Moving Beyond Band-aids?

The latest talk in high Episcopal circles is about “new mission direction.”

A colleague of mine told an anecdote that illustrated the problems with old mission direction. He was visiting a Navaho reservation this summer as part of his own outreach work (he is part Native American himself), and a truck drove up to the house where he was staying and delivered two huge boxes. One contained a vast quantity of Reese’s Pieces, the other held stuffed animals.

The delivery turned out to be the product of an Eagle Scout’s project to help the Indians–though they had not been consulted, and though some 65% of that tribe was diabetic! The truck had driven past two large No Trespassing signs. The person with whom my friend was staying remarked, “See what we have to put up with?”

The trend now seems to be to involve the people to be helped directly and to hold them accountable for the decisions they have made on their own behalf. That would be sweeter than Reese’s Pieces. —J. Douglas Ousley

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