Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Post Tagged 'charity'

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...

Augustine on ‘Spiteful Benevolence’

Yesterday in conjunction with this week’s Acton Commentary I looked at Tim Riggins’ gift of freedom to his brother and the corresponding sense of responsibility that resulted. When Tim takes the rap for Billy, Billy has a responsibility to make something of his life. 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...

Wealth and Political Rhetoric in Ancient Christian Perspective

Last Thursday, NPR ran an interesting piece by Alan Greenblat that featured the perspective of several of the nation’s rich (read: annual household income over $250,000) in relation to President Obama’s determination that the Bush era tax increases end for the nation’s rich as part of any deal related to the looming “fiscal cliff.” The article features a variety of perspectives, but I would like to reflect upon one particular section of that article here. Continue Reading...

Acton Commentary: Desiccated Christianity

“When Christian institutions attempt to mitigate or compromise this understanding of their mission–often as the result of the political pressure–they morph into shadowy versions of their former selves,” writes Rev. Robert A. Continue Reading...

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