Friday, March 28, 2014

"Too busy on the tasks of Yesterday..."

There is no lack of ideas in any organization I know. “Creativity” is not our problem. But few organizations ever get going on their own good ideas. Everybody is much too busy on the tasks of yesterday….

The need to slough off the outworn old to make possible the productive new is universal. It is reasonably certain that we would still have stagecoaches — nationalized, to be sure, heavily subsided, and with a fantastic research program to “retrain the horse” — had there been ministries of transportation around 1825.

Peter Drucker

(via Matt Perman)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

World Vision's (and our) ethical dilemma

(Update: World Vision has since reversed its decision, and pledged to be more consultative in future decision making. However, to my mind, the same ethical decisions remain to be answered, especially if we are going to be working in Christian church or parachurch organisations.)

Here's another evolving situation, that brings out a number of ethical dilemmas. 

I wonder if all of you are following the recent storm that has erupted following World Vision USA's decision to permit employees to enter into legal same sex marriages, as long as they remain faithful to one partner. They continue to insist that all employees be 'followers of Jesus'. (In a nutshell, they believe it is consistent to assume that some followers of Jesus might be living in same-sex marriages). 

For those of you who have been missing the storm on the internet over the last few days, here is a brief round-up of some interesting stuff:

1. Christianity Today's initial announcement

2. Angry/grieved initial responses from evangelicals like John Piper (called World Vision: Adultery No, Homosexual Practice Yes), Denny Burk (called The Collapse of Christianity at World Vision) and Trevin Wax (called World Vision and Why We Grieve For the Children)

Some writers began to suggest that evangelicals begin to withdraw financial support to World Vision.

3. Here's a good article (No Neutral Ground for World Vision) giving some background explaining how World Vision was faced with an ethical dilemma, and how they took this decision wanting to stay neutral, but have actually ended up making a bad decision.

4. A hard hitting article from Rachel Held Evans lashing out at the evangelical response, and asking people to remember the good work World Vision is doing and continue to support them. 

So here are my questions:
1. What do you think of World Vision's decision? Can a Christian organisation (such as a mission hospital, Christian school, or church or para-church organisation) in this day and age continue to make rules about the personal lives of its staff, and expect them to live in a particular lifestyle? What sort of lifestyles would disqualify people from working at such organisations?

2. How should Christians respond? Should we stop helping children and communities which were benefiting from our support, by deciding to stop financing these organisations? Does the good work these organisations accomplish merit ignoring some bad decisions they make?