Doing Good Without Giving Up: Sustaining Social Action in a World That's Hard to Change, By Ben Lowe

Doing Good Without Giving Up

Sustaining Social Action in a World That's Hard to Change

by Ben Lowe
Foreword by Ajith Fernando

Doing Good Without Giving Up
  • Length: 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: September 05, 2014
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3679
  • ISBN: 9780830836796

*affiliate partner

  • 12th Annual Outreach Resource of the Year (Social Justice)

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." - Galatians 6:9

If you're working to make the world a better place, you might find yourself discouraged. Needs are overwhelming, resources are limited, opposition is real and progress is slow. How do we persevere when the novelty wears off and our enthusiasm runs out?

We all want change in the world. But as C. S. Lewis put it, we don't get second things by placing them first; we get second things by keeping first things first. As Christians, we don't just aim at change; we aim at faithfulness, and out of faithfulness comes fruitfulness.

Activist Ben Lowe renews our mission with key postures and practices for sustaining faithful social action. What makes social action distinctively Christian includes such things as living out Jesus? love, having a prophetic witness, building bridges with opponents, repudiating idolatries, and practicing repentance and sabbath. Moving beyond theory, Lowe showcases practical examples of what it looks like to persevere in faithful activism and advocacy today.

Take heart. As you work for God, God is at work in you to keep your hope alive.

"As followers of Jesus, we are called to seek social justice and the common good—in short, to change the world. Few young leaders have done as much or worked as hard toward this goal as Ben Lowe has. In his inspirational and thought-provoking book Doing Good Without Giving Up, Ben shows us how to faithfully pursue social justice without losing heart when the change we seek doesn´t happen as quickly or as easily as we might hope. Anyone who seeks to change the world for the better should read this book. A new generation of faith leaders like Ben Lowe gives me real hope."

Jim Wallis, president, Sojourners

"Drawing on his experience as a student activist, environmentalist, congressional candidate, and multicultural neighbor, Ben Lowe provides helpful guidance on how concerned Christians can live as salt and light in a troubled world. More importantly, he offers hard-won wisdom on how to sustain and rebuild spiritual integrity that can nurture youthful enthusiasm into mature faithfulness and effective service. Doing Good Without Giving Up will be appreciated by new believers and long-time Christ-followers alike."

Galen Carey, vice president, National Association of Evangelicals

"Activists and revolutionaries don't always end well. Some burn out, some sell out, some buy in. Others destroy their families, forget their God or become obsessed with themselves. Ben Lowe mixes the idealistic passion of youth with the field-tested wisdom of an elder. He'll help you rekindle your fire, reclaim your innocence and fall in love with Jesus all over again. This book guides you both in how to start and how to end well as you join with God in the revolutionary, tiring, holy work of building a better world."

Shane Claiborne, author and activist

"Ben Lowe is a leader for our times. He combines his love for Jesus, people and justice in a way that offers hope. This book challenges us to persevere as faithful activists."

Leroy Barber, global executive director, Word Made Flesh, and author of Everyday Missions

"Ben Lowe tells you how to keep your passion for justice alive while avoiding burnout and compassion fatigue. He has learned the hard way how to balance the journey inward and the journey outward. Ben is wise beyond his years. May God send us more activists like him."

David Neff, former editor in chief of Christianity Today

"I am grateful for a younger leader like my friend Ben Lowe, who has the courage to articulate a bold vision for investing our lives to make our world what God intended it to be. As a thirty-five-year veteran of urban ministry and community activism, I found his book Doing Good Without Giving Up inspiring, encouraging and filled with wisdom."

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association

"Doing Good Without Giving Up asks hard questions—the questions we all wrestle with—and gives honest, hopeful and practical answers for sustaining meaningful impact. Ben reflects on his own journey along the way, distilling principles from which we can all learn. I commend this book to you."

Stephan Bauman, president and CEO, World Relief

"A fresh voice with a compelling perspective, Ben sounds the call from the new generation—radically committed to Jesus Christ and the gospel in its fullness, doing difficult work in hard places, resisting easy answers and not giving up. An encouraging read for those who are faithfully serving and a prescriptive read for those who are just beginning. The word for today!"

Jo Anne Lyon, general superintendent, The Wesleyan Church

"In the now overcrowded genre of justice literature, Lowe does the church a great service in providing practical guidelines for the long, hard road of doing good. Lowe calls us to transcend a superficial engagement of our world and press into the complexities of culture and social action. As a Southeast Asian brought up with the ubiquity of idols, Lowe points out the true heart of idolatry and helps us understand how much of today's activism is no different than the worship of religious idols. Pressing for an authentic commitment to both Christ and culture, Lowe's work is as profound theologically as it is helpful for practical, everyday life. With recommendations on how to deal with failure and burnout, practices for Sabbath-keeping as an activist and spiritual formation rhythms, Lowe's contribution to the justice category is invaluable and a must-read for those committed to a life-style of loving mercy and walking humbly with God."

R. York Moore, Outreach Magazine's Resources of the Year, March/April 2015

"Doing Good is practical and balanced. Rather than promote airy ideals, Lowe peppers flesh-and-blood examples and specific action steps throughout every section. . . . Lowe's graciousness with those at different points than him on the political and theological spectrum is impressive. . . . Doing Good is a refreshing reminder to our culture of fear, sounding instead a call for faithful social action grounded in a love that casts out all fears."

Liuan Huska, Sojourners, March 2015

"Lowe writes in an easy-to-read, conversational tone that avoids the polemical. This book would be particularly helpful to high school or college students who want to work in social advocacy but are feeling daunted by the seemingly boundless task."

Terry Maksymowych, Catholic Library World, Vol. 85, No. 3


Begin Here: Prophets of a Future Not Our Own

Part One: Renewing Our Mission
1 Wait, Don?t Give Up!
2 Is Social Action Necessary?
3 Overcoming Obstacles to Social Action
4 Reconciling Evangelism and Social Action
5 Transcending the Culture Wars
6 Restoring a Faithful Agenda

Part Two: Sustaining Our Action
7 Love
8 Prophecy
9 Opposition
10 Idolatry
11 Repentance
12 Sabbath
13 Contemplation
14 Community
A Final Word: Onward


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Ben Lowe

Ben Lowe is on staff with the Evangelical Environmental Network and serves as the national spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. A dedicated activist and organizer, Ben was raised a missionary kid in Southeast Asia and now lives as part of an intentional community in a refugee and immigrant neighborhood outside Chicago, where he ran for US Congress in 2010. He is a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and the author of Green Revolution.