Let’s Talk about What Happened Yesterday at World Vision [UPDATED]

I’m not going to recount the facts. Others have done that. I’m going to tell you what I know from unnamed sources inside the World Vision headquarters and I’m going to opinionate about what this means for the state of Christianity in America, especially in regards to GLBT issues.

According to my sources, many staffers at WV headquarters in Seattle are very upset. This is a change that had been talked about and planned by the executive team for several years and was being rolled out department-by-department. It was a minor human resources change establishing non-discriminatory hiring policies in accordance with Washington State law (marriage equality became law in Washington on February 13, 2012 and was approved by voter referendum on November 6, 2012).

Someone on the WV staff leaked this change to Christianity Today magazine, CT informed WV that they were going to run a story with or without WV cooperation, and WV president gave CT an exclusive interview to explain the change.

My thought: Granting an exclusive to CT may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but it was like throwing red meat to hungry lions. A better PR strategy would have been to go to the mainstream media — probably the New York Times — rather than trying to explain this policy change to evangelical insiders. The fact is, the vast majority of people who have a sponsor child on their refrigerator door are not reading CT, nor are they particularly concerned about whether gays work at WV headquarters in Seattle.

But the evangelical intelligentsia does care, and they pounced hard. As progressive Christian leaders like Rachel Held Evans, Nadia Bolz-Weber, and Kristen Howerton were encouraging people to support WV by sponsoring children on Tuesday, conservative leaders were both publicly and privately pulling their support from WV. I’ve been told that the response to those bloggers was tremendous on Tuesday and that WV took in a huge amount of new sponsorships. But the withdrawals of sponsors outweighed the new donors.

By Wednesday afternoon, WV flinched. They caved to conservative critics who gave the pretense of Matthew 18 confrontation (covered recently in the NY Times). Some conservatives were beside themselves with glee on Twitter, while others took a more humble and patronizing stance.

Today, WV is in grief. The president gave a tearful address to the staff this morning. He has admitted to media that he hadn’t gotten enough outside counsel before making the policy change. Many there are distraught about both the continuance of discriminatory polices and the loss of child sponsors.

Now, here are some of my thoughts:

- Most of the supposed 2,000 sponsors who quit WV in the 48 hours will not be back. They’ll think that WV showed its true colors, and they’ll find more ideologically conservative organizations for their donations.

- Twenty years from now, WV will be hiring married gay employees in Seattle.

- Some conservatives are gleeful that they won a battle in the war over marriage equality. But it’s the first battle they’ve won in a couple years. And they’re going to lose the war — even Ross Douthat admits that all that’s left is the terms of the surrender.

- This battle was primarily ideological. I don’t think that openly gay persons were lining up at the HR office of WV on Tuesday, looking to get hired.

- However, there are real people involved. My sources at WV know gay people who work there and who have to hide their identities and their partners. Now they will have to continue to live in hiding. If any of them revealed their sexual identities to their supervisors on Tuesday or Wednesday, I expect they’ll be fired. That is tragic and sinful. UPDATE: A WV employee reports that at the staff meeting today, Stearns said that gay and lesbian employees will not be fired and that gay and lesbian Christians are welcome to work at WV. This was met with applause by the assembled staff. (But I assume this means that the gay and lesbian employees are expected to be celibate.)

- On the one hand, progressive Christians shouldn’t pull their money from WV because of this policy — Courtney and I will still sponsor Afra. On the other hand, there are organizations that do not discriminate against GLBT persons, and our future donations will go to those orgs rather than WV.

- World Vision’s reversal showed just how theological hamfisted they are. Here’s what an evangelical pastor friend of mine — Rev. Dr. John D’Elia, senior minister of the American Church in London — wrote on Facebook:

“What we are affirming today is there are certain beliefs that are so core to our Trinitarian faith that we must take a strong stand on those beliefs.” (Richard Stearns of World Vision US)

This is such a misguided statement. Want to know what’s “core” to our Trinitarian faith? Wrestling with the idea of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit–the community at the center of all existence. Perpetuating the lie that issues of human sexuality are somehow central to Christian doctrine, only ensures that our collective eye will remain firmly off the ball. Let’s simply reflect on the weight of God’s word: The poor and needy are mentioned 400+ times, while homosexuality gets a paltry two mentions (four, at most). Let’s at least agree to order our own lives and ministries according to God’s clearly stated priorities. For a day or so, it looked like World Vision US was taking the lead in doing this. Who would dare now to have that kind of courage?

- Finally, this: A lot — and I mean a lot — of younger evangelicals watching this unfold on social media. Many of those already have one foot out the door of the church. They’re looking for — even hoping for — some advance on the issue of rights and love and equality for GLBT persons. That’s what will keep them in the Christian faith. Without that, they’re gone. They’re the new Nones. What WV did yesterday, on a large, public scale, pushed scores of younger people out of the church and out of the faith. Some of them for good. There are many tragedies about how this all went down, not the least of which is the message that Christianity is a faith that is run by ideological bulli

Note to readers: this post was read and commented on before it was posted by two WV staffers who wish to remain anonymous.

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  • http://morechrist.blogspot.com K.W. Leslie

    That was my gripe on Facebook: World Vision reacted in fear, and not with the courage of their convictions; not by standing up for grace in the face of great financial pressure. And that’s hardly Christian.

    That said, let’s still be gracious to them, patiently wait for them to get it right, and sponsor their kids.

    • R Vogel

      You know what, I might have been able to be gracious but for one sentence:

      “We are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion we have caused many of our friends, who saw this decision as a reversal of our strong commitment to Biblical authority.”

      Broken hearted over the fact that they prevented evil people who are willing to toss children into the furnace for their idol could not oppress committed loving LBGT brothers and sisters in the faith for a litle over the day. Let me shed a tear. This was the kick in the gut. Not only did they cave to evil, they then apologized to it and debased themselves by pandering to it saying, in effect, you are right evil G*d-haters, LGBT people can’t be christians.

  • Larry Barber

    Bullies, indeed. They wouldn’t be content with WV issuing a statement along the lines of “due to our concern for our declining revenue and our desire to do as much as we can for the poor and oppressed, we have reluctantly decided to revert to our previous policy”, they were made grovel and beg and promise to never again to so violate the one true meaning of scripture, which, of course, is the one that the bullies hold.

    Are there any good non-discriminatory agencies out there?

    • Jay Blossom
    • DLH

      I’ve been informed of LIfesong for Orphans and like what I’ve read about them so far.

      • Luigi Proud DemoCat!

        I’ve started researching alternatives to World Vision. I’ll post here what I find.

        In that vein, I looked at the adoption application on the Lifesong for Orphans website and it appears that they will not allow same-sex couples to adopt through their program..

        • DLH

          Thanks for that follow up! Good to know.

    • lizstuart

      Well, “due to our concern for our declining revenue and our desire to do as
      much as we can for the poor and oppressed, we have reluctantly decided
      to revert to our previous policy” would at least of been honest.

      If Christians throughout history acted with the cowardice of World Vision, Christianity would be a long-dead religion, only known to archaeologists.

      • Luigi Proud DemoCat!

        You nailed this on the head. It echoes my comment above.

  • carla jo

    It’s not just the younger evangelicals who will see this as the last straw. I don’t necessarily consider myself an evangelical, at least not in the sense that most evangelicals use the term. My professional affiliations, however, have kept me squarely in bed with evangelical ideology for the last 20 years. And I have to say, this whole thing has used up the last of my patience with that edge–and I truly believe it’s an edge and not the center–of the evangelical community. I’m just done being in any way associated with people who cannot get it through their heads that the quest for doctrinal purity and the exclusion it necessarily brings about is the very definition of missing the point. I can’t imagine what it must be like for GLBT people to keep finding themselves being used as pawns in this ridiculous culture war. Lord have mercy.

  • http://kludt.wordpress.com dave

    Do you (or anyone) have any sense of whether the pressure that resulted in the reversal was definitely from the US-based traditional evangelical camp? It occurred to me that there might some serious – though much quieter – pushback from global partners, especially in parts of the world that tend towards more traditional/conservative theological understandings.

    This kind of global pushback could have resulted in significant ministry & organizational complications rather than the primarily financial complications that the US bloggers would bring about. Not sure that changes anything, but curious about it nonetheless.

    • http://austacular.com/blog Austin Franklin Thomas

      i’d love an answer to this question. really good point.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/ Tony Jones

      From my source:

      In response to one of the questions, Rich and the board were inundated with calls from from major donors and partners. The 2,000 cancelled sponsorships were just the tip of the iceberg of damage that could have been done – the resources that could have been pulled from our work around the world. Many of us were optimistic that while we would lose some donors, we would gain others and everything would shake out, but now I think it’s entirely possible that the organization could have collapsed or been critically injured under the weight of this one issue. Our donor base is overwhelmingly made up of conservative, Evangelical Christians. Reversing their decision was the only choice the board had if they wanted us to be able to keep doing the work we do around the world. Children and communities are depending on us. We couldn’t die on this hill. Not right now. But I think you’re right. In time, I think it’s inevitable that we will be hiring SSM employees, but sadly, that time is not now.

    • Jenn Baerg

      I’m not sure what the global response is but for Canada – WV Canada already has an inclusive hiring policy per employment laws.

      • KSM

        I’m sorry to hear that Canada doesn’t allow religious freedom – or that Canada’s WV has turned its back on scripture. The former would be better than the latter, but both are a tragedy.

        • Rob_H

          From Don Moore’s blog on WV Canada’s Church Engagement page:

          “We want our staff to be united around our mission of following Christ in serving the poor. When we hire staff, our Christian faith is clear. And when they join World Vision they are aligning with us as a Christian organization.

          “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.”

