The following thoughts are controversial, but I feel this needs to be said.
After the mess created by World Vision’s changed employee policy, I am more supportive than ever of Evangelical Christianity and its leaders. Franklin Graham, Denny Burk, Albert Mohler Jr., and John Piper: Thank you so much for presenting a reasonable and compassionate perspective, and helping Christians everywhere to live as Jesus did, to love as he calls us to. Now more than ever, I have no desire to distance myself from the institution that has become of Evangelical Christianity, for it has remained true to the real person and presence of Jesus Christ himself.
I mean, a social justice organization with a Christian foundation has no business changing policies about how gay Christians involved in a legal marriage are employed. And when they do, supporters are completely justified in cutting their contributions to the organization. Because that’s all they are supporting anyway right? The organization? That’s why I support World Vision. It provides me the opportunity to send my money to a building, where someone will use my money to help “those poor people” in other parts of the world. You know, those faceless people. I don’t have to get my emotions involved by supporting an individual child, a child with a name, a family (sometimes), goals and aspirations. If I am not satisfied with this organization’s policies, I can always just cut off my contributions and send my money elsewhere, because it’s not impacting anyone in particular. And if they offend me, and then they recant and I am satisfied, I can always just call and pick up another sponsor kid. Could be the same kid, maybe not. Whatever.This is what America–no, the world–needs to see, especially the LGBT community and their supporters. We are Evangelical Christians, and we won’t stand for these types of curve balls being thrown our way. We believe in grace, because without it we wouldn’t have a leg to stand on, but even grace has its limits. And we are willing to let more than 5,000 children go without support, regardless of how desperately they might need it, because the issue of gay marriage means that much to us. The most important thing Christians today can communicate to the LGBT community and supporters and the world is that we are so serious about our disapproval of them, that we will stop at nothing to make that disapproval known. Yes, that will show them the infinite love and justice of the God we believe in.
You want to serve the poor, clean up your act. You want to come to church, make sure you’re ready. You want a safe place to investigate faith and find out what God’s grace can do in your life, church is certainly not the place to look. And make no mistake, this is the message Evangelical Christianity proclaimed loud and clear over the past week. You thought is was just about World Vision and their employee policy? Think again. Evangelical Christian leaders and those who follow them have, once again, drawn that deep and angry line in the sand. And once again, the world that God loves so much that he gave his only son–including the LGBT community–has seen what is most important to them.
If we have learned anything from the life and teachings of Jesus, it’s that he was no friend of sinners. He had nothing to do with the lowly and outcast, the ones the religious leaders had shunned and condemned. We see this in stories like those of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), or the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), or Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), or his very own disciple, Matthew (Matthew 9:9-13). It’s clear from these encounters that, were he here in the flesh today, he would have cut off his World Vision sponsorship too. He would tweet “Farewell, World Vision” for all the Twittersphere to behold. He would abandon the one, while simultaneously condemning and pushing away an entire community.
So, let it be known that I have voiced not just a position, but my heart here. There is far more I could say, but I could no longer hold it in. I can only take comfort in the fact that, in spite of years of prayer over this decision, Richard Stearns and the World Vision board managed to reverse the policy in a mere 48 hours. That is not heartbreaking at all, nor is it a tragic indicator of the political machine that has become of Evangelical Christianity.
In conclusion, Happy April Fool’s Day. May you, like I, run hard after Jesus’ heart in this world, so that the world can know that he lives, he loves, and he cannot be limited by Evangelical Christianity or anything else.