The Flying Man Pt 9: Rice Missions and Rice Christians by Rick Johnson

(Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

Johnson’s article hits on some of the same topics as the previous post did, just on an individualized area.  He tells stories of how a few the poor in Mexico find an easier life receiving handouts then actually finding a steady job and working.  In order to receive this “aid” these men and women must stay in the dump.  This is the problem with relief efforts.  They are only temporary and don’t help the people in the long run.  Also with sustained aid (as opposed to development) people can learn the system to more or less take advantage of it.  We need to learn to provide for the long-term needs of the individuals as well as the community as a whole.

Let me quote Dr. Winter’s comments on this article:

“This actual account illustrates very well the inherent flaw in what could be called ‘felt need’ or ‘symptomatic’ aid.  Not all homeless people are willing to ‘get a job’ when handouts supply their basic needs.  In this case, however, it is clear that the dump dwellers were already working for a living (isolating different metal or glass items, flexible items, ect.) and would have welcomed a more humane activity for making a living.  But instead of mission workers going to the trouble of helping them find that more humane role, they are meeting their immediate (‘felt’) need for handouts they can sell.  That can continue forever.  In order to qualify for handouts they are forced to stay ‘in the dump.’  In a case like this something more is needed than ‘discipling.’ “


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