Why I Stopped Giving To World Vision

Today I received  a phone call from a World Vision representative asking if I’d want to renew my sponsorship of the child I’ve sponsored since 2009. With sadness, I had to tell her that no, I would not be renewing my support.

The controversy surrounding World Vision’s decision to hire practicing homosexuals (as long as they were legally married), and their almost immediate retraction of that decision has mostly blown over by this point. But I still have a picture of a 9-year-old boy from Albania on my fridge, and I haven’t yet forgotten what the decision of the President and board have cost him.

World Vision’s initial decision had a lot of people wondering whether or not they should remove support from the organization. Was it right to sacrifice the “well-being” of children and families in need over the peripheral issue of homosexuality? I struggled with this question hour by hour for the days leading up to World Vision’s reversal, and removed my support just the night before their retraction.

After prayer, thought, and discussion, my husband and I did choose to remove support, and therefore left my sweet little boy without a sponsor. There were a few factors that went into the decision at the time.

1) World Vision’s sponsorships work on a pool system. My understanding is that the money I sent in for my sponsored child wasn’t just going to him. The money was going into a larger pool of money that provided for the entire group of sponsored children. The retraction of my funds wasn’t going to mean that they would kick him out of school, or that his family would starve. It just meant that his support funds were going to have to come from other places within World Vision. That was important to me.

2) John Piper has said, “Christians should care about suffering — especially eternal suffering.” That quote (or paraphrase) has been very helpful to me as I think about the sort of issues that seem to pit the social gospel against biblical morality. Care for physical suffering should not come with the cost of eternal suffering. It is not one way or the other. In this situation, World Vision’s decision made it very clear to me that my sponsored child’s eternal needs were not going to be met in a good and true way.

3)The compromise of homosexuality in the church is a big compromise, and signifies what I think is a bigger problem of bad hermeneutics, disrespect for the Word of God, and an immoderate care for the whims of the world. An organization with those sorts of problems, in my opinion, ought not be trusted with the hearts of children we care about. Though my heart and prayers are with that little boy in Albania, I am a better steward of his heart and my money if I give elsewhere.

And then the next day, World Vision changed their mind. So what then? They apologetically reversed their decision, so that means it’s okay to give them support as they minister to children again, right? Well, I thought about it. On one hand, yes. They were reprimanded and seemed to come to good conclusion. The woman I spoke to on the phone was extremely apologetic, and said several times that she hoped that I could forgive them. I didn’t know what to say to that. I don’t think that they need forgiveness from me. Can you even forgive an organization?

And there’s still the other hand. Yes, they reversed their decision, and fast! But how long did it take them to reach the first decision? I don’t think that they came to the decision to hire married gays overnight. My guess is that they wrestled with the issues, sought counsel, etc. and came to the conclusion that it was the right thing to do. But then — when they saw the negative response — they reversed their decision overnight. This makes me ask questions, like:

  • Who were they (the board) listening to, that told them this was a good idea? Obviously not someone to whom I would entrust souls that I care about.
  • What kind of people are on this board? Obviously people who are a) easily swayed by deceptive, persuasive arguments, or b) progressive “Christians” who really thing this would be a good idea. Again, not people to whom I would entrust souls that I care about.
  • What led to the quick reversal? Financial pain. Although framed in a theologically repentant tone, I can only assume that when they started to lose money and saw the impact their decision would have on their mission, they buckled and apologized to the people who could save them from bankruptcy.

All three of those thoughts lead me to believe one thing about World Vision. They are not to be trusted with the Word of God or with souls that I care about because of their complete lack of steadfastness. They did not stay true to a biblical worldview with their initial decision, and the immediate reversal leads me to believe that even their firmly-felt convictions will be sacrificed to their immediate needs. I don’t think they are trustworthy enough to disciple children, and not trustworthy enough to give money to, especially if I care that it goes primarily toward the relief of eternal suffering.

I pray that God will work truth and real repentance into the hearts of the president and board members of World Vision where it doesn’t already exist. But today, although the woman I spoke to was kind, gentle, apologetic, and probably had nothing to do with the initial decision, I let the my little 9-year-old go for good. May the Lord bless him and keep him. And may he forever treasure his creator, trusting him with all of his heart, soul, and mind.

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I Am a Feminist. Am I?

