Book Explores Christian Compassion
By MONTY LYNN
As a business professor at ACU, I have had the good fortune of teaching an undergraduate course in global poverty alleviation for nearly two decades.
The course was crafted when students expressed an interest in the developing world but were unsure how to bridge gaps between the Global South and North.
Although my frequent focus has been on economic research and humanitarian reports, the historic role of religion in global compassion is difficult to miss. The more I drew from this deep well, the more I wanted to share with others, and I am delighted to do so in Christian Compassion: A Charitable History (Wipf & Stock, 2021).
A brisk journey through Christianity highlights ancient and modern attempts by disciples of Christ to press for liberation and justice, extend peace and humanitarianism, and join in mutual aid and community development.
Care is expressed in times of persecution and plague, in traveler hostels and child sponsorships, in pharmacies and prison reform, bridge building societies, youth organizations, and in beloved community.
History invites us to rediscover virtue development in caring, innovations in gift giving, and reconciliation among enemies. Christians evolve in their thinking about compassion, and their various attempts bloom in variegated forms.
Religious history should not be rose-colored; religious actors act unjustly at times. Nevertheless, the historical ideas, institutions, and innovations of compassion cascade through the centuries to influence and inspire us today. By considering them, they enlarge our imagination of what it means to “do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
Monty Lynn is Professor of Management and International Development at Abilene Christian University