When Everyone Gets Whiplash

by Roo on March 27, 2014

in heavier things

I will rarely discuss religion on here, for various reasons, one of them being that there are just so many people who do it better than I could. I’m writing this realizing that many have already written about this over the past few days, and it is likely that I am adding to the noise.

To recap: On Monday, World Vision USA, a humanitarian organization announced a policy change: they are now hiring gay Christians in same-sex marriages. Truth be told, I (and others) were entirely unaware of their employment policy. From Jen Hatmaker: “…with employees from over 50 denominations, some of which sanction same-sex marriages (United Church of Christ, The Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), as well as staff in the 17 states plus the District of Columbia where same-sex marriages are legal and binding, World Vision has chosen not to make this issue a condition of employment. Rather, they are leaving the theological sorting to the local church of which WV considers their organization an ‘operational arm,’ not a ‘theological arm.’”

From Richard Stearns, CEO of World Vision: “It’s been heartbreaking to watch this issue rip through the church,” he said. “It’s tearing churches apart, tearing denominations apart, tearing Christian colleges apart, and even tearing families apart. Our board felt we cannot jump into the fight on one side or another on this issue. We’ve got to focus on our mission. We are determined to find unity in our diversity.”

The backlash was immediate and fiery. Many felt betrayed and deeply hurt because this went against their core beliefs. Many were elated. I watched – dismayed – as the internet blew up with anger and vitriol. People declared that they were going to drop their sponsorships. I engaged in hard conversations with evangelicals and atheists, homosexuals and heterosexuals, the mourning, the hopeful, and the angry. Some applauded World Vision. Friends rallied to get children sponsored to make up for the sponsorships dropped.

[4.3.2014 update: In a conference call with Rich Stearns, we discovered that World Vision made the policy change months ago. A disgruntled World Vision employee brought the change to the attention of Christianity Today. Christian Today asked World Vision for an exclusive, and World Vision then had no choice but to make a public statement, as Christianity Today would have run the story without it.]

Yesterday, World Vision announced that they reversed their decision. Naively, I was shocked.

I am an imperfect human. I do not claim to know all – or even most – about faith and theology. I find that I have more questions than I have answers. Part of the journey – I think – is in the seeking. While some of my own friends, some of the people I commune with and worship with may think it’s sacrilegious to feel the way that I do, I think that the seeking, the questioning, the uncertainty… it’s okay. It’s part of my own journey. It’s part of my own story.

And so I hold tight to some simple truths while I seek more truth. I know what God says about loving others, loving the fatherless, loving the needy, loving people.

I couldn’t sleep last night. I had a dull, consistent ache in my chest. I sat at my desk and watched my Facebook inbox fill up with messages from people on both sides of this. But this is not about me. This is not about them. This is not about homosexuality. This is not about the people warring over doctrine.

Then I read that an unofficial source stated that as of Tuesday evening, 2,000+ children had been dropped.

[4.3.2014 update: In a conference call with Rich Stearns, he confirmed to us that the updated count is now 10,000 children.]

I wept.

I know doctrine is hard. I know that homosexuality is a volatile topic in the church. But it is devastating that so many people would withdraw their support from children they have developed relationships with over the years and helped financially because of an employment policy change.

Last fall I spent in a week Guatemala with World Vision. I gave up a week away from my three young children, a week of salary; my husband gave up a week of vacation time, because there are children who lack clean water, food, and healthcare. Because there are children who are victims of human trafficking. Because it was my hope that sharing these stories would inspire people to help.

And so I cried last night. I cried for myself. I cried for my brothers and sisters that feel betrayed. For the people in the LGBT community who applied for employment at World Vision to discover a few hours later that they were no longer welcome to work there. For those on both sides who are confused and frustrated; for those who can’t pick a side. But mostly, I cried because we have so utterly failed so many children.

2,000 of them lost a sponsor.

2,000 of them, treated as pawns.

2,000 of them, who know their sponsors by name and send them drawings and write them letters.

Adults who had pledged to support these children, had put their photos on their fridge, had written letters and sent birthday money… rushed to their computers and phones to cancel their sponsorships, to contact their banks and put a stop payment on automatic renewals, to sever a relationship and sacrifice the well-being of a child due to a policy change. (Someone’s going to point out the way the finances work with humanitarian organizations. Fine, here’s another analogy. The loss of 2,000+ sponsorships also means a non-profit is suffering a sudden loss of $76,000 in donations per month.)

From Rachel Held Evans: “When Christians declare that they would rather withhold aid from people who need it than serve alongside gay and lesbian people helping to provide that aid, something’s very, very wrong. It might not be hate, but it is a nefarious sort of stigmatizing, and it’s wrong.”

There’s a lot of grief and confusion and anger. Coming from me, as well. But the ones who are really affected… how do we explain it to them?

meilyn-swing

1-music-school-girls

1-showing-a-photoOther thoughts from other people: Jen, Rachel, Erika, Rachel again, Matthew.

{ 93 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly Goldman March 27, 2014 at 11:35 am

Ugh. I just read Jamie’s (The Very Worst Missionary) post earlier today about it. Regardless of your stance on the issue, the kids are being used as political pawns. THE KIDS. So very sad.

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brittany March 27, 2014 at 4:05 pm

There’s no “regardless of your stance” on this issue. The organization changed a policy (which makes sense because they represent many different denominations, many of whom are fine with same-sex marriage) and one side (those who are against homosexuality) decided to use the kids as political pawns. The other side did not use kids as political pawns in any way.

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brittany March 27, 2014 at 4:13 pm

And now that I have just read that WV US reversed its decision, I am quite disgusted by both WV AND those “Christians” who made the reversal happen. Shame on both.

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Maggie S March 27, 2014 at 11:40 am

I always wonder why organizations have to announce policy changes with such fanfare. It always causes a backlash.
I agree with you that it is very sad that 2000 kids are going to be hurt.

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Roo March 27, 2014 at 11:41 am

I agree. I have no idea why they went about it this way. Many of us have questions and we hope World Vision can answer them.

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K. March 29, 2014 at 12:38 pm

I totally agree. Why couldn’t they just change their policy and let people do their own research about it? Fanfare leads to traumatic results. There are many Christian denominations that allow same sex marriage, so why not let each church group decide for themselves? People are so harsh and make such rapid fire decisions without thinking about anyone else. I was fired from a church where I taught a preschool because I moved in with my boyfriend, because he had to move out and had nowhere else to go. They told me that my appearance mattered more than my heart and his potential homelessness. They told me in front of a potluck full of people. And my heart broke. When did the church start focusing on how things look more than how people are changed?

