Category: Sexual Brokenness

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Love and Wisdom 1: The Counsel of Friends

‘To love a person means to see him as God created him to be.’ Dostoevsky

Kate led a home group where she befriended and cared for ‘Kevin’, a young adult actively involved in this large dynamic church. What Kate did not know was that ‘Kevin’ had been born Karen; for the last decade, Karen had assumed a masculine identity and was en route to ‘gender reassignment.’

Weeks before her final surgical effort to re-identify as male (her breasts already removed), Karen felt led by the Spirit to make her transition known to Kate, the spiritual leader whom she knew best and trusted most. No-one at the church had ever known Karen as anyone but Kevin. Karen asked Kate: ‘Is becoming ‘Kevin’ God’s best for me?’

Kate knew little about the complexity of persons who from the first few years of life nourish silently an alter ego of the opposite gender. But she was a woman of the Spirit and prayed intently for her pastoral charge. God simply gave her the words: ‘God did not make a mistake in creating Karen.’ Kate told ‘Kevin’ her counsel and pledged to support her in every way possible in that truth.

Karen came to us a few months later; we had just begun a Living Waters group in that church. It took an empowered, Spirit-filled and truthful village to help her make peace with her real self. She did, and became one of our best leaders.

Kate fulfilled what Joseph Pieper describes as the crucial link between wisdom and love as expressed in authentic friendship. Love always seeks the best for a friend based on wisdom. Pieper heralds the role of wise friends, who, operating out of divine love, counsel others according to ‘the truth of real things’ so that what is actual and good might become reality.

Nothing better defines how godly friendship operates. Remember how wisdom ‘forms right judgments concerning how one is to act in the here and now’ (Pieper)? No easy task, this getting of wisdom in an age of 50 plus gender ‘selves’! Operated wisely and in loving accord with ‘Kevin’s’ real self, Kate summoned the truth of Karen in that crucial juncture of her decision-making and counseled her to align herself with Reality. Godly friendship helped preserve Karen’s life.

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Wisdom

‘Preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you…’ (PR 3: 21, 22)

Like you, I watch helplessly as divided men and women leave faith and family for another partnership, be it a younger lover, the actualizing of an ‘LGBT’ self, or just a ‘fresh’ start. Adultery takes on many forms in our world today. Especially painful is the mangling of many by the one who buys the lie that happiness lies in the illicit orgasm, the romantic rush, creaturely comforts that bypass the Creator. Solomon warns those who conceive adultery: ‘At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent.’ (PR 4:11)

How relevant is the wisdom of Proverbs for our consumer-driven culture! The wise declare: ‘Yes I have hardships and disappointment, yet my happiness rests in the One who orders all things and makes a way for me in all my conflicts.’ Wisdom guides that life and safeguards all who surround it by what Joseph Pieper describes as ‘the perfected ability to make right decisions.’ (His definition of prudence, which I am describing here as wisdom, is laid out excellently in The Four Cardinal Virtues, Notre Dame Press.) On wisdom hinges all other virtues. How else can you understand ‘this root and guide of all good action’?

I rejoice in a host of husbands who have betrayed their wives (with porn and both genders) then repented and worked hard to restore family life. From them I have learned wisdom. Why? Wisdom guided their steps; they were willing to be trained by her, and their recovery highlights several facets of Pieper’s wisdom.

First, wisdom is rooted in the truth; truth is her standard, and wisdom insists that one love the truth and effort to actualize it. Wisdom is based both on an ideal—God only honors sexual love in marriage and my wife deserves that–but also on a real struggle to stay true to that ideal—I must work hard and find roots in a recovery community in order to win back her trust. Wisdom aligns with Reality. One aligns with the truth of God’s will and works hard to live out that truth.

