Thoughts on Child Sponsorship, World Vision and Playing it Safe
We play it safe. We don't like confrontation, stress, danger. We are conditioned to 'just keep walking' or 'keep your eyes averted'. Sometimes however, we have to step into the fray. We must live love - not just talk about it from the safety of the pulpit or the anonymity of the blog.
I struggle with understanding. I look to those smarter than me to guide and teach and lead. I read, research, pray. I write. Most importantly - and least successfully - I listen. I continue to struggle.
I have experienced the awesome power of God in the simple gifts of seeds and fertilizer. I have seen lives changed, communities reborn and hearts turned toward grace by having access to a small loan to purchase a cow. What is more 'conservative' than empowering hard working families by providing them access to capital so they can change their lives for the better? And it is happening around the world, every day in remote parts of Africa, Central America, Asia and South America.
I have seen the change that sponsoring a child brings - not just in the child but in family and the community. It is without a doubt the best 'bill' that I pay every month. Sponsoring saves lives, changes hearts and allows us to live out the gospel message.
Whether it is funding a micro loan or sponsoring a child, we are part of the answer.
Take a stand - sponsor a child.
Will it play in Peoria?
On Monday World Vision announced that they would not discriminate in their hiring practices on the basis of sexuality. There is not unanimity on the subject of same sex couples, not just in society as a whole but in many churches as well. "People can say, 'Scripture is very clear on this issue,' and my answer is", Rich Stearns, CEO of World Vision says, "'Well ask all the theologians and denominations that disagree with that statement.' The church is divided on this issue." And World Vision is not the local church. Today World Vision reversed that decision.
I am sure there was much prayer and debate about the change in policy. As an organization, World Vision must be very concerned that donations will take a hit. How will this play in Peoria, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles or Nashville? I hope the same amount of prayer went into the reversal.
There are sponsored children that were being abandoned because of this policy change! Take a stand - for every child abandoned, let's make sure two others are sponsored. We send a message through our love and support, not by questioning how 'Christian' someone is.
What did Jesus command us to do? Love one another. Yes. But not just that. "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another". John 13:34-35 (NIV)
How did he love us? By taking on our sins, conquering death, rising and offering us eternal life. "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:26-28 (NIV)
Take a stand - sponsor a child.
Writing in the sand...
Aren't we all more like the woman 'caught in adultery' than we are Jesus? I mean, hey, we try to 'be' Jesus but we fail more than we succeed.
At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
John 8:2-11 (NIV)
My own personal beliefs on the subject are not consequential but I don't want to be disingenuous. I don't believe in same sex marriage. Heck, I don't even understand homosexuality. I never will be married to another man. I pray for my friends that are gay - at the same time and in the same way as I pray for my hetero friends and family - that they find true love in the arms of Jesus Christ. But guess what? I am not God. God is awesome, bigger than I can even imagine. Greater than anyone can fathom.
But Moses said, Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, I will give them meat to eat for a whole month! Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them? The Lord answered Moses, "Is the Lord's arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you."
Numbers 11:21-23 (NIV)
I'll end with a few quotes from some wonderful posts written on the subject - more eloquent than mine for certain and worthy of a full and thorough read (and a twitter/Facebook follow):
Better to treasure our beloved gospel with humble hands than mar it with arrogant hearts, because as often as we consider ourselves its gatekeepers, we are really only its unworthy recipients, usually blind to our own defects while remaining crystal clear on everyone else’s. Jen Hatmaker @jenhatmaker
It’s playing the gatekeeper with smug, self-righteous pride when it isGod who decides who comes to the table, God who makes the guest list,God who opens the doors the Kingdom.
Perhaps the greatest irony of all is that in rejecting the poor, the hungry, the marginalized, the outcast, and “the least of these,” these brothers and sisters have essentially “farewelled” Christ Himself. What a lonely world they have created! Rachel Held Evans @rachelheldevans
I'm just gonna throw this out there, but perhaps our Christian priorities are a little bit fucked up when we decide that a humanitarian-aid worker's private life is more important than the actual survival of humans they are aiding. I know, I know. There I go again, feeling my way through the Gospel. But it just feels wrong to let a child suffer while we stand on a soapbox. It doesn't feel like a very good expression of the Faith, Hope, and Love we claim to value as followers of Jesus. Our response to World Vision will tell bold truths about our Faith. Jamie Wright @JamieTheVWM
* All highlights in scripture passages were my own - the human hands that wrote the bible did not add bold/italics or even underline as far as I am aware. Nor did they color the words of Jesus in red (which I find most helpful).