World Vision Announces New, Radically Consistent Employment Standards

World Vision Announces New, Radically Consistent Employment Standards March 27, 2014

What a hard week for American Christianity.

At the beginning of the week, World Vision announced they would begin hiring married gay Christians in their US offices. As we all watched, the internet blew up. Some 2000 people dropped the children they were sponsoring. More progressive bloggers used their platforms to issue a call encouraging everyone to think about the children and invited new sponsors to sign up– and they did. Yet, the right-wing backlash came at too high a financial cost, and World Vision capitulated.

World Vision has now reverted back to their original position– anyone living in unrepentant sin is not qualified for employment, and gay Christians who are married were placed back into that category.

In a shocking turn of consistency, World Vision has now announced that they are going to apply this principle consistently across the board instead of singling out one group of people. Since all sin is sin, any unrepentant sin or sinful lifestyle will exclude one from employment. The new employment standards are as follows:

– Obese employees and applicants will be given a medical exam. If it is determined that their obesity is not due to a medical condition but simply due to poor eating habits and lack of exercise, they will be barred from employment for unrepentantly failing to care for their bodies, which is the “temple of the Holy Spirit”.

– Smokers have been told to quit over the weekend or not return to work on Monday.

– All employees will be given a polygraph test. If the test reveals an employee has consumed alcohol more than two (2) times in the last 3 months where they would have blown higher than a .08, they will be barred from employment for being unrepentant drunkards.

– All employees will also be asked during the polygraph if they consume pornography. If the answer is “yes”, they will be dismissed since lust is the same as adultery.

– All employees must submit their tax returns and bank statements for review. If they are found to not be generous givers or money hoarders, they will be dismissed as scripture commands Christians to refuse to associate with Christians who are greedy.

– All employees will have monitoring devices installed in their cars, homes, and smart phones to see if they regularly swear, violating the teachings of Scripture to not allow unwholesome talk come out of our mouths.

– All employees will have their homes inspected to ensure they have a recycling plan in place and that they are working to reduce their carbon footprint. Since scripture teaches that at the final judgement God will destroy those who harmed the environment, World Vision is unable to employ anyone living a lifestyle that is unrepentantly harming the environment.

– All employees will have their closets inspected. Scripture teaches that we are to live a life of modesty and that we are not to wear “costly apparel”. If an employee is found to own expensive clothing or jewelry and refuses to repent, they will be dismissed. On the same token, all homes and cars will be inspected to ensure they are modest, no more than what is needed, and not flashy in any way. Employees who refuse to downsize to modest homes and drive modest cars, will be dismissed for living a lifestyle inconsistent with Biblical Christianity.

– All employees who divorced and remarried even though their previous spouse was not guilty of adultery, are barred from employment.

– All employees will be required to reveal if they own or carry a gun for self defense. If they do, it shall be considered that they are idolaters for placing their trust in a weapon instead of God, and will be considered to be unrepentantly rebelling against the command to “love your enemies”. As such, they will be terminated immediately. They will also be shunned since scripture commands we do not associate with idolaters. (And since greed is called “idolatry” in scripture, all greedy people shall be shunned as well)

Okay, I could go on but I don’t want to cross over into silly.

Here’s the point: there’s never any consistency when we try to parse out who is living a biblically and who isn’t. Let’s say for argument sake that being in a same sex marriage is a sin. The problem becomes all the other things that the bible seems clear is sin as well:

Not taking care of your body

Not taking care of the environment

Not caring for the poor and being greedy with your money

Not living modestly and instead being materialistic

Embracing violence instead of enemy love

If the former is a sinful lifestyle I can quickly whip out my Bible and show that all the others are too.

Here’s the problem, and this part IS crystal clear in scripture: as Jesus followers, we are REQUIRED to view our own sin as being worse than the sin of our neighbor. Jesus uses the beam versus speck analogy. Paul said that there is one statement that is “worthy to be said by all Christians” and that is that “Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and I’m the worst one of all of them”.

Whether or not being in a gay marriage is a sin, the Bible requires that we view our own sin to be WAY WAY worse.

That’s in the Bible, like it or not.

I don’t have my theology on this issue all worked out in a way that’s neat and clean. Sorry, but I don’t. I wrestle with it, I pray about it, I ask God to have mercy on me.

But here’s what I do have worked out and have a crystal clear understanding of:

Any sin I may find in the life of my brother is a mere dust particle compared to my own sin. That’s the part I understand with perfect clarity. I believe it in the depths of my being.

