Award of Outstanding Merit - $1,000
Kyle Huckins, a professional columnist, feature writer, broadcaster and blogger, is also a longtime media educator who has an earned doctorate in journalism and significant graduate study in theology. A news professional since 1989, he’s won more than 15 awards for his journalism plus another trio for scholarly inquiry focusing on faith and media. His students have received greater than 60 collegiate news honors at the national, regional or statewide level. Huckins is one of the few Caucasian clergy in the Church of God in Christ, a predominantly African-American denomination. For more information, go to his website, www.racefaithandpoliticstoday.com.
by the Rev. Kyle Huckins, Ph.D., Marion (Indiana) Chronicle-Tribune, July 12, 2015
NFL QB following Christ through gridiron, church, relationships
The news is full of talk of gender, homosexuality, abortion and other tempestuous sex-related issues, but here’s a story to encourage the Bible-based heart: a young star living the Word in purity and spreading Jesus’ Good News to others.
He’s Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, 26, who led the team to its only Super Bowl victory and came just short of a second NFL title. In an interview with Pastor Miles McPherson of The Rock Church in San Diego last Sunday, Wilson revealed his high-profile relationship with singer Ciara Harris, 29, is going God’s way.
The footballer said the Lord impressed upon him he was to “lead her” in their dating, then he asked her, “What would you do if we took all that extra stuff off the table and just did it Jesus’ way?”
Pressed by McPherson about exactly what that meant, Wilson said, “We’re talkin’ about sex.”
Ciara was fine with her boyfriend’s idea, so the heartthrob vocalist and top-rated QB aren’t going to get that intimate while going steady. Seem impossible? Not if you listen to Wilson a while. His commitment to Christ continually comes up, regardless of subject.
Take his account of his throwing a game-losing interception in his last Super Bowl. While he said it “hurt,” he added, “There’s a silver lining in it all.”
He explained that the Lord told him, “I want to see how you respond, but most importantly, I want them to see how you respond” as a witness to his teammates. The quarterback was calm in the face of defeat.
Ciara, who’s known for going with, shall we say, less spiritually oriented types, has joined Wilson in visiting sick children, among other appearances. “Their bravery, will, and courage touched me in a way I can’t explain,” she tweeted about it.
Still, she tends to beg off questions about her beau, simply saying in a recent radio interview that he is “an awesome person.”
In The Rock Church interview, Wilson said he was a troublemaker growing up but liked seeing girls in his congregation on Sunday mornings. However, he related his Lord’s Day emphasis changed at 14 when Jesus appeared to him in a dream and said, “I’m preparing you.”
He soon went forward during an altar call at a church service, recalling, “I felt the Holy Spirit just overcome me.”
Raised by a lawyer and a nurse, the African-American (who has a touch of Native American heritage, too) decided to forgo signing with pro teams pursuing him out of high school and opted for college play due to his desire for education.
Wilson went to North Carolina State University, not far from his childhood home in Richmond, Virginia. He said that the week of his first college football contest, his mother called and told him his father was in a coma and wasn’t expected to live. However, the two prayed, and a few hours later, she dialed him again, saying his dad awakened while she was singing him a hymn.
“Everything hasn’t been perfect in my life. I’ve been through some tough stuff,” the quarterback said.
Some difficult times were in college, as he endured criticism when he played minor league baseball while still on North Carolina State’s football team, then transferred to the University of Wisconsin. He now undergoes a bit of ridicule for his Christian ways, with a radio host joking he pictures Wilson “hanging out in orphanages.”
To counter such, the athlete relies on James 1:2, which says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” He said he’s learned to trust that God’s plan for him will unfold in spite of hardships.
Wilson emphasized to The Rock Church’s 16,000 attendees the importance of gratefulness to God and glorifying him. He also stressed seeking the spiritual rather than the secular.
“When you walk in the Spirit, you get Spirit things; when you walk in the flesh, you get flesh things,” he told McPherson, himself a 55-year-old former pro defensive back who founded the nondenominational church in 2000.
Jesus is very much a reality for Wilson, with the quarterback saying he visualizes Christ walking on the field with him. He talks effortlessly about how God instructed him or told him to do something in particular.
At the same time, Wilson knows all too well the spirit can be willing but the flesh weak, as Matthew 26:41 says. Talking about staying godly with Ciara, he told the crowd at The Rock Church, “I need y’all to pray for us.”
I am and hope you are, too. I may even root for the Seahawks this year; if the rest of them are anything like Russell Wilson, the postgame interviews will be the highlight of the season, Super Bowl appearance or not.
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