March 09, 2006

Who's Praise Do You Seek?

John 12:42-43 (NIV)

Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.

Do you sit in church listening to rhetoric condemning homosexuals and not speak up, afraid you will be shunned by your pastor and fellow church members?

Are you a GLBT person who wants to seek God, yet doesn't because your partner or friends in the community would ridicule you?

Are you a believer, gay or straight, who doesn't make time to worship or tithe off the wealth God has provided for you?

Do you want to share Christ with a friend but are afraid of the negative response you might receive from them?

All of the above situations are examples of man putting the approval of other men (or women) above the approval of God. On the surface that sounds absurd, but we've all done it at some point in our lives. The bible shows us that this is wrong. Jesus will forgive us, but we need to acknowledge the sin of not putting His approval and His will as our priority.

Time spent in His service seeking His will and approval will reap more rewards than anything else we can do on this earth. We just need to value those rewards over the short-term monetary and/or social benefits often associated with activites outside God's will.

March 07, 2006

Pros Willing to Accept Gay Teammate

Sports Illustrated recently conducted a survey of the four major professional sports (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey) and asked the players if they would welcome an openly gay teammate. This survey was a follow-up to two recent books written by former National Football League players Esera Tuaol and Roy Simmons who have come out as gay since they retired.

Sports Illustrated survey

All sports had a majority of the responses saying yes, they would welcome an openly gay teammate. The NFL was the lowest at 56.9%, while 79.9% of the National Hockey League who replied were affirmative. I suspect this is a reflection of the different nature of the players--there is a much larger number of Europeans in the NHL than any other major sport.

Intrestingly, only 41% of NFL rookies and 48% of the National Basketball Association rookies were open to welcoming a gay teammate. I suspect this closed mindedness is at least partially a reflection of the sense of entitlement and superiority young players have developed, being coddled since they first began showing athletic prowess as youngsters. In this survey, players who had been around longer were more open toward a gay teammate.

This is clearly a step in the direction of acceptance of an openly gay player in one of the major sports. The downside, however, is that over 1/3 of the baseball, basketball, and football players said no. Understanding team sports like I do, I realize that is still a significant number, much too large for anyone to feel comfortable coming out. There is still much progress to be made toward acceptance in the world of major professional team sports.

If any athlete reading this, or if someone you know is an athlete struggling with hiding their sexual orientation, wants someone to write their story, please let me know. The first person to come out in one of the major sports will be a modern day Jackie Robinson and have to deal with a staggering amount of hatred. I would be proud to tell the story of that athlete.

"Arguement In Proper Perspective"

My pastor Dale forwarded me this e-mail. It is profound enough that I don't feel it requres additional comment:

Yesterday in Annapolis at a hearing on the proposed Constitutional Amendment to prohibit gay marriage, Jamie Raskin, professor of law at American University, was requested to testify. He did so......

At the end of his testimony, a right-wing senator said: "Mr Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man & a woman. What do you have to say about that?"

Raskin: "Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

Considerable applause was reported.

Jesus vs. Jeezus

I ran across a fascinating graphical display of how a segment of christianity has gone away from obeying the teaching of Jesus.

Chart: Jesus vs. Jeezus

How true and how sad. Sometimes you can know something, but when it is laid out like this it really hits hard, and that's what this did.

I found this on the blog "The Republic of T." I actually had the pleasure of meeting him a few weeks ago, and he just posted that his father has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Please join me in praying for T and his family during this difficult time.