Response to World Vision Reversal

World-Vision-logo-and-rig

To better understand this response, please review the following articles:

Christianity Today, “World Vision: Why We’re Hiring Gay Christians in Same-Sex Marriages” (published 24 March 2014), and

Christianity Today, “World Vision Reverses Decision to Hire Christians in Same-Sex Marriages” (published 26 March 2014)

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

10 thoughts on “Response to World Vision Reversal

  1. Candice,

    Thanks for so clearly articulating the feeling of being sucker-punched. I was talking with a friend last night and we were saying, it’s far worse than just turning back the clock to last week before the first announcement–it’s that there was, for a brief moment, an inkling of hope for something to be shifting, albeit cautiously, toward a more humane way of acknowledging the reality of Christian LGBTQ people within the church.
    Again, thanks for your words and may we all find a little kindness as we try to move through this new grief.

  2. I have completely lost all hope that evangelicalism/mainstream church can bring about any real change. They are 100% a complete joke to me now and I cannot take them seriously anymore.

  3. I think you’re wistfully thinking (not that I blame you) that world vision originally had every intention of an altruistic including of the LGBTQ community. But sadly, I think this had nothing to do with inclusion but was merely a defensive mechanism to prevent lawsuits by the LGBTQ community. I’m sure World Vision will indeed be sued, perhaps even rightfully. But it casts the one that sues in a negative light as they would be the one taking money out of World Vision that could go to the underprivileged. This is all strategic and political and no doubt lawyers told them they’d lose more money if they didn’t reverse it vs reversing and publicly exposing one who sues as the bad party. In the end, being in a catch 22 situation, they chose what they though would lose the least money.

  4. Hi Candice. Thank you for you post. May I add a fourth reaction to your list? I don’t know how many others, if any, would have had this reaction, but this was mine. In reading about the original decision by World Vision to allow same sex married persons to work for them, my heart (or my feelings for people) accepted the decision because I know we are talking about real people and real situations. But my mind was still unsettled due to where I am at in my understanding of what the Bible teaches about marriage. So I accepted the unresolved tension, at this stage still being unclear how the tension could/would ever be resolved. Having learnt about the reversal of the decision, I feel that the whole situation has very sadly further damaged relationships between those who stand in different places regarding same sex relationships. Hurt and misunderstanding has increased on both sides.

    You stated:-

    “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.”

    Having read your writings I feel you are very gracious in your approach, and do try to be open to those, perhaps like me, who are closed (in the sense that my understanding is at a very different place, not that I am unwilling to continue to reconsider, or that I am closed to people). However, though you have found this scenario so difficult, I would urge you to continue as you have done previously, as I’m convinced that if any progress is to be made it can only be done so by showing love and patience at all times, and particularly when it seems to have been not reciprocated or even rejected.

    As you said, this is not a simple debate, with simple answers, but my prayer for you is that you will not give up, will not stop serving God and loving people, and that Jesus will help you hold onto your hope even though it hurts.

    I want to say that I genuinely understand something of your feelings of sadness, hurt, anger and betrayal, though I could quite understand you responding by saying that there is no way I could do so.

    Bernard.

    • Thank you, Bernard, for so eloquently stating the place that so many of us reside – confused about the theology of homosexuality, but not confused at all about the appropriate Biblical response (=love). My heart aches over the reaction to World Vision’s initial statement, and the reversal, because it serves only to isolate more people who have been marginalized and demonized by religion in a way that does not reflect the Christ I follow.

  5. Beautifully stated. Thanks for your willingness to share and I praise God for your gift of eloquence in your response to the World Vision situation. I will continue to pray and trust Jesus with you as we hold onto hope even though it hurts.

  6. Hugs. I have no words. You and I have different interpretations of scripture, but I didn’t have a problem with World visions initial decision because I understood it for what it said. There are different interpretations of scripture and it is bot for them to decide who is right. I don’t know how to feel about this reversal, to be honest. It begs the question why people sponsor children. I could never turn my back on the three boys we sponsor because I disagree with a board member half a world away. The swiftness people pulled their support showed me they reacted emotionally but did they even have time to pray about that decision? I get that there are examples of rebuke and love both shown in scripture, so perhaps people wholeheartedly felt justified in their actions- it’s just hard to see actions made so swiftly, cutting words written so quickly being thoughtful, measured and spirit led. I just feel sad- sad for kids who lost their sponsors and sad for the GLBT community who really are treated not as individuals or people’s with feelings but as this “agenda” that is out to destroy. It just is sad and I am so sorry.

  7. Candice, your honesty is beautiful! I appreciate your perspective. It is painful to experience such blatant exclusion in the name of God. I have wrestled greatly about being invited to God’s table over various things. God has shown me through the story of The Canaanite woman who is culturally unacceptable to those at the table and yet she is seeking after Jesus (Matthew 15). Through her story God has revealed to me that I know I belong at God’s Table BECAUSE I only get the crumbs that fall…and continue to know without a doubt that I belong. This is just what He has shared with me. I pray that you are able to find comfort in Jesus and that He will show you that you belong to Him and He will meet your desires to serve in His Ministry!…You are loved, immeasurably loved!

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