All posts tagged faith

Athletic Superstars and Their Faith

Published May 3, 2013 by sojournerfanny
Via creative commons by Mariselise

Via creative commons by Mariselise

The sports news of the week is that Jason Collins, a veteran center in the NBA, has become the first active male athlete in a major American team sport to come out as gay. Admittedly, I don’t follow basketball that closely and I had no idea who he was until the announcement was made. I don’t have a lot of gay friends, so the news was just a side-note in my peripheral vision. Interesting, nice, and important, but not life-changing for me in any personal way.

Then I read this article by T.F. Charlton in Religion Dispatches comparing the media’s attention to Tim Tebow’s faith and Jason Collins’ faith.

I hadn’t realized Collins was a Christian. Then again, I didn’t even know he existed until he came out and made the news. I did know about Tim Tebow, but that’s mostly because I’m from Colorado. The article talks about how the media pays lots of attention to Tebow’s Christian faith, and all but ignores Collins’. Now, that may be more because Tebow is more forward about it. I don’t know. What was more significant to me was this:

Being an athletic superstar, and being gay.

Big news.

Being an athletic superstar, and being a Christian.

Old news.

Being an athletic superstar and being black.

Really old news.

Being black, and being Christian.

Even older news.

Being a Christian, and being gay.

Almost as groundbreaking as being a gay athletic superstar.

Being an athletic superstar, black, Christian, and gay.

Apparently, this is so confounding, the media simply chose to leave out the Christian part.

But why is this so confounding? I’m not asking this from a Liberal “Oh my God, why can’t everyone just love everyone else for who they are already?” point of view. I’m asking this from the position of a black Christian woman.

I grew up in Boulder, Colorado. Most of my friends were white or Hispanic. Honestly, maybe it was just the way my parents raised me, but race just didn’t really seem to matter. I was just as fascinated by my white friends whose hippie parents ate yogurt as I was by my Hispanic friends’ parents who made their own tortillas. It wasn’t a bad difference or an extreme one. I was teased more because my Dad listens to classical music than I ever was for being black.

That’s not to say I never felt the stigma of color. You can’t be black in the US today without feeling that at some point in your life. But while I know that many black people grow up feeling and experiencing discrimination every day of their lives, I felt it only as something subtle and distant. I’ve had bullies yell racial epithets at me on the playground, but they also called me fat and that simply wasn’t true. I was a beanpole. Both kinds of insults just kinda rolled off as being ridiculous, and everyone knew it.

So, if it’s normal to be black and a Christian, why is it so difficult to accept a gay person as a Christian? Again, I suppose I must have led a sheltered life because it never occurred to me that either of these things could ever be an issue.

But what stymies me most of all is…why is it more difficult to be accepted as a black gay Christian? Or am I imagining that too?


Forming Words

Published May 8, 2012 by sojournerkat

I don’t like to form words when I pray.

Is that cheating? I don’t think so. I believe God knows what I’m thinking.

Putting actual words to my conversations with God had always seemed… less private. OK, that sounds really weird. But I’ve always had conversations with myself in my head. I’ve always played out possible conversations with my friends, teachers, relatives, whoever. Putting actual words to a prayer always seems to summon one of these other people in my head to listen in and judge. Forming words makes me feel like I’m lumping God in with all those others. But they aren’t real… He is. When I just commune with God, just close my eyes and just emote, that feels right. That feels personal, just between me and God.

So what do we pray for? Do we treat prayer like a letter to Santa? “Dear God, please help me pass this test, get that job…” even praying for God to heal a loved one who is suffering seems selfish. If all people had to do to prevent pain and loss was to fold their hands, say please, and ask God to intervene, no one would ever die.

How about praying to praise and thank God? I’m all for that. I’m sure He likes that, too. It makes Him happy. But should prayer be limited to praise?

A lot of people pray for God to “be with” someone in need. We pray that our loved ones will “feel His presence.” This is nice, too. But isn’t He always with us? I think He is. But I know I don’t always feel that way.

Most churches have a method for people to bring up prayer requests. Some do it on Sunday mornings, in the middle of the service. Some have prayer teams who promise to take care of the list. It’s an important aspect of a Christian’s life… praying for each other.

Well, gee, what did Jesus say about praying? This is where we get what we call The Lord’s Prayer:

9 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13

So, to paraphrase:

Dear God,

You’re so holy!

I support the idea that Earth should be more like You intend it to be.

Please continue to give me what I need in life, and forgive me for all the mistakes I make. I promise I’ll forgive others too.

Please don’t put temptation in my way! I’m really not that strong, and I don’t think I can handle it. Please save me from all the icky stuff that happens in life.

Glory to You! You really rock.