Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Symposium

Baylor University is hosting a very exciting symposium this week, and I am up to my neck in it. I am chairing a session, giving a talk, encouraging my students to attend, and planning to suck the marrow out of this event. Here is the program description:

The way that Christians respond to those most in need is a sign of God's presence. But the mission of the church does not move in one direction-from West to East, first to third world, or affluence to poverty. Nor is it controlled from a central location or organization. Located in every province of every country, the church is situated to react to the needs of the poor in an especially powerful way-from the bottom up.

Prompted by God's call to meet the needs of the poor, marginalized, and oppressed, Christians can respond sensitively and productively to poverty though faith-inspired practices of appropriate technology and social entrepreneurship. The former draws on a community's existing talents and resources to produce technology that is simple, inexpensive, easily maintained, culturally acceptable, and responsive to genuine human needs. The latter finds alternative approaches to corporate structures that provide opportunities to improve the physical and social conditions of the poor.

Instead of rivals at cross purposes, these three forces-local church, appropriate technology, and social entrepreneurship-hold enormous promise when they converge, for they have the potential to create genuine social change and express Christian faith and witness.

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