Train Wreck

trainAnd the big lesson from this week is make sure you are committed to your decision before going public with it…

Sadly the folks at World Vision have egg on their face and a major mess to clean up after their announcement that they would now hire people in gay relationships, only to retract the statement and revert to their original position just 48 hours later.

The problem is that the damage is done now. They have smashed a heap of trust and its going to be hard to rebuild it. Whatever you think of World Vision the issue here is the flip flop.

Now rather than just having alienated one group of constituents they have angered two. The first decision clearly made the right wing mad, while the left were happy WV had ‘seen the light’, but clearly the right have many more $$ because the reversion was for their benefit. Now the right won’t be sure if WV have genuinely recanted and the left will hate them for their back down. Lose – lose

I didn’t know WV were still an overtly Christian organisation and I figured they hired staff who had no faith affiliation. So the original decision surprised me as I thought that was the lie of the land anyway. While the original decision obviously was a political hand grenade, it would be interesting to know what genuinely motivated both decisions. It would seem the first may have been a response to culture (and I think many theological shifts are a result of cultural change, moreso than new ‘learning ‘) but the reversal is confusing – it presents as theological but I wonder to what extent it is driven by the need for the organisation to keep running, for people’s jobs, leader’s reputations etc. Yeah – I’m a bit cynical there.

Maybe it was motivated by the fact that the decision will hurt the poor – the reason for WVs existence , but my guess is that it’s a combination of all of the above to a greater or lesser degree depending on who you ask.

And which decision was the correct one?… I’m not sure at the moment.

If we are arguing that sexual orientation is central to the gospel then you’ve lost me there. If WV are as keen to take a hardline on other sin then perhaps that would seem fair. But we all know that nothing riles a conservative more than being kind or fair to gay people. For some reason they belong in a different category of ‘nasty’ to adulterers, pornographers and hetero-sexual-sinners.

Unfortunately what presents as a decision based on theological conviction seems to be more likely driven by bottom lines, people’s jobs and maybe even the folks at the end of the line who end up suffering because people won’t allow their funds to channel through a ‘sinful’ organisation.

I wonder if those same folks who boycotted WV are willing to allow WV to take money from gay folks? Or are they allowed to give money to sponsor kids who are gay. If you are gay should you starve?


Yeah I think it can be…

Or maybe its not complex and we’re just bloody stupid sometimes.


2 thoughts on “Train Wreck

  1. Hi mate
    Yep, I do think it is complex at one level, though to their credit World Vision were as “hard” on other sins given that they explicitly stated (when they made the initial change) that non-married sex and adulterous sex by WV employees continues to be a fireable offence. That’s why it got such a big reaction. It was pretty much saying that same sex marriage is in a different class to those things – whereas two thousand years of Church tradition and the vast majority of exegetical work says otherwise. Part of my “What the?” is that they didn’t slacken those other rules first. That is the general trajectory when it comes to sexual issues in churches. My guess is that it is such a hot potato that they dealt with it up front – only to get their fingers burnt. Personally I have far more to say from the pulpit about those other sexual issues – and very little to say about same sex marriage. I don’t think the church is obsessed with it at all actually – I think the culture is – and only a very little slice of the culture at that. It’s not a burning question in the eastern suburbs of Perth I can tell you. Your view on same sex marriage is the first question ANY Christian is asked on Q and A, and depending on your answer, the responses will either be applause or vitriol. To be honest too, given what I have seen in the past few years with porn issues etc, churches and church groups have dropped the ball on these and, once again, seem to only be responding because the culture is. The Bible says all of those things – unrepentant – exclude you from the kingdom and I counsel people along those lines. But the sexual genie is out of the bottle and the church isn’t handling it at all well. The future for groups like WV is secular – that’s the only way they will survive the changes in anti-discrimination laws and public mood. And in some senses that is fine – although I suspect because Christians actually do give more and know how to be generous – despite what some of the hate blogs are saying – they will struggle for funds once that happens.
    Love your work!

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