Category: Homosexuality

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

At Risk

‘If our Gospel is hid, it is hid toward those who are perishing’ (2 Cor. 4:3).

An outraged congregant railed at Pastor Patrick on the eve of our Gender Matters conference at his church: ‘This isn’t one of those “pray away the gay” groups, is it?’ Unflinchingly, the good pastor responded: ‘Yes, our church believes in the power of prayer for all broken persons seeking Jesus.’

Worldly Christians—more influenced by snide soundbites from the Internet than by the Kingdom of God—now contribute to the din of unbelief and popular ‘born- that-way-can’t change-anyway prejudice that surround persons with gender identity problems.

In failing to extend God’s Kingdom to those at risk, worldly Christians risk the loss of that Kingdom. Their light dims, the snap of their salt dulls.

Hopefully, the overreach in the California legislature of AB 2943 gives all Christians the chance to wake up and forego this compromised, guilt-by-assimilation mindset toward persons with same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria. Together, let us burn off lies by reigniting these three truths:

First, persons most at risk in their gender identities need the Kingdom of God more than state-mandated identity formation, e.g. you must embrace your ‘gay’ or ‘trans’ self. Only the Father through the Son and by His Spirit can confirm true identity. This is the business of the Church and the cure for the fractured heart.

Second, persons most at risk in their gender identities are helped far more than they are hurt by the Church. In the same breath that we acknowledge our failures, we declare it libelous to frame faith communities as rife with fraudulent ‘conversionists’ who impose impossible burdens on the vulnerable. I work with hundreds of churches in California where I witness humble groups who welcome all persons who know they need the Savior. California is especially adept at providing multiple onramps for seekers to receive blessing, belonging and transformation through Jesus represented well in His yielded members.

Third, persons most at risk in their gender identities are not well-served by the lie that drives AB 2943, namely, that persons who seek change in their desires will hurt themselves because change is impossible. That is patently untrue: not just questionable science but fraudulent science. In ‘Ex-Gays?’ (IVP, 2007), the impressive book that details the best ‘longitudinal study on religiously mediated change in sexual orientation’, Drs. Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse make clear that people can and do experience change in their sexual desires and identity, and that seeking such change does not incur harm. Check it out.

The bias against change for an ‘at risk’ people now drives the psychological community which fuels the LGBT+ political caucus that leads the California legislature by the nose. Persons most at risk lose options that could set them free.

Christians, wake up. Arise out of your risky state–your agreement with popular lies. Burn again with the truth, endowed with power, to secure at risk persons in holy love.

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Why Gender Matters 2: Good Grief

I did not grin over skater Adam Rippon’s campy exuberance nor fawn over commentators Johnny Weir’s jewels during the Winter Olympics. I grieved. Here are two strong, disciplined men who acted like girls, preening before cameras in full make-up and elaborate hairdos, gushing clever trash like ‘I’m a glamazon bitch ready for the runway’ (Rippon) and inviting us into his (Weirs’) room crammed full of women’s clothes and accessories, twice as many as his female counterpart. These guys are cartoonish violations of womanhood.

And America loves them. Time Magazine tagged Rippon the ‘winner of the Olympics’, though he placed 12th in his competition. These are our ambassadors to the world: out and proud and lauded at every turn. To the degree that we laughingly embrace their fractured personas, we contribute to their disintegration. And to a generation’s. Rippon and Co. are converting the lukewarm into gender anarchists.

Are you complicit? Do you not know that your giggling advocacy of gender-benders grieves the heart of God? He who made us in His image detests it when humanity forsakes its integrity, its ordination as either male or female and mocks both instead. Do you no longer take God at His Word? In order to show Himself and His creation strong, the God of Israel warned His nation to forego the confusion of the gender-bending Canaanites: ‘A woman must not wear a man’s clothing, not a woman, a man’s’ (Deut. 22:5), and ‘No-one who has emasculated himself by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the Lord’ (23:1). If the Olympics are any indication, we are now subject to a prideful, shameless parade of persons who defy the Creator by investing in false, demonized selves which enslave them and the vulnerable.

