World Vision, the Seattle based Christian relief agency that does incredibly good work on behalf of the poorest of the poor has been in the news as of late for nothing even remotely close to child sponsorship.
If you have been living under a rock here’s a quick update.
President of World Vision, Richard Stearns, announced earlier this week that a policy concerning hiring would be changing. Same sex couples in a legal marriage would not be barred from employment. Stearns cited Christian unity. World Vision employees come from various denominations, including some that sanction same sex marriages. In addition employees reside in states that legally recognize same sex marriages.
As you can imagine the outcry was swift and loud. Two days after the initial announcement it was reversed.
This is the new reality.
If you are a younger Rookie Pastor, statistically you are more open to same sex marriage than older generations. However if you find yourself here there is a good chance you are interacting with and leading people whose interpretation of Scripture leads to a passionate resistance to same sex marriage.
So what do you do?
The sad thing is that no matter how we deal with this issue someone will be upset. And ignoring it may be the worst thing you can do.
Condemn. Condone. Accept.
Those are the three options I see.
Condemn. Same sex marriage is wrong and must be fought with everything we have. Redefining marriage is an assault on marriage and the family, the central institution. Any deviations from teaching homosexuality is a sin is a compromise on the authority of Scripture.
Condone. The 6 passages of Scripture said to address homosexuality are not speaking to the modern form, and definitely not committed, monogamous marriages between two consenting adults. If God is love he couldn’t deny people who they choose to love.
Accept. The cultural war is over. The local church needs to stay out of politics and become more concerned with how we treat people than developing a theological line in the sand.
I tend to lean towards a variant of the third option, even though I think you disappoint the most people here. As the new reality we can still choose not to participate or celebrate the activities or sexual identities that we believe to be outside of God’s intent, but we are called to love people.
It is a mess and it will only get worse. Figure out your posture on this and lead with grace. We all need it.