False teacher Rachel Held Evans on World Vision

As painful as the LGBTQX debate can be, there is one significant benefit: It shines a light on who the sheep and goats are in the church.  While we don’t have a perfect view of the invisible church (i.e., the body of those truly saved by Jesus), issues like this certainly make it more clear.  While people can be “saved and confused” on some topics, for “Christian” leaders to be this far off the mark is great evidence against them.

Rachel Held Evans has had a lot of squishy, creepy, anti-biblical teachings for years, but she really came out of the closet on this one.  In Who’s this child sponsorship about, anyway?, she initially harangued existing World Vision donors to stick with WV even though they had (temporarily) taken an anti-biblical view on marriage.  Their love of the world was clear to many donors, including me.  Evans insisted that it was all about the kids and that donors shouldn’t move their funds.  But she was celebratory about the change.

Then, two days later, she went into full “Oh, the humanity!” mode and noted how “betrayed” brand new pro-LGBTQX donors must feel.  Oddly, she never thought about how Bible-believing Christians might have felt betrayed by the initial change.

UPDATE:

My sources are confirming that, after pressure from evangelicals, World Vision has decided to reverse their decision on employing gay and lesbian people.

Yes, we pressured them.  I let them know that I would finish my current commitments and then shift my giving to organizations that didn’t mock the word of God.

I don’t know what to say. I really don’t.

For those of you who donated, thank you. That money will be put to good use, I assure you. But I am deeply, profoundly sorry that I inadvertently rallied these fundraising efforts in response to a decision that would ultimately be reversed.

Is Evans so naive to think that WV did that without LGBTQX pressure?  If they caved to them, why wouldn’t the cave again when faced with the loss of funds?

Though I sincerely hope everyone who sponsored a child or made a donation will continue to support World Vision, I can see how this effort would make you feel betrayed, as though it were launched under false pretense. And I’m so, so sorry for that. I’m as surprised by all this as you are, but I take full responsibility.

Full responsibility?  She’ll be giving them their money back?

Yes, betrayal is a good word to describe the initial change.

This whole situation has left me feeling frustrated, heartbroken, and lost. I don’t think I’ve ever been more angry at the Church, particularly the evangelical culture in which I was raised and with which I for so long identified. I confess I had not realized the true extent of the disdain evangelicals have for our LGBT people, nor had I expected World Vision to yield to that disdain by reversing its decision under pressure. Honestly, it feels like a betrayal from every side.

No, we are just still trusting the word of God.  And we love homosexuals too much to lie and tell them to stay in that lifestyle.  But Evans & Co. love the world and their popularity more than Jesus.

Something has to change. And I’m committed to being a part of that change. But not today.

Today, I don’t know what else to do but grieve with everyone else who feels like a religious refugee today. This sucks, and I’m so, so sorry.

I hope you take some comfort in the fact that perhaps, as a result of our petty warring, some kids were sponsored today.

So it was no big deal to change to the pro-gay view, but a huge deal to switch back two days later.  Got it.

We’ve sponsored WV children for 16 years. I will continue until they are out of the program but will move my donations elsewhere after that. The local organizations do great work (we’ve visited our Kenya child 5 times and have been really impressed with the field office) but the worldwide organization is obviously troubled.  I have plenty of other organizations I can give to.

World Vision has made a big mistake: By trying to please the LGBTQX lobby and not anticipating the reaction of Bible-believing Christians, they’ve alienated both sides. That’s to be expected when you try to please the world and take anti-biblical stances.

But the good news is that no one has to wonder if Rachel Held Evans and the like are to be trusted or not.  They have made it crystal-clear that they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Kenya 2011

This was my 5th trip to Kenya, my wife’s 2nd and my youngest daughter’s first. It was amazing to be able to share it with them, though it would have been 100% perfect if my oldest could have come (she had a dance commitment that worked out splendidly for her, and she is now a paid apprentice with a professional ballet company!). The whole trip was my daughters’ idea. We had talked about doing a Mediterranean cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary and my youngest’s high school graduation, but the mission trip won out.

