Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Post Tagged 'charity'

Bonanza’s Adam Cartwright, a Cowboy in Black

In this week’s Acton Commentary, I adapt a section from my latest book focusing on an instance of “cowboy compassion” we find in an episode of Bonanza. I focus on the example of Adam Cartwright, who helps out an economically-depressed family faced with the tyranny of a greedy scrooge, Jedediah Milbank. Continue Reading...

Is Augustine Obnoxious, Too?

Earlier this week, Elise noted an essay by Rev. Schall, which asked, “Do Christians Love Poverty?” Michael Sean Winters at the National Catholic Reporter also responded to the piece, with the comment, “Almost everything about this essay is obnoxious.” But I think Winters really misses the central insight of Schall’s piece, which really is an Augustinian point: A person who sorrows for someone who is miserable earns approval for the charity he shows, but if he is genuinely merciful he would far rather there were nothing to sorrow about. Continue Reading...

The Opposite of Love

A common lesson that many of us were taught in grammar school was what defined an ‘opposite.’ As children we learn that hot and cold are antonyms; as are bad and good, living and dead, love and hate. Continue Reading...

Making ‘Good Intentions’ Good

I recently wrote on the implications of “pathological altruism,” a term coined by Oakland University’s Barbara Oakley to categorize altruism in which “attempts to promote the welfare of others instead result in unanticipated harm.” In a segment from the PovertyCure series, HOPE International’s Peter Greer offers a good example of how this can play out, particularly in and through various outreaches of the church: Oakley’s paradigm depends on whether such harm can be “reasonably anticipated,” and as Greer’s story indicates, far too often the church isn’t anticipating much at all. Continue Reading...

Enterprise is the Most ‘Effective Altruism’

Many of you know Jay Richards from his regular lecturing at Acton University. He has a newly co-authored piece in The Daily Caller, “Enterprise is the most ‘effective altruism.’” There’s more to be said on the complex issue of helping the poor than can be put in a single op-ed, of course, but there’s some great food for thought here, particularly for those who view business and markets as necessarily part of the problem. Continue Reading...

Amity Shlaes on ‘The Good Rich’ and the Folly of Philanthropy

In a new book, The Good Rich and What They Cost Us, Robert Dalzell Jr. aims to address “a great paradox at the core of the American Dream: a passionate belief in the principles of democracy combined with an equally passionate celebration of wealth.” In a review for the Wall Street Journal, Amity Shlaes notes that although the book provides an in-depth look at the history of American philanthropy, the author’s own personal prescriptions lend too high a trust to government redistribution: “The Good Rich” starts out like a tour through a portrait gallery, describing rather than judging. Continue Reading...

David Platt, Wealth, and the Work of the Gospel

Over at Thought Life, Owen Strachan uses David Platt’s book, Radical Together, as a launching pad for asking, “Are you and I making and using money as if there is no such thing as the work of the gospel?” I’ve already written about my disagreements with Platt’s approach in his first book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, and Strachan expresses similar reservations. Continue Reading...