It’s funny how you remember the little things about people.
As I was growing up I watched my grandad do more than his share of labor around his farm in Christiansburg. Like most farmers, this meant he had a small fortune in tools laying around the basement, shed, barn, and kitchen, for some reason unknown.
Of all those tools, only one really sticks out in my memory.
It was your typical hammer, but the top had kind of split where the wooden handle met the metal. Instead of spending all of 10 bucks to replace the tool, he simply wrapped some black electrical tape around the busted area and kept hammering away.
I always looked at that hammer as a broken, but my grandad saw it as a tool, which was a little messed up, but that had plenty of good work left to accomplish.
This week the topic of good work has been at the forefront of a massive fight within the Christian community.
Monday it was reported World Vision, a Christian organization dedicated to serving impoverished children, planned to revise its handbook and allow the hiring of Christian homosexuals in same-sex marriages.
A firestorm erupted, and Wednesday the group reversed field with this statement:
“The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman,” said a statement signed World Vision President Richard Stearns and Jim Beré, Chairman of the World Vision U.S. Board.
Here’s World Vision’s entire statement.
As expected, an even larger firestorm erupted with self-proclaimed well-intentioned people on both sides firing off at one another and threatening to pull their support of the organization.
Now I have no idea how you feel about this situation, but to me it kind of felt like two parents battling it out in the living room, while their kids sat on the couch completely confused as to why they weren’t instead having dinner.
I don’t like that feeling at all and I hate that this is the platform on which this argument is taking place.
Of course more than that, I hate that this is an argument, rather than a conversation, and I hate that it so quickly turned to tossing barbs instead of listening and trying to understand one another.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance both sides feel about this issue. I understand one side’s passion to adhere to what the Bible says and I understand the other side’s passion to be included in Christian service regardless whether or not they hold identical beliefs.
It’s a freaking hard topic and I’m not about to sit here and tell you I have an answer for it. I honestly have no clue where the solution lies or how exactly we can all arrive there.
But I think my grandad’s hammer is a good starting point.
You see, I am that hammer. I’m broken, cracked, messed up, and might even look useless to a lot of people.
But lucky for me, God is a lot like my grandad in that he makes a habit out of using broken tools to do great work. He’s more than willing to take me, with my sinful habits, nasty baggage, and all too often bad attitude, and use me to produce good works to benefit others.
If nothing else, I think we can all agree we have that in common. I think we can all agree, we’re broken tools in desperate need of God’s black electrical tape of grace in order to ever be productive.
Maybe if we start the conversation there, we’ll do a lot less hammering away at one another and a lot more good work.