Most of you know that a few days ago, NBA Free Agent Jason Collins became the first active athlete in any of the four major sports to come out as a homosexual. The timing of such a statement has added much fuel to the hot debates surrounding homosexuality in America, the church, gay marriage, etc.
There is any number of different stances that people have taken in regards to Jason Collins. Many, including some of the heavy hitters in the NBA (Kobe, Lebron, Doc Rivers), have come forward with their full-fledged support. Others have expressed their disapproval because of a certain belief system (Chris Broussard). And still others, specifically those of the conservative right Christian faith, have used this as a spiritual steroid shot to give them fuel for their next battle against homosexuality.
I, for my part, and here in this blog, do not wish to subscribe to any of these systems. Nor do I wish to spout my own opinion about Jason Collins or homosexuality at large for that matter. I intend rather to speak to the heart of what I believe is an unspoken injustice in regards to the homosexuality debate in America.
Let me start by saying that I understand that the largest injustice here has been and still is the treatment and discrimination of the gay/lesbian community. The injustice I will speak further on in this post does not hold a candle to the years of hatred, fear, and discrimination that these men and women have had to undergo. Much of which has been brought on by people who subscribe to the same belief system as I do, and for that I would like to start by apologizing to the gay community on behalf of “the church”.
That being said, I think there is a secondary injustice going on in these matters, one that is silent and one that is dangerous. And that is a perversion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what it means to be a “Christian”.
The Christian community and the church at large has made a very loud and proud name for itself lately as being “anti-gay”. And over the past several years, it seems to me that this one issue gets church goers and “Christians” fired up more than any other. In fact, I believe that if you asked the average American to list the top five things they think about the church, you would find “anti-gay” on nearly everyone’s list. In light of this, I find myself asking only one question, why? Why has the battle against homosexuality become one of, if not the chief cornerstone of the Christian faith? Why has the abolition of gay marriage become our main focus? This to me, is an extreme injustice.
I believe the Bible makes very clear what our focus should be as Christians in the world when Jesus is asked by His disciples, what are they two greatest commandments, to which he replies, “To love the Lord your God, and to love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22) Jesus gives many other commands, but these are the two he says are the greatest, and these are how we will be recognized as His disciples. (John 13:35) And yet I would venture to argue that someone who loves the Lord and also loves their gay neighbor as themselves would not be recognized as a Christian in our society whatsoever.
I pray that all readers will hear my heart on this and excuse my generalities. I understand that not every Christian is anti-gay, I understand that some churches are very loving towards the gay community, and I even understand that using phrases such as “gay community” can upset folks. But, as I said before, I pray that you hear my heart. This is not an article about whether homosexuality is a sin against God or not. This is not an article about the sanctity of marriage and whether a male/male or female/female marriage upholds that sanctity. This is an observation that we as the church have lost our way. In making the exclusion or the soul saving of homosexuals our main mission, we are perverting the mission of the Gospel. The mission of the Gospel, as I understand it, is to love one another, love God, and to make disciples. “Beating the gay” out of someone, or “preaching the gay” out of them will certainly not make them a disciple. Loving someone, and meeting them where they are, and coming alongside of them as a servant and washing their feet, taking the posture that our Savior did with so many who were cast out and who were beaten down; that is our call, that is our mission, that’s what makes disciples. As for the social matters and the matters of sin, that is not what I set out to write about. Sorry if that disappoints you. I simply desire to write about love, and to call us to return love to the center of our belief system.