Category: Sexual Brokenness

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture
with jesus anything

With Jesus, Anything

Reflecting on my 60th year, I was beautifully interrupted by a snow storm that knocked the power right out of us; we were babysitting grandson Jacob while his parents cheered the Kansas City Chiefs onto victory in their division at the local stadium. (Congratulations to The Chiefs for nearly making the Super Bowl.) Annette and I shivered, laughed, and bathed Jacob in the kitchen sink by candlelight.

We love our new digs but it seems we moved into the Bermuda triangle of power sources. Breezes snap electric lines and blow up transformers. O well…My decisive word this year: If ‘without Jesus we can do nothing’ (JN 15:5b), then with Him, we can do anything.

That first and mostly applies to married life. I love Annette more than ever but am less sure of my capacity to actually love her as St. Paul implores husbands, you know, like Jesus offered Himself to the Church. OK, not there yet. It helps to know that marriage itself roots and grounds me in my manhood through her authentic, distinctly feminine self.

Listen to what St. John Paul ll says about marriage in Theology of the Body: ‘Marriage penetrates into the dignity ascribed to humanity as image-bearers by virtue of creation, and at the same time the dignity ascribed to sinful humanity by virtue of redemption.’ Good news for original sinners like me. In marriage’s unflattering mirror, I am humbled by Jesus who always invites me into mercy. From that artesian well I draw constantly and am empowered to give myself more and better to her. In the end, I will be judged by love, the love I gave to that woman. With Him, I can do anything.

That applies pointedly to my love for the Church. This messy witness of Jesus’ unfailing love takes more love than I have. I’ve only to sink a little deeper into the mercy pool to rediscover my gratitude and ardor for her. Strength rises as I wait on Him, His heart for her, that I might love her more, and better. By that I mean the many people I serve every day who are her—broken, beautiful, members, yet often half-blind. It helps to recall what I did not see until I did. Pair that with the realization that I still don’t see that well and you can understand why I cannot love her without Him. But with Him, I can do anything for her, His Bride.

Recognizing the value of trouble in loving the Church helps a lot. I use to shy away from trouble. But now I kind of like it. No sadist, me, but a realist who recognizes blessing and building up the Church provokes the rage of Satan himself who wants to keep her divided and weak, barren in her capacity to bring forth a vast harvest of spiritual children. I have a big enemy who hates what I do. So I am learning to bear his vengefulness patiently, assessing trouble as a sure sign of heading in the right direction–all the while laughing at my self-seriousness and the (comparatively) weak efforts of the enemy to thwart mine. With Jesus, I can do anything for generations yet-to-come.

I love getting older because life gets simpler. It becomes more about Him. In that way I grow young, as eager as a well-loved child to see Him face-to-face.

‘Love is a sweet tyranny, and one who loves has no other language but one… which always has a never-fading youthfulness on the lips of one who loves.’
Archbishop Luis Maria Martinez

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

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Daigle Disrupted

‘John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin’ (Luke 3:3).

True confession–I love scrunchy Christian pop, like the songs of Lauren Daigle, a Christian singer now soaring up the pop charts. To my dismay, Daigle refused to call homosexuality a sin in a recent interview due to ‘love’ for gay-identified folks, including lesbian activist and TV celeb Ellen Degeneres. Recently a guest on ‘Ellen’, Daigle described her host as ‘a bundle of light.’

Thoughtful mentors might remind the singer that charming people can be morally blind and thus all the more in need of Jesus. To love them means to see them clearly as beloved estranged children of the Father who need to repent.

Any Christian of influence in the world who dares to uphold an authentic vision of chastity (an equal opportunity offender, regardless of the direction of one’s inclinations) runs the risk of losing ‘Ellen’-like platforms. Perhaps Daigle is savvier than we think, hedging her bets by claiming she does not know what the Bible says on the topic. What she may be saying: ‘I can’t afford to offend.’

The Daigles of this world—who sadly include more and more Christian leaders—need the witness of John the Baptist. Advent gives us two full weeks on this firebrand who burned so brightly for the coming King that he exposed kings and their crooked ways. Repentance—including what needed to be renounced–was always his message.

