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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Charity: The Place of the Poor in the Biblical Tradition

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In this stellar meditation on the biblical practice of almsgiving, Gary A. Anderson, a professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame (Ind.) and author of Sin: A History, presents some helpful ways to think about charity to the poor. For many Jews and Christians, it’s a natural thing to see this act of giving to the needy as “an expression of faith in God.” Anderson would also have us open our hearts to beggars looking for handouts as opportunities to meet God in the face of the poor.

He also suggests that giving alms is a loan to God. The spiritual path lies in taking a leap into the dark by trusting that good will come out of giving to the poor.

Other sections cover the links between prayer, fasting and almsgiving; sacrificial giving; and alms as a memorial (Yale University Press).


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