Category: Sexual Brokenness

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture
love at true sight

Love at True Sight

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

I knew Sara dreamt of being a man, and was trying hard to pull it off with a swagger in her trousers and loafers and men’s dress shirt. But I saw a beautiful woman. Set adrift by the failure of men in her life, she was seduced by the illusion of masculine power. Now she is the seducer, and she carries it off pretty well.

God is not fooled. Nor am I. He made her and intends for her to realize who she is as His beloved daughter. And if I am to love her well then I must line up with that reality. No matter what the culture says about gender as a fluid state of mind– every person needs to be reconciled through Christ to his or her gender birthright.

The faithful must love others in fidelity to the Creator. Especially a generation being fed the lie that gender norms are bondage and that freedom means casting off gender distinctions altogether—in the very mortal words of the now gender-free Miley Cyrus: ‘I’m just even, just equal…it’s just how I feel.’ MTV released a new ‘snap chat’ thread aimed at 12-25 year-olds that features male teens made up like slutty women with various celebs declaring ‘F…k gender norms.’ A generation needs a vision of the substance and dignity of gender.

Men and women lost in this gender jungle need empowered Christians to prayerfully insinuate themselves into their lives. Only believers in dynamic communion with Christ Creator and Redeemer possess the authority to see through the darkness and to summon what is truly good from a gender-lost generation, and in particular, to the man or woman God calls us to pursue. By ascribing gender clarity to a person, we help to restore personal dignity, which is always the glory of God in humanity.

Only eyes that see in harmony with the Creator will behold the true self; only the heart empowered by the Redeemer can persist in love until light dawns for persons living in gender disorder. Sara allowed me to pray for her. It was not hard to see her beauty and to invite her to rest in the Father’s substantial love for her. She cried a little in His Presence, that Spirit who always woos her to come home to Himself and thus her true self. Perhaps it is harder to swagger and to strive than to surrender to the One who holds us near, in all our fractured glory.

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Annette

Love has a name. I discovered its meaning only when I chose to offer myself 35-years-ago to this person named Annette. What I thought I knew about love meant little as I bumped up against my selfishness. (I prided myself on a kind of reflective, poetic awareness of love but actually knew next to nothing about it.) In joy and especially in her tears, Annette invited me to love her because she was worth it. I wanted to do so. Though desire spurs us onto discipline, they are not the same things. I was flabby in love.

One factor (though by no means the only) involved my homosexual background. Neither God nor I was content for me to muck around all my days bowing before mirror images of myself. I was done being seduced by Narcissus– mirages of idealized masculinity that lured me only to sicken me. The challenge of conversion is that you start to worship the ONE and in so doing you catch glimpses of what is true about yourself and the rest of creation. That is good. And scary. Pieper is right; maybe we stay sick in order to shirk the responsibility of wholeness.

Annette was a real woman, whole-enough: smart and sophisticated, attuned to others, a God-seeker but bound up inside too, as if she had to earn His love. Annette was dimensional, and I tracked with her; I wanted her but I wanted her on my terms and I cannot say I ever got close enough to anyone to know their terms. Until I entered into Annette’s world. Wow. Uncharted territory: would I love the whole of her and ‘man-up’ enough to offer the ragged whole of me?

A few things helped: mutual sexual desire took a little while, as is often the case when one has SSA. The pleasure we found in each other’s bodies developed in the context of a growing relationship; the more we disclosed about our lives and trusted each other, the more we desired each other.

And Annette was easy to desire. She possessed an ease of being, an integrated gift of welcoming others into her life. I marveled at how she could open the door of her heart to persons she trusted and display a range of emotions with an immediacy that at once drew me and challenged me.

It helped to place Jesus at the center of our communion. That may have been slightly defensive on my end but in truth, Annette and I wanted Him and His will above all else. As Annette discovered more about the depth of Jesus’ love for her and welcomed His Spirit in the core areas of her life (she had a lot of fear-based problems due to childhood sexual abuse), she grew more and more beautiful to me. I realize now that marriage involves body and soul and that the enlightened soul permeates the body and makes it hot. Spirit-filled Annette turned me on.

So in fear and trembling and with great expectations, we said yes to each other. Saying yes to each other meant saying no to everyone else. By that I mean divisive things, like unhelpful advice or other lovers, real or imagined. We took the marriage bed seriously and refused to allow phantoms to insinuate themselves into the bond we shared. Yes, we talked things out, still do, but out of respect for each other and on the solid ground of trusting each other.