And so, you find me here daily trying to invite everyone to experience a life following Jesus.

I’m saddened by the reversal of World Vision. I’m saddened that Evangelical culture seems obsessed with gay marriage but completely overlooks greed, gluttony, violence, immodesty and clear-cut sinful lifestyles that people actually do choose yet do not bar one from employment in a Christian organization. I lament that one group of people is singled out, but that so many others get a free pass. I lament that we have the entire concept of a beam vs dust particle reversed. We must remember the “other” is the one with the dust particle in their eye, not us. Most of all, I lament that there was such a willingness to completely fracture Evangelicalism over this issue. There was a better option.

I’m also saddened that in the end, the New Evangelicals forced World Vision to do exactly what they criticized them for in the first place: cave to the demands of culture and money. To me, this was the biggest show of hypocrisy of the whole thing. I’m just sad- I don’t know how else to describe it.

But here’s what encourages me and keeps me going: you all stepped up when we asked. I can’t count the number of emails, comments and messages I’ve received that said “I just went and sponsored a child”. One person even sponsored three! I’m also encouraged by the messages I’ve received that have said, “in spite of their reversal, I will not stop sponsoring this child”, which makes my heart sing.

THAT, is what it’s about. Thank you for not being hypocrites. Thank you for jumping in and being willing to give to these children.

It has been a hard week for those of us on the front lines, and I don’t think I’d be presumptuous in speaking for my peers when I say, thank you for the way you all quickly jumped in and supported these children when we asked.

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  • A hard week for American Christianity, but a good week for atheism.

  • Yes, but crossing my fingers that Dawkins does something really stupid next week to even it out.

  • Erik Parker

    This is freaking awesome! A good laugh!

  • Goodbye, Mitt. Have fun trolling somewhere else.

  • THIS^^^^^

  • Jackie Heaton

    You are wicked! I loved it. What would be left. Old style Quakers and Mennonites?

  • Amen, bro – really well written.

    It a left over from Christendom, this fixation with working out other people’s salvation, but ignoring our own….funny how the Bible seems to want it the other way round – to work out our own salvation, and support others, in love, as they work out theirs…..

  • You can count on that. He’s good at it.

  • Has he ever persuaded 2,000 atheists to stop feeding hungry children?

  • This would be really good if I could get the two atheists on the page to fight. Ready, set, go.

  • Naw, Irish wins this one. Dawkins may be an asshole, but his assholishness doesn’t hurt people, except for maybe their feelings.

  • Although I will say this – if you’re basing your conclusions about God on the actions of Christians or atheists, you’re logically challenged.

  • Rebeccagharis

    Wonderful post.. May I just see my plank and no dust particles in my brother’s eyes!

  • Disagree, but that’s probably a subject for another time.

  • Matthew Bade

    The thing with same-sex marriage (as opposed to homosexual activity in general) is that a same-sex marriage is unique in that it guarantees, even commits, people to future sin—allowing, for the sake of argument, that all homosexual acts are indeed sinful. Pretty much any sin can (in theory) be ceased and repented of at any time, with no commitment to future sin. But in a gay marriage, the participants are uniquely involved in a relationship that by its very nature guarantees ongoing sin. That is the only issue I struggle with in my desire to support gay marriage.

  • Just go out and say it. You don’t support gay marriage, you don’t support gay people. You think their being gay is sinful. Stop dancing around it.

  • I’d invite you to consider that as a private citizen you could support it because it is the legal mechanism that guarantees equality in so many areas, such as inheritance, etc. This can be done without taking a theological opinion on it.

  • Agreed.

  • Tracy

    If you have heard of Paul Ellis and Escape to Reality – can i humbly suggest you go to his website and read some of his stuff. He clarifies Old covenant/new covenant issue like what you have mentioned about the ‘log in our own eye’ and sin etc. Not everything in the bible was written for us, it was written to us. We need to understand what is written for us, and what is written to us. Only then will the bible make sense. Paul Ellis helps to clarify this and you might find it helpful Ben. I hope so. it really changed my life and theology around. Even if we are leaders, we never stop learning in regards to scripture.

