05 March 2008

Dependency… a problem with US!

Often dependency is seen as a problem with the receiver of aide… they are lazy, uneducated, free-loaders… or insert any other negative term you like… but what if the problem stemmed from the hard-working, educated, givers….

Westerners love to send over containers of free second-hand clothes and other household items…

What if that act of kindness destroyed the local clothing economy and took away jobs from the uneducated class?

Churches love to partner with third world churches and send over money to pay pastors salaries, buy sound systems and build structures…

What if that encouraged the believers there to stop tithing? Would poor stewardship help the church grow and encourage them to help others?

American visitors love to pass out everything they bring for free…

Does that encourage people with the ability to work to beg?

Pastors and churches love to come over and put on an evangelistic crusades… pulling out all the stops, bringing live bands, sound system, shiny posters and gifts for new believers…

Does that encourage the believers to do evangelism without our help or encourage them to wait for us to come and do it right?

What if our charity money was driving the dependency syndrome?

Often we talk about partnerships or interdependent relationships we have with third world… but then shouldn’t the resources flow both ways… or are we using inappropriate terms to justify our funding… when resources flow in only one direction it should appropriately be called “sponsorship”

Often when talk of giving but only think of giving money… could giving ourselves help break the cycle of dependency… a check is easy to write… okay to a degree, the more zeros I add the more I feel nervous holding it… but what if our check came with accountability, teaching on stewardship and a plan to stop the cycle of dependency…

I’m not pointing the finger… I’m just asking myself if I am doing more harm than good?

I’m also not saying that we should stop helping the poor… I just want to learn how to help the poor without making the problem worse….

4 comments:

Melina Hunt said...

haha this is so cool. what your writing sounds like an article I had to read in Brad Buser's class at Eternity Bible College. oh, by the way, I'm Melina and I've been reading your blog :) thanks for furthering the Kingdom!

aaron said...

right on man - dependancy is an important thing to talk about; as westerners we often feel the solution is to throw in more money/resources. but what if it's something else entirely?

i know a guy who worked as a missionary to an ethnic group in mexico. when the people he worked with found out about the gringos bringing free clothes down, many stopped washing their clothes, opting instead to throw them away and get new ones from the people giving them out fairly often.

not that people don't need clothes, or we shouldn't give, but those kinds of things require connection and wisdom. you can't go into a place and do something like that and not affect their culture in some permanent way (even if just perception).

aaron said...

sorry to get all up in your blog's grill, but i had one more [ripped off] thought: with the use sound equipment etc. in missions, the best question to ask is "is it duplicatable?" (by the local, indigenous church).

Teenietinyt said...

We ask ourselves this all the time.