Category: Mercy and Healing

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Is the Pope Devolving?

In a private meeting with Juan Carlos Cruz, Chilean survivor of clerical sex abuse, Pope Francis reportedly told the ‘gay-identified’ Cruz that ‘God made him gay’ and ‘that you have to be happy with who you are.’

Huh. Always a chance the Pope was misquoted.  If not, I submit the following.

Pope Francis may have changed his views on what he terms ‘gender ideology;’ something he renounced in his last two encyclicals.   ‘Gender ideology’ holds to a distinctly non-Christian understanding of humanity; it demands that we accept any number of gender configurations on the grounds that they are inborn, unchangeable, and normal – morally neutral.  Telling another that ‘God made him gay’ is a pastoral application of ‘gender ideology,’ not a challenge of it.  The good Pope didn’t think it through.

Pope Francis fails to grasp that sexual abuse actually damages a child’s sexual development.  Recent studies show a strong corollary between adults who ‘gay-identify’ and their experience of sexual violation as kids.  Instead of attributing Cruz’s sexual identity to God, Pope Francis should ask him pardon for contributing to his same-sex attraction through a priest’s perverse invasion of his childhood.

Maybe the Pope makes the mistake of compensating for the damage done by giving Cruz a pass.  Letting go of reason, he assuages Cruz’s violation with a platitude like ‘you have to be happy with who you are.’

Jesus took a different approach with the woman caught in adultery.  Fierce, and with wise compassion, Jesus first defended her from a system designed to scourge her, not unlike blame shifting mucky mucks in the Catholic hierarchy who Francis rightly exposed and disciplined.  But Jesus, after every Pharisee dropped his stone, exhorted the woman ‘to leave her life of sin’ (John 8:11).  He didn’t encourage her ‘to be happy’ with her adulterous tendencies in the hope that she might be further fractured by immorality.

Pope Francis gives a platitude to one who needs inspired, fatherly guidance.  His kindness masks the cruelty of an ideology that confirms God’s children in a lie.  I applaud him for stepping up efforts to cleanse the Church of abuse; if this reported exchange is true, I correct him for springing one trap only to set another for the most vulnerable.

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California’s New State Religion

‘In this world, God loves nothing more than the liberty of the Church.’ St. Anselm

AB 2943, which prohibits churches from selling resources that helps members live chaste lives, sailed through the Assembly and (barring a miracle) will do the same in the Senate in the next few days.

Not only does this bill prohibit citizens from resolving gender identity problems according to their faith, it imposes an immoral standard upon them. California may become the first state in the nation to demand that citizens with same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria resolve their conflicts according to state-determined (im)morality. When it does, California will effectively roll out, in the words of David French, a new state religion of sexual libertinism.

How could this happen? The California legislature is controlled by a handful of special interest groups, none more powerful than the LGBT+ juggernaut which regularly composes and pushes through outrageous acts of legislation (their new sex education mandate for all California students is a doozy). AB 2943 takes this a step further by silencing the voice of the Church as it pertains to sexual identity.

We all know now that this group is guided by a popular bias, supported by junk science (whenever any group claims absolute authority based on a handful of psychological studies, stop listening), which wants us to believe that those vulnerable in their sexual identities will be irreparably damaged by any effort to restrain and redirect their same-sex attraction. Similarly, this group holds to the dubious claim that anyone who hates their birth gender, especially children, do violence to themselves by being reconciled to their gender. This is nothing short of a new morality, a new vision of human dignity and freedom, in essence, a new religion.

You can see now why AB 2943 wants to silence the Church; she holds the opposite view. To be defined and driven by one’s same-sex attraction is an act of violence against the person made in God’s image, and to mutilate one’s body under the pretense of changing genders (an impossibility) is at best delusional. Given the fact that many in our ranks experience diverse temptations related to sexual identity, we cast ourselves upon the One who took the hit (2Cor 5: 21) for us and who alone has power to unite us with our truest, most authentic selves.

AB 2943 creates an alternate morality and outlaws the Church’s. If the bill passes:

Our eight Living Waters groups in California may become illegal.

Any books by Christian authors which highlight transforming power of Jesus in the area of sexual identity may be banned.

Conferences that include such witnesses may be prohibited.

Let’s not write AB 2943 off as west coastal silliness. California is on the vanguard of progressive politics for our nation. Her courts overturned the citizens’ choice to ban ‘gay marriage’ (Prop. 8) which in turn became the case that went to the Supreme Court, redefining marriage in our nation forever.

Please pray for miraculous intervention in slowing done or stopping this bill. California citizens would do best to call Gov. Jerry Brown directly at 916-445-2841 and simply stating their opposition to AB 2943.

Please pray that the Church in California wake up and unite in her radiant truth. I am not a political animal, I am a Christian who believes in another Kingdom that surpasses both right and left. Nothing is more essential to God’s heart than His will for humanity made in His image as male and female, and California politics today desecrates that image in the name of ‘freedom.’ Real violence will be done to our most vulnerable by AB 2943. May we as the Church arise and answer the cries of persons in identity crises.

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Messy, Joyful Easter

I woke from a fitful sleep, jet-lagged and already critical of the things that awaited me at morning Mass. I countered with a prayer for humility and tolerance of things I dislike like dour congregants and uninspiring music. After all, it is Easter! Jesus is walking through walls and telling folks to get their hands off Him then insisting that they lay hands on Him—all kinds of messy, unpredictable stuff.

I cringed slightly as I eyed the cantor for the morn; golden in her intentions, her voice hurts me. As she geared up for the processional hymn, she appeared shaken like a diver peering into the pool below and realizing it may not be deep enough. But she soldiered on and was soon joined by the booming off-key voice of a visiting pastor whose joy in serving us that morning overtook all else.