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Jenn April 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm

“When did the church start focusing on how things look more than how people are changed?” – It’s because they forget that only GOD is the judge of others.

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Lisa S March 27, 2014 at 11:41 am

Thank you for this, Roo. A couple of days ago when it all started to blow up I began praying for you, knowing your work with WV, and for the response you may or may not be compelled to write. You are absolutely correct. I believe this should be about the children and I continue to pray that those who hastily withdrew their sponsorship would search themselves and have a change of heart and renew those relationships. It’s not too late.

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Roo March 27, 2014 at 11:46 am

Sadly, I’m afraid it might be too late. I’m not sure if World Vision will offer a special period of “sponsorship reconciliation” or whatever for the people who were so quick to sever ties with their sponsored children.

Lisa, thank you so much for praying for me. I started crying reading that sentence. So touched by your kindness, truly.

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MissCaron March 27, 2014 at 11:47 am

AMEN. “I know doctrine is hard. I know that homosexuality is a volatile topic in the church. But it is devastating that so many people would withdraw their support from children they have developed relationships with over the years and helped financially because of an employment policy change.” UGH. I just don’t understand “Christians” in this world today. What would Jesus do? The One who ate along side the adulterer and the prostitute and the tax collector. The One who said to LOVE as He first loved us.

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Nicole Hance March 27, 2014 at 11:49 am

I don’t understand it either Roo. I started sponsoring a little boy in Guatemala last summer because of your posts here. I don’t understand how people can forget that we are supposed to love each other and take care of each other in His name long before we are supposed to decide if others are living right or wrong in His name. It boggles my mind. I hope people who are outraged by this will rush to pick up sponsorships on the children who were dropped.

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Meghan March 27, 2014 at 11:50 am

I was dumbfounded yesterday when I heard the reversal.

Monday night, when I heard the original news, I approached my non-Christian husband and told him about it. I was obviously proud of the decision WV had made and I said I thought we should sponsor a child. My husband has been unemployed for a while, so we decided that when he got a job, we would sponsor a child through WV. And then this reversal happens… so… now what? I want to sponsor a child, but it’s going to be really hard to have the conversation with my husband as he sees WV reverse their decision and say “nevermind, we don’t want gays working here”.

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Roo March 27, 2014 at 11:53 am

Oh, that is so hard, Meghan. I do not know what the answer is. All of us who have worked with World Vision in some capacity are sort of waiting for answers. I’m hoping for real numbers, what the real fallout is from this week. I haven’t any idea.

I know World Vision – any many other humanitarian organizations – do good, good work. I keep typing and hitting backspace, Meghan, I’m sorry. I don’t know what the answer is. First, I’m really hoping your husband gets a job soon. Second, thank you for being so willing to help a child. Third, I’m admittedly a little foggy/tired, but once the dust settles, I’m hoping we’ll have better information. Feel free to reach out to me via email. xo

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Meghan March 27, 2014 at 11:59 am

I know. I sponsored a child before through another organization, but had to stop when I moved to Mexico to do volunteer work long-term, and then never started again when I came back to the states a few years ago. When in Mexico I worked with a population of natives, poverty stricken, etc., so I know first hand the kind of kids these programs help. Hopefully I’ll be able to have a good conversation with my husband about this. It’s been really strange to watch these sort of things happen, and thinking about how it looks through my husband’s eyes.

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Roo March 27, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Meghan, World Vision Canada released an interesting statement:

“We do not ask questions about sexual orientation, marriage or related issues… This is what is most key for us: When it comes to working with the poor, World Vision serves children, families and communities, regardless of whether they are aligned with our values or not. Race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation do not prevent us from serving the poorest of the poor.”

So, whether or not that helps you with your decision, I’m not sure, but I wanted to share. :)

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Sarah March 27, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Canadian here: In Canada it is illegal (under our charter of rights and freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Act) to ask any of those questions and it is considered discriminatory to base hiring practices on gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity etc.

I have been listening to the discourse happening around gender, reproduction, religion and sexual orientation that has been happening in the states over the last few years and am absolutely horrified at the imposition of Christian idealism over the rights of individuals. Christianity used to represent love, generosity and kindness. Incidences like this make me think that it has become the source and legitimizing force behind hatred – a system of institutionalized bigotry. You can be Christian, abide by Christian values and disagree with the non-Christian choices that people make without impeding their most fundamental human rights.

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Natasha March 27, 2014 at 3:42 pm

This, right here, so much. I was under the impression that America was founded on the basis of, you know, freedom and equality for all…..unless you’re gay, non white, female, too poor, etc. So much I read in the news lately just makes me sad.

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Meghan March 28, 2014 at 4:37 pm

And I appreciate what that means for the children and families they sponsor, but it does not cover who they employ. And of course they must ask or have some sort of discourse or “pledge” of some sort if it is something they are publicly stating in regards to their staff. Anyway, I guess talking about it here doesn’t really do much in regards to whatever they feel the need to do. I just saw your update on FB. I’m so tired of this being the thing that divides everyone. So, so tired.

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Zack March 27, 2014 at 11:59 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I couldn’t agree more.
Jesus, money, power and children as pawns. It’s an outrage and the “church” should be embarrassed of their manipulation and maneuvering.

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Roo March 27, 2014 at 1:54 pm

That Gandhi “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians” quote seems so relevant this week.

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Leah Butler March 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm

I am an atheist. There, I said it. Just that simple statement vilifies me to many.

I am also a sponsor with WV. The fact that they are affiliated with faith-based groups never bothered me. I also was unaware of their hiring practices, and while their decision to revert to an exclusionary hiring practice frustrates and disappoints me, I made a commitment to my sponsored child.

Not to World Vision.

I made a commitment to a 6 year old girl in Guatemala to support her – to help her go to school, have good food and clean water. To have a roof over her head and anything else I can help with in my small way.

I did not sponsor a child to further my own political agenda – or to use a charitable organization as a weapon against those who believe differently than I.

I made a commitment to that little girl.
And I will keep it.
I hope anyone that withdrew support and sponsorship takes a step back, and remembers that they too made a commitment.
And decides to put the agendas away, and honor theirs as well.

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Roo March 27, 2014 at 12:02 pm

I wish this comment would go viral.

Thank you so much, Leah.

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Sara Record March 27, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Beautifully put Leah and thank you for this eloquent reminder.

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Erin March 27, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Yes, this comment should go viral. Thank you.

