Saturday, October 22, 2011

When Helping Hurts

"... our failures outnumber our successes ..."
—Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert, When Helping Hurts

As I am reading this book there are moments of affirmation, and tons of light bulbs, those 'ah ha' moments, points where fresh ideas and personal experience connect, where I see my past in a new and different light.

My seemingly good ideas that fizzled, like Red Hot Society and VolunPeers and a dozen others within Fellowship, provided learning opportunities and growth.

The process of trying something new, then failing to realize my vision, prepared me for the journey of Whispered Hopes. Growth came when my hands and heart opened, when control was relinquished to God.

Within this book, I discover words to express diversity of poverty, not simply the material plight of the people I view as poor, but the poverty that exists in all our lives - poverty of Being, Community, Stewardship, Spiritual Intimacy with God.*

In our Being: low self-esteem and god complexes.

In our Community: exploitation and abuse, self-centeredness, entitlement.

In our Stewardship: loafers and workaholics, the loss of our sense of purpose.

In our Spiritual Intimacy: choosing to worship false gods and the American idols of money, achievement, success; denying God's existence, authority, abundance.

Each of us resides in poverty.
Each of us is flawed and fragile.
Each of us is infinitely capable in Christ.

As I explore the pages of this book, my greatest discovery is:

"We are not bringing Christ ... He has been active in these communities since the creation of the world, sustaining them
'by his powerful word' (Heb. 1:3)."
—Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert, When Helping Hurts

As a Whispered Hopes volunteer I am often asked, "How many women has your team converted to Christ?"

My answer? "None. Christ is already there."


Photo Credit: Flat Light Bulb

* Adapted by Corbett & Fikkert from Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development by Bryant L. Myers.


Christina Rambo said...

This book has been working its way to the top of my reading list for a while now. I think I may need to switch places with a few...

Rw said...

If you are crunched for time... chapter 2 then chapter 7 (where my bookmark currently rests). I am intrigued by the boldness of the authors, to actually ask about the effectiveness of short-term missions, "research is finding ... [giving] money instead of sending a team." Thx for reading! Rw