Tag Archives: Leanne Payne

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Gloriously Dependent

‘The incarnation has forever hallowed the flesh.’ Charles Williams (as quoted by Leanne Payne in The Healing Presence)

Today we rejoice in God assuming baby flesh—the Father and Son’s choice for the King of glory to become as small and dependent as we are. It’s weird: here I am on the crest of my 60th Christmas and I feel smaller than ever, reduced to utter dependence upon Jesus. Our spiritual life is not like our psychological journey in which we master one stage in order to proceed onto the next. In Jesus, we are continually reduced to His greater Life until we, aging fetuses all, launch into the Life for which we ache more today than yesterday.

It helps to revisit what happened on Christmas: ‘God really came down. He became an infant and placed Himself in a state of vulnerability and total dependence, which is the condition of a newborn human being. The Creator who holds the world in His hands, on whom we all depend, became a little child in need of human love’ (Dom Jean-Charles Nault). God depended on love.

That gives me hope. He gets the longing in our hearts for connection and communion, the ache for the full breast and strong chest, a yearning much deeper than survival or sexual needs: it is the ache to be enveloped and infused by the Creator. And here is the mystery of Christmas. The humble babe has never ceased to be Almighty God who declares to us today: ‘I am Jesus, and I will love you better than the best mother or father or friend or lover or spouse!’

God in humility entered into our dependency; in majesty, He offers Himself as the Source to whom we can cling. I don’t cling to people any more. But I linger longer in His Presence than before. The winds blow harder on my thinning skin. Over the last few weeks I have broken down on several occasions and just wept, His mercy priming my heart to feel the burden of those I love and to know somehow that Jesus is enough for them. Tears release my distress and draw me near the One who took on baby flesh in order to reduce me to utter dependence. Gloriously.

He upholds me for the sake of pure joy. Yesterday I dangled my grandson on one arm while throwing balls to our two labs. He loved it! His head bobbled as he tracked the dogs racing around the yard. What better than a laughing babe, rejoicing at creation for the first time? Jesus, Jacob, us. Merry Christmas.

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Unmasking The Enemy Tower of Gender Babel

Unmasking the Enemy, Part 2

Words fail to express the suffering endured by persons who resist identification with their biological gender. Left-leaning analysts would attribute that suffering to external sources–the rejection a tough girl or soft boy incurs from peers.

The problem runs deeper still. To refuse acceptance of oneself as male or female conveys a wound and a deception at the most basic level of being. Researchers who chart the uniformly poor adjustment these persons make in the whole of life point to a fault-line in the soul that is not healed by our agreement that the confused person is imprisoned in the wrong body. In solidarity with our friends who live with an internal divide that defies our empathy, we cry out for the courage to connect this one with the Author and Finisher of his or her true self.

Our common enemy knows that a war against one’s gender poisons the soul with hatred and wreaks havoc with one’s spirituality. Why? To disassociate from one’s gender and to create an alternate reality, a fantasy self, separates one from God. Our Creator may love His confused children but cannot connect with an illusory self. The enemy dwells in the murkiness of our flights from reality; he loves to devalue our gender selves and empowers efforts to re-create ourselves in an image that seems safe and powerful, valuable in our own eyes.

Many craft such a self in order to escape a losing battle to ascribe value to one’s gendered self. Years of secret fantasy—a defense against the reality of one’s own body—form a powerful stronghold against the truth. Some gender vulnerabilities are obvious: a good friend of mine was regularly abused by her father and would steel herself against his blows by imagining herself to be a male soldier who could endure anything. Young boys whose fathers fail to help them unite their creative drives with masculinity too readily identify with ‘fabulous’ women, and increasingly seek refuge in these fantasies as peers reject their alternate ‘selves.’

Creative personalities seem especially adept at forming alternate gender realities. What began as a wound, a de-valuation, an authentic cry for confirmation at the level God created us all to receive becomes a defense against reality. In the absence of a biological base for these conflicts, we must be compassionate about the depth of the wound. But pain does not give one a pass. The wound has now become a stronghold—a fortress of rebellion against oneself and one’s God—which bars this one from dignity on all fronts. The most wounded can become the most rebellious, tender-hearted sons and daughters now hard in their self-pre-occupation and disregard for what is holy. We should not snicker about this or quietly concede to one’s ‘choice.’

We must pray that God would empower His Church, His community of healing, with a love more splendid than the passive acceptance we extend. As Leanne Payne loved to say, we are comfortable when Jesus says ‘judge not’ (LK 6:37), referring to hypocritical judgments, but refuse His command to see through mere appearance and ‘make righteous judgments’ (JN 7:24). More than ever, we need a fresh wave of Pentecost to burn up the Tower of (gender) Babel and give us fresh tongues with which to declare the truth, with signs and wonders following. Without an emboldened Church, we will lose souls to our common enemy.

‘Come, Holy Spirit of fire; we are desperate for You-through-us to rout the enemy and set captives free.’

Please join us in San Diego on June 16th and 17th for the sixth annual RHN Hope 2017 Conference as hundreds gather to celebrate how Jesus has set them free from gender identity distortions. Preview with us the first full-length documentary film ever made–Tranzfomed–on how Jesus restores the transgendered. Register here today!

