Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

There Is No Dignity In Free Peanuts

A father in a developing nation has lost everything. Famine hit the land and hit it hard. The farmers struggle to produce. People go hungry.

But no worries! Foreign aid is available. The US decides to dump its peanut surplus in the name of charity. Get rid of the overages. Peanut prices go up (in America). Free peanuts for everyone. Win/win.

Except for this Dad.

He's a peanut farmer in this developing land. He was planning his crop for the next year, after the drought. But now, he can't sell the little crop he has. No one can compete with free.

The poverty cycle tightens on his life like a python on a rabbit.

Other organizations decide to help.

They present the community with the opportunity to educate the children for free. Sound good. Who doesn't want education for their children? Each child gets sponsored by someone in the US who wants to give. To help. To give back.

But nothing changes in the community.

There's a school. There're free peanuts. But there's never transformation.

The roots of poverty are deeper than our solutions.

But here's the core of this story. (And even though this is a made up story, it's a real story in many parts of the world.)

Dignity is lost. The imago Dei is forgotten. Or neglected. Or both. We give peanuts and pay for education, rather than empowering a father to do what he can. He doesn't have the tools he needs to do what he should.

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But no worries. We'll pay. After all, money fixes everything. And you can't beat free peanuts.

There's no dignity in that.

There is a better way.

The challenge of great cross-cultural work is figuring out how dignity and discipleship work together to change everything.