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Leah Butler March 27, 2014 at 4:02 pm

I generally avoid discussions about faith or religion because I find a lot of judgment and intolerance on both sides of the pew. But I was so moved by your take on a very sensitive subject to so many, that I thought I would add my two wee cents. Roo, your writing on this subject is warm, inclusive and balanced and I thank you for sharing your gift with us.

Trying to squeeze money out of the monthly budget to sponsor another child.

Anyone want to help me search under the couch cushions?

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jo March 28, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Leah, I agree with you but am still very torn. I am not Christian myself and like you the fact that WV is faith based did not deter me as they were doing great good. Recently I tried to apply to become a WV Ambassador but was not even able to put in an application if i would not sign a faith statement that was very legalistic, even my most religious friends said they would be uncomfortable signing it. I struggled with withdrawing my sponsorships and working with another organization that was more inclusive and that i could work for in more ways than just giving money. I can only contribute so much and to so many. I decided that i would continue my contributions for the same reasons you state. Having viewed their faith statement I was not surprised to find out about their hiring practices about LGBT and was thrilled when WV announced they would not discriminate against them any longer. But their reversal was heartbreaking. I felt that I can not support an organization that gives in to intolerance and hate as they have. I felt that in the only way I can, monetarily, I needed to stand up and say “this is wrong” when they give in to the vitriol and hate they embolden them. It is hard to chose between ones values and helping a child in need and I imagine all those that were outraged on the opposite side of the situation felt the same way. It is a difficult choice. You have really given me much to consider. You have undeniably shown that to be moral one does not need religion one only needs empathy and compassion. thanks for your comments. there must be another way to voice our support for the LGBT community and disappointment in WV choices than withdrawing sponsorship for the children.
Hopefully if we stand by our commitments WV will realize that they should stand by their first commitment as well?

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Leah Butler March 28, 2014 at 7:48 pm

I wrote a strongly worded letter with my frustrations about the reversal – and about being a sponsor first and then learning about WV’s exclusionary hiring practices. I admonished them for excluding those that just wanted to help for what amounts to a completely frivolous reason. I cautioned them that using exclusionary tactics like this in their hiring practice, just creates a precedence to exclude in their own mission to help children. They won’t hire from the LGBT community by their own admission – what’s to stop them from refusing aid to a child in need who happens to be homosexual? While they play god and deny help to someone that does not look as they do, act as they do, speak as they do? It’s a slippery slope.

Beyond that – I think a Change.org petition is something to look into. There are ways to effect change besides withdrawing money and resources from those that desperately need it. Something I wish that everyone who withdrew sponsorship would stop and think about for a minute.

There is nothing wrong with religion – but I see a lot of instances where religion is used as a weapon and it makes me very sad. I grew up in a family where faith was a comfort, a community. I am still welcome even though I do not believe as they do. I look for that kind of tolerance and find it lacking in a way that makes me sad in this case.

But for me, it came back to my “god daughter” – she needs my help. I promised my help. I keep my promises.

Thank you for your kind words, I apologize for my rambling.

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Rachel McCoy March 27, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Thank you for writing about this, Roo. It’s been good to hear from folks like you who have direct experience with WV and their mission. I’ve been reading along on the internet this week and shaking my head at it all. I’m appalled at the way people are acting, lashing out from the comfort of being behind a screen and a keyboard. It’s disgusting. The whole thing is a mess, from top to bottom. We sponsor a little girl from Africa through Compassion International, and I couldn’t fathom withdrawing our sponsorship so easily. She is a person. We are committed to her. I truly do not understand how 2,000+ people took that so lightly. I really don’t.

Thanks for sticking your neck out and sharing your thoughts on this. I hope you find that many of us are right there with you on it all.

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mpoteat March 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm

I thought I would also share my thoughts on this whole situation, I posted my below comment on my facebook page before I heard about them changing their minds in the midst of my own struggles. I think it really comes down to loving our neighbors but also not conforming to this world & allowing those who are not ‘dead to sin & alive in Christ’ to have influence over our ministries. While it may hurt some to say this & it may not make sense to everyone – that is allowing Satan to reign. But we are all sinner’s & judging that is also wrong.

Posted last night:

Has everyone forgot how Jesus taught us to not be conformed to this world? To not allow your neighbor to stumble? Does hating the sin, loving the sinner mean supporting them in what they are doing? Maybe WV is trying to reap coals on their enemy by being a positive example to these couples who need God or maybe the enemy is causing WV to have distorted views. After reading several of comments on the WV facebook page- I feel that many truly do not understand what Jesus came to this earth for & the stories of the Old & New Testament. Which is to save the sinner, and we as Christians are suppose to spread that message. We are all sinners. So should Christians boycott a non-profit Christian based company who now suddenly seems to be allowing sin run in their offices? Well whats new? If we are all sinners & all sin is the same in the eyes of God, then is it really necessary to not allow them to work in a Christian based business? But then Romans 6 talks about how we are to be dead to sin & alive in Christ. I have a hard time believing that anyone who has gone through all the steps to have a legal gay marriage is truly dead to sin & alive in Christ. BUT I’m thankful that I’m not the one in charge of judging their hearts, nor do I struggle with that sin so I truly can not know whats it’s like. I’m not sure where I stand with this move with WV, I just recently started sponsoring a little girl from the Congo DRC & do not wish for her country to suffer because of WV’s decision but I do not want to be conformed to this world that is promoting these views that are against the teachings of the Bible. Just a little Christian thought provoking lesson for anyone who is open to reading.

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Allison March 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm

I’ve started typing this ten times and I can’t seem to make the words to express how deeply confused and saddened I am by this whole situation. You and many other commenters before me put it so eloquently. I guess I’ll just say that I’m praying for you, Roo, and for World Vision, and most importantly, for those children who lost their sponsors for no fault of their own.
Those children.

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Emily March 27, 2014 at 12:39 pm

That was beautifully written Roo. And Leah’s comment was great. I am Christian but some life events that have been piling up over the last few years have really tested my faith and made me question a lot of things I thought I believed. Seeing Christians behave in this way is so disheartening. It does absolutely nothing to spread of the love of Christ. Those children deserve so much better.

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Sarah March 27, 2014 at 12:39 pm

I am now dumbfounded with you. It is so easy to cancel a membership when you don’t have to look that person in the eye and say to them, “I’m sorry you won’t have what you need because I can’t serve with gays and lesbians.” I weep as I write this as well.

