For the record, I wrote this on March 27th, the day after the WV reversal. I wanted to make sure these words didn’t come from a place of blind anger so I waited a few days before posting it.
If you’re not aware of the recent uproar regarding World Vision and their employment policy, let me make this quick. First, World Vision is a Christian organization that does charity work for impoverished children around the world. They offer child sponsorships. Last week, they announced they would allow gay married Christians to work for them. There are many Christian denominations who honor gay marriage and they felt that this policy would be more encompassing for the larger Christian population and not just evangelicals. Then came the backlash. High-profile Christian leaders revoked their endorsement of World Vision and encouraged their followers to do the same. As a result, it has been rumored that between 2,000 and 5,000 child sponsorships were dropped. Many Christian leaders who supported World Vision encouraged people to take on more sponsorships to lessen the blow. Apparently, it wasn’t enough. Two days after announcing their decision, World Vision reversed their policy and offered an apology to the evangelical community.
My stomach is sick as I write this. I am filled with so much anger I can barely think straight. It’s times like these when I am so ashamed to call myself a Christian. I’m searching for a label for myself because let’s face it, labels are somewhat comforting. I guess you can simply call me a Jesus-Lover because I’m not giving-up on him but I sure as heck want to give-up on my community.
So I am. (Sort of.)
Want to know why?
I AM SO SICK OF TRYING TO BE THE PEACEMAKER IN THIS DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY. I have been yelling, until I’m blue in the face to my fellow brothers and sisters: GET OVER THE GAY THING!!!! WHY DO WE SINGLE OUT THIS ISSUE?? FOCUS ON DISPLAYING CHRIST’S LOVE!!!
I yell all I want. No one is listening. Well, except for you other Christians who agree with me. You guys have been listening. I hope you have been encouraged. But you know what guys? This isn’t working. Our other brothers and sisters aren’t listening. They’re dead-set that this is an issue that needs conquering. They’re sticking their fingers in their ears and turning away.
I can’t talk to them so I’m talking to YOU.
Whether you think that homosexuality is a sin or not, this applies to you. I’m not going to get into what I believe because that is another post for another time. If we want to be doing the actual work of Christ, we need to get beyond obsessing over this issue. Here’s how I suggest we do this:
First, if you do think homosexuality is a sin, read articles by theologians who do not think it’s sin simply so that you can have that in your mind as a possibility. Likewise, if you don’t think it is a sin, read this for the same reason. Humility is key here. You don’t have to agree with the authors of these articles but I think it’s important to recognize that you are not God and you don’t have all the answers. Either way, thinking it’s a sin or not, you could be wrong.
I will admit that I am not 100% certain on my belief on the issue. I’m actually ok with that. It’s not my job to know that answer. It’s God’s. It’s important to realize that this “issue” isn’t clear-cut. If God actually convicts me to “call someone out” on a very specific occasion then I will honor that, but that hasn’t happened yet.
It’s important to realize that we don’t have all of the answers because what I’m about to encourage you to do has nothing to do with an “issue” and everything to do with people. People are complex and so is God. If you come at this like you know everything, you’ll treat it like an issue and not like a relationship. Are you seeing where I’m about to go with this?
We have to stop preaching to the unloving Christian evangelicals and start ACTUALLY LOVING GAY PEOPLE TANGIBLY.
Not with Avatars.
Not with Facebook posts.
Not by sharing articles on the subject.
By actually going into the world and loving on REAL PEOPLE WHO FEEL REJECTED BY THE CHURCH. We need to let them know they are loved and they are welcome. Those other things aren’t bad but they’re empty if they’re not followed by action.
Now, how do we do this?
That’s not a rhetorical question, I’m actually asking. Someone please tell me how to do this. I’m sick of fighting this battle defensively, it’s time to bring out the offense.
It’s time to show gay people that there are welcoming, loving, nonjudgmental Christians. People who don’t have the goal of changing their sexual preference but of introducing them to an amazing Savior, HE is the one who will do whatever work needs to be done. Although, I’m not just talking about non-believing gay people. Perhaps the community that my heart most breaks for gay Christians. How sad to not feel welcomed by your own family! It makes me sick.
I am also talking to you, my Christian brothers and sisters who believe that homosexuality is a sin but have no agenda to judge or ostracize those who don’t. I know that not all Evangelical Christians are that way. You have been unfairly judged too and that also hurts my heart.
So what do you say, fellow peacemakers? Let’s wash our hands of this debate and start loving on people. Can we sit in a place of humility for long enough to care for those who have been harmed by this fight? Can we stop and say, “It’s not my place to judge but it is my place to love?” Now, if you truly feel convicted by the Holy Spirit himself to “speak the truth in love” to someone, let it come LOOOONG after you have built relationship. Let it not come through protest signs, legislature, Facebook posts, or any other impersonal way. Certainly let it not come before you have come to appreciate someone for who they ARE and not what they DO.
Over the past few days I’ve read many other articles from authors whom I deeply respect and they seem to be on the same page as me. I was so encouraged to read the words of my fellow peacemakers. These are people who are on both sides of the debate. If you’d like to read more articles like this one, please make the time, here they are:
Where I Stand. (Jen Hatmaker)
How Evangelicals Won a Culture War and Lost a Generation (Rachel Held Evans)
Christians: Is the Debate Over Gay Marriage What We Want to Be Known For? (Kristen Howerton)