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66+ Works 4,341 Members 36 Reviews

About the Author

Ronald J. Sider, PhD, Yale, is senior distinguished professor of theology, holistic ministry and public policy at Palmer Seminary at Eastern Seminary. He is the publisher of PRISM and corresponding editor for Christianity Today, serves as president of Evangelic for Social Action, and has published show more more than thirty books. He and his wife life in Philadelphia. show less
Image credit: Photo from Eastern University

Works by Ronald J. Sider

Living More Simply (1980) 163 copies
Christ and Violence (1979) 133 copies
Preaching on peace (1982) 48 copies
Genuine Christianity (1996) 38 copies
Uncle Jesse 2 copies

Associated Works

Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics (2011) — Contributor — 140 copies
Moral Issues and Christian Responses (1997) — Contributor, some editions — 83 copies
A New Kind of Conservative (2008) — Foreword; Foreword, some editions — 25 copies


Common Knowledge



Eesh, where do I start? I'm so glad this book is over!

Sider and Lowe claim this is a book of intergenerational conversation on important issues facing the Church today (chapter subjects include Evangelism, Postmodernism, Marriage, Homosexuality, Living like Jesus, Politics, Reconciling differences, and Creation care), and write primarily to millennials.

Except, there is no real "conversation." One author says something, then the other author writes a "response" that simply affirms/repeats everything the first man said, albeit in slightly different words.

They talked about being willing to have an open, honest discussion with other Christians, particularly those from another generation, to wrestle with our differences, and not fall for the lie that we all have to believe exactly the same thing for there to be unity within the church. Sounds great and all, but it would have been a lot more convincing if they had more differences between them and there actually was a charitable conversation happening in the book.

My other big problem with the book is that it is all over the place. I like the idea of having multiple people weigh in on "big" issues facing the Church, but this book was too broad, trying to cover too many issues – and because of that, none of the issues were treated with the kind of depth and care required for a researched, respectful text.

I realize that this book was supposed to be a "conversation", but the authors wrote many of their personal beliefs as if they were well-known, proven facts, often without citing references. The rest of their writing was then imploring the Church to care about important issues based on these supposed facts. (For example, Sider believes that homosexual desire is not wrong, but only becomes an issue once a person acts on his desire. Also, he believes that God used evolution to create the world. These are stated as facts.)

There are constant plugs for the authors' other works ("I wrote a whole book on... xyz...") and a lot of self-righteous talk. (i.e., "Here's everything that I'm doing right – and while I'm at it, I may as well tell you a story of how somebody else failed to be like Jesus.")

The book was terribly disjointed and a waste of time.
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RachelRachelRachel | 1 other review | Nov 21, 2023 |
This is a book of papers by various authors that was presented at a conference in the 80s. Parts of it are a bit outdated, but the overall message is still relevant: live more simply (and by this, the authors mean on less money) so that you can give more to those who really need help.

Since there were so many different authors, of course, some of the essays were good and some were less so. A couple of the authors came across as a little judgmental, but for the most part, they were quick to point out that "living simply" will look differently to different people.

A few quotes I liked:

"This created world is a magnificently beautiful gift from our Father and he intends us to enjoy and care for it... however, biblical people should do that in a way that does not neglect the obligations to proclaim the gospel, care for the needy, and seek justice for the oppressed." p 14, Ronald J. Sider

"Does living in the inner city or the wrong neighborhood for the sake of Jesus strain God's ability to take care of his own?" p 170, Gladys M. Hunt

"But we dare not be unconcerned about spiritual famine either. Our spiritual lifestyle is often as extravagant as our material lifestyle. A kind of spiritual greed for experiences, a euphoria about truth, has thousands going from conference to convention and across town to another meeting. Many Christians live in a cozy subculture enjoying group-think." p 164, Gladys M. Hunt

"What hinders believers from the carefree lifestyle Jesus was talking about in the Sermon on the Mount?... Do our possessions reassure us of our worth?.... Is it anxiety about the future? It is true that God is not honored by a failure to plan, but he is less honored by unbelief." p 168, Gladys M. Hunt
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RachelRachelRachel | 1 other review | Nov 21, 2023 |
A much-needed book for today's Christians, especially those living in the West. Sider invites readers to compare their budgets and lifestyles not to their affluent neighbors, like usual, but to the poorest half of the world's people.

This book makes some very good, important points. The focus is on extreme, global poverty, and the large systems that perpetuate deep poverty; problems and solutions are both very big-picture.

Certainly, systemic issues need to be brought to light and remedied, but I think Sider downplayed how important "small" acts by individuals are, and how influential they can be.

Parts 3 and 4 were a bit difficult to get through - there were so many numbers/statistics that they all seemed to blur together after a bit. (And that's coming from someone who enjoys stats.) They also were somewhat repetitive and could have been combined/condensed.

I do wish the author had offered a few more options for giving more generously other than just his "graduated tithe" system, which seemed cumbersome.

He also is a proponent of "population control" in the form of higher education for women, family planning, etc. While I have nothing against education for women or natural family planning, I disagree that humans "should" limit reproduction as a norm. (And education for women should be happening for reasons other than population control!) I believe that children are always a blessing, no matter what circumstances they're born into. I don't think this means everyone needs to get married and have as many children as possible. But I wish Sider had emphasized that if all Christians were living in ways that honored God, children wouldn't be going hungry and the earth wouldn't be being destroyed at the rate it currently is. The solution is not population control, it's obedience to God.

There are many people in our churches today who have never really considered issues of poverty, and I think this would be an excellent resource for a small group Bible study, since members can encourage and support each other through making lifestyle changes, and perhaps choose one organization to generously support financially - together.
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RachelRachelRachel | 11 other reviews | Nov 21, 2023 |
This book brings together in one place Biblical text pertaining to hunger, justice and the poor. With these texts we are reminded of the abiding concern which God has for the hungry and the oppressed, and how we are called to live out that concern in our own lives.
PendleHillLibrary | Nov 17, 2023 |



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