I’ve had a long post in my draft folder concerning World Vision. In the meantime, I’ve watched the social media/web/television world light up with commentary. People have dropped sponsorships, others have added. Each side has spit enough hate at the other to effectively drown out those still, quiet, wiser voices.
I’ve even heard a couple of wise sages simply say that there is so much hate right now to say anything without it completely getting misinterpreted. Which may just be the better course of action – stay silent. It is definitely the safer course of action.
I’m conflicted by the whole ordeal. I don’t completely line up on one side or the other. As each side continues to have an “all or nothing” mentality, I’m becoming more and more disgusted with both sides. I can’t be alone in this feeling.
When the news first hit that World Vision was going to allow same-sex Christians as employees, my first thought was – “Oh. My. Gosh. What in the world are they doing???”
It didn’t take a genius to see what was coming. It’s hard to imagine that WV was surprised by the reaction but apparently they were. I disagreed with the policy change – for reasons both theological and practical – but I figured it was part of a larger strategy moving them away from being a religious aid agency.
Then the reversal three days later.
And again my first thought was “Oh. My. Gosh. What in the world are they doing???”
In the course of a mere 72 hours, World Vision moved from being one of the most respected non-profit organizations in the world to the most despised one. They’ve managed to upset those who are for same-sex marriages, against same-sex marriages, as well as those who don’t care and just want to help kids.
That is THE definition of a train wreck.
I disagreed with the initial change of allowing same-sex Christians on staff. On a practical level, the initial change made little to no sense. It was a move away from their tradition as an orthodox Christian-based ministry. My assumption that most of their donors would be extremely against this kind of policy change. It would feel like a huge betrayal to many of their donors.
But to turn around in the span of 2 days and go back to the ban revealed something else that most of us didn’t want to admit either. It showed a ministry that has some major internal problems. Is it a complete lack of vision of who they were and want to be? A complete lack of cultural awareness? A fundamental lack of courageous leadership? Or worse yet, a ministry that reversed their decision because financially there was no other logical decision?
I don’t think we will ever get an answer to those questions. What is left now is the rubble of an organization that may just have signed their own death warrant.
To those that immediately withdrew their support – it’s a fair question that’s being asked of you. Who do you think really suffers when you pull that money? Don’t be naive about this. We know exactly who will suffer – it’s not the ones with offices. Sure, there are other organizations that you could give your money to, but your specific child isn’t with those other organizations. Go ahead and invest in another ministry…just please finish your commitment to this one.
To those who thought a Christian organization had finally legitimized same-sex marriage – I have every confidence that one day this will happen. When it does, what will it really mean?
The Scriptures haven’t changed what sin is. The list of sins that we need to be redeemed from and for hasn’t changed and won’t change no matter what earthly institution gives their approval. The Scriptures are clear on the issue of homosexuality. It’s a sin. From the Old Testament to Jesus – marriage was designed to be one man, one woman for life. There’s something that fully represents the image of God with a man and woman in marriage. Every time marriage is taught, the image of God is mentioned.
Here’s the tension point – the Scriptures are equally clear on other sins as well. Lust is lust and a sin whether it be heterosexual or homosexual. Adultery is sin regardless of the “style.” Greed, envy, gossip, and theft – if I listed them all eventually I would get to one that would hit home. Why certain organizations focus on some more than others? Don’t have a great answer for that.
I do know that every Christ-follower has garbage that Jesus has to deal with and redeem us from. Some of that garbage will get dealt with on this side of the grave, some of it later. Some of it is private, some of it public. All of it is deadly if not dealt with by Jesus.
In dealing with this issue…I’m drawn to a familiar story in the Scriptures…
When they threw the naked woman at His feet, you could hear the gasp of the crowd. This Man who had claimed to be God would now have to deal with a real person in a real situation. This wasn’t theory anymore. This was a woman caught in adultery. There was but one answer that was right. She deserved the death penalty.
Jesus just sits there. Where was the man? The man was guilty as well. Did they conveniently forget to drag him with her? He’d preached grace and love. He could not just let her go. It would be approving of that sin and lifestyle.
And Jesus just sits there.
He speaks and it’s not what they expect – ‘Let him without sin throw the fist rock.’
Here’s the miracle of that moment – not one rock was thrown. Self-awareness is so hard to come by. It’s incredible to think that not one them at least thought in their head – ‘I haven’t sinned. At least not like this woman.’
Not only was not one rock thrown…they all start to disperse as Jesus just sits there doodling in the dirt.
Then when it was just them two – a half-naked woman and the Savior – he whispers to her.
“Where are your accusers?”
They are gone.
“It seems so. Now…get up and SIN no more.”
The religious left angry because…well, that’s what grace does to religious people. It makes them angry. And bitter. Not sure why. Perhaps it’s because they still don’t have a great handle on how much they need Jesus as well.
Those that loved the adulterous lifestyle and wanted to stay in it – they left angry as well. Why? Because Jesus called it sin. He didn’t justify the action. He COVERED the action. There’s a difference.
And Jesus said – forgiveness is here. Now, it’s time to change BECAUSE of that grace. Not to earn it or to have it. I’ve given it freely. You have it – now change BECAUSE of it.
There’s the tension. To those who say – I was born this way, it’s a part of who I am, it’s my identity, how can God ask me to change that, how can that be wrong?
Well…join the club. We all have to do that when it comes to Jesus and the cross. I was born a luster and liar. It’s part of who I am. It’s my identity. How can God ask me to change that? How can that be wrong?
Because it’s against His design, it wounds Him, it’s selfishness, because it will eventually kill me – physically and spiritually. Because He loves me enough to tell me the truth and help me change.
This position of scandalous forgiveness AND demanding to sin no more – it’s an awkward place of grace. A place where I hope to stand and live with Jesus. A place that is getting harder and harder to stand because of both sides.