Category: Homosexuality

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

No More Becoming

Leanne Payne used to quote Charles Williams’ line: ‘Hell is an image that knows no more becoming’ in reference to persons who stall in their growth as persons and cease to aspire to more.

That came to mind as I read a review on the latest ex-ex-gay film ‘Pray away’. You’ve heard it all before—Christians with sexual identity issues who vie for chastity then relent to the broad path of LGBT+ options. Instead of going quietly into the night, they live to blast everyone who supported their previous commitment.

This docu-melodrama takes the now tired genre (‘I tried, I lied, now I vilify’) to new lows of irrationality. Catch these soundbites:

Witness ‘defectors from the religious right’ in a ‘sobering account of toxic homophobia’ driven by ‘barbaric notions of forcing people to live a lie’ through ‘soul crushing behavior modification programs’! Gasp as they are ‘fed a diet of internalized self-hatred while having their trauma shaped by manipulative religious leaders into a testimony’! Wince at their ‘self-harm rituals’! Marvel that ‘he never lived an honest day in his life’ though ‘her body never allowed her to keep lying’! Discover ‘the bitter truth about a morally and psychologically unsound practice’! Be afraid, be very, very afraid!

Enough already. Besides the Hollywood Reporter’s over-the-top review, this genre’s limited appeal is founded on persons making new decisions about their sexuality then revising history, e.g. remaking pretty good Christian caregivers (I am one and I know most of them) into creatures from the black lagoon. The ex-ex-gay stars become winsome victims reveling in their great escape, and 15-minutes of fame.

I contend that these now repentant rainbow devotees are in conflict, and that their conflict expresses itself in such historic revision. It is a tried and true defense mechanism: ‘underneath it all, I am not sure if I am right about this gay superhighway so I am compelled to demonize all the old reminders of my previous path, in this case, the orthodox Christians who cheered me on what is difficult and counter-cultural’. Jesus called it ‘the narrow way that leads to life.’

Sad. My wife Annette said it best: ‘What do these men and women have now? The freedom to sleep with their roommates?’ I know the depth of same-sex attraction but deeper still, the awesome adventure of becoming the man of God’s design. It is more conflictual to buck the way of the Cross for ‘gay’ liberties than to surrender to the One who loves me most. Hell is an image that knows no more becoming.

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Sy

My friend and colleague Sy Rogers died a couple days ago of cancer. Loved him.

Sy, Alan Medinger, and me stormed Exodus at the same time in the early eighties, each of us supporting one another as officers of a vibrant, God-breathed movement.

A former transgender-identified, Sy was unique among us. He surpassed us in his courage and good humor about the harassment he experienced pre and post Christian commitment.

Heckled as effeminate by some jerk at the airport, Sy took special umbrage as he was with wife Karen. He took off after the bully, ready to pounce, shouting: ‘It beats high heels and make-up, buster!’

I loved how Sy had his pulse on popular culture and could couch the profane within the sacred. A highlight of each Exodus conference was Sy’s ‘weather’ report where he would summarize ebbs and flows in the ex-gay movement using the tools of a TV meteorologist. Superb.

He was a personality; he gifted the global church with holy panache. Every community that welcomed him encountered a powerful infusion of mercy and truth, nothing less than the power of the Gospel to transform lives. No-one was exempt from the gift and challenge of God’s-Kingdom-Come in Sy. Crazy funny too.

Last time I saw Sy was in Orlando, maybe 17-years-ago. I was with my youngest son Sam who had yet to meet someone as clever and kind. To this day Sam imitates how Sy would stick his clenched knuckle in his mouth and wince in feigned horror. We delighted in him as did thousands around the world.

Good man gone. Sad today.

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Whose Witness are You?

Pete Buttigieg is an impressive guy. This former presidential candidate (and potential running mate) gave us the best sound bites of the Democrat debates—smart, savvy, memorable. Yet his life is a tragic reflection of a nation hell-bent on denying its Creator. How else can you make sense of the silence that surrounded his faux marriage to a dude?

The fact that we no longer flinch when a man kisses his male ‘spouse’ on the global stage means we no longer take seriously the Creator and His purposes for our sexuality.

