Resource Use as Hindrance to Sustainable Overseas Development Intervention; a view focused on Pentecostal Christianity By Jim Harries, This article is to be published in Missiology: an international review. It is now available by online first here: This version is version 3, a version that was extant before the article was sent for review for publication. Abstract The use of outside resources (and global languages) seriously curtails the ability of intervening agents at engaging with non-western societies at the ontological depth needed to counter unhealthy socially destructive content at pre-suppositional level. Such presuppositional-level content may be perpetuating poverty and hopelessness. Availability of resources is often an excuse used by development workers to avoid in-depth engagement with a people. A case study illustrates how engagement without resources can challenge deep presuppositions associated with poverty. Deep theological engagement with pre-existing ontologies from a position of understanding is advocated as the way forward. Note I refer to Africa and Africans in a generic sense, without seeking to imply that all Africans are the way that I describe them or that Africa is uniform and without variation. As there are particular characteristics that European people tend to have in common through having had a largely shared history, I take the same as being the case for African peoples. Introduction Post-modern philosophy tells us that people's interpretation of the world they are in is always dependent on “fore-having, fore-sight and fore-concept" (Smith 2010:136). This article considers the impact of the presence of such underlying presuppositions in life on the overseas development project, focusing especially on Africa. It advocates active engagement with these types of fore-knowledge as a prime route to the achieving of helpful socio- economic change. It proposes that differing presuppositional positions affect prospects for sustainable economic and social development. Whether in Christian mission or in development intervention, Westerners consider themselves justified in intervening in the lives of the 'poor'. What should such intervention look like? Traditional mission or certainly development interventions usually ignore the underlying working presuppositions of a particular target people (Verma 2011:60). Radical yet practical ways of taking them seriously are here proposed. This article suggests that the depth of Western intervention into complex African societies is often limited as a result of its almost inevitable piggybacking on 'superior' resources. Resourcelessness of the outsider, it is proposed, could be a vital if not necessary means of engaging at pre-suppositional level. A resource-free outsider can be able to engage a people's ontological reality, the superstructure that supports their presuppositions, in ways that is 1
bypassed when resources dominate relationships. Given life's dependency on pre-theoretical
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