Category: Homosexuality

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

The Advent of Repentance

This Advent I had the privilege of preaching several times at ‘Water of Life’, a large church in Southern California. After each service, many people came up to me seeking counsel on what to do with ‘gay’ friends and family members. Most poignant were the pleas of parents and siblings: ‘How do we love them while we disagree with their moral choices?’

These family members are now subject to deceived, politicized loved ones whose ‘gay selves’ have turned hard and cold toward the ones they left behind. Times have changed, people. No longer are we dealing with same-sex strugglers in search of alternatives to ‘the gay self’; this generation seeks only its confirmation. Those family members who cannot in good conscience bless him as ‘gay’ or her as ‘lesbian’ are deemed unloving at best, and probably abusive.

Repentance unto Mercy is the key. The Advent reading for that Sunday was from Is 40:1-11: ‘Comfort my people with great tenderness; the war is over–I shall give you a double portion for all your sins! I will lift up the low and dry valleys and level the mountains; I will make the crooked roads straight! Declare the good news boldly, do not hold back! I will shepherd you well, especially mothers with kids…’

I thought of the Gospel reading from that day, John the Baptist reiterating the essence of this call to repent unto the coming of Jesus, the One full of Mercy who fills us with His Spirit as the basis for a whole new way of living! (Matt. 3:1-12)

William Stringfellow says it best: ‘John the Baptist identifies repentance as the message and sentiment of Advent’–turning unto the tender Mercy of the God who grants us double in exchange for the mess we’ve made!

Amid the many questions and concerns about ‘gay’ loved ones, a river of Mercy ran through our exchanges. We repented of judgmental, critical attitudes, entrusting the loved one wholly to the One who knows all and works all for the good. Our prayer: help us to be insightful, patient agents of that good, that the deceived would have a loving witness of saving Love when they are ready for it.

We discovered that we can love deceived ones without compromise as we eagerly await their return to Mercy.

For every 3 or 4 tales of family angst that I heard, a man or woman would come up to me and quietly admit that like me they too had come out of homosexuality and were living hopeful, humble lives in that community  of faith. And one lovely Mexican-American couple confided in me that after three years of loving and interceding for a sister who had ‘married’ a woman, their beloved just left the relationship and is once again seeking the Mercy of God for her sin and conflict.

They are there for her. We the faithful are there for any who turn from worldly solutions to the Merciful One who gives us everything—Jesus Christ.

‘Water will gush forth in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground, a bubbling spring…

And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness.

The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way…

But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads.

Joy and gladness will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.’

Is. 35:6-10

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Merciful Trust

Day 39 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast

Merciful Trust

‘Trusting in Your Mercy,

I walk through life like a little child,

Offering You each day this heart

Burning with love for Your greater glory.’ (2)

St. Faustina possessed a simple trust in Jesus. Its clarity pierces hearts and moves mountains today. She saw in Christ Crucified God’s richest expression of Mercy: Water for cleansing sin, Blood to give us new life. And she trusted wholly in the power of that healing flood to save souls from hell and for heaven.

In light of all her hardships, ‘in spite of everything’ (24), she trusted Jesus. That was her unwavering legacy. It has power today to change our darkness into light.

I have been walking through a hard season; God has reduced me to Himself, to the Cross. That means trusting afresh the Mercy that won me, and the Mercy that will guide me onto surer ground in this rocky season. You can understand why St. Fautina’s ‘Mercy mission’ melded beautifully with my need to trust Mercy afresh!

In confusion, I place my trust in Jesus; in loss, I trust in Jesus; sleepless, I envision Him as St. Faustina did, Crucified yet alive with Water and Blood streaming from His heart for me. Trusting in His Mercy grants me Heavenly peace, and I rest once more.

For the mission of Desert Stream Ministries, we face extraordinary resistance; the majority defend the ‘gay self’ as normal, and thus see no problem with ‘gay marriage.’ And many churches, not wanting to offend, refuse to offer clear expressions of healing for the sexually broken. A scandal-rocked Catholic Church may be primed for some new models for dealing with her broken, but will have to risk getting her hands dirty with broken shepherds and sheep.

Where sin abounds, grace abounds more. Might darkness only be the backdrop for a glorious dawn?

We entrust ourselves to the Mercy of God. ‘Although sin is an abyss of wickedness and ingratitude, the price paid for us can never be equaled. Therefore let every soul trust in the Passion of the Lord and place its hope in His Mercy.’ (72)

“Jesus, full of joy in the Holy Spirit, said: ‘I praise You Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to children. Yes, Father, for this was Your good pleasure.’ “ (Lk. 10:21)

‘Jesus, we trust in Your Mercy. Let Mercy be our clarity in confusion, our gain in loss, our hope amid uncertainty. May we awake each day with a song of praise for Your Mercy.’

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote or simply a page number in parenthesis. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com.

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California Supreme Court Upholds Prop 8

Please rejoice with us at Desert Stream Ministries as we give special thanks to God this Thanksgiving. The ever-contested victory for marriage ( Prop. 8 ) in CA was upheld yet again  by the Supreme Court. The governor and district attorney of CA refused to defend Prop. 8 once it passed, demanding its proponents defend it yet again. Thank you CA Supreme Court for upholding their right to do so in the face of opposition, and in general, for supporting voter-based initiatives like Prop. 8.