We helped construct an AIDS Orphan home, which is one of our usual projects.  The recipient is a 15 yr. old boy who cares for his nearly-blind grandmother and lived in a mud/stick hut.  Now they have a 12′x20′ two room home that will keep them dry and safe.  His parents and three siblings had died.  The local church has helped counsel him and he’s doing much better than he was.  He seemed to have some good friends.  He even helped with the construction.  The grandma was so quiet all week, then at the dedication she started jumping and singing in thanksgiving (something about being lifted higher by Jesus).

Part of the group saw the Hope Companion project, a terrific endeavor where orphans are given practical business skills to support themselves, sort of a Junior Achievement Meets Jesus program.  It gives the kids hope and us as well, because it makes such a radical difference.  This isn’t about handouts for multiple generations, it is about making them self-sufficient.  The U.S. could learn a lot from this model.  Whether it was sewing, baking bread or planting seedlings for sale each of these youths were now able to support themselves and often others.  One boy had 7 younger siblings he could now care for instead of having to beg from others who already didn’t have enough — plus he took on care for another orphan.  That’s convicting!

We visited a bush clinic where vitamins, de-worming, antibiotics, etc. were dispensed to a few hundred people.  Getting out in the community is one of the best parts of the trip.

I shared my leadership training (“great results / high employee satisfaction”) to the hospital management team.  Given cultural and language barriers I set low expectations for how it would be received, but it really seemed to resonate with them.  It highlights the techniques I’ve used to run successful groups with best-in-class employee satisfaction scores and remarkably low turnover (I really need to blog on it someday).  I’ve presented it at a few conferences in the U.S. and shared it in a session with managers where I work, but wouldn’t have thought that it would work in Kenya.  But in talking to the hospital CEO last year and hearing about their staff turnover problems, I realized that this was just what they needed to hear.   Good, basic management skills are universal.  I enjoyed adding Bible verses to the presentation and focused on the theme that if God had such high expectations for how Christian masters should treat slaves in the Roman empire, how much more so should Christian supervisors treat their employees well?

Our associate pastor had to cancel at the last minute, so I ended up giving a couple messages in his place. One was at the morning devotional for the hospital employees. Their scripture for the day was from Ephesians 5, starting with “Wives, submit to your husbands.” Oh, good, an easy and non-controversial topic!  I embraced it as a chance to talk about how many U.S. churches hate that passage and rationalize that Paul didn’t write it under the inspiration of God, and because of that they miss out on a beautiful passage.  Also, in that culture the men love that verse but tend to stop reading after that.  I noted that they need to focus more on the part about “husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church.”

The other talk was a 20 min. sermon at the church in the Kawangware slum in Nairobi. That was a huge blessing. I figured the pastor would want something lighter, but he wanted me to include topics that they face like AIDS, domestic violence and poverty.  I preached on John 1:1-5, emphasizing Jesus’ deity, God’s sovereignty and how Jesus is the light to the world and uses us in his plan.  It seemed to go well.

Visiting Dennis, our World Vision sponsor child, is always a highlight for me. We’ve written him for over 13 years so he is like family to us. He is in college now and works very hard. He is an amazing young man with a passion for God.

We took 12 Proclaimer audio Bibles to distribute, and I was beyond thrilled at how well they were received.  I’ll blog separately on that.

In addition to the daily 15 min. services at the hospital, we got to worship there twice — in Maua and in the church in the Nairobi slum.  The services are a little longer (2 hours) but much more energetic than in the U.S.

The hospital in Kenya does amazing things to help the community, and they are extremely cost-effective.  They share the Gospel with all the patients.  They know how to reach the poorest of the poor.  They are hurting now with the food shortages.  If you want to help the hospital and community, click here.    Money goes a long way in Kenya!  For example, for only $10 / month you can feed, clothe and educate a child.

Miscellaneous things

Flight stuff: We flew on Emirates for the first time, with a 15+ hour flight to Dubai then a 5 hour flight to Nairobi. As we’d been told, the leg room was a little better than what we’re used to. Yea! But those long flights are still killers (“Let’s see, I’ve read, gone through all the pictures on my computer, napped, eaten a meal and a snack, and read some more, so we must be almost there . . . ack! 11 hours to go!”).