We decided to sponsor after reading the backlash, hoping to pick up where someone left off. As a gay person I now want to drop and not help a cause that considers my family “a sin”. As a lover of Christ I will not. He has seen my heart my struggle and it is well with my soul. So I will not abandon a good cause. We are called to live lives that people see Christ in us. If people see him in me never knowing I’m gay, great. If I can show the many gay and lesbians out there who have been treated so badly by “christians” that Jesus does love them, great. Jesus used a Mary and I’m sure he can use me.

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Natasha March 27, 2014 at 3:55 pm

I agree with another commenter, Roo, your ‘deep’ posts are among my favorites, because you are so open and honest and not perfect or judgy. I feel your pain with this, and it just saddens me, deeply. I did not realize WV was affiliated with Christian organizations, or that they had a hiring policy based on sexual orientation at all. It saddens me that the children are the most hurt by this-which seems so, so common these days. Daily news about big companies withholding insurance benefits to gays or women, archaic hiring policies….my faith in our country is shaken these days. I am not a church goer, I was raised Catholic, and while the beauty and rituals of the church still appeal to me, is question to much to be an active Catholic, and don’t particularly want my children raised in the church. Living in the ‘bible belt’ shook me also, when sometimes it seems the majority of the ‘loudest’ Christians are also the cruelest and most hypocritical. I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here, just that reading your post brought me to tears, and hopefully soon there will be more love and light for these children. Thank you for sharing Roo xox

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Rachel March 27, 2014 at 11:37 pm

Sarah, I just want to say thank you. We need so many others like you.

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Chasing Joy March 27, 2014 at 12:50 pm

This makes me really sad. I pray that 2 times (3, 5, 10, 100, times) as many people who canceled sign up. May the press that is generated by this controversey lead to more children being helpled because of the publicity.

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Aya March 27, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Dear Roo,
I’m going to withhold my personal religious affiliation and thoughts on gay marriage here because they are not relevant.
But I will say that your “Heavier Things” posts are always my favorites. I also love when you write about religion precisely because you don’t push it in peoples faces and you write with nuance and profound depth of heart.
Thank you for always being real, being brave, and speaking truth. You have my undying respect for this reason.

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Roo March 27, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Aya, I’m obviously emotional right now, but this one put me over the edge. Thank you for your kind, loving comment. Means a lot.

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Kathy March 27, 2014 at 12:53 pm

It is just so very wrong, what WV has done. I wrote this on their FB wall.” Shame on all you faux christians who dropped sponsorship of needy children around the world because World Vision originally decided it would not get involved in the debate about homosexuality and would, instead, walk in the footsteps of Jesus and not judge people as criteria for employment. Shame on all of you thousands who dropped your sponsorships, forcing World Vision to change it’s policy to meet your demands. And Shame on World Vision USA for being cowards. None of you are real christians. Jesus is ashamed of you all right now.”

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Erin March 27, 2014 at 1:12 pm

This is so sad, Kathy! Jesus is not ashamed of anyone, he is anti-shame. He is not ashamed of you, either. The crazy thing about Jesus is that He loves the world. Even with all of our hypocrisy, He loves us and died for such a time as this.

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Kathy March 28, 2014 at 12:54 am

If that is so, Erin, then why would anyone have any hiring policies in place that limit who can be hired based on whether they have sinned or not? Is that not wrong? Who has not sinned ever in their entire life? None of us. So, to limit hiring based solely on loving the same gender is wrong.

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Craig March 27, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Wow so are u a real Christian? Because from what u are saying u are telling people not to judge, but that is exactly what u are doing! Jesus is VERY plain in the Bible about loving the sinner NOT the sin, and the Bible very plainly says the homosexuality is sin, the same way lusting after a woman who is not ur wife is sin. I’m tired of people making the Bible say what they WANT it to say, if u don’t believe the Bible, that’s fine, it’s ur choice. I agree it’s sad for all the children who are being affected by this and don’t deserve to lose their sponsorship, but there are many organizations out there who are willing to stand up for truth, ( The Bible) and offer sponsorship for needy people.

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Kathy March 28, 2014 at 12:56 am

The bible says a lot of things we do not, today, follow. It says we should mix our fibers in our clothing, it says slavery is allowed, I could literally go on and on. You are picking and choosing which bible passages you will follow and which you will not. It is time to modernize. There was once a day when people used the bible to justify owning humans as slaves. There was a time people used the bible to justify having more than one wife and treating her, and your children, as property. Times have changed. It is time for you to modernize your tenets and stop allowing discrimination against others based solely on whom they love.

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Jennifer March 27, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Can we just clarify that it was World Vision-US? I worked for World Vision International for a few years and the US office is a fundraising/sponsorship office that operates south of Seattle, Washington (where I live) and where gay marriage is now legal. Many other countries have their own World Vision sponsorship/fundraising offices (like Switzerland, UK, etc) including Australia where they legally can’t hire people based on religion (so many of their employees aren’t even professed Christians but are doing a great job helping the children of the world. World Vision International is the larger arm that is going out and doing the work and that includes employees from all over. So when people were angry about the decision of a single US office POTENTIALLY hiring a gay Christian, they were mad at an office that merely collects and wisely spends sponsor dollars but in turn the anger then was turned to the children being sponsored. For shame. Other than clarifying the US office part, I completely agree.

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Roo March 27, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Yes, thank you so much, Jennifer. Edited to clarify that this is WV USA. World Vision Canada released a statement letting people know their policy does not align with World Vision USA.

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Kathy March 28, 2014 at 12:56 am

And that is how I hope the USA will become, in time! Thanks!

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Jennifer March 27, 2014 at 1:08 pm

And if gay marriage is a sin, isn’t neglecting the orphans and widows too?

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Roo March 27, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Whole lot of finger pointing going on in the church, and it feels really, really wrong. Plank vs. splinter and all.

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Tiffany Romero March 27, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Beautifully written.

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Roo March 27, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Thank you so much, Tiffany. xo

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Cheri @ Overactive Blogger March 27, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Wow. Over 2,000 kids dropped over someone’s very, very personal sexual orientation? What have these poor kids done to deserve to be dropped this way? That is the real crime in all of this. My heart is broken, and my faith a little shaken in humanity.

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Pam Manners March 27, 2014 at 1:17 pm

You so perfectly put into words EVERYTHING that I could not with regards to what I’ve been feeling about this whole World Vision story. Thank you so very much.

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Roo March 27, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Thank you so much for your comment, Pam!

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Lisa March 27, 2014 at 1:56 pm

This situation is so sad in so many ways. While their vision seems entirely noble, at this point (as someone who has yet to sponsor a child, though you have absolutely forced me to give it thought through your posts) I have to say that I would actively seek out a different organization without exclusionary policies. I hope the very best for all of the children and families who have been affected. How very sad and unfair to them.

