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Session 1: Poverty and the Church February 17, 2010 The Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College Haiti: Helping without Hurting Webinar.

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Presentation on theme: "Session 1: Poverty and the Church February 17, 2010 The Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College Haiti: Helping without Hurting Webinar."— Presentation transcript:

1 Session 1: Poverty and the Church February 17, 2010 The Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College Haiti: Helping without Hurting Webinar Series

2 The Haitian Context Pre-Earthquake Extreme Levels of Absolute Poverty: – 75% lived on less than $2/day – Over 50% lived on less than $1/day Extreme Levels of Inequality: – 4% of population owned 66% of wealth – Second highest income disparity in the world

3 The Haitian Context Pre-Earthquake Half of population has no access to potable water Over 50% of population is illiterate Highest HIV/AIDS rate in world outside sub- saharan Africa 1/3 of women have been violently sexually abused High rates of child abuse and trafficking

4 How We Define the Cause of Poverty Determines the Solutions We Propose The Cause of PovertyProposed Solution Lack of KnowledgeEducation Oppression by Powerful People Work for Social Justice Personal Sins of the PoorEvangelism and Discipleship of the Poor Lack of Material ThingsProvide Greater Access to Material Things

5 Others Rest of Creation Self Economic System Political System Religious System Social System God

6 God Others Rest of Creation Self Economic System Political System Religious System Social System Poverty of Being Poverty of Stewardship Poverty of Community Poverty of Spiritual Intimacy

7 “Poverty is a result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not for life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable.” Bryant Myers in Walking with the Poor, p. 86. What is Poverty?

8 If poverty is rooted in broken relationships, who are the Poor? We are! Until we embrace this, our attempts to help the people in Haiti may do more harm than good.

9 God Others Rest of Creation Self Economic System Political System Religious System Social System Poverty of Being god-complexes Feelings of Inferiority/Shame Poverty of Stewardship Poverty of Community Poverty of Spiritual Intimacy

10 Poverty Alleviation is the Ministry of Reconciliation: moving people—including ourselves-- closer to glorifying God by living in right relationship with God, self, others, and the rest of creation. Poverty Alleviation

11 Note that “the good life” is not just having more material things. The goal is NOT to turn Port-au-Prince into Atlanta The goal is for Port-au-Prince and Atlanta to look more like the New Jerusalem Poverty Alleviation

12 Individual Sin: – Sinful hearts – Often includes a faulty worldview concerning God, self, others, and the rest of creation – The voodoo worldview is a factor in the Haitian Context Broken Systems – local, national, and international levels – The poor typically have little control over these The Relationships are Broken Due To:

13 God Others Rest of Creation Self Economic System Political System Religious System Social System Poverty of Being Poverty of Stewardship Poverty of Community Poverty of Spiritual Intimacy

14 Broken Systems Affecting Haiti’s Poor International Factors: – Colonization by Spanish and French – Slavery – U.S. embargo for 60 years after Haiti achieved independence in 1804 – $22 Billion (constant 2007 dollars) in reparation payments to France – U.S. occupation – U.S. propped up Baby Doc, a ruthless dictator, during the Cold War

15 Broken Systems Affecting Haiti’s Poor International Factors: – Large amounts of aid from U.S. government and multilateral organizations – $1 billion annually in remittances – “Republic of NGOs” – Large numbers of missionaries, especially short- termers – Perhaps all of these outside resources have undermined Haitian initiative at local and national levels

16 Broken Systems Affecting Haiti’s Poor National Factors – Government ranked as one of the top 2 most corrupt governments in the world – Constant Instability: only 9 of 54 presidents have served a complete term – Predatory governments which oppress poor in order to advance their own power and wealth – Categorized as a “fragile” state by the international donor community, meaning that it cannot or will not provide core functions to the majority of its people. Other countries in this category include Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe.

17 Individual Sin + Broken Systems = Broken Relationships for the Poor in Haiti

18 God Others Rest of Creation Self Economic System Political System Religious System Social System Poverty of Being Poverty of Stewardship Poverty of Community Poverty of Spiritual Intimacy

19 Broken Relationship with God in Haiti God the Supreme Creator is distant and unapproachable Capricious spirits rule the material world and must be appeased

20 Broken Relationship with Creation in Haiti The spirits determine the level of fertility and harvest The creation is not responsive to individual action, so exercising stewardship and dominion is not considered fruitful

21 Broken Relationship with Others in Haiti Blood and religion determine acceptance Class and color determine status People outside are viewed as competitors for influence and goods Alignment with power is essential for survival

22 Broken Relationship with Self in Haiti Feelings of inferiority and shame Dependent on group identity for honor and dignity Fear of being outside of group Moral decisions are group and spirit directed, undermining one’s sense of personal, moral responsibility

23 If poverty is rooted in broken relationships, who are the Poor? We are! Until we embrace this, our attempts to help the people in Haiti may do more harm than good.

24 God Others Rest of Creation Self Economic System Political System Religious System Social System Poverty of Being god-complexes Feelings of Inferiority/Shame Poverty of Stewardship Poverty of Community Poverty of Spiritual Intimacy

25 We all need a reconciler! For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him (Jesus), and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:19-20

26 The Church is the body, bride, and fullness of Jesus Christ It has been given the “Ministry of Reconciliation ”

27 Local and Universal Church Need to focus on increasing the “testimony” of the local church in Haiti Avoiding Paternalism Avoiding Dependency

28 Connection of the Church with Community Work Church-Encouraged Church-Supported Church-Based

29 Cultural Issues Individualism vs. Collectivism Universalism vs. Particularism – Galatians 6:10: “Do good to al men but especially to those of the household of faith Low Power Distance vs. High Power Distance

30 You can download a copy of today’s webinar within two days at

31 The next Webinar in this series is “Haiti: Doing Asset-based Relief, Rehabilitation”, February 24, :00-2:00 EST For more information go to

32 We need your financial support! For information on how to give, please go to


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