We share a rich legacy in ministry but deeper still is our family life. Annette is the best Mom: she has never flagged at offering herself wholly to our four kids while also giving them space to grow apart from her. We shared parenting from the start, still do—we have discovered that the task morphs but never stops. Raising kids highlights the truth that sexual love is about more than interpersonal pleasure (though for that I am grateful); God intends sex to create other lives. That is why discipline in the sexual realm is so crucial. What you make you must also tend, and what you do privately gets passed down to your kids whether they know it or not. Sex is powerful. That’s why chastity means everything to us.

As we move into our 36th year, I notice that we bicker less and accept each other more; we no longer treat misdemeanors as felonies and have dug a deeper well of mercy that we offer one other in unspoken ways. We have weathered a host of hardships together, which has seasoned and tempered our bond. Annette grows in virtue, the beauty of holiness. We do not need to ‘talk things out’ as much as before. We look at each other’s exquisitely lined faces with gratitude after 35 years of life together. We speak words of love to each other. We grow in living those words. Not too hard–I know love’s name.

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snakes in the bathroom obama bathroom law

Snake in the Bathroom

The Obama administration has just insisted that all US public schools allow students to use whichever bathroom matches their gender identity, that is, whichever identity one is experimenting with at the moment.

Overlooking the facts of one’s biological birth, and the torturous mental health consequences for persons who deny their gender birthright, Obama now leads the world in obliterating the most basic distinction of our humanity.

Your daughter attends school where a boy who likes girl’s play has absolute freedom to insist that he be considered a girl and to follow her into the bathroom. Of course that may change; he may come to his senses and realize that he wants to be who he is. Then your daughter will have to change all over again.

The US government now decrees that your children understand gender as fluid, a state of mind, with no necessary connection to our biological selves. For people of faith, that is idolatry, the creature raising itself above the Creator. For people who value the social sciences, that is psychological nihilism: we harm children by not reinforcing the value of their gender selves.

Secure upon the foundation of our male or femaleness, we can grow into the unique men and women we are, free to exhibit a range of gifts and aptitudes that defy gender stereotyping. But we damage the core of our sons and daughters by letting them tell us whether they are sons or daughters.

Obama and company now consider granting fragile children and their clueless parents that freedom. They consider gender fluidity to be another great step forward for human rights.

Tell that to my friend Daniel who was advised by his high school counselor to embrace his gender fluidity. Identifying as a woman and winning awards in drag pageants, he witnessed among ‘trans’ peers the ravages of implants, estrogen shots, and seductive exaggerated feminine behavior. The fantasy of becoming the other gender was in truth a death wish. And isn’t that the end of all deception, to destroy human dignity?

Deceived by the belief that he is protecting human dignity, Obama obliterates it.

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How to Love a Vulnerable Friend Responding to the Transgendered

How to Love a Vulnerable Friend: Responding to the ‘Transgendered’

First, thank you for your commitment to your friend. Sometimes devout, energized persons like you can help prevent an already vulnerable soul from doing further injury. I realize your friend is on the verge of doing just that by pursuing gender reassignment surgery.

Gender is not a product of the mind; it is a fact of our birth. To be sure, your friend has a deep conflict with his or her true gender self, for which one must only be compassionate. Such compassion flows from the truth. Your friend has a gender self and to be at odds with that truth is a serious affliction. Your advocacy may help him or her to begin to resolve this identity confusion in the right way.

Your friend is not hearing the truth today, only pretty lies. To paraphrase Dr. Paul McHugh, the idea that gender is a matter of choice remains unquestioned in our culture and is utterly without scientific foundation. Studies reveal that in spite of terrific costs to all family members, gender reassignment surgery does not result in happiness but the same or worse mental health conditions than existed before the surgery, including drug addictions, psychotic disorders and the risk of suicide.

Your friend is vulnerable to robbers, and needs understanding and inspired care. This is a person who looks in the mirror and hates the reflection. He or she believes that self-acceptance lies in becoming the other gender. Wrong. I have worked with several persons whose ‘fantasy gender selves’ arose in response to profound distress. Their fantasy selves became the prison. It is a joyful labor of love to accompany the gender afflicted out of unreality and into the truth of their real selves.