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Roo March 27, 2014 at 1:58 pm

I noticed that World Vision Canada released a statement, so I sent more questions over to my contact at World Vision. I’m hoping they can provide a little clarity. Here’s the WV Canada statement:

“We do not ask questions about sexual orientation, marriage or related issues… This is what is most key for us: When it comes to working with the poor, World Vision serves children, families and communities, regardless of whether they are aligned with our values or not. Race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation do not prevent us from serving the poorest of the poor.”

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Rissa March 27, 2014 at 2:40 pm

As a Canadian, I can clarify that even if there are some individuals on the staff of WV Canada who would prefer to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, provincial legislation prohibits this. For example, World Vision Canada has currently posted vacancies in BC and Ontario, both of which provinces expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Basically, if the trait has no direct bearing on the ability to do a job, an employer is not permitted to discriminate against a person who possesses that trait.

http://www.naalc.org/migrant/english/pdf/mgcanemd_en.pdf
http://ohrc.on.ca/en/ontario-human-rights-code
http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/00_96210_01

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Roo March 27, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Thank you for this information, Rissa. Good to know.

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Kat March 27, 2014 at 2:02 pm

I sponsor 4 kids and a family through World Vision and I’m irritated that they felt the need to announce anything at all. Either way they were going to get a backlash of people opposing one way or another. Either way they were going to lose sponsors. What was the point of all that? I didn’t know they WEREN’T hiring gay people in the first place until they announced it. So irritated with the company right now, but it hasn’t crossed my mind to drop our sponsorship. The whole thing is so messed up.

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Roo March 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm

We’re asking World Vision all of the same questions. :/

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Kat March 27, 2014 at 5:20 pm

I feel bad for bloggers who have worked with them and are now being put in this weird position to have to somewhat clarify your own stance. I think we all know that the work you have done and continue to do has been to help children who need help. I don’t think it minimizes anything you’ve shared about your experience so far. You guys are doing (have done) amazing work through World Vision regardless.

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Jennifer March 27, 2014 at 2:21 pm

You know what bothered me so much about this? The focus moved away from what World Vision does and moved to who they employ. It’s so sad. I felt some bloggers encouraged the backlash between Christians and it made me so upset (cue Jen Hatmaker.) She claimed to be a peacemaker but brought up THE topic that is separating many church people from each other. Let’s forget all of the hate, because, let’s face it, I read a lot of hate comments regarding her blog from so called Christians. No wonder people don’t want to be friends with Christians. Why would they when we (myself included) get caught up in someone else’s life that distracts us from the real purpose. Kids need support or they will die. End of story. Do you support everything companies endorse? Do you support Coca Cola, Starbucks, etc for their views? Would Jesus withdraw his support? The Jesus I’ve read about in the bible said to let the little children come to him. I’m shaking my head that this has caused such hate between people. Love one another. That is all.

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Rissa March 27, 2014 at 2:51 pm

I have to confess I felt the exact same way when I read Jen Hatmaker’s article. A friend posted it as a good example of “not taking sides” but frankly to me, the whole thing came off as needlessly stirring the pot, and then letting the commenters tear each other to shreds. I didn’t see much good come of that.

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Anonymous March 27, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Enough is enough. I grew up in the church. Hell, I am a preachers kid. I am also gay. Do people seriously not get that every individual on the planet have emotions? Do people not know that we breathe the same oxygen? I get it. We are selfish. We would rather use labels than names. Anger than love. Smarts than relationships. Judgment than acceptance. I am split between two groups of people Christians and the LGBT group. I’m relenquish those labels. I’m done being labeled a Christian because of the torment they cause to the LGBT group. I am done with LGBT label because they hold a grudge against anyone who doesn’t agree with them. I am passionate about Jesus and missions. I will NOT let anyone affect that. Each of us has a brain. Stop taking what is said in media, blog postings, and idol chat an start thinking for yourself. The Bible is our guideline. But Jesus is our Guide. Don’t believe something that you have yet to discover for yourself. Actually have a conversation with an LGBT person and get to know them. Hating what you don’t know is toxic. Not standing up for what is right is detrimental. There are kids who need our help. Peel off the labels and do what God has commaned. “love your neighbor.”

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Annie March 27, 2014 at 8:58 pm

I. Love. This. Comment. <3 <3 thank you for sharing your story. "Hating what you don't know is toxic." It's true.

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Megan March 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Maybe this is somewhat beside the point, but there is a possibility that people who withdrew support simply support another child through another organization now. Obviously it is hard on those WV kids to lose support through absolutely no fault of their own, but there are many other children looking for sponsorship through other programs, too. Not that it makes any of it right. I hope that of the people who precipitately cancelled their WV sponsorship, most or all of them found a new organization and new child to support, or that they may be able to resume their sponsorship with WV. It must be incredibly sad for those children who built a personal relationship with their sponsors to just be cut off without warning.

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Rachel March 27, 2014 at 3:46 pm

I’m going to come back and read the comments tomorrow so what I’m saying is probably repeating what everyone else has said. However, I have a real problem with Christians who are so focused on the “rules” that they forget that Jesus said EXPLICITLY that the most important “commandment” is 1) to love God with everything you have and 2) love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:29-31). What Jesus said didn’t include “unless they’re gay” or “unless it’s a company that’s okay with gay people, because obvs that’s not cool y’all. In fact, get the pitchforks in that case.” No, he literally says there is NO COMMANDMENT more important than those two things. I find it hard to believe that anyone is acting with LOVE for Christ and Christianity when they’re deciding to remove support from children and families who need it. It’s not about your beliefs at that point, it’s about your heart — and there’s a problem in it. SORRY NOT SORRY.

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Annie March 27, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Thank you. This is SO true! When Jesus preached about what NOT to do, to whom were his fingers pointing? Yes, he said not to lust, not to give an eye for an eye. And he said not to broadcast your good deeds and harshly judge sinners.

One thing this entire LGBT talk is doing is getting me to go deeper into my Bible and read more so I can know how to share his love with others. Jesus was SO controversial in his day, they wanted him dead. That’s something to think about right there.

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Rachel Parker March 27, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Yeeees! If Christians read their Bibles half as often as they complained about things being “un-Christian” then… I don’t know what would happen. I can’t even fathom what our world would look like if we did the work of following Jesus’ message instead of using it to hide behind every time we’re feeling extra self-righteous or judgey about something.

