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Finished the IDS major//thoughts and reflections

03/27/2011

So, this past quarter was my last quarter in the International Development Studies major here at UCLA.  Scary thought.  I do have two more classes in my minor (Teaching ESL) to finish out my last year here at the university, then I’m done.  Wow.

All “IDS stands for I Don’t Study” jokes and 10-12 page papers aside, I feel that I’ve learned a lot that is of great value.  I admit it’s not the most practical of undergraduate majors, but I have learned a great deal of worldview/perspective changing things both from the IDS major and from being a Christian in the major.  Basically, my major has explored how and why countries are in the poor state they are in, and what to do to help them “develop.”  In short: human and economic development in the form of government aid and humanitarian aid.

Perhaps as a way to “celebrate” my completing my major (but more so just cause), here are some of the more important things I’ve learned from my major (I reserve the right to add more later as life goes on and my thoughts develop!):

  • There should be nothing you read/learn/study that doesn’t change your life, perspective, or thinking.  Even in a small way.  In that way, the IDS major has been well worth the price of admission.
  • As is in the Bible, the world is getting worse and worse (2 Timothy 3:1-5).One of the reasons there never seem to be concrete “answers” in my field of study is because the sinful state and curse of the world isn’t brought into consideration.
  • The world is a lot lot lot bigger than we often like to think.  Yadeeyada right?  But really, outside of our comfortable American lives, there is a lot going on.  A lot more than even Japanese tsunamis and Middle Eastern revolutions (don’t mean to minimize these things).
  • America may be one of the richer countries in the world, but culturally, philosophically, and theologically I think that’s where our downfall is.  The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil (1 Timothy 6:10), proliferating such things as pride, discontentment, and greed to a point where they are commonplace.
  • In order to have an accurate kingdom mindset, we owe it to ourselves to know what’s going on with the rest of the world.  The well-roundedness from learning about the world is just a nice side benefit.
  • We tend to care a lot about things that matter the least, and vice versa.  Obviously there are exceptions.
  • A “fun” one: BBC is better than CNN.  Non-American international news is better than American international news in general.
  • We cannot afford to “secularize” anything, or separate anything from God and the Gospel.  We are in grave danger the minute we start to section things off.  That’s just how it is.  More on this in the next few posts.
  • We must view the past, present, and future of the world (and our lives) with God’s plan of redemption as our paradigm.  It’s what matters, after all.
  • God is sovereign.  Even with civil wars, famines, tropical climates, lack of navigable rivers, and corruption.
  • The rumors are true: the answer to everything IS the Gospel.  As much as geography, “periphery” status, and lack of infrastructure can be blamed for underdevelopment, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only thing that will change the heart.  If more corrupt presidents and embezzling cabinet members knew Christ, there would be less corruption.  If more people knew Christ, “human development” would be a lot easier.  So on and so forth.  The bottom line is, regardless, that God’s kingdom is what will “develop” and last (2 Peter 3:10-14).

In summary and without saying too much, the IDS major has challenged my thinking like no other.  Personally speaking, I’m glad I studied the field and not anything else.  And just to come full circle, that points back to God being sovereign in my life!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 04/01/2011 4:32 pm

    Very cool! I’m sure it was a great experience!

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