World Vision Canada position on hiring gays and lesbians

I had a terrific day today, time spent with treasured friends. Lots of laughter and fun.

And I came home to read that World Vision USA had reversed a brave and important decision made two days ago on why they had decided to hire gay Christians in same sex marriages. I’m still shaking.

Go read. I’ll wait.

I want to say while I am sick with sorrow for what happened south of the border in evangelicalism,  I am humbled at our Canadian values, and relieved this religious and tribal battle that would make pawns of the poor and vulnerable helped by World Vision will not spill over here.

World Vision Canada statement:

Friends, we’ve been getting lots of questions about World Vision US’s hiring policy and I wanted to let you know that this does not affect World Vision Canada’s policies or actions.

Canada’s legal environment is quite different from that of the United States. We comply with provincial laws on this matter which prohibit discrimination in employment. For example, as part of our hiring process, we do not ask questions about sexual orientation, marriage or related issues.  However, when we hire, we are very clear about our values and our Christian identity. We explain how our Christian identity motivates and informs our work and how we work together here in Canada.

While we have a code of conduct on ethical and legal issues, we don’t ask staff to sign a lifestyle code of conduct.

We want our staff to be united around our mission of following Christ in serving the poor. When we hire staff, our Christian faith is clear. And when they join World Vision they are aligning with us as a Christian organization.

This is what is most key for us: When it comes to working with the poor, World Vision serves children, families and communities, regardless of whether they are aligned with our values or not. Race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation do not prevent us from serving the poorest of the poor.

If you have further questions, please get in touch. This is an important issue and we’d value the opportunity to discuss this with you.

From World Vision Canada’s Hiring Practises:

  • We don’t ask about sexual orientation or people’s personal life during our interview process, and we need to follow provincial and federal laws on this issue.
  • However, we’re firmly committed to our Christian identity: following Jesus is why we do what we do. Jesus’ example and care for children and for those in poverty is what we follow in our program work here and around the world; and we seek staff whose lives and beliefs align with this key core value.
  • We believe that when we hire staff, our Christian faith is clear. And when they join WV they are aligning with us as a Christian organization.
  • Employees in Canada are asked to sign a code of conduct when they are hired, and then every year after that, around ethical and legal issues. We ask them to commit to conducting themselves in a manner that reflects honesty and integrity, and that maintains the effectiveness, values and mission of World Vision Canada, and that protects and respects the children we serve.
  • Our code of conduct includes expectations around behavior as it relates to Child Protection, Health & Safety, Conflict of Interest, Equality and Diversity, Recruitment & Selection of staff, Workplace Violence and Harrassment, and respectful and dignified treatment of all staff.

and this:

In Canada, employment and hiring practices are included in laws at the provincial level. It includes prohibitions on discrimination on human rights grounds, including sexual orientation. As a Christian faith-based organization, we want to make sure we balance our Christian identity with our legal obligations.

Canadians sponsor 500 thousand children through World Vision Canada.

I can’t speak to the World Vision Canada workplace climate, only gay and lesbian WV Canada employees can address that.

The most important post I have read around the reversal of World Vision USA’s hiring of married gays and lesbians comes from Wendy Gritter of New Direction.  Please take time to hear an important front line voice: World Vision – A Drama in 5 Acts

Is all lost?  No!  A step was made.

It was taken back.  But you can never take back the reality that the board of such a prominent organization took this risk.  Prayed and reflected a long time.  Believed it was the right decision to make.  And made it.

In these early hours of response to rescinding, I am mostly hearing sadness, disappointment, frustration – but priorities in the right place – not wanting to damage WV’s work with the poor.

…So, what can we do?

Send a letter to World Vision (USA)  thanking them for taking this risk.  Express sadness but also understanding.

Watch your social media comments – be consistently gentle and gracious (God will help you – I know it is hard to do when emotions are strong).

Tell your story.  Tell folks why this matters to you.  Tell people how the reactions and reversals have made you feel.

Persevere in hopefulness.  Prayer and dialogue brought WVUS to the point of this decision.  I believe the Spirit was at work.  The Spirit will not be thrown off course by the unfolding of this situation.

Update: One person does not an organization make. However, this World Vision executives belief and behavior casts a scar on the organization he works for.  How silly we Canadians are for believing World Vision Canada follows the law of the land and the law of love.
I Was Blocked From Hiring A Gay Person at World Vision Canada.

About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
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71 Responses to World Vision Canada position on hiring gays and lesbians

  1. fjc says:

    As a World Vision Canada supporter I am very pleased with their position.

    I am not interested in the personal lives of their employees or volunteers. I am only interested in getting the most benefit from my donations, and the donations of others, to the people who need them.

  2. Bene D says:

    Agreed fjc.

    Do you notice conservative Canadian Christians aren’t rushing into the comments section here to scream the sky is falling or that they are withdrawing their sponsorship?

