Title: Practicing the King’s Economy: Honoring Jesus in How We Work, Earn, Spend, Save, and Give
Authors: Michael Rhodes and Robby Holt with Brian Fikkert
Genre: Nonfiction – Christian, economics, social justice
Publisher: Baker Books
Number of Pages: 317
(Disclaimer: If you purchase the book from Amazon through my link, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.)
Practicing the King’s Economy explores ways in which Christians can manage money, be generous, and make a positive difference in the world.
My experience with this book alternated between good and bad. Some parts of it are inspiring and practical. Some parts I do not agree with (although I acknowledge I could be wrong). This was a very difficult, and sometimes confusing book for me. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think the way I reacted to it has a lot to do with my personal background and situation and less to do with the content of the book.
First the good stuff. The authors’ enthusiasm and hope for a better world are contagious. This book has changed my perspective in a good way by making me less selfish and more thoughtful of ways I can do good in the world. It made me stop thinking, “there’s nothing I can do” and made me realize there are things I can do.
I like that the authors advocate a “potluck” society in which everyone contributes, even the poor. Everyone has something to offer, and allowing everyone to contribute respects their dignity and purpose. In a soup kitchen setting, maybe the homeless people do the cooking while the volunteers provide the food. And then everyone eats together. When everyone contributes and dines together, relationships are built and the gap between the poor and better-off is eliminated.
I love that this book is a means of sharing ideas. The authors bring up a lot of interesting points, and even though there’s plenty I didn’t agree with, I still appreciate this book as a way to get discussions going. The authors did mention that readers might not like some of their ideas, but if that is the case, to come up with new ideas.
Now some of the things I didn’t like. The book sometimes grabbed my attention, and then sometimes lost it. Sometimes I felt a little insulted by things it said. Also, some things the book says might be true, but they’re hard for me to accept. But still, there were many arguments with flawed logic. Evidence is sometimes inadequate (such as equating one individual instance as evidence for universal truth) and often one-sided and ignores other aspects of the story. What really bothered me was that many things the book suggests are completely unfair.
The book might be for a different target audience than myself. It seems to be for people who are older than me (not a millennial who isn’t married and doesn’t have kids), who have a traditional job at a traditional company, and who have employees and authority at their company. I felt like an outsider looking in. The ideas were often completely impractical for me and sometimes seemed aimed more at leaders in a church (which is what one of the authors is). The book assumes the reader is fairly well-to-do, or at least not “just getting started.”
Some of the ideas are irresponsible. The book encourages giving money even if we are not financially stable. But that seems unwise and would lead to not being able to give to others and instead needing others to give to us. This is exactly what happens in a story the authors tell, except they say this is a good thing and speak favorably of the example. I cannot agree. If you’ve ever seen the movie Mom’s Night Out, you know the scene where Sean Astin says that on airlines they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before you help someone else put on theirs. I like this analogy for economics, too.
There are other major problems in the book, but I don’t want to list them without an explanation and this review is already long. So to sum up, the best things about this book, in my opinion, are the discussions it brings up and that it causes readers to consider important matters and what each person can do to make the world better. It certainly gives me a lot to think about.
I received a copy of this book from Baker Book Bloggers.