Friday, March 28, 2014

My Take on World Vision…..

I have thought long and hard about this for several days. I started a blog post yesterday. Then I deleted it. Then I started another one. Then I deleted that one too. So here I am, trying again. We’ll see how it goes.
First of all, a quick summary for those who live under a rock (kidding, mostly): World Vision is the second largest charity organization listed with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), only outdone by the Salvation Army. Just a few days ago, they made a policy change and announced it to everyone: they will now recognize same-sex marriage as acceptable under its national employment conduct policy. As long as the employees abstained from sex before marriage, spouses of a same-sex marriage could now be employed by the organization. They did not want to “get involved” in the complicated theological discussion, and claimed that this was not their personal endorsement of same-sex marriages.
Um, okay. We’ll deal with that part later.
Naturally, the people of America exploded. Some with support, some with anger. Many were excited that such a large Christian organization were now “tolerant” of same-sex marriages. Many Christians took to their social media sites to applaud this move. But then, many Christians immediately reacted with such anger that they immediately dropped their support of their sponsored children.
After just two days, World Vision made an announcement that they had reversed their decision and issued a “sincere” apology.
Alright, so these are the rough details. I encourage you to read some of the facts surrounding this if you didn’t know before you jump to any conclusions….just in case I didn’t paint a clear picture of it here. And please know as you read this, that I am still very much so immature when it comes to dealing with the “sticky” issues of our times. I highly value the opinions of those around me, so if yours is different than mine I would LOVE to see your comment on this post. (Just keep it polite, please.)
If you ask me, the CEO/Board who made this decision should be immediately relieved of their positions. How in the world can you have such a strict policy that you will fire an employee for not believing in the Trinity, yet think that it is okay to recognize “same-sex marriage” as acceptable conduct? And why would you make such a huge announcement over it? To me, this whole thing was nothing but a politically motivated, financially motivated, PR stunt. In fact, it was a PR stunt directly orchestrated by the enemy, because the whole world is on fire over it. You now have the LGBT community lamenting over how judgmental Christians are and how much they persecute others. “Look at how pushy those intolerant Christians are.” “They are not following the example of Christ because they are so hateful.” Good gracious, the comments I’ve read on some of these blogs and news articles are enough to make me want to hide in a cave for the next fifty years.
Problem is, the PR stunt didn’t go as planned, because right after they announced the policy change over 2,000 children lost their sponsors. So OF COURSE the natural response would be to issue a moving apology to the Church, reassure everyone that they did not think this through, and reverse their decision.
Surprisingly though, my issue is not just with World Vision. My issue is also with the Church, and how we as a body of “believers” handled this. Because the truth is, some of those comments I’ve read about how hateful the Church acted were kind of accurate.
Over 2,000 children lost their sponsors in just two days. I have traveled to Peru. I have spent a week with the types of children these sponsorships program help feed. I have walked their nasty streets and washed my hands in their dirty water. I have played soccer with the kids who don’t have sponsors yet. The kids who have to wait outside in the dirt and heat while the sponsored kids get to go inside and eat their meals.
And I wonder to myself…..should the Church’s response have been to immediately drop their sponsorships? Because you aren’t really punishing anyone except those poor children. Sure, some of your money goes to the administrative costs, but most of it truly does go to the kids. And what will they see? Will they see the “issues” surrounding their lost sponsorship? I’ll answer that for you: no. All they will see is a sponsor that used to write them letters….who used to send them birthday and Christmas presents….who used to pray for them and tell them about Jesus….gone. Just like that. Gone.
What I think we should have seen happen is this:
a)     The Church should have been unified on this. I can’t stand knowing that so many pastors and “Christians” rallied around World Vision’s decision in the first place. I expect the secular world to applaud their decision, but the Church? Really?? If we can’t be unified on something as big as same-sex marriage, then what in the world are we doing??
b)     Rather than dropping sponsorships, we should have waited first. We should have profusely rebuked the decision. We should have written letters, made phone calls, stuffed their e-mail inboxes with Scripture. Not with angry rants and “shame on you’s.” Scripture. Because at the end of the day, we can give our opinions all we want, but Scripture is the only Truth we have. And by wielding the Sword of the Word of God, we are able to have a righteous and pure anger, and not a selfish attitude.
c)      If Scripture did not change their hearts, then churches should have started issuing public statements of their disapproval. We should have made it very clear where we stand. We should have done this with all the love and kindness we could muster. And then we should have started providing information on other charities that were available for us to support that upholds God’s Word.
d)     But I still believe that even if after all of that, World Vision continued to stand on its policy change, we should have prayed long and hard before cancelling our sponsorships. Really, really, really pray. Because deciding to no longer support orphans and the neediest our world has is a big decision.
I personally do not sponsor a child through World Vision… little Indian girl is through another sponsorship program. But I think of what I would do if the organization that handles her sponsorship would have done something so selfish and stupid. Right now, I think I would still have sponsored her. She is almost fourteen years old….so very close to finishing her education and doing great things in her country. I don’t know if I could just stop supporting her and hope that her life turns out okay. I think of those poor little ones in Peru that had to wait outside while their friends went inside to eat. Would she ever get a good meal again? Would she finish school? Would she go on to do great things? Of course, God holds each of us in His hands, and so hopefully her life would still turn out just fine. But I made a commitment to this little girl, and I do not think I would have the heart to break that commitment, despite my intense displeasure with the organization over the sponsorship.
I hate that the poorest, most helpless beings on our planet got caught up in such a political, nasty battle. A battle that they may not even know exists as they walk down the dirty streets looking for food. I hate that World Vision made such a poor decision and put so many at risk. But I also hate that the Church reacted in such anger and made over 2,000 brash decisions.
And it’s got me thinking…..I don’t know if World Vision’s apology to the Church is genuine. Did they truly realize their mistake and repent? Or did they realize how much money their organization lost and try to put a band-aid on the issue my issuing the apology?  I suppose, we will never really know now.
But guys, if we call ourselves a Christian, then we’ve got to get unified on this. So now it’s your turn. What do you think? Am I just totally off the mark on this? I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this one!