    Mike Bell at internetmonk calls a spade a spade.

    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/ashamed

  3. fjc says:

    It is unclear to me why anyone would withdraw sponsorship. The work that they are doing today, and will to tomorrow, is the same as the work they were doing last week and last year.

    Withdrawing sponsorship may gives one’s ego a boost in terms of their self righteousness or their power to withdraw funds and force some sort of change.

    But this would be at the expense of those who need the help. To my way of thinking it would be a selfish and hateful thing to do to those less fortunate than ourselves.

    We should be very thankful that we in Canada have not gone the way of the US Republican Party or the Religious Right that controls this party. Look at the terrible results that this has visited on the American social and political scene. One only has to read your blog on WBC and Fred Phelps.

  4. Peter McKenzie says:

    There is a lot of energy surrounding this topic and the homosexual debate is not going away any time soon. I am not a fundementalist, but nor am I an emerging liberal. I would describe myself as a foundationalist, meaning that I subscribe to the Bible’s teaching that it is wrong for a man to lie with another man (and a woman with a woman). So, the way I see it is 2 fold: I think it is reprehensible for people to withdraw their funding from children because of WV’s stance. I also don’t think WV should have entered the foray in the first place. I support one child through WV and 2 others through Compassion. I chose those organizations because of their Biblical values – which I would hope encompass ethical views as well as ones of compassion. If I didn’t care about a charities take on same-sex marriage I could have gone with Unicef or some other secular organization. I won’t stop my support of WV but I may switch over to Compassion entirely when my child leaves the program. With regard to the Church’s stance on gays, I believe that we have done a terrible job of loving them. But if we start saying that homosexuality is not sinful (as least as much as gossip is) then we have entered into a realm where God is loved less. I know that what I say is not popular, but I want to continue to build my house on the rock.

  5. cricket says:

    The religious right – no different if they are Muslim, Christian or a cult. In this case the religious right is neither right nor Christian. Withdrawing their support only shows exposes the evil behind the fundamentalism.

  6. fjc says:

    Over the past several years we have switched just about all of our giving from faith based organizations to interfaith groups like Calgary Food Bank. We can read and understand the financials. We know exactly how much of our giving is going, in measurable terms, to those that need it. The only exception is our support of a child in Africa which we committed to years ago.

  7. BD says:

    South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and the UK World Visions have non-discriminatory hiring practices also. World Vision US is becoming an outlier.

    I don’t limit giving to faith groups fjc, I believe I need to support local initiatives, but neither do I ignore faith groups because they are faith groups. Like you I look for transparency, return for donor dollars etc. It’s tough, but doing your homework is not optional.

  8. pjrtor says:

    Wow! Sanity….Kudos to World Vision Canada.. Pragmatic, Compassionate and Realistic

  9. Torontonian says:

    There is a slightly disturbing article in the Huffington Post
    about World Vision and hiring. Here is the link:

  10. Bene D says:

    Hi Torontonian:

    I saw that, and it is more than slightly disturbing.
    While that executive may be an exception, he was successful in discriminating and making a mockery of World Vision and of the trust Canadians have; let alone denying someone employment.

    What he did was shameful.
    I am ashamed I stood up for WV Canada.
    There are plenty of agencies I can support which would not do that to someone.

    “Then I was called into the office of a senior staff member for a one-on-one meeting. I was so stunned by what I heard that I didn’t even know how to respond. He told me that he had made the final decision not to hire this candidate. He had come to the realization that if you’re gay, you can’t be Christian. And only Christians can work at World Vision, so we couldn’t hire her.”

  11. Bene D says:

    The CEO of World Vision USA spoke with bloggers about what happened.
    From Matthew Paul Turner: http://matthewpaulturner.com/2014/04/03/ten-thousand-kids-in-2-days/

    “Last Monday, the day of the announcement, World Vision’s call center received 7000 calls and a loss of 2000 child sponsorships. That’s just in 12 hours on Monday! The following day those numbers swelled. And then on Wednesday, within minutes of World Vision announcing that it was reversing its decision, the calls stopped and, according to Stearns, “the bleeding stopped.”
    Rumor is it stopped almost like magic. Almost as soon as the press release hit, the cancellations stopped, the angry phone calls stopped.
    It took several days to count the total loss of sponsorships, a number that eventually rose to “just about 10,000 children,” according to Stearns. A handful of people did call back, hoping to start up their sponsorships again. But the majority did not.”

