A Sad Death and a Christian Response

Denice Dee Denton, 46, an embattled University of California chancellor, who was criticized for helping her lesbian partner secure a top-paying job at the University of Santa Californai Santa Cruz died Saturday morning in San Francisco after apparently jumping from a downtown hotel. UC Santa Cruz Campus Provost David S. Kliger said in a statement released on Saturday: "We are deeply saddened by her death."

Denton had been criticzed by an employee union for the university’s creation of a $192,000-a-year job for Gretchen Kalonji, Denton’s longtime partner and a former professor of materials science at the University of Washington in Seattle.

When I read such news accounts I wonder how Christians should respond. I would guess some might say, “You really do reap what you sow. We ought to make this clear.” Still others might say we ought to appeal to “justice being served” since she appears to have shown a particular kind of favoritism that is reprehensible to most people. I bowed my head and prayed for Dr. Denton’s family and her many friends as they try desperately to make sense of this tragedy. I also prayed for Grethcen Kalonji, that this sad news might cause her to seek God for grace in Christ the Savior of all. In the end I realize that as much as I hate the sin of people like the late Dr. Denton I am also reminded: “There but by the grace of God go I.” I am the chief of sinners and a debtor to grace alone. This does not make me wink at Dr. Denton’s ungodly ways if I am concerned about culture and morality. But it does make we want to be more human, and thus humane in my dealings with gays and lesbians.

I really do think this is the attitude shown to us by the Apostle Paul in his several comments on such sinful deviancy and God’s grace (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). As he says, "Such were some of you." Can that be said of your local church community? Is there the real fruit of Christian love in your fellowship toward the homosexual community?

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