          Read more at: http://churches.worldvision.ca/our-christian-identity-responding-to-world-vision-us-hiring-policy-change/

          • Bene D

            Go fellow Canucks!

            KSM: We are polite and nice, but get your facts straight eh?

        • Jenn Baerg

          KSM it seems you don’t understand what religious freedom means, it means that one religion does not hold priority over another religion. Per Ontario’s hiring laws, the same laws that more or less are in place across the country religious organizations can be clear in their platform but they cannot discriminate based on gender, orientation, race or ability. World Vision Canada’s statement is clear that they are clear in their values as a Christian organization but they respect the law of the province.

        • CanE

          Hi KSM, as a Christian Canadian, please don’t feel the need to feel sorry for us. We have plenty of wonderful religious freedoms. In fact World Vision Canada has embraced scripture, including the parts where Jesus talked about love and acceptance.

          World Vision Canada has figured out what is most important in this conversation, that is serving the poor and needy. And when it comes to working with the poor, World Vision Canada serves children, families and communities, regardless of whether they are aligned with our values or not. They have stated that “Race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation do not prevent us from serving the poorest of the poor.”

          Thank you for your concern KSM, but honestly World Vision Canada is in a pretty healthy and loving place.

          And on another note, I have never been more proud to be a non-evangelical, Canadian, Christ follower in all my life. We may have much more learning and loving to do as we learn from our LGBTQ brothers and sisters but I am thankful we have at least come this far.

        • http://bryanchalmers.co.uk Bryan Chalmers

          Freedom to discriminate or oppress is not a real freedom and we need that as much as we need,
          - the freedom to beat people up at random
          - the freedom to run over people we don’t like in our vehicles
          - the freedom to defecate in public places

        • Bene D

          South Africa, New Zealand, Europe and Australia World Visions all have the same non-discriminatory hiring policy as Canada. There may be more, those are the ones I looked up.

          KSM. I have to correct you as a Canadian.

          From The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:

          Fundamental freedoms

          2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

          (a) freedom of conscience and religion;

          (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

          (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

          (d) freedom of association.

          If Canada is so oppressive, tell that to Franklin Graham.
          His organization, Samaritan’s Purse has operated in Canada since 1973 with a 53 million dollar budget this year. Or tell it to Focus on the Family. etc. etc.
          Shoot, even Southern Baptists have parked themselves for the duration.

          Graham and his religious right buddies have obey Canadian provincial and federal labour laws, same as World Vision. You don’t hear them complaining.

      • Dan the Quaker

        From World Vision UK:

        World Vision UK Responds to World Vision US Employment Policy Decision

        Thursday 27, Mar, 2014

        Our colleagues in World Vision USA yesterday reversed a policy decision which had enabled Christians in same sex marriages to be eligible for employment. While this decision doesn’t change anything we do at World Vision UK, it has prompted questions.

        World Vision UK does not discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation. Individuals are hired and their performance monitored on job-specific criteria only.

        World Vision UK and World Vision USA are part of the World Vision International Partnership which operates in 97 countries. It is a partnership of interdependent national offices, each one has different policies regarding employment practice, in line with local law, culture and customs.

        This Christian partnership comes together with a core humanitarian mission to serve the world’s poorest children as a sign of God’s unconditional love. We serve all people, regardless of their faith, ethnicity, nationality, gender, disability or sexual orientation.

        At WVUK we are saddened by any distraction to our core mission to bring hope to the world’s most vulnerable children.


      • Thursday1

        World Vision Canada actually has no code of conduct whatsoever.

  • Timothy

    Thank you for writing this Tony!

  • http://carolesmithturner.com/ CaroleTurner


  • TLanceB

    I’m embarrassed and hurt and disillusioned. So I prayed more than I have in a while. So maybe the Godless Bigotry involved is working in making me and possibly others love God, more.
    It’s weird. My Faith in the Lord has never been stronger but my belief in church has never weaker.

  • Ben Howard

    Thanks for this. I kept wondering why they announced this decision through CT. That just never made sense from a PR perspective, but this explains a lot.

  • http://benirwin.wordpress.com/ Ben Irwin

    Thanks for putting so much of what I’ve been thinking/feeling/wrestling with into words, Tony. I’ve been hearing much of the same from my former colleagues at WV, especially about the emotional trauma/whiplash there. I think I’ll be following a similar approach: fulfillment my commitment to my sponsored kids, but looking elsewhere for new opportunities to give.

  • Sofia

    I echo what Jay Bakker often says: our actions in the U.S. have a far-reaching global, cultural impact. This whole situation sadly, subtly affirms persecution in Russia, the horrible laws punishing LGBTQ people in Uganda, etc.

  • Michael Wiltshire

    I think you’ve got some excellent points here, especially about young evangelicals. I do think that many young evangelicals who are still searching on how to understand LGBTQ issues will likely be pushed toward a totally welcoming and affirming stance after seeing the “fruit” of situations like this (i.e. the conservative reaction). But, like you said, that’s if they stay in the church at all. I hate to plug, but a friend of mine just wrote another blog post from a young evangelical perspective which I thought was very helpful: http://restoringpangea.com/ultimatums-interpretations-and-an-old-world-vision/

  • Ian Rice

    Tony, love your blog. Keep up the good work.

    Your final point is dead in about me. In fact, this particular incident has sort of been the straw breaking the camel’s back for me. I ranted to my wife how this really just makes me not want to identify as a Christian any more. Obviously, I’ve been inclined this way for some time – ever since being removed from my pastoral position at the church I helped plant. I haven’t been to church in over six months and I don’t foresee myself returning. I want to return in many ways, but I’m not even sure I want to identify as a Christian anymore at this point.

    Anyways, that’s just my story, but it is right in line with much that you’ve been saying and this incident has only amplified it.

  • danhauge

    I get the feeling like World Vision’s original policy change was not really the result of firm conviction on the part of the board–but rather it honestly felt to them like a pragmatic stance given the reality of Washington’s legalization of gay marriage and overall shifting tides. It didn’t feel like the result of a passionate commitment to LGBT equality, which is why it was easier to fold when the heat turned up. What continues to mystify me is how WV could have been working on this for years and not anticipated, and prepared for, the response they got. If this hadn’t been leaked to CT somebody would have found out eventually and the evangelical powers-that-be would inevitably responded just as they did. There seems to have been a bit of cluelessness on the part of WV which is surprising.

    But the real bottom line–the fact that so many Christians felt that removing their financial support from poverty and relief programs was a completely justified stance for the sake of demonstrating opposition to gay marriage–that speaks extremely loudly, and it doesn’t communicate Biblical conviction, but a hopelessly distorted sense of priorities.

    • Jay Blossom

      Why oh why did they not have statements from every single board member in support of this? Why didn’t they seek the support of influencers before making the announcement public? The roll-out was bungled; LGBT people were thrown under the bus; and their mission will be undermined for years.

      The most discouraging thing: The dozens and dozens of comments on all sites that have said, “You can’t be gay and Christian.”

      • Thursday1

        Why didn’t they seek the support of influencers before making the announcement public?

        Perhaps they were judging the strength of progressive Evangelicalism by the number of blogs out there.

    • AriD2385

      Well, we don’t know what percentage of dissenters removed their support. It could ultimately be a small percentage of the people who didn’t agree who chose that course of action. I disagreed with the decision and am glad they reversed it, but I didn’t consider removing support. It’s also probably important to note that World Vision is one of many child sponsorship organizations. There are plenty of alternatives, either for sponsorship or simply charitable giving. So to choose not to support needy children though World Vision cannot be said to choose not to support needy children at all, though, again, I don’t think that taking it out on the child that was being sponsored was the right response.

      Regarding WV seeming to be clueless, I think it’s that there’s a certain media presence that makes things appear as if there is more agreement than there actually is. There may not be a “silent majority” within American society broadly, but within evangelicalism, of course there is. These things are taken for granted in most church circles. They may have confused the pulse of the general American populace with the pulse of evangelicals.

    • http://benirwin.wordpress.com/ Ben Irwin

      Dan, I’m not sure whether the first part is true, b/c this is something people were talking about when I was still there, and that was well before Washington voters legalized same-sex marriage. At the time, the discussion centered around the fact that churches were increasingly divided on the issue, so how could they as (arguably) an arm of the church, justify taking a side? As for the rest of what you shared, I’m in complete agreement…

      • danhauge

        Thanks for the correction, Ben. Good to know.

  • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

    As a younger Christian that watched this unfold yesterday, I’d like to make a small but meaningful distinction to your last point. Yesterday was not the day I left the church or the Church, but it’s the day I realized I can no longer call myself an evangelical. The fact that so many of us are confusing “evangelical” with the Church and Christianity points to the heart of my issue with this faction of the faith in the first place. American evangelicals think they have the corner market on Scriptural truth and this is the lie they feed everyone, but they’ve proven that all they really have is the financial clout. Those are two very different things, but evangelicals have confused them as one and the same. This is dangerous. It has taken me years to understand that while they claim persecution and religious minority, they ARE the empire. There are other denominations and doctrines that welcome and love ALL people and care for the oppressed, its just not conservative evangelicals. So that’s what I’m leaving. Still firmly within the Christian faith, but it’s time for me to step outside the small, cramped, privileged and corrupt conservative evangelical box.

    • Kim Waggoner

      Me too, Bethany.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/ Tony Jones

      Good deal, Bethany. So glad you’re not giving up on the Christian faith altogether. I hope many others follow your lead.

