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Approach to Neighborhood Transformation in Ashley Barker's Book

Compare and Contrast the approaches to urban Neighborhood Transformation in the two books set down as per-reading (Barker,Duncan).

The book By Ashley Barker name “Surrender All- A call to submerge with Christ” and “Costly Mission- Following Jesus to Neighborhood facing poverty talk about how the importance of changing the neighborhood is important. Michael Duncan along with his family lived in one of the slum communities of Manila, where he realized the best and worst part of his life[1] According to Ashley Barker it is important to raise a neighbor hood where everyone will try to rejoice and be happy together [2]They would cry together at the time of loss, death and grief, would try to resolve conflict. All these would indicate that Christ had entered the village and the people would realize that that togetherness is a society and this could be achieved through the sacred moments. Both the books have described the approaches to build a neighborhood and both books suggest that through the medium of cooperation understanding

The book by Michael Duncan gives a lot of lessons about encountering the cross cultural and mission of Christianity. Duncan along with his family did the finally crossing over from the eastern culture to Western Culture. They lived different culture of life and enjoyed being suffered both happiness and sadness of the world. They placed themselves in the culture of poor and understood the sufferings and pain. The motive of the book is to talk about the pain which is of higher cost and the suffering of the mission that has costed their lifestyle. On the other hand, Ashley Barker’s book is about a call to Christian discipleship and Barker said it is not important to add radical to the discipleship. It is a book which is countering the culture unlike Michael Duncan. The writer is being gripped by the God’s transforming presence and he is trying to work inside the life of the poor. The book talks about the mission of sustainability among the powerless and the poor.


For Duncan, the books does not give the romantic aspects of the life of Jesus Christ which eventually led him to enter the life of the poor and trying to understand them with the pain and sufferings that is a cost of life. Duncan and his family understood the sickness, poverty and salvation. The new life of Jesus which means the reincarnation of Jesus depicts the self- emptying service of the Kingdom of God and not for the personal salvation[3] The main focus of Duncan is that the family must raised children in such a way that the children must start understanding the needs of the others instead of making it more personal. Thus, this thing of importance is necessary. Once the person start thinking about the needs of the others then gradually a transformation take place[4] Once the person can put the children to make them understand the certain needs by giving importance to the cultural life, a transformation will begin in the character of the human being, this is also being supported by Ashley Barkey in his book of Surrender all. Michael Duncan in his book talked about, that giving service to the community would bring happiness to the people. Instead of going to churches and pray, if it becomes needful to meet the needs of the slums, it becomes important for the people to help the community to build the need of the community. For example in his book, Duncan talked about the necessary to build a public toilet which could meet the necessary demand of the community.[5] The author spent life in Philippines where he helped the community to build infrastructure for the slum neighborhood. This was the beautiful initiative taken by the writer to bring improvements and transformation in the neighborhood.

Approach to Neighborhood Transformation in Michael Duncan's Book

Similarly Ashley Barker also thinks that the urban neighborhoods that are facing poverty are increasing everywhere and they need to be addressed immediately. The poverty is spoiling the life of the people slowly and Therefore, Jesus Christ requested the people to work together for a mission to complete the dream of the urban neighborhood through the process of emancipation from the clutches of poverty. Jesus Christ can only enter when the people would cooperate with each other in order to find solution to the existing problems in terms of transforming the urban neighborhood[6] The people would believe that is they work and pray together for the people who are facing poverty can only bring happiness to the life of the urban neighborhood. Barker even pointed out that the existence of poverty is needed to be questioned. Similarly, Michael Duncan in his book pointed out that to understand poverty it is important to utilize the personal and social skills. Therefore, Ashley Baker says that it is important to stand with the poor and solidarity and also important to face the troubles together. The people indeed value the arrival of the poor community with whom, identification is needed to meet[7] Like Duncan, Barker also looks forward through his book “Surrender All” that the poverty needs to be taken out from a person personally and a stake must be there in the transformation of neighborhood. The community building in true self needs contact frequency, vulnerability and achieve something relevant without living near. Through the relation of Compassion, friendship needs to be built with those who are suffering hardships in life [8]

