My Churchy Response to Jason Collins Coming Out


What a momentous thing that Jason Collins has become the first American NBA player to come out as gay!

At the same time, I agree with Frank Bruni at the New York Times: This will undoubtedly bring a better day for our society, but the best day will come when matters like this are no longer a concern for anybody.

I also appreciate, as Paul Raushenbush at the Huffington Post does, that Jason Collins includes in his story the role of the church in his upbringing, instilling in him an acceptance of “everyone unconditionally.” Jason absorbed Jesus’ bottom line: love your neighbor.

I want to throw one churchy thought into the mix of the national stir prompted by Jason’s courage:

The church has been a source for change toward justice in the past and can be again.

Here’s the wisdom the Holy Spirit inspires in me: Return to Jesus’ fundamental teaching that Jason and I learned in our youth from the church—love God and love your neighbor.

Let’s all of us—all of Jesus’ followers—return to “love your neighbor” and answer again the question posed to Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are our neighbors, and we are to love them as ourselves.

To me, one of the best things about Jason Collins’ coming out is that so many NBA fans now know Jason as a neighbor who is gay. The church will lead in our culture again when Christians know we all know LGBT people and embrace them as neighbors.

And if you don’t think you know anyone who is gay, then I invite you to browse this collection of wonderful conversations with LGBT Christians and their loved ones.

When we get to know our neighbors and love them as Jesus desires, then we will lead the way to that best day when we love Jason and everyone else as exactly what we all are: God’s beloved children.

3 Responses
  • Donna on May 2, 2013


    I hope I word this right… The problem with coming out is that you’re out, it’s a shock to people (about half the time or moreso). GLBT people and allies cheer and wish you well, while others not so, and the thing those others will see is “the homosexual basketball player,” or the “gay pastor” or the “lesbian nurse.” All true talent is masked with a label, or, like “Fluffy” says (Gabriel Iglesias): Don’t label me! I’m not a Latino comic. That’s so limiting. I’m far more than that!

    You long for the day coming out doesn’t matter anymore.

    I long for the day, perhaps some National Coming Out Day, that everyone who is GLBT comes out, all at once, causing the earth to wobble on its axis.

    As one very fine minister said it once: If we (GLBT people) would all suddenly turn purple, they’d know how off that 1 in 10 statistic is.


  • Bill on May 3, 2013

    Galatians 1:8 Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.

  • Bill on May 3, 2013

    Jesus said: “And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered.”

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