Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Apparently You STILL Can’t Put New Wine in Old Wineskins

01 Apr

worldvisionWow.  So World Vision reversed the policy change on allowing its legally married gay employees to engage in sexual activity with their spouses. (Despite media coverage to the contrary, the policy was not really around hiring gay employees.  World Vision already hires gay employees, provided that they commit to the Employee Code of Conduct).

Well done, Evangelicals.  You won.  You withdrew enough financial support within 24 hours to bring the organization to its knees and open its eyes to the true message of Jesus.

Which is, apparently, that God is more interested in winning cultural/textual debates than alleviating poverty.

I keep hearing that this is acceptable because “World Vision is not the only way to help the poor.”  This is technically true, BUT…

It might be the only way to help that child.  You know, the one whose picture is taped to your refrigerator?  The one you committed to financially supporting, and who counts on your commitment for things like food, shoes, school supplies, and education?  Sure, you can maintain that you’re still fighting poverty by putting your money somewhere else, but you’ve sent a pretty clear message to that child:

“Enforcing my version of theology may not be more important than (the broad concept of) helping the poor, but it’s more important than YOU.”

I commend World Vision for backtracking on their decision.  I am saddened that they were forced to make that choice.  But I can’t fault them for bowing to the will of the evangelical base because as painful as it probably was for them, it shows where their priorities are.  They sacrificed their own policies (and in some cases, employees) to do what is best for the children that they serve, even though it’s not something they agree with.  They put the children first and stayed true to their mission.

The organization was correct in asserting that it had made “a mistake.”  But the mistake wasn’t when it backed off of policing the sexual activity of its employees.  The true mistake was assuming that its patrons shared the view that needy children are more than pawns in a cultural war.

“There is a tremendous amount of energy going into these [marriage or sexuality] issues from within the church, and certainly because of who we are at World Vision, we see that the issues of poverty and suffering and caring for the least of these around the world, these issues sometimes seem less important than these issues of policy and sexual morality in the United States.”

Rich Sterns, World Vision

See also: How Evangelicals Won a Culture War and Lost a Generation

 
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Posted in Culture Shock, Current Events, It's a Controversy!, Politics, Religion

 

Prayers for Xander

07 Aug

We learned that Koren’s best friend is in the hospital after a near-drowning incident.  He’s currently in a coma, but people in a coma have been known to hear what’s going on around them, so we asked Koren if he wanted to make some messages for Xander that could be played in his ear.

After praying, he decided it was time to tell Xander a story about Dinosaurs.  He tells me that he and Xander used to pretend to be dinosaurs on the playground – he would be the T-Rex and Xander would be the “Spiky Dinosaur.”

Is there anything else you want to tell Xander?

 
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Posted in Friends, Koren, Religion, Videos

 

Fear

21 Feb

I can only recall one time in my life in which I’ve experienced truly paralyzing, spine-tingling fear – the kind that breaches the emotional realm and becomes physical*.

In high school I dated a Mormon boy. He was a nice boy, very intelligent, and we got along very well because we had a similar sense of humor and I enjoyed his stories and intellectual discussion.

He was also very religiously devout. One day he brought me a copy of The Book of Mormon and asked that I read it. There’s a claim that those who read the book will know its truth because they will feel a burning in the chest. At least, I think that’s how it goes – it’s been several years.

Though rather underdeveloped in practice, I have always had a strong interest in learning about other religions, so I was interested to read the book. That night, I went to bed early so I could devote some time to it, and started at the beginning.

I got through a few chapters and suddenly became acutely aware of the perception that I was no longer alone in my room. I glanced up at the doorway. There was nobody there.

Then something brought my gaze to the papazan chair in the corner of my room. And there I saw them. There were two. Two, quite distinct and separate…

Beings. I don’t know how to describe them. I could see them. But couldn’t. It was like looking at two voids in space. Two … living … shadowy … voids. One sat in the chair, and the other seemed to perch on the side of it. They sat there and looked at me with eyes that I couldn’t see.

Fear. Bone-chilling terror like I have never experienced before or since shot straight through my body.

My arms and muscles became completely incapable of responding to any command from my brain. I was rendered physically unable to move, completely frozen, able to do nothing but stare at my supernatural visitors.

The beings didn’t move and didn’t show any physical signs of aggression. It was though they were simply there to observe me, to be present.

And yet they were ominous in a way I can only describe as evil. Not “evil” in the sense that our Commander in Chief defines terrorists, which is a weak descriptor of deed or thought.

Evil in substance, something that is menacing in its very existence, a physical incarnation of the unimaginable, like a black hole.

I sat there for what seemed like hours, though I know it was only minutes – bound captive in my frozen state.

Eventually, I let out a prayer. It was nothing more than a whisper for deliverance, a simple, shaky invocation of something my mother taught me.

And they left.

I sat there in solitude, staring at the utter emptiness of my room, questioning my own sanity. Would they return? Did I really see them? What did they want?

Eventually, I laid the book down, turned off the light and went to sleep.

I told the boy what had happened. He quickly consulted his elder and reported back to me the determination that because I was opening a book of Truth, demons had been sent to me to frighten me away from it and prevent its revelation to me.

I kept the book. That was the last time I read from it though.

*There is a train of thought that brought me to this, which I will deal with in a later (most likely private) post.