Once again, whenever the people of the USA vote on marriage, they uphold its true definition. Thank you voters of CA, the amazing Alliance Defence Team, the CA Supreme Court, and our God, the Designer and Sustainer of marriage.

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Mercy and The Truth of Sin

Day 8 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast

‘The knowledge of my own misery allows me to know the immensity of Your mercy.’ (56)

In order for Mercy to have its perfect way in us, we must recognize the depth of our sin. Mercy applies only to those who accept the terminal diagnosis of ‘miserable sinner.’ In that way, Mercy is not a sweet and accepting disposition that some people embody more than others; Mercy is the cure for a chronic disease—for the dehumanizing things that we perpetuate.

Pope Benedict expresses it eloquently:

‘Man, in order that God’s image shine radiantly in him, must first and foremost receive the purification whereby the divine Sculptor frees him from the dross which conceals the authentic figure of His being in man…” (Called to Communion, pp. 141, 2)

In other words, no recognition of dross—the sin that distorts our image-bearing form—no purification. Where sin is not acknowledged, there can be no genuine extending and receiving of Mercy. How can He forgive what we defend as a right? Mercy demands that misbegotten rights become rubbish to be burned.

For example, ‘progressive’ Christians want to alleviate the burden of guilt young people feel about all manner of premarital sex, be it porn, masturbation, or gay/straight ‘messing around.’ Guilt becomes the problem to be solved, not the dehumanizing behaviors themselves.

Derek Bailey wanted me to feel good about being ‘gay’; he had forgotten the hard truth for every human being—‘the law is written on our hearts’, so that our consciences bear witness that something is wrong (Rom. 2:15). Absolving someone of sin by saying it’s not sin solves nothing. It merely pads one’s prison, thereby extending one’s misery.

Pascal declared: ‘Behold the fathers who take away the sins of the world!’ Our Christian world is full of them—blind guides who so fear to offend sinners that they fail to diagnose their desperate condition. In denying the truth of sin, these ones deny the dying their only cure.

Yet how deep and hungry is the miserable heart for Mercy! The fallen know they have stumbled; in order to walk again with dignity, they need the Mercy that cleanses them, and reconciles them to the One whose image (s)he bears. Mercy makes us human, at peace with the reality of who, and Whose, we really are.

‘Do not withhold Your mercy from me, O Lord; may Your love and Your truth always protect me.’ (Ps 40:10, 11)

‘Father, we ask for great clarity and discernment regarding the nature of Mercy. Please rouse us where we have adopted worldly ideas of her. We pray for the conviction of sin in our own hearts and in those we love; help us to see how sin actually distorts Your very image in us. May Mercy have access to the misery that invites Your cleansing and healing. Burn off the dross, O God, that we might represent You well. Let Mercy have her perfect way in us.’

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False Mercy

Day 7 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast

‘The great sins of the world are superficial wounds on My Heart, but the sins of a chosen soul pierce My Heart through and through…’ (1702)

After Jesus met me with Mercy in my waterless pit of sexual immorality, I turned from sin. I knew I was wrong. Running away from Jesus and His truth did not change the truth. Mercy enabled me to stop running and face the truth—I needed Him because of my sin.

Like the angels imploring Lot to get out of Sodom, Mercy paved the way for my repentance. I moved back to the suburbs and involved myself in a small community of believers. I loved seeking and finding Jesus with them.

Yet often after our gatherings, I felt empty and alone. Self-pity tempted me: ‘no-one understands my struggle’. At the same time, my youthful sexuality was strong and stubborn. Maybe I could find a good Christian lover…

I began to explore the question, hoping for some new take on Scripture. I found it in the first ‘scholarly’ book to challenge the Bible’s traditional view of homosexuality. Written by Anglican Derek Bailey, ‘Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition’ pivoted on the reinterpretation of Sodom in Genesis 19. Bailey insisted that the operative sin of Sodom was inhospitality, not aggressive homosexual lust. He insisted that we rethink our ‘homophobia’ and go easy on gays.

Maybe the good Reverend wanted to make a way for the gay practices of friends or colleagues; maybe he was justifying his own. In spite of my yearning to believe him, I could not endure his gymnastics. So God destroyed a city because the men there weren’t exercising proper ‘angel etiquette’? Don’t insult my intelligence…

When Christian leaders alter the truth of sin, they actually block the way for sinners like me to know Mercy. Such ‘mercy’ is a misnomer and as cruel as death. It could cost souls eternal life. The cost is higher for the blind guides. They put a huge stumbling block in the way of God’s little ones, incurring a judgment described by Jesus as ‘drowning by millstone around neck.’ (Lk. 17:2).

Jesus warns us all: ‘So watch yourselves.’ (v.3) Kindness without truth is false Mercy. It appeals to our delusion that we can have Heaven and our lusts too. Wake up. Peter woke up his flock with this warning about false prophets: ‘By appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom while they themselves are slaves of depravity.’ (2P2:18, 19)

No truth, no Mercy. In my early days of repentance, I knew one thing for sure. Jesus calls us to die. Mercy oils our surrender; Mercy fills the empty, lonely soul and raises him up.

‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness…’ (Is. 5:20, 21)

‘Father, grant us clarity as to what pleases You and what does not. Thank you for the clear witness of Scripture and the Church. Help us to discern ‘blind guides’; most importantly, help us to discern our own tendency to conform the truth to our lusts. We especially pray for Christians caught in lies of their own design. Set them free before it is too late. Let the truth set us free for Mercy.’

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