When Evangelicals Turn Against Children to Spite Me




On the Moberg couch this evening, my mom was scrolling through her news app and saw the announcement that World Vision was now hiring gay married people.


“That’s so great!” She said.


“Pretty brave,” my dad added.


And for a moment, I thought, I should write a piece defending the decision, because they might get backlash… but wait, no, evangelicals wouldn’t go there. How could they?


And perhaps it was this assumption that left me blindsided by the likes of the Gospel Coalition, Franklin Graham, John Piper, and Russell Moore.


This isn’t a carefully edited a post, nor a pretty one. It is a stream of consciousness. My feelings that are erupting out of my heart right now.


I’ve been sitting in a swell of sad for a couple hours, because this is what I’m hearing: No, you aren’t even worthy to serve hungry children. You are so deeply unwanted that I will let a child die if it keeps you away from me. From us. From the body of Christ. I will spare no life if it keeps you far away.


I don’t know how to explain how crushing and infuriating this is. Could words describe this night of speaking the truth over myself: God is love, Jesus is love, This I know is true. Can I even express what it feels like to know that my existence is the reason children are losing their livelihoods? Possibly dying? Falling from protection and into the hands of trafficking?


No and I shouldn’t have to.


I am tired, friends, so tired of being hit. I am tired of being the most galvanizing symbol for evangelical Christians. It is awaking a lot of old demons in me and the stab feels so much deeper when it’s your own faith attacking you. But who am I kidding? It is usually my own faith attacking me. And I am now at a breaking point, as I am sure is true for many others.


I’m done with evangelicalism.


I am done being patient with Piper.

I am done pretending I can engage with the SBC.

I am done hoping Franklin ends up more like his dad.

I am done listening to Denny Burk and his blowhards at the Gospel Coalition.

I am done with each and every one of the tweeters out there bragging about dropping their sponsorship of a child in need, just because they hate me.


I am done fleeing from and returning to this perpetually abusive house of faith. I am stopping the cycle. I am empty of strength.


And I am clinging closer to Jesus than ever before.


Thank God our God is our God.


Often when I am blindsided by blog posts and vicious tweets, a part of me starts to mistake it all for the voice of God. I start panicking, start clutching my heart, and the old lies of you’re a mistake and ya, God hates you come crawling up from their graves. But then the guard of grace wakes up and bats the monsters away. That guard, of course, is Jesus.


“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.” John 15:9


I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:33 (MSG)


“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.” Matthew 5:3-12 (MSG)


And now Paul comes in like a brother:


“None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” Romans 8:38-39 (MSG)


And why not, my favorite passage of scripture:


My beloved spoke and said to me,
    “Arise, my darling,
    my beautiful one, come with me.


See! The winter is past;
    the rains are over and gone.


Flowers appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.


The fig tree forms its early fruit;
    the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
    my beautiful one, come with me.” Song of Songs 2:10-13


And of course, let’s let Brennan Manning take the floor too:


My life is a witness to vulgar grace- a grace that amazes as it offends. A grace that pays the eager beaver who works all day long the same wages as the grinning drunk who shows up at ten til five. A grace that hikes up the robe and runs breakneck towards the prodigal reeking of sin and wraps him up and decides to throw a party no ifs, ands or buts. A grace that raises bloodshot eyes to a dying thief’s request- “Please, remember me”- and assures him, “You bet!” A grace that is the pleasure of the Father, fleshed out in the carpenter Messiah, Jesus Christ, who left His Father’s side not for heaven’s sake but for our sakes, yours and mine. This vulgar grace is indiscriminate compassion. It works without asking anything of us. It’s not cheap. It’s free, and as such will always be a banana peel for the orthodox foot and a fairy tale for the grown up sensibility. Grace is sufficient even though we huff and puff with all our might to try to find something or someone it cannot cover. Grace is enough. He is enough. Jesus is enough.


And thank God for Richard Stearns, a man whose book, the Hole in Our Gospel, dramatically, beautifully, reassembled my faith. Thank God for this man who, when the gatekeepers deny, thrusts open the door and pulls up a chair. Who walks in the love of Jesus in all spheres of life.


Thank God. Thank God. Thank God.


Thank God for the constancy of the sun and the fleetingness of the storm.



  • Thank you. I’m listening. I love you. That’s all.

  • Olivia Faix

    Hi Ben,

    I love you so much and I hate hate hate that some Christians can be such jerks, so utterly unChristlike, and all in the name of a gospel that isn’t from Jesus and in the name of a god that I certainly would never want to worship. I don’t know who this god is that they think would look at you and see “sinner” instead of “beloved” or “son,” but I know that he isn’t real. This god they speak of is but an ugly, fun-house-mirror perversion of Yahweh who created you, of Jesus who died because he loves you SO MUCH. I wish we lived near each other because I just want to drive to your house and lay hands on you (if that was cool with you, of course) and pray over you. I am actually crying right now because your heartfelt words show me just how these hateful, spiteful messages affect people. People can talk about doctrine and “the Bible clearly says” and blah blah blah all day long, but what’s important is that there are kids starving and there are fellow image-bearers who are being given the message that “No, God doesn’t love you, you’re not worthy because you aren’t attracted to the right people.” And to all those hurting people I want to remind them that they ARE image-bearers, and beloved, and I want to hold them and sing prayers over them and just be present with them until the doubt subsides and they remember that God made them and he saw that it was good and he loves them. Because he loves you so so much. Their bigotry is not a reflection of you. It is a reflection of reign of the prince of the air that God is allowing for a time. And if you start to doubt this or forget this, let me know and I will remind you. I will keep reminding you: You are beautiful. You are made in the image of God. And when God looks at you, he doesn’t see dirty or unholy. He sees Benjamin, his beloved son.

    • This is so beautiful and encouraging and I wouldn’t have expected any less of a response from you Olivia. I don’t know this God either- and THANK GOD I DON’T. God is working here, even when things get brutally ugly, I know that he is working something in his people. Just a matter of time is all.

  • I am standing, inhabiting in amen with you tonight, dear friend.
    All my love to you.
    Thank you for this.

  • Kate

    Very powerful. Thank you. I’m so sorry. And so ashamed.

  • Hi Ben,

    Overall I see this as good news. I think World Vision handled this brilliantly. They are letting God be God, keeping their head down and plowing on with His work. Good on em.

    But I had a reaction similar to yours when I saw Russell Moore’s graceless response. It’s like when the Catholic Church closes up shop completely on adoption services when they lose government contracts because of their anti-gay policies. Where is the care and compassion for children and mothers? Since when did Christian love become conditional?

    It’s really sad. When some Christians look at couples who are gay, all they can see is sin. They are unwilling or unable to look into our lives and see any virtue – even when we’re caring for “the least of” humankind.

  • Oh man, I was so so so angry today when I heard about this. Some Christians hate gay people so much that they’ll drop their sponsor child because World Vision might have gay employees. Really there is no other way to describe it besides “hate.”

    It’s seriously unbelievable to me. Is this real life? This is what evangelical Christianity has become? Strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.

  • Thanks for writing this, Ben. Much love to you.

  • JoAnn Forsberg

    I am contacting World Vision right now to sponsor a child and thank them!! For every one who drops a child. We need two picking up a child. Spread the word

    • This is so true. Let’s hope that more children are sponsored as a result of this mess. And let’s pray for hearts to be softened too. Over the past 5 or so years, I’ve seen some evangelical Christians I know and love spend nearly all their energy publicly harping about homosexuality, Obama and the 2nd Amendment. I don’t know what’s in their hearts, but from the cheap seats on Facebook, it doesn’t look like Jesus anymore. 🙁

    • I wish I could afford to sponsor a kid, too. Thank you so much for supporting World Vision!

    • Linda Robertson

      Good for you, JoAnn!! We did the same!! Spreading the word with you!!

    • The_Physeter

      How do you feel now that they’ve reversed course?

  • Amy Mitchell

    “Can I even express what it feels like to know that my existence is the reason children are losing their livelihoods?”

    Ben, I’m sitting here sniffling and crying over that line. I can’t say more here because it’s public comments, but please, you need to know–your existence is actually the reason why many kids WON’T lose their lives. People like you matter so much to kids who need to know that they are okay, that they have worth, that they’re not abandoned by God. I have no doubt that with WV’s change in policy, it won’t just be kids in the western world who learn that message.

  • Kate Carmer

    Dear Ben,

    Pease know that while our evangelical leaders and many of the foot soldiers hold fast to the traditional view, there are others like me, who because of voices like yours have shifted away from that traditional view and now consider ourselves open and affirming.

    The action of World Vision shows that gradually the evangelical world is changing and it is changing because of voices like yours.

    I am a 66 year old evangelical Christian, and for most of my life have held the “love the sinner, hate the sin” viewpoint. But over the last three years, that has changed. The first step on my journey was when I read Andrew Marin’s “Love is an Orientation”. Today I no longer believe that same sex attraction or marriage between same sex individuals (or partnering between committed same sex partners where marriage is not available) is a sin.

    I believe that we as a Christian community need to repent of our hateful attitudes and actions.

    So take heart, Ben. While it is still bleak in evangelical land, people are changing, one by one. Your voice is making a difference.

    I’m sorry for the pain and injury I have caused you and others that God has created with same sex attraction. You are valuable. You are important. You are created in the image of God.

    God bless you! Kate

    • Yep, that’ll get the tears flowing.

      Thank you Kate, this is a comment I will always treasure. You are forgiven (and I’ve had to forgive myself, too.) What you’ve written here, it fills me with such hope. I am so thankful.

      Blessings to you, too.

    • Such a honest, beautiful comment.

    • Adrienne Havercroft

      I just want to add my voice to this ad well. Ben, you are a significant part of why I changed my mind about what the Bible says about homosexuality as well. Like many others, I grew up with and for years subscribed to the traditional evangelical view of homosexuality. As someone who would describe myself as a feminist, I very much wanted to be able to fully align myself with the LGBT community, but I was having a hard time reconciling it with my faith. I recognized the shape of oppression, but was finding the issue difficult to navigate “biblically”.

      Your post about “Accidental Oppressors” was definitely a watershed moment for me. All of a sudden I saw those stories differently, and I could seen the gospel in it. It was like, of course Jesus would align himself with the LGBT community. Of course they, like me, are equally welcomed into the kingdom, no strings attached. It just all of a sudden mad sense.

      I have passed along that post to others, along with some of your other writing. I have read your “about” page aloud several times to different people, and I still can’t read the part about being “pariah’s carved in the palms of the carpenter” without crying.

      I just want you to know that beyond being an individual who is deeply loved by God, your voice is an important one in the evangelical community. I’m sure it must be so difficult to always be the scapegoat, but you are putting yourself out there as a flesh and blood person and that is powerful. Empathy is so transformative, and I’m sure it can feel as though evangelical culture is completely devoid of empathy, I do believe its the only way forward. We will never get anywhere if we aren’t able to truly see each other.

      • Sheila Warner

        I just “reblogged” The Accidental Oppressors at my site. Unfortunately, I had to cut and paste b/c Ben uses wordpress.org, and I use .com. But I link the article back here, so people can find this blog and follow it. I was just like you, by the way. But I knew there were lots of gay Christians, I had many gay friends I loved dearly, so I did my own research into the issue. I hope and pray that all churches eventually come to the truth.

    • geoffrobinson

      The evangelical world is constantly changing. Strong evangelical churches from 200-300 years ago are now Unitarian Universalist churches. Strong mainline churches of 150 years ago now deny several key doctrines. The YMCA is a cheap health club. Harvard/Yale/etc are bastions of atheism. This drift or “progression” is nothing new.

