[W]hen aid types whine about new NGOs “crowding the field” and spreading scarce resources too thin, I say balderdash. If your NGO isn’t getting funded because another NGO is, then you need to make your NGO faster, smarter, leaner, and more effective. And, even if there is a short reduction in the overall effectiveness of the NGO sector in a particular country because there are too many, it is offset by the long-term improvement that competition and innovation will bring. But that’s for the aid industry. Not for humanitarian relief. It is called humanitarian relief for a reason. Short-term relief, to save the starving for example, is a public service not an industry. The immediate threat to life outweighs the long-term need for competitive innovation.
2. Social justice and evangelism
Maggie Canty-Shafer writes for Neue about a theme I’ve explored from time to time here as well:
Social justice is a complex subject for Christians. No one can disagree that Scripture commands to love the poor and oppressed, but what that looks like practically today is largely debated and at times ignored. As the world becomes increasingly more globalized and information more accessible, awareness along with responsibility has grown. This responsibility comes multiple fold. Why, how and even if we combine social justice with evangelism is an ever-evolving discussion that must be considered from a local and global level. Both the individual and the church must play a role for the Body to have the impact Scripture intended—an impact we’re capable of but nowhere near.
3. TV archive from 9/11/01
As we all know, the tenth anniversary of the tragic 9/11 attacks is this Sunday. Here’s an amazing collection of TV coverage from that Tuesday morning and the hours and days after it (HT @brettmccracken):
The 9/11 Television News Archive is a library of news coverage of the events of 9/11/2001 and their aftermath as presented by U.S. and international broadcasters. A resource for scholars, journalists, and the public, it presents one week of news broadcasts for study, research and analysis. Television is our pre-eminent medium of information, entertainment and persuasion, but until now it has not been a medium of record. This Archive attempts to address this gap by making TV news coverage of this critical week in September 2001 available to those studying these events and their treatment in the media.
9/11 changed many things, but it did not make America a more or less Christian nation. America is not the New Jerusalem. America is not the Whore Babylon. It is a nation among nations. Called, like all nations, to live its political life in pursuit of public justice. Mixed, like all nations, in the composition of its citizenry with regard to religious commitments and convictions. For Christians, this means that we should not seek political hegemony in America, but that we should seek to live faithfully: proclaiming the gospel in word and deed, pursuing public justice and the common good alongside our neighbors who do not share our gospel faith.
5. Intercontinental ballistic microfinance
Here’s a really cool video from Kiva, showing the rise in its total loans and paybacks from the time it started until today, represented by dots bouncing across the globe. What’s especially cool is what happens when Kiva is featured on Frontline in 2006 (HT A View From The Cave).