The more I read the New Testament and the context of Jesus’ teachings, the more I realize that so much of what Jesus tried to teach people through his message has continually fallen on deaf ears in the church. And every time Jesus says to his disciples: Guys, what the heck? SERIOUSLY? How do you not get what this parable means? Let me spell this out for you… again (probably paraphrasing) I think: well, you’d think we’d have it by now, but no.

Jesus’ idea that we should love each other was really revolutionary to a society that thrived on a mixture of religion, fear, and politics. (Hmm… sounds familiar.) He wasn’t just some crazy person; he was educated and eloquent, and represented a total threat to the very political structure of his society. He was a political problem! Can you imagine someone telling you to love people being a political problem? That seems CRAZY today.

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Roo March 27, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Jesus was such a rule-breaker, too. Seriously I would love to read a tweet from him right now. It would probably have a bunch of hashtags like #omg #icanteven #didyoujust

Hahaha, okay, obviously it’s the end of the day and I’m losing it. Thanks for being the one to bear the burden of my insane comment responding, Rachel.

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Rachel Parker March 27, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Little known fact: Jesus was also an amazing breakdancer. It’s somewhere in the Bible, I’m sure. http://theamericanjesus.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/110501_jesus-breakdance.jpg

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Catherine March 28, 2014 at 1:28 am

Agree wholeheartedly.

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Curtis March 27, 2014 at 4:34 pm

SO what happens now? Will pro-LGBT folks withhold support of children for basically the same reason as the anti-LGBT? A disagreement on corporate policy. World Vision is probably being disingenuous when they cite the 2,000 figure. I’ll need to go do some research now, but I’m skeptical that any child receives a box every month that reads “From Mr. Generous, USA.” I feel in my gut that sponsoring a child is the simplest and most effective way to bring in donations. How many people are sponsoring the same “child”?

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Roo March 27, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Hey Curtis, World Vision did not cite that figure. My source is not an official representative of WV or anything like that.

I’m happy to share how World Vision handles sponsorships, though. World Vision goes into a community and starts programs for children in that community. Children – sponsored or not – will benefit from that program (clean water, food, etc.) When a child gets sponsored, that $38/month goes to helping out within that community. If there are specific needs for the child or his/her family (medical needs, for example), those definitely get addressed. A sponsor and a child start a relationship (I’ve written about this in past posts, but they – in Guatemala, anyway – look at their sponsors as a godmother or godfather).

I get updates on my sponsored child. She and her mom write to me. I write to them. On her birthday or on Christmas or Easter, I may choose to give them a monetary gift. That gift (outside of the $38/month) goes directly to whatever they need. WV staff will address immediate needs – maybe my sponsored child needs a bed, for example – but they always try to include a small toy or gift for her, as well.

So yes – there is definitely a pooling effect, but a personal relationship is also cultivated. Some people will sponsor a child from a really young age until they outgrow the program – thus my dismay that people who have invested in a relationship for years and years are so quick to cut off that relationship. Each child only gets one sponsor, though. They’re not writing to multiple people.

Hope that all makes sense. Happy to answer any more questions.

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Angela March 27, 2014 at 4:34 pm

I don’t usually comment, but I wanted you to know that this post made me love you even more than I already do. (Is that weird to say about someone I’ve never met?) Your paragraph on uncertainty completely sums up where I’m at in my faith… far better than I’ve ever been able to describe it. My parents support World Vision, and I remember praying for our child every morning at the breakfast table. I’ve been procrastinating (for no particular reason) with sponsoring my own child, but this post has motivated me to get my butt in gear. Thanks so much for your honesty!

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Jodi March 27, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Wow. I have not heard anything about this in Australia, so I’m assuming its a WV USA policy, rather than a world wide one? It seems utterly bizarre that it would even be legal for WV to discriminate in this way. Are they exempt from the usual anti discrimination laws because they are a church based organisation?

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Kala M. March 27, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Shame on those who dropped their sponsored children. I’ve never understood why someones sexual orientation is anyone else’s business. You don’t like the gay/lesbian lifestyle then don’t do it. It is so sad to see how people react to these decisions. I also agree with another commenter – Why did they have to make the announcement the way they did or even at all? Also is there some reason that the organization doesn’t need follow the same hiring laws that other companies follow? I would think they could be taken to court for discrimination if someone felt they were not hired because of their sexual orientation.

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Mags March 27, 2014 at 10:16 pm

I’m struggling this one, so much. I’m catholic, but more on the “good news and catholic social teaching” end of the spectrum, rather than the strictly dogmatic end. I’m struggling here because Jesus taught (and this is believed by Catholics and Christians alike) to love everyone- especially the downtrodden– but definitely not to love only the people who act and look just like us. To me, when we say that we should be treating each other like you’d like to be treated, we need to include “ALL OF EACH OTHER” — not just “some of the others. That includes gay people and poor children and anonymous people on the internet.

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Catherine March 28, 2014 at 1:35 am

Like someone else said, I am staggered that an organisation can even have a discriminatory policy like that. I have come late to this discussion because I have been obsessively following the missing plane news and somehow totally missed this blow up (not exactly sorry about that now). Ugh, so many thoughts, so many feelings about this. Everyone else has expressed a lot of my own thoughts but I just wanted to reach out and say you are in my prayers tonight, Roo, as well as all those children who lost their idiotic sponsors. Your writing reaches such a height when you write about topics like this.

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Angela March 28, 2014 at 1:55 am

I had not heard of this until I saw your post. This year, I felt a call to sponsor a girl somewhere. I chose to go through Plan Canada because I am not Christian, and I wanted to support an organization that is non-denominational. I’m now sponsoring a nine year old girl in Nicaragua.

What a mess the WV situation is. I hate that the children are affected. I have to say that I’m glad I made the choice I did so that I wouldn’t be struggling with the dilemma.

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Don McMahan March 28, 2014 at 4:16 am

Christians took exception to an inclusive policy by an interdenominational charity organization and took the christian decision to withdraw their support for the children who had nothing to do with policy making in the organization in order to force their noninclusive christian views on the organization…………how very christian of them

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Sarah March 28, 2014 at 10:48 am

I found this article helpful. Maybe someone else will. John Piper states things with more knowledge, wisdom, and eloquence than I ever will.

“First, World Vision has taken a step away from the cry of biblical love, which says, we care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering. Without care about eternal suffering, care about temporal suffering is a mirage. It looks like love, but the greatest gift is being withheld.”

