Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Money, missions and maturity

A Christian brother and father-figure in the faith forwarded me an article from a journal of missions in the West, written by a visiting Senior Pastor of an American church. He had done some research, interviewing selected African "leaders" about the way forward for missionary co-operation in the African scene.

I don't have a link to the article online. But here was my slightly-amended reply...

Interesting, thank you....

There seemed to me to be a rather significant internal contradiction in the overall message. Those interviewed did not want colonial-style missionaries. But they did want to increase the flows of money which are at the heart of maintaining colonial-style missions.

Those two things only reconcile if you want to have money without accountability. At the risk of over-simplifying; "you pay the piper - but let us call the tune". If we adopt the image of the Western church as the father, trying to raise up his children in the African church to maturity, then this seems to be the part where the teenager says "Dad - get me my own credit card, I'm an adult now. But it's my life - don't poke your nose in to what I do with it!" The root problem, if we follow that metaphor, has been all along in dad - once you reach the teenage years, it's a bit late to sort this problem out, and it's time for damage control.... it is a good thing that God is gracious and ultimately we can hope for more than that. But it's a hideous mess now.

Frankly I disagree with the basis of the paper as a whole. It works within a paradigm. It looks how to find solutions within that paradigm. I think the problem is actually the paradigm itself, and the solution is to replace it. I wondered if he realised the irony of the whole concept of the Western man trying to understand the African's concerns better by visiting/interviewing the elite, Westernised folk at the elite, Westernised institution...

God bless,

No comments: