Tag Archives: Dr. Paul McHugh

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

3 Times a Slave

St. Peter Claver, Jesuit missionary to Africans enslaved to landowners in 17th century Colombia, would descend into the holds of slave ships and welcome those barely alive with a crucifix in one hand and medicine and food in the other. ‘This Jesus will love you better than any person ever could…’ He loved 300,000 slaves into the new life only Christ Jesus gives.

We need the Spirit of St. Peter Claver as we seek to love a generation enslaved by early sexualization of non-sexual needs combined with false, deflating answers to pressing questions about love, intimacy and gender identity. ‘Harassed and helpless’ is a generation without boundary who needs transforming love that lasts.

First enslavement: the vulnerability of young persons to sexual abuse. In a groundbreaking review of most contemporary research in the area of sexuality and gender (‘Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological and Social Sciences’, The New Atlantis Journal, Fall 2016), Drs. Lawrence Mayer and Paul McHugh cite persistently high rates of childhood sexual abuse among persons who later identify as gay or lesbian adults (3X more for all in contrast to ‘heterosexual’ counterparts; 5X more for ‘gay’ adult males who were abused homosexually as children.) One impact of abuse: normal needs for connection and attention become sexualized, which encourages ‘gay’ identification later on.

Second enslavement: systems in western culture designed to advocate for ‘at risk’ youth, including middle and high school educators, therapists, and social workers lunge at the opportunity to confirm pre-teens and teens as ‘queer’ as soon as they express any kind of same-sex attraction. Driven by the contestable belief that one is born intrinsically ‘gay’, these child ‘advocates’ actually contribute to teen abuse by urging the vulnerable to assume a ‘gay’ self and peer group. How many underage kids have been tacitly encouraged to begin having ‘gay’ sex in junior high school by clueless caregivers? In this way, our systems contribute to the enslavement of kids. (Mayer and McHugh cite substantial evidence that points to the fluidity of sexual desire in both male and female teens; SSA is not set in stone, and can readily change.)

Most concerning to me is the Church which contributes to the enslavement of young adults by insisting that Jesus does nothing to help them overcome same-sex attraction. An example: a young friend of mine repented of gay activity in high school then began getting the help he needed to move onto normal connection with women, the prospect of family, etc. He recently attended a summer Christian course for students preparing for university. There he heard Christopher Yuan, a popular speaker on Christian faith and homosexuality, who according to my friend testified weakly to Jesus’ apparent unwillingness to transform persons with same-sex attraction.

No better, and possibly worse is Anglican Wesley Hill who advocates for committed ‘gay’ celibate unions. In response to the newly consecrated Bishop Chamberlain in England who champions his gay self and lifetime partner, Hill writes what he hopes to hear from the new bishop: ‘I am in a committed faithful relationship with another man. I love him deeply and hope to spend the rest of my life with him. We don’t sleep together…in the hope that we’ll be able to love each other more deeply, more truly and more in line with how God in Christ has made us and redeemed us to be.’

Bleech! Aren’t we as the Church called to proclaim and facilitate the transforming power of love for persons enslaved in sin? I urged my young friend to refuse all such false witnesses and to run his race. Slightly stumbled, he regained footing as he recalled how much ground Jesus has already taken in reconciling him to who he is—a son of the Father, the man of God’s design. St. Peter Claver, lead on!

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becoming home

Becoming Home

‘We fully “become” our true selves within relationships. A positive sense of self, rooted in worth and value, arises out of an attuned, empathic, supportive and caring environment in which secure attachment is established. By caring for and attuning to another’s needs, and by empathizing with his or her emotional world, we help others to internalize a sense of well-being.’
Dr. Janelle Hallman, Living the Truth in Love (Ignatius Press)

How many young persons are emotionally homeless? How many have been set adrift by a break in early bonds of love? How many angry, hungry lambs forsake the witness of their own bodies and the Good Shepherd then morph into a number of selves and sexual partnerships in order to secure that love? How much of the ‘trans’ craze is undergirded by the near inability of persons to welcome the good gift of their gendered humanity through whole-enough persons who make a home for them in their constant love?

These questions arose for me throughout an intensive leadership day sponsored by Courage last week. Dr. Paul McHugh of John Hopkins University who led his team there to stop gender reassignment surgery when it became clear that most young people change their minds and later regret such surgery addressed us and made clear that the real battle is spiritual and philosophical—‘what constitutes human nature?’ If our biological selves have substantial meaning, then we must direct persons onto a course of loving care that will help them come home to their real selves. Another keynote, Dr. Paul Sullins, is among the foremost researchers today on the effects of ‘gay marriage’ on children. His evidence that these children are over twice as likely to develop serious emotional problems made clear that ‘the absence of sexual complementarity creates obstacles in a child’s development.’

We are creating an emotionally homeless generation who does not want to hear that they need to come home to anything but their new liberties. But these liberties damage them further; the need for empathic, attuned, and loving care is what they need in order to be reconciled to who they are. So when Dr. Janelle Hallman finished up the day with three hours of recounting how she has cared for women with a host of identity issues for over 25 years, I listened and connected with her attunement to the real needs behind the ‘gay’ or ‘trans’ self.

I marveled at her therapeutic expertise, empowered by the Holy Spirit and her own integrity as a woman, that has enabled her to walk for years with wounded ones in all their defensive glory until trust is achieved and the tending to the core needs can begin. Love wins, as caregivers like Janelle become a home (of sorts) to the emotionally vagrant.