I took my laptop on this trip. It was a bit of a burden to carry all the stuff (it is a heavy one, plus the extra batteries and such) but I loved being able to write and edit pictures on the plane and when we had free time. That is always the hard part of returning. There are lots of things to catch up on after being gone 17 days, but my OCD nature (“It’s not just a disorder, it’s a lifestyle!” ™) makes me want to complete all the picture editing / uploading right away.  With Google’s Picasa software the various albums were all set to upload as soon as I logged in at home.

Ending the trip with a couple of days on a photo safari in the Masai Mara (where they film some of the Discovery Channel wildebeest crossing / crocodile videos) is a joy. Seeing God’s creation in such an un-touched way is just amazing.  No animals were harmed in the filming process.  OK, maybe one zebra.  Circle of life, baby!  Circle. Of. Life.

Why does our society destroy 90% of those with Down Syndrome?

Updated with a great video at the bottom, courtesy of Marie

See Life Training Institute Blog: Down Syndrome, Fear, and a Young Man’s Hat.

My friend and founder of Cobb Pregnancy Services Ogden Tabb told me how after his daughter Alison was born with DS and he and his wife became pregnant with their third child the doctor was recommending amniocentesis. When Ogden asked him why the doctor answered, “So you can decide whether you wish to abort the child or not if it has Down syndrome.” He looked across the room at his daughter Alison and said, “So if my next child is like that beautiful, healthy, loving little girl over there you are offering me the option of killing it?” That was all the inspiration he needed to start what has become one of the greatest pregnancy centers in the country.

I previously wrote about prenatal testing for Down Syndrome and one of our World Vision sponsor children who has it .  I’m glad she was conceived in Honduras and not the U.S., or she’d probably be long dead.sindy.jpg

This topic reminds me of a piece I did on Moral Schizophrenia:

I can’t help but think about the bizarre extremes our society goes to when it comes to the disabled. Consider all the positive and noble things done for the disabled:

  • Handicapped parking spaces, accessibility to buildings, etc.
  • Celebration of their accomplishments in events like the Special Olympics
  • Countless technological aids to help them use computers and work
  • Fund raisers and ministries to find cures and to provide care and encouragement

Yet what is society’s general attitude towards unborn humans who may be disabled when born? The current climate is that it is OK, and often preferable, to kill them before they are born. For example, abortion occurs roughly 90% of the time in pregnancies where Down Syndrome is diagnosed. Some babies are even aborted for correctable problems like club feet or cleft palates.

Jocylen Elder, former Surgeon General of the U.S. said abortion “has had an important and positive public-health effect” because it reduced “the number of children afflicted with severe defects.” She pointed out that “the number of Down Syndrome infants in Washington state in 1976 was 64 percent lower than it would have been without legal abortion.” She meant this as a victory of sorts, but what message does this send to the disabled and their families?

Of course we don’t wish medical problems on anyone. There is always an element of tragedy when they occur. Yet what about all the joy and life lessons they bring? And disabled people are less likely to commit suicide, so they aren’t necessarily less happy. We may rationalize that we are “helping” them, but who are we really trying to help?

Parting thoughts:

  • How long will it be until insurance companies pressure people to abortpotentially disabled humans?
  • If autism could be detected in utero as Down Syndrome is, how many fewer autistic people would be with us?
  • I know several people who were encouraged by their doctors to have abortions because problems were suspected. Yet the children in question are alive and healthy!

Roundup

What a coincidence!  The SEIU (Service Employees International Union, a major supporter and influencer of the President) is involved in all sorts of voter fraud activities.

Are you ready to be a leader? Some excellent questions. Samples below.  Go read ‘em all.

2. Do you retain control of yourself when things go wrong? The leader who loses self-control in testing circumstances forfeits respect and loses influence. He must be calm in crisis and resilient in adversity and disappointment.

3. Do you think independently? While using to the full the thought of others, the leader cannot afford to let others do his thinking or make his decisions for him.

4. Can you handle criticism objectively and remain unmoved under it? Do you turn it to good account? The humble man can derive benefit from petty and even malicious criticism.

5. Do you possess the ability to secure discipline without having to resort to a show of authority? True leadership is an internal quality of the spirit and requires no external show of force.

