So Jason Collins is gay. No foolin’? A Christian response #jasoncollins #livingthegospel

April 30, 2013

A big name NBA  player says he is a homosexual and that is certainly a big deal. Major sports figures have, or are presumed to have, a certain aura that, once upon a time, would have made such self-identification impossible. It was such an important development that President Obama, a mere politician and fallen human being, got right on the phone to offer support and congratulations.

One thing for sure is that the ultra-religious and exceedingly pious people at Westboro Church in Wichita will not be pleased. Note that I did not include in the name of this fractious bunch of numbskulls the name of a historic denomination that has been so misused by this gang of crackpots masquerading as followers of Jesus.

As one who has a rather large group of Christian friends, I do not know anybody, a-n-y-b-o-d-y, that harbors such delirious and horrifying attitudes towards homosexuals. Some of my Christian friends are not exactly liberal softies either. We all know gay folks personally. They are our neighbors and children. Gay folks are no more, or less, messed up than the rest of us.

But you can bet your John Hagee prayer shawl that the three “major” networks, along with FOX, CNN, AND MSNBC, will all have extensive coverage of this “congregation” of about two dozen of the most twisted minds on earth. Somewhere,Westboro or some other rude and misguided bunch of Christians will unload the full nine yards on Collins, complete with profanity and personal insult. Since the media elites must prove that serious traditional Christians are members of an irrelevant and potentially dangerous cult, it is a solemn obligation to unmask all Christians as bigots and intellectual thugs.

One should be careful about media criticism. I was once part of the information sector and I might just get back there one day. It is a very serious and offensive habit of Evangelical Christians to whine about journalists. Listen, they reason these people are journalists is because they ask questions. One common Evangelical weakness is a blind acceptance of authority. Be aware that we will not get a fair shake most of the time and that Christians are always Christians first-and-foremost. Real followers of Jesus Christ do not rely on the world’s methods to win our battles. We wait upon the supernatural powers. Our best approach is to be constructive rather than embittered.

I wish only the best for Mr. Collins. May he break all the standing records in the NBA and make five-times his present salary. May he live in the finest house in town, drive the best car, eat and the finest restaurants and enjoy all that life has to offer. In God’s due time, may he joyfully accept the Good News of Jesus Christ and repent his sins. I am sure that would include a lot more than sexual orientation, because human beings are just built that way. We are all a moral shipwreck and completely overwhelmed by pride, arrogance, greed, and the weakness of the flesh. This is the universal consequence of an event we call “the fall,” which you can read about in Gen. 3.

Yes, homosexuality is a sin. As a man who tips the scales at something over 300 pounds, I have no business going off on any other fallen child of God. After all, gluttony is also a sin, and so is anger. Jesus says clearly (Matt 5:21-23)  that if you have hated another person, you have already committed murder. How many so-called Christians hate gay people (in general and in particular) and in doing so make themselves accountable to the fires of hell for a murdering heart? Pay attention. This is important. All liars will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 21:8).

American Christianity does intellectual handstands and somersaults to excuse its unconscionable failings of fornication, adultery, and serial polygamy. A bunch of people who can’t keep their pants zipped up spend a lot of time condemning a small group of folks who struggle with what might be described as either a disorder or a powerful sexual desire. Such shameless hypocrisy is surely only possible among those who do not fear the judgment of a God “to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid.”

Before American Christians dare even speak about homosexuality, they must first confront their own sexual failings, misuse of financial resources, indifference to human suffering, abuse of God’s creation, disrespect for God image which is borne by every human being (even those of different races, social classes and political persuasions), fraud, public corruption, and rampant dishonesty. For the love of all that is good and right, take a look around at the moral squalor in which we wallow, never seeming to smell the rotten consequences of our own self-indulgence.

As sinful human beings, we have all missed the mark and come up short. That applies to gay people too. Until there is real repentance, an actual change of the heart, we are living in rebellion. With God’s grace mixed with faith (and that includes concrete actions) we are able to see others with God’s eyes and to exercise patience and compassion. Furthermore, with enough time and prayerful practice, it is possible to have that empathy absent the false price of spiritual superiority.

It is a sin, that’s all. A failing of the flesh should be the most understandable. Who has not been overwhelmed with sensual desires? That is the pulse of American culture. We use sex to sell everything and the act of procreation is entirely devalued. Straight people will have to answer for the damage we have done to the institution of marriage.

