Monday, March 29, 2010

Review: The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

The Hole in Our Gospel is the story of Richard Stearns, formerly a CEO in corporate America, now president of World Vision USA.  Essentially he challenges the reader to consider the idea that a Christian faith without an emphasis on caring for the world’s poor, is not much of a faith at all.

I had high hopes for this book.  I care passionately about issues of poverty, but to be honest, the book fell flat.  There was nothing here that was new information for someone who’s taken the time to educate themselves on issues of poverty and social justice.  At times it felt a bit as if Stearns had taken it upon himself to preach the same set of tired facts, and I found myself wishing that the book has been more of the memoir of his transition from corporate CEO to president of World Vision, as the book jacket copy seemed to promise, and less of the sermon it turned out to be.  It’s usually stories that inspire me to action, not facts, and this book was light on stories and heavy on facts.  That said, it would be a good read for someone who had very little concept of the poverty crisis facing the world today.

Disclaimer:  This book was provided to me free, for review, by Thomas Nelson Publishers via their program.


shallowfrozenwater said...

what organization do you work for anyway? you've hinted that it was a Mennonite organization so i was assuming that it was some branch of MCC, but i suppose it could be something like World Vision too. i'm just curious if that was the direction you approached this book from. i too wouldn't be interested in a book that generated the same old same old, so thanks for the heads up.

Lisa said...

I actually work for a Mennonnite insurance company that's only in Alberta. But we are in the same building as MCC.

I just sort of have an ongoing passion for poverty issues from being exposed to them for most of my life, and from just having a strong sense of justice and passion for social justice issues.

I could have said a lot more about the book, but they wanted a 200 word review. There were some good bits, but it was a lot of stuff you've already seen, heard and read. I kind of felt like if you'd seen a world vision television ad, and watched anything Bono has done on poverty, you'd pretty much had it covered. Even the scriptures quoted were the old standards, without a lot of new insight to really catch your attention.

And, it was just a bit American. Clearly aimed at the somewhat materialistic member of a very user centered mega-church.

It was funny, because at the time I was struggling to finish reading it so I could review it, I actually read an article on reading non-fiction books from the president of the company that published it, suggesting that most books aren't worth finishing! Not very motivating to continue when you read something like that, but I did in fact read the whole thing...