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Chastity: Order in Our Courts

Chastity: Order in Our Courts

Following Jesus to Calvary requires temperance, that gift of the Holy Spirit which sets love in order within us. The ordered soul loves to linger with Jesus. Yet we with shifting, bloodshot eyes struggle to keep watch with Him. Gerald May is right: ‘Addicts cannot meditate.’ So we cry out: ‘Come Holy Spirit, set love in order within us by uniting us with the One who has power to compose us. Make us whole as we fix our eyes on the One who suffers to set us free!’

Leanne Payne describes the peril of the divided heart: ‘An unhealthy fantasy life destroys. It wars against the true imagination which can intuit the real and thus is creative. When our minds are pregnant with illusion, we cannot be impregnated with what is true.’ (The Healing Presence) This Holy Week let us ask Jesus to take every lie that divides our hearts and unite us with Himself through His Spirit. May we linger longer with Him, uniting our suffering with His as we await new life.

Chastity is the first fruit of temperance. It derives its meaning from 1Cor. 12:24 in which St. Paul describes how God orders His members into one whole Body, ‘giving greater honor to the parts that lack it.’ So too does God order the various parts of our individual humanity into a whole. Chastity involves the integration of sexual love—the powerful, frustrating well of desire we bear in our bodies—with our first love relationship with Jesus (CCC #2335).

The Holy Spirit guides this lifetime goal of integration. Becoming chaste is about becoming whole, and involves as much our accepting the good gift of our gendered humanity as it does rejecting ‘the seductive power of an artificial civilization driven by lust and greed.’ (Joseph Pieper; 1Thes. 4:3-8)) Knowing how we subject our gift to La La Land, we cry out: ‘Jesus, the very forces that gave us life now threaten to destroy it. Have mercy, holy God!’

He does have mercy. His kindness draws us and binds up our fractures so we can abide longer with Him. His purpose in ordering our sexuality? So we can enjoy creation with the One who created it. He does not want His world to demonize us but rather to be a source of delight, within the loving limits of truth and the Spirit-fed virtues of temperance and chastity. How liberating to turn from sensational self-interest toward a genuine desire to know and honor the whole of a person!

We cleave to the One who is ‘resolute toward Jerusalem’ where Calvary awaits Him (LK 9:51). He calls us to walk with Him so we can gift others with a whole (enough) witness of gender clarity and tempered desire. We become for them a witness of the God who amid suffering binds up sorrow with love.

‘We seek to be chaste because someone we love needs us to be chaste.’ – Heather King

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Burn. Again.

“Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I [John the Baptist] am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the One coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire…He will gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire’ (Matt. 3:10-12).

Weary and controlling after Thanksgiving (why do joyful occasions make me a jerk?), I extended my misery to Annette and hurt her. Badly. To an outsider, my sin may not have been a felony, but it was one of those flashpoint sins that bound up a host of smaller historic ones; together, they effectively bludgeoned Annette.

At Mass that morning, I brought my sin into the light and heard the invitation that Leanne Payne gave us continuously (out of the mouth of a C.S. Lewis character): ‘Die before you die; there is no chance after that.’ In choosing to lay down my sin and destroy it at the foot of His Cross (‘please God, may it be so this time…’), I perceived with the eyes of my heart a fire raging around me, licking up the mess. God in Christ came with fiery love to destroy the sin that destroys through me.

Advent, like Lent, holds up a mirror to the spiritual monsters we can be—on one hand, earnest and devout; on the other, blackening eyes with limbs we thought were amputated long ago. All this requires is that we look intently and beyond our own selfish rationales in order to behold the hurting eyes of another and finally, the blazing love of God in Christ who awaits our fleshly offering.

In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist calls the religious to repentance, rather than the more obviously disordered. Ouch. Annette and I now attend polite religious gatherings defined by worship that is choreographed, carefully. Our prayers tend more toward ‘us’ the privileged interceding for ‘them’, the unfortunates. That gets ‘us’ safely off the hook and frees us to retain our reserve; it frees us from the flames.

In truth, most of us are deeply divided souls and our religious devotion may well tempt us to hide those divides for both the sake of convenience and appearance. In muted tones, mid-week, we hear of crippled marriages, the beloved son’s suicide, the ex-married and ex-middle class Mom who works weekends to eat.

This Advent I pray for the Cross to expose our Pharisaic mixtures and to provoke us into the flames, together, in this one body. I pray that simple songs might set our hearts aflame with His blazing love, that powerful preaching might convict us with signs and wonders following, that the Holy Meal endowed with the Spirit’s power might deliver us from demons, sear our flesh, and unite what’s left with God’s best for our broken lives.

Maybe John is asking us to lay down our linen blazers and tiny crosses around our fine necks; maybe he’s asking us to put our entire selves on the chopping block and to sob over the lies we told and the divided lives we lived. Maybe he’s asking us to forego social graces, to run boldly to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:14-16) and get messy, stripped and naked, so that at last we might say we only want Jesus and that only He can clothe us (Rom. 13:14) with what we need to live undivided, grateful lives.