  12. Peter McKenzie says:

    This is such a polarizing issue. I am a property manager and the owners of a house I manage had me evict a family with 4 young children. The reason was that there was a large of amount of marijuana found in the house during an inspection. Exercising their right to not have drugs in their home, they gave the tenants 10 weeks to vacate. The tenants played the victim card and used “putting kids on the street” as leverage in their fight to stay. In some ways the sponsors of the 2000+ kids are like the owners of the house, and I do think that they are being somewhat narrow-minded. But I understand that conservative people are tired of having the gay agenda pushed on them. I think it is a bit myopic to think that all those people are going to line up behind a liberal agenda to accept homosexuality as being “just fine” with God. In my line of work, I have gay owners and gay tenants. I do my very best to love them and treat them with dignity and respect. But at the same time, I thoroughly despise having the gay agenda being pushed down my throat. So, on that level, I can partially empathize with the people who pulled their sponsorship of children. I feel for the kids, but I also am sickened when the liberals use them as pawns to push their views and try to play the guilt card to promote their view.

  13. Bene Diction says:

    Peter:

    I appreciate the your graciousness, this is a polarizing issue.

    “I do my very best to love them and treat them with dignity and respect.”

    That happens when we invest in relationships. I do not see World Vision hiring gays as a liberal issue, nor have I been subjected to a ‘gay agenda.’
    I have been subjected to a ‘conservative’ agenda in the backlash this week. I have been guilted, I have been called names and been told I am outside the evangelical camp for being a straight ally.

    10 thousand people dropped sponsorships, World Vision US was deluged with angry calls which tricked to a stop when the decision was reversed. Very few called to renew their sponsorships.
    I agree the kids were used as pawns, and that again is not a liberal/conservative divide. It is a relationship divide.

    A conference call by World Vision USA to US bloggers, gives us a clearer picture of what happened. Did the employee who called Christianity get what her or she wanted?
    He or she kept World Vision fairly pure from the ‘gay agenda’ (if a gay or lesbian employee marries they will be fired). SSM is now a core issue, orientation a core value, and someone has to explain that to the communities of 10 thousand kids.

    http://matthewpaulturner.com/2014/04/03/ten-thousand-kids-in-2-days/
    http://theamericanjesus.net/?p=11977

  14. fjc says:

    The sponsorship cancellations only serve to remind me of how cruel and hateful many so called Christians are.

    IMHO, they are simply polishing their egos. They think that they are punishing World Vision.

    They are not. Rather, they are punishing very poor, very needy children.

    What real Christian would exercise his or her faith by punishing these innocent souls?

    I never truly realized how hateful and mean Christians could be to their fellow mankind. Do they not stop and think through the impact of their actions?

  15. Peter McKenzie says:

    fjc, I think it might be a bit of a broad-brush judgement to call such Christians mean and hateful. I am sure that many of them agonized over their decision. It is not quite as clear-cut an issue as you might surmise it to be. I am someone who considers homosexuality a sinful behaviour according to the Scriptures. A pastor I know led a gay man to Christ and that man is now married and his wife is expecting a child. No matter how hard the unbelieving world works to push a homosexual agenda, followers of Jesus are not going to accept it. That is the bottom line. As difficult as it is, I can understand someone withdrawing their sponsorship. I won’t do that with my child, but in years to come (when the child grows up and leaves the program) I will likely move my dollars to a more Biblically based organization. Here is a link to give you some additional perspective: http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/mwest/140410

    This is not as cut and dry as you might wish it to be. You will see in the blog that a lot of the “facts” (such as the 10,000 withdrawals) are unsubstantiated.

  16. fjc says:

    Does this mean that World Vision will only hire people without sin?

    No adulterers? No liars? No one employed there who lusts after their neighbours wife? No one who has intimate sexual relationships outside of marriage? No one who smokes, is obese, or any similar sins? Do people actually believe that there are gays currently working at World Vision who simply have not come out of the closet?

    Why do they pick this particular lifestyle?

    The Church needs to get out of the bedrooms of the nation. They need to stop sneaking around in back alleys, climbing up on boxes, and peering in at what people do in their bedrooms. Our Government came to this conclusion years ago.

  17. Peter McKenzie says:

    To stay on track with you and remain logically consistent with your questions, I would say that if someone announced that they are an adulterer or a robber or a liar – and were refusing any admonition to repent (and were even perhaps trumpeting their participation in their practice of these things), they would be denied employment by World Vision.

    Yet, I do agree with you that the Church should not judge those who are unbelievers. But World Vision is the Church (or at least claims to be) – and therefore is required to make judgements. 1 Corinthians 5

  18. Cobbled Stones says:

    I’m pretty sure this we could make a very good case for at least one member of the trinity having a vagina.

    Ask me to believe that a god gives a hoot what we do with our genitals! If he is the ruler of the universe, surely he’s too busy to micromanage our sex lives.

    I looked at a picture of NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, now exploring Saturn, which photographed our home planet from a distance of hundreds of millions of miles on July 19th, 2013 … I asked myself how a god could possibly be pre-occupied with two specks of dust on a microscopic and insignificant ball of dirt
    rubbing their private parts together. Give me a break.