We need truth on which to sober and straighten up if we are to face rightly our prideful, disintegrated comrades. My favorite book on homosexuality and truth remains Dr. Robert Gagnon’s The Bible and Homosexual Practice, from which I quote: ‘Genesis 1-3, Lev. 18:22; 20:13, and Romans 1: 26-27 all suggest that same-sex intercourse was rejected on the grounds that it violated the anatomical and procreative sexual complementarity of male and female in creation—by definition an instance of pride, a supplanting of God’s design in creation for sexuality in favor of one’s own design.’

Those who appeal to merciful Jesus will find no softening of His commitment to the integrity of male and female in the Father and Son’s creation of humanity: ‘Jesus unreserved embrace of the creation account and his bold appeal to it establishes His commitment to one and only one model for sexual reunion…on matters relating to sexual ethics, Jesus adopted stricter, not more lenient, demands than most other Jews of His time…His expectations regarding sexual purity exceeded both the Torah and the tradition prevailing in His day’ (Gagnon).

So we turn toward Jesus: sobered, we need to care about what matters to Him. That means foregoing our own interests (Phil. 1: 21) and reconfirming our commitment to humanity aspiring to gender integrity. When we encounter popular perversions, I urge you not to laugh but rather to grieve over the prideful rebellion that hurts people and desecrates the Holy One. Cry out for the gentle wooing of His mercy, which invites each Rippon and Weir to turn to Him and so overcome our common enemy (2T 2:26).

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Why Gender Matters 1

Please forgive the error. The wrong blog was posted this morning.



Gender matters because we do not create ourselves. We have a Creator who made us to reflect something of Himself in our bodies as male and female. Our gendered humanity is not an accident. It is an ordination. No matter how much we devalue ourselves as gender beings, One remains true in His favor upon our distinctly masculine or feminine selves. We who disagree with Him contribute to our own disintegration.

Or we can concur that His will is our freedom. No matter how deep the discord in our souls, we can aspire to true happiness. We can stretch our hands and our hearts to become a more whole expression of Him whose image we bear. In these bodies! Our form takes on meaning in light of the one next to us whose very difference highlights our own and draws us into wholeness. Enjoy this story of a recently married man who aspired to a life beyond ‘gay’-identification.

‘I love being married. We’re only 2 weeks in, but it’s absolutely wonderful. For those of us on the journey out of SSA, we tend to emphasize healthy friendships with other men. But I must say, being married has helped me to understand and embrace my masculinity as nothing else has.

On our honeymoon there was a moment when my wife and I happened to be standing next to each other in front of a nearly full length mirror, in our birthday suits. Just seeing the male and female next to each other—our bodies—I suddenly understood the beauty and wonder of the differences between the genders. Mine is angular, defined, strong, hers is gentle, soft, inviting. And they make sense only that mine is created for hers and hers for me, to be given to each other as a gift.

Although I have always been physically attracted to my wife, I am more filled with awe and wonder at the beauty of her body with each passing day. There is something glorious about the feminine body as God created it, something especially glorious when it is a precious gift given to you and only you by the person you love most in the world. Her body is beautiful, just as a sunset is beautiful, or an undiscovered land lit by the morning light. I look at her and catch my breath, and wonder how God could be so good as to give her to me.’

Jesus invites us to aspire to freedom in our gendered bodies. We who aspire become His re-creation and glimpse in each other the dawn of a new day.

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Smoke, Not Fire

Two weeks ago, a Roman Catholic priest from Milwaukee came out as ‘gay’–made by God that way–to his congregation in an effort to integrate his ‘gay’ self and to help LGBTers follow his path to authenticity.

Blazing a trail with his fiery witness? Nah….Father Gregory Greiten’s effort leaked poisonous gas into the Church; he made smoke, not fire by reducing the God who answers His children with fire to a toothless ancient who wearily confirms our fractured lives. For this Jesus suffered an agonizing death and descent into hell? The smoke that shrouds and chokes, not the fire that illumines and awakens our authenticate selves, is the effect of churchmen who render God impotent.

I struggle to include in a brief blog all the errors in Greiten’s thinking. Let me try.

First, there is no such thing as a ‘gay’ person, if by that one means an individual who is intrinsically rooted in same-sex attractions. That is a popular myth. A person is not born a homosexual or a transsexual or a bisexual. He or she is born to realize her or his dignity as a beloved daughter or son of the Father and as a gendered gift to the whole world. Father Greiten disagrees; he purports that ‘God created him to be gay.’ Says who? Not God…

Secondly, Greiten confuses one’s feelings with an identity. I suspect, like many persons (myself included) with a history of same-sex attraction, the depth and persistence of such desires can tempt one into forming a ‘self’ around them. But such identity formation is alien to the call of Christ. He invites every follower to surrender all other identifications and to take up the Cross as the mark of the new and true self (JN 12: 25). Every priest should know this. If a fatherly leader loses sight of that Cross, how dull the vision for a weaker son! Smoke, not fire.

