Pursuing Trans-Cultural Ethics
Planting a flower aftertaking a swim in pools
formed by rain waters in the Mathare slums, Kenya.
(c) 2008 Juilius Mwelu/IRIN www.irinnews.org
We are exploring member care by using brief quotes from the book, Global Member Care: The Pearls and Perils of Good Practice (published February 2011). Drawing on the metaphor from Rev. 21:21, each quote (12 total) is like a huge pearl--a pearl gateway--that allows us to enter more fully into the global field of member care. This tenth entry is from Part Three in the book, “Developing Guidelines in Mission/Aid.”
Pearl TenWhere There Are No (Well-Resourced) Senders
There are a couple important counterpoints for the guidelines suggested [for sending groups]. First, not all mission/aid workers actually have “senders.” At least many may not have an ongoing long-term sender as they may work from contract to contract and from agency to agency. Others workers do things much more on their own without a sending group per se. Their charitable work and Christian witness are done as part of their lifestyle in a host culture. Many mission/aid workers surely wish that a sender would be able to support and manage them in ways that are recommended in [these guidelines]!
Second, for some sending groups themselves, these guidelines may seem overly idealistic at best and inappropriately constrictive at worst. Senders coming from philo¬sophically different, or less-experienced, or financially-limited settings may not be on the same page about what is “needed” to do mission/aid and member care well. For instance some senders may default to the practice of sending out “naked” mission workers who have no apparent resources other than to follow the biblical injunction Christ gave his disciples to go without an extra coat, staff, or money. These folks embody that commitment, without an expectation of returning to their home country for furlough or retirement. This may seem extreme, but it does reflect the other end point of the sender’s continuum for providing “comprehensive” member care. On a related note, in her concluding chapter in Sharing the Front Line and Back Hills (2002), Danieli describes how some potential contributors to her edited work dismissed her effort as “preposter-ous or obscene.” The reason was that she was focusing on aid workers themselves—the protectors and providers—rather than on what was perceived to be the far more needy victims who needed help (p. 388).
Reflection and Discussion
**Recall one aspect of your life/work that relates to the quote above.
**Have a go at connecting the above quote with a current international area that interests/concerns you.