I'm a heterosexual, married (twice), Christian woman with a mixed bag of kids and grandkids. I'm on a leadership team in our church. I'm a maverick conservative and a freelance writer who's received more hate mail than praise from my readers.
And I like Jason Collins. Under deadline for an editor, I just read a stack of recent stuff about him. I like him. You got it, I'm not a sports aficionado. But I respect a guy who's willing to take a risk to tell the truth.
Chris Broussard took a risk on April 30. And I like him, too. He also told the truth.
Cyberspace is buzzing. On May 1, World magazine posted a piece by editor-in-chief Marin Olasky titled "Chris Broussard: A profile in courage." Broussard works for ESPN; he was taking a chance. Olasky wrote, "ESPN distanced itself from Broussard: 'We regret that a respectful discussion of personal viewpoints became a distraction from today's news. ESPN is fully committed to diversity and welcomes Jason Collins' announcement.'"
How do we reconcile these differing viewpoints from Collins and Broussard? Bottom line, we can't, and living in the USA, we have the freedom to agree to disagree.
When are Christians going to get it?
My youngest son, a Christian, came out to me 12 years ago. I was horrified and immediately set out to change him. I knew I was right and he was wrong. I held onto that mindset for eight years. But my son didn't change his sexual orientation nor his Christianity. I struggled to reconcile these two seeming contradictions. Then God changed me.
No epiphany, just a slow, pondering assessment of my failure to do what I perceived at the time as obeying God. Was He telling me something I didn't want to hear? I set aside my agenda and began to explore. My most notable conversation was with a world renown scholar, a student of languages and history, a pastor and an author who said "Scripture is ambivalent at times." I distilled his comments into a few unique (to me) thoughts on homosexuality. Genesis 1 and 2 aren't about sexual lifestyles; in part, they're about answering the questions: Where did we come from and why are we here? Answer: procreation. Admittedly, science is ostensibly creating human beings apart from heterosexual sex, but in the time of Genesis, babies came from sexual intercourse between males and females.
Thoughts on the New Testament: Take two letters from the Apostle Paul on homosexuality (although the Bible does not use the term homosexuality). Too many Christians say homosexuality is a sin and those who persist in that lifestyle will be condemned to hell. Wait a minute: the Bible uses the term lust. Webster defines lust as "unusually intense or unbridled sexual desire: lasciviousness." Not nice. But I, as well as other "normal" couples I know, personally know several gay couples who clearly respect and love one another. We don't need to know their bedroom habits to say this definition of lust doesn't fit them. Lust fits pornos or pedophiles. Which brings us to biblical times.
My pastor acquaintance said some Christian churches in Paul's times were terribly corrupted. Prostitution among males and females was rampant as was having boy slaves for sex. These were the issues Paul addressed, not monogamous, loving relationships among same-sex couples.
Another Christian minister said, "Throughout Jesus' ministry, He challenged cultural and religious beliefs that excluded, shut out, or devalued any human being. ... Pharisees [asked] 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?'" The minister added, "In Jesus' time, the testimony of a woman was not valid in Jewish courts, yet He chose women to be the first witnesses of the Resurrection..."
I ask Christians who reject and criticize people living the homosexual lifestyle: Would Jesus condemn these people? "For the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts" (1 Chronicles 28:9, NKJV). Lust or love?
Is homosexuality a sin? I don't know, but God knows, and it's His role to judge, not mine. Jesus said in Revelation 21:6 (The Message) "I'm A to Z. I'm the Beginning, I'm the Conclusion. From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty."
Notice, He didn't say, except gays.