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Another Way to Love: Christian Social Reform and Global Poverty

Acorn Press, 2009
RRP $25.00 (including postage)

Reviewed by Dr Brian Edgar, Professor of Theological Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary, New York

Another Way to Love is a production of World Vision which not only sets out reasons for Christians being involved in advocacy, aid and development but also delineates some of the specifically Christian attitudes and actions that influence the form and structure of a Christian response. Overall, it is an argument that there is a particular way of loving which emerges out of having a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Those who may read a book like this hardly need persuading that injustice and poverty are global realities and this book does not spend much time persuading people of this – rather it focuses on developing an explicitly Christian framework for advocacy, aid and development and exploring certain aspects of social reform relating to fair trade, climate change, child slavery, the Micah Challenge, debt relief and public services.
The various contributors make it clear that a Christian perspective makes a difference. One contributor, Tim Costello, writes that understanding the situation as nothing other than evil influences the intensity of one’s response. Poverty can no longer be seen as either inevitable or unresolvable, there is a gospel of hope and not merely an economic answer.
Dr Jayakumar Christian discusses how poverty is more than a socio-economic issue, it is grounded in flawed relationships and distorted power relations. There should be no surprise in understanding that a change in those power relationships will disturb the powerful.
The second half of the book has useful and encouraging examples of the way that focussed advocacy really works. Examples include the effect of a fair trade program on coffee growers in Ethiopia, child slavery in the production of chocolate, and advocacy concerning Make Poverty History.
The theology is very accessible and the contributors all speak from experience. The book is extremely positive and demonstrates that ‘faith active in love’ (Galatians 5:6) produces Another Way to Love which can really make a difference. It is a book about success and change and the way that focussed advocacy can help the world’s poor.
Another Way to Love is available from the World Vision website www.worldvision.com.au