A wide spot in my imagination.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Press Releases from World Vision (It's Humor, People)

It seems the World Vision press office is working over time.  Here's what they've sent out this week:

March 24 (5:56 pm):  World Vision President Richard Stearns announced that his organization, one of America's largest Christian charities, will allow gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to be hired as well as gay Christians who follow their policy of abstinence outside of marriage.  World Vision is known for its global child sponsorship program and says the new gay-is-okay policy is "symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity."

March 26 (5:05 p.m.):  World Vision released a statement confirming it has reversed its decision to allow the hiring of employees in same-sex marriages: “The board acknowledged it made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between one man and one woman. … We are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion we have caused many of our friends, who saw this decision as a reversal of our strong commitment to Biblical authority.”

March 26 (5:35 pm):  World Vision announces that if a person sponsors a child through its program and then learns that the child is stubborn and rebellious, the sponsor may encourage that child’s parents to stone the child.  "After all," an anonymous source said.  "It's in the Bible. Deuteronomy 21.  Look it up.  That's our authority."

March 26 (5:42 pm):  World Vision announces that the company-wide shrimp boil set for Saturday has been cancelled.  "Uh, yeah, that's in the Bible, too, right," Stearns is supposed to have asked a press aid.

March 26 (6:01 pm):  World Vision President Richard Stearns announced the firing of the press aid mentioned in the previous update.  "She had on gold jewelry and fine clothes.  The Bible prohibits that," he said. "And not in some obscure Old Testament book that we all ignore.  It's one of the New Testament books we ignore."

March 26 (6:02 p.m.)  World Vision announces that if a person sponsors a rebellious child and the child is stoned, the sponsor  will receive a full refund. 

March 26 (6:04 pm):  World Vision Board Chairman James Bere announces that all male employees must immediately stop shaving.  "We can't decide whether to brand this as a 'Movember Year-Round' campaign to really connect with hipster evangelicals or to stick with our 'It's in the Bible' theme to appeal to the old school Billy Graham type of evangelical.  This is a real quandary for us."

March 26 (6:17 PM):  A disgruntled former World Vision press aid released the following internal emails between Board Chairman Bere and President Stearns:  

From: Viz Prez  
To: Bored Chair
Bro, you giving up your new car?

From: Bored Chair
To:  Viz Pres
Dude, wtf...What the Ferrari I mean? lol    You know I drive ford.  What, the ford? 

From: Viz Prez
To: Bored Chair
yeah, it's in the Bible. Sell all you have give to the poor.  And JESUS said that one. way bigger then shell fish.  

March 26 (9:03 p.m.):  World Vision senior staff emerged from their late-night Bible study with the following announcement:  "It has come to our attention that some Bible scholars propose that couples Ruth & Naomi and David & Jonathan enjoyed same-sex romantics liaisons.  Those same scholars have pointed out that, while the idea of legal same-sex marriage would have been foreign to the writers of the Bible, press releases and child sponsorship programs would have been foreign to the writers of the Bible also."

March 26 (9:27 p.m.):  One anonymous WV staffer announced that he had been deep in prayer when the others exited to make the Jonathan-and-David-were-lovers statement.   "After they all left," he said, "I heard God speak.  At least it sounded like God. Maybe it was Della Reese.  Anyway, God told me that I should have multiple wives like King David.  After all, that's hot, er, uh, I mean, that's in the Bible." 

March 26 (9:30 p.m.):  The World Vision press office requests that all TV trucks and other media vehicles be moved from the street in the front of the office. That's where the dump truck of stones will be parking later tonight, the press release said.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Why I (Maybe) Broke the Law Last Night

Last night, under cover of darkness, I broke the law.  Well, I don't really know if it was illegal or not.  But it's fun to think it might be.*

Along with other members of Westmoreland Church, we set dozens of pairs of shoes on Westmoreland Circle.

Westmoreland Circle is one of the prominent traffic circles in Northwest DC. The church I serve sits across from the circle.  Thousands of people each day make their way around the circle as they bustle to work, to school, to shop, etc.

The shoes we set up are a reminder of people.  Specifically, the shoes are a reminder of the average of 289 people who are shot each day in this country.  289!  Each day!  Shot! Staggering.  Troubling. Sad.

This weekend is National Anti-Gun Violence Sabbath Weekend.  The shoe display on the circle is our way of taking part in that weekend.  The shoes remind us that 289 people may start the day walking to work, hopping on a bus, grabbing a bite to eat.  And they are shot.  The shoes are a reminder that these injuries, accidents and -- tragically -- deaths - are not statistics.  These are people, whose lives are forever changed, lessened, or lost.

Westmoreland Circle is a beautiful, leafy plot of land that feels more like a New England town green or a Southern courthouse square than it does a traffic roundabout in a big city.  Northwest DC and nearby Bethesda are safe, comfortable, well-healed areas of our nation's capital.

Drivers just started seeing the shoes a few hours ago as they began their morning commute.  I've already received a couple of emails from passersby applauding the display.  No doubt we will get some complaints before the weekend is over.

People may find raggedy old shoes on the curb of a pretty circle to be surprising or unseemly.  (Or as I said, even illegal).  They're right. 

It is surprising and unseemly to see empty shoes sitting on the side of the road.  It is far more shocking and disturbing that an average of 289 people are shot each day in this country.  The images of Columbine and Newtown and the Navy Yard are far more upsetting than a display of shoes.  

I was glad to break the law.  Or at least show down the traffic a bit.  I hope these shoes on the circle remind us of the tragic deaths due to gun violence.  I hope the empty shoes remind us of the people who no longer wear them.  I hope the shoes on the circle spur us to actions that make our communities and our nation safer.

*Maybe putting these shoes on the circle violated some anti-littering laws.  But if you're worried -- fear not! we're taking the display down on Sunday evening.  And we're donating any suitable shoes to a clothing center.