Letting Go of Deficiency Based Thinking

Pharaoh’s anxiety can move communities from their call to care for one another by giving authority over to “professionalism” to assume and meet needs.

Three disabling effects grow from professionalized assumptions of need:

  1.  First is the translation of a need into a deficiency. A need could be understood as a condition, a want, a right, an obligation of another, an illusion, or an unresolvable problem. Professional practice consistently defines a need as an unfortunate absence or emptiness in another…
  2. The second disabling characteristic of professionalized definitions of need is the professionalpractice of placing the perceived deficiency inthe client…[legitimizing those] human beings whose capacity is to see their neighbor as half-empty.
  3. The third disabling effect of professionalized definitions of need results from specialization-the major “product” of advanced systems of technique and technology… [removing] even the potential for individual action. People are, instead, a set of pieces in need, in both time and space. [1]

Think of the work you do. What are ways to see those you serve as dignified and not deficient? What are ways to see your work as a community partnership with the whole person, and not expertise that only cares for a part of an individual? How might you let go of the anxiety of Pharaoh and the “professionalism” that creates a vision of scarcity and deficiency; trading that for a vision of a community abundant with gifts, sufficient for serving the needs of the whole?


[1]John Mcknight. The Careless Society: Community And Its Counterfeits (Kindle Locations 486-517). Kindle Edition.

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