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CULTURAL BLINDNESS IN MISSIONS


David Livermore, in his book, Serving with Eyes Wide Open, talks about a friend of his, Ashish, who came from Northern India to visit him in Chicago. They were eating at Gino's Pizzeria, and there they ran into a youth pastor David knew, along with his youth group. The group had just returned from Central America and they were debriefing.


Ashish, David's friend from India, asked them, "So what did you learn from your trip?" And student after student obsessed about the poverty of "those poor people."


After they left, Ashish asked David, "Why do they think we're so poor?"


"Ashish," David replied, "you are poor compared to any of those kids. It's hard to get their minds off their consumerist passions. I'm glad they experienced some dissonance."


To which Ashish said, "I'm sick of sympathy from Westerners who think we need more stuff. What does that have to do with our happiness? Please don't help import the consumerism idol into India."


He then talked about an American group that was just with him in Delhi. "They were concerned about the bicycle I use to get back and forth to church. They told me they'd all chipped in to get me a car! That was the last thing I wanted." Ashish said, "I think I 'rained on their parade,' as you say, when I told them that members in my church could use those same dollars to help start a micro-enterprise, [but] they thought I was just being super-sacrificial."



(David Livermore, Serving with Eyes Wide Open, Baker Books, 2006. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Treasure’s Trap, 9/18/2010)

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