Dear WCIU Colleagues and Friends,
As I write it is exactly 7 days before the official celebration of Christmas. WCIU is a faith based, nonsectarian University, and our faith heritage is rooted in what we prefer to describe as "following Jesus". Most of us were born in or raised in or came to mature adult spiritual renewal in the some portion of the Christian family line. But the preferred language of spiritual identity for many of us, myself included, has become "follower of Jesus".
Over the years I have been honored to share life with followers of Jesus from many backgrounds, including a number of non-Christian religious traditions.
All of that is a preface to what I really want to share in this edition of the blog, which is, what can the event of Jesus' birth which we celebrate and remember at Christmas say to us about "International development"?
I have several things that come to mind:
Development starts from the ground up: a leader born to poor parents, under an oppressive regime, and without proper lodging...not the sort of beginning we would naturally associate with a promising future. But that child became a world changer, a heart changer, a people changer.
Development starts small: there was no human fanfare (though we are told angels sang), no headlines, no powerful allies, no pouring out of resources.
Development is about people: the story of Jesus' birth is primarily all about the people involved, and that is what authentic development is about as well.
Development is not primarily just a human activity: if the stories of Christmas are true, then humanity has not been left to itself to dig out of its own mess. There is a Life, Grace, Love, Person who seeks and intervenes and wills the good of humanity and this planet.
And maybe this is the most important thing to take from this season, summed up in the wishes expressed by those angels all these years ago, that ultimately the heart of God is wishing all of humanity:
Peace and goodwill...