  • Lisa Martinez

    I really am saying this in Christ, Benjamin….like I would say it to Geo MacDonald if I could: I just love you and what you write! My thoughts exactly…I sound like a broken record. Put so adroitly though! Last year I was reading Lewis and his thoughts on divorce at the time and he was making a similar argument. I felt that the same argument could be made about same sex marriage today. But of course I feel that way because I’m a yoga teacher. ;)

  • k_Lutz

    I believe a class action (of all those that pitched in between Mon-Wed) suit against World Vision for their capitulation is in order. It is certainly unethical and immoral of WV to accept those monies while they courted the Southern Baptists.

  • If something like that happens, I’ll be more disgusted than when we began and will be happy to align myself with whichever side puts the kids first. I didn’t do this for political reasons, I did it for the kids. If our side expressed outrage because they pulled money over political reasons, how would we be any better for doing the same exact thing? If we donated money during those 48 hours out of motivation to help kids, we should still be happy to help those kids we committed to.

  • I understand why you feel that way but I believe that would be the wrong way to go. My wife and I sponsored a child with World Vision because we felt that it was the right thing to do. At first we felt betrayed but we are glad we have sponsored a child. In the end its about serving others and not about us.

  • Agreed. Also, it just came out via Tony Jones that WV did not intend to go public with this change at this time. It was leaked by an employee to Christianity Today, who said they were running with the story with or without their cooperation and that’s why WV did the interview. They had planned to phase in this change without the hysteria, and so it looks like they got screwed.

  • Guy Norred

    The same thing could at least as easily be said of the remarriage of a person whose first marriage ended not because of death or infidelity, could it not? That said, you seem to imply that you struggle not just with the marriage question, but with the question of inherent sinfulness also when you say you are putting it forward for the sake of argument. Might this question not deserve primary attention as if this argument is found wanting (as I believe it is), then the marriage question likely does not exist?

  • Dave Lin

    Well done. Thoroughly agree. Btw, for clarity – I believe you meant to say five paragraphs up, that we mistakenly act as if “the ‘other’ is the one with the plank [i.e. not dust] in their eye, not us.”

  • Sheila Warner

    Agreed. It was quite a dance.

  • Sheila Warner

    My struggle is with the anger I feel toward the people who dropped sponsorship over this issue. Jesus said if we do anything to make a child stumble, it would be better that a millstone be tied around our necks and be drowned. When I read the facebook comments of so many who pulled sponsorship, I sure wanted to go out and find some millstones. Forgiveness is hard work. I need to forgive these folks and pray that they will see the wrong in what they did and repent. Taking slow, deep breaths now.

  • k_Lutz

    In my heart, I agree with you, Ben. Of course, those that did pitch in to cover the withdrawals by the bigots will get their eternal reward.

    Now that WV has recouped their losses in playing this charade, they will prove their moral bankruptcy by retaining the windfall.

    I am seldom as cold as my comment appeared. A parable: I went to doing backflips on the trampoline upon hearing Monday’s Gospel – I was in mid-air for triple-flip with a half twist when the springs were cut. Of course my neck is broken.

    Trust God.

  • k_Lutz

    This seemed like a safe place to let off a little steam. Thank-you for the reality check. See my reply to Ben (below?). And know, I …

    Trust God.

  • Yup, totally safe place to blow off steam.. I think we’re just trying to reel you back in because we love you :)

  • Matthew Bade

    If you find me dancing around an
    implicit bigotry—one that it was never my intention to engender—I assure you
    that I do so from a place of raw insecurity vis-à-vis my green Christian faith.
    I was a lifelong (and rather supercilious) atheist—and, by way of sidebar, I should
    add that I was most emphatically not a homophobe; I was actually an avid
    supporter of gay marriage (not to equate atheism with gay rights). I came to Christianity
    relatively recently, and am still learning the ropes. (Indeed, I’m also
    learning how to discern which ropes might actually be snakes, barbed wire, or perhaps
    even have a noose on the other end!) I apologize if I came across as a
    clandestine bigot when my primary objective was simply to add to the conversation
    an angle I’ve never heard addressed before: the explicit, ad infinitum, unrepentant
    “sin” inherent to same-sex marriage. I qualified my query with the provisional “allowing,
    for the sake of argument, that all homosexual acts are indeed sinful” because I
    truly am on the fence on this issue. Is fornication a deductive sin intrinsic
    to same-sex marriages, or is the matter of fornication waived by virtue of an
    extension of the marriage paradigm to include gay couples? My main point here is (pardon me for beating a dead horse) to underscore the curious fact that sexual
    relations within a same-sex marriage is the only sin (if it is a sin) I can
    think of wherein the perpetuity of said sin is part and parcel of the
    fundamental nature of the “transgression.” Now, there are plenty of sins where
    the likelihood of cessation is nigh on nil—I offer my cigarette addiction as
    Exhibit A—but with gay marriage the possibility of cessation of “fornication”
    is explicitly ruled out by virtue of the ongoing nature of the “sin” (allowing,
    of course, that marital homosexual activity does indeed contravene God’s
    mandate, which I’m not convinced it does). Or is the marriage covenant a sufficient capstone to a homosexual relationship
    to nullify all future acts of would-be fornication and transform the union into
    an entity on par with heterosexual marriages? Like I said, I’m new to Christianity,
    and just trying to figure out as I go this strange new religion-as-way-of-life;
    I beseech your forgiveness if this feeling my way around in the dark in any way
    resembles bigotry. I’m still in the bloom of grasping at the ethereal outline
    of this thing we call Christianity. And at the very least, I implore your
    pardon for the garrulous constitution of my reply.