Actually, to be exact, I am a pro-life, complementarian feminist.

Webster defines feminism as:

“the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”

And to that I say, “Amen, brother!”

So why do I not actually go around telling people that I’m a feminist?

Well, that’s both easy and complicated. It’s easy: feminists are loud, mean, pro-choice, man-eaters. But are they? That’s what I think most people would say. And I’m not at all prepared to deal with that label. Don’t fence me in!

But people assume things that are not nice or true of me when they hear the label “Christian” too, right? So here’s the complication:

Why do I accept the label “Christian,” but not the label “feminist?”

That’s a good question, I’ll admit. And honestly, I’m still working out the answer. Here are a few of my thoughts. If you have thoughts, feel free to weigh in.

  • Christianity is who I am – the very core of my being is Christian. I belong heart, soul, and mind to Christ. I have Christ’s righteousness, I am God’s child, and I take his name. If there was another good way to say this, I would, but they all sound hipster and cheesy, so “Christian” is the way to go.
  • Feminism is something I believe. It’s a biblical belief – God created the sexes with equal dignity and honor, and they deserve to have the same basic rights (God just gave us different jobs). But it’s not quite at the core of who I am. It’s something I choose to put on.

Yes, but they’re still both labels. Calling yourself a Christian or not has nothing to do with your identity and salvation. Christians have done a lot of evil things in the name of Christ but you’re still willing to wear the label.

  • I think that the difference here is that yes, even Christians have done some awful things. But despite some people’s horrible feelings about Christians, most people recognize that there is diversity within the church. Calling yourself a Christian begs for further description.
  • There are a lot of nuances in feminism as well. The difference is that people don’t seem to be aware of them. The vocal feminists are often pro-choice, sexually inclusive, and, if they are in the church and all, egalitarian. And that’s what people expect of them. This isn’t necessarily safe to assume, but because that’s what most people think, I don’t feel comfortable donning that label.

Okay. So why do people have a narrower view of feminists than of Christians? Where does this come from?

I wonder if it comes from the church. I live in a bit of a Christian bubble, and I wonder if the outside world sees feminists the way Christians seem to. The church’s view of feminism seems to be fairly monolithic, which I would argue is untrue and unfair. Christians have denominational lines, and they’re helpful for distinguishing theological differences. But we (Christians) don’t seem to distinguish between different kinds of feminists, and I think that we might be missing out because of it.

The only place I would feel comfortable admitting to feminism is a place where I can define my terms (like here on this blog). In the church, my announcement would be looked at with skepticism and I wonder if anyone would even ask me what I meant before assuming that I was biblically out of line.

But I do think that women are just as valuable as men, and I do think that we have wonderful, God-given talents and abilities! And I think that the church, by viewing the feminist movement through such a narrow view has kept women from embracing the strengths of their womanhood. For example – I really don’t like women’s Bible studies. I’d rather study hard theology with a group of men than sit in a small group eating brownies and discussing how my husband reacts when I need a good cry. But I’ve always felt like a little bit of a failure as a woman because of this. I’m also more rational than emotional, and honestly don’t always get along with girls that well. I also hate small talk and talking about feelings takes some serious effort. So when people talk about how much women like to talk about feelings I feel out of place and not like a real woman.

This is wrong! Why aren’t we celebrating the differences among women? Why aren’t we proclaiming the excellencies of the Creator who made the fine and delicate women as well as the women who have blazing wit and a fiery disposition? Meek doesn’t mean low-volume or timid. It means patient, kind, and slow to judge. These women can change the world, and I don’t think God wishes, or that the Bible demands, that they sit quietly at home with their knitting instead of using their feisty qualities to serve him.

Women’s rights do matter, and it is not a bad thing to fight for them. And we need women who will fight for them.

Do you really think that pro-choice, man-hating, feminists will listen to a man telling them to submit to their husbands? We need godly women who are smart, strong, wise, bold, meek, and humble to engage this facet of the feminist spectrum.

So. I’m a feminist — but one who gladly submits to my husband (the God-made manager of our marriage and family institution), who claims my God-given authority over the care of our home, who celebrates womanhood in all its forms, and seeks for both sexes to be valued and honored as equal creations made in the image of God.

But don’t tell anybody, because I’m still not ready to admit it.