This can make for uncomfortable holiday conversations. In a recent exchange with a truth-seeker, I conveyed how Jesus’ coming in my life prompted me to turn from homosexual practice. The conversation ceased abruptly, yet I took heart: John the Baptist had it worse. King Herod was fascinated by John just as Ellen may have been fascinated by Daigle. Until the prophet challenged Herod’s unlawful union with Herodias, an inconvenient truth which resulted in John’s beheading (Matt. 14:1-12). Merry Christmas.

Preparing for Jesus means ridding ourselves of all compromises to the truth. Father Alfred Delp, a German priest during Hitler’s reign, wrote movingly about Advent as he witnessed the darkness descend on the world like a suffocating blanket. A threat to the powers-that-be, he knew his time on earth was short.

He preached this just before imprisonment in Auschwitz, where he was executed in 1944: ‘Someone who encounters the Ultimate…must let go of every compromise. In the presence of the Ultimate, the only thing that survives is what is authentic. All compromise shatters there. All cheap negotiating shatters there. All half-truths, and all double meanings, and all masks and all poses shatter there. The only thing that stands the test is what is authentic.’

Being authentic means letting go of every hindrance to knowing Jesus, be it a false view of marriage or a disordered bond with another. Of course declaring such truth could cost you your head. Or at least a disruption on the way to fame.

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

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Gender Matters in the Philippines

May I please invite you all to pray for our daylong Gender Matters Conference in Manila, The Philippines on Saturday, Dec. 1st? Our gathering could not be timelier. This most Christian nation in Asia is now on the brink of following America’s horrid example of gender-bending civil rights. The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Law (SOGIE) has passed their lower house and goes before the Senate at the first of the year. If this passes, ‘gay marriage’ will follow.

In answer to the prayers of a united front of Christians, the voting was delayed. Now we have a chance to wake up Christians slumbering in regard to gender fluidity issues. Evangelicals and Catholics are being swayed by the spirit of the age into a fake tolerance, ‘to love in the name of freedom.’ Most believers have not considered the responsibility God places on us to glorify Him as the author of our true natures rather than to allow loved ones to build fake selves based on ever-morphing ‘feelings.’ We act in truth, or we will be judged for abetting our common enemy and hurting our loved ones.

Living Waters friends in The Philippines take their Christian responsibility seriously. They are paying a high price in sponsoring Gender Matters: our beloved leader there Benjie Cruz just broke his hip in a crazy accident that I believe is demonic. Please pray for all his staff members who are working like crazy to equip the Church in The Philippines to convey the heart of Jesus to the vulnerable. If the Church slumbers, fools will rush in and confirm persons into false selves. Psychological and spiritual destinies are at stake. Please pray:

1. For a huge turnout at our conference on Dec. 1st in Manila.
2. For protection on the LW staff and quickened healing for Benjie and family.
3. For the 7 astounding young adults on the LW staff who embody a range of gender brokenness and healing through Jesus and His community.
4. For the SOGIE bill to be defeated in the Senate.
5. For Christians throughout The Philippines to wake up and speak up before it’s too late.

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

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Unflinching Mercy for the Abused

‘The beauty of the cathedral does not oppose the cross but is its fruit.’ – Cardinal Ratzinger

The other morning in prayer I was startled by the image of a priest opening his vestments in a cathedral and abusing a boy. The act was as ugly as the building was beautiful. I felt rage: the boy was sacrificed on the altar of another’s perversion, and this, before the Lord! Ordained to protect, the priest destroyed. And the man over him—a bishop—protected the building, not the boy.

I wanted to race from the image and lose myself in mystery. But I could not. I asked God why and He seemed to say: ‘That boy relives the nightmare constantly. I give you a share in it. Money cannot heal him; His restoration hinges on whether or not he is believed and that priest defrocked, along with any bishop who covered for him.’

I could not flinch and turn away from the boy’s nightmare. To be unflinching means ‘to not be frightened of, or not to not try to avoid something dangerous…to look and describe something directly.’

I vented my anger in prayer and asked for justice to be served at the recent US Bishops’ gathering in Baltimore; I prayed for ways that the bishops might censure themselves (apparently, this question will be taken up by a global gathering of bishops in February.) Please pray for this crucial issue: unless bishops are disciplined, there is no restoration for victims.

