Tag Archives: Creation

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

True Justice

‘The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.’ (PS 103:6)

‘Defending the institution of marriage as a social reality is ultimately a question of justice, since it entails safeguarding the good of the entire human community and the rights of parents and children alike.’ Pope Benedict

My wife Annette observed an 8-year-old boy in a waiting room trying to make sense of a photo in People magazine of two men in tuxes, probably a feature on some celeb ‘gay wedding.’ Wide-eyed, and too truthful to have anything but a visceral response to the madness, he said: ‘Are those guys… you know, together? That’s real scary.’

No scarier than the wedding photo in front of me of two men, 20-years apart yet mirror images of each other, with their adopted 4-year-old daughter between them. Her smile is stained, theirs soft and wide as they beam through her at each other. A glimpse of unrealized manhood, a girl in trouble, and the hemorrhaging of justice in the form of ‘gay marriage.’

Children become parents, purveyors of truth, when we celebrate and seal the disintegration of gender identity in ‘gay weddings.’

Consider a young man—Ben—whom I just met at a healing conference. Having come to terms with his own same-sex attraction, he possesses a firm resolve to reach for all that Christ has for him. He also just discovered that his father is now ‘out’ as an active ‘gay man’ and is urging his son to do likewise. Ben’s first task was to set a firm boundary with his deluded father and make decisions for his own integration as a man, including coming to this conference. (Check it out: Ministry of Pastoral Care, founded by Leanne Payne. Excellent)

Over the course of our week together, I observed the Holy Spirit moving upon Ben. He received grace in such abundance that confessing his sin, and grieving over his damaged father and the arc of damage in his life thus far occurred readily, gently. Through a host of Christian loved ones who accompany him on this journey, he will continue to take hold of all for which Christ took hold of him.

In truth, Jesus’ justice for those with same-sex attraction lies in recognizing how oppressed we are and repenting unto the only One who can help us.

On the other hand, justice is thwarted when we redefine marriage. ‘Gay marriage’ validates the disintegration of gender identity for parents and children alike.

‘Marriage is not something abstract or neutral that the law may legitimately define and re-define to please those who are powerful and influential.

No-one has a civil right to have a non-marital relationship treated as a marriage. Marriage is an objective reality—a covenantal union of husband and wife—that it is the duty of the law to recognize for the sake of justice and for the common good. If it fails to do so, genuine social harms follow.

First, the religious liberty of those for whom this is a matter of conscience is jeopardized. Second, the rights of parents are abused as family life and sex education programs in schools are used to teach children that an enlightened understanding recognizes as ‘marriages’ sexual partnerships that many believe are non-marital and immoral. Third, the common good of society is damaged when the law itself becomes a tool for eroding a sound understanding of marriage on which the flourishing of the marriage culture in any society vitally depends.

And is it is out of love (and not hate) and prudent concern for the common good (not prejudice), that we pledge to labor unceasingly to preserve the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and to rebuild the marriage culture.

How could we as Christians do otherwise? The Bible teaches us that marriage is a central part of God’s creation covenant. Indeed the union of husband and wife mirrors the bond between Christ and His church.

Just as Christ was willing out of love, to give Himself up for the Church as a complete sacrifice, we are willing in love to make whatever sacrifices are required of us for the sake of the inestimable treasure that is marriage.’

( If you are interesting in reading The Manhattan Declaration concerning marriage please click here.)

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Risen with Christ, Our Wounds yet Visible

Our most powerful witness in this hour of ‘gay marriage’ and other injustices are our wounds. Raised with Him, secure in love, we must reveal our scars of sin and shame. The servant is not greater than His master. If the Glorified Christ is to this day ‘a Lamb, looking as if it had just been slain’ (Rev. 5:6) then we should be unashamed to declare our brokenness.

Jesus’ humiliation has been eclipsed with glory. So is ours, as we testify of how His mercy has washed us and solidified the new creation.

Over lunch the other day, a friend recounted his healing story. To do so, he began with his shame, which was founded upon a history of early childhood sexual abuse. Staggering into young adulthood with same-sex attraction, he sought the help of two pastors who abused him sexually and spiritually.