      The error you are all making is assuming that if people withdraw their support from World Vision, they won’t turn around and give it to another organization that does the same type of work. Except ones that don’t compromise on biblical morality.

      • carrie

        I used to work in the call center at WV (I am now in a different position). I am so glad I am not there now because of the backlash the workers are having to deal with. Yes, Evangelicals can support other organizations and they are more than welcome to do so. However I would be crying sitting in that call center right now, cancelling child after child after child. They are real, individual children and they are being abandoned by their sponsors one right after another. You can say that is WV’s fault. That is your opinion and you are welcome to it. I understand that sponsors feel misled, but make no mistake, those are real children that are being dropped to make a point. I would never cancel my sponsored child.

      • carrie

        They can support other organizations, that is true. And that is their right. But I don’t know how that is any consolation to the sponsored children that are being dropped. They are real children.

        • geoffrobinson

          Well, maybe World Vision should have realized that before they made the change. They know that most of their support is coming from evangelicals who chose their organization because they were explicitly evangelical.

          Maybe World Vision could do something honorable like allowing people to funnel the money to the kids without World Vision USA taking a dime of the money.

          • carrie

            World Vision is evangelical in its mission it is true but it is at the same time a MULTI DENOMINATIONAL organization and has been for along time. (It did begin as a strictly Evangelical organization.) That is is the whole reason for the change: to honor that other denominations have different views and genuine Christians who attend churches that support same sex marriage should not be excluded from employment. World Vision’s whole point is that they are not endorsing same sex marriage but they are respecting the various church’s individual rights to set their own policies.

      • Travis Sexton

        Dearest Geoff:

        THANK YOU for reminding these well-intentioned, but misguided commenters that while their love and sympathy is to be cherished, we must ALL realize that there are some things Scripture makes clear. EXPLICITLY clear. We may fiddle around the edges, but the prescriptions of Scripture are ABSOLUTE!

        For example:

        “When you buy a male Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, but in the seventh he shall go out a free person, without debt. If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s and he shall go out alone. But if the slave declares, “I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out a free person,” then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him for life. When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed; he shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt unfairly with her. If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish the food, clothing, or marital rights of the first wife.” -Exodus 21:2-10 (NRSV)

        “When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner’s property.” -Exodus 21:20-21 (NRSV)

        “As for the male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves. You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property. These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshness.” -Leviticus 25:44-46 (NRSV)

        “Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful to them on the ground that they are members of the church; rather they must serve them all the more, since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved, who devote themselves to good deeds.” -1 Timothy 6:2 (NRSV)

        “Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to talk back, not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Savior.” -Titus 2:9-10 (NRSV)

        • geoffrobinson

          I’m guess you are trying to be sarcastic. The giveaway for future reference is when quoted Exodus 21:20-21 without providing context. http://geoffreyrobinson.blogspot.com/2007/05/10-questions-that-every-intelligent_6887.html

          That said, what you point out is that slavery was given regulations and tolerated. In the New Testament, Paul wanted slaves to be the best slaves they could be in order to bring honor to God above. Jesus grounds marriage in the creation of mankind as male & female (Matthew 19). That hasn’t changed. We don’t have an example of God tolerating a practice and putting safeguards around it. We have a practice God has always condemned. If you want to make a better parallel with slavery, you should have chosen polygamy. But that really wouldn’t have made your point, since Christians believe polygamy is wrong too and was tolerated and now isn’t. Divorce I guess would have been a better bet for some Christians?

          • Travis Sexton

            Sometimes I have to wonder if people like you read your own nonsense after you’ve written it. You do realize you just said that God tolerates slavery and condemns homosexuality, right? Just after the explanation that “Paul wanted slaves to be the best slaves they could be in order to bring honor to God above,” something which entailed not “talking back” to their Christian masters, because those masters did “good deeds.” Some people can be reasoned with. Others cannot even recognize the absurdity of their own arguments. I genuinely hope, for your own sake, that one day you recognize how very wrong you are.

          • geoffrobinson

            First of all, all institutions of slavery were not completely the same all over the world at all times and the same as the form it took in America. You may not be aware that kidnapping, i.e. how African slaves came to America, was punishable by death in the Mosaic covenant. So with that said, God tolerated the widespread institution of slavery and put boundaries against it and in both the Mosaic and New Covenants gave worth to the slaves as people. At no point whatsoever did God ever bless homosexual unions of any kind.

            “something which entailed not “talking back” to their Christian masters, because those masters did “good deeds.””

            You should reread the Scriptures you yourself posted. Paul wanted slaves to be excellent at what they did so as to glorify God, and moreso if they had Christian masters because they were fellow brothers in the Messiah. You may be aware of the verse from Paul that there is neither slave nor free in Messiah Jesus. So much so that Paul can calls a believing slave “brother”. (Philemon 1:16) Paul wanted slaves to glorify God and he wanted the same out of everyone whatever position they found themselves in.

            “Some people can be reasoned with. Others cannot even recognize the absurdity of their own arguments. I genuinely hope, for your own sake, that one day you recognize how very wrong you are.”

            And what standard should I use to figure out I’m wrong? Some subjective feeling on the inside? What if I notice that we were created male and female and only that male and female unions can produce life because that is how we are designed? Should I ignore that?

          • Travis Sexton

            I needn’t say any more. Your words speak for themselves. I’m sorry you sense in them. There is none to be found.

          • geoffrobinson

            I have to ask for curiosity’s sake. Are you pro-life or pro-choice?

          • Travis Sexton

            Also, I’m happy to re-post the blog entry you linked to, as it’s even more ridiculous than the arguments you’ve made here. If “truth” is really your aim, I’d suggest rethinking your strategy. Right now, you’re destined for a long list of “Christians” who altogether missed the message.

    • Robby Nau Drewrey

      This reply from Kate. Be right back, gotta get a tissue. 😉 Oh sweet, wonderful, beautiful, woman of God, you have no idea what your reply means to me. You are loved and I am so thankful that you are somewhere out there.

    • Cheryl

      Ditto here Ben! Kate said it very well and it bears repeating: I’m sorry for the pain and injury I have caused you and others that God has created with same sex attraction. You are valuable. You are important. You are created in the image of God. Thank you for your patience as us older folks figure these things out.


  • Standing with you in this, friend. Your words are holy. Thank you for speaking up, even when so many seek to silence you and the LGBTQ community. Much love.

  • I just messaged your mom about how much I love you, your clarion voice, your wisdom and your humanity. 🙂 So grateful for your beautiful ongoing voice. <3

    • Thank you so much Susan. That community you’ve all created has been a balm to my mom’s journey. You all are changing the world, and I’m in your debt. Thank you.

      • Well, thank you. And we feel the same about you. <3 And, yeah, we wouldn't make it without each other!

  • Tana Hendricks

    Thank you Ben for your honest but heartbreaking words. I am amazed that people would consider this a loving thing to do, drop sponsorship of a needy child, because of the policy that WV has bravely undertaken. I am praying that it is a bunch of smoke and that people will see beyond their noses and keep sponsoring these children. I agree with Amy Mitchell in saying that it is because of who you are and how bravely you speak out, that there are others that won’t lose their lives. You are making a difference and challenging people to love! Please keep it up!

  • Beautifully put. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    This: “Thank God for this man who, when the gatekeepers deny, thrusts open the door and pulls up a chair. Who walks in the love of Jesus in all spheres of life.”


  • jtheory

    I love you Ben.

  • Jacob Brandenburg

    This is one of my struggles in faith and Christianity-If it is to be about love of people and of God why is there so much hatred? It seems too many within the world of Christianity take on a badge of pride in saying that they are standing up against sin, when in reality they are promoting and displaying hate in their words and actions. I don’t know how to take it all and believe that we are all following the same God/Christ.

    To spread love and peace seems to be more of a challenge for Christians than it should be and it saddens me and it discourages me. I wish more could listen to words and ideas such as these that you have hear and see that hatred shown under the veil of love and compassion for the “sinner” is still hatred.

    Thank you for the thoughts to consider.

    • geoffrobinson

      Well, there is a shock and dismay that World Vision would compromise on biblical morality. But why “all this hatred”? Would you rather we tell people who are in gross sin that everything is puppies and sunshine? Is that more loving?

      • Pegs

        I guess I don’t see why YOU need to tell anyone you believe is in “gross sin” (and I’m dismayed at the word choice, never mind the thinking behind it) anything except “I love you. Jesus loves you. Here, let me wash your feet while you take a load off, weary traveler.” Why do people who were commissioned to spread the GOOD NEWS feel like that’s a call to call others vile sinners? Why not love people and let the Holy Spirit sort out the places He wants to effect change? When asked the most important commandment, Jesus DID NOT say “tell gay people they’re sinners,” or even “hey, point out people’s sin.” No, He said love God, love people. That anyone who professes to be a follower of Jesus would DROP SPONSORSHIP OF A CHILD – a real, human being who is loved SO HARD by God – and stop being Jesus’ hands and feet to THAT CHILD because of who is organizing that baby’s meals or teaching him or her or washing her feet blows my mind. It makes me so sad.

        • geoffrobinson

          Did not Jesus talk about discipline which can be seen in the epistles and in early apostolic witnesses and histories? Did not Paul even confront Peter with error? Maybe the Holy Spirit uses that. I see no historical evidence for “let the Holy Spirit sort it out” policy in the churches that were closest to the time of Jesus and His followers.

          We are told to snatch people out of the fire, not to let them burn.

          Jude 17-23

          But you must tremember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved,building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

          • Luke Allison

            Where is the line between when a person will not burn for all eternity and when they definitely will?

          • geoffrobinson

            We can’t see the heart. And there are tares among the wheat that look just like wheat. But living in sexual sin and not repenting of it when being confronted with the issue is not a good sign.

          • Luke Allison

            See….here’s where I can’t follow you. Because you paint a picture of the world that simply doesn’t match anything that I’ve experienced. We started with texts, developed a theology, then tried to deal with real people and their real experiences. And we have a text for every situation. Ironically, the Bible seems to feel less and less living and active.

            For instance; this young man’s blog post was a very real and heart-felt cry. But people like you (the faithful?) have jumped in with trite statements and matter-of-fact judgments. He’s struggling and dealing with real emotions, real anger, real tensions of living, and what do you have to offer him? Texts. Regardless of what the answer to this entire controversy is, evangelicals have just proven once again where their priorities lie. Stating the text.

          • truthbetold

            =1 Corinthians 6:9-11
            New International Version (NIV)
            9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

            You can tell people the truth without loving them, but you can’t love them without telling them the truth.

          • Luke Allison

            Yeah, see….in this case the “truth” to you is that a certain population of people will have to deal with their passions and needs in a fundamentally different way than a bunch of other people. I have a need for companionship: I found a wife and got married. A gay person has a need for companionship, they should: A: seek out abusive and disastrous conversion therapy; B: Become celibate and find that companionship in an invisible Deity; C: Pray really hard and hope it all changes. There are obviously many gay people who are doing all three of these options.

            The problem with shoehorning modern notions like “sexual orientation” into 1st Century texts is that you then have to try and apply them universally to every situation that arises. The debate in this issue is largely over whether the stuff that gets translated “homosexuality” (note the little “a” for a footnote even in the text you’ve pasted) actually means what we as 21st century people mean when we say it. There are words Paul could have used that would have been less ambiguous. He didn’t use them. So the conservative commentators like Gagnon say there’s no way it’s not talking about homosexuality as we know it; the more progressive commentators say it’s talking about something else.

