Tag Archives: Boundaries

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

False Justice

‘Justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.’ (Is. 59: 14, 15)

Obama’s ‘gay marriage’ commitment is hypocritical and an affront to true justice.

He vows ‘gay marriage’ then jets to Hollywood where a band of celebrities who mock marriage give the president $15 million for championing ‘gay marriage’. (Do Clooney, Pitt, etc. hope that same-sex couples will be more monogamous than they have been?)

Or perhaps these celebs and their president know what ‘married’ gay sex columnist Dan Savage does. He implores all couples to follow the tendency of gay couples to honor infidelity in their marriages as a way of spicing up the boredom of monogamy. ‘Gay marriage’ redefines monogamy as tolerating the other’s ‘scratching the itch with whomever one is with’.

No worries: Savage insists that his recently adopted son isn’t impacted at all by his ‘open marriage’. Who knew?

Apparently not Obama. The president cites several gay couples he knows as nice people. So nice people are cause for gutting marriage of fidelity and the potential for wholeness and creativity that can only be achieved heterosexually?

Admittedly, such wholeness goes unrealized for many couples who make a mess of marriage. Yet only man and woman together can create children and grant them a fighting chance to emulate their whole-enough example.

Claiming the justice of ‘marriage equality’ for gays, Obama actually puts children at risk by exposing them to a skewed ‘marital’ model of gender and boundaries.

But what about the claim of justice for ‘gay’ people’?

Here Obama stumbles the hardest. ‘Gay marriage’ is a false and cruel solution to the real brokenness that underlies same-sex attraction.

Same-sex attraction stems out of gender disintegration, not wholeness; a man’s same gender longings are not at core sexual but reveal a failure to come into whole-enough manhood. (The issues are similar for women with some variation.)

We recognize this disintegration when we see it. The majority of us cringe when we witness two men or two women at the altar vowing sexual and spiritual unity. We know it is wrong: not because we are Pharisees or homophobes but because we know in our depths that something is skewed. We know that something is not whole about homosexual unions.

What then is true justice for gays? The mercy that calls them to admit that they have a problem, the same way that people with other sexual and relational problems seek help.

I just returned from a meeting with a group of men coming out of same-sex attraction. Each is learning to accept his manhood and that of other men non-sexually, and if married, to be a faithful and attentive spouse for his wife. Just like all men should.

Real justice names a problem and resolves it. ‘Gay marriage’ promises a resolution but cannot deliver it. Same-gendered persons can never find sexual wholeness in each other. They never could and never will.

We have been tendered a pack of lies. Activists and their Obama-like supporters have turned real justice on its ear by making the real brokenness of homosexuality our brokenness for not giving them ‘marriage.’

President Obama, you have been deceived and are now deceiving millions with your stand on ‘gay marriage’. Your justice for gays is as cruel as death. In legitimizing gender disintegration, you raise a false standard for the vulnerable. And you mislead children who look to you as to what they should become. They deserve better.

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Rousing a Captive Culture

A well-known Christian leader, hammered by the sexual immorality of his family members, just announced his shift on embracing the homosexual practice of a particular loved one. He is on the brink of accepting ‘gay marriage.’

‘How can I not?’ he reasoned, as he listed the divorces, affairs, co-habitation and children born out-of-wedlock in his family.

We are inundated daily with the breakdown of holy boundaries in heterosexual relating. A new poll reveals that 61% of US singles have sex on their first date; not surprisingly, for the first time in US history, more than half of births to American women under 30 now occur outside of marriage.

The devolving of heterosexual morality in our culture is the single biggest reason why ‘gay marriage’ is gaining ground. We have so bashed heterosexual marriage as the sole framework for sexual love that we are too weak and dazed to protest activists who want to alter its DNA further.