  19. fjc says:

    Too many Christians are busy judging others. It has become a sport. Worse than that, some use it to manipulate others to the point where it could be considered bullying.

    Live and let live. Concern yourself with your own actions. There is no percentage in answering to any mortal being.

    There is far too much judging, hate, guilt, fear mongering, and faith based bullying/manipulation in Evangelical circles today.

  20. Cobbled Stones says:

    “A pastor I know led a gay man to Christ and that man is now married and his wife is expecting a child.”

    I’m sure this is possible, but please give details Peter.

  21. Peter McKenzie says:

    Cobbled Stone, I commented making the assumption that this is a blog frequented by Christians who accept the authority of the Bible as the inerrant word of God. If your world view is not in alignment with that, that is your prerogative. But if you do accept the Bible as having any kind of authority over your life, a cursory reading of Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6 will reveal that God is very much concerned about what we do with our genitals. Perhaps I am the fish out of water on this site. I have always thought that it was a place where believers congregate…

  22. BD says:

    Peter:

    Christians congregate here, so do people who do not believe., and people in various stages of belief.
    As for Christians – that tent is broad and wide, as is the evangelical tent. It has never made sense to me that just Christians should hang out here – everyone is welcome, whether they share my beliefs or not. The blog comment ‘rules’ are on the About page and all I ask is that people communicate with self respect and other respect.

    If someone needs to hang out where only Christians who believe in the same primary and secondary issues that they do, or share same political ideologies etc., then this blog might well be an uncomfortable place – each commenter can decide their own levels of comfort and discomfort.

    Example: I don’t call myself a believer in the inerrancy of scripture, if I have to be labelled, it would be within the infallibility camp. Would I debate or argue this difference with you online? Nope.

    I sincerely hope you don’t believe you are a fish out of water, I don’t see you or Cobbled Stone that way.

  23. Peter McKenzie says:

    Rick, perhaps I was a little hasty in my response to Cobbled Stone. I was caught off guard a little bit – and therefore when he said, “Ask me to believe that a god gives a hoot what we do with our genitals!”, I probably over-reacted. I am a big boy so I am not offended by such remarks – but one could contend that that comment may have crossed the line of respect that you are hoping to establish.

    Re the inerrancy/infallibility issue, I am likely in agreement with you there. Of course, there are typos in the copied manuscripts that our modern day Bibles rely on. But at the end of the day, you and I and others of like mind are going to always refer back to our common-denominator-reference of the knowledge we have that is derived from the belief that we hold that the Bible is the final authority when it comes to truth.

    Of course, I would be naive and foolish to expect that everyone holds the same view. But as someone who does believe that way, it is difficult to engage in a debate when the interlocutor resorts to a strategy of mocking the other’s world view. I am all good in respecting anyone’s else’s opinion – but it is not possible for me to argue my points dissociatated from a Christian world view.

    I was doing mission work in India many years ago and was engaged in conversation about God with a Hindu man. He suggested that we put aside our beliefs and argue from a blank slate as it were. I quickly realized that I couldn’t do that. Not that I was so rigidly religious that I wouldn’t do it – I just couldn’t see how it would be possible.
    We all argue from a platform of belief – whether it be atheism or Christianity or Islam etc. But no matter what our view, we can all act maturely and avoid the ad hominems that are so apt to fly on various Christian forums. Having said that, Cobbled Stone should not be surprised if he encounters Christian thought and rhetoric on a site that adheres to the statement of faith that you espouse.

    So I am all good with coming on here and expressing my opinions – especially now that I am more aware of the terrain.

    Have a blessed Easter!

  24. Peter McKenzie says:

    Cobbled Stone:

    So as to honour your request, “Please believe that God gives a hoot what we do with our genitals!” :)

  25. Cobbled Stones says:

    Peter:

    Having spent 25 of my 63 years engaged in Evangelical Christianity (Primarily Pentecostal) I find that some “religious” Christians are often very sensitive to any criticism of their faith. Welcome to the open forum!

    I look forward to being educated. Please proceed – brother.

  26. Peter McKenzie says:

    You are only 5 years older than me and I have 33 years invested in the evangelical thing. The education program would be too broad for me to delve into without hearing a bit of your story first. Ie. I kind of need to know from where you are coming…

    Oh, and I did complete a short term sentence in the Pentecostal church – but have more experience with the NAR.

  27. BD says:

    Interesting. What led to you leaving the NAR movement?

  28. Cobbled Stones says:

    “A pastor I know led a gay man to Christ and that man is now married and his wife is expecting a child.”

    Once again Peter: Please provide details of your story.