    • Nathan Jones


    • AriD2385

      ” The fact that so many of us are confusing “evangelical” with the Church and Christianity points to the heart of my issue with this faction of the faith in the first place. ”

      The main issue with this perspective is that to move further out from Evangelicalism is to move further away from the historic Christian faith, not closer to it. It is easy to find a place that will tell you that you can do and believe whatever is pleasing for you to do and believe. But such has never been the faith that gave us the creeds and Scripture in the first place. To seek to be authentically Christian without giving deference to the very roots of the Christian tree doesn’t lead to a more genuinely Christian life. And no, those roots are not found within evangelicalism–but the Churches most closely holding to the faith as it was passed down from the Apostles (namely the Orthodox) would not have supported World Vision’s change in policy either. So to make this issue about those conservative evangelical meanies overlooks all of Christian tradition up to this point, as well as the perspective of other Christians globally. It really is not political in that sense.

      • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

        I see what you’re saying, but I’m not really interested in “history” and “tradition” if it means keeping an iron grip on something that the Spirit is begging me to let go of. I am well aware that other sects of Christianity also hold similar stances on the issue of homosexuality. But my point is that what I saw yesterday was largely driven by conservative evangelicals, and I am no longer interested in associating with that sect if that’s what they value as their first priority, above the welfare of children and communities in need. If other sects hold that as first priority too, than you won’t find me there either.

        • Rick Wilson

          No, all Christians hold similar stances on homosexuality. To believe otherwise is by ANY historical definition un-Christian. So you don’t want to be a Christian anymore, which is fine. That’s the issue.

          • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)


      • Rod

        The problem is that ‘tradition’ is complex. I’m constantly trying to get my fellow Christians to take tradition more seriously–a rebellion against my Baptist roots in a way–but tradition does not speak in one voice on pretty much anything except that Jesus matters. Atonement? Sex? The Bible? There are many different streams of thought on these topics. And we look back on some things held to be absolutely essential to tradition or scripture and say it doesn’t matter. (For instance the settlement recorded in Acts 15 under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Few ‘Gentile’ Christians follow it any more.) I think most telling yesterday was the fruit born by each side. The critics were willing to abandon those in need for the sake of being right. That’s exactly the kind of thing the New Testament portrays the Pharisees as doing which Jesus hates. I think the whole topic of sexuality is far more complex than either side in this debate is willing to acknowledge, but yesterday was a show of simple bigotry. Can you really imagine Christ saying “Well done my good and faithful servant” for this kind of action?

        • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

          YES AND AMEN. To all of this.

      • R Vogel

        You mean the ‘historic’ church that has victimized jews, children, indigenous peoples, women, the LBGT community and anyone else who didn’t conform to their idolatrous ideologies? That one? We shouldn’t just move away, we should run at full speed.

        Deference to the roots? The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

        Burn, baby, burn.

        • disqus_OFY6btKBW4

          Time to say this. Past time. Lives at stake. Imagine looking back at this in years to come.

    • Ray Shawn McKinnon

      Well said, Bethany! Amen.

    • Hannah

      A huge help to me in this time (as an evangelical outsider myself) has been Hebrews 13:13. “We must go out to him, then, outside the camp, bearing the abuse he experienced.” (NET)
      Jesus is already outside the camp, ready to meet you there.

      • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

        LOVELOVELOVE this, Hannah. I haven’t read that passage in a long time. Thanks for prompting me to go back to it.

      • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

        I love this. :)

      • disqus_OFY6btKBW4

        I like it. That’s been my experience.

    • http://lindseytalerico.com/ lindsey t.

      As a young Christian, a former Bible college student, and a former staff member of World Vision U.S. I also feel the repercussions of a confused Christian identity — having learned how to read and interpret the Bible, having been taught to listen *only* to the Bible, and now, having been shown that the Bible is a tool to pain and deny the equality and acceptance of others. And not through opinion. Through policy. Policy that can fire you from your job because of who you love. Policy that judges your sexual preference before your qualifications. Policy that forces staff to keep their beliefs in the closet, if not also their relationship preference.

      I’m away from the Church for reasons more than what yesterday’s reversed slap in the face decision shows. This has all been a very obvious divisive issue. But what about other issues that are more invisible to the public eye but just as damaging to our identity, and faith, and entire belief system. The socio-economic discrimination of mega churches, the unspoken judgement of your fellow church goers, the ability to raise money for a new building but not to make a dent in hunger, the lack of acceptance for anyone who isn’t ready to conform and follow with “blind faith”.

      @writesnrights:disqus – Neither you or I could work at World Vision U.S. either. Because we can’t show a spiritual reference — someone who knows your spiritual life intimately and can comment as an informed and official leader of the faith. Because we wouldn’t name our “church home”. Because our answer to “who Jesus is in my life” doesn’t line up with our lack of church attendance. If this isn’t policy, it’s judgement. And judgement will push you away from a job you’re passionate about even before policy will. Because you’ll feel it in your annual review, and your ability to get a promotion, you’ll feel it every Wednesday at mandatory chapel.

      This “faith” we are supposed to have is, as you say, small and cramped. As is the mentality of this hiring policy.

      • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

        Lindsey, you make excellent points here and I totally agree with you that neither of us could work there or in an environment like it. When you create an environment of judgment and exclusion, it has serious ripple effects. I know so many people like you and me that feel that we, because we want to affirm our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, do not belong in churches and faith-based organizations either. It reminds me of that passage in the Gospel when Jesus points out to the Pharisees that the church isn’t for the healthy, its for the sick. Churches and faith-based organizations aren’t supposed to use their status to reinforce and protect privilege, they’re supposed to give it up and make space for the marginalized and hurting. What WV and its conservative evangelical supporters have done is prove that their charitable giving exists solely for themselves.

    • Thursday1

      they’ve proven that all they really have is the financial clout.

      While it isn’t a perfect proxy, willingness to give financially does give some indication of your level of commitment. The question that keeps coming to my mind is why progressives can’t seem to get their act together and build their own institutions, charitable and otherwise, and provide their own funding.

      Well, it isn’t just my speculation: the psychology studies say that’s because they are less committed to their group. Social conservatives are the most loyal and committed to the the ingroup, and since social conservatism is also highly correlated with religiosity, it is not terribly surprising at all that social conservatives tend to form the core of most religious groups. They’re the backbone of the whole social ecosystem, the ones who show up in the pews and who give financially, and so accordingly they get to mostly call the shots.

      If progressives actually showed up at church and gave of their time and money at the same rates as social conservatives, their institutions would be as robust, financially and otherwise, as those of more conservative churches, but they don’t and so they aren’t. Religious progressives really have to take a look in the mirror and ask themselves some questions about why their brand of Christianity doesn’t seem to motivate people to do much of anything in comparison with Evangelicals. Like stop worrying about the Evangelicals already and take care of your own problems. If you’re brand of Christianity is so freaking awesome, you should be able to get people excited enough about it to build a real financial base for yourselves and your institutions.

      • jamiearpinricci

        Actually, Thursday1, they are giving, serving, investing, sacrificing, etc. every day for the love of God and others. It just doesn’t always happen in and/or through a church- in part because they are not always welcome to do so, but more so because it isn’t necessary for it all to go through the church.

        • Thursday1

          I hope you realize that you aren’t actually helping your cause by saying that.

          • CanE

            I hope you realize that your last comment showed you totally missed what Jamie was suggesting…

          • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

            @Thursday1:disqus by whose standards are our charitable giving and serving “not helping our cause”? What is this “cause” of which you speak? Living out the Gospel by caring for the poor and oppressed? Or measuring up to the standards of the Powers that Be in Evangelicalism? Some of my most powerful experiences with God’s love have happened outside the doors of the evangelical church, in places it wouldn’t deem holy or safe. God is bigger than this. God is asking us to go out beyond it and commune with people there. This is central to the progressive movement, that we need to push out beyond our initial understanding of where God is and what He’s doing. He’ll meet us there.

            • Thursday1

              Bethany, Jamie’s comment exemplifies the attitude that the church is not really necessary. When you say that the church is optional, you shouldn’t be surprised that people treat it that way.

              If you don’t want strong institutions, that’s great, but . . . then you’re not going to have strong institutions, which is my point.

              • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

                See, this is where I’m not sure we’re speaking the same language. What do you mean when you say “church”? Do you mean local body, do you mean denomination, do you mean tradition as in “evangelical”, or do you mean Big “C” Church, as in the Body of Christ?

                Because when we say outside of the church, we’re mostly talking outside of denominations and traditions, and yes, sometimes outside of the local church. But that doesn’t mean outside of Big “C” Church. What progressives like myself are wary and weary of is putting the institution before the Gospel. I feel like evangelicalism idolizes itself. Maintaining its structure and standards is paramount. And its getting in the way of doing what Jesus actually asked us to do. The poor and oppressed aren’t within the institution; evangelicalism has made sure of that.

                • Thursday1

                  So, basically you’ve rejected the institutional church. Great! But then you shouldn’t expect to have any institutions.

                  • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

                    Thursday1 I’m going to do my best to ignore your sarcasm and disdain and try to focus on the topic at hand, ok? Can we just recap what happened with WV for a second? Their initial announcement presented their policy change as a distinction between their role as a parachurch organization and the church itself, making it possible for LGB believers across denominations and traditions eligible for hire. And then when the institutional church of evangelicalism grabbed WV by the balls and threatened financial ruin, WV acquiesced. The institution was the authority, over and above Jesus’ commands.

                    There are plenty of progressives that are establishing organizations and giving, etc., but we’re trying to do it with the aim of WV’s original intentions – to distinguish our organizations as their own entity so that all people in the Body of Christ are welcome to serve.

                    And on a personal note, I still want to be a part of a local body and I still work at a faith-based organization (both of which are evangelical, I should note!).

                    So my point is not that we’re rejecting the institutional church; we’re just not bowing down to it.

                    • Thursday1

                      It still sounds like you’re vastly less committed to institutions.

