“Hey, Did You Hear About the Time the Largest Christian Charity Actually Lived Into It’s Name?” or “Good Job World Vision”

Posted: March 25, 2014 in Current Events

stolen-scream-noam-galai

World Vision announced yesterday that they would start hiring Christians in same-sex relationships.

And then the arrows started flying from all the usual bows.  Thanks to my sister Katie Kather for alerting me to the madness…

Franklin Graham was his normal, eloquent self, offering up a response in mere hours.  Just a few weeks after claiming that Russian President Vladmir Putin has “the right idea” about gays, he burst onto the scene with this little gem of questionable scholarship.

Did you read Graham’s thoughts?  No, c’mon, click it.  It takes two minutes to read. Graham is, if anything, shallow…which means it doesn’t take long to read.

Read it? Good.  Now, let me clear some things up for you for reference sake: the Bible, throughout the Old and New Testaments, gives a variety of marriage situations, and even supports most of them, and while they usually involve men and women, the idea that all of them involve just one man and one woman is an outright lie.  Read Leviticus.  Or maybe the Abraham story where good ‘ole Abe impregnates a couple of women to make sure his family has heirs.

Most of the marriage arrangements in the Bible you probably wouldn’t recognize as “Christian” these days.  But, see, Graham thinks he can just say something and make it true.  He doesn’t think you’ll actually go do research.  Shame on him.

You’d think someone like Graham, coming from a family of such influence, would have spent the money to get a decent undergraduate education where this could be pointed out to him…

But I digress.  Enough snark.  Well, no, not enough.  Cause I’m kind of mad in this post.

World Vision notes that they’re changing the hiring policies to “unite the church,” a nod toward churches who do have Christian men and women in same-sex partnerships.  The same great work continues, it’ll just be done by people who actually represent the wide swath of the Christian landscape.

Funny how an organization called “World Vision” would actually want to cast a vision that represents the larger world.  Whoda thunk?

And now there are reports that some people and organizations are dropping their sponsorships because of this move.  I was pointed to this fact by “Rage Against the Mini Van,” a lovely little blog run by, what appears to be, an insightful writer and advocate for all things awesome.

Uhm, let me say that again because I don’t know that you sufficiently heard me.

People are deciding not to feed and clothe children because a partnered person may or may not be the middle man.

To quote MJ, “Makes me want to scream.”

What about that action, I’d like to know, do they think is Christian?  Because I hope to hell they aren’t getting a latte from Starbucks, an equal opportunity employer.  I hope they aren’t shopping at Aldi or Kroger, ordering from Amazon or buying music from iTunes…all equal opportunity employers.

I hope they’re divesting from every single organization that may or may not have partnered gay employees, forcing them to eat the food they grow in their backyard, give up all TV channels (because, well, all providers are also equal opportunity here in the States), stop buying clothes and start making them, and cancel all of their utilities.

C’mon bigots, stick to your guns.  If you’re going to divest from a charity because it hires openly partnered gay people, I want you to go ahead and divest from every organization, charity or not, Christian or not, who may or may not have a partnered gay person on the payroll.

I’m pretty sure divesting from every organization that hires partnered gay employees would leave you destitute.

And then, by the grace of God, I’d sponsor you with food and shelter and clothing.  And I mean that, literally.  By the grace of God.

Because whether or not you agree with me on this theological issue, I do not want you to die or go without.  Nay, I’m not allowed to let you die or go without.

Why?

Because the Bible tells me so.

I’m just wondering what their Bible is telling them…

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Comments
  1. Michelle Sevig says:

    I love Rage Against the Mini-van. Yours and hers are the only blogs I read. Love today’s, as always.

  2. sammijo says:

    Why should humanitarian efforts be subverted because Graham wants to pick and choose parts of the Bible and ignore others?

    We all should do more gazing at the sinner in the mirror and less finger-pointing. I guess that position isn’t political enough. I guess pointing the finger and condemning others at the top of his lungs is what gets him in the news and brings in the donations.

    His statement is repulsive and made doubly so by the sheer number of people who will listen and accept his “word” as “truth”.

  3. Lynette says:

    You, sir, are brilliant!

  4. Susan says:

    Thanks for your common sense; for giving me the perfect response to those who would advocate not supporting World Vision because of this move.

