Category: Living Waters

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Breaking Chains, Healing Thais

‘Zeal for Your house will consume me.’ (JN 2:17)

Sue Hunt considered ordination as a Buddhist nun in the Ubon region of Thailand. An Englishwoman with a deep history of gender confusion, she sought relief in Buddhism from what seemed an incurable wound. She was ordained a Buddhist nun yet the idolatry implicit in both her spirituality and sexuality failed her; Sue’s search for truth remained. Sue turned to Jesus as she began to discover the entirely new Life He offered her–a track on which the very ‘living water’ of God could begin to transform the desert of her soul into a garden.

I began to partner with Sue in ministry in 1997; ever since she has plowed a straight furrow to release ‘living water’ wherever she goes. She has recently returned to Ubon to equip churches to release ‘living water’ for all who seek it. I write this from Thailand where I am partnering with her yet again to help clear God’s house from the dulling effect of idolatry and set that house ablaze with the burning love of Jesus.

The needs are legion: Thailand has always been a global forerunner of transgenderism, a land that gives unique place to ‘lady-boys’ who currently compose approximately 10-15% of the male population. These young men emulate the seductive arts of some Thai women who are groomed from an early age to prostitute themselves to wealthy foreigners. Children are often employed in this hideous exchange of flesh for funds. More typically, fornication and adultery flourishes amid adults who are inclined to sensualize their needs for love.

A toxic river runs through an otherwise beautiful, peaceful land and dehumanizes its citizens. Buddhism casts a ‘come what may’ fatalism—a lazy tolerance–over Thailand that perpetuates cycles of degradation. Nothing less than zeal for the One who came to clear out our ‘temples’ from the idols we make to man and mammon will do!

The Thai Church often responds with a thin, ineffectual resistance. She clothes herself in religious garments and manners but often fails to confess her own idolatry. The ‘saving face’ culture of honor in Asia makes it difficult for the Church in Thailand to address her own compromises. What we conceal God cannot heal. So we as a healing team exposed our own idols and the way that Jesus through His Church exchanged our rags for His riches.

Benjie shared powerfully how Jesus had filled in the gaps in his own gender identity formation; Hazel and Noelle exposed their idols and the stern, splendid task of learning to worship the One; as an ex-adulterer who had deeply wounded his wife, Mike wept as he described his wife’s devastation and the recovery of his marriage; Donna expressed shame over an affair with a married man but deeper gratitude for God’s forgiveness and healing; a Chinese brother praised God for granting him a holy birthright after growing up with a father and his prostitute; a Thai sister thanked Jesus for inviting her into deeper healing from childhood abuse.

All this healing through the Church! This is our gift to Thailand, the good news that Jesus’ Bride can represent Him well by reclaiming His human image from the many false images that drive and deride us. A mere appearance of religion won’t do; it will require nothing less than a people in whom Jesus cleared out idols and who now burn with gratitude for His faithful, furious love. Zeal for His house consumes us.

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Desert Stream 2013 Year-End Newsletter

In ‘The Gift’ I write:

‘Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing of water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.’ (Eph. 5: 25-27)

God became an infant to make us holy men and women. A baby becomes the basis for our full stature as saints! Let us marvel this season in the Child-King whose gift of divine life enables us to become more than we thought possible. Read more »

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Twenty Days For Mercy

‘O blood and water that flows from the heart of the Savior as a fount of mercy for us, [we] trust in You!’ St. Faustina

MASTER mercy 15 chriscrussell copyWhen the towers fall and our foundations are being destroyed, what can the faithful do? We can prayerfully cry out for mercy. The Lord of mercy will respond by gently ushering His broken, disoriented creation into His rest.

Today we highlight the importance of gender clarity and sexual chastity to a world shrouded in darkness. We at Desert Stream/Living Waters endure only because our feet are solidly planted on the Rock of Christ Jesus and His Church. There a river of mercy flows for all weary ones who struggle deeply with identity and desire but who have come to experience the folly of worldly answers. Surrender to Jesus alone corresponds with their deepest ache for love. What a privilege to do our part in ushering many onto that Rock, where mercy never fails!