Maybe then we the Church would not have to worry so much about ‘how to reach the lost.’ They would hear the sobs and see the beeline straight to the altar and would fall face down with us. Together with all the saints, we might cry out for mercy amid the roaring blaze of Love from which none will escape.

‘On that day, the Gentiles will seek out the root of Jesse, for His dwelling shall be glorious’ (IS. 11:10).

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Healing Power of Payne

‘To speak of the healing of the homosexual is to speak of the healing of all persons everywhere.’ Leanne Payne

Leanne Payne passed into glorious Life on Ash Wednesday. She left a glorious legacy of Life for DSM/LW. To describe her influence as foundational is an understatement.

As our staff memorialized her, I was amazed how each of us had experienced at least one profound, enduring healing encounter with her. In books and conferences, in Word and Spirit, she prayerfully brought Jesus, mighty and tender, into the deep aches and fractures of our humanity; she gave us language for our sexual disintegration and its restoration in Christ.

As I reflect upon her personal influence, I realize I could write a book on it. May it suffice to share some events that shaped my reliance on the Healing Presence.

Undone by ‘The Broken Image’, I first met Leanne face-to-face in Vancouver BC, 1982. I had the privilege of testifying before her last session. During the ministry time, I laid down all public composure as Jesus through Leanne instructed me to destroy strongholds of unclean thoughts. I had to learn how to fight for the integrity of my own ‘temple.’ His divine masculine will was empowering my own.

Soon after, we hosted our first conference with Leanne in West Los Angeles. There she did her first full scale ‘Renouncing Baal’ teaching in response to the hordes of young men and women from DSM who had just repented of gay practice. Bodies flew over pews as Leanne flung holy water (in a Presbyterian church at that!) and demons were expulsed. Leanne’s utterance, in a classy Southern drawl, ‘Patsy quick, get the holy water!’ remains a DSM mantra.

A couple years later, we had a full PCM in Los Angeles. As Leanne taught on ‘Restoring a Sense of Being,’ a young woman with SSA and a huge attachment wound walked quietly to the podium then respectfully asked Leanne to pray for her. Leanne stopped and quietly led us all into prayer; the result was a profound move of the Healing Presence into her depths. That morning, Jesus healed a young woman from a foundational wound; the rest of us discovered a healing key that is fundamental to our offering to this day.

I accompanied Leanne to her first PCMs in England; she had a wry form of expression that incited me. As she told a ‘healing of memories’ story that involved the surprise death of a beloved family bird (‘Tweedy’, Leanne mused, ‘was oven-baked…’), my cartoonish imagination went into overdrive and I began to laugh uncontrollably. Hundreds followed and the session ended in holy hysterics.

Annette loved Leanne’s feminine genius and felt a unique blessing from Leanne upon her own well-developed intellect. And Leanne’s mind was peerless in the way that she could assimilate different disciplines—psychology, philosophy, literature, theology, spirituality—into a coherent whole.

Similarly, she possessed a heart for the whole Church which invited us to consider the healing power of holy symbols, namely the sacraments. She highlighted the many ways that the unseen Real manifests Himself; this not only healed breaches between divided parts of the body, it also contributed to our personal wholeness. Leanne helped us to become more thoroughly Christian.

No-one leader impacted me more. She loved me well, imparting generous encouragement, gentle wisdom, and severe warnings. She guided me as I wrote Pursuing Sexual Wholeness, then I poured her input and writings into the foundations of Living Waters. Her advocacy of Living Waters opened doors for national expressions of the program throughout the world.

When Leanne spoke, Annette and I listened. She earned her right to inform our lives. And when we disagreed (as sons and daughters must do in order to become who they are), we learned to wait expectantly for the season in which we could reengage once more. We could not refuse this foundational woman! She was a part of who we were as persons and ministers. To disavow her would have been to disavow ourselves.

Leanne was a prophet. She saw how the increasingly ‘gay-friendly’ Church signaled a lack of understanding of what it means to be human and thoroughly Christian. She grieved over the darkening of the Church’s mind and fought hard to make evident the Church’s foundational truths. For this she suffered. Unwavering in her convictions, often misunderstood and dishonored, her eyes saw beyond the obvious to what mattered. Hearts that see what Leanne saw are hearts that hurt. Her suffering was not in vain, as healing poured from her into our broken lives.

I am deeply grateful for the honor accorded Leanne in her last years by Gino Vaccarro, a spiritual son unlike any other, who with team will ensure that Leanne’s legacy proceeds with MPC. I am equally grateful for Leanne’s Wheaton prayer group, led by Sile Ellison-NiChionna, who surrounded Leanne with tender care in her last years.

Perhaps that prayer group is the primary legacy we received from Leanne. As the DSM/LW staff interceded for all who love her, I recalled that above all else, we are a prayer group who together seek the face of beautiful Jesus, listen for His healing Word together, then rise to offer healing to many. Leanne taught us that inspired pastoral care is how we best convey the Church’s vision of what it means to be creatively, humbly, joyfully human. Leanne embodied that. We will miss her. And we will continue to pray, to heal, to fight and to stand for what she imparted to us.

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