  • Sheila Warner

    I’m one who jumped all over your dance, so let me say I’m happy for your clarification. Do research into what the Greek texts in the NT say about homosexuality. You will find that many Bible scholars believe that those passages do not apply to committed same sex couples. It’s fascinating.

    Here’s another line of thinking for you to consider. The Bible teaches that sex is only for marriage (according to the conservative Christians). Therefore, anyone who engages in premarital sex is sinning. But that couple can get married, and the sin is gone. We tell gays that homosexual acts are wrong, then deny them the same right to marry that we give to heterosexuals.

    See the conundrum?

  • DonnyPauling

    Point… missed.

    The basics are these: hiring homosexual employees would have been fine. Recognizing the re-definition of marriage conflicts with Christian values. It’s one thing to tolerate, but quite another to validate. Tolerating homosexuals would not have had the backlash. Recognizing gay marriage conflicts with what the ministry claims to be. You’ll notice that Jesus loved and accepted everyone, but he did not accept their sin, but rather challenged them to stop living in it. To the woman about to be stoned he told her that he didn’t condemn her, but he also said, “Go your way AND SIN NO MORE.” We often forget that last part.

  • Recognizing the re-definition of marriage conflicts with Christian values.

    With which Christian values? There are some churches that say homosexuality is sinful, and some that say it is not. What World Vision were (originally) doing was refusing to pass judgement on which churches were correct. Which is the point.

  • DonnyPauling

    It’s not a matter of homosexuality being right or wrong. It has only to do with marriage being between a man and woman vs same sex marriage. That’s it. That’s what this was all about.

  • …which is also a thing that Christians disagree on.

  • I am glad that you feel this is a safe place to let off steam. When I first heard about the reversal I let off enough steam to power a locomotive.

  • Logically that argument makes no sense. If you believe that homosexuality is not wrong or sinful as many Christians now believe there is not reason not to support marriage equality. You are entitled to your opinion but please be consistent.

  • I respectfully disagree on that one. I know many who are able to separate their thoughts/feelings as a citizen and their theological beliefs. For example, contrary to popular assumption, I don’t have my theology on it all figured out. However, I recognize that marriage equality in society is the legal mechanism to ensure equality in many areas, such as property inheritance, etc, and have been an outspoken supporter for that exact reason and will always be for that reason- regardless of where my theology on it ultimately lands. There is definitely some church/state separation at play here.

  • DonnyPauling

    I also like the Boy Scouts organization and the Girl Scouts organization, but believe the former should accept only boys and the latter only girls. There’s nothing inconsistent about my views. It’s simply a matter of terms. Marriage means male/female. If civil unions are desired by same sex individuals, that’s what they should be called. Elton John got it right in this interview:

  • Matthew Bade

    I see the wisdom of your advice, but am weary of the ramifications of this sort of compartmentalization. Where does my private citizenship end and my burgeoning Christian identity begin? Equality is a very serious moral issue, but I’m just so confused as to where to draw the line in the (shifting) sands of postmodernity. I’m still just trying to find my Christian wings; I’m not sure I’m psychologically ready to attempt such an identity split. I wonder if I can live out my days without ever having to take a stand . . .

  • Rissa

    Ah but dontcha know, if you aren’t a Christian whose beliefs are in every respect EXACTLY like those of the Christian talking to you, then of course you aren’t REALLY a Christian at all?

