Monday, September 10, 2007

Poverty and the Absence of Linkages

Here's a link to an interesting interview by Andy Crouch with Jayakumar Christian, executive director of World Vision India, entitled, Powering Down. At Breakthrough we talk alot about isolation and how it leads to poverty. We are trying to reweave the fabric of the community, linking people together. We also talk about our own transformation and about our dependence upon God. Below are some quotes from the article that show that even though we are different organizations on opposite sides of the world and in very different cultures, God is teaching us the same lessons.
The word we use is linkages. Poverty is the absence of linkages, the absence of connections with others. So we look for opportunities to link powerless communities with people with good intentions, people with good hearts—government officials, health officials, panchayat presidents, headmasters in schools—who have an influence in the local area and who mean good. We work closely with them.

We need to influence the powerful on behalf of the poor.

We are learning how much we need to be transformed ourselves. As much as the poor are in need of transformation, World Vision is in need of real, desperate transformation: in our understanding of power, our tendency to play God, our tendency to become the spectacular "savior." We need to be continuously confronted with those brutal facts. It is the transformed quality of our lives that will ultimately make the difference. Not our strategies, not our money—we must constantly ask ourselves whether these tools get in the way of investing our lives.

We constantly remind ourselves that our organization is dependent on God. We might have budgets, strategies, professionalism, and sophistication in organizational practices, but those do not explain our effectiveness. Our effectiveness is explained by our dependence on God.


Mikkele said...

i was just talking to my brother about this yesterday. i recently started working at a corporate office in orange county, california, and we are interviewing for a new position. the interview process is such a strange one-- there are key words and phrases that you look for in resumes, specific formats, etc. but it all seems so silly because you're supposed to look through all the "key words" to find the real content. the professional world just kind of seems like a big club, and if you can afford to learn the right words to say then you're in. its just one more pointless obstacle to keep the poor people out. one more reason we need people to speak on behalf of them.

Paul Luikart said...

I like that way of looking at poverty, that it's the abscence of linkages. I think that's pretty true in the lives of the guests at Breakthrough. I've noticed many times that the guests with larger and more diverse support networks (i.e. are linked to more people)have a much greater chance of coming up out of their present situations.

Marshall said...

Arloa - stumbled across your blog looking for Ray Bakke, and have enjoyed reading your posts. My wife and I work in a poor-er neighborhood in Greensboro, NC, and your posts are encouraging. God bless you.