Thursday, March 27, 2014

WORLD VISION-USA AT ANG SULONG-URONG NA HOMOSEXUAL HIRING POLICY

Ginulantang ng World Vision-USA ang sangka-Cristianuhan nang ihayag nito noong ika-24 ng Marso ang bagong polisiya na tumatanggap sa mga homosexuals sa legal same-sex marriages bilang kanilang staff. Ayon kay  Richard Stearns, pangulo ng World Vision, ang kanilang desisyon ay isang simbolo ng pagnanais ng organisasyon na magkaisa ang mga Christian organizations ukol sa usaping ito, anuman ang kanilang posisyon sa isyu ng same-sex marriage. 

Marami ang hindi natuwa sa pananaw na ito ng World Vision-USA. Isa sa naglabas ng position paper ay ang Assemblies of God at pinagsabihan ang mga miyembro nito na tumigil na sa pagbibigay ng suporta sa organisasyon at ilagak na lamang nila sa ibang charitable organizations. Ganundin, nagbanta ang mga tumutulong sa kanilang sponsor-a-child-programs na ititigil ang kanilang suporta. Mahigit sa $500 milyon sa $1 bilyong pondo ng World Vision taon-taon ay nagmumula sa mga private donors.

Matapos ang dalawang araw, bunga ng kabi-kabilang batikos, binawi ng World Vision-USA ang kanilang desisyon. Inamin ni Stearns na nagkulang sila sa konsultasyon ukol sa bagay na ito at humingi sila ng kapatawaran sa lahat ng kanilang partner organizations na umalma  sa kanilang ipinayag na polisiya. 

Paano natin uunawain ang sulong-urong na polisiya ng World Vision-USA?

Ang World Vision-USA ay sinusuportaha ng mahigit 50 Christian denominations  na may iba’t ibang pananaw ukol sa usapin ng kasal, diborsiyo at same-sex marriage. Ito marahil ang nagtulak sa organisasyon na maging liberal sa kaniyang polisiya. Nakabase rin ang World Vision-USA sa bansang mataas ang pagkiling sa same-sex marriage. Ang home state ng organization, ang Washington,  ay pabor sa batas na ito. 

Ayon kay Stearns, hindi sakop ng World Vision bilang parachurch organization, ang pagdedesisyon kung ano ang pananaw ng mga local churches sa same-sex marriage. Ang kanilang nangingibabaw na misyon ay tularan si Cristo at tulungang makakawala ang marami mula sa kahirapan. Sa website ng organization, ito lamang ang nakalagay pagdating sa kanilang articles of faith: “Our faith in Jesus is central to who we are, and we follow His example in working alongside the poor and oppressed. We serve every child in need that we possibly can, of any faith, or none. We partner with churches throughout the world, equipping them to meet the needs of their communities.”

Marami ang nagbubuhos ng salapi sa organisasyon dahil nakakapit dito ang pagkakakilanlan na isa itong “Christian organization” na sa pananaw ng marami ay sumusunod sa tradisyunal at Biblikal na disenyo ng pamilya. Bagaman ipinahayag World Vision na ang kanilang binawing polisiya ay hindi pagi-endorso sa same-sex marriage, para sa iba, nagbibigay pa rin ito ng puwang upang kilalanin ang ganitong uri ng pagsasama.

Pinapalutang rin ng isyung ito ay ang kahalagahan sa mga organisasyon ng malawakang pakikipag-usap sa maaaring maapektuhan ng posisyon ukol sa mga sensitibong isyu ng lipunan. Maaaring salungain ng iilang lider ang posisyon ng nakararaming miyembro. 

Ngunit huwag ipagkamali na ito ay usapin lamang ng paramihan ng bilang ng pabor o hindi pabor sa patakaran. Mas mabuting pagtuunan ng pansin ang pagbabago ng pananaw ng maraming iglesya ukol sa pagtanggap sa pagsasama ng magkaparehong kasarian at bumuo ng isang pamilya. Sadyang nagbago na ang panahon.

Kung isang secular charity organizations ang World Vision, hindi lilikha ng malaking alingasngas ang bagay na ito. Pinalutang lamang ng pahayag ng World Vision-USA ang mainit na debate sa Amerika na hindi naman malaking isyu sa ibang bansa. Sa ibang country programs ng organisasyon, lalo na sa mga bansang Muslim, nagagawa namang kumuha ng mga Muslim na empleyado bagaman kailangan nilang sumunod sa mga “Christian standards” na itinakda ng organisasyon. Sa paningin ng marami, ano  ang pinagkaiba nito sa pagkuha ng empleyadong nasa same-sex relationships? 

