Tag Archives: Ethnicity

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Mercy 3: Sweet Water for Bitter

‘Come all who are thirsty, come to the waters.’ (IS 55: 1)

mercy rocksLast November DSM wound up a 40-day fast in Minneapolis. We prayed for many things, among them 4 states which had ‘gay marriage’ bills. We knew these bills were important. The National Supreme Court had determined to decide two ‘gay marriage’ cases: how the citizens of these four states voted would function as a bell-weather for the Justices.

We fought hard but I knew in my diminished state that something had shifted in the American consciousness. Following the lead of the president, the majority of Americans had adopted the folky, foul view that homosexuality: was sourced in nature not nurture, unchangeable, morally neutral, and comparable to ethnicity, thus deserving ‘equal rights.’

Election Day, November 2012. For the first time in US history, each of the four states voted favorably for ‘gay marriage.’ (Never before in any state election had a popular vote carried ‘gay marriage.’) April 2013. The Supreme Court upheld ‘gay marriage’ in California.

Dreadfully clear: the moral majority had become a minority.

That Election Day, we at DSM prayed with the Twin Cities House of Prayer, a venue situated on a campus church of the University of Minneapolis. Midway through our vigil, I took a walk through the campus and was stunned to behold a large minority of students who were almost unrecognizable in their gender identities. With painful clarity I could see how the powerful ‘spirit of the age’ had conformed these young adults to an image far less than that of their Creator.

Evil is real and effectual in these gender wars. The enemy of our souls is disintegrating the lives of a generation. He loves to desecrate who God deems apt representations of Himself.

Back in the prayer room, the leader asked all men and women who had come out of homosexuality to come forward and testify of how Jesus was setting them free from its domination. Humble, earnest voices witnessed to the God of mercy who met them in such kindness and authority: the Father, revealed in Jesus, who had aligned them with true personhood.

I went out a second time onto the campus but this time I could see that our prayers had loosed a healing flood that was pouring out to the crowds. I thought immediately of Ezekiel 47: the healing waters rising in the temple with power to make even bitter waters sweet. In spite of the majority steeped in such bitter waters, I took heart. God is not discouraged. He attends to the cry of those who plead for mercy on behalf of the ‘harassed and helpless.’ He will pour out rivers of sweet water upon the humble and broken. He will set them free.

‘When this water enters the Sea, the water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows…so where the river flows, everything will live…Fruit trees will grow on both banks of the river…Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.’ (EZ. 47)

Prayer Points for November 8th:

• Desert Stream/Living Waters: Georgia, Bev Gammalo, Regional Coordinator. Please pray for the new groups beginning; may the Lord multiply the strong, long-standing groups.

• Restored Hope Network: Apokata Psychological Services, San Jose and San Francisco, CA. Robert Brennan, Director. Specialty: counseling for men dealing with unwanted same-sex attractions.
Living Stones, Glendora, CA. Michael Spence, Director. Specialty: care for families of gay or transgender identified individuals.

• Courage: Please pray for all Encourage members (parents support group), healing for them and their families.

• Cor Project: Please pray for clarity in ongoing discernment of God’s will for the ministry.

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Jesus: A Fountain of Living Water

Day 9 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast

‘O inexhaustible spring of Divine Mercy, pour Yourself out upon us! Your goodness knows no limits. Confirm , O Lord, the power of Your mercy over the abyss of our misery, for You have no limits to Your mercies.’ (819)

The Old Testament streams of mercy converge in the New Testament and well up into a fountain of ‘living water’. Jesus is that fountain. From Him flow rivers of Life that make the unclean pure, the weak strong, and the broken whole. Jesus embodies Mercy. He releases Mercy to sinners, manifesting the truth that ‘those who were far away from God have been brought near’ to Him (Eph. 2: 13).

One barrier for sinners in relation to a Holy God is shame. The emotion of separation and inferiority, shame reminds the soul of its sinful distance from Him. It functions like a ‘shame-coat’, repelling even good expressions of ‘living water.’