Secondly, wisdom insists on an ‘energetic promptness’, an ability to swiftly decide for the good. That means clearing out any delusion related to ‘managing’ one’s own sin. Wisdom’s clear-sightedness frees him to refuse nostalgic rubbish. He remembers things as they were—demonic entrapments that destroyed life rather than enhanced it; he runs to the fountain of life to partake of the One whose friends hold him to his best. One friend said: ‘I recall daily the devastation of my wife and marriage but also the refuge of our love today. We’ve worked too hard to give that up for anything.’

Thirdly, wisdom is all about foresight, ‘a sure instinct for the future.’ My friends are preparing for a long life with good women and kids and grandkids. ‘I am making truthful decisions today for tomorrow’ is their credo. These former fools repented unto Almighty Mercy and became wise. Wisdom makes whole divided lives, and sets in motion a righteous future for thousands of others.

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Rebuking the Devourer

The other night I beheld a demonic power in a dream; the blob-like entity had little form and was obscured by darkness. It made a variety of sounds as if it were feeding off something. Though I could not see its target, I realized the ‘thing’ was intent on foraging off a person, any person.

In the dream, I recalled a line from a movie in which the actor said wryly: ‘I sleep with all my friends.’ This entity was open to either gender, any person who would partner with it by indiscriminately engaging in sex of any kind. It was greedy and insatiable, as if its lust could not be satisfied. It gave the impression that it intended to devour its prey, to use the person up. I went from a mild intrigue to repulsion when I realized that the unclean spirit wanted the blood of embodied souls and would employ sexual immorality to get it. I rebuked the devouring thing in Jesus’ name and woke up.

I processed the dream with my wife and then the Desert Stream staff. We thought of a generation weaned on pornography and primed for ‘friendly’ sex with either gender; we admitted the doors to lust we had cracked in our own imaginations. And we considered how illicit sexuality counterfeits as completion yet actually fractures us. In truth, lust masks itself as love but has power to destroy persons (and marriages) who welcome it. We agreed that Lent is not long enough to contend with the battle for souls being waged today by predatory lusts.

We confessed our compromises and rebuked the devourer. We did both: repent and renounce. We are dealing not only with lusts of the flesh but with principalities which want our blood. We combat lust with Jesus’ blood and the authority He gives the faithful to pray for one another so we might be healed, ambassadors of freedom for a captive generation.

‘Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith because you know that your brothers and sisters are undergoing the same kinds of sufferings throughout the world.’ (1P 5:8, 9)

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Ignite. Again.

‘Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake!’(Matt. 24:41, 42)

Advent asks us to burn again, to start over, to be born again AGAIN as we await Jesus’ birth. No Hallmark movie this, no happy ending—dull and drowsy ‘Christians’ who do not recognize Him now won’t know Him when He returns.

I would rather prepare now than be left behind. Advent gives us four weeks to get ready. That has little to do with buying gifts and partying with friends. It’s about examining our hearts and how 2016 may well have made us worse, not better.

One gauge for me is how I and others respond to the ‘evolving’ understanding of gender and sexuality today. I just read about a ‘Christian’ blogger—Glennon Doyle Melton–hooking up happily and to the acclaim of thousands (if virtual ‘likes’ count)—with soccer star Abby Wambach who proudly hailed her ‘gay marriage’ to another woman at 2015’s World Cup victory by smooching her ‘spouse’ for the world to see in the glow of the US Supreme Court decision, an iconic union that soon fell apart when Abby disintegrated from drug and alcohol abuse.

Melton left husband for newly available Abby, an infatuation lived loudly before Melton’s kids. (‘We grant adults any kind of sexual liberty they want and insist that children take whatever these adults want to give them.’ Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse) The virtual world lauds these selfish, unstable women as ‘courageous.’

Many women like Melton who profess faith and frustration with men will follow her lead into a sexually fluid, ‘gender-does-not-matter-but-love-does’ mindset. What say you? Is your mind changing in regards to God’s clear mandate (Gen. 1, 2; Matt: 19; Eph. 5) for sexual unions? Are you ‘evolving’?