  5. James L Henderschedt says:

    Amen! Well done

  6. AdamM says:

    While I wouldn’t stop supporting the poor because of a change in direction in World Vision management hiring ‘equal opportunity’, I find your opinion that the Bible supports relationships that are other than monogamous male and female relationships troublesome and only poor scholarship could lead you to think that way. Do you question Jesus himself on this issue? Read Matthew 19:4-5 – in speaking about marriage Jesus said: “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” The blueprint for marriage comes from Genesis 2 according to Jesus, and has been the pattern in the scriptures the whole way through. Give me one example from Leviticus where alternate sexual relationships (other than male female only relationships) is supported.

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Hey Adam,

      Thanks for writing.

      If you read the article, I never question that the Bible, as a norm, pairs men and women together.

      What I question is Graham’s assertion that the Bible suggests ONE man and ONE woman. In fact, if you read Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and 1 and 2 Samuel, we find multiple marriage arrangements, many of them much more sinister (in my opinion) than homosexual monogamy, specifically where it is suggest that rape victims be married to their rapers.

      Or, perhaps, where Solomon’s multiple wives and concubines are a sign of God’s blessing.

      We see these things and say, “Oh, yes, but that’s a sign of the ancient times…” And yet we’re not willing, perhaps, to say that heteronormativity is historically conditioned as well.

      Jesus’ one mention of men and women coming together in, what appears to be, ancient marriage is, I think, descriptive, not proscriptive. We should be careful not to assume that Jesus is proscribing that formulation.

      Finally, using Adam and Eve, an allegorical story of Divine-human relationship, as the template for marriage has always been puzzling to me from a theological point of view. Historically marriage has been used as a way to create a stable family unit for the raising of children, specifically in a society where birthrates meant survival of the family line.

      In this way, Adam and Eve are signs of their times, not the sign their times were meant to follow (as all good allegories and metaphors are).

      Today, where coupling has much more to do with personal and communal fulfillment and “love” (however you might define that), it does not seem to hold up the same way.

      So, does the Bible ever describe a relationship that looks like marriage that is not between a man and a woman? No. (Although it appears there is something between David and Jonathan not unlike the male-male relationships found in Roman soldier units).

      But does the Bible advocate sexual relationships that look nothing like modern day conceptions of marriage? Yes.

      And that is my point.

      Thanks for reading and writing.

  7. http://donate.worldvision.org/OA_HTML/ibeCZzpHome.jsp?a=b

    You can give a one time donation, or you can sponsor a child with a monthly amount. My prayer is that World Vision donations INCREASE!

  8. AdamM says:

    “But does the Bible advocate sexual relationships that look nothing like modern day conceptions of marriage? Yes.”
    This is exactly the point I’m raising. With the possible exception of polygamy, no where does the Bible advocate alternative relationships outside of the pattern established in Genesis 2. You still have not given me any examples to support what you are saying from the text… the onus is on you as the article writer to support your claims. I would argue that Jesus in Matt 19 is being proscriptive, whether you think Genesis 2 is allegorical doesn’t change it’s theological implications… Genesis 2 makes a declarative statement: “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”
    There is purpose and design spoken of here in this passage…Jesus recognised the design of God for human relationships to be man and women. I think you will find as you look the Leviticus and other OT texts that relationships that come outside of that design are strongly condemned; or they are a picture of the brokenness of humanity which are provided as anti-types of Godly behaviour (outside of design of God).

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Hi Adam,

      It’s clear we don’t agree, and probably won’t. You believe Jesus is being proscriptive; I do not. The “shall” there is not indicative of proscription, but rather much like a description as in, “Those who are thirsty shall drink.” And any theological implication of Genesis 2, apart from creation as God’s good work, is forced upon it. I think the statement “male and female” is more biological than theological.

      And there is no onus on me, save that which you put on me. But I’ve proven my point (and you’ve affirmed it).

      My point was that Graham, from his statement, said that the Bible from Old to New Testament indicates one man and one woman. That is simply not true, you yourself acknowledge that.

      There are a variety of constructions, not only polygamy (Solomon, Abraham), but also incest (Noah story), rape victims shall marry their rapists (Leviticus), and, I would claim, a very intense relationship between David and Jonathan.

      To say that there is no other “pattern” of relationship in the Bible just because the relationships described there are between males and (sometimes multiple) females is shortsighted. Our sexual organs are not the only things that bring us together.

      I think the larger picture of a broken humanity is the fact that people will divest from feeding children because of sex.

      That’s truly broken.

  9. […] thoughts about the original news early last week.  The Reluctant Xtian asked and shared, “Hey, did you hear about the time the largest Christian charity actually lived into its name?” Chris shared his sentiments in “World Vision: I have seen the finish line.” […]

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