It brought up a flood of healing memories for me. Many years earlier as a young married man and minister, a flood of same-sex desires arose; I knew it was a symptom of deeper needs and stubborn defenses that I had to face with skilled care. I began a long relationship with an amazing Christian therapist who was strong and masculine but deeply attuned to my plight and wise in helping me to probe beneath the surface. I worked out deep ‘father’ issues with this fatherly healer and he helped me further integrate my longing for masculine love into real friendships, not shameful fantasy.

Jesus wants the best for us and He wants us to give the best to those we love. Had I not found the kind of loving care I did, a man who helped secure me in my home as a whole-enough man, I may have been unable to provide a home for Annette and my four children.

I am about to proceed to our Living Waters Training where men and women whom Jesus is restoring are seeking to gather in groups in order to provide safe, healing places in the church for identity strugglers. Pray for us as we humble ourselves before God and one another to become a home for others.

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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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Father Knows Best

‘The idea that one’s sex is a feeling, not a fact, has permeated our culture and is leaving casualties in its wake.’ Dr. Paul McHugh

In families torn apart by gay and transgender-identified youth, the father’s voice is rarely heard.

In his silence, mother goes into overdrive to defend her LGBT child while father looks on sadly, blankly, disengaged by shame and guilt.

Beneath his mutterings lie a muted roar, a yearning to give form and order to the disordered life for which he still possesses vision. He knows his daughter is neither a lesbian nor a man trapped in a woman’s body; she is his beloved girl whose gender fracturing is a cry for his confirmation, comfort, and, yes, correction.

In order to secure a whole gender self, every child on the planet needs a father who is salient: equal parts strength and sensitivity. Such fathers impart ballast to kids. Men who command kids’ respect while tuning into their emotional needs help children stay centered as they navigate the storm of a culture in chaos, sexually-speaking.

My four adult kids blessed me this Father’s Day with the following reflections (I give you snippets…): ‘In your faith, you modeled strength and rigor, combined with love and warmth…’ ‘Your counsel to me was firm and sensitive…’ ‘You were always intentional with us kids and you always stuck to your convictions…’ ‘Your faith was firm but you also entrusted us to Him. That enabled you to be generous to us even when we were far from the truth.’

We live in an age when kids are tossed about by waves of gender confusion: ‘I feel therefore I must be…’ Fathers, help your children rightfully navigate the myriad feelings they experience en route to wholeness.

Speak now fathers, your children are listening. You know best. Your silence invites fools to fill their ears.

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Tran-Wreck

Gleaming like an Amazon woman, he posed full-breasted in a tight dress–more woman than woman herself. In truth, this man on the cover of Time Magazine is a cartoon of a woman. Yet tragedy trumps comedy here; his artificial extremities emerge from the wound of a masculine soul that no amount of surgeries or hormones can restore.

Time featured him as an icon of ‘America’s Transition’ (get it?), the brave new world of gender anarchy in which ‘men in deep V-necks and necklaces walk by women with crew cuts and flannels next to boys kissing boys with pink backpacks alongside silver-haired women with broad shoulders.’ A year after the Supreme Court legalized ‘gay marriage,’ we now face the transgender transformation (one gender seeking to become the other) which Time describes as the next great civil rights battlefield in America, great because it will further ‘refine’ our understanding of gender diversity.

We who sowed indifference as activists redefined marriage now reap the whirlwind. This next ‘transition’ is a further hemorrhaging of God’s image, one most destructive to confused children who at this very moment are being primed for ‘gender reassignment’ because at 5 and 6-years-old they ‘feel’ different from their same-gender peers.

Dr. Paul McHugh, the former psychiatrist in chief at John Hopkins Hospital, debunks the myth that transgender surgery solves the profound wound at the core of gender identity disorders. He writes in the Wall Street Journal (June 14th):

‘We at John Hopkins studied the outcome of transgender surgery and discovered that those who underwent the operation fared no better psycho-socially than those who did not undergo surgery. So we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery…A more recent study revealed that 10 years after having the surgery, the transgendered began to experience increasing mental difficulties. Most shockingly, their suicide mortality rose almost 20-fold above the comparable non-transgender population.’

He exhorts us to undo what amounts to abusing confused kids who are being groomed for a sex-change. ‘Treatment must involve removing the young person from the suggestive environment (including school curriculums that advocate “everything is normal”) and offering a counter message in family therapy…the best way to help kids is through devoted parenting.’ He concludes: ‘“Sex-change” is biologically impossible…Claiming that this is a civil rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.’

What can we do today? Extend the mercy of Jesus Christ and His healing Kingdom for persons in your world who are evidently gender confused. Pray for them. Defend them against bullies. A young African-American man at my gym acted and dressed outrageously; he was tormented by the guys there. Jesus told me to draw near to him and befriend him and to be his advocate. I helped him to receive the Father’s blessing on his masculinity.

I had the privilege of doing the same for a 4-year-old boy at my former church; his parents asked me to talk and pray with him about the goodness of his maleness as he expressed desire to be a girl. Jesus helped him at a tender age to be reconciled to the boy Jesus made him. His parents cooperated; his dad drew near and began to fight for his son’s dignity, not his mutilation.

Jesus brings a Kingdom that surpasses foolish solutions. We do little good by merely railing against bad social trends. Do something. Act like a Christian. Fight for the dignity of persons subject to cruel, dehumanizing precedents and people.

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