That is precisely why a gay New York Times columnist defended ‘gay marriage’ against the critique that it would destabilize the American family. Pointing to Newt Gingrich’s rather tragic resume of mistresses and marriages, he claimed that heterosexuals have botched it pretty badly, and ‘no-one is trying to heal them…’

Wrong. We are. Most of our dear friends pursuing sexual wholeness in Living Waters are good old traditional sinners. We realized long ago that the fracturing of gender and boundaries at the core of homosexuality is a direct result of heterosexual fragmentation. First things first. The main and plain of heterosexual immorality must be the starting point of our repentance and healing.

Like Nehemiah, we confess ‘that our gates have been burned with fire’–the fire of heterosexual lust–‘and we are in disgrace.’ (Nehemiah 1:17) My son Sam shares candidly of the pornographic fog and multiple partnerships that drive many of his peers. Even Christian friends are tempted to go with the polluted tide. For a shameless generation, we must pray for a godly shame, for ‘we have no shame at all; we do not even know how to blush.’ (Jeremiah 6:15)

Would you please join DSM this Lent for a 40-day fast focused on praying for loved ones who will perish without Mercy?

If you want a complete copy of the 40-Days of Mercy Devotional—Lent 2012, please email me at acomiskey@desertstream.org and request either a pdf or a paper copy (USA only). For the latter, please include your complete address.

And on every Wednesday throughout Lent, beginning on Feb. 29th, I will post a new prayer/teaching on how we can best understand and pray for the Roman Catholic Church as she faces discipline for her sexual abuses. I want us to be a small part of her solution, and forego the temptation merely to rant at her failures. Let us prayerfully, in truth, pray for her recovery in this Lenten season.

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Mercy for a Broken Church

Day 37 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast

Mercy for a Broken Church

‘Observing myself and those who are close to me, I have come to understand how great an influence I have on other souls, not by heroic deeds, but by small actions like the movement of a hand, a look, and many other things too numerous to mention, which effect and reflect in the souls of others.’ (1475)

We as the Church have been tainted and shamed by her sexual brokenness. St. Faustina is right: the holiness and hellishness of each member impact the whole church. That is a call to action. We who have received Mercy do well to take seriously our part in making the Church a deep well of healing. That applies pointedly to us who have been set free from sexual bondages.

Mary Magdalene is our patron saint here. Jesus entrusted an ex-prostitute with the most important truth about Himself and the entire Church—His resurrection. Neither a priest nor a scholar, her pedigree lay in her healing.

As one set free from the deception and humiliation of homosexuality, I envision an army of churchmen and women in the spirit of Mary Magdalene. Like her, we can together proclaim and administer His healing authority to any soul who has prostituted him/herself and cries out for Mercy.

We can follow her lead in Luke 7:47 —‘having been forgiven of much, she loved Him much.’ Therein lies our authority to heal others—the gratitude that flows from a broken, unclean heart made pure by Mercy. What else can we do? We live only to give away the Blood and Water that has given us real life.

He has washed us in our deepest, lowliest places, so He calls us to wash the feet of His broken ones with His Mercy.

That is not merely the domain of ordained priests; we are each priests as we walk in nearness to the High Priest of Heaven. None can place the healing burden of the broken upon ordained priests alone. They are too few for the millions of broken ones awaiting release, the healing journey too long and arduous. We who are called to this Magdalene army must be bold in asking: ‘Send me, Lord!’

We must be careful to not sit back and passively allow the ‘experts’ to do the work. We are weak, yes, but we can take courage at the words Jesus spoke to St. Faustina in her impossible charge: ‘Do not fear; I Myself will make up for everything that is lacking in you.’ (435)

Our pedigree lies in being extraordinarily dependent upon Jesus. We rely on Him deeply, in light of the depth of our weakness and our healthy regard for wickedness. We want the broken to be healed, not further damaged by our care!

Toward that end, we must also be submitted to Church leaders, and our fellow healing soldiers. The integrity of our care for others depends on our reliance upon trustworthy ones. As we gather around the Cross and discover the grace of humble disclosure, proper boundaries, and truthful nurture, we declare with authority: His Mercy is better than our old way of life!

