Posted by: thebylog | May 22, 2005

Patterns of Thought

WBF (the church I’ll be with this summer) works with a lot of poor people. It seems as if, for many of them, poverty is an endless cycle. You can help them once, but before long they’re right back where they started: jobless, behind on payments, drinking to forget.

The question becomes: How do you help them? A deeper question might be, how do you get them to begin thinking differently?

The thinking is the key here. In his book Discipling Nations, Darrow Miller says this: Ideas have consequences. Simply throwing a quick band-aid fix to a poor person (i.e. catching them up on their house payments so they don’t have to move out) isn’t going to be effective for them in the long run because the reason that they’re poor probably has to do with the way they think. And SK confirms this.

You’re going to find it difficult to help them, unless you change their way of thinking. That’s the incredibly difficult part. And that’s what SK doesn’t really have an answer for, but Darrow Miller supposedly does. We’ll see, I’m only part way through his book.



  1. Teach a man to fish and all that, huh.

    Good to see you back, but the by-log was in extremely capable hands when you were gone!

  2. By, do you realize that you’re leaning away from your politically liberal ideology here?

  3. He’s politically liberal? I know how to take care of that sort over at The (not so) Daily Me. See comment threads I have been having with Jeff.

    I look forward to this.

  4. Oh my Hans, you didn’t know that? He always has been. Truly tragic. He religiously listens to NPR and everything.

  5. Mennonite Bloggers: I am interested in starting a Mennonite Blog Ring. I have really come to look forward to my daily dose of Mennonite Blogosphere. My question to you is this: Would *you* be interested in joining such a venture?

    “Well, Hans,” you may ask, “what exactly does that consitute?” The chief component of such a venture would be a blog roll that would contain a link to all the member sites. Some things that we could add would be: a weekly roundup of the best posts across our blog ring. We could have different categories or just lump them together into one. We could include a short synopsis of the post or just give a link. The options are endless.

    I have thought a little about a name. The name I will leave up to the a vote by the founding members. Here some combos I dreamt up from the simple and obvious “The Mennonite Blogring” to the clever and hard to pronounce (doesn’t matter if it’s hard to pronounce on the web!) “BlogMennoSphere” to “Rebaptized Bloggers” to “Mennonite Ring of Blogs.” Like I said: It’s up to the members. Nominations welcome.

    This blogring would be open to all Mennonite (or Anabaptist or non-denominational with Conservative leanings) bloggers. I would prefer to keep it to blogs that offer content that is of general interest (theology, music, tech, sports, politics, life, news) and not the kind of content that “you have to know him.” I’m not excluding personal content. That’s what makes a blog interesting! But it needs to be interesting to the general Mennonite or even general Christian or even the general person.

    If you’re interested in such a venture, drop me an email at: hansmast at hansmast dot com

  6. Sadly, I also listen to NPR but mainly because there are no christian radio stations up here unless your into the heavy rocker type. I like to clarify my listening this way, Every morning I read my Bible and listen to NPR, that way I know what both side are up too. I find that both liberals and conservatives have their extremes, the liberals, NPR and Hollywood; the conservatives, Shawn Hanidy and Rush Limbaugh. Both sides are so biased that I find it hard to listen to either very long without getting frustrated. Not that I don’t agree more with the idealogy of the conservatives more but when they refuse to see any good in the other side at all, they show the smallness of their thinking.

    Byron, you get over the loss of the bass section yet? I know just how you feel! I was doing a home recording for a group at Bald Eagle Boys camp and while they were singing, i was listening to the next installment of Odyssey. When we listend to the recording you could faintly here the story in the background. Needless to say, I felt like cow pie, behind everyone else and stinkin to high heaven!

  7. I’ve listened to NPR a lot, and while some of the personalities seem left-leaning, I’d hardly say that they represent the extreme of liberalism. Try Air America Radio (which I just noticed now has Jerry Springer in their lineup) if you want extreme liberal.

    Hans, I don’t really care about labels, honestly. If we’re talking politics, both philosophical perspectives have their strengths and weaknesses. I’d sort of like to be in the place that could capitalize on the strengths of each, at least in an idealogical kind of way.

  8. There are no strengths on the liberal side. And Sean and Rush are extreme? Riiiight.

    I’ve got to get out of this discussion, I can’t handle it.

  9. That’s good, because if you stayed in it, the rest of us couldn’t handle it before too long. 🙂

    The baritone

  10. Here’s an interesting blog from a Mennonite pastor in PA that I just came accross.


  11. Empower them in order that they can write their own history.

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