Thirdly, every priest should know that the Church names homosexual desires as disordered in that they frustrate openness to life: the unitive and procreative purposes of our sexuality. Jesus upheld His Father’s will for man and woman together to constitute His plan for sexual love (Matt. 19: 4-6). Of course many live far from that reality. No matter! God has made a way for persons with disordered desires to be drawn into His merciful gaze and so be ‘loved out’ of every other identification, especially one based on disordered desires. That a priest should base an identity on disordered desires, then urge others to follow his example, is beyond me. Better put, because Jesus’ love has shattered every effort of the ‘gay’ world to name and animate me, I would say that Greiten’s example is beneath me.

Fourth, what to say to the response to Greiten’s witness? His congregation gave him a standing ovation, and apparently his Archbishop blessed his ‘coming out.’ That is for me the worst news of all. It reflects a worldly church nearly dead to the power of the Gospel. Nearly dead. I would put her in St. Paul’s category of being ‘struck down but not yet destroyed’ (2Cor. 4:9). She lives still because Jesus’ lives just as I live today to the beauty of Jesus and my wife and kids and grandkids and a whole new horizon that Jesus opens for every longing, broken heart.

The Church must reclaim her truth and her witness today. You who like me share a history of disorder vanquished only by the greater love of Jesus—let us arise in this hour and become the Church who illuminates the Cross amid shadow and smoke. Let our lives shine forth the glory of Him who authors and redeems true personhood.

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Irresistible

In these last couple weeks of our fast, I’ve had the privilege of making two trips to the Northeast where I witnessed the irresistible splendor of Jesus in His Church, both evangelical and Catholic. The Spirit is stirring up His saints, girding them in truth and welling up like living water to grant the gender broken a better Word. One can have any number of freedoms and still be a slave! Jesus alone frees the sin-shackled and makes us true sons and daughters of the one Father.

In Pennsylvania, I gathered with a group of priests who meet regularly to share their sexual vulnerabilities and the healing love that sets them free; in New York City and New Jersey I gathered with turned-on Korean-Americans who are as committed to becoming whole as they are becoming good news for their LGBT+ friends. I spent most of my time in the borough of Queens where I invested in a church renowned for its efforts at creating emotionally healthy community and fostering racial reconciliation. Stunningly so! Yet the pastors have the wisdom to know the difference between ethnicity and gender identity issues; they celebrate a diversity of tribes and tongues while refusing the ‘gender spectrum’ ideology that fractures God’s children. Mercy welled up as we testified of His unfailing love that reconciles us to our true humanity—male and female–in this one body.

Before setting off for these trips, I had the privilege of assisting at the Mass celebrating the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. It is my favorite feast of the church year, as it is the only one that celebrates the Church herself: the irresistible splendor of Jesus revealed in His body. As I read from Ezekiel 47 about the water levels rising in the temple until the saints are immersed and flowing out into the world in order to heal and feed the broken (‘their fruit shall serve for food and their leaves for medicine’, EZ 47: 12), I realized that this is our mission. It is being fulfilled as we gather and lift up Jesus as Healer!

In all of our Northeast gatherings, I fielded questions from countless saints who face increasingly complex hardships due to LGBT+ demands: the deacon working with a nominal Christian family whose 4-year-old daughter showed up in Sunday School as a boy, the assistant male youth leader who announced his ‘transition’ to womanhood, the influential minister now ‘gay married’ and adopting children while extolling the joys of ‘gay Christianity’, the worker whose ‘gay’ boss firmly encourages his employees to stick rainbow emblems on their office doors, and many who simply want to know how to care for loved ones who now live under the rainbow. As we prayed at every meeting for Jesus to come and show us His way–the mercy that is ours only as we enter through the gate of His body and blood shed for us in the one body–the water levels rose and immersed us in the divine love that breaks human enslavement. We bring a better Word endowed with power to save the gender broken. His love radiant in humbled, poured-out saints: Irresistible.

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