            In the meantime, a historically marginalized and abused (remember, as we speak, homosexuality is a punishable offense in African countries and lots of other places) people group are shown time and again that the most important thing about following Jesus is getting sexual activity right. We have a history to repent for: instead, we’re using the same words, methods, and texts that caused the problems in the first place.

            Pull texts out of the New Testament all you want, I still see far more nuance and Spirit-led discernment (on a case-by-case basis) in Jesus’ story, Paul’s story, and Peter’s story than evangelicals are practicing in this story.

          • Sheila Warner

            Here’s that footnote: “1 Corinthians 6:9 The words men who have sex with men translate two Greek words that refer to the passive and active participants in homosexual acts.”

            Which describes what was going on in the pagan temple. It was pedophilia and/or prostitution, depending on the participant. Hardly what takes place today in loving and committed relationships.

          • Luke Allison

            Right. And there we have the tension that one side doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of.

            If you acknowledge the existence of tension (which WV was doing in the first place, only to change their minds), then you’re left with the question: “What do I do in these specific instances with these specific people? Since I can’t use the New Testament like a new Torah, I have to let the Spirit lead me in every circumstance. Herein lies the dilemma for evangelicals; when the text becomes codified, the Spirit only says what the text says. When the text becomes a jumping off point into a Spirit-led life, tensions will exist and case-by-case discernment will have to suffice. We can’t deal with real people using a codified text.

            In my opinion, whenever followers of Jesus find themselves agreeing with fundamentalist/radical Islam, they should do a heart check.

          • Sheila Warner

            Absolutely. The doctrine of “sola Scriptura” also muddies the water. The Bible is the only authority in life, it has been codified, as you say, and it leads to some circular thinking when applied in such a way. We need fresh insight by the Spirit, for sure.

          • Luke Allison

            Yep. The number of thoughtful and nuanced responses on this blog, including yours, gives me hope.

          • Bronwyn

            Let’s all try to live by the most important commandments :Love God and love your neighbour ( simple, beautiful and incredibly powerful) If we discriminate and judge less we can love more abundantly ….acceptance,tolerance,kindness,joy,peace,

          • Bronwyn

            Sorry I forgot to add that you seem like a lovely, caring person -someone whom God would be proud of….keep doing your good works!

          • Pegs

            He talked a WHOLE LOT MORE about love (and hypocrisy, actually). So you think pulling sponsorship of an actual child, one with whom the sponsor may have corresponded for years, could “save [someone] from the fire”? Wouldn’t it be far more effective (and less hypocritical) to roll up your sleeves alongside this person whose soul you’re concerned with, and, in the context of a RELATIONSHIP with that person, have this soul-saving conversation?

            Discipline and correction between two friends who walked, served, wept together (i.e., Peter and Paul) is not the same thing as these public pronouncements about someone’s “gross sin.” I don’t understand – I truly don’t – the shock and dismay at World Vision, whose workforce is made up entirely, 100% of sinners because … they’re going to let gay people do Kingdom work too? Withdrawing support from a child because … you want to discipline the guy who delivers their food?

            Again, it makes me sad.

          • geoffrobinson

            Each person would have to make a decision according to their conscience about their individual child and whether to put that support elsewhere.

            Yes, it would be important to have this soul-saving conversation. But you are missing the point of why I mention Paul and Peter. It is clearly an episode where the church didn’t let “the Holy Spirit sort it out”. If you want an example of how blatant sexual sin should be dealt with, read through 1 Corinthians.

          • Bonar Bell

            I guess I don’t remember where Jesus told people that they couldn’t serve the poor because they were sinners. Even if you have a moral obligation to help sinners find the godly path, why does this mean they can’t stand beside you and change the lives of others in Jesus’ name?

          • geoffrobinson

            “in Jesus’ name” would be the issue. If this was a non-Christian organization, whatever. Doesn’t matter. We are specifically told not to fellowship and associate with other people who claim to be Christians and live in unrepentant sexual sin. We are not given that instruction regarding non-Christians.

            So it really goes to the heart of World Vision is. Are they to be a Christian organization or not?

          • Sheri

            So really according to the scripture you just posted, you’re done talking to us then, right?

          • Sheila Warner

            If you believe gays can’t be Christian, then you should associate with them, because it’s only non-repentant Christians that we are to shun.

            By the way, that was a specific sin that was being addressed in the church at Corinth–a man was living with his mother-in-law. This sin is mentioned in I Corinthians 5. Do you realize that the first four chapters of I Corinthians dealt with divisions in the church? Also, it was this specific man that Paul recommended to be shunned. He never said that every unrepentant sinner ought to be shunned. Apparently this man was really stubborn and had a hardened heart.

            You always have to consider the context of the passages you read. This was written to a specific church about a specific situation concerning a specific man. Yes, there are godly principles we can gather for ourselves from the Bible. I think I Corinthians 13 is the most compelling. That one gets overlooked all of the time.

            There are Bible scholars out there who have examined the original Greek in the books of the New Testament. Many have come to the conclusion that the words “homosexual” and “homosexuality” are not the proper English words to be chosen for English translations in the Bible. You ought to do some research. It will enlighten you as to why so many of us Christians don’t view homosexuality as a sinful lifestyle choice. We’re looking at the same Bible you are. You should be curious about it since you’re so passionate in your condemnation of gays. Hear both sides before you so willy-nilly assume that gays are bound for hell.

          • truthbetold

            1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (New International Version)

            9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

          • Sheila Warner

            So now I will ask point blank. Are you now going to start associating with gays? Only unrepentant Christians are supposed to be shunned, according to St Paul, right?

            You needn’t throw more verses my way. I was raised on the KJV, and I also am quite familiar with how other English translations put forth the Greek word in I Corinthians 6. “Sodomites”, “homosexuals”, “effeminate”. “those who make women of themselves”, “use and abuse sex”, “homosexual perverts”, etc. etc. There is a plethora of ideas about what that Greek word is saying. And, there is plenty of disagreement about the type of sexual sin St Paul is referring to, since he actually invented a word to describe it.

            So, then, I assume you will be finding gays to hang out with, which will match what you believe your version of the Bible commands you to do.

          • truthbetold

            Are you agreeing that homosexuality is a sin? If it isn’t sin, why do so many speak of showing homosexuals grace? (Grace is God’s kindness shown to those who deserve his wrath.) If it is a sin why are so many so-called Christians condoning what God forbids?

          • Melody

            Didn’t Paul confront Peter about his narrow minded and legalistic, exclusionary policies? Perhaps Christians such as yourself are the Peters, in this case, being rebuked by the Pauls who have accessed Jesus’ true message of love and unity and are pleading with you to do the same.

          • geoffrobinson

            Peter was denying the gospel by implying by his actions that Gentiles needed to keep Jewish ceremonial laws in order to be justified. If you want a picture of how Paul reacts to unrepentant sexual sin, read 1 Corinthians.

            The “let the Holy Spirit sort it out” objection was a bad one, which was my overall point.

      • Jacob Brandenburg

        Geoff, this is the kind of response that bothers me. Which sins are gross and which ones are not? It just saddens me that you tie this to what I said, because your response is the type that breaks my soul and wonders if there is love and compassion towards fellow Christians or if we are just looking for ways to place them as sinners to make you feel superior. Or perhaps you like the idea of having the power to judge how bad a person is by the type of sin. There is no encouragement in saying these things and just riles people up to cause arguments, and that is not good for anyone.

        • Evan Pierce

          *All* sins are “gross sins” is your answer, the issue when one is a Christian or claiming to follow the teachings of the Bible is not the sin itself….but whether they are repentant of whatever the sin may be and then try to fix things so they no longer keep doing it.

          Christians are called to help each other in dealing with sin, it’s specifically stated in the Bible in Paul’s letters that one or more people are to go privately to the person and confront them about it. Being loving does not mean overlooking every single thing a person does or accepting sin and glossing over it as if it’s no big deal….parents discipline their children and explain to them that the action was wrong when they do something they shouldn’t, that doesn’t make them unloving. Just as pointing out sin does not make someone unloving or make them hateful. Jesus himself called people out on their sins telling them “go and sin no more”.

          • Luke Allison

            Actually, he probably didn’t, since that text is a much later addition. Even your ESV Study Bible says that. Interestingly enough, that text is the verse of choice for nearly everybody who advocates the exclusion of gay and lesbian people. Man…you’d think that’s the only thing Jesus ever said.

            What is keeping people from being burned eternally? Like, for instance, why are you convinced that you are not going to be tormented consciously for all eternity?

          • geoffrobinson

            Alright, take the woman at the well. Jesus confronted her with her sin.

          • Luke Allison

            That’s an interpretation of that text. According to a different interpretation, Jesus could have simply been acknowledging that he knew about her situation. Women in the 1st Century had little social power and often had to make do with the whims of various men. If you read the 21st Century into the 1st, you come up with the fact that this woman was a promiscuous strumpet that Jesus “called out” for her sexual sin. But that’s not really in the text; that comes by way of interpretation.

            Either, way the solution is still Living Water and believing in the Messiah, but the interaction looks slightly different. The canon within the canon for you “yeah, but love is also….” folks seems to be small. The Spirit leads, we cooperate, and every situation is unique.

            The Prodigal Son parable (is that the right title?) only features repentance if we read that into it. It could just as easily be interpreted (and I think more culturally appropriate) that the son is calculating with his best interests in mind when he comes back to his father. Either way, the party gets thrown. What becomes of the calculating and wasteful son? We don’t know. Will he need to grow and be transformed into a different kind of human being? Yes. But that’s not really the force of the parable. The force is: What about you, faithful older brother? Are you going to join the party? Because there will be a party whether you like it or not.

        • geoffrobinson

          “Gross sins” is a way of saying “blatant”. I’m not sure if you are interpreting it as such.

          “if there is love and compassion towards fellow Christians or if we are just looking for ways to place them as sinners to make you feel superior.”

          As someone who has fallen and falls into sin, I don’t think the loving thing to do is to encourage a person who is mired in unrepentant sin. You might as well pour gasoline on them and light the match.

      • Luke Allison

        I love how disdainful puppies and sunshine are to you.

      • Mike O

        “Geoff, I mean this in love, but you’re super ugly. I only say that because I care and I really want you to know you don’t have to be as hideous as you are – simply have some surgery and the ugliness could be GONE! Again, I say it only because I love you. Would it be *more* loving for me to just be your friend and not tell you I can barely stand to look at you? I love you too much to not tell you you look like a monster. PLEASE, in the name of all that is beautiful, and I say this because Iove you, you’re UGLY. Please please get some surgery!”

        Goeff, this is what your approach to speaking with people you think are in gross sin sounds like. So to answer your question, yes. It is more loving to not say anything at all. Don’t lie to them, just stop with the hyper-focus on how ugly we are.

        • geoffrobinson

          Let’s cut to the heart of the matter. Replace homosexuality with pornography, racism, or some other action or proclivity you believe to be wrong. I won’t pick one because people on your side of the debate often confuse using a parallel with equating two behaviors.

          The only reason you view my approach as ugly and unloving is because you don’t believe homosexual behavior is sinful. If I carried the same approach with something you felt was wrong, you’d be fine with my approach.

      • The_Physeter

        Gay people KNOW THAT CHRISTIANS DISAPPROVE of them. They don’t need one more way to hear it. They don’t need to be told, “You can’t work for us because you’re living in sin.” They hear it every day, from every corner. Even if they avoid church, they hear it all the time in politics, as the Religious Right crusades on their brand of Christianity. Do you really think withholding employment from certain people is really that important to the kingdom of God?

