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A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Advent: Woes and Warring for Souls

‘Perhaps what we modern people need most is to be genuinely shaken…God permits this whirlwind to go over the earth…This is the first Advent message: before the end, the world will be set quaking.’ FR Alfred Delp

‘The coming of Jesus is fearsome news for everyone with a conscience’, says Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Advent jolts us awake. Rather than lull ourselves to sleep with boozy good cheer, we can rouse ourselves in the electric lights radiating from the gray. God calls us to shine bright for the saving of many lives.

So it was at our Gender Matters Conference in Manila. Between the Feast of St. Andrew and the first Sunday of Advent, hundreds of us packed out a hall in the city center and betrothed ourselves anew to Jesus and His truth for humanity amid a national drive to enslave citizens by guaranteeing ‘rights to gender expression’, aka defy your nature and conjure a false self. The Philippines is poised to become the first nation in Asia to pass a law that grants preferential treatment to the ever-expanding LGBT+ set while imposing extreme penalties for anyone who ‘creates an emotionally distressing environment’ which ‘results in the loss of self-esteem’ for any person flaunting an identity fracture.

The bill is expressly designed to silence any pastor, parent, or friend who casts a vision of gender wholeness for loved ones being tempted by a host of fake identities.

Andrew Speaking at Gender Matters.

Jesus provokes us who have died to these solutions and now live for Him. We cannot celebrate the dead-end of sexualizing our injuries and unmet needs. In truth, we grieve and mourn and cry out for true justice. A godly congress-woman implored us to pray and fight for a delay of the bill which slam dunked the lower house 187-0 and is scheduled to go before the Senate mid-December. Wise senators are working hard for this delay in order to buy time in which to rouse the Church—Philippine’s drowsy, distracted giant.

The Holy Spirit honored our gathering; His Presence summoned fresh repentance and many tears over this delusion and the traditional adulteries that broke ground for this rainbow psychosis. More than anything, we poured out our hearts for a generation who are being entombed by fake identities.

I recalled St. Andrew whose gift to us as the first apostle was a deep, child-like faith in Jesus and an immediate evangelistic impulse. Having beheld the Lamb, he directed his brother Peter to Jesus, declaring ‘We have found the Messiah’ (JN 1:35-42).

St Andrew reminded me that our Philippine advance was not first about politics or theology or psychology—it was for persons doomed to die unless merciful ones, endowed with true vision, direct them to Jesus. Scattered throughout our gathering were wide-eyed gender-benders alongside faithful friends. ‘They’ are us—wounded wonderful persons who will remain slaves until they discover the Father who alone has power to confirm us as His sons and daughters (Gal. 4:3-7).

‘When these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand’ (LK 21:28).

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Saved by Beauty 2

‘The joy of a saint is not to draw people to himself…but to cast his crown before God.’ Father Richard Veras

This fall I’ve faced the down-drag of affliction—my Church’s tendency to look good rather than to become good, and my mother who shattered her shoulder in August. In the face of her mortality (resilient and recovering 93-year-old that she is!), I uneasily check my own and am tempted by resignation rather than resurrection.

Jesus is faithful through His saints. During several trips to care for Mom, I attended morning Mass at a local parish. One day a week the priest presides expertly over a sanctuary teeming with elementary school kids while we adults vie for seats in back. A young father who I can only describe as radiant-in-holiness sat next to me and proceeded to boast about his first grade daughter and how he wanted to ‘live out’ the Mass for her. What? I saw him once again, warm and porous-in-love. Light broke my darkness.

A young Filipina woman reads the Old Testament passage and Psalm one day a week at the same Mass. When she does, her beauty and sanctity compel me to listen; I receive the Word freely. I asked her afterwards how she preps, and she responded that she prays to embody the Word for that moment—to step into the Word and become it. What? Something like joy welled up in me and overtook sadness.

I flew home late during my last visit in order to help Annette with the one day a week that she cares for both of our grandkids. Annette has made it clear—on that day, we both care for them. 6-month-old Camille lights up the world with her smile. Nothing like it. She sleeps, she feeds, she fusses, then boom: here comes the sun. One-year-old, Jacob is, well, perfect. My ‘strollering’ with him and our eldest labrador Joni is the highlight of the week. He clutches her leash in his fist; indigo eyes, full of wonder, take in the world around him as if it were Eden’s first day.

Through his eyes, I marvel again, and wait with renewed hope for the Day.

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

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Saved by Beauty

‘This aspiration—born of love—is a search for integral beauty, for purity free from stain. It is a search for perfection that contains a synthesis of human beauty—body and soul.’ (Theology of the Body, St. John Paul ll)

As she sat in the morning light, hair shining silver, I realized that she had never been lovelier. All the years together, just shy of 40—and she more dignified and womanly than ever. I thought of the Rogers and Hammerstein lyric: ‘Do I love you because you are beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you?’ and concluded nothing except life means little without her. Beautiful Annette, or better put, beautiful marriage, saved me.

Isn’t that idolatry? Doesn’t only Jesus save? Of course, only one Savior, but Jesus has given marriage power to permeate its players with His very Presence in a way that saves man and woman through their communion—body, soul, spirit. St. Paul likens sexual fusion between husband and wife to the ‘great mystery’ of Christ’s union with the Church. For years now, I have participated in this most holy, earthy communion with another; in so doing, Annette and I share in Jesus infusing His Church with divine presence. As Annette and I permeate each other with our self-giving, we are being saved—made holy through love as we ‘submit to each other out of reverence for Jesus’ (Eph. 5:21).

