Paternalism and God's Mission

The latest neurological research suggest that one person’s thoughts can control another person’s movements. Psychological research already had proven the connection between conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind.  The western world glorifies freedom and liberation as a political and social system and the Eastern world glorifies freedom and liberation as core values of who we are or our innate being. The disconnection happens prominently in this core fundamental difference. Here in this conversation, I love to bring to your thought about the paternalism that it is not God’s mission strategy.  
Ayurveda which means the science of life, 5000 years old system of natural healing is based on the fundamental principle of creating a harmony between the body, mind and spirit. Maintaining the balance prevents illness, treats acute conditions, and contributes a long and healthy life. A journey inward is necessary for journey outward. The same principle is true for a sustainable mission model.
Paternalism is defined as a policy or practice of treating or governing people in a fatherly manner, especially by providing for their needs without giving them the rights or responsibilities. In other words, giving them the fish and not allowing them to learn how to fish. Often the mission or training in mission is understood as the success of the project and not as a process. Mostly mission is visible by building a house, building a bridge or feeding the poor or starting an orphanage.  There is nothing wrong with this, but think about it, Is this a sustainable model of mission? No… not at all…giving the people money to start a new business without involving with them in the process. In most of the cases this will only lead to more consumption and more dependence.  Autonomy on the other hand is generally regarded as the fundamental right of individuals to shape their own future through voluntary action.  
Good parenting is fostering your child's independence. Children push for independence because it is part of human nature to want to feel in control rather than to feel controlled by someone else. Sometime this drive for independence is misunderstood as disobedience.
Since last two decades, I am involved with God’s mission in my own humble ways in different parts of the world especially in the Indian subcontinent. I believe the fundamental heavenly principle for God’s mission in the world is not paternalism. The root cause of our program is that we don’t connect the great commission with great commandment. Love your neighbor as yourself and therefore go and make disciples of all nations.  It can also be understood as the invitation to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Our journey with God in the mission is to inspire people and to create this world a better place or make it very good of God’s good creation.  Missio Dei, is the idea that God is actively working to restore the creation to wholeness. Many times we take it for granted to own God’s mission as our mission and we create underdogs and venerability. This was against Jesus' example of mission. This is where the importance of native missionary and their long term influence come to play. Remember the infancy phase is limited in many ways but there are many other exciting phase in life like, childhood, teenage, adulthood, old age etc. It is true with God's mission. 

Binu Peniel

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