God in the Alley

God in the Alley (2004) by Greg Paul

God in the Alley is a well written documentation of street life in Toronto as well as an expose which applies to any city. The varied accounts of stories of some street friends are interspersed with penetrating insights into the hearts of people, combined with a Biblical dimension that speaks to every heart. Keep this close, because you will want to read and re-read it again.

Twenty Piece Shuffle

Twenty Piece Shuffle (2008) by Greg Paul

Unlike society’s extreme contrasts, in God’s economy the comfortable and cast-off live side-by-side, recognizing their need for each other, says Paul. Through stories and spiritual reflections born of years of street ministry, he invites “rich” Christians yearning to live the gospel to truly connect with the ragged and downtrodden—and witness the life-transforming miracles that occur!

The God of Intimacy and Action

The God of Intimacy and Action: Reconnecting Ancient Spiritual Practices, Evangelism and Justice (2007) by Tony Campolo and Mary Albert Darling

In The God of Intimacy and Action, Campolo and Darling attempt to mend the brokenness that exists between spirituality and justice, prayer and protest, loving God and your neighbor. The Church needs teachers like Campolo and Darling who promote a holistic Christianity in which befriending the poor is an act of prayer and prayer an act of justice.

Bent Hope

Bent Hope (2008) by Tim Huff

Bent Hope was born out of Huff’s first twenty years of extensive work among homeless and street-involved youth and adults, in one of North America’s largest urban centers —Toronto. Bent Hope is a collection of narratives birthed beneath crumbling bridges and in the hidden alcoves of darkened alleyways after midnight. These gripping true-life stories surface from the corridors of fear, hurt and uncertainty—and supernaturally transform them into fascinating places of intimacy and godly anticipation.

Taking it to the Streets

Taking it to the Streets (2003) by J. Nathan Corbitt and Vivian Nix-Early

Taking it to the Streets provides church and mission leaders, youth ministers, and students with a historical perspective and theology for understanding the transforming power of the arts, a vocabulary for discussing them outside the sanctuary, and creative methods for bringing faith to action in the streets of society.

The Road to Daybreak

The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey (1988) by Henri Nouwen

Henri Nouwen left the fame and influence he had acquired in academic life at some of America’s most reputable universities to serve as pastor and care-giver in a L’Arche home for the profoundly mentally disabled in Toronto. The Road to Daybreak is his personal journal over the one-year period leading up to this decision.

The Wounded Healer

The Wounded Healer (1979) by Henri Nouwen

What does it mean to be a minister in contemporary society where men and women who want to be of service find the familiar ways crumbling and themselves stripped of their traditional protections? Nouwen addresses the question: “After all my attempts to articulate the predicament of contemporary humanity, the necessity to articulate the predicament of the ministers themselves became most important. For ministers are called to recognize the sufferings of their time in their own hearts and to make that recognition the starting point of their service.” In four parts: Ministry in a Dislocated World/Ministry for a Rootless Generation/Ministry to a Hopeless Individual/Ministry by a Lonely Minister.

Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger

Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity, New Edition (2005) by Ronald J. Sider

After the first edition of this book appeared in 1978, theology professor Ronald J. Sider decided to re-examine the issues in the twenty-first century. Finding that Conservatives blame morally reprehensible individual choices, and Liberals blame constrictive social and economic policy, Dr. Sider agrees with both sides. In this new look at an age-old problem, he offers not only a detailed explanation of the causes, but also a comprehensive series of practical solutions, in the hopes that Christians like him will choose to make a difference.

The Irresistible Revolution

The Irresistible Revolution (2006) by Shane Claiborne

A former Tennessee Methodist and born-again, high school prom king, the 30-year-old Claiborne is a founding member of a radical faith community called ‘the Simple Way’ that is located in a destitute neighborhood of Philadelphia. It is a house of young believers who live among the poor and homeless and who attempt to live like Christ and the earliest converts to Christianity, disregarding social status and material comforts. Claiborne’s work is a challenge to the Church to rethink the meaning of community, conversion, and Christianity.

Everything Must Change

Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises and a Revolution of Hope (2007) by Brian McLaren

Author and Emergent church leader Brian McLaren argues that while the modern church specializes in dealing with ‘spiritual’ needs, it often overlooks the physical and social needs and, thus, fails to address the dominant societal realities of the age: poverty, dysfunction, and global injustice. This provocative work is a challenge to the modern church to think holistically, integrally and in a way that can offer mercy and justice to individuals, societies, and the world.

Affluenza

Affluenza (2001) by John deGraaf, David Wann and Thomas Naylor

Affluenza is a curable disease. This book is the follow-up to the PBS documentaries “Affluenza” and “Escape from Affluenza” which examined the rampant over-consumerism that has overtaken this age.

The Power of Generosity

The Power of Generosity: How to Transform Yourself and Your World (2004) by Dave Toycen

In this volume, Dave Toycen, the president and CEO of World Vision Canada, provides a practical guide to developing a spiritual generosity. He provides thoughtful answers and encouragement to all those looking for ways to be more giving in their lives.

On the Street

On The Street: How We Created Homelessness (2000) by Barbara Murphy

This book is a scholarly treatment of the problem homelessness in Canada. Murphy, an expert in the field, provides much needed statistical information and insight in this balanced, well-reasoned and compassionate presentation.

Upstairs in the Crazy House

Upstairs in the Crazy House (1992) by Pat Caponni

Acclaimed author and social activist Pat Caponni writes of her time spent in a privately-run group home for mentally ill people in Toronto and the effects of Canada closing mental institutions and off-loading the responsibilities to local communities. A real eye-opener.

Dispatches from the Poverty Line

Dispatches from the Poverty Line (1997) by Pat Caponni

Pat Caponni gives us a detailed day-by-day account of her life and rapid descent into poverty as an unemployed person living in Toronto during the early years of the radical policies of the Mike Harris Conservative government.