This flies in the face of charges—laughably foolish—that any person who has same-sex attraction cannot be redeemed in his or her sexuality. I came across an ad for the film ‘Boy Erased’ that ominously read: ‘The truth cannot be converted…’ Du, du, du, dumb. Talk about an inverted, uninspired worldview!

As our common enemy would have it, homosexuality, the big ‘H’, now subordinates Jesus to little ‘j’. For every sheep that drank the cool-aid and now believes all we can do for the LGBT+ set is to agree with their divided, sterile identifications—hear this: Jesus redeems us for beauty! And that means He has power to enable sinners from any fractured starting point to join the dance of life. Marital love with Jesus at center redeems persons who participate in it.

‘Boy Erased’ and the trendy assault on anyone who efforts to grow beyond sexual illusion reveal a loss of vision for human creativity and dignity. Not beautiful Jesus; He has never lost sight nor power to summon what He sees. That takes disciplined response, of course. Any good thing does. Becoming who I am is hard yet deeply fulfilling. I am not even tempted to trade my marriage and its unitive, creative power for a weird friendship with a dude. I was created and redeemed for beauty. Beauty saved me.

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

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Gender Matters in the Philippines

May I please invite you all to pray for our daylong Gender Matters Conference in Manila, The Philippines on Saturday, Dec. 1st? Our gathering could not be timelier. This most Christian nation in Asia is now on the brink of following America’s horrid example of gender-bending civil rights. The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Law (SOGIE) has passed their lower house and goes before the Senate at the first of the year. If this passes, ‘gay marriage’ will follow.

In answer to the prayers of a united front of Christians, the voting was delayed. Now we have a chance to wake up Christians slumbering in regard to gender fluidity issues. Evangelicals and Catholics are being swayed by the spirit of the age into a fake tolerance, ‘to love in the name of freedom.’ Most believers have not considered the responsibility God places on us to glorify Him as the author of our true natures rather than to allow loved ones to build fake selves based on ever-morphing ‘feelings.’ We act in truth, or we will be judged for abetting our common enemy and hurting our loved ones.

Living Waters friends in The Philippines take their Christian responsibility seriously. They are paying a high price in sponsoring Gender Matters: our beloved leader there Benjie Cruz just broke his hip in a crazy accident that I believe is demonic. Please pray for all his staff members who are working like crazy to equip the Church in The Philippines to convey the heart of Jesus to the vulnerable. If the Church slumbers, fools will rush in and confirm persons into false selves. Psychological and spiritual destinies are at stake. Please pray:

1. For a huge turnout at our conference on Dec. 1st in Manila.
2. For protection on the LW staff and quickened healing for Benjie and family.
3. For the 7 astounding young adults on the LW staff who embody a range of gender brokenness and healing through Jesus and His community.
4. For the SOGIE bill to be defeated in the Senate.
5. For Christians throughout The Philippines to wake up and speak up before it’s too late.

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

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Unflinching Mercy for the Abused

‘The beauty of the cathedral does not oppose the cross but is its fruit.’ – Cardinal Ratzinger

The other morning in prayer I was startled by the image of a priest opening his vestments in a cathedral and abusing a boy. The act was as ugly as the building was beautiful. I felt rage: the boy was sacrificed on the altar of another’s perversion, and this, before the Lord! Ordained to protect, the priest destroyed. And the man over him—a bishop—protected the building, not the boy.

I wanted to race from the image and lose myself in mystery. But I could not. I asked God why and He seemed to say: ‘That boy relives the nightmare constantly. I give you a share in it. Money cannot heal him; His restoration hinges on whether or not he is believed and that priest defrocked, along with any bishop who covered for him.’

I could not flinch and turn away from the boy’s nightmare. To be unflinching means ‘to not be frightened of, or not to not try to avoid something dangerous…to look and describe something directly.’

I vented my anger in prayer and asked for justice to be served at the recent US Bishops’ gathering in Baltimore; I prayed for ways that the bishops might censure themselves (apparently, this question will be taken up by a global gathering of bishops in February.) Please pray for this crucial issue: unless bishops are disciplined, there is no restoration for victims.

I realized that day was the Feast of the Lateran Basilica, one chance a year for the Church to honor the cathedral of the pope in Rome, a mere building but one that conveys an essential about this Church built on apostles and prophets who point us to the new Jerusalem. I felt conflicted; in our abuse crisis, I am tempted to disdain the Church for what I fear hides beneath her ancient creeds and cloaks.

And yet this rather minor feast has always been my favorite day of all. Why? As I reread the Scriptures—Jesus on fire for the temple, incinerating its robbers (John 2), and the river flowing from the temple to ‘make all things new’ (Ezek. 47), I remembered: this is the Church I love—zealous in truth, and boundless in its river of life flowing from the Cross at altar—the water levels rising and my friends and I growing as trees along the banks of this holy river, our fruit becoming food for the hungry, our leaves anointed to heal the broken (v. 12).

Might this be the hour, O holy and merciful Jesus, when You re-enter Your house and expel those who crush the most vulnerable then lie about it? Might You then stir the waters and release a greater flood of healing for those most in need of it? May those devoured by robbers in Your house be restored by Almighty mercy.

May we not cease to pray and act until this is accomplished for the abused. Through the fruit of Your suffering—the healing flood rising in our midst—might the beauty You intend for Your house be restored, first for them then for all.

‘I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest, until He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of all the earth.’
(Isaiah 62: 6, 7)

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

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