Wake up. Light the fire again. How else will you be able to hold out the Word of Life for a generation of women morphing into little boys and guys into glamour queens? Do you want them to be left behind? Do you want to be left behind?

Fr. Alfred Delp: ‘Advent is a time when we ought to be shaken into renouncing the presumptuous attitudes and alluring dreams by which we build ourselves imaginary worlds…Being shattered, being awakened—only with these is life made capable of Advent.’

‘The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber…the night is nearly over, the day is almost here. So put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us act decently, as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in lust and sexual immorality, not in rivalry and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves in the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.’ (Romans 13: 11-14)

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3 Times a Slave

St. Peter Claver, Jesuit missionary to Africans enslaved to landowners in 17th century Colombia, would descend into the holds of slave ships and welcome those barely alive with a crucifix in one hand and medicine and food in the other. ‘This Jesus will love you better than any person ever could…’ He loved 300,000 slaves into the new life only Christ Jesus gives.

We need the Spirit of St. Peter Claver as we seek to love a generation enslaved by early sexualization of non-sexual needs combined with false, deflating answers to pressing questions about love, intimacy and gender identity. ‘Harassed and helpless’ is a generation without boundary who needs transforming love that lasts.

First enslavement: the vulnerability of young persons to sexual abuse. In a groundbreaking review of most contemporary research in the area of sexuality and gender (‘Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological and Social Sciences’, The New Atlantis Journal, Fall 2016), Drs. Lawrence Mayer and Paul McHugh cite persistently high rates of childhood sexual abuse among persons who later identify as gay or lesbian adults (3X more for all in contrast to ‘heterosexual’ counterparts; 5X more for ‘gay’ adult males who were abused homosexually as children.) One impact of abuse: normal needs for connection and attention become sexualized, which encourages ‘gay’ identification later on.

Second enslavement: systems in western culture designed to advocate for ‘at risk’ youth, including middle and high school educators, therapists, and social workers lunge at the opportunity to confirm pre-teens and teens as ‘queer’ as soon as they express any kind of same-sex attraction. Driven by the contestable belief that one is born intrinsically ‘gay’, these child ‘advocates’ actually contribute to teen abuse by urging the vulnerable to assume a ‘gay’ self and peer group. How many underage kids have been tacitly encouraged to begin having ‘gay’ sex in junior high school by clueless caregivers? In this way, our systems contribute to the enslavement of kids. (Mayer and McHugh cite substantial evidence that points to the fluidity of sexual desire in both male and female teens; SSA is not set in stone, and can readily change.)

Most concerning to me is the Church which contributes to the enslavement of young adults by insisting that Jesus does nothing to help them overcome same-sex attraction. An example: a young friend of mine repented of gay activity in high school then began getting the help he needed to move onto normal connection with women, the prospect of family, etc. He recently attended a summer Christian course for students preparing for university. There he heard Christopher Yuan, a popular speaker on Christian faith and homosexuality, who according to my friend testified weakly to Jesus’ apparent unwillingness to transform persons with same-sex attraction.

No better, and possibly worse is Anglican Wesley Hill who advocates for committed ‘gay’ celibate unions. In response to the newly consecrated Bishop Chamberlain in England who champions his gay self and lifetime partner, Hill writes what he hopes to hear from the new bishop: ‘I am in a committed faithful relationship with another man. I love him deeply and hope to spend the rest of my life with him. We don’t sleep together…in the hope that we’ll be able to love each other more deeply, more truly and more in line with how God in Christ has made us and redeemed us to be.’

Bleech! Aren’t we as the Church called to proclaim and facilitate the transforming power of love for persons enslaved in sin? I urged my young friend to refuse all such false witnesses and to run his race. Slightly stumbled, he regained footing as he recalled how much ground Jesus has already taken in reconciling him to who he is—a son of the Father, the man of God’s design. St. Peter Claver, lead on!

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