Monday, April 21, 2014

Good Works and Confusing Packaging (About Church)

A few weeks ago, much of the evangelical world watched as World Vision, an organization that describes itself as a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice,” released a statement saying it had changed its hiring policy to be inclusive of Christians in same-sex marriage. What happened next was that many evangelicals canceled their sponsorships of WV children in protest of the new hiring policy.

I was hardly an expert on World Vision. The day before this debacle, I couldn’t have told you what WV’s hiring policies were, but I was so dismayed at the idea of so many children waking up one morning to the news that they no longer had access to their school, food, education and health care, that I put my stake in the ground (on Facebook, no less), announcing that I would be sponsoring a child through World Vision to make up the losses. 

Wouldn’t you know it, by the end of the week, World Vision had reversed it’s hiring policy change, declaring that they “stand firmly on the biblical view of marriage, [yet] strongly affirm that all people, regardless of sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect”?

I was baffled, and did not feel that they had accomplished their mission of “bear[ing] witness to the good news of the kingdom of God” that week.  If anything, I had little confidence in this board, which I felt lacked the courage of its convictions (wherever those stood). Also, what a way to alienate a group of people that the Church so desperately needs to love well and love better. Oh, hey, we’re going to include you. Oh, on second thought, we changed our minds.

I had just promised to support a WV child. But, now that sponsorships were being reinstated again by those who initially cancelled them; the critical need was not so critical. So, I decided to keep my eyes out for another organization doing similar work.

And it just so happened that Sarah Bessey (author of Jesus Feminist, a book I highly recommend) was traveling in Haiti last week for the sole purpose of documenting the work of Help One Now in remote places where children fall prey to trafficking and malnourishment. Help One Now is focused not only on orphans, but on vulnerable children whose families of origin remain somewhat in tact. They also work through the initiatives of local, native leaders who understand the needs and social dynamics of he culture.  

I chose to sponsor Clervoir, a 17 year old boy, and my hope is that he will be able to fulfill his dream of becoming a teacher by advancing his (fifth-grade level) education.

One thing Help One Now asks is for its sponsors to spread the word about what they're doing around the world. So here I am, spreading the word. If you're looking for a cause or just looking to sponsor a kiddo, this is as good a place as any to start.

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