A few weeks back I had the opportunity to attend a conference given by Darrow Miller entitled, “The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Poverty.” A real upper, huh? The conference was extremely thought provoking and challenging. The premise of the conference (and his related book) is that worldview determines ideas, and ideas have consequences.

Many times we focus on how “actions have consequences.” If we encourage people to change their actions without helping them understand the underlying ideas, there is little chance for sustainable change. Think of someone (ahem, maybe me) trying to eat healthier. If I just try to eat less junk food (chocolate) without understanding why it’s important to eat healthier, and believing that it matters, my change will only last until the next piece of cake comes around. Changing actions without changing ideas and beliefs is a bit futile.

Take Haiti – before the earthquake there were 1,000 relief organizations on the ground – all bringing help, money, people, etc. And Haiti was impoverished. Since the earthquake, there have been 10,000 relief organizations and NGO’s on the ground, bringing teams, aid, and $1,000,000 into Haiti. In addition, the Haitian diaspora brings $2,000,000 into the country annually. And what’s going on in Haiti? We all know the stories. We’ve all seen the pictures. Using Haiti as a case study shows that money and people don’t necessarily “solve” poverty if people are still operating out of an impoverished (and in Haiti’s case – voodoo) mindset. Ideas have consequences.

Now, I’m not degrading anyone’s work in Haiti. Rather, this example absolutely shook me. It made me step back and ask, “what are we, as Vida Joven, doing to address the real, root, worldview issues that people are dealing with in Guate?”

In the conference we specifically focused on the Guatemalan attitude toward women – “machismo.” Many awareness and prevention programs focus on physical abuse itself (the action), but do we dig deeper and challenge the worldview that allows men to demolish women and women to think they deserve it (the idea)?

Thankfully we serve a God who calls us to renew our minds, to be transformed – not just to be good and change our actions. I find a lot of hope and that, and look to share the hope of a transformed and renewed mind with my friends here!


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