The Development Set
Excuse me, friends, I must catch my jet —
I’m off to join the Development Set;
My bags are packed, and I’ve had all my shots,
I have traveler’s checks and pills for the trots.
The Development Set is bright & noble,
Our thoughts are deep and our vision global;
Although we move with the better classes,
Our thoughts are always with the masses.
In Sheraton hotels in scattered nations,
we damn multinational corporations;
Injustice seems so easy to protest,
In such seething hotbeds of social rest.
We discuss malnutrition over steaks
and plan hunger talks during coffee breaks,
Whether Asian floods or African drought,
We face each issue with an open mouth.
We bring in consultants whose circumlocution
Raises difficulties for every solution —
Thus guaranteeing continued eating
By showing the need for another meeting.
The language of the Development Set,
Stretches the English alphabet;
We use swell words like ‘epigenetic’,
‘Micro’, ‘macro’, and ‘log arithmetic’.
It pleases us to be esoteric —
It’s so intellectually atmospheric!
And though establishments may be unmoved,
Our vocabularies are much improved.
When the talk gets deep and you’re feeling dumb
You can keep your shame to a minimum;
To show that you, too, are intelligent
Smugly ask, ‘is it really development?’
Or say, ‘that’s fine in practice, but don’t you see:
It just doesn’t work out in theory!’
A few may find this incomprehensible,
But most will admire you as deep and sensible.
Development Set homes are extremely chic,
Full of carvings, curios and draped in batik.
Eye-level photographs subtly assure
That your host is at home with the rich & the poor.
Enough of these verses — on with the mission!
Our task is as broad as the human condition!
Just pray God the biblical promise is true!
The poor ye shall always have with you.
A former missionary to Indonesia, Ross Coggin worked in Texas Baptist
Student Union work and youth revivals, and from 1960-1967 served as
Director of Communications at the Christian Life Community in
Nashville, then spent the rest of his career in the U.S. foreign
service, mostly with USAID.