The assumption underlying much of our theologizing about development is that Christians must do good things for those who are poor, less privileged, marginalized or helpless…However, I am convinced that underlying this approach is the assumption that there is a divide between Christians and the needy that reflects a divide between actors and beneficiaries, agents, and clients, doctors and patients, and ultimately the subjects and objects of history. This is what leads me to ponder: ‘whose faith and whose works?’…are we not simply mirroring the power dynamics that lie at the heart of the experience of poverty, and hence reinforcing the very problem we think we are solving?
-Steve de Gruchy, “Of agency, assets and appreciation: Seeking some commonalities between theology and development,” Journal of Theology for Southern Africa 117 (November 2003): 21-22.
Photo source: United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, South Africa Synod Bulletin, March 2010, pp. 3 and 8.