We are heading into the joy of Christmas. In preparation for His birth, might you join us in ‘Twenty Days for Mercy’? Through prayer and fasting, we shall implore the Child-King to release those blinded by other masters. From November 6th to the 25th, we shall pray both for the sexually broken and for the Church, that she might reflect His mercy well. Truly the sexually broken are ‘harassed and rendered helpless’ by worldly powers (Matt. 9: 33-35); only mercy can bring them Home.

I shall write a brief daily devotional that will be posted on my blog and sent to you twice weekly. Most importantly, alongside of prayer for our Living Waters leaders, we are partnering with several excellent, like-minded ministries for whom we shall pray daily with specific requests: Courage, the COR Project, Ministries of Pastoral Care (MPC), and the Restored Hope Network (RHN).

Headed by Anne Paulk, RHN is a dynamic network that unites groups around the USA to offer hope and transformation for persons impacted by SSA and other sexual issues. The COR (Latin for ‘heart’) Project, led by Christopher West, heralds the life-transforming work of Theology of the Body, authored by John Paul ll. MPC, formerly Leanne Payne’s pastoral healing course, has a new leader, Gino Vaccaro, who has done a fine job re-launching Payne’s essential teachings through MPC.

Lastly, we will lift up the Courage and Encourage Apostolate, the only officially recognized arm of ministry to those impacted by SSA in the Roman Catholic Church. What a privilege to partner with leader Father Paul Check in supporting this vital global effort.

Daily we at DSM/LW will be lifting up these requests at 3pm in our offices, CST. Join us if you can or pray when it works for you! In the next three weeks leading up to Nov. 6th, Ann Armstrong (our beloved intercessor at DSM/LW) will write more on how we all can prepare to pray and fast effectively for our time together.

Please plan to pray with us. God acts when the faithful cry out for mercy!

Visit andrewcomiskey.com/mercy for daily updates during the fast.

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New Pharisee 3

Only through the Cross and the mercy released from the One who gave all can we counter the new Pharisee.

Boy, do we need it now. I am witnessing a new Pharisaic tendency in Christian spokespeople for ‘GLBT’ (etc.) communities. Instead of surrendering the sexually broken ‘selves’ to Jesus, these ones make huge efforts to justify their homosexuality. Though some claim orthodoxy (no sex outside of marriage), they nevertheless seek to integrate the gay self and ‘celebrate the grace of God in homosexual terms.’

Precepts of the new Pharisee include:

  • Exempting themselves from a theological anthropology that defines humanity as made in God’s image as male and female. Instead, these GLBTers define their humanity as fundamentally homosexual. Same-sex attraction sets them apart from straight people. Being ‘gay’ figures in profoundly to how they define themselves.
  • A split between being and doing. Though some may not believe in acting upon one’s homosexuality, they encourage strugglers to integrate their homosexuality. Given the momentum toward gay affirmation throughout the Christian culture, I suspect that abstinence will fall way as these ones find ‘good’ gay partnerships.
  • According to Christian GLBTers, Jesus chooses to not effect much, if any, change of their sexual inclinations. Alan Chambers is now infamous for his assertion that 99.9% of all persons with SSA seeking change do not change. Implicit in this assertion is that nature figures in more profoundly to the roots of SSA than nurture. For the new Pharisee, gay people are probably hardwired at birth and the redeeming power of Jesus does not touch this ‘gay’ foundation. Though one might say in the abstract that the ‘fall’ is responsible for SSA, (s)he actually concludes there is nothing wrong with it.
  • A new narrative in which one has little if any psychological brokenness undergirding their SSA. The new Pharisee need not muck around with messy relational and family-of-origin factors, cultural influences, or specific incidents that altered one’s sexual development. ‘Gay’ just is and needs no healing. ‘Healing’ efforts are framed as an old paradigm that they rather smugly refuse on the ground of their rather normal lives.
  • Scandalizing reparative therapy. Christian GLBTers scorn clinical efforts to overcome SSA. They suspect any therapeutic effort to ‘change’ on the ground that it manipulates and may even abuse people who cannot change anyway. Despite the fact that most have not actually surrendered their sexuality to a constructive course of action, they denounce such action and claim that the only just action is to integrate their homosexuality.

In our current Living Waters group, we are asking Jesus through His blood and Spirit to reveal the deep wounds that set us adrift in the first place. And He is answering, with insights that can only be understood as reparative, and with a Love that can only be experienced as healing.

