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  • Gutsy Soccer Star Pays the Price by Standing for What She Believes

    The ladies of the U.S. women’s soccer team have been much in the news of late – for reasons impressive and sometimes controversial. Amazing results on the field, questions about their sportsmanship.

    John Stonestreet writes: 

    Recently, the U. S. women’s soccer team thumped Thailand 13-0 in the Women’s World Cup. It got ugly, and led to criticism: some felt the American ladies wrongly ran up the score and that their goal celebrations were a bit over the top. …

    [Y]ou can’t blame the best left back in U. S. women’s soccer. That’s because Jaelene Hinkle wasn’t on the pitch during the multiple celebrations. In fact, she’s not even on the team.

    Hinkle’s saga began back in 2015 after the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex “marriage.” Hinkle posted the following on Instagram: “I believe with every fiber in my body that what was written 2,000 years ago in the Bible is undoubtedly true …. This world may change, but Christ and His Word NEVER will.”

    Here’s a clue: her comment didn’t go over well with lots of folks, rubbed them the wrong way and they let their disapproval be known. As we’re learning, a sizable portion of American culture simply won’t allow such sentiments to be expressed in public.

    But Hinkle wasn’t going to be cowed – and wasn’t done standing up for what she believes.

    [I]n 2017, Hinkle chose to withdraw from the national team rather than wear a U. S. team jersey sporting rainbow numbers in order to celebrate gay pride.

    Hinkle explained her decision, “I just felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn’t my job to wear this jersey… I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and determine what (God) was asking me to do in this situation. If I never get another national team call-up again then that’s just a part of His plan, and that’s okay. Maybe this is why I was meant to play soccer, to show other believers to be obedient.”

    Let’s be blunt here: this young woman was electing to NOT become a walking – running, actually – billboard for today’s trendy LGBTQ propaganda. It’s as simple as that. Time was, Americans would have acknowledged that as her right and gone about their business – while similarly allowing her go about hers.

    That’s not the way – pardon the pun – the ball bounces any longer …

    [H]er obedience came at a price. Playing for the North Carolina Courage team in the National Women’s Soccer League, Hinkle is the recipient of boos and jeers almost every time she touches the ball.

    And in the run-up to this year’s Women’s World Cup, U.S. Coach Jill Ellis invited Hinkle to try out for the team. After three days of workouts, Ellis, who is gay and “married” to her lesbian partner, cut Hinkle, citing “footballing reasons.”

    Many were skeptical that the best women’s fullback in the country—something even her pro-LGBT critics admit—isn’t good enough to play on the U. S. Women’s World Cup team. …

    [T]he mere fact that Hinkle was invited to try out sent LGBT fans into conniptions, with the usual complaints of feeling betrayed and hurt, that someone with traditional religious views might dare represent the U. S.

    My, my this is an awfully sensitive bunch, aren’t they. They’re bordering on confirming the false accusation that soccer is only a game for softies, for athletes who don’t want things to get too rough-and-tumble. And between forcing unwilling Bible-believing Christians to make cakes, arrange flowers and provide function halls for same-sex weddings, how do these agitators find the time even to watch soccer matches?

    More rationally, some fans expressed concern about “team chemistry.”  … Of course, chemistry isn’t a problem for Hinkle’s North Carolina Courage team. Coach Paul Riley and teammate Jessica MacDonald both have stated publicly that Hinkle’s faith has not negatively affected that team or its play.

    Obviously, this is all nothing more than old-fashioned discrimination — viewpoint discrimination, to be exact. Hinkle believes what almost everyone used to believe even just a couple generations ago. It is no longer in fashion, however, so she faces backlash through shunning, ridicule and professional opportunities denied her.

    Hinkle’s saga is only the most recent evidence that American Christians need to develop a theology of getting fired, or if you happen to be in Hinkle’s profession, a theology of getting cut from the team.

    This is not counsel to withdraw from life and involvement in the world around us, to stop being “salt and light” in the world (Mt 5:13,14); but to be prepared when that involvement stirs up hostility and even opposition to us. The Scriptures, of course, long ago gave us a heads up about this unpleasant reality: “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12)

    Mentally, emotionally and, obviously, spiritually it’s vital to be prepared for any conflict stirred up by our faith in Christ. Even financially and concerning our livelihood, it’s probably wise to have a “Plan B” in place for that eventuality.

    It’s simply more likely than not that we too will face a choice at some point between our career and our convictions. We aren’t the first Christians who have had to face this choice, and thank God the choice isn’t our life and our convictions, as it is for our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world.

    For centuries, disciples of Jesus Christ have clashed with the cultures around them. Sometimes, the cost to them personally for following Him has been harrowing: job loss, denial of housing or services, rejection from society in general, even death.  Persecutions like this continue today around the world, as well.

    It’s a sobering situation, indeed, but why should American believers feel they will automatically be exempt from such trials? Jaelene Hinkle reminds us, we might not be. Her experience is a billowing red flag to everyone who names the name of Christ, urging us to count the cost and be ready to stand as we seek to live out our faith in God and His Word in a world which increasingly rejecting it.

    Image: (CC BY 2.0); https://www.flickr.com/photos/makaiylaw/31917117192/


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