Did you know that Bob Lupton’s book is now the most talked about book among Salvation Army people?

I mentioned Toxic Charity when it was published.  Don LaMar and I attended Lupton’s Toxic Charity workshop at the CCDA conference last October in Minneapolis.  I thanked Bob after his presentation.  He had a big grin on his face.  A big complex grin.bob lupton

Bob is a friend of the Army.  He pokes us with a sharp stick in the book’s chapter on Kroc Centers.  Some of his observations are not totally accurate.

But poking we do need.  I think that is what catches our attention.  We are people who want to do the most good and we are eager to find out from someone with the cred of a Bob Lupton how better to do so.

Here’s Eleanor Shepherd’s goodreads page rating Toxic Charity.  Colonel Eleanor will be a guest with her husband Glen at CBLI this July.  You’ll have to find a paper copy of the Army’s national publication War Cry to see Lupton’s book recommended by Lt. Colonel Joan Canning who serves as Director of the Salvation Army World Service Office.  I think Major Marc Johnson was the first who I heard mention how the book had challenged him.  There are others reading and discussing it including Jason Pope who has an Atlanta association with Bob.

What does it mean, our fascination with Lupton’s tenets of community development?

It could mean that The Salvation Army in America is beginning to examine the quality of its results in bringing change to the communities it serves.  We have been good at quantitative results.  Numbers of food baskets given.  Nights of lodging provided.  Attendances at open gym programs.  Knees of praying penitents at the altar.  Fortune magazine and the American business community love it.  But now more Salvationists are looking at systemic changes as what our work needs to address.  Justice.   Development of communities.  Are they stronger places as a result of our work?  Is our work guided by Lupton’s Oath for Helpers?

In a few weeks Gail and I will team teach community development at our conference for developing youth leaders.  We were pleasantly surprised to find it one of the workshops with the most registrants.  A sign?

Oh, and yes.  I’ve read Bob’s book, too.