“The problem for liberals, of course, is their inability to hold the poor accountable for dysfunctional behavior.” Bernie Goldberg
Liberals can’t answer well the question, how much is enough? This is also an issue for the church in its international mission. Part of the problem – the way relief and compassion ministries are set up to assist is to create institutions, which then can help institutionalize poverty. They become part of the economic structure which in the aggregate are depended upon for income or what income could buy. Think Haiti, whose national economy is dependent upon NGOs and there is no intent of changing the way things are. This is one of the reasons why I no longer give to Haiti relief ministries.
I have been exploring compassionate giving through organizations that give money directly to the poor with no institution building.There are groups, such as givedirectly.org which scope out poor regions internationally and identify the impoverished, funneling them sufficient funds to radically change their lives – what they do with those funds is their business. They can invest in their own education, start a business, etc., or a multiple of these things at the same time. They do not have to do what an institution tells them to do. People, though impoverished, know how to do what is best for them. They do not need to be treated like children.
Statistically they can prove that people in large will be better off and more resources go directly to the poor because there is no institution to support. Overhead is almost none existent. They have offered to any relief organization to go head to head statistically on the results of their work. No takers. They particularly wanted to spar with heifer.org, which has been critical of Give Directly, a very popular relief organization which buys a heifer for the poor that can be a life changer. Heifer would not go on the record with them.
Do yourself a favor and the poor too and listen to this NPR Planet Money program. You will be surprised. Maybe as way of helping IS really hurting, as the book title goes.
I would like to see some version of this in the church, but I doubt it will happen, since the church wants to give in such a way that produces community and in the Name of Christ. To give in such a manner as makes it easy for the recipient to walk away from the donor Christian community seems to go against the fuller work that the church wants to do. But maybe the example of Christ himself would help us here. He merely healed, he merely fed, he merely raised the dead – without second layer institution building that itself was attached to the things he did. The Book of Acts seems to be showing the church doing somewhat similar things. They, like Jesus, go about doing good. Let the chips fall how they will.