There has been a lot of talk about the comments made by ESPN’s Chris Broussard in regards to the outing of NBA Center Jason Collins. If you are unfamiliar with the story, Denny Burk has an excellent overview here at his blog. First off, let my applaud Chris Broussard for his courage and clarity in addressing the issue from a Biblical viewpoint. Second, let’s go ahead and admit that Jason Collins sexual orientation has nothing to do with his talent as a basketball player, and he, or for that matter anyone else, should not be shunned from professional sports because of it. If we are willing to let drug dealers, murders, drunk drivers, domestic abusers, and many other types of sinful and immoral athletes slide, it would be a joke to balk at an athlete simply because they are openly gay.
The thing in all of this that has struck me, as it has in other cases where Christians have been chastised for speaking biblically about homosexuality, is how dumbfounded some believers seem to be by all of the backlash and hostility. It’s like we are shocked by how people are responding to our beliefs. But should we be shocked when we are called “narrow-minded”, “hateful”, “bigots”, and the like? absolutely not!!! Jesus warned us that those who follow Him would be hated, just as He was hated. (John 15:18ff) This is nothing new and we should not be shocked by it.
What we are seeing in America is what we have seen time and time again in various cultures throughout the last two thousand years, a broadening divide between worldviews that helps us realize we are not citizens of this world. This is why I feel so strongly that we need to recover the teachings of 1 Peter, namely that we are “aliens and strangers” (2:11) in a land that is not our home. We are subjects of a different kingdom and citizens of a new city. I feel like the reason that many believers are so shocked at the change in our culture is because for to long we have forgotten this key truth.
For to long we have felt at home in this culture because its values and worldview were so close to our own. But this is no longer true. With each passing day the values and views of popular western culture drift farther and farther from the values and views of Scripture. More and more people are awakening to this truth, but few really know how to respond. Instead of learning how to live as aliens and strangers in a foreign land, many Christians are simply left shouting at the culture, looking to unbelievers like the crazy old man down the street yelling at the neighbor’s kids and longing for the “good ole’ days”. But the truth is, there never were any “good ole’ days”. This world has never been our home. We have simply forgotten how to live in light of this truth.
This is not a call to isolation, but a call to recover the biblical lifestyle of the early church who lived in and ministered to their culture, while being distinctly different from it. That is why I am taking our church verse by verse through 1 Peter, so that we can rediscover the key to this type of life. I pray that God will begin to awaken His Church to this truth, and that we would begin to actually live like aliens and strangers, keeping our eyes on the heavenly country that awaits us.