All posts tagged “transformational development

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Created, fallen, being redeemed

These days I’m re-reading Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development (Orbis) by Bryant Myers. I first read it a few years ago during grad school, and am now reading the new “revised and expanded edition” for an upcoming magazine review. It’s basically the Bible for transformational development, not counting the actual Bible itself.

I’ll have more to say about it soon, but for now I thought I’d share a particularly poignant paragraph from Walter Wink, who is quoted in the theology chapter, supporting Myers’ conviction that “we are to see the world as created, fallen, and being redeemed, all at the same time.” Here’s Wink:

God at one and the same time upholds a political or economic system, since some such system is required to support human life; condemns that system insofar as it is destructive to full human actualization; and presses for its transformation into a more human order. Conservatives stress the first, revolutionaries the second, reformers the third. The Christian is expected to hold together all three.

That comes from Wink’s Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination (I’ve yet to read that one, but I found his little book Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way insightful and helpful when I read it and blogged about it last summer).

Because the world is created by God, is broken because of the fall, and is being redeemed through Jesus Christ, it’s important for development practitioners — and for all of us — to keep that three-fold creation-fall-redemption theme in mind as we do our work in the world.

It’s easy to just be a conservative or a revolutionary or a reformer; it’s tough to discern the proper place of each. But each impulse, each posture, has its place, and at times simultaneously. God help us to hold the three together.

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Upcoming faith & development conferences

I admit it: I like conferences. I’ve been to a variety of them during college, grad school, and at various times in between, and I’ve almost always had a great time. I’ve recently seen promos or otherwise heard about four upcoming conferences in particular that strike me as awesome, though it sadly looks doubtful that I’d be able to attend any of them. I offer them here anyway as a sort of public service announcement. If you’re at all connected to the field of community development, whether domestically or abroad, and are inspired and/or informed in your work by your Christian faith, these four events look simply fantastic.

1. CCDA National Conference
Christian Community Development Association
Oct 12-16, Indianapolis

Each year, the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) National Conference draws over 3,000 people from around the world to share in best practices of Christian Community Development. Experts and scholars teach workshops around relevant themes. Practitioners find support in networking with others facing similar challenges. Advocates bring attention to issues affecting people at the grassroots. And provocative speakers challenge our assumptions about what it means to embody Christ’s love to the poor in our communities.

2. Spiritual Metrics Conference
Eastern University
Oct 21-22, St. Davids, PA

What is Spiritual Metrics? How Do You Measure Impact? Why Now? We’ve heard it all before … “We’re not quite sure if and how to measure whether our programs are having the kind of spiritual impact we’d like to see…” and so we are creating a space where we can explore, prayerfully and in detail, the theological and practical dimensions of measuring spiritual impact.

3. Developing Excellence Forum
Accord Network
Nov 15-17, Baltimore

Don’t miss this chance to shape the future of relief and development: Join one of these five summits [Transformational Development, Water, Sanitation & Hygiene, MicroEnterprise Development, Advocacy, and Gifts-in-Kind] and be ready to network, collaborate, and assist in the developments of Principles of Excellence in that arena.

4. The Justice Conference
World Relief & Kilns College
Feb 24-25, Portland

The Justice Conference 2012 is the second annual international gathering of advocates, activists, artists, professors, professionals, prophets, pastors, students and stay-at-home moms working to restore the fabric of justice. For some it means speaking. For others it means singing. For some it means going. For others it means giving. For all, it means living with mercy and love. You are invited to come weave your voice and gifts into the conversation. Join us, and discover that in the garment of justice, your love is an irreplaceable thread.

And as a bonus, Calvin College’s Faith and International Development Conference, which will likely happen next February, will certainly be a goodie too, though details won’t be released until next month.