Toxic Charity -Will Varner

Now that I have read the book Toxic Charity by Robert Lupton I can finally reflect on it.  I have learned many thing that I did not expect to learn, the main one being there are many bad forms of charity. I used to think that any giving to the poor Asa’s a great thing! My family used to do exactly what Lupton did on Chirstmas Eve and buy gifts for the poor. We would always buy bikes at Wal-mart and take them to a charity that was giving to the poor. It never even once entered my head the effect it would have on the parents of the children. It is sad to think how you can be creating so much happiness and embarrassment in the same act of giving. Not to mention the long term effects it will create. It makes so much sense when Lupton explains that it teaches these children to expect gifts from others and to wait for handouts.

This book has changed everything I thought about charity. It is not really discouraging at all, I am glad I have a more knowledgeable view on how I can help and the right ways to help. I couldn’t help but think of my Uncle throughout the entire book. I think Robert Lupton would love to meet this great man. He lives in Texas and travels to Mexico everyday to perform mission work. He mainly builds schools for the deaf and blind, but will help out anyone in a instant if I they need it. I can remember back when I was around 8 years old we went town to help and really see what all my uncle was doing down there. Like Lupton was saying in the book, he got the locals to help him build the schools and was able to teach them the proper techniques. He would even drive into the city to pick up workers from their homes! I was lucky enough to experience this and see the smiles on their faces when we honked the horn and they came running outside. I believe my uncle was a perfect example of doing it right just like the mission group who TAUGHT the locals how to build the well and a install the water pump instead of doing it for them. He definitely strives for “development” instead of “betterment.”

This book has taught me that charity is a wonderful thing that needs to be monitored closely. It has taught me that you need to have a well thought out plan of who you are going to help and how that help will effect the community. Lupton presents countless examples of how charity can go wrong and also how charity can go right. He shows us how you can have all the money in the world and still not have a charity that will help in the long run. After reading this book I want to give it to many of my friends that perform lots of charity work so they can know if they are helping or really hurting. I believe that this book needs to be read before any group goes on a mission trip or any type of charity is performed.

-Will Varner


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