What Media Bias? CBS Reporters Joke About How Best to Smear Joe Miller – Amazing.  Note to journalists: Be sure you actually hang up before talking about how you are actively working against a Republican candidate.

Can you believe the Democrats are going to lose on Tuesday?  How can that happen when their kind, hopeful, non-divisive, inclusive leaders said all these things?

  • These people told their clients to say that you hate African-Americans.
  • These people told their clients to say that you hate Latinos.
  • These people told their clients to say that you hate gays.
  • These people told their clients to say that you hate women.
  • These people told their clients to say that you hate Jews.
  • These people told their clients to say that you hate Muslims.
  • These people told their clients to say that you hate the poor.
  • These people told their clients to say that you hate America.
  • These people told their clients to say that you were fascists.
  • These people told their clients to say that you were theocrats.
  • These people told their clients to say that you were stupid.
  • These people told their clients to say that you were uneducated.
  • These people told their clients to say that you were hatemongers.
  • These people told their clients to say that you were insane.
  • These people told their clients to say that you were violent extremists.
  • These people told their clients to call you unpatriotic.
  • These people told their clients to call you cowards.
  • These people told their clients to mock you at every opportunity.
  • These people told their clients to deliberately use a sexual slur when referring to you.
  • These people told their clients to trivialize and dismiss your concerns at every opportunity.

But Obama will come out the day after the election and talk about how we have to work together!

Kids’ book prizes to include gay and lesbian award – something about millstones comes to mind . . .

An award for gay and lesbian literature will be included in the American Library Association’s annual announcement of children’s prizes, a list which features the prestigious and influential Caldecott and Newbery medals.

Obama Gets Heckled, Then Lies About Republican Support for Global AIDS Funding – I have a video on my iPhone of a World Vision employee going on and on about how much he likes President Bush.

In fact, President Bush was credited for huge contributions to fighting AIDS in Africa going back to 2003. The Washington Post noted that he had tripled funding by 2006. The AP lauded Bush’s efforts in this regard. The Telegraph called him “an African hero.” The BBC suggested Bush may have been the continent’s best friend. Scientific studies showed the Bush initiated program had reduced the mortality rate by 10%, amounting to hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide.

Important hand sanitizer video (Hat tip: Kevin)

Give with discernment

Many people are eager to help with the disaster in Haiti, but it is important to know whether the group you are donating to is legitimate and effective.  I prayed that many people would give to help with the disaster relief and to get more tuned in to how much they can help around the world all year long and how much joy there is in giving.  Many times disasters like this draw funds that would have supported other worthy endeavors, so it is important that collectively people give more in total than they had planned.

Verum Serum had a good list to start with:

  • Red Cross – You can donate via the website or by calling 1-800-733-2767. They also have a cell phone donation scheme. If you text “Haiti” to 90999, $10 will be charged on your phone bill and given to the Red Cross.
  • The Salvation Army is already committing $50K and more than 20 tons of food aid to Haiti. They have a blog about their efforts here. They are accepting donations here.
  • World Vision is a Christian aid and relief group that is already shipping 18 tons of supplies to Haiti.
  • I stole borrowed this about another good charity, Compassion International, from Edgar at the Christian Alert.  It is a good example of how far money goes in foreign countries. 

    Compassion International

    Join Compassion International‘s Diaster Relief fund:

    • $35 helps provide a relief pack filled with enough food and water to sustain a family for one week.
    • $70 gift helps care for their needs for two weeks.
    • $105 helps provide relief packs filled with enough food and water to sustain two families for two weeks.
    • $210 gift helps care for two families’ needs.
    • $525 provides relief packs filled with enough food and water to sustain 10 families for two weeks.
    • $1,050 gift cares for 10 families’ needs.
    • $1,500 helps rebuild a home.
    • $2,100 supplies 20 families with the basics for three weeks.

    Pro-lifers don’t care about kids after they are born?

    baby1.jpgOne of the most common sound bites / jokes that pro-choicers make about pro-lifers is that we are infatuated with the fetus but don’t care about kids after they are born.   The message is that if we don’t adopt all unwanted children then we have no right to complain about abortion.  It is an important sound bite to be able to address, because it is very common and even pro-lifers I know are not only intimidated by it but they have used it themselves as a reason to remain silent about abortion.

