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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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Consoling Jesus’ Heart

‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.’ (Matt. 26:38)

‘Sorry God’ has been the gist of my prayer life lately. Since the ‘gay marriage’ ruling, I have found myself asking God’s forgiveness for breaking His heart.

We take what is holy and twist it in our image. God made us in His image, and chose marriage to reveal His heart for all persons. We break His heart when we mess with His revelation.

Many superficial Christians I know applauded last month’s ruling. That breaks His heart even more–persons who identify with Him but do not know His heart for marriage and for the homosexually vulnerable. He wants to gather the weak into His arms, not seal their conflict in a mockery of marriage.

So I try to keep watch with Him in His sorrow. I must wait for Him. My sorrow is small and must be subsumed by His. Yet in His wounds I am free. Our battle is not with mere humans but with dark powers that deceive and deride. Holy grief protects our hearts and wages war on such powers.

Grieving with Jesus also consoles His heart. Bonnie West said just that as many of us prayed together for Jesus’ heart in light of the marriage ruling.

Let us weep over our superficiality and sin and a nation now more vulnerable to both. Let our tears bring us close to His heart, as to comfort it.

After the ruling, my friend Wayne Keiger-Rice said his beautiful wife Carol could not stop crying on Jesus’ behalf. She found the immovable place; she consoles Him in a marvelous unity of broken hearts.

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At Home, to Heal

‘Christians who are afraid to build bridges and prefer to build walls are Christians who are not sure of Jesus Christ. When the Church loses this apostolic courage, she becomes a stalled Church, a tidy Church, a Church without fertility, because she has lost the courage to go to the many people who are victims of idolatry, of worldliness, of weak thought…Those who do not walk in order not to err make the more serious mistake.’ Pope Francis

Jesus suffered to heal us, to restore what was lost in our merciless lives.

I live to help make His Church a juncture for mercy–that encounter between our real suffering and the fruit of His. Imagine my delight when, last month, we started our first Living Waters group ever in an American Catholic parish.

About 25 men and women, Protestants and Catholics, gather in admitted brokenness under the one Cross. We have names for our distress: sexual addiction, same-sex attraction, abuse, and the havoc these things had wrecked on our single and married lives. Most importantly, we dare to believe that mercy has a name, Jesus Christ, and that His Church is the best place to expose the broken ground of our lives to His.

We shall covenant together for twenty weeks to exchange fear and shame and exaggerated desires for His desire to call us His own, His treasured ones who please Him as we seek to treasure others, to not reduce them to objects of fear or lust but rather to see Christ in and though them.

It is messy. We see Him and others through blood-shot eyes. But His Spirit has gathered us, and the Son has gone before us, and has granted us access to the Father whose love, mediated through each other, surpasses our old weak definitions.

I believe in living an integrated life: to be known where I worship. That means securing a place where I can voice my need constructively to the Christ present in my brother and sister. How else will we overcome shameful sins, hidden in darkness? How else will relational wounds heal?

Last year, as I waited in line at Mass, I noticed something beautiful. I saw Karen who has been equally wounded and converted by a gay-identified loved one, then Kenn who struggles daily to be free from Internet porn. A ways back was Tim, abused by a priest and yet still hungry for Jesus, and Sue, so intent on Christ that she would rather confess her same-gender attraction as a need for God rather than as a socio-political declaration.

I had met each of them in a series of small groups I had run prior to Living Waters. Now together, as one broken body, we waited before Christ Crucified to partake of the fruit of His suffering. Under the Cross, His Body broken for us, I could see it: we are becoming the Body, broken for each other. Healing and joy rises from the feast Jesus has prepared for us.

‘You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before You as people rejoice at the harvest.’ (IS 9: 3)

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Fractured In The Fight

‘A house divided against itself will fall.’ (LK 11:17)

Newsreels of the 1960’s and 70’s depict Belfast Ireland as a war-zone; as a child growing up in front of TV, I recall coils of barbed wire separating Protestant and Catholic zones, over which both sides lobbed bombs at each other, often shattering innocent lives. Read more »

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Mercy 15: Mercy for Transformation

‘Do not be conformed to this age but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…’ (Romans 12: 2a)

‘That was the first time I had ever heard anything hopeful about homosexuality’: a not unfamiliar response from Christians who hear us share our journeys out of homosexuality and into wholeness in Christ. Read more »

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