His sheer exuberance invited us all in to celebrate: Jesus is alive, and that changes everything. Like my critical spirit. Listening to cantor and pastor make a joyful noise at once delighted and convicted me. God is so much bigger than my snide critique. He wants to blow open our defenses, walk through our walls, and rouse us to cooperate with Him in dissolving others’ defenses against the Holy One.

The pastor grinned from ear-to-ear as he showered us with the waters of cleansing (a cool Catholic thing for the several Sundays of Easter); I obviously needed to renew my baptismal vows that Sunday! And I found that if I sang along with the cantor during the offertory I could not afford to be critical of her. The pastor sermonized powerfully on how community is essentially for grasping the hope of new life—we behold the glorified One together. I was proud to be there.

I left Church joyful, expectant. I wanted to give new life away. Later on I ran into a guy whom I had met a few years back. At that time he announced to me rather arrogantly that he was a ‘gay Christian’ with a new boyfriend. Things had gone badly for him: I could tell from his few words and demeanor that he was suffering. Though he did not recognize me at first, I did him and I told him specific things I had not ceased praying for him in the last five years. He was speechless and teary-eyed.

Messy, joyful Jesus is on the move. Walk through walls with Him. It is Easter and that changes everything.

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Reality, Healing

The Archbishop of Latvia rallied the major Christian leaders in his nation—Orthodox, Lutheran, Baptist, Roman Catholic—to stand together for God’s image in humanity and to refuse an effort of the European Union to legislate ‘gender ideology’ throughout the continent.

Christian efforts appeared to be doomed. But united as one bloc, Christ’s body prevailed and the legislation was defeated. Little Latvia slayed Goliath.

To do so, all the Church had to do was to assert her truth: there is no such thing as ‘gay marriage’–the marital union intrinsically involves becoming one-flesh, a physical and spiritual impossibility in same gender couples. Nor does ‘transgender’ actually exist, as it is a physical and spiritual impossibility for one to change his or her biological gender. Finally, the Church cannot mistake the need to defend the dignity of women for defending the ‘gender spectrum’—fifty ‘gender selves’ that are multiplying like fissures upon the cracked image of God in humanity. Rather, the Church upholds two natures—male and female; she advocates for the dignity of both genders while inviting people into reality.

The good Archbishop, a good friend and advocate of Living Waters in Latvia, is committed to the language and pastoral practice of helping people find reality. We cannot concede to unreality, whether in speech or political advocacy. Only the foundations of reality help wounded persons to find healing. We uphold reality in order to help persons heal.

On the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, we are committed to becoming living witnesses of reality—who we actually are and how Jesus helps us to realize those selves through His healing community. And this is what we did in our most recent trip to the Baltic nations—Latvia and Lithuania in particular—where we are partnering with the likes of the good Archbishop who is committed to the Church becoming a fountain of mercy for persons withering in the unreality of the ‘gender spectrum.’

I marveled at one gathering in which we instructed and prayed for eight teams from throughout Latvia who are committed to welcoming persons from a spectrum of identity brokenness, real persons who need merciful members of Christ to help them heal, to become who He made them to be. Reality. Healing.

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Zeal for our House

Jesus casts out robbers from His Father’s house for us. That starts with the integrity of our personal temples. He cares about our dignity as male and female and hates that dignity to be defiled. Though we are made in His image, that image is marred and He gives all to redeem it. We must do our part. When others obstruct our efforts at becoming who He made us to be, they infuriate Him; Jesus acts decisively to cast out those robbers.

Such robbery is on full display in the California legislature. Three bills are up for a vote one week from Monday (April 9th) and each bill bars human beings from securing the help they need to become integrated gendered beings. Please pray with us this Holy Week that Jesus might hear our prayers and vanquish these robbers. Consider:

AB 1779: Six years after CA led the nation in outlawing helpers from offering clinical service to minors seeking to overcome unwanted same-sex attraction, legislators are now trying to impose this violation of personal rights on adults too, starting here. This bill would ban any adult under guardianship from securing help for same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. The narrow application here (adults under legal care of another adult) is a bridge that will be used in the future to ban all services for adults seeking help to overcome same-sex attraction or dysphoria. California cannot afford make outlaws of skilled Christian helpers for the broken!

AB 2943 is worse. This bill prohibits the sale of any resources that aim to reduce same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. That means all publications, healing or counseling resources, conferences, and teaching opportunities that involve financial cost. This outrageous bill is designed to obstruct any Christian who helps others overcome gender identity disorders; it equally bars persons who seek to align themselves with God’s design for their humanity. It is a slam on free speech and enterprise and mostly, the rights of persons to choose to heal.

AB 2119: Any child in CA foster care must only be offered counseling and medical help that lines up with the gender that the child wants to be. That would outlaw good sense—the truth that we have a gender ordination and that it is physically, psychologically, and spiritually impossible to change gender. A child’s confusion leading to gender mutilation and misery is being enacted here. It is child abuse.

Gratefully, Jesus is stirring up zeal for human dignity, the houses God entrusts to each of us. That applies to today and to the dignity of future generations. Anne Paulk of Restored Hope Network, the Bethel Church Redding, Lou Engel and his intercessory prayer force, and hundreds of Christians are fighting in Sacramento and on their knees to ensure that Jesus and His people vanquish these bills.

Would you join us in praying that these bills come to nothing on Monday April 9th? If you are a Californian, would you contact your assembly person and gently express your opposition to this legislation?

Satan rages against the beauty of God in humanity, and employs well-intentioned persons to do his will. Let’s stop his robbery of human dignity by opposing this legislation.

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