        • geoffrobinson

          For a secular company, no. For an explicitly Christian ministry, absolutely. Unless of course its a position where it doesn’t matter if the person is a Christian or not and doesn’t represent the ministry in any normal sense of the word.

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  • Lynette Joy

    Ben, powerful, beautiful and justified. God bless

  • Aidan Bird

    THIS: “Often when I am blindsided by blog posts and vicious tweets, a part of
    me starts to mistake it all for the voice of God. I start panicking,
    start clutching my heart, and the old lies of you’re a mistake and ya, God hates you come
    crawling up from their graves. But then the guard of grace wakes up and
    bats the monsters away. That guard, of course, is Jesus.”

    You’ve summed up my entire faith journey in that paragraph. I still have trouble separating those lies from the voice of God. It’s just been beaten into me so hard that I’ve had to start completely over. Through everything out, and start from the concept that ‘If God exists, then God is Love.” And then slowly, and gently let myself expand from there toward God’s saving grace. I’m not there yet. It’s a work in progress, but it was the only way I’ve been able to find any sort of healing or relief from that relentless barrage you showed so well in this post.

    Thank you for that reminder. And thank you for all you do here. You are truly an inspiration and a hope.

    • Aidan, because I know you and have gotten a glimpse of what you have been through, well, I am reduced to tears in the middle of a coffee shop. You are so strong and inspire so much in me, especially when it comes to writing. It is so good to hear this from you, and we are all in progress. And it’s so hard being in this faith a lot of the time- But it is such a balm to our path when we read the beautiful words of Jesus himself! You are loved and you are free and ya, this might come out a bit garbled because I was truly so happy to see your comment. Blessings to you friend. 🙂

    • Sheri

      Wow! Thank you to both you & Benjamin for your honesty. Makes me cry.

  • Pingback: Reading Recommendations Regarding World Vision()

  • Just stopping by to give you a hug. Thank you for sharing your emotions…and, I’m so sorry. May the loving voices be louder today…

  • Oh wow, Ben. Somehow you managed to articulate justifiable anger, shared frustration, deep hope, and a profound sense of peace all within a few hundred words. I really don’t know you do it.

    • That means so much coming from you Rachel! Thank you.

      • Rachel said this exactly – to share all you do in a few hundred words is incredibly beautiful. “What she said.”

    • carrie

      Thank you for all you have written on this Rachel and for highlighting what others have written.

  • Jane Halton

    We hear you. We see you. We say amen with you. I know it doesn’t fix it but it’s worth saying I think. Your words are powerful.

  • Theresa Kredell Stockdale

    Thank you for this post. I really resonated with the Brennan Manning quotes. I have volunteered with World Vision to find sponsors for children for over 6 years. It has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. I’ve met two of my children. I can’t imagine them suffering because of this. It’s heartbreaking. I would be thrilled to connect you with one of the beautiful little World Vision children who need help. Just email me.

  • Jen Crowder Noricks

    Beautifully expressed.

  • Ben, there were idiots in Jesus’ time, too. Look what they did to the Son of God. You are loved by so many. Thousands of us love our gay brothers and sisters. It’s hard to see through the hate – I can’t even imagine. I pray for the day when there is no “gay” or “straight”, just “us”.

  • Nancy Le

    What Kate said . . . one by one. Love to you. You are brave.

  • Add me to the list of people who have shifted their views, thanks in part to voices like yours. There was a time in my life when I would’ve been one of those writing such hateful things in response to the World Vision controversy. (In fact, I did write some pretty terrible things about my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.)

    Ironically, the final straw which led me to change my views was a friend and former colleague at World Vision (I used to work there) who quit because she felt she had to choose between her sexual orientation and her job. It made me realize I owed it to her and everyone else I cared about to seriously examine what I believed rather than just fall back on the same old prejudices and assumptions.

    So I would echo what Kate said. While it is bleak in many ways, and I can only imagine the pain these experiences cause you, people ARE changing, one by one.

    Also, I shared your post with some friends at World Vision. Your words were a huge encouragement to them.

  • Rebecca Erwin

    *Stands and applauds*

    Well said. My heart grieves when evangelicals draw lines in the sand using scripture. They are the pharisees begging Jesus to either condemn the harlot or excuse her behavior. They want the excuse to point fingers and start a riot.

    Me… I simply want to sit in the dirt at his feet.

  • Lesa Edwards-Schepers

    Beautiful and powerful post. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  • Wonderful post saying everything that most needs to be said.

  • Thank you so much for sharing from your heart! If only others could see through their hatred long enough to see how they are hurting those around them.
    God bless!

  • Thank you for your testimony. As a pastor in the United Church of Christ, it is so easy for me to forget the struggles facing gay and lesbian Christians in more conservative traditions. I am so glad that you refuse to believe untruths about who God is and who you are. Blessings and peace.

  • Michael Moore

    Ben, thank you for your profound witness and incredible love for The Lord we both serve. You said what my heart has been trying to say today…

  • I have learned so much from people over the last few years, like yourself and many others. I’ve learned that “we are not all like that” is an invalid response because it takes away from the very real pain you are feeling and puts the focus on whatever indignation one might feel at being directly or indirectly grouped with someone lobbying hurt at you.

    I’ve learned that not all who identify as LGBTQ “look” like what we expect as some have marriages that look like “one man, one woman”.

    I’ve learned most importantly that sometimes the best I can do is to sit silently with someone, listening with my whole heart.

    Much love to you. Hoping you find yourself surrounded with love and support on all sides – more than enough to drown out anything less than positive.

  • scubadunn

    I have never read a word by you before. I have no idea who you are besides Rachel’s repost of your blog. Your post was so honest, thank you for your words. I feel so much of the pain you do even if i can not fully understand your situation. I love your words, your heart for the kids, and your love for the church. I proudly sponsor through world vision. And my heart as felt so much emotion this week reading through comments and articles of people who call themselves Christ Followers that are saying such hateful things. I have cried, been disgusted, and I am so fed up. Thank you again for posting your honest feelings.

  • thelifeartist

    benjamin – i love you. i’m in your corner and i won’t give up.

  • Linda Andres

    Ben, I am thankful your post was brought to my attention. When I heard the World Vision choice to amend their statements, all I could think was how sad it is to live in a world where we even have to say such things. I am a sponsor of two World Vision children and this has no affect on my choice to care about those children.
    Peace to you in this time of grieving and anger for the awfulness that prejudice and our belief that we are the God who judges brings on so many.

  • Bethany Olsen

    Reading your words made me deeply sad. I’m so sorry that you’re experiencing this kind of hurtfulness from Christians, and I stand with you and World Vision and hungry kids all over the world today.

  • Alice

    Romans 15: 5-7
    May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

  • Barbara Miller

    We are out here, in droves. Affirming and inclusive Christians who don’t consider your life a choice and who do not give it a second thought when we see you in the embrace of your chosen partner. And we are growing in numbers to where soon, the Franklin Graham’s will be the odd men out. We love you just like Jesus does. So sorry for all the hurt. God bless you. Barb

  • Sheila Warner

    My dad’s really in bad shape so I just saw this. I didn’t know any of this had happened. You remain in my prayers. That’s all I can say–only Jesus can really speak what you need to your soul. I’m just speechless at this turn of events.

  • Brave and beautiful and important words. I can say nothing else but thank you and I’m sorry.

  • Hello. I am a new Child Ambassador for World Vision. I am so glad to see the willingness of people on this page to sponsor children to try to counter those that may drop their sponsorship. This my my World Vision page and if you feel led, please sponsor a child and help a new ambassador for WV show that there are plenty of people that support this decision.

  • Jason Spencer

    Even if you disagree with the homosexual lifestyle, there is no need to be hateful or start removing support from your brothers and sisters that do good in this world for the Lord. That’s ridiculous. You may disagree with the gay lifestyle, but don’t we also disagree with lying or adulterers or HATE? Whatever your view, love covers a multitude of sins, and that person’s sanctification and relationship with God is none of your business.

    • Micki Findlay

      Well said Jason.

    • Kevin Thomas

      What is a homosexual lifestyle? I have gay friends whose “lifestyle” looks the same as mine…driving kids to school, shopping, paying bills, etc… I do appreciate your post Jason…I just had that question…

      • Jason Spencer

        The homosexual lifestyle varies, just like everyone else’s. Sure, you have the really flaming, militant, F*ck-the-world gays that are as rude or worse than some extremist religious zealots. Then, there are the ones that just want a family and a normal life. When I refer to the lifestyle, though, I guess I just mean their practices.

  • Dear Ben,

    Like “scubadun” (earlier post below) I was unfamiliar with you until I saw Rachel’s repost of your blog. Your words are a wise, prophetic, heartbreaking, yet somehow grace-filled indictment of a Church that has lost its understanding of God’s heart for the world, and for every person without exception. I felt like I should take off my shoes as I read your words.

    While you make no effort to deny your pain, the tapestry of grace and peace and the total acceptance of Jesus you have obviously experienced reveals the heart of someone living very close to the heart of God. May you hear his every whisper, sense his deep pleasure, and may your words help to heal the wounds of so many who need to know and experience such profound peace in the face of a culture horribly detached from its moorings.


  • Libby Holden

    The mom in me just wants to put my arms around you and tell you everything will be okay. I pray that someday it will. While I pray and wait for that day, know that we are out here. There are so many of us who are so sorry for how you have been disrespected–not just about World Vision–but over and over. What you have written here tonight are the most moving words I have read about how it feels to be marginalized and pushed away from those who are supposed to love you most. God help us all as we keep on trying to live and be among those who are too afraid to see the truth.

  • Dear Ben,

    I am in a Facebook group with your mom and I know you are making her very proud!

    Thanks for being a voice for so many. You are changing the world.

  • Tesney Pearce Davis

    There are many standing with you! Much love to you.

  • Shea Davis

    Bless you Ben. I am sorry for the message these Christian leaders are sending you. I would feel honored to work next to you. God is love. You are loved!!!

  • Wow. Ben, I don’t know you at all. But after reading this, I feel like I know your heart, your soul, more importantly, your faith. There are no words I could use to describe the beauty of this piece. No words to describe how the anguish and anger you so wonderfully described has touched me. So I simply leave this comment with this: The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his grace to shine upon you. And give you peace.”

  • I love you, brother.

  • bumbershootgirl

    Ben, today’s writing moved and ministered to me. Blessings and courage to you for choosing to put grace in its rightful place and invite all of us to be immersed in it amid the most difficult and challenging times in our lives. My creed is that of an evangelical, too, and I sometimes want to dummy slap the powers that be for decisions that humanly mask the power and extraordinary beauty of the Gospel’s message. I will reread and remember your post and ask to be the example that you have been today. World Vision: hold on to your stance and keep the high road. I guess there’s a few of us out there that need to step up and fill in the gaps.

  • Dave Anfenson

    I’ve never read your blog before, but know that minister named Dave in Texas loves you and is praying for you. Stay strong and never forget that love wins in the end 🙂

  • Leanne

    Thank you for writing this, Ben. My heart is breaking along with yours. I’m not an Evangelical Christian but I’m hoping for the day when I won’t have to separate my chosen flavor of Christianity from any other. Blessings upon you.

  • Adrienne Jones

    God is love and God loves love and thank God this world is overflowing with that love. Love ways wins.

  • The_Physeter

    Your faith is based on myths written by primitive superstitious people who feared what they could not understand, and shouted “Thus says the Lord; I am sure of it,” when they were just guessing.

    I am sorry for your hurt. Leave the evangelicals and cling to love. And if you decide to keep running, not just away from these Christians but from all Christianity, there will be people here waiting with open arms who believe in love and beauty and truth with no gods at all.