  • Ha! This is too funny. Well done Ben.

    In a way, I am glad WV has changed their minds and tried to please their donors, if 2,000 people dropped the children they were sponsoring. What sick and small-minded people that would lose all compassion for a small child because they’re icked out at the gays, that the gays might be receiving jobs.

    Imagine if you were a small child, unsure of where your next meal was coming from and with no money for school. But then these compassionate people who say they love Jesus come in and help you, and change your life. Then you find out you’ve been dropped from the program. Your sponsors have quit. You wonder why and they say it’s because the sponsors thing the organization did some very bad things–they were willing to hire people who the sponsors didn’t like. The sponsors are now planning to go sponsor some other kid through a different organization.

  • Some churches in America already recognize gay marriage, and even perform gay marriage ceremonies. Should World Vision also kick those CHURCHES out of its organization? Should it refuse to hire workers from those denominations, or refuse to take donations from them?

  • Forgive those folks, sure, because an overabundance of anger is bad for you. But don’t lose your righteous anger that such injustice would be perpetrated by those calling themselves followers of Jesus.

  • Hope that employee got fired.

    Then again, I guess he was doing what he thought was right, wasn’t he? He saw his organization committing what he considered a grave error, and he saw they would phase it in slowly so as to not make a big deal. He decided the best way to fix it was to shine the light of day in, and let everybody see what was happening. Usually I would call that a good thing.

  • Gay marriage does not conflict with my Christian values, nor does it conflict with the values of some major denominations, and its membership, or many Christians who, like myself, are waiting on denominational leadership to catch up to the rest of us.

    As for Jesus not accepting other people’s sins, that is ridiculous. He didn’t tell the woman at the well to stop sinning, or the people he healed, or the people he ate with. He tells two people that, the man at the pool of Bathseda, and the woman accused of adultery. We don’t know why he supposedly said that to these two individuals, so its really hard to get the motivation behind his statement, especially as he said it to no one else of all the thousands he encountered, according to the gospel writers.

    What he did tell us was to concentrate on our own faults, and stop concentrating on our perceived faults of others.

  • The Episcopalian church even ordains people who are gay.

  • Donna

    Perhaps to be thoroughly consistent, WV needs to start applying the same standards that you suggested above to their donors as well. A sad week for Christianity–it feels like loving Jesus and loving others has been left behind.

  • Daneen Akers

    Thank you for this!

  • Daneen Akers

    I find it interesting and telling that in a story that’s entirely about us not judging others or throwing stones because we aren’t without sin that most Christians have identified with…the God character. Even if one equates adultery with same-sex love (which many sincere Christians no longer do), it’s still not our job to judge. Our job is to love without caveats or performance clauses.

  • Sheila Warner

    I’m still angry. I just don’t want to get into the gutter with them and let my anger turn to hate.

  • Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to fear. Fear leads to the dark side. The Dark Side leads to arguing with idiots all day on the internet.

  • Sheila Warner

    sigh, so true

  • Donna

    Oh gosh, be careful with the millstone analogy! I mentioned it on this forum last week in connection with Benjamin’s post about Mark Driscoll, and got thoroughly body slammed on the “Friendly” Atheist blog on Patheos.

  • Unfortunately sin is ongoing, even in the life of the most committed believer. After decades as a bible junkie and devoted follower of Jesus I find that I still have my hands full keeping my sinful nature in check and loving my neighbor and people I don’t respect on a daily basis. There are things that I do over and over even though I fervently wish to stop. My suggestion to any new Christian is to focus on your own areas of weakness and avoid contemplating the potential sins of others. The sins that cause the most damage in our day to day Christian walk are not necessarily obvious. Mental attitude sins like bitterness, greed, anger, self pity, impatience, jealousy covetousness and fear etc. can hide behind a false mask of sweetness. These are things that you don’t necessarily see in others but will cause absolute spiritual decay if left unchecked.

    I think you’ll find as you walk this path that controlling your own thoughts and emotions so that they are pleasing to God is a full time job. However, if you feel absolutely compelled to contemplate sins you don’t personally struggle with then I think it is worth noting that fornication didn’t even make God’s seven most hated sins list in Proverbs 6:16-19.

    Though many Christians are obsessed with the idea of sexual sins we cannot over look the fact that only adultery is addressed in the ten commandments. The fact that God didn’t send Moses down the mountain with an eleventh commandment on premarital sex tells me a great deal. If you want clarity on what is most important to God consider His emphasis on love and mercy.

