I’ve enjoyed and grown from all of the posts and comments we’ve had on this site over the last two weeks about Haiti and a Transformational response to tragedy and crisis.
Still, before this blog meanders on to other subjects (though I hope our hearts, hands, and heads stay steadfastly on Haiti in no small part), I wanted to make sure you saw what I think is the best post on Haiti that, um, didn’t appear on our site.
It comes from Nathaniel Whittemore at the Social Entrepreneurship blog, under the heading, What Goes Wrong With Rebuilding Efforts (And How To Do Better This Time).
Whittemore’s post is so good that it would be worthwhile to cut and paste every word. Let me leave you to the link, however, and simply highlight what I believe is Whittemore’s best thought–one made in a disappointingly small number of articles on the quake in Haiti since it happened, and one that applies not only to every disaster but to every dimension of ministry:
Everyone impacted by this earthquake is a victim, but to successfully implement immediate and long-term relief programs, aid organizations have to be able to get beyond the “victimhood” of the people they’re serving to actively engage their ideas and talents to work with, not only for, local people.
You go, bro. We don’t simply give to; we suffer with.
And we don’t end with suffer with; we press on to listen to and work with. And give with, too.
That’s the rarified air of Transformation. And I almost suspect that every tragedy and crisis that has received a lasting and effective response has been grounded in that principle.
Perhaps that’s what Augustine was thinking when he wrote about the biggest reclamation project of them all:
God made you without you. You didn’t, after all, give any consent to God making you. How were you to consent, if you didn’t yet exist? So while he made you without you, he doesn’t justify you without you. So he made you without your knowing it, he justifies you with your willing consent to it.