  29. Peter McKenzie says:

    BD: I experienced a kind of epiphany during the Lakeland revival. I had never really been drawn to Todd Bentley, but I had been to several conferences in Abbottsford and had even been on some prayer teams. In any case, the shenanigans at Lakeland really caused me to examine what I believed and I ended up rejecting the whole thing. It is full of false doctrine and new age stuff. I lost a lot of friends through the ordeal.

    Cobble Stone: there is not much more to tell. He didn’t provide a lot of detail. It is not the first time I have heard such a story though.

  30. Peter McKenzie says:

    The result of leaving the NAR was a return to more conservative Christianity. I did not grow up in the church, so some of the legalistic, religious behaviour I witnessed in the pentecostal church likely pushed me towards a crazier version of charismania. Once delivered from the NAR, I embraced a more normalized, doctrinally sound (conservative) brand. Its interesting how one can swing back and forth for awhile, but I am much happier just trying to live a low key life as a disciple. The prophetic madness that prevails in the NAR is much more geared toward narcissism and is a magnet for the needy – which would be fine if there was any kind of true healing offered. It is interesting which church setting one finds themselves in when they get saved. It almost seems like a bit of a crap shoot – except that I believe God will bring good out of it. The sad thing, though, is that many never find their way out of it. I now attend a Mennonite church.

  31. CobbledStones says:

    Peter:

    Do you not agree it might have been better to say:

    “A pastor I know led a gay man to Christ and that man is now married and his wife is expecting a child, but there is not much more to tell, because it was just a story and he didn’t provide a lot of detail. It is not the first time I have heard such a story though, so it’s likely true, because, after all, he IS a pastor, and tells wonderfully believable stories.”

  32. CobbledStone says:

    “Having said that, Cobbled Stone should not be surprised if he encounters Christian thought and rhetoric on a site that adheres to the statement of faith that you espouse.”

    Peter: I had thought you’d thoroughly educate me, and you did not disappoint. Being somewhat unfamiliar with Christian thought and rhetoric, please educate me on the perils and platitudes that I might either enjoin or avoid when it comes to your thoughts. You seem full of rhetoric and helpful statements of faith for all, and since you’re so full of it, please allow some of your wealth of Christian thought to spill my way.

  33. john payzant says:

    peter mackenzie

    good for leaving nar

    i’d been to todd bentley in 2002 to escape the split in the anglican church

    from there met ed & wendy rubuliak of worship invasion & faytene kryskow of extreme prophetic & the cry also went to the healing rooms above canadian bible society on kingsway & fraser

    they put me through the mill

  34. Peter McKenzie says:

    Cobbled Stone;

    “after all, he IS a pastor, and tells wonderfully believable stories”. I happen to know him and trust what he said. I won’t take the time to further educate you though. You seem to be quite educated and have made up your mind. It would be great to hear your story though – and shed insight as to how you got hurt at church. I think anyone who has been involved in church for any length of time has been hurt (I know I have). I have come out of it unscathed though (and the better for it) – while you seemed to have gone down a path of bitterness and cynicism. Not judging you there – just making an “educated” guess :). My question would be, though, is that working for you?

  35. Peter McKenzie says:

    John:

    I was part of a presbytery at a Todd Bentley conference around the same time where we prophesied over pastors and their wives who came to the conference. Faytene was my prayer partner at one of the events. It was interesting.

    Glad to hear you made your way out as well…

  36. CobbledStone says:

    Peter:

    You seem uncomfortable to remain on topic.Why is that? I have asked a few times for a simple collaboration of facts to back up your statement “A pastor I know led a gay man to Christ and that man is now married and his wife is expecting a child.”

    As proof you have offered only the following: “I happen to know him and trust what he said.”

    People knew and trusted Bernard Madoff while he “made off” with $50 Million.

    Please back up your story – or apologize for spreading bullshit.

  37. CobbledStone says:

    I suggest Peter that verbal (not to mention political) excesses of some Evangelical conservative spokespeople like you have been off-putting for younger Christians, who are leaving the church as never before as noted in the recent American Bible Society Study.

    I am certain you, as an well educated individual, read the report, but if not, you can find it here:

    https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/664-the-state-of-the-bible-6-trends-for-2014.

    Many younger Christians have personal friendships with gay men and lesbians and this causes younger believers to be hyper alert to real and perceived insults by believers towards homosexuals, and to inflated and second hand “stories” told by “trusted men of God.”

    My own nephew who is gay once told his mother “Why would anyone “choose” the gay lifestyle given the harassment and terror gays encounter?”

    Your antiquated and historic, 2,000 year old faith, dressed in rap & skinny jeans, then marketed as ‘cool’ to the young is thoroughly distasteful and far from modern. What you are packaging is a cheap knockoff of the world Christians claim they are called to evangelize.

    Tepid and irrelevant theology further weakens the orthodox spine of the church, and Christianity is daily seeing retreats into obscurity. You are dying off, Peter, as never before.

