Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jason Collins, ESPN's Chris Broussard, and Coming Out. . . .

Youth workers and parents. . . if you haven't yet talked to your students about same-sex attraction and the Christian faith, you need to now. The events of the last twenty-four hours and the chatter that's ensued and which will continue over the coming days affords us a wide open opportunity to get a more accurate feel for the cultural climate, to prayerfully craft a response that's glorifying to God and faithful to the Scriptures, to examine our own hearts and actions, and to think about what this all means for our now and for our future. To be honest, this is making my head spin. . . about our culture, about same-sex attraction, and about who I'm called to be as a particular follower of Christ living in this particular time and place.

NBA player Jason Collins has come out. No, he's not the marquis athlete that many of us suspected would be the first active male athlete to tell the world, "I'm gay." That's yet to happen. . . and we can expect that it will in the next few days. A couple of interesting things to consider as you watch the cultural curtain peel back in response to Collins' revelation will be 1) If he's pursued with endorsement opportunities, and 2) If he signs with another team (he's a free agent without a team right now). His playing future is under the microscope and will be dissected whether he's picked up by a team (making pundits wonder if he was signed for his playing skills or signed as a poster boy for the issue), or if his playing days are over (making pundits wonder if he wasn't touched because of his abilities, or because of his sexual preferences). By the way, I think it's quite telling that both of those things show just how powerful marketing and branding are in our world.

Equally fascinating and noteworthy was the response of ESPN NBA insider Chris Broussard. . . a response that is getting and will get just about as much press and attention as any other response out there. What is notable about Broussard's response (see video below) is that Broussard is being open about his convictions and his desire to be faithful to God's Word. Broussard is already getting hammered by those who have no sympathy for the Christian faith and who are not listening with accuracy to what he is saying. This too, is quite telling and worth watching as we sort out our current cultural climate and the responses Christians will hear to their own responses. . . regardless of how orthodox or compassionate those responses might be. In fact, when I watched the Broussard video clip on YouTube this morning I curiously scrolled down to the comments where a full-on battle was raging with words, profanity, and accusations flying all over the place.

The issue is complex. The issue is volatile. The issue is here and it must be addressed. Because the issue involves people, it is that much more difficult for those who are called to show Christlike compassion. Today, if you haven't already spent loads of time working through the issue it might be best to keep quiet in terms of public commentary. To sit back. To watch. To listen. To ponder. To study. To read. To pray. To consider what it means to respond to Collins, to Broussard, and to anyone with an opinion (regardless of where they fall on the spectrum of opinion. . . pro, con, and in-between) in a way that brings honor and glory to God. Stop and take a deep breath. Get your bearings. Look deeply into the Word of God. . . true north. Then, look deeply. . . first into yourself and then into our world.

How will you talk about this with the kids you know and love? And, what will you say?

7 comments:

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan said...

Walt, thanks for posting about this. As I was thinking and praying this morning about this, I was reminded of Jesus with the woman caught in adultery. "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." and his response after all the others had left "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more." I believe we must not condemn others for their sins while also being careful not to celebrate them either.

A former college classmate of mine that is now a PCA pastor has recently been blogging on his personal experience with same-sex attraction. I have found it very helpful and informative. Because this is not one of the many temptations that I personally struggle with, I believe that I need more information before I speak on this issue. Here is Allen's blog, hope it is helpful to you or other readers.
http://edwardsae1.com/2013/04/15/its-not-wrong-to-be-gay-if/

Rich: said...

Walt,

I put this on my Facebook a few moments ago:

Your thoughts? Is the issue here Broussard's "bigotry?" Or, did ESPN lose an opportunity to say, at the very least, that there should be an opportunity for two people to have opposing views and still be able to have a collegial relationship (which was exactly what was displayed during the interview between Broussard and Granderson)? What kind of "tolerance" are the opposing voices really asking for here? Tolerance (and celebration) for only their view, or equal tolerance for all people of differing views?

If our culture does not hold the line on at least: "equal tolerance for all people of differing views," then we risk allowing a very dangerous totalitarian ideology (You must think exactly like I think or else you...") from which we can expect nothing but conflict and strife... there is much at stake culturally, not in terms of who controls morality, but who controls what one is permitted to think and believe...

and

Anonymous said...

Chris, I would like to know where are your standards? Your video seems to tell me that you and this guy are really good friends and God says "whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God". We as Christians suppose to have the Love of God for all people, so how can you sit, eat, drink and converse with this guy knowing that his soul is endanger of hell's fire and not say anything. It sounds like to me that you are more worried about what people will say or think about you then trying to reach a soul. I am so glad that Jesus didn't care about what people would say or think just to avoid controversy but instead He lift up a standard and didn't compromise that lead to His death to bring salvation to the world. Thank you Jesus!

Anonymous said...

Chris, I would like to know where are your standards? Your video seems to tell me that you and this guy are really good friends and God says "whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God". We as Christians suppose to have the Love of God for all people, so how can you sit, eat, drink and converse with this guy knowing that his soul is endanger of hell's fire and not say anything. It sounds like to me that you are more worried about what people will say or think about you then trying to reach a soul. I am so glad that Jesus didn't care about what people would say or think just to avoid controversy but instead He lift up a standard and didn't compromise that lead to His death to bring salvation to the world. Thank you Jesus!

Anonymous said...

How much longer are we going to fight this battle? How much longer? Are we not weary and ready to pursue othter causes?

As Christians, we had to swallow a pretty big truth when it was revealed that the sun does not revolve around the earth. It's a fact, and we all know that. Homosexuality is a natural state, not a disease to be cured. We can call it "same-sex attraction" all day long, but that's like calling a blue car 'red'. It's still blue, whether we choose to recognize it or not. When we fail to recognize homosexuality as natural and part of God's beautiful, mysterious and complex creation, we discredit ourselves to the rest of the world, and they turn their backs on us and call us uneducated. This is happening right now.

Why do we constantly put ourselves in the mele of this battle? Why must we be the villians in this story? Like when we recognized that the earth revolves around sun, it's time to accept, move on and pursue the much more worthy cause of winning people to Jesus and His path.

Daniel Tatum said...

Sex is a sin if it is not in the context of the first marriage between one man and one woman period. That is point blank gospel truth. I cannot say that sex between two men or two women is not a sin. I think the problem is Christians have become bigots to these people dealing with this sin while welcoming other sinners with open arms. We don't treat single mothers, divorcees, our lustful youth, etc. like we treat people who are attracted to members of the same sex. Sure it's natural but all sin is natural. We have to really try to be good. Let's just be real about all sin and quit acting like this one is something above and beyond the ordinary.