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/world-vision-adultery-no-homosexual-practice-yes

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Kat March 28, 2014 at 11:14 am

So let me get this straight….. You are saying that it doesn’t matter that there are children all around the world suffering terribly because it is only temporal and it is more important to care about hypothetical suffering after you die? Excuse me, but that is wack. We are living here and now. That is a fact. There are billions of people around the world suffering for a multitude of reasons right now. That is a fact. How can you possibly ignore that and justify it by saying that eternal life (which is not a certainty) is more important? I don’t want to put down religious beliefs but this is just one of the huge reasons why, after 13 years of Catholic school followed by 10 years of exploring other Christian denominations, I converted to Judaism (and after 7 years of being Jewish, I now consider myself a very happy agnostic who couldn’t be more grateful to be alive in this world.) I couldn’t take mentality of caring more about a hypothetical afterlife than real life right now. I’m not criticizing believing in an afterlife, I am only angry if you ignore really important aspects of this life like caring for fellow humans who need it. These children need help no matter how you justify it. End of rant.

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Karly March 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Wasn’t a fan of World Vision to begin with, and this certainly adds to my misgivings about them. I’ve seen how their organization operates in Tanzania and it left a really poor taste in my mouth.

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Michelle March 28, 2014 at 4:08 pm

And… now I’m crying. I’m crying because as children, we are so open minded and loving, and that as we grow, the weight of the world changes and skews our views so much that we lose that open mindedness, and unconditional loving that makes children so beautiful. Now, all these beautiful, innocent children, who are already suffering enough, will be suffering a little bit more, not less…..

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Jenn March 28, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Thank you for writing this. I’m like you…there are certain truths I hold to & other things that I just don’t know. The church puts homosexuality SO high on the sin chart…boycott this person or organization! Ummm…but this person/organization is ok with sex outside of marriage or (dare I say) gossip, and you don’t seem to have a problem with that?? Personally, no matter what I feel about the topic of gay marriage, it breaks my heart that innocent children were caught in the crossfire of our culture war…and I know it breaks the father’s heart the most. Thank you for your sobering post…no matter the “issue” we need to remember that there are real people on both sides…and stuck in the middle. Maybe then love and grace would be more prominent that hate & vitriol. :(

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Kristin B. March 28, 2014 at 5:05 pm

One, I must live under a rock because this is the first I have heard of the uproar and we have sponsored 4 children from WV for 11 years. Second, I can not fathom dropping them over a employment policy change on WV part. Those children who were dropped had sponsors who are either entirely lost on what they thought they were sponsoring in the first place or are just temporarily suffering from clouded judgement; hopefully, it is the latter and the sponsors come to their senses. You don’t sponsor a child because you want to wear a WV t-shirt and talk about their employee handbook. You sponsor a child because you want to give a child in an impoverished community clean water, food, access to healthcare, education, and LOVE. Jesus was love….and not regular love, agape love. How is it that we can not remember this simple rule…Love….that is it, love without conditions. I am not going to spar with someone over doctrine and their beliefs vs. mine or my interpretation of written word over theirs. I can say that love is not dropping your sponsorship because you disagree with an employee rule change, because dropping your sponsorship over that is passing judgement not love. I am slack jawed at the stupidity and ignorance that we humans are capable of displaying.

And I would like to point out that WV is one of the ONLY companies that do not take a huge cut of your sponsorship for corporate costs. It takes a mere 17%….that my friends is rare. Most companies give about 10% of what you donate to the child and 90% goes to run the corporation.

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Kristin B. March 28, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Oh how do I go back and edit my response….I don’t want to seem like I am rah-rah-ing or not rah-rah-ing around WV on their policy, because I am not…I was rah-rah-ing on how much actually goes to the children….I feel like I opened my mouth and stuck my foot in. Oh pooh, good lordy I need grace.

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Britiney Slaughter March 29, 2014 at 11:05 pm

I can’t remember how I found the Life Artist’s blog. Maybe even through you. But I hope you saw her post on this. Just amen and amen to you both. Heaven help us.

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Katie March 31, 2014 at 12:55 am

I’m clearly in the minority here and I never comment on anything controversial for fear of offending anyone, but, for whatever reason, I do feel compelled to comment after reading your post and the previous comments.

My husband and I have sponsored a girl from Ethiopia through WV for almost the entire 8 years of our marriage. She recently turned 18 and we have stopped receiving notifications and holiday cards so I’ve been meaning to call them to see if we need to be assigned to a new child. After hearing of WV’s decision to change their employment policy, I was very disappointed. After discussing and praying about it, we had nearly decided to stop contributing to WV and were looking into new charities to give to instead. Thankfully, my husband suggested that we wait to see if WV would change their mind and, thankfully, they did.

My disappointment in their decision was that I believed that the company was no longer viewing Scripture to be Truth. The company recognized in their employment policy that adultery was a sin which Paul states in 1 Corinthians 6:9, but they choose to ignore the fact that he states that homosexuality is sin in the very same verse. (I’m not going to even touch the argument brought up that Christians ignore the commandments given to the Isrealites in the Old Testament). Also mentioned in previous statements is that Jesus told us to love one another. To that, I say,”Absolutely!” I do love my homosexual friends. I do want WV to love and serve homosexuals just as they would anyone else. Just because I believe homosexuality is a sin does not mean that I hate homosexuals. Jesus loved people such as prostitutes, but he did not condone or encourage prostitution. I do not expect non-Christians to agree with me because I strive to base my views on the Bible.

My reasoning for writing this post was not to argue or stir anything up. I only wanted to offer my view as someone who ALMOST ended my sponsorship with WV.

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Anna April 1, 2014 at 3:18 pm

I agree with Kat. I feel bad for those bloggers who have been working closely with World Vision; supporting their work and their ideals. In the same breath, it makes me wonder why people chose to sponsor children at all if something like an employment policy of the organization they were working with would cause them to drop their child. If they changed the way in which they were serving and supporting those children, I *might* be able to wrap my head around why someone would re-consider their sponsorship but even then I find it hard to understand. I just returned from Guatemala and I couldn’t imagine nurturing a relationship with one of the children there and then just cutting it off. This whole thing makes my heart hurt.
Sidenote: Roo, you write so beautifully. I follow you closely for your light and funny posts and for your heavier posts (and for your advice :) ). Thank you for being a real person to whom we all can relate. <3

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Erin April 3, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Wow I had no idea this was happening until just now. Thank you for writing about it all so candidly and vulnerably. I haven’t worked with WV at all previously, but I do feel your heartbreak in how these children are left without their needs covered all because of church politics. Yet another huge smear for how the church handles the “issue” of how to work with the LGBT community, with people choosing to prove a point over loving others. In this case needy children. So very sad :(.

