Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Who is my neighbour?

World Vision USA has changed its employee conduct manual. Now it no requires its married employees to be heterosexual.

(Did you hear the sound of a thousand evangelical pastors' jaws dropping open? Perhaps the sound of a thousand coffee cups hitting the floor?)

I imagine that some churches will applaud this. And some will waggle their fingers at it. Some churches will loudly denounce the organisation. Some will do it quietly, perhaps promoting another child-sponsorship group instead.

What will be most telling, however, is what makes the most noise. Will the noise be about so-called declining morals? Or will the noise be about how the church needs to act in response to poverty? There's a place for both of those topics in a robust society, but I think that we Christians need to press harder for the latter rather than the former.

I'll go out on a limb and say something unambiguous about God. God is very concerned with wealth distribution. God is very concerned with how we look after each other. God is very concerned with how we treat the poor, the naked, the hungry, the widow, and the orphan. Our louder protests should therefore be in unison with that. We must be more outraged about abject poverty and oppression than by almost anything else. If we do not take care of the neighbour, whether that neighbour is literally next door or is in the foreign factory that makes our cheap clothes, then we have paid too much attention to the smaller matters and not enough attention to the weightier matters.

World Vision helps people in need. I don't care if it's a clean cut all-American, a homosexual, or a Samaritan who works for them. Which of these was a neighbour? Go and do likewise.
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