Tag Archives: Homosexuality

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Downward Ascent 4: Ruining Our Appetites

‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for what is right, for they shall be filled.’ (Matt. 5:6)

Jesus wrecks our appetites. Sexy idols compete in vain with the One who offers Himself to us constantly; He becomes the meal, living bread and drink endowed with power to secure our deepest desires. I spoke with a young Hungarian man the other day who proudly declared his openness to many gods and lovers in contrast to the ‘rigid’ Catholic family he left behind. ‘But don’t you miss the One who abides with You through the Eucharist?’ Caught off guard, he nodded slightly, as if remembering a hundred such meals.

Fast food beckons to us constantly. For this we are right to feel poverty and grief. Some of us feel tempted. How blessed we are to know not only the right ethic but also the proper end of all of our hungers: Jesus Himself. To the hungry He calls out constantly: ‘The other gods cannot satisfy you; they commit not to your nourishment but to your destruction. Come to Me with your hungers: eat ME!’

Jesus has unique authority to become the ground of our righteousness. The Father ‘made Him [the Son] who knew no sin to become sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.’ (2C 5:21) Marvel above all marvels: God has made the way for us to become righteous in the whole sense of the word. He assumes our poisons and becomes the antidote for our warped appetites.

We can unite with the Source as the renewed source of our desires. Founded in Him, seeking only Him as our righteousness, we begin the awesome, arduous task of aligning our emotions and affections to His will. We can say with the Psalmist: ‘All my longings lie open before You; all my fountains [desires, longings] are sourced in You!’ We dare not separate our sexual passions from His refining fire. God present to us in Eucharist, Spirit, Word and holy friendship gifts us with the freedom and restraint to love what He loves.

A good pastor friend recounted a conversation with a congregant who had recently embraced his homosexuality and new lover. ‘Do you love Jesus more as a result?’ Deceived but not a liar, the duped man could not answer ‘yes.’

God-with-us becomes our righteousness. We hunger for Him before all others. That is why we fast. On one hand He is very near; on the other, far away and ours only in faith. So we choose to give up this or that in order to declare: ‘You, only You, have won my heart.’ Fasting rids us of many ‘foods’ that dull us—calories, booze, media, virtual distractions, benign ‘fillers.’ Before the One who is our righteousness, we dare to feel our emptiness. He takes us back to our beginning—Himself. We wait and long for and welcome the One who sustains our lives and who will guide us to a glorious end–Himself.

‘Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire but You. My heart and my flesh may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.’ (PS 73: 25, 26)

‘Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you will go hungry.’ (LK 6: 25)

Prayer for Thursday, March 20th: ‘Father, we welcome the truth of our hunger and thirst. By Your grace, gather up and unite our desires with You the Source of every good thing. Show us what we can lay down in these days of Lent in order to feel the ache that only You can fill.’

Prayer for Friday, March 21st: ‘Father, show us how Your Son is in truth our Bread. Sensitize us to the Word and Your abiding Spirit. Grant us patience to wait before You and apprehend Your whispers.’

Prayer for Saturday, March 22nd: ‘Father, as we wait before You, call to mind and heart those ones we love who have yet to yield their hungers to You. Might You alert them to the vanity of life apart from living in faithful awareness of You? And in faithful obedience, might Your Spirit quicken us to love them more effectually?’

Prayer for Sunday, March 23rd: ‘Father as we come to Your Table this day, help us to savor Your real Presence in the Eucharist. Enliven this most precious gift in us. Show us once more how You Jesus have reclaimed us as Your dwelling place. Thank You for offering Yourself afresh as our Source; thank You for becoming our righteousness.’

Lent Downward Ascent 1: Blessed Poverty Andrew Comiskey

Downward Ascent 1: Blessed Poverty

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matt. 5:3)

Poverty can incline us to riches beyond ourselves. When directing us to God as our wealth, poverty achieves holy ends; it renders us blessed citizens of a whole new world.

In contrast to Luke, who begins his version of the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ with ‘blessed are the poor’ (LK 6:20), Matthew expands that phrase to ‘poor in spirit.’ I am grateful; it challenges a privileged white dude like me to consider poverty beyond socio-economic woes. ‘Poor in spirit’ can point to moral destitution: the homelessness that no amount of money can hide or cure.

‘Poverty of spirit’ means that when we look inside of us we recognize sin’s poverty; it also applies to looking around us for answers and coming up empty.

As a young man, I tried to secure love through male lovers. One night I met someone who followed me home from a bar; we lost each other in traffic. As I waited on my street corner, now desperate for this strange new flesh, I instantly realized my poverty. To quote James Joyce, ‘I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity’—one made foolish by seeking cover in a collapsed tent.

A morally poor man seeking riches from other poor men: no wonder persons with same-sex attraction are deep, broken ground for the seed of Jesus!

Perhaps that helps you imagine the poverty I experienced last June when Exodus died, the largest network in the world that unified ministries providing the riches of Jesus for the homosexually poor. One week later, the Federal Supreme Court advocated for ‘gay marriage’ by cancelling out Prop. 8 (CA citizens’ amendment for marriage) and DOMA (federal law protecting marriage). Moral destitution from the top down! That poverty impacts us all, and tempts persons with SSA and their loved ones to believe that little if any protection exists for those seeking the narrow way.

Today the real poverty of homosexuality masks itself as a kind of wealth—a boast, a right, a celebration of new civil liberties. The morally homeless have found a home with secular powerbrokers of all types: political, academic, in popular arts. But no amount of human advocacy can remove our shameful nakedness.