Jesus offers this ‘liquid love’ for the first time early in John’s Gospel (Chapter 4). He encounters a woman steeped in shame. Her shame was two-fold. First, she had experienced much ‘social shame’ due to her ethnicity. Samaritans were scorned in that day, especially by Jews. Originally an ethnic hybrid of Jewish and Canaanite blood, Samaritans reminded Jews of the shame they incurred by intermingling with a forbidden culture.

Jews looked down on Samaritans with squinting eyes. Such social shame is evil–it has its source in the fallen traditions of men, not in God’s heart. But it can be just as powerful. That woman would have thought Jesus had nothing but scorn for her, just as a man or woman struggling with same-sex attraction might fear the bullying of an angry peer or preacher.

But the Samaritan had a second type of shame as well, the shame we feel when we go outside of God’s will. This woman had many sexual partners in her past and one in her present. She knew that Jesus was a holy man; she knew also that she was not holy, sexually-speaking. Such shame may have tempted her or us to turn away from holy ones for fear of incurring rejection, condemnation, etc.

In John 4, Jesus turns to the Samaritan woman, and to us, in our shameful state. Each of us is a mixture of both good and bad shame. We have sinned, and we have been sinned against by those motivated by ungodly traditions of shame.

Jesus makes it clear in John 4 that the cure for both types of shame is in His ‘living water.’ Only Mercy can dissolve the ‘shame coat’ that tempts us to resist Love. He says to us all: ‘The water I give you will become in you a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ (Jn. 4: 13)

Here Jesus is prophesying two future events: the flood of Blood and Water released at Calvary, and the Holy Spirit released at His Resurrection. (Jn. 19: 34; Jn. 20: 22)

He releases to this woman a foretaste of this flood of Mercy. What matters here is how tender His Mercy is toward this shameful one, and how powerful is His Mercy to dissolve that shame and enter into her depths. Shame is no match for Almighty Mercy!

He is not content with us just knowing cerebrally about His Love; He wants us to partake of Mercy at the most deeply personal level until it springs up within us a Fountain of Life.

‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ (Jn.7: 37, 8)

‘Jesus, remind us of how You stoop down to sinners in order to raise us up. Remove the shame that bars us from Your Presence. We pray for all who still hide from You in shame; let ‘Living Water’ flow to them. Use Your servants to make known to the shamed how You draw near to them in order to set them free.’


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The Fight for Marriage Continues Pt. 2

First we must answer the question: can homosexuality be compared to ethnicity?

Not well, according to the Latinos and African-Americans in CA who rallied to pass Prop.8, in contrast to their Anglo counterparts. Race is a biological birthright; it is immutable, unchangeable, and from a biblical viewpoint, to be celebrated as God reconciles every tribe and tongue to Himself, his/her own ethnos, and to one another.

Homosexuality is altogether different; it cannot be compared to ethnicity in its origins, its various expressions, its malleability, and the moral decisions one makes in light of those tendencies.

Homosexuality is complex in its origins. While it is absolutely wrong to declare homosexuality inborn, one must acquiesce to a web of factors that influence same-sex attraction, including biologically determined personality traits, family-of-origin factors, and the cultural and social variables around him/her.

And this is where we find such diversity among ‘homosexuals.’ It is difficult today to separate those with longstanding tendencies from those experimenting with homosexuality, like teenagers, or the likes of a Lindsay Lohan or an Anne Heche.

The growing cultural acceptance of homosexuality means that more will choose to experiment in this way; it also highlights how huge a variable that moral choice is for the same-sex attracted.

Many like myself choose to undergo a process of change to a heterosexual identity, others opt to be celibate ‘homosexuals’, others adopt that lifestyle, while still others cycle into homosexuality for a while then opt out.

In its origins, and in its diverse expressions that hinge upon one’s moral decision-making, homosexuality differs from ethnicity.

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