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Agriculture and Rural Development: Lessons for Christian Groups Combating Persistent Poverty

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Abstract

Persistent poverty is one of the core challenges faced by Christians and by development scholars and practitioners alike. There is no question that Jesus was concerned about the poor – both materially and spiritually. From his first public address in the Synagogue in Nazareth, His home town, where He concluded by saying that He had come to “preach good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18), Jesus lived the gospel in word and deed. We, as Christian men and women, whether researchers or practitioners, are called to do no less. When Jesus made His parting remarks to His disciples, He said (John 20:21) “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” emphasizing that we are to do likewise. This concern permeates the Old and New Testament, another example being the words of the prophet Micah (6:8): “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” We are here to think through together some of the implications of this mandate for ourselves as researchers and practitioners. More specifically, to consider how the work we do as researchers can inform our work in the field as practitioners in such a way as to more effectively help those who are materially poor.

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WP 2002-45 December 2002

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2002-12

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Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University

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