    Micah 6:8

    8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

    John 15:1-17

    The Vine and the Branches

    1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He
    cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

    5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me
    and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

    9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I
    have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s
    business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will
    last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

    17 This is my command: Love each other.

    Galatians 5:22-23

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

    Matthew 22:36-40

    36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

    37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your
    heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    Finally if you are going to talk about perpetual sin you would be remiss in ignoring the high rate of divorce and remarriage in the Christian community. As Benjamin mentioned divorce is only sanctioned when your partner commits adultery. Therefore anyone who divorces for any other reason becomes an adulterer if they remarry. That puts a large number of regular church goers squarely within the perpetual sin department. But you’ll rarely find evangelicals addressing this particular ongoing sin.

    Proverbs 6:16-19

    16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are
    detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

  • Matthew Bade

    I appreciate the time you took to
    help me out here with your sagacious insights and topical deployment of
    Scripture. Thank you. I would do well to heed your call to plot a wise course regarding
    the nature of my orientation vis-à-vis sin. Of course the plank in my own eye
    is vastly more pressing than the speck in my brother’s! Like you said—we have, each
    one of us, got our work cut out for us in dealing with our own sins; how can one
    presume (or indeed afford), then, to invest an incommensurate amount of equity into the sins of others?
    I’ve discovered, as you have, that it’s well-nigh a full-time job juggling the kenneling
    of my own sin with the urgent and vital vocation of unleashing all of my love
    outwards towards God and my neighbor. Yours is wise counsel; I would do well to
    assign priority to the deprioritization of the sins of others so as to regroup
    and recommission my rancor for sin while repatriating my energies towards the
    task of reprioritizing my efforts to excavate the very large plank protruding
    from my eye! Indeed, and if I may take a bit of liberty with my favorite little
    N.T. Wright-ism, it sounds like that’s the burden of your song, and I shall endeavor
    to make it mine as well. Now, as to the issue of perpetual sin, in particular
    the divorce/remarriage archetype: I will stipulate your position regarding the
    incidence of perpetual sin in many Christian remarriages. I would, however,
    diverge from the prevailing winds in that I believe it’s possible to repent of
    and receive forgiveness for instigating a “no-fault” divorce (and its analogues)
    while maintaining a God-honoring second marriage. So ends theory; in practice, I’m
    not certain how many remarried self-describing Evangelicals feel genuine penitence
    for having abandoned a prior marriage for dubious reasons, and I shudder to
    think how their new spouses must feel being married to someone who is remorseful
    for leaving a prior marriage. Again, thank you for the time you took to respond to my post, and thanks for sharing some amazing insights!

  • Matthew Bade

    I’m not certain as to why my posts look like some sort of two-bit poem. They appear on my monitor as fluid prose before I hit the “Post” key. Hmm, not liking this . . .

  • DonnyPauling

    Man, I must be typing too fast or something. I’ll type slower and see if the message comes through.


    It’s NOT about one sin being shameful and another not. It’s NOT about judging sinners.

    It’s about a charity that labels itself Christian, embracing the redefinition of the term “marriage.” Christians expect such things from secular organizations. Secular opinions don’t apply with Christian organizations. By Christian view, God Himself instituted marriage as a sacrament, and it is to be between one man and one woman. The people who began withdrawing their pledges were only pledging to Worldvision because of their Christian foundation. Without that, there is nothing that distinguishes them from the many other organizations that do similar work.

  • Sheila Warner

    The Friendly Atheist doesn’t believe in the Bible, nor do many of his followers. I read his blog because he is intelligent and articulate, and often correctly nails Christianity for its hypocrisy. My millstone reference remains my first reaction, no matter who body slams me. And, trust me, I get plenty body slammed around here, too. I don’t care. I’m a big girl with a rather thick skin. I have too much anger at the people who dropped their kids to go away soon.

  • Donny-

    (BTW, I know who you are and really think you have a fantastic testimony- might like to chat about it some time as my Phd dissertation is on helping people recover from commercial and sexual exploitation), but just to push back some: WV wasn’t trying to redefine marriage. They were doing this not to take sides but to be in the middle.

    But also, marriage was redefined various times in the bible- now it’s one man one woman, but it used to be one man, ten women, and 86 concubines. I understand your position, but don’t think saying we can’t “redefine” what it looks like just doesn’t hold up. To me it would be a far more compelling argument to argue from Romans.

