Category: Catholic Sexuality

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Third of Seven Prayers for Marriage: Honoring a Champion

‘In order for God’s image to shine radiantly in him, man must first receive the purification whereby the divine Sculptor frees him from that dross that conceals the authentic figure of his being.’ Pope Emeritus Benedict

Pope Benedict XVI leads his last Angelus as pope at VaticanI miss him already. Pope Emeritus Benedict was for this new Catholic my first pope, a genuine father whose advocacy for purity and marriage lit my path as the world descended into deep darkness.

Obama is the CEO of this delusion. The President now insists that the US Supreme Court strike down Prop. 8—the decision of CA citizens to uphold the proper definition of marriage. He asserts that the whole nation should be subject to ‘what he and his administration believe about marriage.’

Believe indeed. Obamas’ delusional beliefs make him the first US President to celebrate the desecration of God’s image in ‘gay marriage.’ Big-money America rallied right behind Obama; 100 of our biggest companies just filed similar briefs with the Supreme Court, urging the nine justices to redefine marriage for the country.

A near frenzy for ‘gay marriage’ is palpable in our land, as if its truth is a foregone conclusion. France and Britain vie with the USA to make national ‘gay marriage’ decisions. The west descends into a moral winter.

A couple months back, cast down by this delusion while the church capitulated in the name of ‘grace,’ I picked up a copy of Pope Benedict’s Christmas message. In his last most important speech to the world, he reiterated the key truth that human beings possess a nature granted them by God—humanity as male and female—and thus any effort to alter that truth in a gay or transgender identity, or in a ‘gay marriage,’ destroys at core ‘the essence of the human creation.’

Benedict grasped the fundamental truth that we are not our own, and that something as profound and sacred as gender and sexual identity cannot be ‘recreated’ by the creature in an image that seems right to him or her. Whether we like it or not, whether we are Christian or not, we must answer to God for what we do with our body. Benedict spoke the truth in love. He foresaw the clamoring for ‘gay rights’ as a false demand for justice that imperils the true natures of those enslaved by such demands.

Unloving? Not at all. As the leader of the largest expression of Christ’s body on earth, Benedict took ‘love’ and rightfully elevated it to something splendid and stern. His first encyclical as pope was entitled ‘God is Love.’ Here he joins eros, or sexual love, with sacrificial love (agape). He points out beautifully that Jesus’ sacrificial love makes holy our passions, and motivates us to build others up, rather than use them for our own desires and needs. He summoned both singles and marrieds to their truest, most fruitful potential.

Following his call to love well, we can leave a legacy of dignity for those we influence. He championed that dignity based on the will of Father and the mission of Mother Church. Our now Emeritus Pope taught us how to burn bright as sexual beings, made in the divine image. May we honor his leadership by standing firm for marriage and purity in this icy hour.

‘Father, we thank you for Pope Emeritus Benedict. We are grateful for his leadership and ask that we might convey that gratitude actively in our prayers and actions on behalf of marriage. We pray for each one made in Your image. Like Benedict, we champion the dignity of all; we ask that You would move on the hearts of decision-makers around the world who are posed to define what it means to be human. We pray in particular for our Supreme Court, especially Justices Kennedy and Breyer whose votes are most in question. We pray that these Supreme Court justices would rule with justice and discernment to protect marriage. We ask for God’s blessing upon each one and upon their families.’

 

 

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Courage and Contending-Part 2

‘We must help all believers acquire a more vigorous, conscious adherence to the Gospel.’ Pope Benedict

 ‘I urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.’ (Jude 3b)

day38How Christians apply the Gospel to those with same-sex attraction will become a litmus test for the Gospel they uphold. Will we be the Church that calls seekers to repent unto Christ and His design for their humanity? Or do we bless the worldly model of forming an identity, even a marriage, around one’s same-gender tendencies? As never before, homosexuality will signal the divide between the compassion of the Cross and that of mere men.

More than any other issue, including abortion, homosexuality will divide the Church of Jesus Christ.

The falling away of many from a Cross-centered Gospel is already evident in the way some conservative churches address homosexuality. A lay leader recently shut down a friend of mine requesting prayer to uphold marriage (in light of several ‘gay marriage’ initiatives) on the grounds that we don’t ‘take positions against gays.’ That very month a church in the same evangelical denomination hosted a civil ‘gay wedding’ ceremony.