This Lent, I urge you to go with me to the source of our poverty: the sin and disorder that impacts us all, beginning with our first family. Lent insists that we go back to the secrets and lies between Adam and Eve. In regards to the drive for ‘gay’ justice, we must be clear that its virulence mutated from heterosexual idolatry.

Mistrust of the opposite gender, misogyny, misandry, contraception, fornication, adultery, divorce, endemic porn addiction, and sacrificing our kids in the fire of lust and abortion provide the toxic ground on which ‘homosexuals’ seek justice. Guilty of normal perversions, we are too cynical and preoccupied to counter ‘gay’ power with any moral authority.

Only One can make us rich in love, clear in truth. But He insists that we admit the sinful part we have played in the moral eclipse at hand. Lent grants us 40 days to reflect on our moral poverty. Here we must descend into painful reckoning: moral poverty hurts! Yet Scripture assures us that we who face poverty within and without can find the One who wants to be the treasure of our hearts. Rather than being reminded of our aloneness, we find that He is knitting us together with like-minded ones. Through Christ, we poor ones descend then arise into a glorious Kingdom.

Prayer for Ash Wednesday, March 5th: ‘Father, we are like the Laodiceans: wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. Open our eyes to see our poverty of spirit; cover our shameful nakedness. (Rev. 3:17, 18) This Lent, grant us special grace to seek You, the source of our riches, even as we are reminded of how much we need You. Thank you for all the ways You make Your Presence known to us. You have not left us as poor orphans. You advocate for us in our poverty and make us rich.’ AMEN

Prayer for Thursday, March 6th: ‘Father, open our eyes to the folly of ‘gay marriage’ and the efforts of many, including Federal District Attorney Eric Holder, to encourage states around the country to honor ‘gay marriages’ illegally. Rouse us to recognize real marriage and our real moral poverty.’ AMEN

Prayer for Friday, March 7th: ‘Father rouse Your Church, including our own communities, to stand for the whole truth of our moral poverty and the riches that only Jesus can provide us. Make us sober in this reckoning, yet expectant of His almighty intention to bless us with His riches.’ AMEN

Prayer for Saturday, March 8th: ‘Father, open our eyes to those persons for whom looking at their poverty is too much, too overwhelming. Grant us compassion for them; show us small ways we can make known Your rich love to them as the antidote to their suffering.’ AMEN

Prayer for Sunday, March 9th: ‘Father, as we come to Your table at our churches this day, open our eyes to Your Son who stooped down to make us great. Help us to linger before Him, that we might muse on the mystery of the One who became poor in order to make us rich. (2Cor 7:9)’ AMEN

Advent 2: Beauty, Burning

Advent 2: Beauty, Burning

‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath! Produce fruit in keeping with repentance…I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come One who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.’ (Matt. 3: 7, 8, 11)

John the Baptist’s cry against the corruption of human hearts cost him his head; the very leaders he decried killed him and so fulfilled the firebrand’s own prophesy that ‘he must decrease in order for Christ to increase’ (JN 3:30). But what an increase! John’s fiery call to repentance razed mountains of bad morality and religion, and raised high beautiful Jesus. The Baptist blazed the way for us to ‘Behold the Lamb, who takes away the sin of the world.’ (JN 1:29) Read more »

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 »

Power to Change 3: The Awakening Church

communityChanging deep patterns of sexual desire, behavior and motivation require the support of an entire community: it takes a village, Jesus-style. Any program or therapy is only as good as the greater community of faith surrounding the one seeking change. Perhaps that is why the enemy of sexual integrity seeks first to divide and weaken the church. If Jesus’ body falters toward those with same-sex attraction, no community of healing exists.

But when local churches become advocates of grace and truth for the gender broken, healing rises like sun breaking through clouds. And I am pleased to say that the church is rising in this hour to mobilize for such healing. She has been provoked by ‘gay marriage’ victories, by the confusing face of once reliable ministries, and by the falling away of many whose sexual shame has now become their boast.

Most importantly, her faithful pastors have heard the cries for help from children and parents alike who have been afflicted by homosexuality, sexual abuse, and sexual addiction. In Jesus’ Name, these shepherds are arising to become an answer to the prayers of the faithful.

Take Pastor James Marocco and his large church on Maui with campuses throughout the Pacific Rim. God provoked him to act on behalf of his sexually broken congregants. We are privileged to help the church there initiate safe and deep healing opportunities for the broken. Marocco is not content to merely react to the moral crisis at hand. He is acting on behalf of the God who delivers those in crisis.

Similarly, Catholic leaders in Kansas and Missouri are mobilizing priests, lay-driven support groups, and community-wide forums to offer loving, truthful care for persons with same-sex attraction.

We at Desert Stream are fielding requests from churches throughout the USA who are seeking out healing opportunities for the sexually broken for the first time. They can no longer minimize the suffering of their people, as if the moral decay ‘out there’ does not impact the people in the pews.

Catholic and Protestant churches alike are raising up ancient foundations (Is. 58: 12) for very modern problems. They are intent on becoming the healing presence of Jesus for those who will perish without Him.

We are in a moral eclipse. Right is wrong, and those who disagree are vilified. Good people deceive many. But the deceiver himself is not greater than our God. Satan’s exploitation of ‘homosexuality’ will only provoke God’s people to become what Jesus intends for them—a truthful and powerful community of transformation. What the enemy intends for evil, the Lord turns around for good—‘the saving of many lives’ (Gen. 50:20)–through His holy church.

‘Arise and shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.’ (Is. 60: 1-3)    

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