“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the Church. Then if he or she won’t accept the Church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.” ~Matthew 18:15-17


  1. I personally believe that you can accept people without liking their lifestyle. The fact that they decided to hire people who live that lifestyle could have been a ministry in itself to show them the love of Christ. The fact that the christian community is so against a group of people does not show love at all even if you use Scripture to do so. The church needs to unify, yes I agree. However they don't need to unify to close people out. they need to unify to show acceptance and love everywhere no matter what kind of lifestyle any person has.

    1. My issue is that they made the specific statement that they were "not going to get involved" in the debate. The problem is, they pride themselves on being a Christian that requires every employee to be a Christ-professing, godly person. So for them to all of a sudden decide that they were not going to "get involved" goes back on everything they stand for.

      It is true that many Christians are quite hateful towards this particular group of people, and that is wrong. However, loving someone and endorsing their lifestyle are two very different things. We forgot that when Jesus showed love to the sinful, He ended His encounters with "go and sin no more."

  2. Very insightful. Thank you for shedding light on aspects of the debate that don't get enough attention. As a Christian, I feel like I'm trying to calm an angry religious mob on one hand and trying to show God's love to the lost on the other without seeming like I condone sin. It's very plain in the example Jesus gave us when the woman caught in adultery was brought to him. He said, "Neither do I condemn you." He chose not to judge and condemn her for her sexual sin. The next thing he said, though, was just as important: "Go, and sin no more." He didn't validate her sinful behavior, neither did he condemn her for it. He gave her compassion and direction. One without the other would have been an incomplete message. We need to do the same thing. We need to be compassionate to a lost world, but at the same time, we need to set an example of holiness and godliness.

    1. "I feel like I'm trying to calm an angry religious mob on one hand and trying to show God's love to the lost one the other without seeming like I condone sin."

      Oh my gosh, I love how you put that. I've been watching conversations unfold on Facebook and I don't even know where to start. We as a church have totally forgotten how Jesus handled sin when He came to our broken world. It feels like we have those who love the condemnation part.....and those who love the compassion part. But everyone seems to have forgotten the "go and sin no more" part. I totally agree with you on this....we have to be both compassionate and an example of holiness!

  3. I stumbled on your blog through a friend's page and I am curious to know whether you feel that second marriages are as much an abomination as same sex marriage. Jesus didn't mince his words about divorce and remarriage. And from what I've read he didn't say much about same sex couples. I just wonder if your church holds those to the same level or not. Do you think remarried couples shouldn't be allowed to exist either since they're also living in a sinful, adulterous relationship according to what Jesus said?

    1. Hello Anonymous,

      First off, let me just say thank you for reading my post and taking the time to comment!

      For the first part of your question, yes, I agree with you about divorcing and remarrying. There is one instance where God’s Word allows for divorce, and that is when one spouse is unfaithful. In that case, it is not considered adultery for the spouse who did no wrong to divorce and re-marry. (Speaking for myself, I would do everything I could to save my marriage if I were to be placed in that position, but that is just me.) However, divorce has become quite rampant in the Church today. In fact, the statistic is even, if not higher, than the divorce statistics in the secular world. I would be foolish to say that there are that many people divorcing due to infidelity.

      Do I feel like divorcing is wrong (except for the one case where the Bible allows it)? Yes. Yes I do. And I know that this is one major issue that the world loves to point out in order to show the hypocrisy within the Church. And honestly, I can’t blame people for pointing it out, because it is a HUGE problem that discredits us every time a believer tries to speak the truth. It is one of the biggest problems the Church faces today, and we are not doing enough right now to fix it. But on the other hand, do I know that God can forgive those that break this command? Absolutely! Just as He can forgive same-sex marriage. Just as He can forgive any other sin. Christ’s blood covers all. All we have to do is accept that forgiveness, and give our lives over to Him.

      For the second part of your question, and I know that with many churches this is not the case, but my church does hold to this standard. We do everything we can to promote marriage and families staying together. My husband and I currently serve as the worship leaders at our church. I can 100% guarantee you that if we were to suddenly decide to get divorced just because we wanted to, we would immediately have to resign our positions. We would still be welcome to attend, and our church members would still do everything they could to help us save our marriage. But serving in a leadership position would no longer be an option for us because we are not being obedient to God.

      I am not sure why you think that I believe homosexuals “shouldn’t exist,” as I can find no reference to that statement anywhere in my post. I can only assume that either you or someone close to you has been hurt by the Church. If that is the case, then I sincerely apologize. I know that may not mean much to you, since I am a complete stranger, but I am sorry. It is never the Church’s job to condemn anyone. We are simply called to love everyone and teach them the truth. Sometimes the truth may hurt our feelings a little bit. Sometimes the truth makes us feel uncomfortable. Sometimes we may not agree with the truth. But that is why we are called to speak it with love, grace and compassion.

      I hope I have answered your question, and thanks again for commenting!