The “Good” of Voluntourism

The problem with “The Problem with Little White Girls (and Boys)” is most people, maybe even Pippa Biddle herself, misunderstand what Pippa Biddle is writing.

First, to get this elephant of an issue out of the way, the title of Pippa’s piece is grossly misleading. “Little White Girls (and Boys)” is essentially used as a proxy for rich young do-gooder travelers. The assumption that these two characteristics are synonymous is categorically untenable and unjustifiably wrong.

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Giving to the Poor May Be Easier Than You Think

It is a Sunday and the sermon is on Matthew 25: 31-46. “The Sheep and the Goats.” The verses that give a chilling example of what it means to be a Christian. Like every other well informed person today, you think, “If only it was as simple as feeding the hungry, providing water to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, or visiting the sick and imprisoned.”

Simply feeding the hungry, providing water, and clothing the naked can create a culture of dependency, there are tricky political intricacies when it comes to immigration and welcoming the stranger, and visiting the sick and imprisoned is easy but only if the sick are family members and the imprisoned are innocent.

These are some of the roadblocks that we create when we hear a sermon on verses like Matthew 25. Sure, the Bible calls us to live lives in which we willingly give to the vulnerable and serve the “least of these”, but has the pastor ever taken an economics class? We can’t just give away things to those who are in need. Or can we?

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