Choices for churches
Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing. By Dennis A. Jacobsen. Fortress, 128 pp., $14.00 paperback.
Transforming Charity: Toward a Results-Oriented Social Sector. By Ryan Streeter. Hudson Institute, 168 pp., $16.95 paperback.
In the tradition of that irascible genius Saul Alinsky, for the past 60 years community organizers have been encouraging churches to join the battle against the forces that sustain poverty, racism, sexism and other oppressive conditions. During the past decade all four major organizing networks (IAF, DART, PECO and the Gamaliel Foundation) have included theologians as leaders in their national training meetings as part of an increasingly aggressive effort to recruit churches for metropolitan organizing. New on the horizon is the equally aggressive and well-funded response of conservative forces recruiting congregations into a network of militant organizations devoted to combating poverty. Because the two camps rest on similar religious values and organizing principles, they may be easily confused. But they are in many ways opposites.