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World Vision, Gay Marriage, and the Death Throes of the Christian Religion

World Vision, Gay Marriage, and the Death Throes of the Christian Religion

Note: This blog would have been posted much sooner than it was – unfortunately a series of unfortunate events have occurred around myself and some of my friends, including the sudden death of a dear friend. While it may be a week late for this to seem topical, I believe it very much is and the repercussions of the World Vision whiplash from two weeks ago will be an impact felt throughout the rest of Christian history. (and before you say it, I know, the accusations made here don’t apply to all Christians, so you needn’t comment letting me know that)

Just as I was about to begin writing about World Vision Ministries’, one of the few Christian ministries I quite like and appreciate in that they feed and clothe thousands of people around the world, decision to start employing married homosexuals, or rather – to reverse their decision which strictly disallowed the practice – a new article stating that the decision had already been reversed has come out - less than 24 hours after the original announcement. This decision, the subsequent commentary from many Christians after, and the near immediate reversal does, in my opinion – signify one of the many death throes of the Christian religion – and I’ll tell you why.

Forgive me for a moment while I put on my Christian hat for a little bit of old fashioned simple exegesis (Yes, I am still allowed to do that).

The Apostle James – the brother of Jesus and leader at the church in Jerusalem wrote an epistle to the Christians scattered throughout the various churches in Israel. It’s important to note that James was probably the one individual most intimately familiar with Jesus – he had grown up with him and was familiar with his eccentricities and knew what was important to the now dead resurrected and gone Messiah.  In that letter, the First Epistle of James, he closes with the following two lines:

 

1 James 26-27 (Emphasis Mine)

26If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

There’s an awful lot of important stuff in just these two little verses about expected conduct for a Christian and what is and isn’t acceptable in the eyes of his God.

First, he deals with those that seem religious, meaning that they have an outward appearance of religiosity – but because of the way they wag their tongues (read: speak toward others, as in – with unkindness, lasciviousness, and guile) have deceived themselves into the belief that they are righteous. I’m sure that sounds familiar to many, I’m sure you can name 10 people befitting this description just off the cuff. I can.

After, James addresses the definition of pure religion – we can almost interpret the word Pure here to mean holy, clean, or acceptable (to God)  – as visiting, the word episkeptomai is used here which can be translated as ‘to look after, check on, or care for’ – those that have no fathers or that are widowed – adding only keeping himself clean from the wiles of carnality and worldliness, making no mention whatsoever of his approach toward others either inside or outside the faith.

I think there’s something significant about the idea that James, brother of Jesus found it more necessary to admonish the members of The Church to keep themselves spotless – rather than encourage them to go out to their community or the world at large in an attempt to clean up the world. James is telling you to be concerned with your sin. He’s not telling you to debate about what is and isn’t sin, to point out the sin of others, or even to reject the sinful from amongst the congregation.

James was on to something here too. You see, James knew that keeping oneself spotless from the world was such an endeavor – such a feat – that doing so would require an enormity of focus on doing precisely that and that in that focus no believer would have time to find himself concerned with the sin of other people.  James was telling Christians to look inside rather than outside.

World Vision, for a very brief moment in time was saying, “We don’t have time to worry about the ‘sins’ of our brethren, we have a commission to fulfill” – but the outcry from that very simple and very Biblical sentiment was brutal.

World Vision thought better of it’s donors and supporters then quickly learned how far they had truly strayed from the path that James talks about - but over 2000 pulled their support from children sponsored through the charity. Lesson learned.

Christianity isn’t willing to feed people, clothe people, and simply love people if they have to do it while serving next to someone who is openly in a committed marital relationship with a person of the same sex.If this isn’t the case, it’s damn sure the statement being made.

Apparently there are some sinners you simply can’t associate with.

*Christian hat off*

As an outside observer I can’t help but wonder what this whiplash set of announcements is going to mean for World Vision and Christianity at large. World Vision is one of the largest Christian ministries in the world, so it’s largely representative of what Christians want their faith and their actions to reflect – it’s a bit of a litmus test for what direction the faith is going and – well, it ain’t lookin good if you ask me.

