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How to Give Better

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A friend told me a story about a service club that had built a well for an African village so the women in the village would not have to continue their daily ritual of walking two hours to the nearest fresh water. Filled with righteous anger, my friend exclaimed, “How dare they do that? They took their jobs away! What are those women going to do now? Read a book? I bet those do-gooders are patting themselves on their backs for helping those ‘poor women’! If you no longer had a job, would you feel good or needed?” She then ranted about another church group that had built a well that overflowed, creating a swamp and reintroducing malaria to the region.So here’s the question: It’s a holiday season and charities are begging for our dollars. So many needs — dirty water, starving kids, slavery, homelessness, sadness, suffering, child abuse, churches without stained-glass windows. The list goes on and on. How can we give better?About 800 years ago the acclaimed physician and rabbi Moses Maimonides spelled out what seems to me a pretty good answer in the form of a hierarchy of charitable expression. as a doctor …

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland no longer lives in Uganda and now resides in Michigan with his four youngest kids, ages 5 to 10, where he and his wife, Amy, try to be an example of Parenting for a Peaceful world in which democracy begins at home.

To ask Paul a question, email him directly at [email protected].


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