I remember it clearly. There was a buzz in the locker room that day. I was a freshman in high school, dressing out for Phys. Ed. The talk around the showers revolved around a certain student. A student who had just “come out of the closet”. I don’t even truly remember this students name. The words “queer”, “gay”, and “faggot” were thrown around a lot that day. Words that now make sad. Then I didn’t really think twice. I wasn’t friends with this kid and as a punk/goth/grunge kid I was already out of my element in the locker room. I didn’t say anything. I changed and, with my head down, I made my way to my class room. I couldn’t get those words out of my head.
I knew the first time I had encountered those words. I was in second grade riding home on a school van in Portugal. A kid on my van told me that the New Kids On The Block were all faggots. I didn’t know what that meant, but it sounded pretty exciting. I ran home and with the excitement of an elementary school kid who had stumbled upon some huge secret of the universe, I proudly announced to my mom that the New Kids On The Block were faggots. I quickly learned that we didn’t use these words as my mother almost instantaneously began to give me a talk about the birds and the bees and filled my mouth with soap.
After I understood how the birds and the bees did a lot more than lay eggs and make honey, I was taught that growing up that marriage was made to exist between a man and a woman. It was something my parents told me the Bible taught. I’d never known a gay person until high school. So here I was, trying to figure out my faith, trying to do the right thing and I truthfully just stayed quiet. I didn’t stand up for the kid in the locker room. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t show love. I showed silence. It was just easier. It was easier to ignore it.
There were other things I didn’t ignore. I had attended a Christian music festival one summer and learned of a some companies like ROCK FOR LIFE and PORN FREE YOUTH. I began to wear t-shirts with wording like phrases like “Abortion Is Homicide.” and “Beauty Is Not An Object.” Yet, once while in the mall a woman approached me and said, “I’m not a murderer.” She had tears in her eyes, and it took me a moment to register she was talking about an anti-abortion shirt I was wearing. I told her, I was sorry and just walked away. When I came face to face with the issues I was scared and quiet. I think if we’re not careful we can do the same thing in a world filled with 140 character opinions. We can post an opinion without thinking of the people it will effect.
Years later as I entered college I came a across a book called “The Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Claiborne. Shane talked about following Jesus through loving the poor. He talked about caring for the less fortunate. This started me on a journey. A journey of supporting causes like TOMS and Invisible Children. It caused my heart to begin to see people as God saw people. It caused me to love like He loved.
Throughout my life I have consistently encountered these issues of social injustice. I’ve been connected deeply with various causes in hopes of bringing the love of Christ to the surface. That’s exactly what David Platt’s new book Counter Culture is all about.
Counter Culture is a journey into these issues. Platt asks the question of readers who call themselves Christians, what is their role? He would say that it’s impossible to not take a stand on an issue. For the church to remain silent on some issues and vocal in others is an unbalanced approach to a gospel message that is clear and concise. Counter Culture is the answer to many questions readers may have about what the Scriptures and the church have to offer in terms of relevance in a morally relativistic society. It has certainly given this reader a new hope for what the church can be.