Among His greatest sufferings are those caused by impure church leaders. So naturally, God wants His healers to embody purity in our innermost parts. He delights in granting us Mercy together; united with likeminded pilgrims, we discover holiness ‘in the secret depths of the soul.’ (443)

We each can and must do our part. I long to see both Protestant and Catholic churches welcoming Magdalenes in their midst. We gather before the Cross in healing groups for the purpose of granting Mercy to each other; we then open her doors for all who cry out for Mercy in their sexual brokenness.

We mobilize, but it is Jesus, alive with Mercy, that raises us up and makes a way for others to know the Life that surpasses all counterfeits.

‘I find pleasure, not in large buildings and magnificent structures, but in a pure and humble heart.’ (532)

We ‘prepare God’s people for works of service…so that the body of Christ may be built up…and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.’ (Eph. 4:12, 13)

‘Jesus, raise up Your Magdalene army. You did not suffer in vain; You suffered to raise up a people pleasing to You, that would live only from Your Mercy and live only for extending that Mercy. Send us as a gift to Your Church.’

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote or simply a page number in parenthesis. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com.

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Deep Wells of Mercy

Day 24 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast

Deep Wells of Mercy

‘He brought me into such close intimacy with Himself that my heart was espoused to His heart in a loving union; I could feel the faintest stir of His heart and He of mine. The fire of my created love was joined to the ardor of His eternal love.’ (1056)

Why are the sexually broken so often the recipients of Jesus’ Mercy in the Gospels?

To answer this, one must first consider the depth and power of human sexuality. God made each of us a deep well of desire for love—our very bodies, yearning to cast off their solitude, are inspired by the Creator to merge with others. Out of loving commitment to another, we then become creators of new life.

John Paul ll describes this as ‘the spousal meaning’ of our bodies; they are intended for the love of a good man or woman, and to be fruitful!

Sexuality has deep spiritual meaning as well. St. Paul likens the marital bond as the living witness on earth of Jesus’ spousal love for His bride, the Church. Each of us, single or married, compose His bride who awaits final consummation in union with Himself. Pointing to this greater spiritual goal to which our sexuality points, Christopher West writes, ‘Our bodies have theological meaning.’

Sexual love involves a necessary boundary that hides it from all but the bride and groom. Something so powerful and creative requires such protection; it is the only way we can experience nakedness without shame.

When sexuality is good, it is very, very good. And when it is bad, it is awful. Our sinful world breaks sacred boundaries and exposes sexuality to all manner of indignities. As fallen members of this world, we all perpetuate these crimes of passion and are victimized by them. Our shame is as deep as our sexuality is powerful. Yet deeper still is the longing for nakedness without shame, self-giving without blame.

Jesus knows the power of man for woman, woman for man, and the sinful oppression that hangs over this most powerful of unions. Such brokenness betrays His very image. So He acts quickly and decisively in Mercy to reclaim that image by restoring broken ones to His original intention for them.

He does so in the most tender, intimate ways possible: the generous father kissing his prodigal, gentle Jesus receiving the washing of the prostitute, the friend of the Samaritan, the just God who stands in solidarity with the adulteress.

He stoops down to the sexually broken and washes their feet. Perfect in love, He fears no contamination from the defiled. He hears those who cry out for Mercy from that deepest wellspring of desire. His intimate Presence converts them.

Jesus loves and cleanses these ones in the depths of their truest selves. No stone is unturned: every motive, affection, memory, lover is yielded to the One who has won their hearts. Desire is His domain! Thus the surrendered homosexual/prostitute/fornicator bears Life in his/her depths boundlessly. More are the children of the desolate woman (Is 54:1) than of a faithfully married Pharisee!

Amid all the sexual scandals in the Church today, we cannot lose sight of the quiet majority who has exchanged silent, cancerous sin for trustful surrender to Jesus. Just last week, I met with a group of Living Waters leaders who began the gathering by confessing sin. One admitted a disturbing erotic dream, another, the temptation of Internet porn, yet another, the need for limits in an overly dependent friendship, another still the over-identification with her children.

