World Vision

I do not usually have the best logic, but when I write, I occasionally have the witty gem.  Perhaps this shall be one such post.
Recently, World Vision, an organization that provides opportunities to sponsor children in Third World countries, made headlines when it permitted its US branch to hire those who both confessed Christ and were married homosexuals.  
This set off a firestorm of controversy, and a few days later, the same organization retracted this decision, calling it a mistake.  
Following the reversal, one respondent, popular blogger Rachel Held Evans, commented (

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.

I have to say, I do hold Ms. Evans in some measure of respect, on the recommendation of others, even though I have not read much of her work.  That said, as a confessing evangelical, I reply to the statement “disdain evangelicals have for our LGBT people”, with some concern that it is a generalization.
Personally, I do not hold any disdain for LGBT people, and I know several other evangelicals who do not.  
But they are out there.  There are evangelicals who do, by their actions, disdain the homosexual community. They hate getting their hands dirty.
What I do observe is that, sadly, a number of pro-homosexuality people seem bent on accusing those of us who “love the sinner, but not the sin” of homophobia, condemnation, and judgment, and responding to the Phelpses in our midst, demanding that we not judge.  I can say that, to a large extent, we may have earned that reputation.
We have to learn how to minister to the homosexual community, and be with them.  This scares some Christians.  I confess that, having never grown up around the LGBT community as a native of the Deep South, this does scare me.  But fear keeps us from having power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).  Fear also keeps us from making a difference (Jude 22).
A problem with liberals and conservatives is this problem, perhaps.  Maybe we have right practice and right belief.  Conservatives have more or less right belief, but shoddy practice, afraid to get their hands dirty, while liberals have more or less right practice but wrong belief, and so, in addition to getting their hands dirty, they get every part of their body dirty, including parts that were not supposed to get defiled.  Just a thought.  Perhaps there is a proper balance somewhere between.    Jesus melded both right practice and right belief.   And his is a faith with works, that is not dead.
I confess that I have too often walked with a right belief but wrong action.  As have many of my brothers and sisters in the evangelical community.
On another aspect of this issue, I agree with James Dobson that homosexuality could likely be rooted in some form of abuse, whether emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual.
One other very important thing, though, in working with the homosexual community.  Some of them do love Jesus, and are working through a tremendous boatload of pain and suffering and raping at the hands of some right-believing Christians who practiced a sort of “scorched earth” policy when dealing with sin.  That is, they may parrot the “right things” but they screw up the execution when it comes to walking faith out.
Your responsibility, Christian, is to WALK with that homosexual neighbor, love them, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and if he says speak, then speak ONLY what he says to speak. Too often we speak too bloody much, and then we act as if we are clear, now that we have preached the appropriate level of damnation to them.  But the L-rd does not let us off the hook with the lost or the hurting with a tract from Jack Chick. The L-rd does not give us an easy way out to dealing with those who need a light.  Lights burn for the long haul.  “Fire shall be left burning on the altar. It shall not go out.”
You must be in it for the long haul.  You must show them you are in it for the long haul. You must be in it for the long haul, and if they never change, your object ought always to be to love them.  You should seek Christ for a portion of that love that never fails.   You must never waver in your constancy with them.  If there is an abuse history, they may need someone to help unpack, work through, and seek healing from whatever abuse they have handled by their family, friends, and church.

Review of From Fear To Faith

I received a review copy of this work while still a minister in a large denomination.

Authors Watts and Milan have complied a solid group of testimonies belonging to some of the most wounded and recovering victims of church abuse.

These testimonies show us what can happen in various denonimations when the men and women of Christ’s church refuse to seek justice, to love mercy, and to walk in humility (Micah 6:8).

Watts’ own testimony, in particular, shows us what can happen in the worst segments of the Pentecostal movement. While there is some notable life in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, there are some very real ugly sides as well, and many of these sides I have seen.

We need to know that there are members of Christ’s own body who share solidarity with us from the process of spiritual abuse.

Granted, Watts is a liberal in many ways, and I am still very much a conservative in many ways,and we have some sharp disagreements about matters of faith, but his soul-bearing is extremely cathartic for those who feel alone and brutalized by the church at large, and even by legitimate Bible-believing, non-cult, denominations. Abuse can happen in even the most Christ believing traditions, as my own testimony shows.

For many of us, we have seen the church is sick and wish to speak the warnings that the Lord has for the church, in order that the church might be whole. Sadly, there are places where the church has rejected that message of correction.

Bottom line: Get this book.

I received a review copy, and was paid no money or compensation in return for this review.