    The “Pro-lifers don’t care about kids after they are born” line is one of my favorite arguments to rebut.  I teach people how to do it in pro-life training sessions in a two step approach.  The tone of the conversation is important.  These arguments are powerful and quite effective if they are laid out in a calm, reasoned approach.  You probably won’t convert the rabid pro-choicers, but most of the middle-grounders will get the point.

    First, show that pointing out a moral wrong does not obligate you to take responsibility for the situation.

    If your neighbor is beating his wife, you call the police.  The police don’t say, “Hey, buddy, unless you are willing to marry her yourself then we aren’t going to stop him from beating her.”  You can use child or animal abuse as examples as well.  Most people get the point pretty quickly.

    Or just use this response: “Can one oppose infanticide without having to raise the unwanted children to adulthood?”  That would be a a good segue to the “trot out the toddler” approach promoted by Stand to Reason and ask if it would be acceptable to object to murdering a toddler even if you aren’t willing to adopt her.  Of course, the pro-choicer will always recognize the moral good to protest toddler-killing.  Then you can point out that killing innocent human beings is immoral and that the unborn are human beings.  So pointing out this moral wrong does not obligate us to do anything further.

    Or ask the pro-choicer what they would do if the government decided to reduce the number of homeless people by killing them.  Could he protest that without having to house and feed them all himself?

    Or ask if you can protest Michael Vick without adopting all the pit bulls.  So many good choices!

    Second, explain that while we aren’t morally obligated to help after the babies are born to be able to speak out against abortion, Christians do many things with their time and money anyway – orphanages, Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), food pantries, etc.

    When I’m teaching CPC volunteers I remind them of all that they and the center do: Pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, food, clothes, diapers, life skill training, parenting training, post-abortion counseling and more – all for free!  And, of course, we share the Gospel with the clients if they are interested (Saving lives now and for eternity!).

    The workers are mostly volunteers and the leaders make below-market wages because they believe in the cause.  Most centers receive no government funding, so all the money comes from donations.  There are far more Crisis Pregnancy Centers than there are abortion clinics.

    When I tell people about CPCs the typical reaction is, “I had no idea.”  Most people aren’t aware of all the good being done there.  In theory, CPCs are something pro-choicers could support as well.  After all, if women choose to keep their child this is a great way to help them.  But Planned Parenthood et al consider them public enemy #1 because we take away some of their business.

    You can also ask pro-choicers what Planned Parenthood and the like do for hurting women once the babies are born.  It is a really, really short list.  Do they provide free post-abortion counseling? (Of course not, because who would need that, right?)  Do they give diapers, formula, etc.?  Hey, they don’t even give free abortions (though they would love for your tax dollars to fund some).

    Having said all that, I do think the church can and should be doing even more in the area of adoptions and support for orphans.  Not because having pro-life views requires that, but because it is the right thing to do regardless of whether abortion is legal or illegal.  Sponsoring a child from World Vision or a similar organization is a great way to start: For only $28 per month you can feed, clothe, educate and correspond with a needy child.

    Here’s a bonus argument: A recent Stand to Reason Podcast brought up another good point that I hadn’t thought of.  Here’s an additional response to use: Unless someone concedes to being truly pro-abortion (i.e., they expect women to always have abortions or raise the children with no help from the public), then the pro-choicers are obligated to adopt the children as well.  Either that, or give up espousing their pro-choice views.  After all, if you claim to be pro-choice and the women choose life, then the same care giving obligation falls on you.

    Think about it.  It may seem subtle at first, but it is a completely consistent argument.  Pro-lifers don’t think it should be an option to kill the unborn, so pro-choicers use the false logic that we can’t complain about abortion if we won’t adopt all the kids and raise them to adulthood.  But if the woman decides to choose life, then the pro-choicer would have the same moral obligation to raise the kids.

    Here’s how I played this out in this comment thread:

    Pro-legalized abortion commenter: Hard decisions belong between a pregnant woman and her caregivers, not “holier than thou” intruders, unless they personally are willing to raise, including medical care, education, and life care, all those fertilized eggs.

