A lot of points here. Not sure I feel like the term “non-Christian” should be viewed as inappropriate… seems like a useful taxonomy to me… but much to consider. Ethnocentrisim/Imperialism, lack of cultural reciprocity, and rejection of intracultural missions are some important points here to take seriously.
Last week I heard of a local church planning several mission trips to East Africa in 2013. As a child of missionaries, myself, I’d like to speak to the immense popularity of mission trips among “Christian America,” recognizing and risking that readers might take exception to my perspective.
I acknowledge that this is not a thorough and researched treatise, as it were, on church mission trips. Rather, it’s a short, somewhat atypical perspective, which I hope will provoke at least a modest questioning and rethinking about mission trips. I do not disparage any and all “good,” which might result from such trips, but I’m unconvinced “the good” outweighs “the bad.”
It seems to me that the underlying, oft-times unconscious purpose of many, if not most church mission trips, especially short-term and itinerant ones, could be typified as: 1) Self-enrichment; 2) Finding self and a life meaning; 3) Growing my church…
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