                    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

                      Again, I’m really not sure what you mean by the word “institutions.” As I said in my last comment, I’m still plugged into a local body of believers in more ways than one and I love it, even with their evangelical sway.

                      But if you want to know if my connection is somehow “less,” I think you and I will have to agree to disagree on whether that’s a bad thing. I want to commit myself to a local body of believers, but I don’t want to mistake my local church or my tradition as THE Church. The institution I commit to isn’t more important than the body of diverse, global believers. So I hold it loosely, and I don’t find that “less,” I find it different.

                    • Thursday1

                      But if you want to know if my connection is somehow “less,” I think you and I will have to agree to disagree on whether that’s a bad thing.

                      OK, but the natural consequence of having less commitment is that institutions made up mainly of people like you are more likely to fall apart.

                    • Joykins

                      Institutions, like power, corrupt.

          • tanyam

            Why Thursday1? I was going to make Jamie’s point a well — I don’t know how the dollars compare, but I do know the non-profits in my community are full of mainline Protestant money and board members. From the food pantry to the tutoring program. I assume that many, like me, give to the Red Cross, and organizations like Save the Children. It isn’t all under the banner of our denominations or individual churches. We aren’t always looking to build empires so our brand of church gets credit.

            • Thursday1

              We aren’t always looking to build empires so our brand of church gets credit.

              An extremely uncharitable assessment. How about a redo with some less loaded language.

              • tanyam

                Fair enough, I’ll change the language, though it is language I use within my own church, when we are talking about “doing programs that get our name out there.” I want to know if “getting our name out there,” which some people view as absolutely neccessary for evangelism, is the point of our good work. What if the Mosque in town is doing a fantastic public garden. If I help them, then Muslims get the credit. So should I start my own MethoPresby garden, just to be sure Protestants have Institutions that get credit? So more gently put — is the problem that we don’t have progressive Christian hunger organizations, and therefore should quit sending money to Save the Children, or is the problem that there are hungry children.

        • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

          @jamiearpinricci:disqus thank you for that.

      • Eric Boersma

        I attend a fairly progressive church in a fairly conservative area. We currently meet in the auditorium of the local high school, but thanks to the generosity of our local conference (We’re United Methodist), we will be building a new building over the next couple of years.

        We took a survey as a church about what we want this new building to look like, and the overwhelming majority voted that they wanted the new building to be a simple, basic meeting space with few to no flourishes. We don’t want something that will be an edifice to our church’s greatness, we want a building where we can meet to plan trips to local food shelters, administer our diaper pantry ministry and coordinate financial aid for local families in poverty in our community.

        We deliberately eschew the goal of large fundraisers, huge coffers of money, or significant giving. Our church is self-sufficient, so we have no need nor desire to amass more money, and thus it simply isn’t a significant part of what we do. Our view of our mission on Earth is fundamentally different from the Evangelical mission. We don’t believe we’re fighting a war, we’re not trying to mobilize soldiers, and we don’t believe that earthly influence is going to score us the points we want.

        It’s not that we’re not mobilizing people to change the world to be what we want it to be, it’s that we have fundamentally different visions of what that is supposed to look like. Yes, it puts us at a disadvantage when dealing with situations like this. It means that we’re not the face of Christianity in the news and on the internet. It makes me sad that we’re not, but I think that in order to become that face of Christianity in the public eye, we would necessarily need to sacrifice what it is that makes our denominations what they are in the first place.

        • Thursday1

          Glad you’re doing your own thing. However, money, as I noted is not the only indicator here. Unfortunately, progressives also tend to be lax in just about every other form of commitment as well, though there are exceptions. But glad you’re doing your own thing and not worrying about what Evangelicals do.

          I’d also note though that how you and your church does things is not at all a typical attitude for religious progressives to have. They are typically chomping at the bit to take over Evangelical institutions. Tony’s post exemplifies this, basically vaunting about how progressives will take over WV withing 20 years. But it’s not just Tony, the sociologist James Wellman has been documenting the extensive jealousy and obsession with Evangelicals among progressive Christians.*

          *Wellman is progressive Christian and a sociologist at the University of Washington. He also has a Patheos blog. If you don’t want to listen to me, maybe you’ll take it from a fellow progressive.

          • Eric Boersma

            Your response here is unsubstantiated gibberish.

            • Thursday1

              Alas, it’s all too well documented. Read Haidt, Wellman etc. It’s all there.

              • Eric Boersma

                That’s not how assertion works. You don’t get to make ridiculous claims, provide no support to them, and then when someone calls you on it, point at a couple of authors and say “go read their books”.

                • Thursday1

                  This stuff is notorious in the psychological literature. I’ve pointed you in the right direction, now do the damn work.

                  • vgiordano

                    You are an asshole

          • tanyam

            I’m not sure if “take over” is what Wellman and Jones are projecting. I think they are projecting the fact that people will change.

      • Greg Marsh

        What frustrates me about this story (actually many things frustrate me) is I assume the board and management at World Vision prayed about their planned course of action ahead of time. If so, and if you believe the Holy Spirit is guiding you in a certain direction and is supporting your decision, then stick to the decision and trust God to provide.
        Many “Evangelicals” (I must say I hate that term because I feel I am evangelical but far from a conservative Christian) have only their money and their mouths. Their compassion seems far from them.
        God calls us not to pursue money for money’s sake. Then, let’s not.
        While I admire World Vision’s initial stance, I feel they caved too quickly. Allow God to provide for this ministry (and if it is a ministry of God, then He will provide.)
        God often allows us to be down to our last hope, our last penny before providing specifically to show that He is with us and to build our faith and trust.
        I don’t doubt those two days of withdrawn sponsorship hurt and scared WV. But it is important to see God’s hand at the helm.
        (As an aside, I find it revealing and reprehensible that some conservative Christians would take out their disappointment / anger [what a shame that anger was shown over this issue] on the children who they sponsor. My question is, did they ever love the children they sponsored or just love having a photo of the child / children on their fridge to get the praise of equally phony friends and family)
        I am so sorry for all who truly love Jesus that Christians behaving badly had to take place. I do hope – and pray – that good will come out of this including the rightful further-marginalizing of the Conservative Christian element of the body of believers.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/ Tony Jones

          Wow, that is a great point.

        • http://deadheroesdontsave.com/ Mike Barlotta

          What if we also assume that all the conservative evangelicals prayed about whether they should continue to support WV after the first announcement and then decided to withdraw b/c that was what they thought they were being guided to do? Using that as the standard shouldn’t they also be able to stick to their decision w/o being judged as behaving badly.

          • Greg Marsh

            Hi Mike
            While I am not comfortable speaking on behalf of the Holy Spirit I feel safe saying He is going to be consistent and will always work to attain God’s will.
            One challenge I have with your posting, Mike, is you state it in the hypothetical. I don’t know if conservative evangelicals prayed about their decision to remove sponsorship from WV. It did seem like a very political, organized and punitive action (particularly how it could, likely will impact some children.) However, If a person told me they prayed about the decision and felt the Holy Spirit led them to withdraw support from WV, I would not be fair for me to dispute that.

            • http://deadheroesdontsave.com/ Mike Barlotta

              Greg, I just posited the same hypothetical that you did. You assumed that the WV board prayed & was led to the initial decision by the Spirit.

              And one can also put the blame (or part of it) on WV leadership. It seems quite unlikely given Chick-fil-A and Duck Dynasty that their initial decision was going to be smooth sailing. They chose to put poor children at risk by making a decision they knew was counter to their base supporters views and that goes against the historic/traditional interpretation of Scripture. If you want to be disappointed in someone (besides the more shrill responses by both sides) I think that is a good place to start.

              • Greg Marsh

                Hi Mike

                I really appreciate your posts – well thought out, well presented.

                I must say I found it interesting (but valid) that you compared the WV situation with the Chick-fil-A and the Duck Dynasty controversies. Those two were Christian values or opinions being attacked by (I presume) secular liberals.

                In the World Vision case we find a Christian organization that has been well-respected being attacked by (I presume) conservative Christians.

                Regarding blame towards the WV leadership, as I noted in my original posting, I do feel the World Vision board and leaders folded / caved in far too quickly.

                Yes, with 2,000 sponsors defecting you are looking at close to $100,000 in revenue loss per month. Not a small hit. If the WV leadership didn’t expect and, more importantly, plan for a significant loss in revenue, then there was poor planning on their part.

                Regardless of one’s views on this issue, I do believe the correct response by sponsors who were upset / angry with the World Vision decision would have been to let World Vision know they would stop their support in three month’s time. That way, even if the goal was to harm WV (and there is no doubt that was in part a goal) then at least there would have been time to find alternative funds to maintain assistance to the children.

                Again, regardless of one’s views on this issue, I do believe the actions by the Christian supporters who withdrew sponsorship makes Christianity (and therefore, by extension, Jesus) look bad.

                Christianity doesn’t need any more black eyes. To receive such a public one in such a self-inflicted high-profile manner is wrong on so many levels.

                As Christians, grace and love must always be our signature. too often lately that has been far from the case.

                Best regards Mike. Greg

      • Special PhysX

        I’m sorry! They have only proven cowardice and a craven dependence on the wallets of others! I don’t know the actual number of donors they have on their rolls, but I am pretty sure that LOSING 2,000 DONORS CONSTITUTES A PERCENTAGE OF INCOME IN THE SINGLE DIGITS FOR WV. Almost every household in America has suffered MORE THAN THAT from the recession BUT WE KEPT ON MAKING OUR WV PAYMENTS ANYWAY.

    • Kristine

      “It has taken me years to understand that while they claim persecution and religious minority, they ARE the empire.” Well said, Bethany. Well said.

    • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

      Same here- I decided I want nothing to do with evangelicalism anymore. I said on my blog, “The loudest voices in evangelicalism have made it quite clear that
      hating gay people is much much MUCH more important than helping the

      I am so done.

    • vgiordano

      You can define the term evangelical differently than what it is commonly known as and not align yourself with the reactionary evangelicals. It’s not all or nothing, black or white.

  • http://www.mustardseedyear.com/ Jason Wert

    Glad to see that World Vision decided following God’s clear word in the Bible was more important than following a bunch of people who don’t want to follow Christ yet want to say they’re Christians.

    • http://austacular.com/blog Austin Franklin Thomas


    • http://austacular.com/blog Austin Franklin Thomas

      this is really good satire

    • th3hbomb

      I think you’re showing some bad fruit, brother. It’s not anyone’s place to question the claims or salvation of a sibling in Christ due to disagreement. I heard a great word last night, “Many people believe that we need to have uniformity in doctrine rather than unity in Christ, and all that can lead to is heartbreak and a broken gospel.” Be careful you aren’t encouraging more division. Let’s sharpen and encourage each other.

      • Luigi Proud DemoCat!

        As soon as any religion singles out another group as less than, or unworthy, they guarantee those singled out will fight back. All this does is guarantee perpetual wars until humanity is wiped from this Earth.

  • Mike Demastus

    By the way, I didn’t mean to put that giant picture of myself like I am an egomaniac…I thought I was uploading a profile avatar to my post and now I don’t know how to remove it. My apologies.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/ Tony Jones

      Here’s your comment, without the photo:

      In God’s economy there is simply male and female. In our fractured human state we impose unnecessary and heartbreaking labels (LGBTQ). WV has made two grievous errors in judgment…thinking that compartmentalizing doctrinal issues can be done and not holding true to their own positions. As with the A&E issue and Phil Robertson, it is clear that this is not an issue that is decided already (as the blog post author presumes). The fact is that marriage defined by Christ has won 32 battles out of 35 in the courts. Only through oligarchic processes have those who have been pushing for redefining marriage made any headway in our nation. The term “Gay Christian” makes just as much sense as the term “Pedophile Christian” does or “Adultering Christian” does. And Bethany, it is not about a label of being conservative…it is all about being faithful to the testimony of Scripture being handed down to us through the ages.

      • Mike Demastus

        Thank you! :)

  • Nathan Jones

    Thank you, Tony. This gives me hope. I was devastated by their policy reversal yesterday and mad as hell, really. I took it very personally, as an afrfont to my relationship with my husband. It gives me some peace of heart to know that WV employees Christians who don’t toe the party line.

  • Hannah

    I’m encouraged and saddened by this update from the inside.
    I feel so bad for those working at World Vision right now. It’s got to be awful to be on the inside of this. I feel bad for Stearns, having to bear the brunt of this humiliating turn of events.
    I’m a millennial and while I haven’t identified myself as conservative or evangelical in a long while, yesterday was the day any last threads I had that tied me to evangelicalism were cut. I stick by Jesus, as I always have, but Christianity for me has long been something I don’t much identify with. Evangelicalism is now completely foreign to me. Their Jesus is not my Jesus. They are not my family. I’m done. But what has been encouraging is the uproar of response from the non-evangelical sides (and even from some voices inside evangelicalism, which were pleasant surprises) in support of World Vision, the poor, our gay brothers and sisters in Christ, human equality, and mercy and justice. This was a huge beacon of light that reminded me that there is a part of the faith where I can belong, where there is space at the table for me, who I can still call family. So while my ties to evangelicalism were severed yesterday, my ties to the other parts of the faith were strengthened. I am so grateful for so many brothers and sisters who I met during this, who rallied, who showed the heart and love of Jesus.

  • Rodrigo Vargas

    “Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?
    Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sickI have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

    From this biblical text I can learn 3 basic things:

    #1 – I don’t want to be a pharisee, looking at the others sins before my own sins.

    #2 – Jesus came, accepted and loved everyone as they are, He was sent by the father who LOVES the world in a way we will never underestand. (For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son).

    #3 – Jesus came for healing and to call sinners to repentance, to change our lifestyles according with the word of God.

    The main problem, I think, is that the church still do not underestand the huge difference between “acceptance” and “tolerance”. We need to accept and love everyone, as Jesus did, but we can not be blind about those practices that are not right and are against God will. (and there is a list, not just homosexualism). Our duty is to talk the true in love, share the good news and help those who want to come out from all this things.

  • Kimberly Marciniak

    Things could have been handled so differently… I was so distraught when I red the statement from Stearns last night and when I red it again this morning I WEPT.

    It was clearly not written by the man who wrote the most prolific Christian book I’ve ever red, “The Hole In The Gospel”.

    Who says: “It’s not what you believe that counts; it’s what you believe enough to do” in his book.

    In a way understand WHY the move had to be done – 2,000 sponsored children is $75,000 lost overnight to already struggling organization. What World Vision failed to understand as mentioned in this article there is no way to please the Christian right.

    Those sponsors are gone and most likely not coming back. They have probably already invested in a highly-Christian organization like Compassion International (which sets out to evangelize Children in poverty through local churches).

    Even today Christian-crazies on World Vision’s page were stating that Stearns statement wasn’t filled with enough fire and brimstone or quotes directly from the Bible about how homosexuality is what’s leading to the American apocalypse of values and morality.

    And you know why there was not enough ‘fire and brimstone’? I personally don’t really think Stearns agreed with the reversal. As sort of evident by this piece…

    When I first learned of World Vision’s decision- I was SO PROUD. World Vision for years has led the forefront to right the wrongs associated with Christianity by loving people regardless of race, gender, or RELIGION.

    A child does not need to profess faith in Christ in order to receive aide… or attend religious services. In fact, World Vision operates in parts of the world where Christianity is outlawed and in those circumstance they abide by the law. (Which is really the only Christian organization of its kind to do so)

    World Vision operates with the Biblical understanding of the unconditional love of Christ reflected in all they do and that human suffering should not be tolerated in this world.

    But the statement even without quoting antiquated Biblical theology still hurts:
    “While World Vision U.S. stands firmly on the biblical view of marriage, we strongly affirm that ALL people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect”.

    Because, its so hypocritical. Its not dignified or respectful to discriminate based on sexual orientation. And Stearns knows that.

    For so long Christianity has been on the wrong side of history… for years slavery and segregation existed with the full support of American churches that also quoted antiquated Biblical theology for the basis of their beliefs.

    For once I thought an American ministry was taking a stand.

    The reversal of World Vision’s decision literally broke my heart as a committed sponsor, and child ambassador. Because the statement is not what World Vision stands for.

    It’s not what I believe the organization intends to do.

    I’m still committed to the 4 I sponsor. But conflicted that an organization I believe so strongly in and have supported admittedly for almost a decade would behave in a way so counteractive to their own belief system.

    Since reading “A Hole In The Gospel” I have developed a lot of respect for Stearns. Sadly I lost a lot of it last night.

  • http://limpingtowardsgrace.com/ James Jarvis

    The conservatives that used Matthew 18 as justification for their action need to keep reading until they get to Matthew 25.

  • Thursday1

    1. There’s more than a little contradiction between the idea that progressive leaning Evangelicals are all gonna leave, yet somehow there are going to be enough of them left to change the policy of Evangelical institutions.

    2. Ross Douthat is saying that social conservatives have lost on this issue in general society, but he’s not saying that they’ve lost in the church.

  • Nathan Roberts

    Thank you for writing this. Getting a perspective from inside World Vision is extremely helpful. And I also thank you for your level headed and clear perspective on this difficult subject.

  • Pat68

    Where I’m confused is with this sentence: “gay and lesbian Christians are welcome to work at WV. This was met with applause by the assembled staff.”

    How is this different from their original statement?

    Also, about the millenials leaving, it’s probably because they’ve not seen any other issues treated this way. Yet homosexuality is treated as the sin to beat all sins.

    • http://waynebowerman.com/ Wayne Bowerman

      Tony addresses this in the post “But I assume this means that the gay and lesbian employees are expected to be celibate.” But even if he hadn’t said so explicitly it saddens me that people don’t understand the difference between hiring someone in a same-sex marriage (the original policy) and hiring someone who has a certain sexual orientation (regardless of whether or not one EVER has an intimate relationship with a person of the same sex).

  • KSM

    How can an organization that calls itself a Christian ministry have on staff people who are openly and unrepentantly living a lifestyle that is clearly in rebellion against God?

    This is not a disagreement about homosexuality as much as it is a disagreement about whether or not we accept what God has said. Is the Bible authoritaive? Or do we let our cultural baggage, personal wishes and emotions rule over God’s word?

    • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

      This is not a disagreement about homosexuality as much as it is a disagreement about whether or not we accept what God has said.

      Actually, it’s more of a disagreement about what God has said.

      There are a number of credible theologians who would argue that a pro-gay stance can be supported with scripture.

      • Luigi Proud DemoCat!

        It’s pointless to present facts to people like KSM.

        Just look at Westboro Baptist Church and you’ll understand the mentality. (Especially, look at the “sister websites”) http://www.godhatesfags.com/

        Here’s my “favorite” of the :”sister websites” They list every country on Earth and why God hates that country: http://www.godhatestheworld.com/

      • R Vogel

        If you don’t read the word with the intellectual discrimination of a 4 year old, your are not doing it right! (this is sarcasm) (That is actually an insult to most 4 year olds – they just haven’t lived long enough to let the seed of hate sprout in their heart, you have to be taught that.)

    • R Vogel

      Your depraved, evil, hateful G*d you mean. Your hermeneutic is the product of the hate in your heart. Repent! The axe is at the root of the tree, and those which do not bear good fruit with but cut down and thrown into the fire!