    In addition, as I’ve mentioned with others, it is possible to support it as a private citizen since, I hope we can agree that gay couples should have equal inheritance and hospital visitation rights, without belonging to a Christian tradition that is “open and affirming”. I think there’s a more reasonable middle ground to walk here.

    Personally, I think the solution is to do away with marriage all together in a way and adopt a German standard. Anyone wants to get married, they go to the magistrate and get married and get equal legal rights. After that, anyone is free to seek out the blessing of their union by their own religious tradition. This protects legal rights, and religious freedom.

  • Sheila Warner

    I agree. Go to the magistrate, get married, then get your marriage blessed by your own church if you wish. A great idea.

  • DonnyPauling

    In the article I linked above, the opinion taken by Elton John (which he has since changed) would have worked. Sure, some Christians would still be upset, but Civil Unions would have easily become a reality if that is what was pursued, rather than redefining the term “marriage”to include those of the same sex. Civil Unions, which Elton has with his partner, have the same legal status as marriage in the UK. If that was what was pursued here, I would be willing to bet every state would have had such options in place for a very long time. It is when one insists on redefinition that the problem arises. Regardless of how people have misused and abused marriage, Christians see it as a sacrament instituted by God, and it’s just a really bad decision for a charity that claims to be Christian to accept gay marriage as valid marriage. From one article I read, World Vision was indeed embracing it. The policy was going to be: heterosexual and living together? No, we don’t accept that. Heterosexual and married? You’re good. Homosexual and living together? No, we don’t accept that. Homosexual and married? You’re good. That’s not middle ground.

    Living the life I’ve lived, I have no room to judge anyone. And I don’t. After I speak, people open up to me like they’ve never opened up before. Last week I spoke at a conference in Ohio and 2 men discussed their same sex attractions with me afterward. They received no judgment. This weekend, I’m speaking in Chicago and then on to Notre Dame University. I’m sure there will be at least one person who comes up to discuss the same issue. I have people who contact me on a regular basis to discuss their same sex attraction or ask my opinions of their same sex relationships. I welcome them, embrace them, and love them no differently than anyone else. I constantly pray that God would let me see people through His eyes, the way He sees them. But just as boys shouldn’t be able to be Girl Scouts and girls should never be allowed to be Boy Scouts, and no amount of arguing or desperately wishing for one’s daughter to be recognized as a Boy Scout because she feels like she identifies more with boys than girls should ever change that, even so marriage should be man/woman. Legally equal Civil Unions? Go for it. States that make gay marriage possible? Can’t do anything about it once they’ve made such a decision. Christian organizations that say gay marriage (rather than Civil Unions) is valid? No.

    As for your dissertation, I’m up to chat any time. I’ve got a lot to say about porn, as I’m sure you know. It is definitely sexual exploitation.

  • I can understand and respect what you say about not having the theology on all this figured out. I think that as followers of Jesus we are called to constantly wrestle with what it means to be living under God’s perfect Grace in an imperfect world. I an saddened by the vitriol and graceless behavior that people on both sides have shown and I include myself in that group. In the end I choose to believe that we are all called to God’s family table and that we don’t get to choose who we sit next to. No one loves you like family and no one can break your heart like family.

  • I apologize for being a bit snarky with my comment. As Ben pointed out this is definitely one of those issues where the separation of church and state comes into play. I think in someways we are closer to agreement that I first thought. The problem is that marriage has become an emotional charged term. I was using the word marriage to refer to a legal or civic union that gives would give same sex couples the same rights and privileges as male/female couple. I respect you for seeing the difference between what I would call a legal versus a covenant marriage. I still disagree with you on whether or not homosexuality is a sin, but greatly respect the fact that you seem to be be the kind of person who would still love them.

  • Parsley

    This is not my theological context, so take this with however much salt you would like, but if we were to grant the assumptions in this argument, wouldn’t the same apply to people who are divorced and remarried? The Bible is actually a lot clearer on that than it is on homosexuality, and yet, as the author states above, World Vision has not fired its divorced and remarried employees.

