Sunday, September 30, 2007

September 20, 2007

I spend much of my time reading these days. I have been devouring book after book as I journey toward a life of helping the poor and the oppressed. There have been moments of awe, frustration, and joy as I have flipped the through the many pages of text. God has truly brought me here and it has been so evident that this school, this program, is where I am supposed to be.

A foundational book to what this program on International Economic Development is about is called Walking With the Poor: Principles and Practices for Transformational Development, by Bryant Myers of World Vision. In it Myers tries to get the reader to understand that poverty is much more complex than we would like to believe, that poverty has a whole host of problems and there are no simple solutions. He says at the core of the issue is problem of relationships, relationships with ourselves, others, God, and our environment.

The poor are poor largely because they live in networks of relationships that do not work for their well-being. Their relationships with others are often oppressive and disempowering as a result of the non-poor playing god in the lives of the poor. Their relationship within themselves is diminished and debilitated as a result of the grind of poverty and feeling of permanent powerlessness. Their relationship with those they call "other" is experienced as exclusion. Their relation with their environment is increasingly less productive because poverty leaves no room for caring for the environment. Their relationship with God who created them and sustains their life is distorted by an inadequate knowledge of who God is and what God wishes for all humankind. Poverty is the whole family of our relationships that are not all they can be.

How am I “playing god” in the lives of the poor? Is there anything I can do to right those relationships?

God, continue to challenge me and cause me to grow. Be here as biases break. Thank you for bringing me to this place, with these people, so that you could change my mind and heart.

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