Church as travel agency

It’s important to divide the American church’s mission trips into types.

The most common sort of mission trip is a one-week youth group trip to a third-world country to paint a school or gut an old house. Parents, elders, and preachers have no illusions about how much “missionary” work is actually getting done by spending thousands of dollars to fly teenagers halfway around the world for a couple of days. They support these trips for the kids because it’s viewed as a way to build their character by exposing them to the baseline poverty of human existence. Effectively, it’s the same argument as “stop complaining, kids in China would love to have it this good”. What these wise old heads don’t understand is that this institution is being used by political identitarians to support Maoist Third-Worldism because the impressionable young girls and children of immigrants sent abroad return home devoted to the “Invite the World” project. This sort of mission trip is parodied in this video:

As a rule, you should never try to deceive people into virtue because it produces these ridiculous systems built from hacking around unintended consequences, and Satan is the great social engineer of unintended consequences.

More often than not, nowadays, a “mission trip” will be a low-effort, moralizing veneer over a crowd-funded, one-week vacation to some fantasy destination like Rome. This is more common in what I’ll call “striver” churches, like Episcopalians, (increasingly) Methodists, and megachurches catering to an upper middle class demographic. The congregants of striver churches are more comfortable with the hypocrisy of using charity funds to put an “international experience” section on their kids’ resumes and university applications. This sort of mission trip is parodied in this video:

And then, of course, there are real missions trips. These are characterized by length (generally more than 8 months and often years), devotion (the missionary self-identifies as a missionary, not “person trying out a mission to see what it’s like”), and tangential projects to overcome unexpected hurdles (like the need to invent a written form of some indigenous language, so the Bible can be translated).

About Aeoli Pera

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5 Responses to Church as travel agency

  1. Heaviside says:

    That’s not what “Maoist Third-Worldism” means.

    >As a rule, you should never try to deceive people into virtue because it produces these ridiculous systems built from hacking around unintended consequences, and Satan is the great social engineer of unintended consequences.

    Deception is the missionary’s best friend. How do you think you can get any significant number of people to apostatize from their traditional religion except by deceiving them as to what they’re really getting into? In non-Christian societies Christians are by necessity revolutionaries and subversives of the highest order. Missionaries have traditionally been spies and smugglers, and this is one reason why CIA recruits so many Mormons.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >That’s not what “Maoist Third-Worldism” means.

      Fine, let’s play that game. What did I imply MTW means?

      >Deception is the missionary’s best friend.

      Now you’re the one being sloppy. Anyway, a missionary’s best friend is conviction. If there were a study done of missionaries, they would be heavily skewed toward trustworthiness (e.g. returning lost money to lost and found) and true belief.

      >How do you think you can get any significant number of people to apostatize from their traditional religion except by deceiving them as to what they’re really getting into?

      Have you ever changed your mind? Have you ever turned your back on a previous way of life?

      >In non-Christian societies Christians are by necessity revolutionaries and subversives of the highest order.

      Sure. They were doing culture war.

      >Missionaries have traditionally been spies and smugglers, and this is one reason why CIA recruits so many Mormons.

      You’re painting Mormons as generally deceitful, when the opposite is strongly true. I don’t believe they’re correct, but I don’t believe they’re misrepresenting their beliefs either.

      • Heaviside says:

        >What did I imply MTW means?

        something consistent with bringing refugees back to the First World

        >If there were a study done of missionaries, they would be heavily skewed toward trustworthiness (e.g. returning lost money to lost and found) and true belief.

        not if we were surveying historical missionaries

        >Have you ever changed your mind? Have you ever turned your back on a previous way of life?

        You only see religion as a matter of individual choice and not of loyalty to a larger group. In non-Christian societies where there are socially required religious obligations, conversion to Christianity is treason. Ancient peoples had no concept of “freedom of religion” in the American sense. Changing your mind on this issue would be like for you to conclude that Jesus was really Satan in disguise, that your entire family was destined to burn in Hell, that you ought to overthrow the U.S. government by any means necessary and install a communist dictatorship, and to begin recruiting other people into your terror cell.

        This is why the first modern police states were established to eradicate Catholicism.

        >Sure. They were doing culture war.

        Actual war: missionaries have made close acquaintance with guns and bayonets.

        >You’re painting Mormons as generally deceitful, when the opposite is strongly true.

        They can speak foreign languages and have an excuse to travel.

  2. Heaviside says:

    *This is why the first modern police states were established to eradicate Catholicism — because you fight Christianity the same way you fight communism: with vast networks of informants, secret police, torture chambers, propaganda, and public humiliation.

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