Tag: World Vision
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The Folly of Xians Voting with Their Wallets #WorldVision #Fail

Most of us are aware of the furor caused when the religious non-profit World Vision decided to allow the hiring of married, same-sex couples in their organization. As most of you also know, they reversed their decision two days later.

What you may not know are effects their decision had on their ministry.

Elizabeth Esther spent time speaking with Rich Stearns – World Vision president – about the contraversy. She writes beautifully about it here.

The bottom line? 10,000 children's sponsorships were cancelled. Not only that, but his employees were subjected to the anger of thousands of callers. Some people went as far as to call World Vision “agents of Satan.”

Really? Agents of Satan?

After reading Esther's article, I got to thinking about the relationship and coorelation between American political ideology and intra-religious, Christian ideology. I think many of us would agree that either side of the political, ideological spectrum is mirrored pretty heavily in the spectrum within Christianity.

In the political realm, it is common to hear talk of “voting with your wallet.” This is a phrase used when a company does something or supports someone with which you disagree. You, then, decide that the way to send them a message they'll understand, is to hit them where it really hurts – their bottom line. That's when you agree to – and have others follow suit – not buy their products or support them in other financial ways.

This financial strategy is successful in some cases. There's a good chance you've heard about Rush Limbaugh's sponsors dropping him after his dust-up with Sandra Fluke.

However, the situation with World Vision is a wholly other thing. 10,000 children lost their sponsorships because many Christians decided that the best way to send a message was to “vote with their wallets” and punish the organizations bottom line – which really did nothing but punish impoverished children across the globe.

It raises an interesting question: should Christians “vote with their wallets” in order to protect their sincerely held beliefs, no matter who is hurt in the process?

I think it is folly. I think it is borderline sinful, but I'm more willing to say it is folly.

In this situation, who are the real “agents of Satan?”

This is Esther's take – with whic I happen to agree on why “voting with your wallets” is not always a good thing:

I am a Catholic Christian and regardless of whether I agree or disagree with World Vision’s initial policy change, I have made commitments to three very precious and very REAL children. It is my DUTY to fulfill those commitments and not JUST because I’ve seen firsthand the incredible work World Vision has done in impoverished communities. It is my duty because I am a CHRISTIAN.

It speaks to something particularly Wesleyan. John Wesley spoke of something we Methodists like to call “social holiness.” Among other things, it includes the idea we have commonly come to refer to as “social justice.” It's outreach to the poor. It's accountability to the community, rather than just self. It's understanding that the faithful, Christian life is about more than just how I get to heaven.

My prayer is that there were very few Methodists who were calling to tell World Vision that they are “agents of Satan.” Not just because name-calling is not life-affirming, but because your sponsorship effects more than just someone in an office in Washington state.

I welcome your thoughts and criticisms.

 

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