Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Well This Should Be Interesting...

Jocelyn and I signed up for this Humanitarian/Missions and Coffee discussion group thinking well we'd be in a group of left of center humanitarian focused individuals and found ourselves dealing with a group we may not have aligned ourselves with. As we talked on the way out of the meeting and as I think about it now, I am trying to pin point the moment where "missions" is no longer about "THE mission" aka salvation of the masses and when it becomes a personal mission to contribute to something long term, sustainable and ultimately in many ways truly subversive to the prevailing culture. Jocelyn noted, and I agree that the stigma attached to western views of mission work or western Christian organizations is this desire to overlay and in essence suppress the prevailing social configuration without actually addressing any of the systemic issues. In doing so all that is done is to add Western ideals of success and ultimately our idolatry into a society that cannot even with consistency provide peace,education, health care and food to its people. What is needed is rather the focus of sustainability and ultimately a more or less justice point of view - a model focused on fair trade, practical skills and an understanding that the main focus should be a constructive, functioning society. Through these combined aspects the issue of war, gender crimes (female circumcision for example) and the epidemics - like AIDS can be addressed. The model of practical aid has always been my perspective and or understanding of "missions" - maybe because that's similar to the MCC model or more because that's just what made sense - who cares about religion when you're starving- sure Christ says He will provide - I just wonder if someone in the religious based organizations missed the point - in that He will provide but it comes through practical, basic action - food - needs work, it needs water, it needs an understanding of crops and all that - a prayer service for food in a church built with money from old ladies in Oklahoma isn't necessarily going to cut it.

So on that note I should try and retire - I was going to go to the gym tomorrow morning but it's late and that would require getting up early - not to mention I think I have a lot of reading I need to accomplish in the next week - Naomi et al, as well as some research on MCC.

Photo: http://flickr.com/photos/robandmary/15462216/ - has been posted before...

2 comments:

Shawn said...

Check out swi.org, they are a small grass roots missions organization who's only aim is to bring aid to war-torn and disaster areas such as Darfur, northern Pakistan, etc. They go into these very dangerous places only to bring food, medicine, clothing. They don't say "we will give you aid if you let us convert you."

Oh and by the way, it was nice to see someone in Canada including themselves in the equation of the problem instead of just blaming everything on the U.S.

jocelyn said...

Oh, believe me. We are part of the problem... there just aren't as many of us, that's all.