How to Be Evangelical After World Vision: The Principle

When several friends had a conference call with World Vision CEO Richard Stearns and found out that 10,000 child sponsorships had been dropped in the course of one week, I wept. 

I know there are all kinds of counter-arguments out there to the effect that the kids will be fine because money is pooled into one budget and besides there are a million other faith-based NGO’s that do the same thing and it’s all just a bunch of progressive political outrage, ad infinitum, etcetera. And I’m quite sure that those are all half-lies because if the kids would be fine World Vision wouldn’t have reversed the policy decision out of desperation to survive. And Rich Stearns wouldn’t have been crying on the phone with my friends, who were crying too. And the progressives are playing politics? Oh, the irony.

But come on, you guys. I don’t care about the counter-arguments. It’s the principle of the thing.

Ten. Thousand. Kids.

Not because there was corruption or abuse, and children were being harmed. No, because the emerging reality in our country that gay people can be legally married is an unacceptable reality that deserves lalalala, fingers-in-the-ears exclusion at all costs because righteousness and cultural uniformity and political power.

Not donors slowly scaling back support and reasonably talking it out with the organization to make sure the kids are taken care of even though moral convictions must be acted on. No, just snatching it away. Like a toddler does at playtime when they don’t get what they want. Like immature, adolescent people do when a relationship doesn’t meet their needs. Just, grab. And bolt.

It’s the principle of the thing.

The literal expression of Christians prizing sacrifice over mercy, and explaining it all away as righteousness.

I wept because if this is what the evangelical church looks like, then there is no doubt in my or lots of other folks’ minds: we don’t want to be a part of the evangelical church.

But.

What if this is not what the evangelical church looks like – not really? What if there’s more than the conservative evangelical majority, ever drawing lines in the sand, perfecting the art of picking up their ball and going home? What if there is more, and what if that more, while still the minority, is actually where the church is really headed as she makes her way through yet another transitional mess in the enduring ecclesial story?

I tweeted the other day that 9/11 was one of the most important moments in the shaping of my faith. On that day, the distant, unfeeling, mass-killing, soul-damning Sovereign died. And this World Vision moment is almost on the same level of importance. Something has died, again.

But that’s the thing about this Jesus life – death always leads to resurrection. [Tweet This]

I’m gonna post over the next few days about how to be evangelical after World Vision.

I hope you’ll join me.

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About Zach Hoag

Zach J. Hoag is a writer and missional minister from notoriously non-religious New England. His book, Nothing but the Blood: The Gospel According to Dexter was released in 2012. Twitter & Facebook.


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