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How Much Is Enough?: Hungering for God in an Affluent Culture [Paperback]

Arthur Simon
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2003
In a world filled with both prosperity and poverty, how can Christians handle their finances in a way that honors God? In How Much Is Enough?, Arthur Simon takes an uncompromising look at America's wealth, reflecting what dominates the hearts and motivations of its people. He diagnoses Western civilization as sick with "affluenza," or runaway materialism, and shows readers how to reject the disease and set new priorities.
Churches, social ministry groups, and thoughtful readers will be enlightened by Simon's grasp of Western affluence against the backdrop of a world where 800 million people are chronically starving. Readers will gain a clearer understanding of how money becomes an object of worship when passion for material things is stronger than compassion for the poor. Simon's life-changing book also reveals how affluenza takes control of people's lives and goals.
Without discounting prosperity as a blessing, How Much Is Enough? proposes new pathways to living as disciples of Jesus. It suggests a myriad of solutions for taming materialism and sheds light on the profound reality that possessions may capture our hearts, but they are unable to nourish our souls.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

"Why is it that in the face of unprecedented prosperity, so many of us feel discontented?" asks Simon, founder and past president of Bread for the World. In this hard-hitting and well-written book, Simon encourages North American Christians to examine how their materialistic culture has stunted their compassion and driven a wedge between themselves and God. Drawing on writers such as Richard Foster, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Johann Christoph Arnold, Simon speaks compellingly of "the poverty of riches" and "the weakness of power." This book does not make simplistic arguments about money being evil, but instead cautions about what money can do to corrupt people if they are not vigilant and rooted in God's kingdom. One especially insightful chapter explores the titular question of how much is enough, arguing that while there are no easy formulas, there are strong reasons for Christians to "stay behind the Joneses." This book stands with others by Tom Sine, Ronald Sider and Tony Campolo in arguing that social responsibility is just as important a value for Christians as personal holiness.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

Why, in the face of unprecedented affluence, do so many feel discontented? Because possessions may capture the heart, but they cannot nourish the soul. How Much Is Enough? maintains that only the source of joy can give us joy. It points the way to release from captivity to things and to the joy of following Christ.

"This is one of the easiest books you will ever read-and one of the most difficult. Though there is not a word here that will be unintelligible to anyone, the challenge that Art Simon presents to every reader will leave you gasping for breath at times and at other times may prompt you to hurl the book across the room. Within the context of the United States of America at the beginning of the twenty-first century, this book may even strike some as a kind of obscenity-how dare he speak to us this way? It is, in fact, a sign of contradiction for our age, the very thing we don't want to know about, the only way that can bring us peace."
Thomas Cahill, author of How the Irish Saved Civilization, The Gifts of the Jews, and Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus

"Direct, concrete, deeply rooted, and compelling."
Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"Art Simon deepens our trust in God's bountiful grace and thereby empowers us to apportion our wealth more openhandedly. Share this book with everyone you know-the world can't wait for justice!"
Marva J. Dawn, author of Unfettered Hope: A Call to Faithful Living in an Affluent Society

"Art Simon invites us to a new way of living that, freed from the shackles of consumption, is the way of gratitude and generosity. And he leaves it up to each of us to think through, and pray through, exactly what that means for us."
Richard John Neuhaus, editor in chief, First Things

"Superb. The distilled wisdom of a lifetime of faithful obedience and creative leadership. If American Christians would truly read and understand this powerfully simple book, the result would be a cascading abundance of joy and justice."
Ronald J. Sider, president, Evangelicals for Social Action

Arthur Simon is founder and president emeritus of Bread for the World and author of The Politics of World Hunger, Bread for the World, and Grace at the Table: Ending Hunger in God's World.

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
Arthur Simon has written a masterpiece. Being insightful but not judging, Simon describes why our culture keeps us from focusing on what is truly important and gently instructs us how to live a life of purpose and integrity. This easy to read book leaves us with a haunting feeling that there is so much more that we can do to make the world a better place. It forces us to leave our self-centered being to reach out and serve others. How Much Is Enough also demonstrates how adopting this framework for living will in turn benefit you as well as those you serve.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read For Those Wanting To Live a Life of Integrity June 26 2003
By Kurt Senske - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Arthur Simon has written a masterpiece. Being insightful but not judging, Simon describes why our culture keeps us from focusing on what is truly important and gently instructs us how to live a life of purpose and integrity. This easy to read book leaves us with a haunting feeling that there is so much more that we can do to make the world a better place. It forces us to leave our self-centered being to reach out and serve others. How Much Is Enough also demonstrates how adopting this framework for living will in turn benefit you as well as those you serve.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perspective April 19 2008
By Jen Hatmaker Fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I happened upon this book at Amazon and it is one of the best books I have read. I finished it in about 2 days, put it down and then started all over again. We all need a fresh perspective on our lives now and then, and this book did that for me. When our lives are spent acquiring things it is easy to conclude that the quality of life is based on what we have or what can be purchased. This book is so important in the affluent culture we live and are raising our children. I love the viewpoint, that we often find ourselves "keeping up with the Jones'" when in fact WE are the Jones' for much of the population. We always seem to compare ourselves to those who have more than we have, not those who have less. This book is like taking blinders off your eyes!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this will make you think Aug. 17 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I took a class and had to read this book--it will make you think and realize just how selfish and greedy we as a society have become. Highly recommend this one.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book Dec 23 2009
By Sister Benedicta - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I recently purchased How Much is Enough? by Arthur Simon as it was required reading for a class I am taking. The book is easy to read and is full of thought-provoking and soul searching statements. Arthur Simon can be likened to a prophet in our own day and age. I thank him for making me question how Christian I have been. I am a Conservative and I expected to be put off by the content or the way the message was delivered ... I wasn't. I recommend the book to anyone who wants to grow spiritually.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely thought provoking Jan. 13 2012
By M. Murray - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is not a book that says "stuff is bad." It digs into the attitudes and assumptions we make about the trappings we associate with success and plenty and also some of the consequences of accepting the larger culture's value system. Definitely worth the time to read.
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