      The only cultural baggage we have is your depraved, idolatrous religion. Thank G*d is is going extinct.

  • http://waynebowerman.com/ Wayne Bowerman

    I’m not that young. And I haven’t called myself evangelical in quite some time. I am a 37 year old pastor in a Reformed denomination. I have to brush up against gospel coalition acolytes and even some writers regularly. Until yesterday I’ve been able to (usually) have a good sense of humor about other pastors in my own denomination who call me and many others who stand for inclusion heretics: sometimes behind our backs or sometimes to our face. Of course this is because inclusive folks have a “weak” or “soft” doctrine of revelation, especially those of us who are uncomfortable terms that would be foreign to the biblical world, like inerrancy but we are actually concerned with things like historical context. Like I say I am often able to laugh because those who usually call me a mamby-pamby liberal are often the same ones who have little or no theology of union with Christ, the Resurrection or its implications for our after death experience let alone its implications for the whole cosmos. But what good or importance is a developed Christology without a good and firm bibliolatry to base it on?

    I’m sorry for my flippant and inflammatory tone and projection of some in house issues that I am dealing with. But after yesterday I just don’t know if I can do it anymore Tony. While not having called myself an inerrantist or even an evangelical for a long time, I have always considered myself a rather conservative Christian. This is because I am gripped by the concept of the Trinity, God as community, the kenosis of the Son, God as self emptying and long suffering with us and I believe I have experienced the Spirit that was poured out. But I am so goddamn angry, so hurt I want to walk away. I want to walk away for my friend who graduated seminary a semester ahead of me. A big, gay, tattooed teddy bear, a hell of a man and he would have been an amazing pastor. But he cut his life short, in part because The Reformed church to to which he felt called didn’t want him for a son. I want to walk away for those 2,000 children and their villages. I wish each donor had to write a letter to explain to their child’s village why they have just pulled funding. And I want to walk away for the gay folks working at world vision. I hope none of them end up like my friend because the church is such a whore of a mother. Where is Amos when we need him? I gotta think God hates a lot of our sacred assemblies right now and doesn’t want to listen to our sacred songs (be they with pipe organ or guitar and drums). I want to walk away because I am sick of being complicit in all of this hate from the church (yes even in the pews of the one I work at).

    I just don’t know anymore Tony. I’ve not went anywhere yet. And maybe I never will. But I just don’t know.

    • Hannah


      • http://waynebowerman.com/ Wayne Bowerman

        Thanks Hannah! God’s peace be with you!

    • JWinter777

      As one who has helped for 20 years those with same sex affections leave homosexuality I am not excited about WV’s decisions. I see such a divided church and I am grieved. I am one who believes both scientically and biblically that God does not create lesbian and gay people. Progressives don’t support me. Evagelicals don’t know what to do with those who say they are homosexual and they don’t support my love and outreach to those who have unwanted same sex attractions. WVs decisions in recent days makes feel more lonely in the body of Christ

      • Lamont Cranston

        You haven’t done a damn thing to help anybody “leave homosexuality”. All you’ve done is brainwashed people into believing your fitlhy lies. I’ve been through the perverted programs you people put on and nearly ended up a suicide because of them. I hope you die before you hurt anybody else.

        • JWinter777

          Such hate Lamont. It’s through love and grace that I have seen dozens and dozens leave homosexuality.

          • Lamont Cranston

            It’s because of trash like you that I’ve seen some of my friends’ lives destroyed. You’ve earned the hate. On the other hand, there’s not an easier lay on earth than an “ex-gay”. I hope one of your “children” marries one.

      • http://waynebowerman.com/ Wayne Bowerman

        JWinter, I really wish you would have just started a new thread instead of commenting below my comment. I in no way endorse what you are doing. I too have seen “reparative therapy” efforts, along with misunderstanding, discrimination and hate destroy lives and leave indelible marks on my LQBTQ friends’ psyches and souls.

    • R Vogel

      Why can’t we all walk away, call out these evil idolaters for what they are, let their depraved religion go extinct (it’s happening anyway) and rebuild the temple on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ? How long can we try to fight for the helm, trying to steer away from the iceberg? All the elements are there, we just need to be courageous enough to leave the label behind. They have worked hard for years twisting and perverting the image of Christ to fit their ideology, let them have the label. Does Jesus care if you call yourself ‘christian’ or that you do His work? I have decided to drop it, and I hope others do as well. I don’t want to share anything, not even the label ‘christian,’ with that depth of evil. I would rather be a ‘None’ who follows Jesus.

  • Luigi Proud DemoCat!

    The people at World Vision are cowards who allowed themselves to be bullied by a bunch of fake-Christian bigots. They are no better than the Nazi collaborators in Vichy France who even turned in French Resistance Fighters to gain favor and privileges from the Nazis.

    This may sound harsh, but the blood of innocent people is on the hands of World Vision and its employees. Here’s what WV is promoting by turning their backs on LGBT people (https://www.google.com/search?q=corey+nichols+adoption&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS545US545&oq=corey+nichols+adoption&aqs=chrome..69i57.7041j0j4&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8#q=gay+teen+suicide)

    Do you have any idea how disheartening it is that WV employees cheered the statement that “gay and lesbian Christians ARE welcome to work at World Vision, as long as they are willing to adhere to the abstinence policy that applies to all unmarried employees.” The policy is hateful and discriminatory on its face and the WV employees should be ashamed to cheer this policy.

    WV sold out for greed and protection of their budget and their jobs. That shows that they are cowards who are unwilling to stand up in the face of un-Christian adversity.

    How many heroes to humanity or faith can you name who sold out to bullies? How many heroes to humanity or faith can you name who stood strong in the face of attack?

    I can only hope that WV is prosecuted by the Oregon government for violating employment law. Then they can move their headquarters to a more appropriate place like Uganda.

  • Luigi Proud DemoCat!


  • lizstuart

    There’s really no need to be an apologist for World Vision. Just do the right thing and find another “feed the hungry” organization that doesn’t discriminate against LGBTI people.

  • Luigi Proud DemoCat!

    One other thing: Throughout human history, wars have been fought over religion. Until conservative Evangelical Christians and other religious sects agree to respect each others beliefs (and even the beliefs of atheists and agnostics), we will never have peace on this Earth.

    I have contributed to World Vision in the past, but will not do so in the future because they have shown that they are unwilling to stand up for the equality and humanity of all people on this Earth.

  • zllekk

    Absolute nut bags. All of ya. The god delusion prevails even after this horror story. Wake up people and realize that you are animals and have nowhere to go but in the ground just like the rest of us. Factions this or that blah blah blah. You folks are just denialists with no rational to decide anything sane. Epic fail once again by these lunatics.

  • KSM

    I would ask my brothers and sisters who call themselves progressive to be open to going to the scriptures and reading what they have to say about the issue of homosexual activity and homosexual marriage.

    Christian history is full of the stories of people who gave their lives, even to the point of being burned at the stake, to protect and propagate the Bible to others. Scripture has always been the foundation of our faith. It has a lot to say about sexual behavior and the meaning of marriage.

    Get your direction from what God has said, not from the latest cultural fads. Strive to do what is right in God’s eyes and don’t worry about what other people approve or disapprove of.

    • http://aldaily.com Justin L. Conder

      I’d just point out that people died for alot of beliefs throughout history (Mormons, Muslims, etc.) – it doesn’t prove the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy that some have died for the scripture. Does persecution somehow make people “more right?” I would certainly defend the teaching and free propagation of the Bible, with my life if necessary. But that is also because of a wider view of why freedom of religion is so important. Any government who would not allow the craziest fundamentalist to speak his mind (so long as he’s not advocating harm to someone) is tyrannical – and that crazy fundamentalist has an ally in me. The fact is many conservative evangelicals are setting up the narrative that they will be persecuted for their position on gay rights, etc. They want to be cultural – if not actual – martyrs. As if that proves the rightness of their position. But this is a perpetual motion machine of self deception. Conservative evangelicals can just say – when culture disagrees it is because it is “of the world,” and we must be right and should continue to hold fast. Its a breeding ground for hermetically sealed certainty – and arrogance. There’s no corrective mechanism there for conservative evangelicals to re-access their positions. They’ve predetermined that they have God’s view, using inerrantist framework and their own interpretations. But pervasive interpretive pluralism, even among conservatives, is rampant. So even if God is speaking through the Bible with perfect clarity (something God never claimed), our understanding makes it impossible to agree. Hence the many denominations and fights among conservative evangelicals (as Exhibit A, look at the recent fight between the Reformed movement and the charismatics breaking out – both groups claim the Bible is perfect and they understand it correctly.). That doesn’t make it impossible to know some things about God, but the sort of certainty that conservative evangelicals want is not available. What is available is the Spirit of God. The Bible does not make the claim to be the fourth unregistered member of the Trinity. 2 Timothy 3:16 can’t be employed to suggest that the entire Bible is as perfect as God – the letter was written before the formation of the canon, for one thing. I’m tempted to say that the inerrantist line of thinking can lead to idolatry of our own interpretations. We know of God from the Bible and the Spirit, but both these methods of communication are not infallible. As for sexual ethics, marriage and sexual relationships have changed over the past millenia, sometimes for the worse, but sometimes for the better. Polygamy is accepted in the Old Testament – there’s no way around that. God did not order David or Abraham to repent and become monogamous. The sexual and marriage dynamics that most conservative evangelicals push for today are not at all like those in 1st century Palestine. Early Christianity was very attractive to women – Jesus and Paul both presented a liberating message, but soon institutionalized Christianity forced women back into a place of second-class membership. We are part of a tradition and there is something ennobling and wise about respecting and observing that. But holding fast to doctrine which, all evidence indicates, is incomplete at best and harmful at worst? No, at the very least we need to reevaluate. God gave us our minds (to understand the science of gender and orientation) and he gave us empathy and compassion. Gay monogamous committed relationships were not even in the possible framework of biblical authors’ worldviews, just as going to the moon or the internet were not possible frameworks. They had sexual mores of their day which we would find alien – but to enshrine these as eternal values of God is to hold up ANE sexual culture as the perfect model. It is not right to enshrine our own culture’s values without thought either, and our culture certainly sends messages about sex and relationships which are unhealthy. But sexual abuse and infidelity are not issues which belong to culture alone – they are pervasive in churches as well. And often justified by conservative “biblical” standards of gender and sex. It is a moral problem with human beings and how we relate to one another. But do you not see that honor, commitment, and fidelity are values that many of our gay brothers and sister share? You can ignore that and focus on the Biblical passages about homosexuality as “God’s standard,” but I would counsel prayer to make sure we are dealing with the issue in a way that honors God. I think the conservative evangelical response in the last few days has sent the LGBT community a very negative message. The behavior does not honor God. I’m not calling for repentance of individuals, as that’s something God will convict people of. But I would call for grace and reflection – and going to the source – God – rather than rely solely on the authority we have given to our own interpretation and approach to the Bible.

