In the early-ish days of blogging, it was normal to have a blogroll: a list of links to other (often more popular) blogs that the author was interested in. The blogroll would sit calmly in the sidebar and let readers browse their way to other blogs and other authors, discovering fresh ideas and insights. Now, nobody maintains a blogroll. The best hope you have of finding someone else is to follow a link in the body of a post or in a comment or in a link dump. Around here, they also show up in link posts that I share fairly frequently.

But the fact is that I kind of miss the blogroll, and I think that it’s worthwhile to share some of the blogs I read and a note one why I read them. So here’s a new series titled People I Read. I’ll try to put up one example every couple of weeks.

This post’s person I read is Addie Zierman from addiezierman.com.

I’m not sure when I started reading Addie’s blog, but it was in the days when she was still writing about ‘how to talk evangelical.’ Every post would be about a word or phrase from evangelical culture, providing a short definition and a reflection that was often marked by both a nostalgia for that culture and an awareness of its absurdities. Since then, she’s broadened her topics, started writing an advice column, and published a couple of books. And all of it’s very, very good… I assume… I haven’t read the books.

What I like most about Addie’s writing is that she pulls me in. Her writing makes the reader feel like he can call her ‘Addie’. It makes the reader feel like he’s part of a conversation. In other words, it’s not just good subject matter or good ideas; it’s good writing. And that’s important: it’s the kind of writing that writers should read.

Right now, there is a movement in churches and nonprofits arguing that charity is toxic, that helping hurts, and that the entire nonprofit sector needs to be reformed to truly lift people out of poverty. These charity skeptics are telling Christians that traditional charity deepens dependency, fosters a sense of entitlement, and erodes the work ethic of people who receive it. Charity skepticism is increasingly popular; and it is almost certainly wrong.

Now available from Wipf and Stock’s Cascade Books imprint, Radical Charity: How Generosity Can Save the World (And the Church) weaves together research and scholarship on topics as diverse as biblical scholarship, Christian history, economics, and behavioral psychology to tell a different story. In this story, charity is the heart of Christianity and one of the most effective ways that we can help people who are living in poverty. Charity—giving to people experiencing poverty without any expectation of return or reformation—can save the world and help make God’s vision for the church a reality.

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