Talk around the water cooler this week might venture into World Vision’s decision to change its hiring policies. Or, more likely, the excitement for the 40-degree weather we have been waiting for.
Guess which one I’m going to talk about here?
If you’re not familiar with World Vision, let me quickly describe it for you. World Vision pairs donors up with children in poverty around the world. Monthly, donors send funds to “their” child for basic hygiene needs, medical attention, and education opportunities. And since World Vision is an evangelical organization, they make sure the child learns about Jesus, too. That’s the cool part.
On Monday, World Vision announced a hiring policy change. They have decided to welcome members of committed, same-sex marriages as employees. While World Vision itself may not be in favor of the current status of marriage in our country, they have decided to act independently of their theological views.
I’ve been interested in theology and have been studying it for a few years now, first as a Bible college student, but now as a lifelong student. (An aside: don’t ever stop reading!) And I’ve come to realize that theology is one of those foundational disciplines upon which everything else rests. Like the alphabet—try going through elementary school without first learning the alphabet. Your knowledge of the alphabet is foundational, and consequently, it permeates your entire life. You read the paper in the morning. You buy what you need at the grocery store (sugar, not salt). You check your email. You read the exit signs on the freeway. Without your knowledge of the alphabet, it would be hard to do what you do. Impossible? No, but hard.
That is what theology is for me. As I continue to read and learn about theology, I’m finding that it’s not any good if it doesn’t change your life. I mean, If you really believe what you believe, then it should make a difference in how you live, right? Right. Otherwise, what’s the point in believing it? Or even studying it?
My theological holdings definitely permeate my life. They impact how I talk, how I act, how I eat, how I sleep, how I write, how I study, and how I do business.
So, my question for World Vision is—what good is your theology if it doesn’t impact the way you do business? Can you really separate “operational” from the “theological?” Should you?
Okay, so you might be wondering what to do with this information. Here’s the rub—what if you sponsor a child through World Vision but you don’t agree with their policy change? What if you don’t want to support World Vision anymore because of this? Those are great thoughts, and definitely valid concerns. I don’t sponsor a child through World Vision (actually, I really like Compassion International), but I’ve thought the same things, and wondered what I would do if I did. Here’s what I’ve concluded.
Don’t stop sponsoring your World Vision child. If you’ve committed to a child and they’re depending on you to get the help they need, it is more important that you keep supporting them than pulling your support to make a statement against World Vision. Don’t do anything as a knee-jerk reaction without thinking about the implications.
Most child support organizations like World Vision pair you with a child and send you updates on what they’re up to, and you support them all the way through the program, until they “graduate” from the program. Then you’ll get a choice of whether to support another child. Support your current child until he or she finishes the program, and if you then want to leave World Vision, find another similar organization (like Compassion International) and pick up another child.
And whatever you do, make sure your theology runs your life.