The Church must steward the fullness of both grace and truth. Yet we have faltered to define that truth—the relational order and purity Jesus commands. As a result, our message of grace has no power. We have lost any notion of how far we have fallen. Thus our call to repent unto Jesus, the Source of our order and purity, has no direction, no urgency.

The Church is now subject to an utterly false mercy. We want to be relevant and ‘loving’ to those in sexual darkness so we turn down the Light. We agree with angry broken people that we should not uphold marriage because it is offensive. Why else would 59% of Roman Catholics in the USA favor ‘gay marriage’? St. Paul said it best: ‘They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.’ (Rom. 1: 25)

The Church must uphold God’s best for humanity and not alter His will for the delusions of men. To do so is idolatry. That is why I and Desert Stream Ministries continue to hold out for God’s vision of marriage, regardless of the changing tides of popular opinion. We have a holy mandate to obey. Political victories rise and fall; they are not our hope. Jesus is. We render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to Jesus what is His. Marriage belongs to the Maker, and we shall fight for its integrity until death frees us for full consummation with Him.

Those Christians who think differently are marvelously short-sighted. You cannot pretend to love the same-sex attracted then agree to a legal covenant that further binds them, the children they adopt, and the culture that supports them to a perversion that has power to send body and soul to hell.

Truth and transformation go hand-in-hand. Hold out God’s best and call the broken into full repentance. Line up with Jesus and be the Church that represents His compassion, His absolute surrender at Calvary that demands nothing less than ours.

‘Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear, hating even the clothing stained by immoral flesh.’ (Jude 22a, 23)

‘Go stand in the temple courts,’ an angel of the Lord said, ‘and tell the people the full message of this new life.’ (Acts 5: 20)

 

 

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Courage and Consent

‘The sick soul fears more than anything else the demands made on one who is well.’
Joseph Pieper

Just before leaving for France last week, disgruntled gays in the USA filed a round of new lawsuits against those they had enlisted to help them change their homosexuality. Eyes rolled around our nation as the popular media framed such ‘conversion therapy’ as foolish and dangerous.

While addressing both Protestant and Catholic groups in France, I was warned twice not to mention ‘healing’ and ‘homosexuality’ in the same sentence as that is now illegal in France. Impassioned ‘gay marriage’ debates raged on every TV screen as France prepares to decide in February whether gays will share every marriage and family privilege with husband and wife.

I was tempted to take a step backward, to heed the intimidation and soft-pedal the Word of my testimony and the hundreds of others in France who represent Living Waters. (France is the strongest international expression of our ministry.)

Then I remembered: this is Advent. We prepare for Jesus by beholding Mary’s courageous consent to the angel who asked her to be overwhelmed by the Word and to bear its fruit in her body. Small trembling Mary became great through granite faith. She had no worldly insignificance. All she had was her ‘yes’ to God. She embodied the word of Isaiah to the quaking King Ahaz: ‘If you do not stand firm in faith, you will not stand at all.’ (Is. 7:9)

I heeded Isaiah’s call and Mary’s example and told the whole truth of how Jesus heals the homosexual throughout France. For such a time as this.

Mary’s obedience became our deliverance. So we the delivered have a simple annunciation to which we must respond. Now! Will we heed the new life growing within us and proclaim the truth of what He has done in us? Or will silence be our safety? Will we be merely content to tend our vegetable garden and neglect the sweep of land dying in the shadow of delusion?

Joseph Pieper speaks of magnanimity as the virtue by which we champion the greatest possibility of human potential. In this hour, what could be greater than the Church’s boast that Jesus makes virile the perverse man, the defended woman fertile? Or will we ‘prefer to be less great in order to avoid the obligation of greatness’?

 

I leave you with this excerpt from Denise Levertov’s ‘Annunciation’:

‘We are told of Mary’s meek obedience. No one mentions courage.

The engendering Spirit did not enter her without consent.

God waited.

She was free to accept or to refuse, choice integral to humanness.

Aren’t there annunciations of one sort or another in most lives?

Some unwillingly

undertake great destinies, enact them in sullen pride, uncomprehending.

More often

These moments when roads of light and storm

open from darkness in a man or woman, are turned away from

in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair and with relief.

Ordinary live continue.

God does not smite them.

But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.’

