As result of the pressure from the evangelical church, reports are coming in that World Vision changed their policy regarding homosexuality back to what it was.
I have a couple of questions I feel obligated to ask:
1. Does this mean the evangelicals won? If so, what did they win exactly?
I hate religious battles. I think Jesus does to. And I think fighting them over the issue of sexual identity is completely ridiculous. It plays such a small picture in the overall narrative arch of scripture, regardless of how you interpret it. Jesus speaks on so many other issues (and never actually speaks on homosexuality himself). Why not discuss how we spend our money? Or the need for grace and forgiveness? Or the need to have our hearts pure? Those seemed to be things Jesus really cared about.
2. Jesus often talks about how it doesn’t matter what you do as much as where your heart is (Matt 5-6). I feel like World Vision has shown the world where their heart is, so why would evangelicals be satisfied with a simple policy re-adjustment?
World Vision wanted to give Christian homosexuals the chance to serve the world’s poor. Obviously a lot of Christians had a problem with this. How does changing the policy back make a difference? If they made one decision when there was no pressure, and another when pressure was applied, which way do you think they would prefer? Seems obvious to me. So what’s the difference?
3. What does this have to do with alleviating poverty?
Seriously. I’ve never been vocal about my stance on homosexuality, but I am vocal about poverty and this is making me deeply frustrated.
I agree with Rachel Held Evans, when she said:
This whole situation has left me feeling frustrated, heartbroken, and lost. I don’t think I’ve ever been more angry at the Church, particularly the evangelical culture in which I was raised and with which I for so long identified. I confess I had not realized the true extent of the disdain evangelicals have for our LGBT people, nor had I expected World Vision to yield to that disdain by reversing its decision under pressure. Honestly, it feels like a betrayal from every side.
Once again, the evangelical gatekeepers have shown their power and just how much influence they have. This, more than anything, makes me deeply nervous. I’ll be honest, I think the the hippy in me is nervous anytime I see a force come along as strong and influential as this. Especially when I have trouble seeing Jesus at the center of that force.
As a pastor, I am once again reminded of the great responsibility I have, since I too sit in a place of influence. As such, this is my hope: I will lean into the grace of God found in Jesus Christ. And I invite you to do that as well. I want to err on the side of grace. Don’t you?