The Changing World of Charitable Good, Philanthropy and What the Church Calls Missions.
By Tom Bassford
Who doesn’t want to make the world a better place? Over the past fifteen years I’ve worked with a wide array of individuals and organizations all wanting to make the world a better place. Whether it’s The Hope Community Center in Machakos, Kenya, the Co-Op of Kansas City or the Olathe Latino Coalition I see many of the same themes and struggles emerging. It’s no longer enough to simply do random acts of kindness or hand out an endless stream of charity. Instead, more and more people are asking questions about lasting change and sustainable solutions in our efforts to “do good” and make the world a better place. For most people and organizations it’s just a lot of talk. But for some the talk has made its way into their efforts and we are learning that doing good in ways that are lasting and sustainable is hard work!
This blog is about that hard work and the lessons we are learning along the way. My intention is to write much of this for a book and engage a few folks in the conversation along the way. I’d love to hear from you and hope you’ll pass this on to others interested in making the world a better place…in sustainable ways.
The Calculus of Compassion – An Overview
Learning in every area of life is a building proposition. We build on foundational knowledge and experience an ever deepening and more sophisticated understanding of things, both intellectually and practically. First we learn our numbers, and then we learn arithmetic which becomes the means for solving algebra, geometry and trigonometry which in turn we use to do calculus. We don’t get to the more complex and sophisticated disciplines of math except that we first learn our numbers. The same is true in the realm of the practical or “doable” things of life. If I want to be a great guitarist I first have to learn to tune a guitar, strum with my right hand, form chords with my left and keep time. Or, as the saying goes, we learn to walk before we run.
This principle is more than an interesting observation; it represents a driving force embedded in both human experience and nature itself. We are not satisfied with either our understanding of things or our accomplishments.