Anyway, we just brought in our box to church this week. I seldom have much to do with it, it's one of those concrete things that Tracy likes, but I thought people here might be interested in my answer. Also worth noting as Tracy and I discussed it is that she gives very intentionally to maximum physical impact charities overseas, such as clean water, both for health and so that women and girls do not have to travel far for it, exposing themselves to rape. It is good to be wise.
Mixed feeling, very mixed, about the article. They make a number of excellent points about what really helps, and why our current forms of giving may actually do harm. Beth Hubbard is talking about doing a Sweet Tuesdays class on When Helping Hurts . The point about undermining local businesses - excellent. The lack of cultural understanding about what is valuable in other places - very good. Noticing that it is dehumanising and unhealthy for poor countries to always just look to rich white people to give them things - also very good. It is one of the things that the Covenant Church is noticing from Sudanese churches that have started - they have way too many people just waiting for white people to give them stuff, because that's what they think the world is. Most of the Sudanese churches are in the mode of "permanent support or fold." Refocusing on employment and concrete action - also excellent. I liked the toys-at-a-discount idea a lot. Not much good for homeless people or people in prison buying presents for their kids, but it is a nice recognition of dignity for people who are simply poor and don't have a lot to spare, even after transfer payments.
On the other hand - and these are very big. Did you notice that Jesus is not mentioned? There is sort of a distant Creator reference, and the idea of their understanding of the Gospel as "welcome and justice and mercy and love." Not that those words have any loaded political meaning, never. The article is in fact stuffed full of sustainable, giftedness, journey, toxic, conversation, authentic, engaging poverty..."I’ve seen so many switches go off as these women realize how they were made (??) and that they are meant for more." Yeah, that's all fine, except that these are "transfer words." They look like things informed by Christian thinking but when you come down for breakfast the next morning everyone is talking about liberal political action. That they had to inject extraneous references to LGBTQ and Franklin Graham didn't help with that. They are mirroring Graham's politicising, not transcending it.
OCC is an entry-level charity, that gets people involved who have not developed the habit of giving. Children are part of that. Okay, let's do better than slinkies and candy. What ideas for sustainable employment in Thailand do they think the pre-K class should be involved in for Christmas this year? Who wants to put down money on how many children of their own they have? Have they actually had to teach generosity to real children?