Wednesday 7 March 2012

MC: Global Letters for a Global Community--5

Getting Stuck and Unstuck
 If you want to know which way to go,
then look where everyone else is going, and go the other way.
Irish Proverb
We are writing to member care workers and all those with member care responsibility within international mission/aid who identify with the historic Christian faith. We write to encourage us all to stay the course in our service to God and humans and to take full advantage of the many opportunities to provide and develop member care. We write fully aware of the problems that can discredit, divide, and disable the church-mission community (CMC) and all of our member care efforts. We write with a commitment to the love that is necessary to resolve these problems and to promote health within the CMC.
The image above is a reminder that sometimes we all get stuck in life. This is true in our member care community.
Currently there is a protracted moral and relational traffic jam within the member care community. It became apparent trying to work through differences and management issues in the mid 2000s. Then it progressed into trying to sort through overlapping areas of health and dysfunction. And then with time it became clear that intertwined if not underlying so much of this malaise was a major international fraud (Nordic Capital Investment, NCI) that had wreaked havoc in the church-mission community. It affected a major part of the Evangelical member care community with which we have been closely associated over the years.
The good news though is that there is much that can be done to help—to get unstuck. To do so we will need the courage to change course: getting informed, meeting together with professional mediation and documents, and acting on the facts of the matter—the truth. Here are three key suggestions that can help us as the member care community to do so.
1.  Living as High Virtue-Humans (excerpt from this weblog, 25 January 2010). Resilient people have inner strength, good social support, and a sense of purpose and/or trust in God. These qualities have been essential for several of us as we have confronted a grievous situation within parts of the international Christian community that has striking similarities to the Madoff case: major [ponzi] fraud. We have all had to muster plenty of virtrios (perseverance, honesty, and courage) in the face of a malicious “trimangle” of corruption, cover-ups, and cowardice….We as a group have learned that prudently confronting trimangles (unmasking/exposing/reproving darkness, as commanded in Ephesians 5:11) is not without its risks. Defamation, dismissals, and distress historically accompany the actions of virtrios humans. We have also learned that the levels of risk and fear are not the main criteria for determining whether an action is right or wrong. Do not be afraid to go public as you stand up for what is right, Christ says. For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. Do not fear intimidation, discrediting, loss of livelihood, and even loss of life. Your task is to be true, not popular. I will take care of you. (Matthew 10 and Luke 6, paraphrases from The Message)….The exploitation of people (corruption), distortions of facts (cover-ups), and avoidance of responsibility (cowardice) do not simply go away on their own. They are resilient too. The world will not be any more safe—or virtuous-- until virtrios people act to make it so.
2. Dealing with the NCI Fraud: The Facts and the Fallout. NCI is an affinity-based fraud that affected many people and orgnizations in the Christian community. Millions of dollars/euros remain missing. Although an important part of NCI has been succesfully prosecuted in Sweden, there is much that is still not being dealt with. Many organnizatons for example have not specifically and verifiably disclosed how they have been affected. We believe people deserve to know the fuller picture. There are plenty of documents (especially court documents) and testimonies that shine light on what has happened and plenty of support for those who have the courage to help. We are reminded of the saying that the only thing necessary for evil to prosper is for good people to do nothing. (For more information on the NCI fraud see the Summary on the PETRA People website. For updates and analysis see the PETRA People weblog)
3. Speaking Truth to Power. This challenging reflection on living in truth is a three-minute podcast by author Rhidian Brooks on the BBC's Word for Today. (To listen, go to the Web Links section on the   PETRA People website. The mp3/audio is an attachment located at the bottom of this section). Speaking truth to ourselves as well as to others is risky. Yet it is necessary for true change—to get unstuck. As Rhiadian Brooks concludes: "Sometimes you have to give up your power in order for other people to hear the truth."
Kelly and Michèle

Reflection and Discussion
Regardless of your familiarity with the issues in the member care community or the NCI fraud, what helps you get unstuck when there are "moral and relational traffic jams"?
When is changing course not appropriate and staying the course is?

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