Sounds prudish, I know. Come on, you say, let Pete have his ‘happiness.’ When we think like that, we divorce God from happiness. ‘We concern ourselves with our own interests, and not the interests of Jesus Christ’ (Phil. 2:21). Every man and woman must give an answer to what (s)he does with the bodily powers of life and love. Either we aspire to fruitful communion (fusing the unitive and procreative) and represent the One in whose image we are made, or we meet our needs, our way. Whose witness are you?

Come on, you say: leave the oppressed ‘gay’ dude alone. Besides the billions of oppressed ‘gay’ dollars his campaign received, Pete is not the scapegoat here. His ‘out and proud’ status is merely one fractured witness of America’s culture of death, the one we each support in some form or another. I refer to the many dark strands of our national commitment to separating committed sexual love from the creation of children: contraception, abortion, surrogacy, fornication, divorce, porn and fantasy-driven lust and masturbation. Why not ‘gay’ everything? Come to think of it, why not get rid of gender altogether?

Note to the nation: sexual love is about uniting a man and a woman so they can aspire to create and care for kids reasonably well. It’s not about creating my ‘happiness’ by concocting some weird identity or relationship or habit that feels good to me. Sex is about life, creating and caring for someone else.

Just as most expressions of sexuality today fail to bring forth new life, so do these dead-end witnesses cast a shadow of death upon the children who fall under it. Last month at a Denver rally, Buttigieg answered a text-sent question from a 9-year-old boy in the crowd who asked: ‘Would you help me tell the world I am ‘gay’ too? I want to be brave too…’ The crowd chanted: ‘Love is love’…

Pete responded to the boy: ‘Your bravery is an inspiration…You’ll never know whose life you might be affecting by sharing your story…You never know who is feeling a little braver because of your courage.’ When you ‘honor’ Pete’s witness, you help conform a child to his dead-end witness.

Unchecked, much applauded LGBT-prattle from the Buttigiegs of this world stem from our culture of death and darken its shadow on the most vulnerable. We must decide: do we represent our Creator in our sexual values? Or the creature? Whose witness are you?

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

prayer schedule

prayer schedule

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fasting knocking on heaven's door

Fast Fruit: Knocking on Heaven’s Door

‘Because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice’ (Lk. 18:5).

Prayer and fasting are not sexy. As this 40-day ‘Becoming Good News’ ends, I am hungry and ornery, more inclined to fantasy donuts than holy apparitions. We as a staff have chosen weakness, a downward mobility, a reduction. We have gone without and prayed a lot. We are sensitized to the foul air of a clueless culture and worldly Church. And we have positioned ourselves near the Source, the oxygenated stream where ‘living waters’ first gushed and still flows.

Reduced to Jesus alone, we knocked. We admitted our defeat. ‘Unless You act, we’ve no hope.’ We remembered His saving action and bothered Him: we asked and asked and asked for Him to extend that victory to specific loved ones, to churches, to city hall and national courts. Here is some ‘fast fruit’ from the staff.

Like most of you, we knocked for family and friends dazed by the rainbow. And God answered. During last year’s ‘Becoming Good News’ fast, I had fought daily for a young man who was seeking Jesus but had no intention of giving up his ‘gay’ self. Early on in this year’s fast, he questioned me about what it might mean for him to begin pursuing women. Hah! Fluidity works both ways.

Amanda rejoiced that a woman she loves at her Living Waters group just let go of her ‘lesbian’ self in favor of Jesus’ reflection of her. Daniel’s chosen loved one just left a ‘gay’ marriage; he’s praying that Jesus would stir up her baptismal waters and reveal Himself as unfailing Love. Marco cast a vision of transformation for a couple worldly friends who are considering Jesus’ healing for their broken lives.

Dana was nearly overcome by a deepening experience of Jesus’ heart and sight for her lost loved ones. During the fast, two of them went from darkness to light—hitting bottom and asking Jesus how to live out of His kindness. Ann had a Spirit-led breakthrough with a neighbor and Dean who prayed for several families rocked by LGBT+ realities said they experienced a spiritual ‘overflow’ resulting in renewed hope and courage to engage estranged members afresh.

We knocked and God opened (or we trust, WILL open) effective doors of ministry. We broke through to a couple of key communities with whom we have sought partnership; we prayed big for bishops overseeing areas where we want to dig deep wells of ‘living water.’ Amber has experienced an upswing in her ministry to young adults who are seeking help for shameful areas of their lives As the therapy ban hit Kansas City at the onset of the fast, therapist Abbey began to reach out to colleagues who like her love Jesus and clinically serve teens. She was provoked by the fact that most are now worldly and theologically disintegrated in their care. Erin, a grad student in a clinical Christian program, has taken up this burden as well. Her fellows are clueless about how to apply their deepest Christian values with their care of persons. We prayed together for effective engagement with conscientious peers. A smog hovers over the clinical community; we ask King Jesus for an awakening.