I felt proud to be among them; lovers of Jesus so inclined to His Mercy they cannot tolerate unspoken temptations! What may seem a threat to the integrity of the body of Christ becomes through Mercy the very antidote to the mess we are in. He is intent on transforming polluted wells into deep reservoirs of Mercy.

‘As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God. Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls, all Your waves and breakers have washed over me.’ (Ps. 42:1, 7)

‘Spring up, oh wells, and restore the Bride. Let not former sin prevent you from embracing your merciful call. Let Mercy strike down shame and raise you up gloriously in this hour. His Body needs the testimony of Mercy in yours.’

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote or simply a page number in parenthesis. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com.

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Mercy’s Sacrifice

Day 21 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast

Mercy’s Sacrifice

‘How sad I am that souls do not recognize Love. They treat Me as a dead object.’ (1385)

St. Paul implores us to not take Communion unworthily (1Cor. 11:27), and Church fathers echo him. Those who persist in serious sin should think twice…

How do we square this with the God of sinners, He who desires Mercy and not legalistic sacrifice? It all depends on the attitude toward our sin, and towards His Sacrifice. The main document on Holy Communion from Vatican ll urges us to foster a spirit toward the Meal which is intent on ‘cooperating with grace’.

In other words, approach the Lord’s table with a heart hungry for all the grace you need to overcome sin.

One of my most shameful and glorious memories of communion occurred early in my walk with Jesus. Simply put, I had many ‘bad’ weekends. After a regrettable night of porn and guilt, I visited my mother’s Episcopal Church. Because of fire in my heart for Jesus, the false passions were evident and ugly. The only cure was confession, so I confessed my sin. Then I realized how hungry I was for Him. I wanted Jesus, not the false gods and goddesses of this world!

Perhaps for the first time, God graced me with the miraculous awareness of Jesus in the Meal—alive, Mighty in Mercy, and yet tender, utterly tailored to my deep need for Him. Honestly, I don’t think Jesus ever seemed so near and so substantial as He did that morning in an unassuming church which spread a Table for me.

In my battle against sin, I needed the Life of Jesus in the Holy Meal. St. Faustina says it best: ‘I find myself so weak that were it not for Holy Communion, I would fall continuously.’ (1037)

Communion grants us substantial Mercy in our struggles, and thus helps make us worthy. Yet we must honor the Meal with a heart intent on becoming honorable.

St. Paul directs us to both a vertical and a horizontal uprightness in approaching Communion. He implores us to prepare our hearts for Christ’s Sacrifice.

Aware of the idolatry at Corinth—false gods worshipped through food offerings and sexual orgies—St. Paul reminds them of their vertical call to worship only One God through the Holy Meal. ‘The sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not God, and I do not want you to participate with demons…you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s Table and the table of demons.’ (1 Cor. 10: 20, 21)

Make a decision, the Apostle says: those who sacrifice to other gods are not worthy of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

Paul also exhorts the proud Corinthians who violated horizontal boundaries at Table. When they came together for Communion, the wealthy and powerful would shove aside the poor. To Paul, Love had to accompany the Meal or its Mercy had no evident meaning. He implored the good Corinthians to act justly toward those who had less, or refuse the Holy Meal altogether. (1Cor. 11: 20-22)

Mercy ingested needs to result in Mercy manifested. We may come derided by false gods, tempted to push our way through Communion and out the exit. Yet Almighty Mercy stops us in our tracks and urges us to consider His Sacrifice. He gave all to grant us Mercy. Should we not then welcome Mercy entirely, and extend it generously?

‘Do you despise the Church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? …  A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread or drinks of the cup.’ (1Cor. 11:22, 28)

‘Jesus, thank You for Your Sacrifice of Mercy. We need it now more than ever! In Your Mercy, unite our divided hearts and make us whole in one-Spirit communion with You. Free us also for merciful communion with one another. Free us to love as You have loved us. We pray also for those persisting in sin, without repentance. Open hearts to their true hunger and true home at Table with You.’

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote or simply a page number in parenthesis. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com.

 

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