What a hard week for American Christianity.
At the beginning of the week, World Vision announced they would begin hiring married gay Christians in their US offices. As we all watched, the internet blew up. Some 2000 people dropped the children they were sponsoring. More progressive bloggers used their platforms to issue a call encouraging everyone to think about the children and invited new sponsors to sign up– and they did. Yet, the right-wing backlash came at too high a financial cost, and World Vision capitulated.
World Vision has now reverted back to their original position– anyone living in unrepentant sin is not qualified for employment, and gay Christians who are married were placed back into that category.
In a shocking turn of consistency, World Vision has now announced that they are going to apply this principle consistently across the board instead of singling out one group of people. Since all sin is sin, any unrepentant sin or sinful lifestyle will exclude one from employment. The new employment standards are as follows:
– Obese employees and applicants will be given a medical exam. If it is determined that their obesity is not due to a medical condition but simply due to poor eating habits and lack of exercise, they will be barred from employment for unrepentantly failing to care for their bodies, which is the “temple of the Holy Spirit”.
– Smokers have been told to quit over the weekend or not return to work on Monday.
– All employees will be given a polygraph test. If the test reveals an employee has consumed alcohol more than two (2) times in the last 3 months where they would have blown higher than a .08, they will be barred from employment for being unrepentant drunkards.
– All employees will also be asked during the polygraph if they consume pornography. If the answer is “yes”, they will be dismissed since lust is the same as adultery.
– All employees must submit their tax returns and bank statements for review. If they are found to not be generous givers or money hoarders, they will be dismissed as scripture commands Christians to refuse to associate with Christians who are greedy.
– All employees will have monitoring devices installed in their cars, homes, and smart phones to see if they regularly swear, violating the teachings of Scripture to not allow unwholesome talk come out of our mouths.
– All employees will have their homes inspected to ensure they have a recycling plan in place and that they are working to reduce their carbon footprint. Since scripture teaches that at the final judgement God will destroy those who harmed the environment, World Vision is unable to employ anyone living a lifestyle that is unrepentantly harming the environment.
– All employees will have their closets inspected. Scripture teaches that we are to live a life of modesty and that we are not to wear “costly apparel”. If an employee is found to own expensive clothing or jewelry and refuses to repent, they will be dismissed. On the same token, all homes and cars will be inspected to ensure they are modest, no more than what is needed, and not flashy in any way. Employees who refuse to downsize to modest homes and drive modest cars, will be dismissed for living a lifestyle inconsistent with Biblical Christianity.
– All employees who divorced and remarried even though their previous spouse was not guilty of adultery, are barred from employment.
– All employees will be required to reveal if they own or carry a gun for self defense. If they do, it shall be considered that they are idolaters for placing their trust in a weapon instead of God, and will be considered to be unrepentantly rebelling against the command to “love your enemies”. As such, they will be terminated immediately. They will also be shunned since scripture commands we do not associate with idolaters. (And since greed is called “idolatry” in scripture, all greedy people shall be shunned as well)
Okay, I could go on but I don’t want to cross over into silly.
Here’s the point: there’s never any consistency when we try to parse out who is living a biblically and who isn’t. Let’s say for argument sake that being in a same sex marriage is a sin. The problem becomes all the other things that the bible seems clear is sin as well:
Not taking care of your body
Not taking care of the environment
Not caring for the poor and being greedy with your money
Not living modestly and instead being materialistic
Embracing violence instead of enemy love
If the former is a sinful lifestyle I can quickly whip out my Bible and show that all the others are too.
Here’s the problem, and this part IS crystal clear in scripture: as Jesus followers, we are REQUIRED to view our own sin as being worse than the sin of our neighbor. Jesus uses the beam versus speck analogy. Paul said that there is one statement that is “worthy to be said by all Christians” and that is that “Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and I’m the worst one of all of them”.
Whether or not being in a gay marriage is a sin, the Bible requires that we view our own sin to be WAY WAY worse.
That’s in the Bible, like it or not.
I don’t have my theology on this issue all worked out in a way that’s neat and clean. Sorry, but I don’t. I wrestle with it, I pray about it, I ask God to have mercy on me.
But here’s what I do have worked out and have a crystal clear understanding of:
Any sin I may find in the life of my brother is a mere dust particle compared to my own sin. That’s the part I understand with perfect clarity. I believe it in the depths of my being.
And so, you find me here daily trying to invite everyone to experience a life following Jesus.
I’m saddened by the reversal of World Vision. I’m saddened that Evangelical culture seems obsessed with gay marriage but completely overlooks greed, gluttony, violence, immodesty and clear-cut sinful lifestyles that people actually do choose yet do not bar one from employment in a Christian organization. I lament that one group of people is singled out, but that so many others get a free pass. I lament that we have the entire concept of a beam vs dust particle reversed. We must remember the “other” is the one with the dust particle in their eye, not us. Most of all, I lament that there was such a willingness to completely fracture Evangelicalism over this issue. There was a better option.
I’m also saddened that in the end, the New Evangelicals forced World Vision to do exactly what they criticized them for in the first place: cave to the demands of culture and money. To me, this was the biggest show of hypocrisy of the whole thing. I’m just sad- I don’t know how else to describe it.
But here’s what encourages me and keeps me going: you all stepped up when we asked. I can’t count the number of emails, comments and messages I’ve received that said “I just went and sponsored a child”. One person even sponsored three! I’m also encouraged by the messages I’ve received that have said, “in spite of their reversal, I will not stop sponsoring this child”, which makes my heart sing.
THAT, is what it’s about. Thank you for not being hypocrites. Thank you for jumping in and being willing to give to these children.
It has been a hard week for those of us on the front lines, and I don’t think I’d be presumptuous in speaking for my peers when I say, thank you for the way you all quickly jumped in and supported these children when we asked.