He vowed to trust no-one. Yet he knew Jesus loved him and continued to love him. Still, he could not let Jesus in close as such intimacy always meant sexual violation to him. Jesus respected his limits.

One night in the throes of gay sex, he became aware of Jesus’ presence. In a still small voice, Jesus said: ‘I am waiting for you.’ This young man kindly excused himself and fell on his face before faithful Jesus. Soon after he joined a Living Waters group, then another, found a skilled therapist, and currently serves alongside his wife in raising a family and helping others overcome their shame.

This man represents the countless men and women who have been raised from the dead of sin. Aware of sin’s complexity yet more in touch with the Mercy that saved them from it, they now proclaim how Glory has eclipsed shame. Resurrection flares from these wounds made visible.

Such courage ignites a blazing torch that draws the broken to Mercy. I wept as I listened to his story and saw the light of gratitude and hope in his eyes. I glimpsed Jesus; this man offered me his wounds, I put my hand in his nail-scarred hands and feet. Like doubting Thomas, I believed in Jesus afresh.

‘Gay marriage’ would be a none-issue if all the faithful made known their scars related to homosexuality. Risen with Christ, our wounds yet visible, we magnify Mercy and turn false justice on its ear.

‘If no-one said: ‘I die but I shall live’, then there would be no hope for those who suffer. All suffering would be senseless, destructive pain; all grief would be the worldly sorrow that brings forth death. But we know people who have lived and suffered differently. There is a history of resurrections, which have significance for others.

A person’s resurrection is no personal privilege for one’s self alone. It contains within itself hope for all, hope for everything.’ Dorothy Soelle

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Intimate Authority: Holy Week Meditations, 2

This is the second post of my Holy Week Meditations for 2012. Please click here for the archive list of posts as they become available.

Intimate Authority: Holy Week Meditation, 2

Luke 7: 36-50 introduces us to Mary Magdalene. Mercy drew her out of fear and shame, and compelled her to offer herself to Him. Jesus embodied that Mercy for a prostitute. Imagine that: a kind, strong, handsome man who only wanted her good, nothing from her but her dignity. And a holy man who did not fear her and the entanglement of desires she lay at His feet.

She wept and lingered there. His Mercy was magnetic, a good match for her courage in abiding there as the Pharisee looked on aghast. She demonstrated from the start the transformation of intimacy: abundant Mercy provoking a wholehearted response.

Weeping and lingering. What else better defines intimate reliance upon another but weeping and lingering? Love alone provokes tears for another; love alone compels us to wait, to abide, to linger. These simple expressions of intimacy—tears and lingering—are the basis for Mary’s authority.

In Christ, this woman of many men recognized the Real Thing—the Source of unfailing love. Perhaps some of us have experienced times where Mercy drew us out and compelled us to pour out our broken hearts before Him. Mercy primed us, the dam broke, and we arose from the puddle grateful and slightly embarrassed.

The challenge? Walking out the ‘encounter.’ A weepy interlude based on recognizing the Christ must become ongoing reliance upon Him. Divine romance is easy; marriage is hard. Long after the chemical charge, we wake up in a lonely bed and must make the daily effort to probe the unseen Reality of Christ-with-us.

Mary helps us here. Soon after her encounter with the Luke 7 account, we become aware that Magdalene was among a small group of women who accompanied the disciples and Jesus as He traveled from one town to another; according to Scripture, these women provided for the Kingdom band with their own funds. (Lk 8: 1-3)

In other words, she followed Him. Her surrender to Him was ongoing and included her time, her money, and what we can assume were ongoing gestures of care. Matthew describes Mary and her band of Jesus’ supporters as those who followed Him in order ‘to care for His needs.’ (Matt. 27:55)

Caring for Jesus’ needs. How do we do that today? Certainly by spending time with Him, taking in His Words, exhaling ours, giving Him the treasure of our time. And by advancing His rule and reign by offering ourselves to those we love most, which must include the lost and least if we are to care for those He loves most.

