Michael Sam, an all-American college football player at Mizzou, became the first NFL prospect to announce that he was gay over the weekend. The 2013 SEC defensive player of the year, Sam is sure to be drafted at the upcoming NFL Draft, which will make him the first openly gay player to be on a current professional football team.
That brings me to my question. What if me, a Christian man, and Michael Sam, a gay man, were teammates?
As evidenced by Macklemore's hit song "Same Love," many would suggest that my Christianity and Sam's lifestyle would put us at odds as friends or even teammates. In fact, the opening verses of the song states:
"The right wing conservatives think it's a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don't know
And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago
I don't know."
I have also seen Christians take a wide variety of approaches on engaging the gay community. Some of those approaches have been based on the gospel. Other approaches have been based on fear and hatred.
So imagine we were teammates. What would a conversation sound like between a Christian athlete with a gay teammate and friend? I would hope I could communicate the following two things:
1. I would hope we could both embrace each other as friends. I sincerely hope that our different beliefs would not stop us from being friends. I don't need a person to believe exactly what I believe to value their worth as a person or their friendship. I'd hope I wouldn't make assumptions about him as a gay man, and I would hope that he wouldn't make assumptions about me as a Christian.
2. I'd focus more on the gospel than on sexuality. It would be crazy to have a conversation about the Bible with sexual ethics as the starting place. In fact, my conversation with my gay friends would probably sound the same as my discussions with:
- a friend from another faith background
- a friend who goes to church out of duty but doesn't love Jesus
- an agnostic friend who isn't sure we can know what is true
- a friend too busy partying to care who believes what.
The grand narrative of the Bible is that all men and women - both heterosexual and homosexual - have chosen to be god of their own lives instead of trusting the God who created them.
However, God conceived a way to mend the relationship that we broke. All of the Biblical ethics - which are important - are secondary to any person's understanding of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Bryan Loritts is one of my favorite communicators of the gospel. You can read a powerful blog he wrote about the gospel and the gay community called "Tom" right here.
Also, Fellowship Memphis Church where Loritts serves as a teaching pastor is currently doing a four-part series on the gospel and the gay community. You can hear the first of those four messages here.
I write these blogs as conversation starters. I would love to hear your thoughts on the Michael Sam story, the Macklemore "Same Love" song, the Bryan Loritts sermon and the relationship between the evangelical Christian community and the gay community.
Chris Lassiter is a Christ-follower, a husband to Emily (read her blog here), and a father to five crazy kids. He leads Young Life at his former high school, Robert E. Lee in Staunton, VA, and he has written for The News Leader, VIBE, HipHopDx.com, Rapzilla.com, JamTheHype.com and other sites.
Moody Publications recently published his first book, You're Grounded, which you can pick up here. The Cross Promotion Blog gets updated twice a week. Please consider subscribing by e-mail or clicking the "Join This Site" button at the bottom of this page.