The Bottom Billion

2 10 2008

Being “missional” is a recognition that our mission as followers of Jesus is to advance His Kingdom in the world.  As North Americans we have historically viewed that mission as primarily being outside our culture – we are now waking up to the reality it is also very much within our culture.  So, does that mean we stop doing “foreign missions?”  I don’t think it means that at all – in fact I think it would be very selfish to do so.  I do think, however, that there are critical things we need to learn about other cultures (just like there are things we need to learn about our culture) if we are going to be effective and good stewards of what God has given us and the life we  are called to live.

I had not heard of Dr. Paul Collier until I recently stumbled upon him on Ted. Dr. Collier is a professor of economics and Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economics at the University of Oxford. He is a leading authority on African economics with a focus on the causes and consequences of civil war, the effects of aid, and the problems of democracy in poor countries.

What he has to say is not only very interesting but has has direct implications on how we can best help the poor and the consequences if we don’t. The gap between the developed and the developing world and the bottom billion widens ever year. Failure to act effectively will have disastrous effects on our next generation.

A few additional notable items:

  • In January United Nations Secretary-General Ban Kimoon declared 2008 to be “the year of the bottom billion” citing the work of Paul Collier. 
  • Marvin Olasky interviewed Paul Collier last year in World Magazine linked here
  • “One of the most important books on world poverty in a very long time.”–Richard John Neuhaus, founder of First Things Magazine
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