Sunday, June 10, 2007

David in Nicaragua #3: Missiology

I had an interesting purpose in coming to Nicaragua. I was sharing my appreciation for it with my friend Carolyn, who agreed that it was a pretty nice situation to be in. Basically, I was there to visit Rachael, and so I could set aside any pretense of helpfulness. That took away a lot of the awkwardness that often accompanies “missions,” in which one group is arriving from afar in order to “help,” and the other is at home, “receiving help.” I feel like at least some of the problematic US Citizen/ Nicaraguan citizen were downplayed by my purpose in going to Nicaragua.

Moreover, (though this might negate some of the first paragraph) it felt really good to go there in part to support Rachael. I really admire what she’s doing with this year, and I was really glad that my presence there was helpful. I mean, it’s obviously a blast to hang out with Rachael Wylie; I wasn’t much worried about that. But I came down with a pack full of books, many of which were designed to augment her loads of practice with a few scoops from my seminary-fueled loads of theory. I brought down some pedagogy books, (bell hooks’ teaching to transgress, paulo friere’s pedagogy of the oppressed) some books specifically about Latin America, (henri nouwen’s ‘gracias’) and some books about appropriate relations across culture. (‘beyond white noise,’ and susan thistlethwaite’s ‘beyond theological tourism’, which includes writings from a few of my cts profs.) It was great to be able to use the gift of my seminary learnings to sustain the gift of her year of on-the-ground, in-the-dust service. I expect her learnings there to help sustain my future practice, and I believe that her experiences are already informing my ministries and theories, so it’s only fair.

I also brought her science fiction novels, and Anne of Green Gables.
So, if anyone’s thinking about a good excuse to visit a different culture, consider convincing your significant other to move there for a year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh my!!!!!!!!!! I love the photos again and the message.