Spiritual and emotional intervention makes sense. Why? We cannot change our genders. Guess what? Bruce Jenner is still a man! The only real choice we have is to make peace with the gender of our birth. Nevertheless, we must recognize that our gender identities (the psychological adjustment we make to our gender) are subject to profound frustration. We may feel chronically inadequate to master certain ‘gender’ tasks, or experience repulsion over one’s body type combined with a persistent desire to have different body traits.

The gender-afflicted need inspired therapy, not surgery. It is cruel to subject a vulnerable soul to knives and implants and alien hormones. We do not ‘cure’ an anorexic by exercising fat from her body because she feels fat any more than we ‘cure’ a man who feels like a woman by cutting off his penis. We help him make peace with his intrinsic manhood, just as we help the anorexic adjust to a true body image.

Your friend is imprisoned by the lie that ‘feelings’ can and should determine biological gender. Wrong. God determines our gender and we must work that out in fear and trembling. Yes Jesus is the door that swings out from the prison and yes we must open it. Praise Him—we can do so in the light of Divine Mercy and merciful friends like you.

For this transformation, we need entire faith communities. I would suggest that you check out our offerings at Desert Stream/Living Waters (desertstream.org), the national Restored Hope Network of ministries (restoredhopenetwork.org), and the international network of Courage (couragerc.org). Please stay in touch. If your friend and family want to come out and meet with some of our staff, please let us know.

Andrew

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Chastity and Mercy

Chastity and Mercy 2: United We Stand

The Samaritan woman of John 4 represents many Christians today; you could say she is a ‘type’ of the Church in the 21st century. Her Jewish roots inspired a ‘holiness’ tradition of which she was proud. At the same time, her heritage was also sourced in the intermingling of the Jews with the Canaanites, a nation that worshiped many gods through a variety of sexual practices. She too is divided–a woman of faith (“I know that Messiah is coming” v.25) fractured by a series of failed, dehumanizing relationships with men (v. 18).

Split between the proper and the profane, the Samaritan woman is us. Our love for God is often not reflected in the sexual decisions we make, if we take seriously the rates of divorce, co-habitation, and porn use among Christians (not to mention our lack of clarity on why the ‘gay’ and ‘trans’ self may not be God’s best for His kids). We are a people divided who, if not caught in the undertow of dehumanizing passions, are at least painfully aware of loved ones who are. In the words of Joseph Pieper, we witness how ‘the same forces that give rise to life also have power to destroy life.’

We want more for our loved ones, more for us too. Sick of sensations that ignite souls only to burn them out, we are a people ready for chastity. Something in us knows that we are created for wholeness, for integrity. Chastity means that we are seeking to live a united life; in chastity, we effort to align ‘the powers of life and love’ (CCC#2338) within us with the God who placed them there in the first place. United with the Creator, we begin to discipline our creative powers. The chaste person ‘seeks not itself blindly but with open eyes endeavors to correspond to the true reality of God, self and the world’ (Pieper).

We can know reality! And reality in the sexual realm corresponds with what is good and right and true for others. We know that the sexual bond belongs only to a man and a woman united for life, and we know that creative self-giving, fully clothed, is God’s call upon everyone–a fruitful expression of the connectedness that is related to sexual love. Chastity opposes any behavior that impairs such fruitfulness, and ‘tolerates neither a double life nor duplicity of speech’ (CCC#2338). Informed by reality, chastity discerns and refuses the enslaving power of sexual ‘unrealities’ and so can act clearly on behalf of others’ good. In so doing, we the chaste reclaim our dignity (CCC#2339).

Getting there would be impossible if not for the God who looks upon us divided ones with almighty mercy. Just as Jesus engaged the Samaritan woman, He waits to catch our gaze. He sees what is most real about our sexuality; His Spirit (‘living water’) summons that reality. In His love, He grants us the choice to become chaste, to participate in our becoming whole-enough expressions of His will for us and others. Will we unite with Him this Lent and so allow wholeness to define us more than our divides?

‘Father, our tendency to live divided lives seems woven into the very fabric of our histories, our culture, even our Church. Have mercy, Lord of mercy. Renew our vision of chastity that we might aspire to a whole life, a life of integrity founded on reality, not the unrealities that have deceived us. Thank You that they have not destroyed us. In mercy, do not let them destroy our loved ones. Have mercy on Your divided creation. Unite us in holy love, we pray. Breathe on our cry for chastity. Divided we have fallen, united may we stand.’

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