  • Kelsey Nielsen

    Thanks for this raw and honest reaction. I was so proud of World Vision and so sad at the reaction of so many Christians justifying the removal of their support for the organization. This hits a strange cord with me, as I help run an NGO in Uganda, a country that recently passed an anti-gay bill, legislating hate and making it possible for LGBTQ folks to be imprissioned for life for who they love. It’s a country that may very well choose to stop working with World Vision based on this announcement, but who so desperately needs the support and programs that World Vision offers. It’s heartbreaking that hatred and fear perpetuated by ignorance of human sexuality would cause donors to break their promise and support to vulnerable children across the globe. I am so sad at the outrage American Christians will express at an organizations movement toward inclusive hiring policies and the alarming silence at the passing of a bill that compromises basic human rights of gay and lesbian folks in Uganda. It’s so backwards. It’s so anti-Jesus. I love what Bonhoeffer said and I believe it to be true, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Christians are going to be held accountable for the self-righteous bigotry they mask in “upholding Christian values”.

  • This is honest and powerful, Ben. I’m standing with you.

  • Ben, I found your blog via Rachel Held Evens. I know you’re being bombarded with comments right now and I honestly don’t even know exactly what to say, but I wanted you to know that someone else was touched. Thank you for being so brave — it’s so scary to write “Dear Internet, here is my heart and soul” pieces, especially when it’s about a current hot button issue. Your post is beautiful, inspiring, touching. Thank you.

    I’m looking forward to reading more on your blog.

  • Kelly W

    I add my voice to many – you are loved by God. Your courage is an inspiration, your sorrow is felt and shared, your tears sear our consciences. We are with you – and pray that as we travel down these roads together, that step by step you will gain strength and hope.

  • Amy

    Thank you for this. I, too, started reading the blog posts and comments when this issue hit and all I could think is “People are starving children now because of me.” The tears. Oh, the tears. The prayers. Then more tears. Before my evangelical church knew that I was gay, I was a children’s minister. I would have gladly thrown myself in front of a train for any of those kids. It is breaking my heart that even one child would suffer because of me. Because that’s how it feels- like someone is hurting a child to punish me. And the fact that they are wrong to do so, doesn’t help me sleep at night. It haunts me. So thank you. For reminding me to look for the grace. And that I am not the only one.

    • Vanessa

      Amy, they are not suffering because of you. They are suffering because well-known religious leaders with conservative followers know they must publicly “draw the line in the sand” or face losing financial support, and condemnation by peers. (I don’t doubt the convictions of these leaders, but for people to say that WV is “caving” because of fear of losing government funding, but not acknowledge that the evangelical leaders have monetary considerations as well, is pretty naive). Unfortunately, women and children have been pawns in political and religious issues for centuries. I don’t think that changes until Jesus comes. Be well friend.

  • I completely disagree with you, the pain I feel in my soul from reading what I believe to misguided love is hard to express. I am a conservative, reformed pastor who believes the church should be in relentless pursuit of biblical justice. Justice for the weak and oppressed, the widow and orphan. I think we each know the talking points, so I won’t bother. Better to leave it at that, I will be praying and thinking over your perspective.

    • Justin Ahlquist

      For some reason people believe their views and understanding come from themselves and not the holy spirits revelation in their heart and the scripture.

    • Mark Fuentes

      Exactly, Grant. It’s amazing how people can twist the Bible and Truth itself to fit their own perspective or wishful thinking, and then call it more loving or even more Biblical! This isn’t the battle, though. The battle is to keep glorifying God with joy despite it all, because He is so in control.

  • GFulcan

    Ben, I don’t share the same views as you do. I read your blog because you provide a unique perspective, one that is valuable to many Christians who have gay friends, whether they believe in Jesus or not. Understand that I really do try and see where you’re coming from. That said, I’m not sure why you’re blindsided by the posts by evangelicals. Their points are logically sound for anyone who believes that homosexual practice is a sin, which is also my belief. These points can be summarized in the following way:

    – WV is inconsistent by saying that fornication and adultery is sin but homosexual practice is not sin. They are choosing to be selective about sins that are listed together in the very same verse: 1 Cor. 6:9.

    – WV is trivializing the cross of Jesus by approving of a sin that Jesus came to die for, and which the Bible says will prevent someone from inheriting the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:10).

    – WV is being disingenuous by citing a theological reasoning and basis for its ministry, using lots of theological language in its communication, and then claiming to be only an operational arm of the church while being opportunistically selective about the theological underpinnings.

    – WV is being dishonest by saying they’re not taking sides, when they are approving of openly homosexual relationships among Christians.

    Ultimately all of the above derive from answering this question affirmatively: do you believe that God’s Word is clear about homosexual practice being a sin, and that his Word is authoritative over our feelings and cultural norms? This is where the real argument is. Any discussion around WV’s decision should center around this.

    It’s clear that many in the gay community place much of their identity in being gay, even though I don’t claim to understand it. In all honesty Ben, it seems like you have done the same, making statements in your post like “You aren’t even worthy…you are so deeply unwanted…keeps you away from me…my existence is the reason children are losing their livelihoods, dying, etc…I am tired of being the most galvanizing symbol…” I know your words were written in an emotional moment. But do you see how you are equating your identity with a specific act? If you have chosen to place your identity in being attracted to members of the same sex, then naturally it would be nearly impossible to differentiate between condemning an act (homosexual practice) vs. same-sex attraction, or a constant sexual desire for someone of the same sex.

    Taking my point further, the statements in the evangelical blog posts were not directed towards you, but toward a sin that Christ died for. You have taken their words about an act and applied them to yourself, but the Gospel has more to say: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor 6:11)

    I believe homosexual practice is sin, and that Jesus came to free us from that sin just like every other, with varying degrees of success in this present life. Being selective and pointing the finger at gays is incompatible with the Bible — we have all fallen short and must rely on His grace; I of all people. But His grace is only made possible by the death of Christ, and when we are selective about the sins for which he died, we deceive ourselves. I wish you the best and will pray for you in this regard, especially that you will continue to see and embrace the love of Jesus.

    • colinkerr

      GFulcan, you’re correct that conservative evangelical’s critique of WV is logical in the context of a starting point “that God’s Word is clear about homosexual practice being a sin, and that his Word is authoritative over our feelings and cultural norms.” I don’t think WV would agree with the “clear” part. In the event that a theological position is not clear and that multiple denominations that comprise the staff taking varying theological positions, WV takes a stance of neutrality–at least in terms of hiring practices. I know nuance and ambiguity run counter to most conservative evangelical thinking, so such statements seem by the president may seem disingenuous at first glance, but it’s not dishonest.

    • subtleinspiration

      In accordance with 1 Corinthians 7:9, I believe evangelical organizations should cease to hire anyone who is married *period*, because Paul clearly states that people should get married only if they are burning with lust towards one another, but that God finds single people much more preferable because they aren’t so distracted with a relationship.
      You married people should be ashamed of yourselves, unable to keep it in your pants and serve the Lord like you have been called to do.

    • Sheila Warner

      “Ultimately all of the above derive from answering this question affirmatively: do you believe that God’s Word is clear about homosexual practice being a sin,,,”

      No, it’s not clear, and you should do some research into why many Christians have changed their views on it. Aren’t you curious about why gay Christians (and plenty of straights, too) view those passages in a different way? I sure was. I didn’t want to be ignorant of what other Bible scholars say about those passages being thrown around here. There is plenty of disagreement on the use of the words “homosexual” and “homosexuality” in the English translations of the Greek texts. If you truly love your gay brothers and sisters, you’d want to know how they came to their conclusions. Or, are you afraid to take the time to find out that you might just be incorrect in your theology?

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  • Melissa

    This white, straight, early 30s, been-a-Christian-all-my-life, mama of two little ones stands and cheers for you, Ben. I have never been to your blog before, but will be following it from now on. God bless you, Ben. I know you know He does. Your words are honest, moving, painful and full of truth. I am striving to live out my faith in a way that shows my children that the only worthy response to Jesus’ radical love is by radical ACTS of love by us– His followers! I want them to know that they are God’s beloved child, just like everyone else. Thank you for being a voice of love and reason in the midst of the storm.

  • Linda Robertson


    Thank you for this…I really, really needed the reminder to look to Jesus, and to lean hard on HIS love.

    I, like you, read the announcement last night and didn’t think it would upset anyone but the real extremists…and so was horribly disappointed today. I’m having a difficult time letting go of it…my heart is just breaking.

    Thank you for encouraging me to cry out to the Lord, and to trust HIM with this…the way you went to Scripture with your own pain is an example for ALL of us….and one that I sorely needed.

    Thanking God for you today, Ben….

  • Ronald W Gillespie Jr.

    I came home from work tonight and my gf was in tears as a response to this blog post. I hadn’t heard anything about it so had to do some reading. I think it’s ridiculous that so-called Christians would pull funding from a Christian organization simply because they made a decision that affects their business and NOT the church. Ben i am inclined to agree with you. And I believe if these close minded so-called Christians want to allow children to die just so they can make an antiquated point then there are enough gay Christians in the LGBT community who would be happy to help support World Vision.

  • Hi Ben. I wrote you a rather long message of encouragement but it may have been lost somehow as I was signing up. I don’t see it. Bummer. I hope I can remember everything I said, if so. Hugs.

  • David Noah Parker

    Ironically I used to think that I was tuff enough, that no one could chase me away from Jesus. I fought tooth and nail to be a good person and a good christian, but I could no longer lie about who I was. As soon as I came out. It was like the church as a whole shifted its weight against me. Partly because it’s such an “it” topic right now… But all of the sudden the pressure to pick either Jesus or being gay was 1000 fold. Like a tsunami victim I clung to the trees as long as I could getting sliced and diced by every insult, innuendo, stereotype, assumption and bold faced lie that was hurled at me. Finally no longer having the strength to be both a gay man and a church goer… I had to give up the only one I could choose to live without. It’s been over a year since I have been in a church. I physically quake when I get the nerve go again and never make it back in the door. I used to sing on the worship team that was my gift and I was good at it. But after I came out church would have me. I actually got spit on a couple years ago by “bible believing, god fearing man”. So weird.

  • Vanessa

    I found your blog through Jennifer Upton. I know you are hurting and I am sorry to see it. When the hurt subsides a bit, I pray you find hope and clarity in this: now you know. Only you can decide whether God is calling you to continue to reach out. They see you as a man who engages in certain sexual behaviors; you see it as an identity that runs through all you are and do. They see your sexual behaviors as being akin to pagan worship described by Paul; of course you do not, and probably say that committed gay relationships are not what Paul was talking about. You might find the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches http://mccchurch.org/ a more supportive atmosphere. At a certain point, one has to say: why am I chasing after the approval of people who see me as fundamentally broken?

    I’ve found that, when I talk with evangelical leadership, we can agree on some central points, but on some essentials, the basics for common ground are just not there and will never be there. Even if they privately agree, few are willing to risk saying so, because of the fundraising issue. It’s true for all the “hot-button” issues – women’s ordination, divorce, abortion, contraception, seeing mental illness as a medical disorder, etc. etc.

    • KHalleron

      And yet, before Reagan cold-bloodedly decided to use evangelicals for political gain, this was not so. The toxicity that is poisoning the body of Christ and American politics comes from the mixing of the two.

      I was raised in the SBC and it was a pillar of our belief that separation of Church and state was fundamental. All that got thrown out with the Reagan/Falwell coalition, to the detriment of us all.