  • Matthew Bade

    Yes, I think I read somewhere that Paul’s proscriptions against homosexual activity might have been addressing a
    much narrower context than we typically think. Rather than the broad brush strokes we assume he was using, he might have been painting in rather more narrow ones,
    condemning contemporary Greco-Roman sexual ethics which permitted “relationships” characterized by an unequal balance of power between (say) an older man and a juvenile male. This almost patron-client phenomenon is akin to the socio-sexual mores that were scattered throughout the Greece of antiquity, and made famous in Sparta in a more martial milieu. I should probably qualify all this by saying that this particular reading is not the orthodox interpretation, so I wouldn’t
    necessarily treat it as the gospel (pardon the pun). But it does give me pause, and certainly food for thought; I shall have to give the matter some time to digest. But then even granted this reading of Paul and the gospels, homosexual
    relations still fall under the umbrella of fornication, so it would appear we’re right back where we started from: same-sex marriage or bust. Truthfully, though, the whole thing is really none of my business, and I don’t actually care one way or another in which direction the winds of public opinion are blowing this week; I’m just not terribly invested in the issues of homosexuality or same-sex marriage, save for the natural antipathy and sheer revulsion I feel for all of the raw malice engendered in some quarters against homosexuals. This goes doubly so for the venom spewed in the name of our Lord and Savior. In the end, though, the reason I care about something I don’t really care about is because I want to know how God feels about all this. That’s why the dialogue is so important: we need to constantly struggle to discern the will of our Creator.

  • guest

    The UK has since passed a gay marriage law. The first gay couples got married today! :D

    There’s some uncertainty about whether people in civil partnerships will be able to convert them to marriages or if they’ll have to get divorced and remarry. Parliament’s working on it.

    Imo, this shows that civil partnerships only muddy the waters. The goal should be marriage equality for all consenting adults; no half-measures!

    Boy scouts and girl scouts are both human instititutions and can be changed like any other human institutions. If a boy wants to be a girl scout, he could be. It’s only a matter of re-writing the by-laws. And the same goes for marriage.

  • Proud Amelekite

    I don’t actually hold World Vision too accountable. I have no doubt many Churches threatened to withhold funds if they didn’t go back to the more “traditional” route. Put simply these people hate us more than they love the poor and are more than willing to use the innocent as hostages and pawns to see their twisted theology expressed. A real shame, honestly. One wonders what monsters these people would be if they weren’t worried they were going to hell.

  • Sheila Warner

    I’m involved because I don’t want my gay brothers and sisters to be bullied. Thanks for a great reply.

  • eric kurfman

    Such an excellent post. Starts out snarky,,,and then hits me between the eyes.

  • Zeth Wright

    Sin is not just sin, but there are different grades of sin just as there are different grades of holiness or sanctification. Ben, you must not know this.

  • Kay

    The work of World Vision is much needed & I support it, but this is like during the Chick-fil-A anti-gay feuds — when the message & example of Christ was getting hidden behind the chicken. And “money talks in Christianity” is the message I hear in these Duck Dynasty & World Vision public displays. This reversal also reminds me of Franklin Graham reversing position on Mormonism on their website for their political party gain during the last presidential election. If this turns me off as a Christian, then I can understand why some want nothing to do with the Christian faith. And lastly, the folks not born heterosexual are being slandered like no other & I consider that as sinful as anything.

  • Renee Rouleau Bell

    I think the problem has more to do with – smokers agree it is wrong. Obese people don’t try to make people believe it is a healthy life-style. Tax cheats don’t celebrate with parades. Drunks may live in denial but society doesn’t. Homosexuality is an abomination. Stop acting like the Bible says it is acceptable before God – it isn’t.

  • mike80

    So I can consume alcohol everyday as long as my BAC is under .08?? Since when does mans law trump the bible?

  • Joy

    Mennonites have their own secrets…which in some areas, thanks to some very brave people, are finally coming out.

  • tommythompson

    It’s a difficult issue in reaching out to sinners (of whom I am chief) and the day to day issue of who we become partners with in business, life, marriage, church, etc. Do we invite Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons to be pastors & deacons in our churches or do we exclude them ? Are there no differences between believers and unbelievers, are there no requirements for believers ? Difficult questions, which makes Ben Corey’s article seem a petulant rant instead of his usual thoughtful discourse.

  • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

    I keep coming down to this: We somehow think we’ve been charged with instructing other people how to live. I can’t find that anywhere in our scripture. And it doesn’t seem to be part of the overarching narrative of Christ as revealed in the NT (or in my personal experience, either.) Why are we so arrogant?

  • Cameron Fields

    Love to all <3