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Waking Up

How do you explain a nation that resolutely opposed ‘gay marriage’ at the polls (32X) then ushered it in boldly last Tuesday?

You could cite Obama’s slide as America’s; he started 4 years ago resolute in his ‘Christian’ commitment to marriage then unraveled. He became the first US president to champion ‘gay marriage’ last May. Did he lead America into ‘gay marriage’ or just reflect the superficial faith of many? Chicken or egg: discuss.

Last Tuesday, the Church laid an egg; she chickened out, big time. How else do you explain the stats that most avowed Roman Catholics in the USA now support ‘gay marriage’? Or the evangelical drivel that ‘we cannot legislate morality’? Are you kidding? Every act of legislation is a moral decision!

We so want a tolerant Jesus that we edit the truth that He is the Creator and Redeemer of all, which implicates our gender, our sexuality and what we do with our bodies. Supporting ‘gay marriage’ declares that we have no understanding of what it means to be human, made in His image. So we settle for a ‘feel good’ Jesus who does not mess with us. In truth, Jesus messes with us at the core of our affections and motives so that we don’t mess up others, including murdering the unborn.

Jesus indicts America’s cowardice with ‘gay marriage’ and a new host of pro-abortion leaders led by Obama himself.

It’s not too late. Last Tuesday sounded an alarm. Will ‘we wake up from the dead and let Christ shine on us?’ (Eph. 5:14)

I had a dream last night of a bright-eyed young pastor serving an ailing church in Boston. Due to the pastor’s disavowal of ‘gay marriage’, the church elders took away his keys. But he had a key, shaped like a cross. His ‘cross-key’ gave him free and ready access to the church that mere men could not stop. Many joined him, and a vibrant renewed church emerged from the dying one.

My friend and colleague Josh Glazer woke up. He led his Maryland-based ministry Regeneration to pray and fast with us over these last 40-days. He writes: ‘I’ve been humbled to have my own cowardice and compromise exposed–masked as compassion, busy-ness, humility, and the pursuit of being ‘relevant’. Also, I’ve become increasingly aware of something akin to a spirit of delusion over our land, blinding us to the true fruit of the unnatural desires we’ve been embracing.

The shining moment of this fast for me was when a spirit of fear was broken. The Lord showed me my cowardice and compromise as “holding to a form of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:4). For three days following, I reveled in Hebrews 11 — reading of my brothers and sisters in the faith who have gone before me, not clinging to this country nor the approval or pleasures therein, “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them” (Heb. 11:16).

As this fast concludes, whether marriage further upheld or further desecrated, I am convinced we must keep crying out for mercy and a spirit of repentance in His Church and throughout our land. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us!”

 

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An Army Rising

‘I will rouse your sons, O Zion…and make you like a warrior’s sword.’ (Zech. 9: 13)

In spite of scandal and slumber, the Roman Catholic Church remains the most cohesive and powerful voice for sexual morality in the world today. If the annual Courage Conference last weekend is any indication, she is rediscovering that voice in proclaiming and administering wholeness to those with same-sex attraction.

Under Father Paul Check’s sound direction, Courage–the RCC’s official arm of pastoral care for Catholics with SSA—gathers priests, religious, therapists, and laity to raise up the Church’s foundations. These core truths define who we are as sexual beings and how Jesus through the Church restores our original dignity.

Last week’s conference combined incisive teaching, testimony, and worship. Like swords, leaders and strugglers alike were sharpened by the truth which is our freedom, a truth that exposes false compassion and justice in order to become the basis for a humbled people, arising to become His Body, broken for one another.

We confessed together: what the Church upholds about sexual wholeness, she has often failed to live. The compromised Body has allowed her mouth to be gagged, her hands tied by the lie that ‘gay is good’; she has opted to be ‘nice’, not morally beautiful, in her response to those with SSA.

Though the Bride has shrunk back from her own inheritance, the Bridegroom is raising up churchmen and women who are willing to stand upon the truth, to embody it. Might we become an expression of the Gospel so splendid and stern that it has power to welcome home the prodigal, and to raise the sin-sick from the dead?

Together we admitted we had been broken by the world’s version of homosexuality. Together we arose in unity to manifest the emerging beauty of our true humanity. Jesus is preparing us, His broken Body, to become an army whose offense lies solely in the beauty of Jesus, the ground and crown of our freedom.

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