In my small group, men from a variety of backgrounds are opening to the grace pouring from Calvary into the foundations of their humanity. We open our lives to God and each other. He comes as we prayerfully welcome Him; He offers Himself as the answer to our deepest needs for love and identity.

While preparing for one such meeting, God reminded me of a series of toxic early experiences in relation to other males. I felt the pain of these memories deeply. A few nights later I had a dream. While driving quickly through a strange town my car stalled and I sought help. I saw a small boy lying wounded and unattended in the street. I began to pray for his healing. I then felt a warm masculine presence reaching his arm over me and praying for the child too. It was a strong, tender man: Jesus? Perhaps. His very presence healed me as I sought to give life to the wounded one in my arms.

The Cross opens the horizon of our real brokenness and real healing. Mercy exposes faulty foundations and secures them in Love. Only Mercy compels us to drop our self-justifications. Manifest in a merciful people, Jesus makes a place for the new Pharisee at the foot of the Cross.

‘The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the one who is not scandalized by Me.’ (Luke 7: 22, 23)

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Read The Sin Blog

New Pharisee 2

‘Your most merciful Heart is all my hope. I have nothing for my defense but only Your mercy; in it lies all my trust.’ St. Faustina Kowalska

The New Pharisee 2 Photo by RottnApplesHow do you restrain the inner Pharisee? Stay near the truth of your own sinfulness and the Cross. That fount of Mercy confirms our worst impulses but also cleanses us at their source. Then, together with all the saints, we discover the depth and power of love that becomes our offering to others. We become good gifts, the fruit of Calvary to a hungry world.

I witnessed this profoundly at our first Living Waters meeting last week. The newly revised material centers on that theme of becoming good gifts to others. Together we expressed our starting points: SSA, addiction, high anxiety, and the ache of old wounds among them, as well as how shame hovers over these problems and veils the gift we aspire to be for others.

I wondered where to go with the ministry time. We needed the Cross, pure and simple. Before I could finish the call to come forward and unite our need for Mercy with the wood of Calvary, I saw in a flash a dark strain of sin in me. Prior to the meeting, Annette and I had just discussed an unresolved issue. For the first time, through the illumination of the Spirit, I saw my sin clearly.

Love for her mingled with remorse and shame and I knew only Calvary would suffice. At the Cross (literally), together with fellow strugglers, we lingered. We endured the shame of sin for the joy of discovering our Advocate in overcoming sin. Over the course of our 20 weeks together, we shall learn that Mercy alone is our cure. We will continue to make that great exchange: surrendering sin and receiving in turn a double portion of His blessing as we pray for each other.

The truth of sin’s misery opens us to the Mercy that can be ours. Steeped in Mercy, we become fruitful gifts. Why then do we strive to justify our own virtue?

Could it be that the enemy of our souls has blinded our eyes to the Mercy that is there for us? Perhaps the reason that we cling to dehumanizing attitudes and behaviors is because we do not believe that there is anything for us in their place.

How else can you explain the irrational power at work in the weaknesses of those who insist that the ‘gay self’ or any other number of ‘selves’ is their deepest, truest expression? Cut off from Mercy, these ones construct fortresses to defend them from the threat of non-being. Here the enemy empowers a host of powerful ‘solutions’ to repair a broken life. It may be a sensually-exciting relationship or solidarity with others seeking ‘equality.’

Yet one’s new power is not sourced in God but a kind of self-justification that resists God and insists on its own well-being. Those who don’t like these new ‘solutions’ are judged harshly. Kind of like a Pharisee…

We are now witnessing this new brand of Pharisee with a vengeance. Activists from the GLBT (etc.) community convey a kind of moral and psychological invulnerability which when countered provokes an ugly defensiveness. And the enemy empowers this cause. Never before have we seen such a radical and irrational shift in public opinion concerning ‘gender diversity.’ What was once commonly understood as brokenness is now championed as an often superior alternative to male and female.

Only Mercy can counter this new Pharisee. Only living water can saturate the broken foundation on which these constructs are built. Only Mercy can dissolve these defenses. The false confidence and fleeting joy of these fractured ‘selves’ can only be displaced by a greater love.

Only Mercy invites us to own our most profound hunger. Jesus becomes the meal. At the Cross, the site of His complete self-giving, we can lay down our lies and welcome the Truth that makes all things new.

‘You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.” ’ (Rev. 3: 17)

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