Michael Duncan also waged interaction with the Christian scholars and understood the cross cultural progression through OCMS. The ideas were shifted through a grid of community and through the sharing of the cross cultural vision, people can come to know each other and understand the need to transform. Barker pointed out it is important to mobilize the new workers who are Christians and they should be equipped in such a way that the approach can happen to the urban neighborhoods.[9] The motive which is expressed through the book is that how the formation of the workers of the Christian community must gather and form a community. It is important for the sustainable mission. The book “Surrender All” provides how together can travel to the Christian Community together by taking into account that only the two- thirds of the world is considered to be poor, however only a little fraction of the Christian workers usually go and sustain life among them.

Common Ground for Neighborhood Transformation in Both Books


discusses about the importance of theology. The theology teaches the people about the social life after and before death. Theology gives a systematic framework to understand the importance of theology framework and with the help of Bibilical Theology, it is important to understand the importance of a person that the people are meeting on a regular basis under the street light.[10] The Theology also saves the reader and the practitioners of the Urban Neighborhood Development must not limit themselves to the teachings of the Paul and they must also not neglect the contributions of Jesus Christ. Liberation Theology on the other hand deals with the importance of the book and gives the people to think in a more creative sense. Michael Duncan went through the study of theologies which can enhance the power of knowledge, grasping the value of the society and develops feeling for each other so that one can understand the importance of each other and try to solve the problems.[11] Barker in his book Surrender All points out that there were some miracles happened in the churches which changes the outlook of his mission and was looking forward to serve the community properly. According to Barker, the relation with the neighborhood is not an easy task. It takes time to grasp the needs of the neighbors by asking those questions, their link with the community and also try to understand the importance of neighborhood members in the community and assist them in the workings by understanding the happiness and cry of the urban neighborhood.[12] This is the same idea shared by Michael Duncan in his book “Costly Mission”. In the book of Costly Mission, there is a declaration which happened fortnight that there are people who are not following the true principles of Christianity in these modern days. The teachings of Jesus Christ are being left out and not serving the Kingdom of God properly. As pointed out earlier that most of the people are not following the gospels properly and implementing them. Duncan was concerned in his book about the reality which is authentic that follows the directives of Jesus Christ.


Both Michael Duncan and Ashley Barker worked with an organization to develop the mindset of the transformation of the Urban neighborhood. Barker participated with the UNOH (Urban Neighbor of Hope) which focused on loving the neighbors and bracing the urban neighborhoods. The contribution to the urban neighborhood through the mode of specific responses and also building the positive relationships with neighbors to carry out work of transformation is an important aspect of serving Christ.[13] Unlike Duncan, Barker the transformation of the negative attitude must change in terms of considering the Christianity a negative. However by linking with the belief of Duncan, Ashley Barker in his book also pointed out that the frame of reference of the community can be connected with the living of the Christ. Michael Duncan in his book focused more on the social sciences and less on the experiences to describe the transformation of urban neighborhood’s community. He just gave statement of how the poor should look after themselves and less evangelized. In his book “Costly Mission” there was no clear explanation of his concepts and theories. He focused less on the experiences and more on the modes of the teachings of the Bible. However, Ashley Barker focused on more of his experiences with UNOH and described the main values and understanding through the mode of experiences and understanding. He gave light about how the live experiences in details and concluded the factual analysis out of his book. [14]

The kernel of Michael Duncan’s book is that the gospel caused cost in the life of Jesus and similarly Gospel would also cost the life of the human beings more seriously. It means he did not believe in the gospels and he wanted that the churches can do missionary work more rather than remaining a happy church. However, Ashley Barker on the other hand talks about and supports the Gospel Order and to give importance to the gospel justice of the Churches. This marks a difference between two writer’s experience and their perspectives of theology.

Unlike Ashley Barker, Duncan do not romanticize the life of Jesus Christ because Duncan in his book wrote that it is the new life of Jesus that led Duncan to the life of poverty which has given him a lot of suffering, poverty, sickness and also loneliness and also it is not something which is served as a personal salvation for Jesus Christ rather focusing on the experiences of his own life.[15] Ashley Barker tried to keep importance to Jesus Christ and he can only be welcomed when the people are serving together the life of Jesus Christ.