We do not dare counsel a gay person with anything less than the utmost humility. This will never end up on television, but real Christians will love their gay neighbors, deal kindly with them, and demonstrate the irresistible love of the Savior who we follow. No threats. No insults. We will all stand trial one day. If we expect to be the objects of mercy, you and I must always strive to be the dispensers of mercy.

5 Responses to “So Jason Collins is gay. No foolin’? A Christian response #jasoncollins #livingthegospel”

  1. WG Hall Says:

    I generally agree. The evangelical church is getting it’s rear end kicked on this subject. We need a new paradigm and you layed one out fairly well. We have tried the love the sinner, hate the sin philosophy, but LGBT folks so closely identify themselves with their sexuality that only the hate part gets received.

    I especially agree that we need to get our house in order before we try to fight any external battles. What we have done to (or allowed to happen) to marriage, the nuclear family, etc. is a disgrace.

    All of our sexual orientations are corrupt from birth. My natural bent as a man is to have as much sex, with as many women, as possible. My choice has been to have sex with just one woman. But that choice has only been possible due to the transformation I have experienced through Christ and his grace. Somewhere in there is the message the church has for LGBT.

    I cannot accept homosexuality as a good moral choice. For me to do so would require that I fundamentally change my moral standard, my view of the authority of scripture, my understanding of who God is, and that would change my faith into something entirely different than what it is now. But one gets the sense that the message for someone like me is “accept this or keep your mouth shut.” I haven’t heard anyone say that Jason Collins shouldn’t be able to come out in a national magazine, but I hear a lot of people saying that Chris Broussard should be sanctioned for coming out with a biblical perspective on Collin’s choices and criticism of his particular brand of Christianity – which is yet another example of the big hypocrisy on the left.

    I do take exception with “It’s a sin, that’s all.” I agree that from a purely human perspective, we are all in that same pot of depravity. But God’s holiness is under attack from these people. They argue that God’s love has to compromise His holiness and justice in order to accomodate their sexual practices. If we accept that argument, we are not just degrading morality, we are degrading the essence of God that morality is based on.
    That’s dangerous ground to be treading, if the God of the Bible is God. Our sin, LGBT sin, and everyone’s sin is unimaginably offensive to that God, and so very destructive and costly because it required the sufferings of the Savior.

    • patlynch Says:

      Thanks for a great response. Perhaps I left a mistaken impression by saying, “it’s a sin, that’s all.” Sin is the thing that separates us from a perfectly holy and righteous God and it cannot be avoided. We must oppose sin and I guess the old saying tells us to go hard on the sin and easy on the sinner. The frequently harsh and over-the-top condemnations by a few people damage their (and our) credibility and make it more difficult to reach the sinner. Our dialogue is approaching the larger issue of how difficult it is to talk about this topic but how vitally necessary. It would never be my intention to see somebody’s house burning down but not warn the residents for fear of causing trouble. Again, thanks for the response.

  2. I’d like to nit-pick one small point, if I may? “Homosexuality is a sin.”

    I believe from some good, deep conversations I’ve had with my gay friends that being gay is not a choice, it’s a predisposition. I know that’s a hotly debated point among Christians right now, but that’s the conclusion I’ve come to based on the first-hand accounts I have access to. One of my gay friends, a theologian & professor at an Anglican seminary, essentially believes he was born with a broken sexuality, much as one can be born with a broken body or mind. That in & of itself is not the sin. Acting on his desires would be. He is same-sex attracted (SSA), but he chooses to remain celibate & single to honor what he believes is God’s mandate against engaging in homosexual activity. And like any brokenness, homosexuality can be laid before the throne of God, and He can use it for good & beautiful things in this world.

    Perhaps another helpful analogy, and I hope I can use this one without causing offense, would be alcoholism. To knowingly indulge, as an alcoholic, in harmful consumption of alcohol would be a sin. But to simply be an alcoholic – a person unable to consume alcohol responsibly – is not a sin. Someone with alcoholism can live a good & obedient life in abstention from alcohol.

    Again, this is just one small point from an otherwise good, useful, and balanced opinion piece. Thanks. 🙂

  3. Mark Mauney Says:

    Very good points by everybody. Thanks Pat.

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