All Articles Tagged "christ"
An Open Letter To Jason Collins: I’m A 25-Year-Old Follower Of Jesus. I’m Black. And I Grew Up Wondering If I Was Gay
Earlier this week, NBA player Jason Collins came out as the first openly gay professional athlete playing in a major team sport. A couple of weeks prior, No. 1 WNBA draft pick Brittney Griner made an announcement regarding her homosexuality as well, following in the footsteps of former WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes. Beyond sports, there was Frank Ocean last year and now rumors are swirling about singer Janelle Monae (who denies being gay, but opposes traditional gender norms). Not to mention, there is the ongoing debate about gay marriage, gay rights, and tolerance. Last year, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis even released a song called “Same Love,” which was a personal call for equality for gay couples in light of the rapper’s childhood wonderings.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the gay community has cemented their place in culture. But of course they haven’t done so without a fair share of controversy. Yet, from where I stand, all I see are two caricatures presented by the media— a voice of tolerance and a voice of hate. A group simply wanting people to be happy, and the opposition wanting to deny them of that inalienable right, and doing so with absolutely no compassion. If you’re gay, be gay! Or God hates gays, so go to hell! Those are the only options society gives us.
Yet, what I don’t think is being given a voice is the side of those who love gay people (and any other group of people), believe in human rights, but also ascribe to a faith that has transformed their own thinking and being—all the way down to challenging their own sexuality. This became apparent when Chris Broussard made his comments regarding Collins’ announcement. Although I understand why ESPN viewers could be bothered by Broussard’s religious commentary, considering they watch ESPN for sports and not sermons, I think it’s unfortunate that he’s now experiencing media martyrdom. I began asking myself what I would have done if (for some reason) ESPN asked me for my opinion. I’m not sure what would have come out of my mouth that particular day, but I know I would have tried to communicate a message of truth and love. And if I could write a response, instead, here’s what I would say in my open letter to Jason Collins, Brittney Griner, and every person that wants to be who they were meant to be:
I’m a 25-year-old follower of Jesus. I’m black. And I grew up wondering if I was gay.
Growing up as a tomboy, I never played with Barbie dolls (except for that MC Hammer figure I was geeked about); I played outside with boys instead; wore boys’ clothes; played basketball most of my life, and didn’t really like doing any girlie things including liking boys. I can recall being in middle school trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I even remember how awkward it was for me to have a boyfriend (for like 2 months). Was I supposed to feel something when he hugged me? Or that time he gave me a peck on the lips? Well, I didn’t. And if not for my ponytail, I’m sure we looked like two dudes walking down the street. I began wondering was I gay. My teammates were tomboys too, so I figured maybe we just represented a different type of female—a hybrid of genders perhaps. But as time went on, some of those teammates and other girls I’d played basketball with were now openly pursuing girls. They were gay. What did that mean for me? Confusion. But I didn’t decide that I too was gay. Why not? If it was something I could have decided, does that mean I never was? Is it because I grew up in church and heard being gay was a sin, so I never fully considered it an option? Or did I decide that I would fight to be whom I believe God created me to be despite any of my own thoughts or dispositions? What about one of my best friends or other individuals who once embraced a homosexual lifestyle, but don’t anymore? Does that make it a choice?
A few years ago, Beyonce told a magazine that churchgoers’ reactions to her celebrity status keep her from attending church. “I think God understands if I miss Sunday service,” she said.
Well, Beyonce may not be one of them, but according to the National Council of Churches, 147.3 million people—or just under half of the American population—attend church.
Personally, I’m a church girl and have been for most of my life. I’m always at church. I volunteer at my church, worked at my church, went to high school at my church, attended a Bible college at my church and even met my husband at my church. However, as I’m reading more of the Bible, aggressively pursuing my career goals, paying closer attention to my financial status, navigating life as a newlywed and generally just re-evaluating several areas of my life, I’ve begun to wonder if incessant church attendance is necessary…or even productive?
I believe that church attendance is vital for education, edification, and fellowship with other believers. Week after week, God moves in churches across America to bring salvation, healing and deliverance. There are people in other countries who risk their lives to have an organized church service.
However, many churches like mine have three or more services a week and expect their members to attend every one. I’m not convinced any successful person spends this much time at church.
How could they? There are only so many hours in a week and if we have jobs and families then where does excessive church attendance fit in? It doesn’t. Something has to suffer and because too many erroneously and un-Biblically equate church with Christianity, we find ourselves forsaking all to…attend church.
That’s not what God intended.
When people in the Bible asked Jesus what they must do to be saved, he didn’t answer, “Spend every waking moment at church,” so why, two-thousand years later, has the Way, the Truth, and the Life been watered down to church attendance?
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently reported that “roughly 60 percent of Black women say they attend religious services at least once a week. No group of men or women from any other racial or ethnic background exhibits comparably high levels of religious observance.”
We also know that, statistically, Black women lag behind others in the areas of health and wealth. Are our peers are climbing the ladder of success as we sit in our local sanctuaries? How can we even begin to fulfill the Great Commission and be the “light of the world” if we hide our light under the church pews? Living in Christian bubbles is wholly ineffective. The expectation that Christians cloister in church every chance we get has largely left us out of the ranks of highly successful people. Is there a way to find a balance between spending time at church and still getting substantial things accomplished in life? I believe so.
Of course, I can think of many less noble ways to whittle away time than spending it at church. People spend an exorbitant amount of time watching Real[ly] [Not Anybody's] Wife of [Pick Your City], enjoying senseless “hobbies” or being engrossed in Facebook’s new Timeline feature. Personally, I’ve spent hours I’ll never get back on Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr or catching up on shows via DVR.
I’m merely suggesting for that we shouldn’t be made to feel as though we are less than heaven-bound because we skip a Wednesday night service in order to go to work, get our house in order or even to spend time with friends and family.
I’m no Beyonce Knowles but, yes,I know God understands if I too, miss a Sunday service.
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Meagan Good says she’s put her goodies on lock since breaking up with boyfriend Thomas Jones, running back for the Kansas City Chiefs. Although the “Jumping the Broom” star says she has met someone special, the new boo doesn’t compare to the first man in her life—God.
In an interview with Sister2Sister, she told Jamie: “You know what? I’m so in love with God right now. I’m focused on being married to God.”
Jamie, in true Jamie fashion, busted her out: “Okay now, you’re like the third or fourth girl to tell me that. ‘I am God’s girlfriend.’ So I said you can’t cheat on Him.”
Meagan: “I’m not! I’m celibate!”
Jamie: “Oh okay. You can’t be God’s girlfriend and when you meet a guy you say, ‘Okay, God, step aside.’”