Violence to the Poor

People have asked whether Catalyst is a Christian foundation. I don’t really like the question. The founders are committed followers of Jesus and I am also; in that respect everything we do is in some way Christian. But we are somewhat reluctant to identify Catalyst with that adjective. The reasons are slightly complex, but basically we wonder about all the assumptions that are made when anything is tagged as Christian. We have determined that within the work of Catalyst we are not funding programs that are focused on explicit evangelism and church planting. We are active in our own churches and we certainly do believe that there is a need for the truth and grace of Jesus to be shared sincerely and broadly. We just don’t believe that is the primary role for Catalyst. So, where does faith fit into to our work? That too is complex sometimes. Most of the best leadership and relief/development organizations and resources we can find have Christian people in positions of great influence. In some cases the organizations identify as Christian, in some they don’t. Today I read an article arguing that the greatest social need in the world is not health, economics, or even justice; but restoring proper relationship with God. I certainly believe the hope and direction that come with salvation are the ultimate deliverance, and I hope that in some way my life points to that reality. At the same time, I’m wary of those who encourage people to “go, be warm and well fed” while they pass out religious literature and warn of the peril of hell. I find myself thinking about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s pretty hard for people to consider the claims of Christ if their children are dying of polluted water. Medical Ministry International understands this well, as do some of our other partners. I would truly love to hear how the above article resonates with some of the rest of you.