  • hbacmom

    I too am evangelical and also have gradually changed my understanding of Scripture and how it applies (or doesn’t) to a committed same sex relationship. It’s amazing what happens when “those homosexuals” turn out to be real people and not bogie men out to destroy the world. It is frustrating and painful to be in a time of change – I’m sure it felt that way when certain parts of His body were fighting over slavery or divorce or the role of women…. But I do have hope because I worship a God who is Hope and Who’s love is so big it conquered even death! I attend an evangelical church (Ann Arbor Vineyard) that has just made a similar statement to World Vision. We are not going to argue about this issue. All are welcome and LGBTQ isn’t a barrier to anything. People who disagree are also welcome. We look at this as a Romans 14 issue where Paul told the church to stop fighting about a very contentious issue and love each other even as they disagreed because it was not a salvation issue. If anyone wants to see this fleshed out I’d encourage you to read A Letter to My Congregation by Ken Wilson. There are other evangelical churches out there that also want to take this step we just happen to be the first (very brave senior pastor!) and maybe this will give those other congregations what they need to do it. Be hopeful – Jesus is all about redemption, even this. – Gretchen

    • Vanessa

      A Vineyard church did this? Wow. You give me hope.

      • hbacmom

        Other congregations will follow. Each generation has some issue they wrestle with. There is reason to hope.

    • hbacmom –
      The book your pastor wrote is incredibly edifying. I’ve recommended it to all of my pastor friends and to my friend at the Marin Foundation. It is the best, most compassionate pastoral response to the lives of gay people I’ve ever seen…and I’ve been in this conversation for a while.

      If you have the opportunity, will you please give Pastor Wilson my most sincere and humble “thank you”? I’m so grateful for his words.

  • Drew Pyle

    I too am one of those who need to ask forgiveness for my position for too many years of denying and condemning. The truth is my arms just got so tired carrying around all the rocks I was supposed to stone “evil people” with that one day I just pulled my head out long enough to see Jesus standing there with his arms embracing all “the evil people” with a big grin on his face and I dropped my rocks and ran to Jesus. Here is one of my favorite verses from Song of Songs 2:14
    “My dove in the clefts of the rock,
    in the hiding places on the mountainside,
    show me your face,
    let me hear your voice;
    for your voice is sweet,
    and your face is lovely.”

    Your voice is lovely please keep speaking.

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  • Rebecca

    Ben, as my brother in Christ I am so very sorry you are hurting and so many of us in the christian community are the ones throwing the stones. As a conservative evangelical christian and I am lending my voice to yours and will speak as often as I can (hopefully with grace and wisdom). I am also sponsoring a child through World Vision now to hopefully fill the place of someone who has decided to stop sponsoring. Your post broke my heart and my prayers are with you today. Thank you for sharing. Many of us have sent your post to others. May you find strength in knowing your voice is not alone…many are speaking for you/with you and care deeply about our gay brothers and sisters.

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  • Why are we so bent on “unity” with one another for gain or getting along? We are supposed to be unified with Christ, and that means believing and obeying ALL He said (in both Old and New Testament, as He is eternal),

    • Brandy Taylor

      “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

  • Susan Davis

    You are confusing evangelicals with fundamentalists.

    • The_Physeter

      Are you a regular reader here? This author knows the difference betwen evangelicals and fundamentalists.

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  • Dad of Four

    If we embrace Romans 8, we must also accept what God says through Paul in Romans 1 and 6. What God calls sin must never be accepted as OK even if all the world says it is. “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!” Retract your scissors from the pages of His Word.

    • Charlotte Pegoda

      I have been a part of the conservative, evangelical world for 30 years and I stand back in awe at the lack of public discourse, the lack of outcry, the silence on Greed in the United States- talking about using some scissors by sheer oversight. From a global perspective, we are one greedy bunch. Do we hear the level of condemnation for divorce from national speaker and the local pulpit- no – there is too much concern about condemnation with the 50% of the divorced sitting in our pews. With all of the effort in preventing or overturning the legalization of same sex marriage – where is the same response to divorce. From my position working at an elementary school, I would say the USA-is going to hell in a hand basket because of kids who do not have an intact family. I can hear you thinking that is beside the point – and that is the point- it has become beside the point. I think we are swatting at gnats and swallowing camels.

      • Dad of Four

        I do agree with you, Charlotte, “that is the point”. All sin—be it adultery, divorce, pornography, lying, greed, injustice, etc.—basically going our own way—brings devastating consequences both personal and societal. And ignoring or OKing any sin does not make it go away; it will only fester and cause further devastation. My prayer is that God will have mercy and bring His people to repentance. Only then will healing come to our land and our hearts.

  • I-have-something-to-say

    I work at World Vision. And we are indeed in the middle of the storm. The views I express here are simply my own, and I do not speak for the organization. That said, my heart has been so heavy with sadness over the downright hateful, spiteful, hypocritical things that “Christians” have been saying. And I kind of hate the internet right now. There’s so much more scope for the hurtful imagination when there’s the whole internet at your disposal. But our God is bigger. His love is bigger. HE IS LOVE. That love that embraces the mess. That love that calms the storm. Know that there are plenty of people like me who are delighted that more people who love Jesus and want to serve the poor in his name can come work where I have the privilege to work.

  • Brian McLain

    Two things,
    First, regardless of the World Vision debate, you’ve suggested that certain evangelicals would rather children starve than accept homosexuals in a ministry. You then went on to publicly name certain evangelicals in this same post. Based on many of the comments – and my own reading – whether you mean this or not, you have slandered godly men by accusing them of heinous views that they surely don’t hold. At best you are failing to recognize the straw man you are creating in the heat of your frustration, and at worst you’re characterization is calculated. Either way, you should repent and publicly apologize.
    Second, after perusing your blog a bit, I’m amused that in between the whining and ranting, you continually lay the blame at those Christians who disagree with you. Then, as you have done in this post, you cry about the children and wonder how long your identity as a homosexual will be used for such shenanigans. How about this: Why don’t you die to yourself and your desires. If you continually cry about your supposed mistreatment, and fret about how things aren’t changing, then perhaps you should take one for the children. If the children’s lives are at stake, why must you make as strong a stand as these evangelical leaders that you so detest? Are your beliefs the only ones worth “fighting for?” Should the evangelical leaders only be the ones who lay down their lives and give up the fight? You know, for the children….

    • Sheila Warner

      “..you have slandered godly men by accusing them of heinous views that they surely don’t hold..”

      Really, now? Did you read the facebook postings from sponsors who were dropping their sponsorships? Where were the godly men when that ball started rolling? Did they stand up and say “Wait! Don’t do that!”

      No, they actually encouraged people to stop supporting WV. WV support always includes people who sponsor children. Whey didn’t these godly men modulate their strong words with “if you pull support, please don’t include dropping sponsorship of any children you are supporting”?

      No, the words of these godly men led to children being abandoned. So what if those who dropped the kids go to another organization? That still leaves those particular children at risk. Pure and simple.

      Jesus said that anyone who causes a child to stumble on his way to Jesus, would be better off with a millstone around his neck and tossed into the sea to drown. There will be a reckoning one day, and for that I am glad.

      • Brian McLain

        First of all, many that did say they were pulling support of WV also stated they would place their support in other similar ministries… but the fact that you actually think that people pulling their support of a ministry in this manner is going to have a profound impact on the children shows how much you understand about business and these particular ministries in general. Even if you were right, though, are you insinuating that only the WV kids deserve care and support? If support is transferred to other needy kids, then there are, um, other needy kids out there who are not getting support. Hmmmm. Still, my point is that Ben is insinuating that these men would prefer children starve if it means homosexuals helping them. That’s ignorant and you’re ignorant if you agree.

        Regardless, even more important, at least two of the men that Ben name dropped in his post did NOT say they were pulling support, nor did they encourage others to do so… because I asked them myself this morning. This is called slander. Look it up.

        Finally, while poor exegesis is pretty much par for the course around here, I’m still amused by the way you’re using the millstone passage. Still, I don’t expect everyone to understand their Bible well, so I’ll let it slide.

        • Sheila Warner

          Why didn’t the so-called “giants” in the faith not stand up and decry the cancelling of sponsorship by the angry Christians? They were too busy issuing statements against gays, that’s where they were.

          Franklin Graham, Russell Moore, John Piper, and many more, revved up their followers into a lather. These men were all too happy to play to their bases and motivate people to stop sending $$ to WV.

          These leaders should have foreseen that Christians who are anti-gay would withdraw sponsorships. I believe their words were designed to incite just such behavior. They’re all guilty, in my book.

          • Brian McLain

            Honestly, I’m not interested in this discussion. You already have your beliefs and ideas on the subject and we wouldn’t get anywhere. Besides, I don’t necessarily disagree with you on some points. Ben could stand to take a few notes from you, though, in properly addressing your problems with these men, rather than insinuating that they must want children to die. I wish you could see the difference and the sad irony of it all.

        • Sheila Warner

          Oh, I forgot. Where’s the slander in these remarks?

          “I am done being patient with Piper.

          “I am done pretending I can engage with the SBC.

          “I am done hoping Franklin ends up more like his dad.

          “I am done listening to Denny Burk and his blowhards at the Gospel Coalition.

          “I am done with each and every one of the tweeters out there bragging about dropping their sponsorship of a child in need, just because they hate me.”

          Those are Ben’s words. They don’t fit the definition of slander, at all.

          • Brian McLain

            Are you really that dim? The title of the post – it’s dishonest and ignorant… Talk about revving up followers into a lather. It looks like you bought in hook, line and sinker. Just because you happen to think that these men are monsters doesn’t make it true, and slinging accusations in this manner is wrong. Of course, you don’t seem to quite have a grasp on that concept, so maybe I’m talking in circles here…

          • Sheila Warner

            Yes, you are. Just because you don’t think they are monsters doesn’t make that true, either. I’m talking about people who advocate that people give up their relationship with their sponsored children, here. That is monstrous.

      • The_Physeter

        Anyone who could think it’s okay to drop support of a child, because they’re going to support another child, does not really realize that they are supporting a child. They’ve proven that the child isn’t a person to them, to be loved; the child is a religious obligation, and they give their money so they can say they gave their charity money like good Christians are supposed to.

        I would not look a little poor child in the eyes and say, “Sorry Julia, I’m dropping my support for you, and supporting a different child whose sponsoring organization won’t accept gays. I hope you’ll be all right.”

        • Sheila Warner

          That’s exactly what my husband and I think. It’s so easy to pick up the phone and drop sponsorship. What would happen if the sponsors had to directly tell their children that they are cutting ties with them, and for what reason they are doing so? I wish these child droppers would envision themselves doing that.

        • Jason

          You aren’t actually supporting a “child” through WV, you’re supporting a community. Your money goes into a pool, it doesn’t go directly into a child’s pocket. If you move your $35/month from WV, the child that was assigned to you (to make your donations personal) does not thereafter starve – he or she always has been and will continue to benefit from the money given to the region of the country in which he or she lives.

    • The_Physeter

      I don’t get it. Are you saying he should pretend he’s not gay because it will help the childrens?

  • Bonar Bell


    I’m very sorry to see that World Vision has reversed their decision. I guess the voices of the evangelical conservatives have won out.

  • Charlotte Pegoda

    I am outside the fray in my thinking and I have to recite the same scriptures. I, too, struggle to be in relationship with those who reject those whom God put into me a deep compassionate concern. I want to throw open the door of fellowship and there is a crowd on the other side seemingly blocking the door. It is a narrow path my friend. It is a narrow path- but following The Way is a narrow path and when the outcries are a large chorus, a status quo- maybe that in itself is telling. You encourage me. Thank you.

