual families living in a very unstable situation. It also has a helpful overview of the 1996 Welfare Reform Bill, including what the policymakers’ goals were and how it has fallen short.
We are disconnected from each other and from our communities. This book explores how that happened and why it matters.
When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor… and Yourself (2009, Corbett & Fikkert)
What is the church’s role in alleviating poverty? This book is excellent. It is the basis of the video-based class I teach.
Smart and funny. Especially worthwhile if you are interested in the relationship between socio-economic status and health.