Think Fast: a review of 58: Fast Living by Scott C. Todd

The poor will not always be with us.

We can end extreme poverty in this generation.

Crazy talk, right?

Wrong.

I have to admit that I was a little bit — okay maybe a lot — skeptical about Scott Todd’s book 58: Fast Living: How the church will end extreme poverty. End poverty? At least he dreams big.

But something happened as I read — I believed it was possible.

Todd issues a challenge to Christ’s church on earth based on Isaiah 58, calling American believers, in particular, to live and give on behalf of the extremely poor. Yes, he talks about money and giving, quoting shameful numbers regarding tithing in America which should make every one of us who call ourselves “Christian” examine our spending. But he doesn’t leave it at that. He challenges American consumers to shop smarter and support products and companies who promote a cause along with their business (like TOMS shoes), bear the fair-trade label (like Ten Thousand Villages) or offer fair wages to workers (like this company).

When we think about lifting people out of extreme poverty, “made in China” isn’t the first thing to come to mind, but Todd offers that our throwaway made-in-China products DO offer people a chance to make a living and take care of their families. (He doesn’t condone poor working conditions but reminds readers that countries like England and the U.S. have deplorable working conditions in their industry history. He encourages we work toward reform.)

If ending extreme poverty truly concerns us and becomes the cause we champion, then Todd says we need to let people know, including politicians. They need to know we care about extreme poverty.

FAVORITES: Todd doesn’t just tell you what you need to know. He offers real, practical solutions. I mean, when you title a chapter “How Mom Can End Extreme Poverty,” you’d better offer me something I can do between diaper changes and during nap time. To join the movement and get more ideas, visit Live58.org.

FAULTS: This book made me uncomfortable. And that’s a good thing! I’m not comfortable with my level of giving to the poor, my shopping habits or even my belief that poverty might actually be history some day.

IN A WORD: Persuasive. I am moved to do something about poverty after reading this book.

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BOOK WINNER: I didn’t forget! Thanks to all of you who entered to win a copy of Teasi Cannon’s My Big Bottom Blessing. Sadly, only one of you could win. Random.org picked Leigh Ingram! Congratulations, Leigh! I think I literally just tossed out a post-it that had your address on it, so e-mail me at lmbartelt[at]gmail[dot]com and I’ll send it your way!

STILL TIME TO WIN:  And there’s still time to enter to win Unveiling Mary Magdalene by Liz Curtis Higgs. Comment on the blog for a chance to win!

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