Gen X and Gen Y are full of young folks that are desperate for a faith with both an internal spirituality that was fulfilling and an external manifestation of what they envision as God’s love. The actions of many denominational bodies over the last couple of decades have certainly been trying to nail that coffin shut – but I almost feel like this might be the one that douses those final hopes for those that would make Christianity something that every humanist would love to stand next to and work hand in hand with toward some greater goal. If Gens X and Y can simply Do Good, finding within that the satisfaction they are seeking in spirituality they’ll grow out of a need for Christianity and a “relationship with Christ”  – because good deeds aren’t going to be tied to the faith or to World Vision any longer.  Stiff-neck religion is.

To repeat a sentiment I’ve shared here and elsewhere in the past:

Christianity won’t die because of atheists and homosexuals infiltrating and corrupting it’s core tenets. It won’t die because science finds all of the answers to the questions in which god currently fills in the gaps, or because kids aren’t praying in schools. Christianity, when it is gone, will have died at the hands of it’s adherents who refuse to emulate the name they proclaim so loudly – choking out the very thing that makes it a religion worth existing: Charity.

 

 

When Christian Ethics aren’t Christian Ethics

Note:  For the purposes of this discussion it should be understood that when I’m referring to that which is properly “Christian Ethics,” I’m referring to the idea that that which is Christian is also Biblical. So for the purposes of this post and any discussion about it, think of Christian Ethics as Biblical Ethics and, more specifically, the ethics demonstrated in the New Testament and by the early Christian Church as described in the New Testament.

Recently I’ve discovered a new and masochistic pastime of listening to a Christian talk-radio station called American Family Radio on my long trek home from work at night. I discovered this program on the night of the election, looking to confirm the news when NPR called the election for Pres. Obama, and heard a number of exclamations about the apparent lack of ethics and morality in our once Christian nation. Christian ethics, the lack thereof,  or the symptomatic persecution of Christians seems to be the rotational topic of this station, or at least the programs that are on while I’m in the car.

These programs have featured a number of guests  who all lay claim to the idea that Americans are moving away from their heritage of Biblical Christianity being intimately entangled in every facet of life, most especially government and politics. They claim that Biblically grounded Christian Ethics ought to be the guide for the way Christians vote and, as a result, should be the foundation of the laws of our nation.

Stopping abortion, refusing homosexual equality, guarding capitalism, and  protecting both monuments and prayer to their god in the public square are examples of these supposed Christian ethics I’ve heard lauded on this program and in my daily conversations with believers. But are they truly?  Are they even Biblical principles ?

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Why Republicans Should be Pleased with the DOMA Ruling

Just a couple days ago, on July 8th 2010 a Federal Judge ruled that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. If you aren’t familiar with DOMA and Section 3 you should know that it established an official definition for the word ‘marriage’ as the legal union only between one man and one woman, furthermore it required the word `spouse’ refer only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

Judge Tauro came to his ruling for various reasons; the atmosphere at the time of  DOMA’s passage in the senate was one where epithets and religious jargon were openly used in the chamber to describe the homosexual act leading him to believe that DOMA was intended to punish a group of people that were politically unpopular,  nor did the law do anything to protect the family as was it’s stated cause, most importantly for the purposes of the points I intend to make is that Section 3 in particular is a violation of States Rights as guaranteed by the Constitution in the Tenth Amendment.

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Gay Marriage: A Cause for All!

GayMarriageflagThe Iowa Supreme Court recently struck down a ban on same sex or gay marriage. I personally could not be happier for the homosexual constituents of Iowa and am glad to see that many are now getting married to their loved ones. Some, however, cannot leave well enough alone… There were already people lined up ready to protest this decision just hours after it was made. Some Christians are currently in outrage, and I really want to know why…What will it harm the “family” to expand it’s definition to same sex couples? Will it in any way affect the way you guide and lead your own family?

I may have been really liberal as a Christian (I wasn’t on any other issue), but this is one of those issues I just couldn’t

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