Ang nangingibabaw na tanong sa kasalukuyan ay: Ano ang dapat unang isaalang-alang sa paglikha ng polisiya ng World Vision? Ang misyon nito na tulungan ang mahihirap? Ang doktrinang ebangheliko na kakabit ng kaniyang pagkakakilanlan? O ang mga funders nito na may malaking kontribusyon sa kaniyang operasyon? 

Ang liderato lamang ng World Vision ang makakasagot nito.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

GUARD YOUR HEART

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) - Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. 

I have been counseling teenagers, singles and couples for quite some time. I should say that majority, if not all, of their concerns stemmed from their failure to temper their emotions. This is the reason King Solomon admonished all to be cognizant of the unpredictable nature of our hearts so that we can be spared from unnecessary emotional stress and depression.

It must be noted that the word “heart” in this verse (labe in Hebrew) refers not to our beating muscle (cardio) but rather to our whole being—our  feelings, will and intellect. Therefore, the accurate rendition of this verse should be “Above all else, guard your whole being...” A holistic perspective in this matter is in order. We must always be on our toes because our emotions can have a serious impact on other areas of our lives.

Guarding our heart should be our UTMOST priority (“above all…”) since it affects everything we do. It is compared to a wellspring. The logic is deceptively simple: contaminated source results in dirty water; good source produces a pure one. In the same manner, if your heart is full of sin, your actions confirm it (Luke 6:45). Our heart reveals and defines who we are (Matthew 15:18).

WHY GUARD OUR HEARTS?
You don’t guard something that is already sheltered and protected. Not with our heart which is under constant attack by the sinful world and the devil who does not grow weary of deceiving us. Have you seen believers gave up attending church fellowships and Bible study sessions and getting far away from God each and everyday? Earthly things can leave your spirit dry (1 John 2:16). The devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Bear in mind that we cannot depend on our hearts to navigate the course of our lives. It is primarily deceitful and can lead us to wrong judgment and directions (Jeremiah 7:8). What feels good may not be always right. Our rebellious, sinful nature makes us prone to reject the authority of God. As prophet Isaiah wrote, those whose spirits are dead because of sin are like sheep that have gone astray, rebelling against God and doing their selfish ways (Isaiah 53). The condition of our heart also determines the extent we can truly experience the presence of God. Only those with pure hearts can see God (Matthew 5:8, Psalm 24).

PUTTING A HEART-PROTECTION GEAR
Guarding your heart is your moral responsibility. Nobody can guard it for you. Discipline is the key. This necessitates abstinence from things which can expose you to dangerous emotional attachments. You must have the firm resolve to always check your motives and desires.

Let God search and change you from the inside out. You need to surrender everything to Him as He will never force you to follow Him. He cannot transform you unless you are willing to be changed (Revelations 3:20). As you commune with Him, you will be changed in His image from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Be consumed by the Word of God. As David wrote, “How can a man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.” (Psalm 119:9). The Word of God shall renew our minds which are being defiled and corrupted by secular concerns. As we immerse in God’s Word, our minds are renewed and become capable of knowing God’s will (Romans 12:1-2).

Keep your heart free from sin. If you regard iniquity in your heart, the Lord will not hear (Psalm 66:18, Isaiah 59:1-2). Any concealed sin in our lives will always be a “public scandal” in heaven. Be transparent about your feelings. 

God does not want just a section of our heart. He wants all of it. He commanded that we should love Him with  ALL of our heart (Matthew 22:37, Luke 10:27). In everything, we must trust Him with ALL our heart (Proverbs 4:5-6). Give Him everything. Not half. Not a fourth. All of it. 

I am always reminded by a wonderful song which I have been singing since I surrendered my life to the Lord more than 18 years go.

A pure heart, that's what I long for.
A heart that follows hard after Thee;
A pure heart, that's what I long for.
A heart that follows hard after Thee.

A heart that hides Your Word
So that sin will not come in.
A heart that's undivided
But one You rule and reign;
A heart that beats compassion,
That pleases You, my Lord.
A sweet aroma of worship
That rises to Your throne.

May we all have a heart that pleases the Lord.

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