And we knocked relentlessly for Kansas City’s ordinance to be overturned. Our ministry rallied the only opposition to the bill–friends of DSM/LW made up half of those attending the City Hall battles, LGBT+ persons composed the other. A river of ‘living water’ ran through our efforts and gave us an ease and grace that would have been impossible without this prayer stream. Our good-natured joviality contrasted beautifully with the lamenting ‘victims’ draped in rainbow flags; one confused man dressed as a woman seethed an “I hope you burn in hell!’ at me. And I thought we were pegged the ugly fundamentalists…

We keep knocking. Doors of effective legal warfare are opening for us and we will see this battle through to the end. Like the persistent widow, we will pound at heaven’s door until justice is served. He answers. He will answer. Our hope is well-placed and sure.

‘Will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones who cry out to Him day and night? He will see that they get justice, and quickly’ (Lk. 18: 7, 8).

You can purchase “Becoming Good News” in book form directly from Desert Stream or get it from Amazon for your Kindle.

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

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Dawning in darkness

Kingdom Clash 3: Dawning in Darkness

We blaze with expectancy in this last week of our Becoming Good News fast. What a gift to burn with you: for mercy, for truth, for the grace to flare up as the Spirit leads and shed warmth and light on the untouched. We on the Desert Stream staff are praying to become torches that light up the integrity of God’s image in humanity. A fire has blazed among us, incinerating our excesses and reducing us to something radiant for Jesus.

More than ever, I am convinced that Christians who trust in Jesus to transform all persons, including those who formerly identified as LGBT+, will light fires in their communities. Do not fear making known what Jesus can do! Let us dawn in the darkness of lies that have settled upon our churches, conforming pastors and fellow members to unbelief, false compassion, and an unbaptized embrace of gender benders. Thinking themselves wise, they have become fools and are portraying Jesus as a ‘feel-good’ advocate for the desecration of lives.

And these are saints! A woman in a key leadership role in a church that sponsors Living Water regularly celebrates a singer renowned for his ‘gay’ love songs and ‘non-binary’, ‘pre-trans’ self; she scowls at our ‘change’ ministry. A priest I love claims the Church is not clear on the issue of homosexuality and is waiting for Pope Francis to set us all straight on the matter (in other words, he is waiting for the pontiff to validate his own co-dependency with LBGT+ers.)

Asked to speak at a large convocation of evangelicals last month, a friend was the lone voice who described how her church offers transformation to the sexually broken; she was maligned for it, with persons shouting down her docile offering. At our City Hall battles this month, there were more rainbow ministers declaring support for the therapeutic ban than there were orthodox pastors fighting for transformation, therapeutic and otherwise.

We burn. We either allow the deception to sharpen and deepen our faith in God’s transformational love or we become conformed to it. Wake up. We all live in a false light which seeks to lull us into normalizing brokenness. LGBT+ activists have successfully persuaded our culture that nothing is wrong with gender confusion, be it a person’s lustful efforts to consume one’s same-gender friend or to become the other gender. We console ourselves with the lie that any other way of interpreting gender conflict will irreparably damage the beloved.

How kind our cowardice. Thinking ourselves loving and enlightened, we high-five another’s dehumanization. Believe me, it is much easier today to walk the broad path of embracing whatever gender variation one wants than to fight for something beautiful and creative hidden in his or her lustful self-rejection.

Jesus restores lives. He heals the broken. Do we still believe that? Can we say to our beloved infidel: ‘If you only knew the gift of God…’ (Jn. 4: 10)? Clearly the enemy of our souls has darkened minds and hearts. Not all want the light and the corporate unbelief surrounding sexual transformation has obscured, scandalized, even criminalized our message.

We cry out to the One: Hail Jesus, Almighty in Mercy—burn off our dross and burn in us afresh. Become our good news. Might we dawn in darkness with holy love!

You can purchase “Becoming Good News” in book form directly from Desert Stream or get it from Amazon for your Kindle.

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

Download PDF
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