    Sorry to see you go!

    As David F. Wells has written, “the Church is going to have to become more authentic morally, for the greatness of the Gospel is now seen to have become quite trivial and inconsequential in its life. If the Gospel means so little to the Church, if it changes so little, why then should unbelievers believe it?” (Losing Our Virtue, p.180).

    Brings me to my point Peter – why should I accept at face value what you say in this blog? Stick to telling stories, Peter – your guesswork is terrible.

  38. fjc says:

    I married into an Evangelical family almost 40 years ago. My family background was multicultural. In our close family we had Presbyterians, Anglicans, Jews, Catholics and Greek Orthodox. We learned never to judge or question someone’s faith-only to respect it. And never to assume that we had the ‘corner’ on faith.

    Evangelical churches I attended at that time really put us off. Very judgemental.
    I found that their social circle was not only limited to Evangelicals, but they purposely avoided others. Indeed, prior to getting married, the Pastor took issue with us because we would not commit either to have children or to bring children up in his denomination. The logjam was immediately broken when I asked for his decision-if it was no we would simply go the Presbyterian church. If we had been smart enough we could have said this at the beginning in order to avoid such a silly discussion. We never did bring our children up in this environment. We felt it much too closed, too judgemental, and not representative of the ‘world’ that they would be venturing into. It was the right decision for us.

    One Baptist Pastor in Calgary stands out. His sermon touched on the evils of long hair and dancing. We wondered if that was truly the extend of his message to the flock. Looking back we laugh…it was quite funny. Amazing that someone of this ilk would actually be hired by a congregation.

    And I still very much feel this way after attending various Evangelical churches from time to time, in several cities, over the years. What surprises me so much is how they seem to try and split the atom so to speak in order to differentiate their particular church or ministry. IMHO, it is so self defeating.

  39. Peter McKenzie says:

    CS: Although you may not believe me, I did say above that ” With regard to the Church’s stance on gays, I believe that we have done a terrible job of loving them.” That should shed some light on how I feel about the whole gay situation. But you think I am a liar (“apologize for spreading bullshit”) so you may not believe me anyhow.

    Re your insistence that I provide details, when the fellow told me the story, I knew him well enough to perceive that what he was most likely saying was, “the man was gay, he got saved, repented of his sin (in the best way he knew how to do at the time) which included everything that he could think of. These sins likely included stealing, lying, pornography, gossiping, manipulation, bullying, basic selfishness – as well as homosexuality (breathe, CB -breathe). After hearing the gospel, he believed by faith and was immediately forgiven of his sin. Not wanting to continue in his old lifestyle, he determined to deny himself, take up his cross and follow Jesus (basic discipleship). As a result, he felt convicted of his gay lifestyle and made a conscious decision to abandon it. At that point, he found that God was beginning to heal him and he began to discover a newly formed attraction to the opposite sex. He met a woman and confessed his sins to her. She sensed that he was truly changed and discovered in herself that his old life did not matter to her. She loved how God had re-made him and believed he was not going to steal her stuff or tell stories about her all over town (along with a few other things). She married him, they had intercourse and she got pregnant.

    Now, CB, you can now have 2 options: you can either go off on a rant and get upset with me (as you have been apt to do) and dismiss this as being bullshit. Or you can wait until I get back to you after talking to the pastor – in order to find out how close I am to the actual details, and then verify the actual details. What will your response to be if I my “guess” is close to the truth? If you are an honest person, I think you would acknowledge that your continuous pressing me for the details of the story is a bit of a straw man. I have to admit it is has felt a bit weird to me that you are pursuing this tact.

    Incidentally, (and I am not saying this with a bear-poking motivation :) – OK, perhaps there is a little bit of that ), he did say that he has led 5 gay people to Christ. You will not likely believe that, but let’s say you do – does that say anything toward satisfying your desire to see the world evangelized properly? I do feel he has a heart for gays – but is not going to leave them without telling them about another option.

    It seems you want to move the goal posts and make homosexuality all good in God’s eyes. If anyone, like myself, holds to the Bible’s teaching on the matter, you will start forehead crunching all over the place – no matter how loudly I proclaim that homosexuality is one sin among many. Perhaps I should steal your car and then object by saying I was born that way and state that stealing really needs to be stricken from the 1 Corinthinians 6 list (like you want homosexuality to be).

    I am undaunted by the skidding numbers of those who are leaving church and ignoring the Bible. I think it just means that the Bible is correct when it says that many will end up leaving the faith as time winds down. I am in complete disagreement, though, when you throw out claims of irrelevant theology, weak morality and weakened orthodoxy. I have to say I am confused as to what your message is. On the one hand it seems that you are arguing for a lowered bar of morality and then you throw in some stuff you read somewhere. What is your world view/mindset? Do you have a theology.

