Well hello. World Vision has reversed course. In what they perceived would be a “neutral” position (obviously no one is reading my blog over there) they announced Monday that they would hire employees who were in same-sex marriages. Undoubtedly shocked at the backlash, yesterday they declared that “the policy change we made was a mistake.”
World Vision is one of the greatest Christian charities in existence and they have always had strict standards for their employees. (This blogger was looking at a job opening there in January and got a little giddy about the high expectations of ethics and personal holiness for those on the payroll.) Because World Vision employs Christians from over 50 denominations, they have had to decide which issues are non-negotiables for their ecumenical work force. Some of those include belief in the Trinity, the fallen nature of man, and the infallibility of scripture. You know, the little stuff. They have allowed for disagreement on what some refer to as “disputable” matters such as the role of women in ministry, church polity and views on baptism. In some crazed moment they relegated the definition of marriage and sexuality into that category. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that meeting. Their stated intent was “to dodge the division currently tearing churches apart” but much to their surprise the announcement created a firestorm (the Frau would have used another word in place of “fire” but I had to nix that) reminiscent of Duck Dynasty and Chik-fil-A.
Before we get lost in debate here let’s remember that the real story concerning World Vision is that they minister to 4.3 million children in poverty. 4.3 MILLION. Countless children around the world have full bellies, clean water and education because World Vision has taken quite seriously the Christian mandate to care for the poor. They have also developed a channel that allows the rest of us to make a meaningful difference with cash money. Take a moment and rejoice in what this organization has been able to accomplish because they have taken Jesus’ commands so seriously. Seriously.
Now, even though that is the most important thing you are going to read on this subject, that isn’t the story you came for and it’s certainly not what sells papers. Wait. Do they still sell papers? I need to get out more.
As stated on World Vision’s website, “Being Christian makes us different.” Yep. They are different from other aid agencies because they not only meet physical needs (food, water, medical care, education) but because they also live and preach the gospel. Not a gospel of affirmation, but the gospel of transformation. The gospel that transforms every aspect of a believers life- how we spend our money, what we wear, how much we eat, how we view possessions, how do friendship, how we relate to “enemies,” and, among other things- with whom we have sex.
Because World Vision has taken Jesus seriously when he said “whatever you do unto the least of these you do unto me” they have been wonderfully different and zealous in their service to needy children around the world. But that same Jesus also defined marriage as one man and one woman (Matt 19:5). He was explicit about both marriage and the poor and those who bear His name should take our cue from Him. Our lives should reflect these truths. Being Christian makes us different.
What is now clear to World Vision’s leadership, and what should be crystal clear to the rest of us, is that there is no “neutral stance” when it comes to gay marriage. The left has made this the issue which plops you into either the tolerant or the bigoted pile. For two days World Vision was in the “tolerant” pile and was flooded with an influx of donations from LGBT supporters. But once they reversed their policy, the left reasoned the reverse was due to “homophobia” and “disdain” for LGBT people. (See here, here, here, and here.) Because according to the them, it doesn’t matter how charitable you are (“conservatives” and “fundamentalists” form the generous base of World Vision’s support), how much community service you engage in, how often you help your gay cousin with his math homework, or how many cats you have rescued from the shelter. You either support gay marriage or you have to wear the big scarlet B on your shirt.
The right, I believe, is honestly just sick and tired with those who should be the strongest on this issue capitulating because of
bullying political pressure. A&E or Cracker Barrel or in this case World Vision, always seem to be shocked at the ferocity of the backlash when a Phil Robertson or a Dan Cathy is targeted because of their beliefs. (For two days, Christians who are committed to serving the poor AND upholding biblical sexual ethics withdrew their support from World Vision in surprising numbers.) Because there’s a whole lot of us, more than mainstream media will ever dare to reveal, who are longing for someone who is not afraid to stand firm (and-please-God-let-them-be-gracious-and-loving-too) in the face of what is becoming business-breaking, career-wrecking pressure to join the popular crowd.
You know- well maybe you don’t so allow me to share my thoughts with you- this is long game stuff here my people. Standing firm makes you a good target. It can be difficult and painful. Matter of fact, following Jesus will be costly in all sorts of ways. However, I submit it will be more costly if you do not.