Searching for Sustainable Solutions to Poverty
Dr. Christian, director of World Vision India, called Tyndale students to deal with the questions and issues that people are facing “out in the streets,” and to learn to, “theologize with our feet on the ground and our hands dirty” in his seminar at Tyndale. World Vision India works to alleviate poverty in a country where over 800 million people live on less than $2 a day; their poverty perpetuated by cultural and religious beliefs, corruption, lack of opportunities, and broken relationships.
Dr. Christian described the role of Christian institutions like Tyndale as crucial in development work. According to Dr. Christian, poverty is largely caused by human wickedness, which he argues secular development theory is unequipped to address. He called Tyndale Students to “be the voice and heart of the poor while searching scripture, to look for sustainable solutions to poverty.”
Staff of World Vision India live and work in impoverished areas developing community initiatives focused on children, education and nutrition. One challenge in alleviating poverty is that the poor are oppressed not only economically, but also by beliefs that bond poverty to their identity. Dr. Christian states, “The world tells the poor, ‘You are good for nothing and cannot dream.’ The Church must say, ‘You’re made in the image of Christ and must dream!’”
Tyndale students were challenged by the lecture to consider their education in light of global poverty. Keith Brink, 3rd year business administration student, describes the vision Dr. Christian inspired, “Part of my role as a businessman is responsibility to the world…I can make changes and improvement in a deep way. I can make my business glorify God.” Josh Okello, also a 3rd year UC student, founded and directs an NGO, Dress Africa, which seeks to alleviate poverty. He responds, “[Dr. Christian] gave me more ideas about how to run my NGO and what to address first. Through this lecture I can learn from what others have gone through… [Dr. Christian and World Vision] fight poverty by addressing spiritual needs; [they] go beyond cultural beliefs in fighting poverty.”
Dr. Christian believes that the tools needed to address issues that plague the impoverished, those of damaged self-worth and broken relationships, are found within the Bible. He challenges Tyndale, as a Christian institution, to lead in fighting poverty as, in “development theory, we are called to proclaim truth as a sustainable solution to poverty.”