    • Eric Boersma

      Most of the people who have been burned at the stake in history were being burned by people who were using the Bible as a justification to push their views of what people were supposed to act like. I’m not sure this is the historical point you really want to bring up right now.

      • KSM

        So Eric, are you saying that because some people have erroneously claimed Biblical support for their clearly unbiblical actions in the past, we should therefore today exclude from our decision making process what the Bible clearly says?

        For nearly two thousand years the Bible has, for followers of Christ, defined what and how to follow Christ. And no, properly following Christ doesn’t include burning people at the stake. But it does include loving people where they are at, correctly discerning between right and wrong, and not condoning wrong behavior.

        • Eric Boersma

          But it apparently does include advocating for Ugandan laws which imprison homosexual people. Nice double standard you’ve got there.

    • http://waynebowerman.com/ Wayne Bowerman

      KSM, the sad thing is you don’t see that YOU are the revisionist here. Your riding a dying (yet historically fairly recent) wave of fundamentalist biblical interpretation that is rooted in nineteenth and early twentieth century (over)reactions to Darwin, Freud and classic biblical liberalism that it arose parallel to.

      as far as persecutions, if you are talking about folks in the early church that were actually (occasionally) persecuted by an emperor worshiping Empire, they went without Bibles in hand or access to the majority of Hebrew or New Testament scriptures. Scripture has most definitely not always been the foundation of the Christian faith. The risen Christ has. The majority of Christians throughout church history and throughout the world have not had access to the Bible. Have you ever heard of Gutenberg? There are a few years between the events in Acts and the printing press. The living Word of God, not the written words of God’s people is our salvation. I just can’t stand it any longer, that the majority of conservative Christians such as yourself – while I am sure well intended and perhaps loving (maybe even to your gay neighbor?) – are defending bibliolatry (Bible worship and a form of idolatry) in the name of Christian orthodoxy. It is your fear of losing your “foundation” that is driving your persecution of LGBTQ folks and not your reverence for scripture, and surely not for God.

      Until you are willing to apply the same flat reading of scripture you use to oppose gay marriage to start forcing young girls to marry their rapists (Deut 22) or you are willing to admit right here that you believe in your heart of hearts that women are the reason for pain, sin, and brokenness in the world and should not speak at church at all and that their primary salvation is by remaining barefoot and pregnant for godly men (1 Tim 2) I will continue to insist that you sir are a selective literalist and a willfully blind hypocrite.

      • disqus_OFY6btKBW4

        Well done.

    • disqus_OFY6btKBW4

      Ridiculous misreading of the texts. Are we also asking folk to treat women as property, have multiple wives, stone their disobedient children . . . many cultural groups do just that. Jesus focused on poverty, injustice, identifying with marginalized others, deep listening, love — did not condemn homosexuality . . . though there was much he did blast — try progressing to the basics of the person of Jesus and the life of grace — give up the right wing over-sexualized propaganda — the same was used against the Jews, against Blacks, the same fear-mongering is used to incite terror against “the other” throughout history. It has nothing to do with following Jesus and is lethal.

  • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

    “My sources at WV know gay people who work there and who have to hide
    their identities and their partners. Now they will have to continue to
    live in hiding.”
    Not necessarily. there is another option: repent of their sin and invite Jesus to help them live the kind of life He wants for them, a life in which they are attracted to, and eventually marry, someone of the opposite sex, living in freedom from sinful same-sex desires.

    Funny how progressives begin with an assumption than God or nature makes someone have same-sex desires, and with the corresponding assumption that it can never change. This belief is in conflict with the core truth of the Gospel.

    • Lamont Cranston

      Being gay isn’t a sin. I’ve been through hell because of morons like you. I hope you suffer from that which you wish on others.

      • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

        I didn’t say being gay is sin. I said the desire to do the sin (same-sex sex) does not come from God. And I never said I wish suffering on others. I have no idea what that came from.

        If your “suffer” remark is an implication that I support the withdrawal of sponsorships of WV kids, I absolutely did not mean that. I think it’s awful that anyone would pull, or threaten to pull, support for any child because of WV’s decisions (either the Monday decision or the Tuesday one).

        My comment was specifically addressing the presumption that was in the part of this post which I quoted above.

        • k m

          hi james, i see you follow paul but have you met jesus? i wish you well as you study and seek.

      • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

        I am sorry many Christians have put you through hell. I really am. I have no idea what you mean about wishing suffering on others. I wish the opposite. I wish for those who have same-sex desires to find freedom that is offered by Christ. My criticism of the author’s remark is aimed at his omission of freedom as an option.
        For the record, I am completely against anyone pulling their financial support for children through World Vision. Never meant otherwise.

        • Eric Boersma

          Becoming a Christian does not make someone not gay. It does not and should not make someone get married to someone of the opposite sex. By wishing that for someone, you are actively wishing them harm, regardless of whatever lies you’ve told yourself.

          People are born gay. Nothing they ever do — ever — can change that fact. What you’ve stated you wish is that people would have psychological harm done to them in order to make them conform to your picture of what the world is supposed to look like. Stop doing that.

          • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

            Eric, you are arguing with things I never said. I never said becoming a Christian makes someone not gay. Salvation is a one-time thing, and Jesus heals us over our Christian journey after becoming Christian, and it takes a lifetime. My list of sins is a long one, and I have embraced His work in my life in some of them, but there’s a lot of work left to do.
            I strongly dispute your assertion that anyone is born gay, but I imagine that is not a surprise.

            • Eric Boersma

              Can I ask when you chose to be heterosexual?

              • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

                So you are equating choice with something that happens at birth? Apples and oranges. One can be born with no sinful desires, then acquire them afterwards. I not that my own sinful leanings (selfishness, self-pity, lust, greed, dishonesty, and too many more to list here) were developed after I was born.
                You can believe otherwise, of course. I respect your right to do so. But I feel that you are twisting what I really said and meant.
                I do not agree with you on many fronts, obviously, but one that comes to mind here is that I don’t see people who have sinful leanings in this area as a group of people. Same-sex sin is an act, not a class of people. Just as I wouldn’t feel there is a fornicators’ community. Jesus offers forgiveness for sinful actions, but He also offers freedom from the desire to commit such acts. that was my original point, and I’m not interested in bunny trails. Have a good weekend.

                • Eric Boersma

                  That’s a nice about face on Original Sin you’ve done there. It’s fun watching you twist yourself into theological knots to avoid saying anything, but don’t be surprised when you’re not convincing anyone of your position.

        • Lamont Cranston

          I didn’t find freedom until I stopped caring what whiny bigot goons think about things. THAT’S freedom!

    • http://aldaily.com Justin L. Conder

      Do not conservatives begin with the assumption that God has given
      eternal strict parameters for sexual mores? That God has an eternal
      unchanging standard? The track record for change from gay “conversion” groups that try to change gay orientation to straight is not good. In fact many conservative Christians who have same-sex attraction caution against those groups, because of what they do to people’s minds and spirits. Now those people will counsel instead for gays to be celebate, and that is always an option for anyone. But I see the fruits of the Spirit in my Christian neighbors in gay relationships too. (Of course conservatives will just say that is Satan counterfeiting the Spirit. What can you do?) Also I can say that I once had the same conservative evangelical view and I thought I was being loving/gracious in proclaiming the absolute, infallible inerrant truths of God. What I took for boldness I now see as arrogance and pride. It took a long time, but I’ve come realize the psychological and spiritual harm my statements had caused, even while my intentions were so high – I’ve repented of that to God and my brothers and sisters. I can sleep at night about it. I’m confident God has forgiven me but I still reach out to gay friends at times to let them know on an individual level how sorry I am. I hope they can forgive me. And I’m doing my best to make amends now. That was long ago and I feel I have a deeper and richer understanding of God and faith. There is more uncertainty and doubt of my own abilities and understanding (given my track record on this and other positions I held), but faith itself is stronger.

    • R Vogel

      Hope you enjoy your trip on the Titanic. I hear it’s unsinkable!

    • http://www.buriedhopes.com/ Rebecca

      If you truly have this opinion, I really hope you will talk to gay people who have tried to live free from their same-sex desires. Those who have laid awake at night begging God to heal them, underwent shock therapy to try to be healed, listened to every church leader they knew in order to be healed, and yet at the end of it were still gay. It’s the main reason Exodus International closed their doors, because they realized they had destroyed lives by promising the hope of a changed orientation. There are hundreds upon hundreds of people who love Jesus and have prayed more than most heterosexuals, and yet they have not been changed. They live purer lives, inwardly and outwardly, than most heterosexuals, and yet they have not been changed. We need to listen to these brothers and sisters.