  • Scott G

    Tough decision to make either way. The Bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin, but how do we go about speaking the truth in love? I don’t think banning gays from working at a Christian organization is the way to do it, but I don’t think supporting a sinful lifestyle is biblically based either. Would like to hear people’s responses

    • D McClain

      The issue is should an evangelical organization, whose
      workers model and represent the evangelical faith and lifestyle, allow gay
      married people to represent them by having them work for them. Christ is clear that marriage is between a
      man and a woman (Matthew 19:4) and as representatives of Christ we should support that among
      those we send out to do His work. I
      would suggest that we hold paid evangelical workers to a different standard
      than we hold say a depressive suicidal teenager struggling with same sex
      tendencies or a person who overtly suggests his sin is acceptable and does not
      require forgiveness or repentance. To the suicidal teenager struggling with
      same sex issues I would offer to Him the grace and freedom that comes through
      faith in Christ (but that does not mean I would put him or her in a paid
      position in which he/she represents the values (charity and purity) that are
      foundational to our beliefs on sexual purity). To the
      other I would suggest repentance before placing him/her in a role that
      represents Jesus and His church.

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  • Aaron

    15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:15-20 (NIV). This is why I agree with this post. I have never seen or heard of any instance in which exclusion or “disciplining” LGBT has caused them to feel the love of Christ. We can and likely will argue about homosexuality until pigs fly, but the old way of rejecting has got to change. All it does is bear thistles. Love bears fruit. Too bad the kids get the thistles too.

  • Jacob Wrestled

    Ben, I want to say that your last post, and this one too, really resonate with me.

    For years, I’ve been on the margins of the evangelical movement, on a number of issues. The conversation over LGBT matters is one of those issues. Generally, I keep silent or at least very measured about controversial issues. Most people know me as a “Feminist.” That tends to annoy or concern some people, but one can usually “pass” even with that pecularity, particular when straight and married with children.

    For some reason, the dialog over World Vision really rubbed me the wrong way. Not, mind, because the conversation was unusual. The problem is that it was so typical: We got treated to a slew of commentary, yet again, implicitly or explicitly advancing this claim:

    “There are, definitionally, no LGBT people who affirm their sexuality and are professing Christians. There are no True Christians who affirm them. If a church or organization allows dissent on this issue, it is not a Christian organization.”

    Apparently you don’t exist. Apparently I don’t exist. Apparently my church and its denomination do not exist. Well, what do you know!

    It’s always interesting not to exist. Descartes would be puzzled.

    I intend to continue being charitable and open to dialog. But here’s what I am done doing: I’m done allowing people to write entire groups of people invisible. I’m breaking bread with the people these guys want to make invisible. I’m not going to stop. And I chose to be in solidarity with those people. Let the evangelicals decide whether to keep breaking bread with me.

    So, more assertively than I have before, here is what I am saying:

    If there’s no room for you at the table, there is no room for me either.

    I know that is not a big consolation, but you are not alone.

  • Melody

    I was raised in the fundamentalist evangelical bubble and remember at least on one occasion parroting the talking point that AIDS was God’s curse on homosexuals for their sin. I had no idea what I was talking about of course. Life has a way of interfering with one’s dogma, at least, mine did.

    After several failed relationships I had sunk into despair that I would ever find the husband I was longing for within the church. One evening, when I was particularly lonely, I happened to share a table at a coffee shop with a man who became my best friend within an hour’s worth of conversation. I was so filled with frustrated hopes and dreams and disillusionment with the church from a single person’s perspective that I threw all caution to the wind and spilled all of it out to him–I recklessly thought, why not, he clearly identified himself as a member of a different religion from the start, he’s an outsider, we’ll likely never meet again after this evening, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to try to work in the Four Spiritual Laws tonight. I’m too raw and broken.

    Four years later, after too many ragged attempts to evict this man permanently from my life to enumerate, I finally gave up and married him. His patience and the sympathetic understanding that he displayed on that first evening have never wavered. For four years I had done everything I could possibly do to extract myself from this relationship, or, alternatively, convert him, and both attempts were futile and eventually I realized they always would be. There was one watershed moment that seemed to come out of nowhere as a realization–I believe from God–and suddenly I realized, this is what it must be like to be gay, in church. To bear the overwhelming message that you are in love with the “wrong” person. That your feelings for this person must be fixed through prayer and/or abandoned entirely, nailed to the cross. And I knew it just couldn’t be done, that it was futile. And though I wasn’t at all sure I was obeying God, I just had enough. I just gave up, married him and got it over with.

    Almost eleven years and two kids later, I can’t imagine that I would have done anything else. My husband and I have the essence of the marriage and companionship I have always yearned for, although of course it looks different from the outside to our families and friends, and it is tricky to raise children together.

    I have never attempted to explain or defend my choices–which actually feel more like fate that was chosen for me–in light of the verse “be ye not unequally yoked”. I’m not all that interested in a hermaneutical justification, frankly. If others feel the need to do so to satisfy their own minds they’re welcome to it. I’m busy enough just keeping the main tenants of my faith–love God, love your neighbors as yourself. I have lived long enough in this marriage by now to know that this is the path that was chosen for me. Both my sisters, and plenty with them, believe that I have sinned, and that I have set an ungodly example for their daughters. I have accepted that and I do not try to convince them otherwise. That comes with the territory, and the joys of my marriage relationship really do make all of those harpings fade into the background. I guess God will have to judge me eventually. And if he agrees with my sisters, then I will accept that as well. Meanwhile, I am busy and productive raising my family, caring for the poor and disenfranchised, loving and supporting my husband. I am–incredibly–happy. At peace. Satisfied, and in love with my husband, who prays differently than I do, who reads from a different holy text, and yet who is one of the most Christ-like men I have ever known. We have survived plenty of stress in this first decade with jobs, kids, deaths of our mothers, that have put us through the same challenges other marriages face, and have come through strong and united. Our marriage is good and whole and working for the betterment of both of us.

    Since I have found myself on the receiving end of similar judgment and accusation as our LGBT folks, I now know better than what I used to assume in light of Christian dogma. I just don’t care any more what those verses in the Bible are supposed to mean or how they should be interpreted correctly. I just don’t give a damn. The Bible has been used to justify slavery, war, and all sorts of evil and inhumane things. People can find verses to justify almost anything they want to assert. Enough. It’s just neither here nor there. There are more important things to care about–justice, mercy, compassion, humility, peacemaking. These are worthy of our strenuous efforts, and this is the essence of what I am teaching my children. Do not assume you know who is pleasing God and who is sinning. You may be the biggest ass of all. Just mind your own business and be who God has called you to be. That’s all.

    All this to say, Ben–and those of you LGBT folks reading this blog–in a way, I have now identified with you and the discrimination you have faced. Perhaps not to the same extent, because it was perfectly legal for me to marry my husband anywhere on this planet, but your rights to marry are just starting to be granted in a few spots here and there. Your work is still cut out for you. And the vitriol I faced was hurtful but limited to church circles, whereas you are still facing stigmatization in the wider world as well on many fronts. I am sorry for the judgment I unwittingly embraced before I came to these realizations. But you now have this one enlightened friend here, and the children I am raising, whose own children I expect will be surprised to find out how much abuse all of you faced to win your battles for equality and acceptance. I believe it will get better than this, and you have my loyal friendship and support.

  • Chris Storer

    It’s an interesting article, and I sense the frustration in your words. However, I think in all the uproar and emotion a key point is being missed. Many of the organizations that were going to pull their support from WV (Assemblies of God for example), were simply going to re-direct it to other missions groups similar to WV, but that held true to the Bible. These groups are not abandoning starving children, as many have claimed. I support their decision, and I would do the same thing.

    I’m a firm believer that Christians can show the love of Jesus to the gay community without compromising the word of God. You have posted many beautiful verses, but there is a verse that comes to my mind. Jesus said if any man wishes to be a disciple, he must “deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me”. I would argue to my grave that there fewer words uttered by Christ that are more powerful, and life-changing than those words.

    My question to you brother is this: have you denied yourself and taken up your cross? Your writing is beautiful and raw – but it is all about you. When our life is all about Jesus, our flesh, along with all of its desires, dies too. That is my challenge to you, my brother in Christ.

    God Bless,

    • Rissa

      For some reason as I read this comment all I hear is “specks and planks, specks and planks, specks and planks.”

      Maybe it’s time to check your own.

      • Brian McLain

        oh, brother…

      • Jason

        If that’s all you hear, Rissa – you need to check the lens through which you’re reading.

        • Rissa

          If your children shout your name while you read a book, do you assume the author of the piece is the origin of their call?

          Why do you assume that the words I hear originate from what was written?

          • Jason

            Re-read your comment, Rissa.

            Because you say, “for some reason as I read this comment all I hear is . . . .” so if what you’re hearing is coming from another source, maybe you shouldn’t have called out Chris Storer so sharply to “check [his] own” specks and planks.

            If I could emphasize the part of your comment that says “as I read this comment,” I would to help you understand why one would logically assume what you’re hearing is directly related to the comment your lambasting.

          • Rissa

            I am so sorry, I see from your phrasing that you’re not writing in your first language. I would have explained more clearly if I’d known.

            The word “hearing” as I used it commonly means the act of receiving audible sound via the ear. Because a written comment is not audible, I honestly didn’t see how you had confused the two. I thought you were being disingenuous, so my reply was perhaps snarkier than it needed to be; I am sorry for that. In English you can “hear” a lot of different ways (hear of, hear out) which are all slightly different types of language reception, so now I think I see how you got confused.

            As to the structure of my initial comment, we can take a look at that as well.

            First, you quoted words I used to establish context. Context gives a reader necessary grounding for the writing that comes next. Assuming that context is understood is usually poor craftsmanship. In this case I wrote “for some reason” to establish that the reason I heard “specks and planks” was not clear to me.

            What I wrote after establishing context was a statement of fact. For some [unknown] reason, as I read the comment, I heard the words “specks and planks.”

            Finally, I suggested a possible reason that I may have heard those words. In doing so I made an assumption that Chris Storer and I share a faith tradition; in my faith tradition, “specks and planks” refers to a passage of Scripture that promotes self-examination. I thought that might be why I heard those words, but Chris is the only one who is in a position to decide if that is the reason or not, since self-examination cannot be conducted by outside parties. For that reason I used the word “perhaps” to convey my uncertainty, and left it to Chris to decide from there if I was out of line or not. He is the only person (alive today, at least!) who would know for sure. You and I are not in a position to decide one way or another.

            Hope that helps 🙂

            (Just a shot in the dark here now, but–French? “Je veux vous aider” would almost translate literally as “I would to help you,” and certain French verbs which we translate “hear” would allow for the confusion . . . my French is quite rusty, I’ve not used it since undergrad, but it was my first guess!)

    • Naomi

      So have you taken up your cross and become perfect?! I can’t get through an entire day without sinning. I admit it. I need His mercy. Don’t you? And don’t you agree that because we need it, we should also extend it to others?

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  • Suzan D Reed

    Love the sinner does not mean condone the sin.

    • TomSatsuma

      And it also has nothing to do with whether you employ them or not.

  • Trey

    I’m impressed with your faith. I sometimes still use Scripture in my defense but I’ve slowly been abandoning the Bible for this purpose (although I think it is still possible). I’m amazed that you are able to use the very same scriptures to defend yourself that Graham and Piper and others use to justify their actions. I can’t bring myself to do that. I have not been able to claim for myself those scriptures that have traditionally been used to condemn me. It’s like if I were to do that, I would somehow be like them. So instead, I seem to be slowly drifting away from Christianity as I know it…even though by doing so, I feel like I’m letting them win. But, honestly, I’m tired of trying to “win.” They can have their scriptures.

