Tag Archives: New York Times

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Binding Up the Betrayed Heart

‘The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me; He has sent Me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty for the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication from our God’ (IS. 61:1, 2).

I just read an essay in the New York Times with an all-too-familiar narrative: man divorces pretty good wife and kids in order to hook up with others, in this case, other men. His adventures, including ripping the clothes off a new friend, are framed as freedom. Our heightened awareness of the impact of sexual assault (‘me too’) apparently does not extend to the no less devastating assault of adultery upon families: male and female spouses who betray loved ones continually through illegal bodily offerings. Adulterers impoverish and imprison the ones who love them most in their quest for a better orgasm.

Adultery and divorce jackhammer human hearts. No spouse or child is left unshaken; the bad choices of another create a fault line that quakes like seizures over the course of many lifetimes.

Until Jesus binds up their broken hearts. I love the above-mentioned verses from Isaiah which Jesus cites (LK 4:18) when He announced His public ministry. He comes to heal the betrayed heart! His healing Presence is how He vindicates those fractured by the folly of others. How? He opens His flesh to assume our lacerations. And our shame. I believe that the shame of adultery is greater upon loved ones than upon the perpetrator; spouses and kids now live under a shadow they neither chose nor can grasp.

The betrayed ask themselves: ‘What’s wrong with me?’ Jesus takes His advantage. He draws the broken-hearted to Himself where His wisdom, His steadying hand and His peace that surpasses understanding and circumstance elicits good grief. He speaks the healing Word: ‘This is not your fault; I bind away your accuser and confirm the truth–you are wanted, you are mine, and I will never leave you nor forsake you. I close the gap in my spousal devotion to you!’

These would be mere ideas if we as members of Christ did not do our part. We are the ones who Jesus calls to be His hands and eyes and words and heart for the betrayed. As our culture reframes shameful acts as ‘freedom’, we must welcome the shamed into fellowship. We are the ones Jesus calls ‘to give greater honor to the parts of the body that lack honor’ (1 Cor. 12:24-26). Honor is slaughtered in persons betrayed by adultery and divorce. It is our job to champion the dishonored and to help them exchange another’s sin for a double portion of blessing. We can help them to realize ‘the year of God’s favor.’

We must also note that betrayers can exchange their shame for honor too. Just after reading the Times essay, I heard from a married friend who committed a string of adulteries. Broken by the impact of his sin, he repented and now makes every effort to reconcile with his wife. Having devastated her, he now encourages her healing by living the truth-in-love. Only Jesus can cancel out adultery by provoking and sustaining one’s lifelong repentance. Once an adulterer, no longer an adulterer! Jesus opens prison doors for the betrayed and betrayers.

May this Advent, a beginning unlike any other, become your ‘year of God’s favor.’

‘Instead of their shame, my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace, they will rejoice in their inheritance; so they will receive a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.’ (IS. 61: 7)

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Rethink Change

Rethinking Change

Today’s freedom to be whatever one thinks (s)he is, gender-wise, sheds new light on the question of homosexuality and change. If Kevin can wear a dress, use a woman’s restroom, and legally damage another for not referring to him as Karen, then a Christian’s commitment to leave behind an identity based on his or her same-sex attraction while aspiring to love a member of the opposite gender seems positively sane. Or at least possible, and at best worthy of the respect we accord all manner of gender-bending.

It also sheds light on the authority of the mind and will in determining the self we want to be. And perhaps should cause us to question the assumption that some people are just immutably, unquestionably ‘gay’.

A writer for the New York Times says it best: ‘When Everyone Can Be Queer, Is Anyone?’ (Jenna Worthen, NYT Magazine, July 12, 2016). She marvels: ‘The speed with which modern society has adapted to accommodate the world’s vast spectrum of gender and sexual identities may be the most important cultural metamorphosis of our time. Facebook, which can be seen as a kind of social census, now offers nearly 60 different gender options…Plainly we are in the midst of a profoundly exhilarating revolution.’

