World Vision USA made front-page headlines last week over their change in hiring policy, and then subsequent reversal. The fevered pitch of online discussion was highly polarized to say the least, and at its worse demonstrated another moment where people who don’t go to church were left wondering why some Christians were discriminating, condescending, and downright hateful in their messaging.
Those vocal about their position, regardless of which side, seemed very sure about their convictions. So is there a safe place to land?
For Christians, especially those new in their faith, it’s difficult to sift through all of the different perspectives and land on the ‘right’ one. Is it OK to discriminate and condemn if it defends a particular theological position in the Bible (freedom of religion)? How do we deal with the tension of scripture over the topic of homosexuality?
Landing exclusively on either side of the spectrum doesn’t help clarify a suitable foundation because both claim to operate ‘in Jesus name’.
Here’s an idea that I hope adds clarity.
Rather than boxing Jesus into quaint theological paradigms, be it right-wing evangelical, or left-wing liberal, try simplifying.
Jesus declares that the Gospel at its core captures a simplicity that even a child can grasp. What if we take his words at face value, and with as little interpretation as possible, use it as our foundation?
Where would we start?
There is a clear and repetitive rhythm within Jesus’ teachings. We can read it in various places in scripture particularly in John 15.
If we started with love, and used Jesus (not love) as our filter, how would that impact the way we see the world?
Rather than defending the things of the church opt to pursue the unfolding Kingdom exemplified in Jesus–a pursuit of love justice, beauty, and hope. For the rest, perhaps in tension, we hold with an open hand.