I realized that day was the Feast of the Lateran Basilica, one chance a year for the Church to honor the cathedral of the pope in Rome, a mere building but one that conveys an essential about this Church built on apostles and prophets who point us to the new Jerusalem. I felt conflicted; in our abuse crisis, I am tempted to disdain the Church for what I fear hides beneath her ancient creeds and cloaks.

And yet this rather minor feast has always been my favorite day of all. Why? As I reread the Scriptures—Jesus on fire for the temple, incinerating its robbers (John 2), and the river flowing from the temple to ‘make all things new’ (Ezek. 47), I remembered: this is the Church I love—zealous in truth, and boundless in its river of life flowing from the Cross at altar—the water levels rising and my friends and I growing as trees along the banks of this holy river, our fruit becoming food for the hungry, our leaves anointed to heal the broken (v. 12).

Might this be the hour, O holy and merciful Jesus, when You re-enter Your house and expel those who crush the most vulnerable then lie about it? Might You then stir the waters and release a greater flood of healing for those most in need of it? May those devoured by robbers in Your house be restored by Almighty mercy.

May we not cease to pray and act until this is accomplished for the abused. Through the fruit of Your suffering—the healing flood rising in our midst—might the beauty You intend for Your house be restored, first for them then for all.

‘I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest, until He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of all the earth.’
(Isaiah 62: 6, 7)

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

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Safe House

‘O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires…All your sons and daughters will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace’ (IS 54: 11, 13).

Our churches, lashed by identity politics and afflicted by abuse, need the Bridegroom to make us a ‘safe house.’ This is our last week of ‘Becoming Good News’; in truth, it is only the beginning of our becoming the Church ‘whose conventional appearance makes it a safe place into which one might take refuge,’ aka a ‘safe house.’

But how can a Church riddled with immorality become a sanctuary for the abused and identity confused? Responding to a rebuttal of his claim that the Pope and many Vatican officials covered for high-ranking homosexual abusers, Archbishop Vigano writes: ‘It is no exaggeration to say that homosexuality has become a plague in the clergy…It is an enormous hypocrisy to condemn sexual abuse, claim to weep for its victims, and yet refuse to denounce the source of so much abuse: homosexuality.’

Why pray for prodigals to come home to a sleazy celebration? Because God is raising an army of wounded healers who are intent on making that Church safe. Cowardly men in power cannot stop the Lord of hosts. He accomplishes what He wills. He wills to set captives free through His house, not in spite of it.

I write this at the end of a rocky finger pointing east off the Connecticut coast. We are lashed here by winds and rain as seasoned Living Waters leaders and new leaders-to-be gather. The range of churches–from contemplative Catholics to shaking Pentecostals—is awesome. We need each other’s gifts to become safe houses in our communities for every estranged son and daughter that Jesus is calling home. In response to our prayers!

We tell the truth about our lives—the disordered desires, abuse that divided us, shame that derided us—and the family of God whose pure hearts and clean hands helped reconcile us to the gendered gifts we are. No human powers can block what God is building. We are following His plan: humble disclosure met by Almighty mercy flowing through Christ’s members. Unstoppable. God does not need more clever administrators, more artful dodgers; He just needs willing hearts made tender and trustworthy by mercy.

We take our places–mutually submitting to bishops and pastors as we become ‘like living stones, built together into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ’ (1 P 2:5) Our sacrifice? The re-offering of our wounds, now visible to all–washed, set, becoming integrated into our good full lives. I submit to you this short film—Chaste Together (click here to watch)—that describes how Living Waters helps create a ‘safe house’ in local churches for the abuse and afflicted.

My hope is in Jesus. I am not discouraged by sleazy strains in the Church. I cannot answer for the accused. All I know is that God is mobilizing a healing army that will accomplish His purposes—‘to present to Himself a radiant bride’ (Eph. 5: 27), a bride who welcomes the wounded in mercy and truth.

‘See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return. They will come weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them besides streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble. For I am Israel’s Father, Ephraim, my firstborn son’ (Jer. 31: 8-10).

We are currently in a time of prayer and fasting. If you’d like to pray along with us, let us know and we can send you a book or you can get it through kindle here: https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Good-News-Andrew-Comiskey-ebook/dp/B07F95JKP5!

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