Tag Archives: Buddism

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Glorious Repentance

‘John came preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All the people of Jerusalem went out to him, confessing their sins…’ (MK 1: 4, 5)

I went to Thailand the second week of Advent in order to repent. Again. Strengthened by our 40-day fast, I told everyone I met en route that I needed to start the Church year with Christians like my friend Sue who have to fight for their faith. We Americans are way too well-fed. We are fat cats, bored and listless, who can barely paw off familiar rats.

On the other hand, Thais face the triple threat of entrenched sexual immorality, Buddhism’s deadening passivity, and the ‘saving face’ culture that smiles at a multitude of sins. These sins threaten the integrity of the Thai Church; pedophiles and adulterers hide in the folds of her lousy religious garments. Tolerating serious sin can render the Church here small, ineffective, and prone to destruction.

But my friend Sue knows better. No stranger to sin herself, she is a better friend of repentance. An older relative poisoned Sue for most of her childhood through sexual abuse. She coped by hating her womanhood while seeking comfort in women and in Thai Buddhism, a quest for nothingness. Dark and darker.

Jesus sought Sue out through a host of Spirit-filled messengers. He gave her the grace to repent and to live daily in the light of His truthful love. She now lives passionately to recover human treasure from the darkness of sin in Thailand.

These treasures are among the most glorious I know. Their witness of living fully and unreservedly for Jesus shames my divided heart and invites me to die again. They reveal my petty concerns and compromises then rouse me to repentance.

The saints who compose Sue’s healing army have to fight for freedom. They pay a huge price for uncovering a host of abuses (many church-related); they must repent over and over until lifelong patterns of adultery are overcome. In the process, they shatter a decidedly un-Christian culture of shame by going boldly to the throne of grace in order to confess and conquer veins of sin that have darkened family-lines for generations. The choice becomes clear: live for Jesus or the pagan gods. Choose this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15).

They are shining gems of Jesus’ redemption. Their way forward is nothing less than the Cross realized through confession and repentance to Jesus and to one another. The call must be true and direct, like the Baptist himself; anything less will not break the power of sin. Such repentance ushers in the Light that rises on these ones gloriously.

While flying over the region where Sue ministers near the Lao border, I noticed the landscape growing more brown and dry. The pockets of water became fewer. But the few that remained caught the Light with a brilliance that made me gasp. My heart leapt at the sight for it captured in full the truth of my Thai family–the Light shines in the darkness and overcomes that darkness (JN 1: 5) through a repentant people. I want to be among them. Sue’s band of prophetic healing saints helps me to repent. Again.

‘And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all humanity together shall see it.’ (IS 40: 5)

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Breaking Chains, Healing Thais

‘Zeal for Your house will consume me.’ (JN 2:17)

Sue Hunt considered ordination as a Buddhist nun in the Ubon region of Thailand. An Englishwoman with a deep history of gender confusion, she sought relief in Buddhism from what seemed an incurable wound. She was ordained a Buddhist nun yet the idolatry implicit in both her spirituality and sexuality failed her; Sue’s search for truth remained. Sue turned to Jesus as she began to discover the entirely new Life He offered her–a track on which the very ‘living water’ of God could begin to transform the desert of her soul into a garden.

I began to partner with Sue in ministry in 1997; ever since she has plowed a straight furrow to release ‘living water’ wherever she goes. She has recently returned to Ubon to equip churches to release ‘living water’ for all who seek it. I write this from Thailand where I am partnering with her yet again to help clear God’s house from the dulling effect of idolatry and set that house ablaze with the burning love of Jesus.

The needs are legion: Thailand has always been a global forerunner of transgenderism, a land that gives unique place to ‘lady-boys’ who currently compose approximately 10-15% of the male population. These young men emulate the seductive arts of some Thai women who are groomed from an early age to prostitute themselves to wealthy foreigners. Children are often employed in this hideous exchange of flesh for funds. More typically, fornication and adultery flourishes amid adults who are inclined to sensualize their needs for love.

A toxic river runs through an otherwise beautiful, peaceful land and dehumanizes its citizens. Buddhism casts a ‘come what may’ fatalism—a lazy tolerance–over Thailand that perpetuates cycles of degradation. Nothing less than zeal for the One who came to clear out our ‘temples’ from the idols we make to man and mammon will do!

The Thai Church often responds with a thin, ineffectual resistance. She clothes herself in religious garments and manners but often fails to confess her own idolatry. The ‘saving face’ culture of honor in Asia makes it difficult for the Church in Thailand to address her own compromises. What we conceal God cannot heal. So we as a healing team exposed our own idols and the way that Jesus through His Church exchanged our rags for His riches.

Benjie shared powerfully how Jesus had filled in the gaps in his own gender identity formation; Hazel and Noelle exposed their idols and the stern, splendid task of learning to worship the One; as an ex-adulterer who had deeply wounded his wife, Mike wept as he described his wife’s devastation and the recovery of his marriage; Donna expressed shame over an affair with a married man but deeper gratitude for God’s forgiveness and healing; a Chinese brother praised God for granting him a holy birthright after growing up with a father and his prostitute; a Thai sister thanked Jesus for inviting her into deeper healing from childhood abuse.

All this healing through the Church! This is our gift to Thailand, the good news that Jesus’ Bride can represent Him well by reclaiming His human image from the many false images that drive and deride us. A mere appearance of religion won’t do; it will require nothing less than a people in whom Jesus cleared out idols and who now burn with gratitude for His faithful, furious love. Zeal for His house consumes us.

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