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There seems to be three reactions to the news that World Vision changed it’s position from allowing same sex married people to be employed with them, to once again denying it. The first is disgust over changing their standards, the second is outrage over reversing decision after threats of pulled funding from Evangelicals, and the third are those who don’t feel impacted and don’t feel much about it at all.
I know this is not a simple debate, with simple answers. But as a LGBTQ person, I can’t help but be triggered by the offering of, “Come to our table. Except… wait… the others at the table are pissed in the (name of God) that you’d be invited to join us. We, uh… we forgot the Bible says you can’t be with us because you’re not one of us, so… uh… we’re uninviting you.”
What the what!?
It is truly baffling to think there are people who would stop giving money to starving, homeless children because I, as a Christian woman married to another Christian woman, could potentially, some day, be offered a job at World Vision. How is my sexual orientation going to affect my love, service or ability to serve God by serving children – or yours? I don’t understand. Me being married and trying to help people offends you, and damns starving children to die… and somehow this is my fault?
Here’s the honest truth: If you follow my other writings, I try to be gracious and give the benefit of the doubt. I try to consider how difficult it must be to change and be open to those who are closed. But I haven’t been able to do that with this scenario.
Here’s the honest truth: I have never wanted to seem like a polarizing object or angry person. But I am so so deeply saddened and hurt by this.
You see, it goes back to my desire when I was a little girl to be a missionary, to serve God with my life. I transferred from a state university to a Bible College so that I could learn more about God, the Bible, and myself, in order to better serve God with my life. As if that wasn’t enough, so strong was my desire to serve God that I then went to seminary hoping to dive in deeper to those places. But then I could no longer deny who I was. To deny being a lesbian would be dishonest – an outright lie. And so I was caught between two truths. On the one hand, I deeply loved God, but knew that to be honest very much get in the way of my service to God and others. We cannot choose what we kill in our internal worlds and what stays alive. If you kill and silence your sexuality, you will kill and silence the other places in you that want to serve God and able to love people. And so I came out and I accepted myself as a gay Christian.
With that, there has been loss for me, but I know I am not alone. There are thousands of other gay Christians who has the same story as mine; my story is not unique. There are Christian universities I dream about working for – oh how I would love to mentor young college students who also have a heart for God! There are churches I’d love to worship at but know my wife, children and I would not be welcomed. And now World Vision, a place I had always thought would be such an honor to work at has become such a place. Yet another example of welcoming people who say they love God, unless… except for… but… because the Bible… because God… because we can’t support who you are.
Don’t you understand how much I love God? The people of God? How much I want to help and participate in what God is asking us to do to make a better world?
I have always known even though I have the education, personality, drive and heart for helping, I would not be welcomed because I am married to a woman and am myself a woman. When I saw World Vision has lifted the ban on gay people working there, it was like this huge thing in me that had died long ago – a hope to some day be able to serve God and people in an organization like theirs – came back alive. I would finally be welcomed at the table to serve! I felt energized, excited and welcomed. And then today, to read their carefully crafted and polished words, apologizing for even welcoming me, acknowledging me, acknowledging my desire to serve God, acknowledging other people like me and the hundreds of other Christians I have met over the years, to finally acknowledge us at the table and throw us away because of money felt more than I could bear. It was the epitome of a Judas Kiss – pull me close and embrace me, then betray me because of money.
They apologized to the good “Christians” who are straight and rich for ever opening a door to me and my family, and I am left dazed and confused to understand how is this Christlike? How is this prophetic? How is this right?
Perhaps you can feel my anger but what I want you to know that what I feel today is so much more then sadness and disappointment. It’s a betrayal of everything we, as Christians, say that we stand for.
Would I rather be chosen and welcomed by World Vision and have the cost be that children go hungry and are dropped from their program? Absolutely not. I would much rather hold the cost than the innocent suffer. But am I deeply disappointed and confused by those who claim to be Jesus followers? Yes. Deeply. Is it going to take work for me tonight as I lay in bed to not confuse their reject of me with God rejection of me? Yes, very much so. But I will not give up and I will not stop serving God and loving people.
Jesus help me hold onto hope even though it hurts.
For more information about Candice Czubernat, please visit her professional website at TheChristianCloset.com