Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mission Bows

This is from a great blog I've been coming to love called, The Work of the People. That phrase is the actual meaning of the word, "liturgy". Isn't that interesting, the liturgy of our worship gatherings is the work of the people, or as I would further embellish - the artwork of the people for communal worship of God. This group in particular creates, "film for sacred spaces". I hope to get to know them over time, a great group of people. Here's a piece from their blog, with their text following it (I think the piece was made by another group, but it illustrates something they're interested in talking about).

¨Concientizacao¨, ¨Concientizacion¨, or ¨Awareness raising¨ is a concept with roots in the pedagogy of Paulo Freire, a revolutionary Brazilian educator who worked to empower the poor and disenfranchised. One of Freire’s learning methods was to use codes (in the form of dramas, pictures, photographs, etc.) to help people reflect critically on their lives, attitudes, patterns, and behaviors.

Although, the Freirian method is mostly used in contexts of oppression among people who are illiterate, the following video satire can be considered such a code for those of us in the context of power, resource, and privilege. It may not seem politically correct to some. And, it may possibly be downright offensive to others. But, if we allow the contents to help us reflect critically on some attitudes, patterns, and behaviors in our own lives, we will learn much.

The scenario presented should raise questions about how we perceive the ¨poor¨ around us, and how our good intentions may be perceived by those receiving our compassionate acts. Our reactions to the images should cause us to wonder if the solutions we propose to the problems of this world seem ludicrous to people in certain contexts. Does it make you wonder how we may possibly be doing harm when we operate from the same frameworks and systems that produced the problems in the first place?

While the video is critical of a pattern of marketing the poor that is more and more prevalent as the sexiness of eradicating poverty increases among religious and popular groups, we should be careful not to project negatively onto many legitimate and innovative programs that are reaching the most vulnerable groups in this broken and hurting world. But, it is good to be reminded that we must always be aware that even our good intentions can be perceived as somewhat of a contradiction when we do not stop to reflect on the way we are doing “good”.
(¨Stop doing wrong and learn to do what is right¨ Isaiah 1 16b -17a).

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