About a month ago, Kansas City Chiefs kicker, Harrison Butker, made comments during a commencement speech that got many people worked up. Among his comments was this gem: “Not the deadly sins sort of Pride that has an entire month dedicated to it…” His comments are the exact kind of queerphobia that we are used to. But since he brought it up, let’s look at these Seven Deadly Sins.

First, you may or may not know that this list of sins cannot be found in one place in the Bible. You cannot turn to a specific book, chapter, and verse and find this complete list of sins (Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and of course Pride). This list of sins was introduced into Christian tradition by Pope Gregory around the 6th Century. That doesn’t mean that these sins aren’t serious, but for those of us who care about the authority of scripture, we might hold this “list” in a different light knowing that it is 6th-century commentary and not canonized holy scripture. Why is that distinction important? Because I would be willing to bet that when someone with that kind of platform says such a statement, that the average listener might assume it is the Word of God. 

Next, Pride, as defined by Christianity.com, is “an inflated sense of self-importance, an excessive focus on oneself, and a failure to acknowledge one’s dependence on God.” That website quotes Proverbs 16:18 (NIV) “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” and Proverbs 11:2 (NIV) “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” I agree that these are not qualities conducive to a faithful Christian life, but I fail to see what that has to do with sexual orientation or gender identity. I fail to see what that has to do with being proud of who you are and who God made you to be when the Harrison Butkers of the world tell you to be ashamed. 

Friends, the “Pride” that Pope Gregory laid out is something that all people should be mindful of, but it has absolutely nothing to do with being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. No one should believe that they are better than anyone else, that only their needs matter, or that they are without flaw. 

What does this have to do with New Church? In this pandemic-informed world, we are all New Church. We all have the opportunity to change the message that is coming from “church” and from “church folks.” We have the opportunity to be a place that reminds people that they are all children of God and that they are welcome at the Table. 

So, in case no one has reminded you today, the psalmist wrote (which is actually in the Bible) that each and every one of you is fearfully and wonderfully made by God (139:14). Happy PRIDE Month!

~ Rev. Wesley King, Associate Executive Minister of Administration for New Church Ministry

This blog post also appeared in the June 2024 issue of the New Church Know-It-All.

2 thoughts on “Is Pride really a sin?

  1. Yes, when a Christian shows pride and boasts about what God has created in, as, and through one, it is not a haughty or self-centered kind of pride. Rather, it is a word of praise, worship, wonder, and gratitude for what God has done. Surely God takes pride and delight in all that God has created, much as human parents take pride and delight in the children God has given them.

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