    Not sure if that makes a lot of sense, but after every culture battle, every Chick-fil-a or Duck Dynasty or World Vision, I stray a little further from Christianity and wander and little more into those areas I’ve been afraid to let myself go to. Sliding a little further down that slope I guess some would say.

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  • Matt Davis

    You’re better than this. Please ask yourself why you’re staying in a religion that’s so judgemental. Please consider leaving it and becoming an atheist; I’m sure you’ll be an even better person for it and can find many worthwhile causes to support.

    • jj1954

      Just to clarify, true Christianity does not promote this judgement and hateful behaviour. It is just a certain small group within the religion called evangelicals, who seem to feel it is their responsibility to tell the rest of us how we should live our lives rather than leaving it up to God and ourselves to work things out. They seem to think they know everything about everything, even about subjects that aren’t included in the Bible. But this doesn’t represent the majority of Christian beliefs. Perhaps you should consider leaving atheism and becoming a Christian; I’m sure you’ll be an even better person for it and can find many worthwhile causes to support. ***Sorry, I couldn’t resist that last part; it’s always a good idea to have little bit of knowledge about what you’re commenting on.

  • Garrett Locklear


    I found you’re post refreshingly honest. Thank you.

    I don’t agree with many things such as hate, violence, stealing, judging, and the list goes on and on. I also don’t agree with homosexuality but I don’t believe this is any reason why I would not stand beside you, or you beside me, and call you my brother in Christ. I believe we can disagree on many things but that does not mean we must also delegitimize (ya I Googled how to spell that) who we are as children of God.

  • Bonnie Cordova

    “And I am clinging closer to Jesus than ever before” Brings tears to my eyes as I relate to how, when the world tears down, the Holy Spirit holds up. Every time my humanity drops me to my knees, again, the Holy spirit lifts me up. It hurts my heart when I read such a difference in opinions that show such an abyss at times between spirituality and religion. Love trumps all else…we can question, disagree, discuss every smidge of our existence, as a community, but if not done with love, then we should excuse ourselves form the table. No child has gone without because of you, be assured of that….that decision came from the sponsor because of their heart, not yours. Thank you for sharing your heart and pain here, hope you know how much you are loved <3

  • jj1954

    Dear Ben,

    Your words moved me to tears. I have always believed that Jesus loves all LGBT’s as He loves everyone else in this world. We are all created in God’s image and God does not make mistakes! And Jesus Himself never spoke about being gay as a sin. Whoever wrote the Gospels did in only a very few places and we don’t even know who that was, really; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were already dead when the Gospels were written. We didn’t even have a Bible until the 4th century. The real message Jesus taught us was to love each other as ourselves, even our enemies, and not to judge. It seems to me this is all the majority of evangelicals are doing these days, pushing their own agendas, not with love but with outright hate.

    As a straight Christian, this breaks my heart. While I can’t really even imagine what your life has been like, I have spent many hours crying over the pain these so-called Christians have caused. They cause me pain! I am constantly taking a stand against these haters and others who seem to take pleasure in causing the hurt and suffering of fellow Christians and non-believers. Jesus loves us all. I want you to know that you are loved, and supported, by myself and many others in my small little world, and in the larger world of true Christians who live by the love and grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Please know that there are regular prayers going out that someday everyone will finally realize we are all the same, children of God, and that those that are promoting so much hate will finally experience the joy one feels when we live solely with only His love in our hearts,

    You are now in my heart for good and I pray for peace, love and the grace of Jesus in your life. You are an amazing person with incredible courage to speak so honestly and openly. God bless you, Ben!

  • jual hopkins

    I’m not sure how I found your blog tonight but my heart is sadden and stricken for you. No I’m not the voice of God, but I am His daughter.

    Culture changes. That’s an obvious one. However Jesus never changes. His Word never changes. Men with men is sin. Women with women is sin. There is not one example of a homosexual marriage being okay in the Bible.

    Should people drop there contribution to World Vision. No. If they do, they should stop shopping at Target and any other openly gay supportive store as well. Has World Vision lost my respect. Yes. They’ve compromised their integrity and probably won’t last as an organization because if they are willing to bend to the culture they’ll compromise on other things as well.

    Additionally, God is our provider and He is the one taking care of all the children supported through World Vision. He has plans for every one of those kids and is a creative God. He will meet there needs.

    I have about 8 different comments running through my head and I know you’ll combat it all off. So with that I hope you do wrestle with my post and that it will keep you from sleep… So that you go to Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit (with your Bible open) to bring clarity to your own heart. He’s the only one you should listen to anyways.

    Jesus does love you and He’s after your heart always. He wants radical voluntary love that steps out and takes a stand even when culture norms are changing.

  • Elexa Dawson

    Ben, I don’t know you but I love you. I’m with you and that makes us not alone.

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  • Rebecca

    I’m so sorry for the crap we fellow Christians have spewed at you.

  • longhorndude

    well, folks, its time for a New Translation, don’t you think???!!!??? Oh, all the justification so that one can live as he/she wishes

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  • Stacie Rodriguez Nicholson

    Oh Brother, my heart, my heart, my heart…I can not help but think of what Simeon told Mary as a prophecy of who Jesus would become, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.” Father, forgive these men and women that know not what they are doing…apply your marvelous Healing Balm upon your son Ben’s heart, binding it up completely. Jesus, you felt the sting of betrayal in your flesh but even greater because your Love knows no bounds…YOU felt the JOY of LOVE! May the love for your enemies become the GREATEST spring board you have ever known, Dearest Ben… you are going to know new depths, widths and breadths of God’s Love through this experience…how ESTABLISHED you shall BE! We are in an UNSHAKABLE HOME…many Kings and Prophets wanted to know what you know but could not access it…may your status as privileged Son give you wings, Brother!

    Great JOY and LOVE to you


  • D McClain

    I am one of those hateful insensitive monsters you are referring too and you are right, maybe it is time for evangelicals to part ways over this issue- you go your way and I’ll go mine. If you are right and it is true that the evangelical world is changing and going this way then I am afraid I cannot go with them. Historically the church and evangelicals have held that human sexuality is limited to a lasting marriage which is ordained of God as between a man and woman as Jesus affirmed in Matthew 19:4. If believing that position is hateful and insensitive then I stand condemned- but please remember I am not the one changing the rules. If I stand condemned then I stand condemned with the rest of church and evangelical history. Long before the homosexual issue came into the forefront this historic and evangelical position on marriage has been undermined and the sanctity of marriage belittled. Sexual purity, once a trait promoted by evangelicals, is under attack even within the church on many fronts. As James says, “pure religion and undefiled is this, to visit the orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (charity and purity). But I want to note- this does not mean I hate everyone who acts sexually outside the context of marriage- it would mean I would have to hate half my church- which I do not nor do I consider myself better than them. – Like everyone else I need grace and forgiveness but to call something sin is not the same as hating them for I would have to hate myself. The issue for me is one of an evangelical group accepting the redefinition of this historical view of marriage itself based on ones personal passion (no matter how innate it may be). As I have read numerous blogs and websites I see that it is is probable that there will be a split in the evangelical church, which saddens me in that most of my life I have devoted myself to its mission. But, since you feel that people like me are hateful and bigoted monsters then we really have little to work with..

    • Naomi

      Perhaps you and others wouldn’t be considered hateful and bigoted if ONE SINGLE person had posted about Mickey Rooney’s 8 yes EIGHT marriages. I saw zero. Not one single Christian said a single thing about how he defiled the marriage covenent. Instead Pat Robertson referred to him as a great guy that’s probably in heaven now right after he was speaking out against gay marriage rights AGAIN. Personally, I would much rather be told I was too merciful rather than too judgemental when I stand before the throne.

    • Naomi

      This story comes to mind as I read your post about why its so important to hold up the Law that’s been established for so long.
      Mark 3:1-6 (NIV)
      Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
      3 Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
      4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
      5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

      See the Pharisee Law keepers were more concerned with years of obeying Sabbath Laws without regard to mercy. You are more concerned with upholding OT Law as opposed to being merciful. Just as this man was in desperate need of help, so are the countless people that are being trampled, beaten down, and ripped apart because of your efforts (even with good intentions) to uphold God’s Law. As a result, 2 out of 3 teens that are gay have attempted suicide. Do you wish to save a life or kill? Do you wish to stand up for Law or show mercy? How drastically do you think the kids that are killing themselves because they’re gay would feel some sense of self worth if we got off our legalist horse and actually cared that they are broken, hurt, and outcast? What do you think Jesus would do?!

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  • Naomi

    I am a long time Christian and now identify myself as more of a Christ follower now rather than a Christian, due to the hurt and pain that has been, and still is, inflicted on others in the name of “biblical truth.” I am sorry for the pain that I caused before my eyes were opened to the real tragedy, which isn’t people like you, but people like us. Before I knew that mercy and love were the core of Christ’s teachings, I voted against gay marriage in my state. I somehow thought that I was superior spiritually to gay people when in fact, I was the sinner in my judgement. Please forgive me and know that not all Christ follower’s are so hateful and judgemental, even if we once were. We still have a long way to go but I hope that you keep the faith. And I am and will remain a World Vision sponsor. The children are counting on us.

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  • Ben, I can hardly claim to have any understanding of the hell you have been put through. Please do not stop praying for those who abuse you and who, themselves, pray only for God to rain down condemnation upon you. I do not know what the answer is for you, but I know it cannot be a retreat into hate, warranted though it may seem to be. For whatever hope it may offer you, I am a Southern Baptist seminary graduate and a devout Christian and I do not hate you or wish to keep you away from God or from myself. You are in my prayers.

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  • Jeffery Smith

    Dear Ben:

    I am a Bible believing Christian. I am not simply an American living in a republic. That is my mailing address, but my true home is in a kingdom – the Kingdom of God. And I have a King – Jesus Christ. It is not for the peasant to tell the King what to do. I must obey my King. And the King says “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers,passive homosexual partners, 5 practicing homosexuals, 6 6:10 thieves,the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, 7 and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NET Bible).

    But my warning to the other people of God’s kingdom, is that the new commandment that Jesus gave us was that we love one another as Jesus loved us. Do we have love people who a are thieves? Do we love people who are drunks? Do we love people who are homosexuals? Jesus told us to.

    Loving them isn’t sunning them or demeaning them and it certainly isn’t a licence to hate them. But loving them isn’t letting them simply stay i that lifestyle without saying something either. The homosexual is 4-7 times more likely to be depressed and to commit suicide. They have a higher rate of drug abuse. They have a lifestyle that is self-destructive. Just like the drunkard. Christians should lead the charge in handing them a drink of water along their dusty and difficult way. May Jesus forgive all Christians who are not loving.

    Please forgive us Ben.

    Because of Christ
    Jeff Smith Author of Born to Believe: Understanding the Bible and You

  • Sharpie Master

    I guess you probably have a black Sharpie in your back pocket … since there are plenty of other passages in the Bible which talk about not tolerating a brother caught in sexual immorality, that he who doesn’t provide for his household and especially family members is worse than an unbeliever, that a number of churches in Revelation don’t get very good marks, and that Jesus died for sins and called sinners to repentance. My gosh, you make it sound like this Jesus is a Cosmic Santa Claus or Cosmic Doting Grandfather for all of his love.

    And no, the children being dropped were picked up by other organizations as well as “the issue of hiring regardless of marital-status-of-same-sex-couples” wasn’t the only issue why various people dropped WV.

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