    My response: Another canard.

    Answer me this: Let’s say the government decides to solve the problem of homelessness by killing homeless people. Can you protest this without being willing to house them yourself?

    You can also substitute other examples (Can you call the police if your neighbor is abusing his wife and children without having to marry her and adopt the kids?).

    It is a simple question designed to point out the primary error of your argument: You don’t have to take ownership of a situation just because you protest a moral evil.

    And even though I don’t have to raise those human beings (the ones you like to call fertilized eggs) just because I protest the evil of abortion, I actually do a lot with my own time and money via CareNet Pregnancy Center.

    And by the way, unless you are truly pro-abortion, then you are obligated to help as well. After all, if you claim to be pro-choice and the women choose life, then the same caregiving obligation falls on you.

    So that argument self-destructs in at least three ways.

    Finally, consider if the child was outside the womb. Do the women and her caregivers get to decide if the toddler lives or dies? Of course not. So the only question is whether the unborn is a human being. Since it is a scientific fact that she is, then people shouldn’t get to decide whether to kill her. And Christians especially shouldn’t support anyone’s right to kill her.

    Other commenter: BTW, half of fertilized eggs don’t implant in the uterus, so is it illegal for a woman to have mensus?

    My response: Are you seriously claiming that you don’t see the difference between the following?

    1. Human being dies of natural causes.

    2. Human being is crushed and dismembered by another human being.

    I think most people can see the difference, whether 1 and 2 occur inside or outside the womb.

    I’ve heard all the pro-legalized abortion sound bites many times and will be glad to debunk more for you. I hope that you are intellectually honest and reconsider your position on this crucial issue.

    In summary, pointing out the moral evil of abortion does not obligate one to adopt all the babies.  But pro-lifers do help anyway.  A lot.  And they do it with their own time and money, not their neighbors’.

    When pro-legalized abortion people try to put you on the defensive by asking how many kids you have adopted, use the reasons above to respond.  Also, you can ask how many they adopt from orphages.   If they haven’t adopted any, then according to their logic they couldn’t protest their destruction.

    Big hat tip: Stand to Reason pro-life training materials

    World Vision Sponsor Children

    World Vision is one of our favorite charities. They are financially transparent and efficient and they help meet the physical and spiritual needs of hundreds of thousands of children and families.  Here are some pictures of our three sponsor children – Dennis (Kenya), Oljana (Albania) and Sindy (Honduras).  We’ve been writing Dennis for nine years and the girls for over five years.  They have brought us tremendous joy as we’ve corresponded with them and their families. 


    | View Show | Create Your Own

    Today is the last day of my mission trip in Kenya and I am scheduled to meet with Dennis and his family.  We got together during my last two trips and it was the highlight for me each time.  Please pray that everything will go smoothly.  I’ll fill you all in on the whole trip after I get back.

    Dennis is an incredible young man.  His father was murdered by thugs and his mom left him.  His Great-Aunt is a sweet woman who takes care of him.  He works very hard in school and writes us letters himself.  He leads a prayer group at his school where they pray for people around the world.  He is very humble.   

    When I arrived for my 2nd visit his Great-Aunt ran around the World Vision truck and gave me a big bear hug.  She has a fabulous smile, though whenever the cameras come out she looks stern.  I’m not sure if it cultural or just not being familiar with cameras.  Either way, I’m determined to get a picture of them smiling on this trip.

    I wrote about Sindy here.  She has Down Syndrome so her mother has to write for her.  Oljana has a beautiful, compassionate spirit and often sends us lovely pictures she has made.

    If you haven’t considered having a sponsor child, please give it some though.  World Vision is terrific and so is Compassion International.  For only $28 per month you can see to it that they are clothed, fed, able to go to school and spiritually nourished with a Christian worldview. 

    If you have kids it is a great way for them to learn about the world and how other kids aren’t quite so fortunate.  My daughters always write letters and draw pictures and such when we correspond with the sponsor children.  We’re hoping to meet Sindy in Honduras someday.  I haven’t heard of many mission trips to Albania but I suppose that is a possibility as well.