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. I’ll try to put up one example every couple of weeks.

This post’s person I read is Samantha Field.

Samantha Field grew up a military brat in the deep South, spent a number of years with her family in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church, and is now “dismantling [her] life, deconstructing it.”

Her blog covers a range of topics, including the hard reality of leaving a cult, theological reflections, and discussions of important social issues. All of these are excellent. But where she shines, in my opinion, is in her extended reviews and examinations of evangelical relationship advice books like I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Real Marriage. In these posts, she takes us through each book – usually one chapter or so per post – with a deeply critical eye. Through these posts, we learn about relationships in the evangelical world. We also learn about her life, how she’s been shaped by her fundamentalist youth, and how she is working to reshape her life.

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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