We can assume that Mary’s intimacy with Jesus involved both prayerful lingering before Him, and weeping with those who weep. His Kingdom became hers; she immersed herself in His world. Mary Magdalene embodied the words of St. Faustina Kowalska: ‘The more I have known You Jesus, the more I desire You.’

This is the bond He loves, a bond He vows not to break, an intimacy with us that surpasses whatever kingdom He called us out of. Dylan was right: ‘You gotta serve somebody’, be it a pimp, a fantasy, or your own defended self.

Like Mary, let’s seek and serve Jesus. Let us depend on Him. He offers us Mercy, His beauty, unseen but more real and true than any of His creations. Truly He is worthy of our surrender, a life yielded to His.

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Merciful Eyes

Join us today at 3pm (CST) as we intercede for loved ones in need of God’s mercy.

Merciful Eyes

40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012 – Day 38

To see the image of God in every sister—all love of neighbor must flow from this motive. (861)

May I never boast except in the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world…what counts is a new creation. Peace and Mercy to all who follow this rule. (Gal. 6: 14-16)

Jesus, grant us merciful sight for the lost and deeply loved. Anchor our sight in the truth of Your good will and intention for every man and woman. Grant us a cross-shaped lens: compassion for the brokenness of that image, faith in Your power to raise the true person up from the false.

For the complete 40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012, click here to download.  For a paper copy, United States only, please call Desert Streams Ministries at (866) 359-0500. 

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry from the diary is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote. 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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Authority to Name

Creation of Adam and Eve, stained glass window in the church of Dinant, Belgium, created in 1821.

A federal appeal court ruled yesterdaythat Prop. 8–our voter-approved definition of real marriage–violated the US Constitution. Fear not: this is but the latest of numerous efforts to overturn the people’s will concerning marriage. Tuesday’s decision will be appealed and most likely ‘fast tracked’ to the US Supreme Court who will decide once and for all the definition of marriage for the USA. (In the meantime, we trust that no ‘gay marriages’ will be allowed in CA.)

Join us at DSM to pray for the high court to quickly and justly uphold what marriage is. As we await that decision, let us overcome our fears of defining marriage rightly. Our authority lies in our capacity to see and say the truth about marriage, for all to hear.

Authority to Name

In the beginning, God gave humanity the authority to name reality; one of Adam’s first tasks was to define the animals. Men and women, created in God’s image, have the unique, inspired capacity to know the truth and to name it. That is precisely what distinguishes us from the rest of creation, and frees us from being tyrannized by false definitions. We represent Him in naming reality.

That is our authority as human beings. And when we rightly name reality, we extend the rule and reign of the Creator. And wrest reality from those who distort reality by misnaming it.  That is precisely what is at stake in the efforts of gay activists to redefine marriage. Consider their efforts to rename reality. And its implications.

Is the sexual union of two men or two women really ‘a marriage’? Can two members of the same gender create the whole that creates and stabilizes life?

Can two same-gendered persons who for myriad reasons refuse the opposite gender as a worthy counterpart help secure little ones in their security as male or female? How can a ‘gay marriage’ prepare them for a life that their two mommies and daddies have actively defied?

Consider the naming of a fetus. Is that growing cluster of cells ‘a life’? The refusal to name a conceived life is what is at stake in abortion. Non-lives can be treated as so much refuse. Will ‘marriage’ meet the same fate in the USA? Will we allow others to take what is true and real and rename it? Renaming marriage as a same gender reality fundamentally distorts its original meaning and intention.

I just returned from a prayer meeting in Washington State where our Living Waters leaders gathered. We asked the Creator to restore our authority as citizens to name reality for Washington, a state poised to become the eighth in the USA to legislate ‘gay marriage.’

Many confessed to having conceded their voice, their naming power, to the drone of activists. They admitted the temptation to not heed their still small voice for fear of being judged as haters or bigots. We repented.

God is restoring our voices, our naming power. May we speak before it is too late.

‘If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve Me; If you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be My spokespeople.’ ( Jeremiah 15:19)

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