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Shrewd Samaritan

Faith, Economics, and the Road to Loving Our Global Neighbor
Narrated by: Mike Terry
Length: 9 hrs and 17 mins

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Summary

Learn to live the message of the Good Samaritan and make a global impact using the resources already at your disposal.

If there were a popularity contest among all the parables of Jesus, the Good Samaritan would probably win. Nobody is against the Good Samaritan because being against the Good Samaritan is like being against Mother Theresa or Oskar Schindler or the firefighters who ran into the World Trade Center. In that same popularity contest, the Shrewd Manager would probably finish last. The Shrewd Manager is lazy, deceitful, and double-crossing. Yet in this alluringly freakish parable, Jesus actually holds up the Shrewd Manager as an example, as he does with the Good Samaritan.

This audiobook is about learning to live the message of the Good Samaritan in the context of the globalized world of the 21st century. This means learning to love our global neighbor wisely by harnessing the resources at our disposal - our time, talents, opportunities, and money - on behalf of those who are victims of injustice, disease, violence, and poverty.

The early disciples were pretty clueless about worldly resources such as time, talent, and money - and unfortunately, today, we still don’t really get it. There are too many kind, well-intentioned 21st-century people with indisputably good intentions but whose impact on the needy is hampered by their inability to diagnose problems properly, harness the resources available to them to solve the right problems, and understand cause-and-effect relationships.

Shrewd Samaritan will help develop a framework to better love and care for our neighbors in an age of globalization, when the people in our neighborhoods, or at least those in our potential sphere of influence, has expanded dramatically. Increasingly, it will become our global neighbor who takes us out of our comfort zone and challenges us with the needs of a broken world.

Charts, notes, and study guide are available in the audiobook companion PDF download. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Bruce Wydick (P)2019 Thomas Nelson

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  • J. Paris
  • 16-08-19

insightful and Inspiring

Fantastic book for anyone who who would like to be wise in extending compassion to others.

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  • Jethro Nolt
  • 27-11-19

An excellent overview of a complex topic.

“Without heart we are unmotivated to engage the poor and needy. Without mind, we do so ineffectually. Heart and mind are the twins of fruitful engagement with our global neighbor.” (Page 149)

In Shrewd Samaritan, Dr. Bruce Wydick points out that many of us spend far more time researching an expensive item we are purchasing for ourselves than we spend researching the effectiveness of the programs and organizations we donate money to. But how do we even begin to understand the complexity of poverty intervention? One of the aims of this book is to make the complex topic of global poverty alleviation efforts more accessible to the non-academic.

Shrewd Samaritan is one of the most helpful books I've ever read on the topic of global development. It discusses some introductory ethics ideas to lay a framework for poverty alleviation. What are we actually trying to do? From there he moves into an overview of some of the contributing factors of global inequality and why some economies are poor while some economies are wealthy. He is thorough enough to be effective, but accessible enough to be easily understood by people like myself with no formal economics education.

Then he talks about specific forms of poverty intervention and how effective they are. He draws information from academic researchers who have rigorously studied different forms of poverty alleviation and quantifies their effectiveness using an easily understood five star rating system. How effective are child sponsorship programs? How effective is micro-credit lending? These efforts and many more are examined, analyzed, and explained to give the reader an understanding of the most effective use of the time and finances they wish to contribute to poverty intervention efforts.

The book's title comes from Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10, and the parable of the Shrewd Manager from Luke 16. Dr. Bruce Wydick speaks as a Christian researcher, and his faith does shape his approach to the ethics of development. If you disagree with his spiritual views, I would still encourage you to give the book a read.

And finally, the book concludes with a fascinating appendix, "Sinister Tips for Mission Trips." In the style of C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters, this section gives us a glimpse into the email correspondence from a senior demon to a junior demon on the best way to make a short term mission trip as ineffective and harmful as possible. It's an entertaining, thought-provoking conclusion to the book.

Without a doubt, Shrewd Samaritan is one of the most helpful books for understanding how to be effective in global poverty intervention efforts. It is a book I will be recommending to all who are interested in learning more about this topic.