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Anonymouse April 3, 2014 at 2:19 pm

We just started sponsoring a child to help make up the difference. I hope it soothes your heart just a tiny bit. Your voice is making a difference for the better. Keep it up.

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Robin April 3, 2014 at 5:18 pm

When I read your post the other day, I had heard nothing about it – I have a (maybe bad) habit of trying to avoid religious-y news. But I came to your blog as I do daily, and began the post. I couldn’t finish. Admittedly I was at work, but I knew that if I continued reading I’d soon be in tears (and it would be more than obvious that I was reading a blog while at work). So I held it together until I got in my car. Then – angry hot tears all the way home. I can’t even quite think about this now without feeling them lurking around the corners of my eyes.

Sponsors are encouraged to pray for their children, but these kids should be praying for us. Supporting a child through WV is an attempt to show the grace and mercy of the Gospel to these kids and we can’t show it to each other.

As I said above, I try to stay out of this kind of news – it makes me angry and uncomfortable. Mostly I just see one side against the other, equally making the chasm deeper and wider. But there’s a third – blameless, helpless – side to this story. What must these children think of us? What must God think of us, His children?

My prayers are that God uses me to help bind up the wounds of these children and of the people who have been hurt by the fallout of division and hypocrisy within the church. And that He helps me love the people who say they love Him, but whose actions seem to speak otherwise. I know I need His help, because I’m one of them, too. Thanks for posting this. It’s good to hear and consider these things, as much as I don’t want to because of my own discomfort.

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Mike April 4, 2014 at 12:54 am

I hesitate to enter these kinds of discussions online. Most of us really don’t seem to want to hear the other side, so what is the point?

But after waiting this long, I would like to throw out some thoughts to consider.

I don’t support a child through WV, but I’ve seen WV’s work up close overseas; I have a good friend who sings in churches and encourages people to sponsor children. I have no idea (yet) how this is affecting him, but I’m sure he’s crushed either way.

Anyway, most of the negative feelings seem to be directly toward those who stopped sending money to children via WV. I really can’t say whether their decision was right or wrong, or maybe just a little hasty. But stop and think a moment about what WV did. First of all, WV must be totally clueless as to their support base to make a decision like this and to announce it with so much fanfare. Many have accused sponsors of using the children as pawns. But what about WV? What they basically did here was to take the single most divisive issue in the church today and stuff it to their supporters, saying, in essence, “You conscience before God, or the kids.”

Shame on WV for putting their faithful supporters in that kind of dilemma. Shame on them for putting the kids at risk (yes, it was WV that put the kids at risk here.) Shame on them for betraying the trust of their supporters. Sure, sponsors were supporting kids; but they were doing it via WV on the basis of trust.

Another point: it’s very easy for those who believe that homosexuality is acceptable in God’s sight to call this issue “just an employment policy.” But it’s much more than that. We’re not talking about a change from a 40-hour week to 30 hours. We’re not talking about dress code or wages or benefits. This is a Christian organization making a major shift in doctrine, and making a strong statement of acceptance for something that many of their supporters believe is clearly labeled sin in the Word of God.

Okay, sin. First of all, in my world view, God is God and we’re not. And God is the one who gets to call the shots on this. He’s the creator. He’s the judge. (Thankfully, he is also the savior!) He says what is, and isn’t, sin. Not me. Not you. Not our culture, or any modern (or ancient) idea. It’s not based on whether people are nice or not, because we’re all sinners, no matter how nice we might be.

The whole issue of homosexuality being sin is beyond the scope of this discussion here in Roo’s comment stream. I’m just trying to make people think about what this WV issue is like for those who love God and who also in their heart of hearts believe that God has declared homosexuality to be sin. And no, they don’t feel superior of “holier.” They realize their own sinfulness, too.

But just one point about this. For those who say homosexuality is “natural” and that it’s “the way someone is,” well, that can be said for all sin, can’t it? As sons and daughters of Adam’s fallen race, we are all filled with pride, anger, lust and all kinds of thoughts and deeds that come to us quite naturally, and yet God calls them sin, and calls us to repent and accept the salvation he has provided.

Okay, some have asked here, “What about grace? Aren’t we all kneeling before the same cross?” etc. We’re all sinners. I know I am, but I’m not going to share all the crud that goes on in my heart other than to tell you that I, for one, am very grateful for God’s grace. But that’s the point. Grace involves forgiveness of sin. There is grace when there is repentance. We all kneel before the same cross, and we look up at a savior who suffered and died there for our sin. In our place. We weep tears of gratitude for what he did and for how God now accepts us in Christ.

But WV’s decision was to accept as ministry staff people who are not repenting. They don’t, in fact, consider homosexuality to be sin. Rather, they have formalized it with a legal contract of marriage. So again, if you don’t believe that homosexuality is sin, you’re thinking, “Yeah, well, so what? There’s nothing to repent of.” But if you are one of the many who take the Scriptures at face value and believe that homosexuality is sin, then for a ministry to hire people who flout that is wrong. It would be just as wrong as it would be to hire those who continue in any kind of sin such as adultery or embezzlement as an ongoing flagrant lifestyle without repentance or any desire to follow God’s principles. As Katy pointed out, those sins are listed in the very same verse.

“Love and acceptance.” These are not the same. That is a modern cultural value, where we equate acceptance with love, and make tolerance the highest value. The highest value is actually holiness, based on God’s standard. And love wants the best for the other. There was a time when my daughter was doing drugs and all kinds of dangerous and heartbreaking behavior. Did I still love her? Absolutely. Did I accept her. Yes… but I never accepted or tolerated those behaviors as though there was nothing wrong.

Did Jesus condemn the prostitute in John 4? No, but he said, “Go and sin no more.” He ate with Zaccheaus, but said that salvation had come to him when he repented and made things right with others. Paul warned the Corinthian church that a “little leaven leavens the whole lump” and instructed the church to remove the one who lived in unrepentant sin (and then he told them to accept him back with loving arms when he HAD repented.)

As we think of doing good works or mercy while ignoring God’s standards of holiness, there is a warning. Jesus even warned that there would be many who called on his name and did many good deeds in his name but that he would still declare that he “never knew them.”

So love. Yes. And love one another. Remember also that “the one who loves God will keep his commands.”

Is this whole retched situation heartbreaking? Absolutely. And there is no easy answer. And shame on WV for creating this situation in the first place. And for the rest of us, let’s not be too quick to judge those who, when forced to choose, decided to stand with their conscience and what they believed to be right in the sight of God.

And my apologies, Roo, for using up so much of your allotted share of the internet.

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