This translates into college students having to account for their evolving gender status. Each year, a friend’s daughter at a large state university has to declare her gender status afresh. After all, who she was as a freshman, he/zee/undecided may not be as a sophomore.

Dr. Lisa Diamond has turned homosexual research on its ear by charting the ‘sexual fluidity’ of a group of 16-23 year-old-women over the course of a decade; she found that about a third of these ‘lesbian-identified’ women changed their identity status several times over that time, and preferred to think of themselves as open to both genders.

We dignify that freedom but may well demonize one who refuses to construct a ‘gay self’ and chooses instead to love an opposite sex partner. I recall Oprah Winfrey’s horrified look when someone on her show testified to no longer being ‘gay’, now happily married. ‘But you were born that way!’ she insisted. At a recent large Catholic gathering, a ‘gay-identified’ hipster dissed my claim to change with a ‘we know that does not happen, right?’

Jenna Worthen would disagree, citing ‘old notions of static sexual identities’ as ‘austere and reductive.’ Maybe ‘Born that Way’ is another ceiling we need to shatter in order to grant all persons the freedom to live out what makes them thrive. Lady Gaga, watch out.

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Fun Home Dada Woof Papa Hot lost andrew comiskey new york times


During one week in December, the New York Times highlighted the following Broadway comedies and musicals: ‘Dada Woof Papa Hot’ about two ‘gay’ married couples raising kids and wondering if papa(s) are still sexy ‘hot’ given the unsexy tasks of childrearing; ‘Fun Home’, the best new musical of 2015 now primed for several (inter)national tours and described as ‘the coming-of-age story of a lesbian cartoonist whose gay father kills himself’, and the still popular musical ‘Kinky Boots’ over which a critic fawned: ‘Is it true that drag queens have more fun? The answer is yes and it’s a lesson that mainstream America seems more willing to embrace…’

What comes first: the musical comedy or the embrace of the American public? I say the latter. We now pride ourselves at laughing and singing over the unraveling of God’s image in humanity; that was obvious last June as America cheered the Supreme Court into its biggest win possible for ‘gay marriage.’ Thinking we were freeing the oppressed, we actually helped seal the fate of the oppressed. That includes persons in the throes of psycho-social/sexual/spiritual crises to whom ‘we cry peace when there is no peace,’ and pre-crisis kids growing up to the music of a gender meltdown.

How else can you read the latest results of a study done by Dr. Donald Paul Sullins who found that children of same-sex married couples are more inclined to depression, daily fear or crying, anxiety, and sexual abuse than children raised by any other parental category, including single parents? First we normalize homosexuality and grant ‘gays’ a host of privileges, including marriage, because of their wounds. We have failed to assert that the primary wound is the homosexual condition and that we have real answers for its resolution.

In accepting the deception that ‘homosexuals’ cannot ‘change,’ we insist that children change and become subject to injustices doled out by ‘gay’ caregivers.

Next comes ‘gender reassignment’ where we urge children conflicted by expectations and roles of their biological gender to find solace in the whim of ‘gender otherness’; we urge them to make their dream come true by mutilating themselves and suffering more affliction as a mockery of the opposite gender. Studies point to increased unhappiness for persons after the knife. The song kills.

Interesting: during the week that the NY Times featured ‘gender-bending’ Broadway, the paper headlined a 6-page (I kid you not) article on a real black man (Jerome) who now goes by Kricket. As wounded as a soul could be, Jerome assumed a female persona early on and is now the poster-child for poor kids pursuing free ‘gender-reassignment’ surgery through NY’s Medicare system. All is not well for post-op Jerome. Belying platitudes like ‘seizing her transgender moment’ and ‘becoming a new being,’ are Jerome’s last words in the article: ‘I still feel like an outcast. I do not know how to define myself. Who I am now?’

‘The Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost’ (LK 19:10).

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Savoring Truth in Superficial Times

Last week, the New York Times featured an article on the uproar provoked by the firing of a Catholic High School VP in Seattle because he married a man. The decision blew apart the school board and fanned student protests. Yet their youthful dissent had more emotion than reason behind it. Said one protester: ‘I have gay friends whom I care for.’ Read more »

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