    Lastly, I am not going anywhere. I am happy with who I am. I love God and I love His people. I don’t agree with a lot of what happens in the evangelical church but I am committed to being part of the solution and not the problem. I would hate to see you go the way of Voltaire.

  40. Peter McKenzie says:

    fjc

    I got saved into a Pentecostal church. For the first year of my time there, I thought the most important thing about being a Christian was that they didn’t drink alcohol. I wasn’t used to that kind of stuff (along with man-made rules such as no cards, dancing and going to movies). I met some people who cooked their Sunday dinner on Saturday night and did the dishes on Monday morning – all so that they wouldn’t be working on the Sabbath. So I hear you – church life can be extremely wearying.

    But a verse I came across in Judges 3:1-5 helped me gain some perspective on the whole mess. It says that God left the various nations in the land to teach the people to the people to obey. If our main thing is to be disciples – and therefore pay attention to our growth and maturity (James 1:2-4), we can look at religion as a nation to help us grow.

  41. Cobbled Stones says:

    Peter,

    “If anyone, like myself, holds to the Bible’s teaching on the matter, you will start forehead crunching all over the place – no matter how loudly I proclaim that homosexuality is one sin among many.”

    Peter: Have you considered seriously what you hold to be true?

    *Christians have caused a great deal of pain and suffering to gay persons, by:

    #Banning their participation in the church, thus depriving them of the comforts and spiritual fruits of the church.
    #Banning their participation in the sacrament of marriage, thus depriving them of the comforts and spiritual fruits of marriage.
    #Damaging the bonds between gays and their straight family members, thus weakening the comforts and spiritual fruits of family life for both gays and their families.
    #Using their position within society as spokespersons for God to proclaim that all homosexual relations are disdained by God, thus knowingly contributing to the cruel persecution of a minority population.

    You see Peter – this is the view which is becoming more commonly accepted. Fewer people disbelieve the science which contradicts your bronze age book.

    Don’t Christians evaluate the degree of sin, or even whether or not a real sin has occurred, by looking at both the harm caused by the sin, and the intent of the sin’s perpetrator.

    Yes they do – They do, that is, for all sins except homosexuality.

    There is no demonstrable harm arising from sex within a committed homosexual relationship, and there is significant demonstrable harm arising from the discrimination against and condemnation of gay persons, what possible biblical basis can there be for not recognizing the vast moral differences between sex acts done within the context of a loving committed relationship, and sex acts of any other sort?

    Even your bible defends this position: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” — Matthew 7:1-2

    “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” — Luke 6:41-42

    But .. as you well know Peter – you can defend any position by using scripture.

    If you wish to stand your ground on the teachings in the old testament, then Peter, you should follow the dictates of the Old Testament. If you did, polygamy would be legal, and things like tattoos, wearing mixed fabrics, eating pork, and seeding lawns with a variety of grasses would be punishable by death. If Christians followed the dictates of the Old Testament, then today if the parents of a new bride could not, upon her husband’s request, prove that she was a virgin, that bride would have to be stoned to death. Christians would also have to stone to death any Christian guilty of adultery. And the Christian day of worship would be Saturday, not Sunday.

    You claim “I am committed to being part of the solution and not the problem.”

    Why? – because you defend your position with second hand stories, cherry picked scriptures, and an unwillingness to acknowledge science and medicine in the face of stone age superstition.

  42. Peter McKenzie says:

    CB: You are obviously agitated. But if you reject the teachings of the Bible – as well as the notion that it holds any authority for our lives, then I think it surreptitious to talk about cherry picked scriptures. That’s like being angry with a god you don’t believe exists.

    What you are seeming to have difficulty differentiating between is the teaching of the ancient book – and the practice of others who claim to adhere to its teaching. As I have tried to communicate, is that I am going to remain with the former whilst trying to improve the latter in my own life. You don’t seem to like that idea.

    Its would be silly to talk about the antics of gangster who eat vegetables and stop eating vegetables in response thereof.

    But we have reached an impasse. If you refuse to accept the Bible and its teachings we really don’t have any common ground from which to debate. I would ask you, though, what you base your beliefs on – and what hope does that hold for mankind?

    CB: in reply to your question that is couched in wisdom, I would answer that I have considered seriously what I hold to be true. Have you considered seriously how your decision to let gays remain in sin will affect their eternal destiny? But wait – I forgot that you likely don’t believe in that stuff that the antiquated bronze age book teaches…

  43. Cobbled Stones says:

    Peter:

    “I forgot that you likely don’t believe in that stuff that the antiquated bronze age book teaches…”

    Well Peter, I’ve read most of your books. I’m familiar with the authors you know and love, but are Are you at all familiar with mine?

