“Good intentions and kindhearted spirits, while commendable, are insufficient guarantees of positive outcomes. Unexamined service that risks leaving the served worse off than if they had been left alone is irresponsible if not unethical.”
Thursday, September 20, 2007
I get Bob Lupton's Urban Perspectives letter every month and always read it. Bob is a humble guy with a great sense of humor and I have learned so much from the wisdom he has gained during his years of urban ministry in Atlanta. Matt sent me this link to his September letter about the issues we need to consider when we try to help people.
Monday, September 10, 2007
"When Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves, it was not just for our neighbors' sakes that he commanded it, but for our own sakes as well. Not to help find some way to feed the children who are starving to death is to have some precious part of who we are starve to death with them. Not to give ourselves to the human beings we know who may be starving not for food but for what we have in our hearts to nourish them with, is to be, ourselves, diminished and crippled as human beings."
- Frederick Buechner
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.
The training is getting pretty intense now with less than a month to go to the Chicago marathon. I got my bib number in the mail today, #45140!! This picture is from the finish line of the Scenic Ten in Park Forest, the ten mile race I ran in on Labor Day. I cried after the gun went off just at the realization that God has given me this gift of being fit enough to run. I'm so grateful. It was also very inspiring to run with people who were obviously handicapped or much older than me. It reminded me of how blessed I am. I ran 14 miles yesterday. Next weekend I will attempt twenty. I still need $700 to meet my fundraising goal for World Vision. Please help me help World Vision to meet the AIDs crisis in Africa.