Working with Organizations to Transform Neighborhoods


The main differences between Michael Duncan and Ashley Barker is that the Michael Duncan believed in theological aspects and making church to become more practical about the work of serving the neighbors. He came up with models and says that the poor must help themselves. It also has some similarity with “Modest Proposal” By Jonathan Swift. However Ashley Barker believes that experiences are indeed important about the whole journey and the experience while working with UNOH derived that working with the poor and sharing gospels with them would enlighten them with the life of the Urban Neighborhood.[16]

Therefore to conclude the gathered experiences to transform the neighborhood and it is important to understand the feelings of the people in order to approach them and make themselves exposed to the workings. Jesus Christ holds a new life and made a kingdom of God which would finally become true when the people would start helping each other and give importance to each other.

References

Barker, Ashley James. Surrender all: a call to sub-merge with Christ. Urban Neighbours of Hope, 2005.

Bradshaw, Bruce.Change across cultures:A Narative Approach to Social Transformation.Grand Rapids.Baker, 2002

Duncan, Michael. Costly mission: following Jesus into neighbourhoods facing poverty. Urban Neighbours of Hope, 2007.

Guder Darrell.Be My Witness.Grand Rapids.Eerdmans, 1985

Little, Christopher. "What Makes Mission Christian?." International Journal of Frontier Missiology 25, no. 2 (2008): 65-73.

McGrath, Alister E. Christian theology: An introduction. John Wiley & Sons, 2016.

Migliore, Daniel L. Faith seeking understanding: An introduction to Christian theology. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2014.

MISSION, GORDON-CONWELL. "CL 650: THE CHRISTIAN LEADER AS COMMUNICATOR." (2017).

Placher, William C., and Derek R. Nelson. A history of Christian theology: an introduction. Westminster John Knox Press, 2013.

Pohl, Cristine. Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition, Grand Rapids: Erdmans, 1999.

Sachs JeffreyD.The end of Poverty: Economic Possibilities of Our Time.New York : Penguin Press, 2005.

Schaller, Lyle E. Wisdom from Lyle E. Schaller: The Elder Statesman of Church Leadership. Abingdon Press, 2012.

Schaller,Lyle E. The Change Agent. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1972.

Sider, Ronald J. Evangelism & Social Action: In a Lost and Borken World. Sydney Hodder & Stoughton, 1993.

Wherever We Live. Grand Rapids. Baker Books, 2007. 

Duncan, Michael. Costly mission: following Jesus into neighbourhoods facing poverty. Urban Neighbours of Hope, 2007.

Barker, Ashley James. Surrender all: a call to sub-merge with Christ. Urban Neighbours of Hope, 2005.

Little, Christopher. "What Makes Mission Christian?." International Journal of Frontier    Missiology 25, no. 2 (2008): 65-73.

Schaller,Lyle E. The Change Agent. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1972.

Sider, Ronald J. Evangelism & Social Action: In a Lost and Borken World. Sydney Hodder & Stoughton, 1993.

Wherever We Live. Grand Rapids. Baker Books, 2007.

Pohl, Cristine. Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition, Grand Rapids: Erdmans, 1999.

Schaller, Lyle E. Wisdom from Lyle E. Schaller: The Elder Statesman of Church Leadership. Abingdon Press, 2012

MISSION, GORDON-CONWELL. "CL 650: THE CHRISTIAN LEADER AS COMMUNICATOR." (2017)McGrath, Alister E. Christian theology: An introduction. John Wiley & Sons, 2016.

Migliore, Daniel L. Faith seeking understanding: An introduction to Christian theology. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2014

Placher, William C., and Derek R. Nelson. A history of Christian theology: an introduction. Westminster John Knox Press, 2013.

Bradshaw, Bruce.Change across cultures:A Narative Approach to Social Transformation.Grand Rapids.Baker, 200

Guder Darrell.Be My Witness.Grand Rapids.Eerdmans, 1985Guder Darrell.Be My Witness.Grand Rapids.Eerdmans, 1985

Sachs JeffreyD.The end of Poverty: Economic Possibilities of Our Time.New York : Penguin Press, 2005

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