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Are short-term mission trips pointless?

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by ElPigto, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. ElPigto

    ElPigto Member
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    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/06/18/why-you-should-consider-cancelling-your-short-term-mission-trips/

    One of my friends posted this blog entry on his facebook and I'm curious to see what clutchfans thinks about this subject. Personally, I've never been on a mission trip myself, but I've never actually thought that any short term mission trip could be more negative than positive. For those of you who have been on mission trips, what is your thoughts on this? Are you offended by this? For those that have never been, what are your thoughts on this?
     
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  2. ElPigto

    ElPigto Member
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  3. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    Colonizing and strip mining a continent for a century-and-a-half without leaving any viable infrastructure or administrative model is pointless. Giving moneyed Westerners native-free animal tours in five-star resort style "wildlife refuges" is pointless. Dumbing down history curricula to powdered wigs and Private Ryan in the third largest and most militarily and diplomatically engaged country in the world is pointless.

    Giving idealistic folks from the richest and most influential civilization on the planet exposure to other cultures in a sympathetic framework at least undoes some of the damage.
     
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  4. Major

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    Like any non-profit organization or aid groups, there are effective ways to do things and not-so-effective methods. Mission trips are no different. If done right, they can be beneficial for everyone involved. Done poorly, not so much. There are thousands of organizations out there, so some do it well and others do it not-so-well.
     
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  5. thadeus

    thadeus Contributing Member

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    Charity work actually underscores the conditions that make charities necessary. It's a way people have of reassuring themselves that they're good - look! I'm giving money to charity! I'm a good person! - while enjoying the benefits of a system that are inherently damaging to all those who are exploited by it (and that's most of us).

    It's the pill for good conscience that some people need in order to continue doing what they've always done.

    The only charities that matter are those that try to destroy the conditions that make charity necessary.

    "Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity."

    -- Albert Camus
     
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  6. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    Wow, you've been reduced to hating on people doing charity work, purely because you believe they do it to make themselves feel good? They're helping other people -- let's just be glad they're helping others, and you should just forget about whatever emotional benefits they may or may not get out of the work.
     
  7. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

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    Thadeus does make one good point here. What's the point of charity work from , for example, companies that on one hand throw tidy little shavings of their excess profits away to short-term solutions, when they, and for example, their vulture fund tendencies, or their toxic waste dumping in Third World nations, are the long-term problem?

    BP can shelve thousands of dollars away for environmental causes. That will never undo the billions they and other oil companies have caused in damages to the environment and to the resource needs of future generations who will not benefit from the resources we have now, because someone needed to beat projections.
     
  8. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    The biggest problem is when conservatives view it as an alternative to genuinely effective government funding and action; then pooh on liberals because some survey said they don't donate as much.

    Especially when the majority of their private charity is probably steered by religious evangelism, school spirit, or in conjunction with personal networking or explicitly elitist social functions.
     
  9. Kojirou

    Kojirou Member

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    Is there something wrong with private charity being steered by such things now?
     
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  10. Major

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    Why? If, at the end of the day, someone that wouldn't have an education gets one, or someone who would die of a disease gets to live, who cares why it happened?
     
  11. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    Because there are times when the government can do it more efficiently and effectively and with more permanent impact, but the donors in my example, conservatives; block it at every step and then gloat about indulging in the less efficient private alternative. More people needlessly die prematurely and stay illiterate, that's "why it matters."
     
  12. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    Agreed. The blog post tries to address critical issues. The answer isn't throwing the baby out the bathwater.

    It's more a cynical generalization than a real point.
     
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  13. Major

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    Most of the people doing the charity aren't the ones doing the blocking. You are lumping a huge number of disparate people with different interests and different motives into one simplified block of people. Many people involved in charity would love to have any and everyone willing to help to participate in making a difference in whatever group's lives.
     
  14. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    This topic seems to have sidetracked off the wrong foot...and maybe isn't the best forum to discuss at all.

    Still interested in the thoughts of people who have gone on missions, if they're not entirely offended yet.
     
  15. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    I have not been on a mission, but I found the article pretty interesting because of the mission work of my church and many people I know. I can see it being dependent on the expertise and funding of the sending church. My own church is probably not burdening the receiving church with the provision of housing and what-all.

    What did strike me was the argument about the effect of the subsidy on supply and demand. My father always complained about this with local church efforts. They get together a bunch of kids to paint a house for free, and put a union painter out of a job. A lot of missions work is this variety -- come and repair a building, bringing no more talent than is readily available among the locals. Usually, they're lacking tools and materials, not labor. My church does do some medical missions where they send doctors to provide medical care in some far corner of the earth. That's a different breed of animal, because the expertise isn't available to the locals otherwise.

    What did strike me as a glaring ommission though is that there is no mention of the Great Commission or Jesus. He's conceiving of missions soley as a charity effort (plus maybe cultural exchange), and ignores the primary purpose which is evangelizing. The whole reason the church started doing this stuff in the first place was to gain converts and support one another in the faith, not to paint the houses of the poor.
     

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