    I’ve read the bible from cover to cover many times, and I’ve taught, preached, counselled and researched it for decades. I continue to follow Christian blogs to keep current on the state of religion today and of the church itself. I’ve read countless Christian books over the years and continue to try and keep current with what’s happening in the evangelical community. I prefer to know first hand what I am talking about. I try NOT to tell stories to make points. I make every effort to provide evidence when asked. If a point is made in a Christian book, I try to read what has been said, and to be as informed as possible.

    Agitated? Peter .. please .. I’m enjoying reading your piffle. You have offered absolutely nothing to this discussion thus far except threats of stealing my car. How about throwing in some real meat such as written discussions from historians who actually witnessed Jesus perform his miracles? Or, please toss in a tidbit such as a discussion on Adam and Eve, or the Ark (always a delight). Lets hear some facts! Please go into detail about Jesus talking about how “Have you considered seriously how your decision to let gays remain in sin will affect their eternal destiny?” Where exactly did he say that Peter?

    How much do you know about our community, and of our growing numbers? Do you really understand why we hold to the position that there is insufficient evidence to warrant a belief in any god? Do you understand that Christians do not believe in thousands of gods – I agree – I have simply adopted the Christians atheism and taken it one step further? Why should I believe in YOUR god when there is no more evidence to support her existence than for the existence of unicorns?

    How well read are you about the atheist position, or about the historical evidence lacking in the bible?

    Have you read Dan Barker’s book “Godless”? He was a pastor for 19 years .. he has a few good points. Are you afraid holy ghost will strike you dead for picking up this book? Are you afraid to blaspheme the Holy Spirit? What other fears does your god expect you to have?

    Have you read “Can We Trust The New Testament?” by G.A. Wells?

    Have you considered reading “The Quest of The Historical Jesus” by Albert Schweitzer?

    Have you waded through the evidence Robert M. Price offers in his work “The Incredible Shrinking Son Of Man”?

    How about offering us a critique of Richard Dawkins work ” The God Delusion”?

    Perhaps you can offer some points against the statements made in “God is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens!

    Please tell me that at the very least, you are familiar with the works Dr. Randel Helps “Who Wrote The Gospels”

    If you have read several of them, I congratulate you! If not – how can you effective argue with someone when you have no basis of understanding their position?

    Am I to believe you are going to contact that pastor, and ask for details of your tall tale, or are you still trying to wiggle out of this discussion?

  44. fjc says:

    I am not a fan of fundamentalists in any faith. From my perspective they are a ‘little over the top’.

    I only have to look south to see the huge negative impact that the religious right has had on the Republican party and on US politics in general. Or look further at some other countries in the world where fundamentalists of various faith control the politics.

  45. fjc says:

    I recall seeing Mr Dobson on Larry King. He was asked point blank about his views on homosexuality. It took three times to get his answer.

    His first statement…my fellow evangelical Pastors, Fallwell, etc will not like what I am about to say. And they will disagree.

    His second statement: Thirty plus years of empirical research, in a faculty of which I was the head (UCLA) , has proven beyond a doubt that we can identify which children will be homosexual, or have homosexual tendencies, at ages as early as 4 and 5. We following these children through to their adult lives.

    He also commented that he did not have much faith in the ministries that suggested they could ‘cure’ homesexuality.

  46. Cobbled Stones says:

    flc …

    Thank you .. Your point is excellent and completely lost on Peter McKenzie who fails to see that his story about the pastor curing gays is utter bullshit.

  47. Peter McKenzie says:

    I am not really interested in pursuing a dialogue on atheism. Your mind is made up and nothing I can say will convince you otherwise. I will not be looking at your books as I have no interest in learning anything about something that holds out nothing in the way of hope for people. It is a useless religion – and one that requires one to have way more faith than I could ever muster up for it.

    I would like to hear about what caused you to walk away from a belief in God – one that you held on to for a long time. I don’t expect you to go there as you are more interested in heaping ridicule on those who don’t see things your way, than opening up about the hurt you received in the church.

  48. Peter McKenzie says:

    BTW I am sure that you will have by now conjured up a response that brands me as a coward for not wanting to have a show down with you over atheism. If you were an honest seeker who could be swayed by truth that would be an entirely different matter. The reality is, though, that you seem to have an axe to grind against Christians and nothing I could put forth will have any effect. I asked you before how your belief is working for you. The litmus test that might help you to answer that question is to take a look at your character. I don’t think it would be much of a stretch to say that you were a much nicer, friendlier, and kinder person during your years as a believer, than the person atheism has made you to be. Agreed?

  49. fjc says:

    Those kinds of ‘stories’ are what I call ‘feel good’ moments. They appeal to a certain audience and are very helpful in the solicitation of funds.

    I may be mistaken, but my understanding is that a large group whose mission was to ‘cure gay’s recently exited their mission with an apology for past comments and an admission that their mission was somewhat of a waste of time, money, and effort.

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