      And Jesus didn’t expect a uniform sexuality. He freely admitted that there were eunuchs who were made so by men AND eunuchs who were born that way (Mt. 19:10-12). He didn’t command them to become heterosexuals. Isaiah told the eunuch that they should not look at themselves as dry trees, but as better than sons and daughters (Isaiah 56:3-5). And Philip listed no requirements to the Ethiopian eunuch when he asked what he needed to do to be baptized. He simply went down to the water with him and baptized him.

      We need to listen to our brothers and sisters instead of assuming what the Lord requires of them.

  • Mike Sullivan

    I am a Christian. I’m not a evangelical, non evangelical, progressive, emergent, whatever. I’m a Christ follower. Am I evangelical? Yes. Not because it’s a description of my tribe but because it is the view I take of my responsibility to the lost. My life is my testimony in most cases without words. It should always point to Jesus. To His teachings, His Spirit passed on to His men to pass on to us, His people. His Teaching, truth, identifies sin and holds all accountable. It plays no favorites and cuts no corners. Truth is not arbitrary. Scripture! His word, which says we should “Never” continue in sin but instead allow Him to transform our minds from its conformation of the worlds ways. It’s not about what the law says, what I want or what would make me popular and my life easier in the coming political drama. It’s about humbly standing up and saying, “Caesar is not God.” This is the moment of truth. The enemy chose the issue not us. But we will stand with the truth of Gods word regardless of the out come. Though it is offered to all, few are those who find it.

    • http://aldaily.com Justin L. Conder

      Many conservative evangelicals disagree on a large amount of rather important doctrinal “truths.” If you believe in inerrancy you must think the Bible gives the entire vision of who God is. Why is there rampant disagreement? Conservative evangelicals don’t just disagree with progressive Christians, they disagree with other conservatives about important things. How do you determine what to break fellowship over? Isn’t something like, for instance, Calvinism vs. Arminianism more important in determining God’s character (and thus, what kind of God we are serving)? Or Reformed vs. charismatic approaches to the Holy Spirit? You are certain the Bible speaks out against homosexuality, I understand that. But would you break fellowship over it with gay and gay-affirming Christians? If you do, then please explain how you would determine what positions are “deal-breakers” in determining who are among God’s people and who are not? My own position is that it amounts to accepting Christ and following him. It is a spiritual change of heart towards God, who is love. The point is, approach and interpretation of the Bible is of secondary import. If it were otherwise, we are all in a world of trouble – because the amount of interpretations and understandings are broad, and only one can be right.

  • https://www.facebook.com/toujoursdan Dan Sloan

    As a non-fundamentalist Christian, I continue to be astonished at the notion of using the Bible as a divine rule book as well as the assertion God’s laws are unchanging. If anything, the witness of Scripture shows that God’s laws change pretty often. We don’t follow Mosaic law. We eat red meat despite what Acts 15 says (which itself was a compromise between different factions who fought over which laws still applied.) We don’t worship on the seventh day, and most people do work on it which was a death penalty offense (Numbers 15:32-26).

    Besides, Paul in Romans 13 (v.8-10) said that anyone who does no harm to neighbor fulfills all the commands of the law.

    Most Jews who follow Mosaic law understand that specific commands can be suspended and that the law was never meant to exclude or oppress people. Even Conservative Jewish rabbis will say that if you can keep 612 commands, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t keep one of them. As long as you’re not harming others, just do your best.

    I don’t think this anti-gay nonsense is based on fidelity to Scripture or a concern about marriage, as even committed conservative Christians live lives at variance to the specific commands and prohibitions of Scripture.

    Let’s face it, the Bible is an amazing love story between God and God’s people, but it’s a pretty lousy law book.

    BTW, I was one of those people who started sponsoring a child in an effort to fill the gap. I am sponsoring a boy named Daniel in the DRCongo. I have no regrets doing so and will not pull my sponsorship because of WV’s U-turn, however I will keep the pressure up on the organization.

  • tanyam

    I just saw that Faithful Christian (a progressive group) was calling on two executives from Google to resign from the WV board to protest the final decision. Boy, I am really torn. Are progressives wanted on the board, and do they have any hope of influence, or is WV now a conservative evangelicals’ party? It goes without saying I woudn’t withdraw my support from a child. But I want to be an advocate for lgbt people, and like many others, I’m sick of the yelling, and tit for tat doesn’t seem helpful. I want to see WV’s work thrive — but I don’t want to send the unintended message that I agree with their decision. I’m worried that if we walk away we look as small as those 2000, but I don’t know whether to keep doing those 30 hour fasts, and risk being associated with this policy decision.
    I’d also love a recommendation for another group doing child sponsorships — lots of us are waking up and realizing that’s a really good idea for a family trying to build empathy in their own children.

    • tanyam

      And for those poor WV employees, this must be gut wrenching.

  • http://monologuingme.wordpress.com David

    As rough as the past few days has been for me as a gay believer, I do appreciate the clarity that conservative evangelicalism seems to be drawing on this “issue.”

    This made me cry: “Many of us are wearing purple at the office today in support of our gay colleagues, friends, and family. “

  • Andrew Dowling

    To those so certain that gay people “aren’t born that way” I ask sincerely: how long have you been wrestling with the temptation to have sex with someone of your gender? Don’t be offended by the question, because if sins are bad things we shouldn’t do but are tempted to do, but not something we’re born with, then you must be dealing with your own temptations to have homosexual sex, given your certainty about it not being a choice. Admit it. I won’t judge, but at least you won’t be out there on logical cloud 9.
    I have lots of “temptations/wishes” that I suppose could be classified as sinful or at least gluttonous . . .I’d like to have an orgy with lingerie models (if it made it better my wife could join, although she assures me this will remain a dream, sadly), I’d like to bathe in a huge vat of chocolate chip cookie dough, I’d sometimes like to smack people who annoy me. But sorry, no secret desires to have sex with another man . . just doesn’t do it for me. Given that acknowledgment, I couldn’t find the rational for thinking gay people “were not” born with those intrinsic desires/that orientation (especially in conservative locales . . “hmm I know how to give into temptation and the devil! I’ll be gay and get ostracized by other kids my age and even my own family! Get called names and maybe even beat up. It sounds awesome!”)

  • David Gaddis

    Bare with me but you need to understand where I come from. please read the entire post…first I consider myself conservative and evangelical. I also believe that scripture teaches us to live holy lives and lists within its verses some things I should not do… Among that is being drunk, stealing, etc and includes homosexual activity.

    However, I also know that we are all flawed and are all called to be used for God’s glory. How can we in the name of Christ restrict compassion or someone’s calling to help and work on behalf of WV. If you other sinners can work with this one I will gladly partner with you to feed the hungry of this world in his name. How can I condemn the good works of others. I don’t care if you are gay, straight, Catholic, or baptist. My wife and I have let our support of WV fade over the years, recent events have called my attention and renewed my love for them, despite these recent events.

  • Susan

    New York Times link doesn’t work.

  • David

    Let’s be frankly honest here, shall we? The whole “homosexuality” debate in the church isn’t even about homosexuality. It’s a tired centuries-old debate between the “guardians” of theological authority (whether the “infallibility” and “inerrancy” of the Pope or Scripture) vs. scientific authority. And let’s be even MORE honest here: the church has lost this battle every last damn time! And it will lose THIS battle too. And the TRULY sad thing is, there have always been faithful Christians who have seen no “battle” between their faith and science, likewise there are, and always have been, eminent scientists who were also devout Christians. Usually this “battle” is propagated by opportunists seeking their own pompous self-gratification, at the expense of ordinary people. Think Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham- a sad, silly circus which I refused to watch. I am a devout Christian, one who has experienced the resurrected Christ (i.e. I am “born again”- or, really, to be more accurate, “born from above”), a believer in the Triune God, a faithful member of a progressive reconciling United Methodist congregation, and one who takes the Bible VERY seriously. Likewise I honor science when it enables & empowers humanity, and deplore it when it aids in the destruction of humanity. Remember the best scientific minds brought us nuclear weapons, which Billy Graham deplored (in a progressive evangelical Christian magazine: Sojourners). Remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a devout “confessing” Lutheran minister/theologian, stood in direct opposition to the Nazi regime which used modern chemistry (and medical knowledge- Josef Mengele, anyone?) to commit mass-murder. And today we have Christians working hand-in-hand with science in addressing the looming catastrophe of global warming (care for God’s creation). Christians working with scientists developing better irrigation & crop growth plans for third world countries. And Christians working with psychologists to liberate people from the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual destruction of addiction, childhood abuse (sexual, physical, emotional, neglectful), abusive marriages, and learning to affirm healthy sexuality, learning to embrace their sexual orientations in healthy, healing ways. I choose to stand with Billy Graham in his opposition to nuclear weapons, if not in his opposition to LGBT people. I choose to stand with Bonhoeffer in condemning modern technology to commit human rights violations, even if I disagree w/ much of his conservative theological constructs. I choose to be a part of liberation, healing, empowerment- and both my faith AND my belief in scientific discovery are mutual partners in such endeavors. World Vision could be part of this liberation & healing, but has bowed to the “guardians” of theological authority, who are not “guardians” at all, but hypocritical losers who condemned Copernicus, Galileo, Darwin, Freud and others like them throughout the ages. Sad, very sad. And then we wonder why so many young people say they’re “spiritual” but not “religious” (i.e. the “nones”).

  • trueWorldview

    Millennials are turned off by the liberal theological compromising of Tony Jones and other so-called evangelicals.

    Such muddled, undisciplined, culturally opportunistic world views gives Millennials a poor view of biblical Christian faith.

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