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A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Obama’s Confusing Legacy

‘The rights of black people are gay rights and the rights of gay people are black rights.’ Kevin Jennings

Living in a city built on a fault-line of segregation where the majority of African-Americans flounder in poverty and poor schools, I cheer former president Obama for provoking all ethnic minorities to break down barriers and become who they can be for the good of others.

What galls me is how he mistook ‘gender-identity’ variations for ethnicity in his 8-year-pledge to expand human rights. Yesterday, I drove up to a Starbuck’s window and faced a woman employing every hormonal and cosmetic means possible to erase her womanhood; she had entered into the dehumanizing zone of becoming gender-free. Her broad face, reddened with testosterone and a pale beard, was shocking to anyone encountering her and cruel to this woman who needs help to unpack her gender rejection, not a license to destroy herself.

Obama gave her that license. His administration placed gender identity delusions on par with ethnic civil rights. One of his final acts as president was to commute the sentence of transgender prisoner Chelsea Manning. That says first, in contrast to the best clinical evidence available, Obama has done more than any other leader on earth to perpetuate the lie that fragile souls who seek refuge in the fantasy of becoming someone other than who they are should be granted government advocacy to realize their ‘dream.’ In truth, Obama made this part of the American dream, a waking nightmare for all who surround this person’s tragic choice to worsen his or her fate. Through his Abortion and Transgender Services Mandate (ACTS, 2016), Obama made every gender-rejecting figment of the American imagination ground for government-funded sex changes.

Secondly, Obama stumped over and over to ensure that ‘gender identity’ freedom was placed on every list that included racial equality. He lumped a profound identity disorder with persons who have been stripped of every vestige of human dignity due to skin color. Obviously, this further slaps the face of persons who have suffered for centuries under the oppressive hand of the majority. Obama failed to distinguish between the intrinsic dignity God grants those who represent Him in a host of ethnicities, and those tempted to chase illusions in an effort to heal the rift in their gendered selves. For the gender confused, peace comes only from reconciliation to who one is before God as either male or female. While Obama summoned greatness from the ethnically oppressed, he further oppressed the gender fractured by offering dead-end solutions to their suffering.

‘There is an ecology to man. Man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will. Man is not merely self-creating freedom. Man does not create himself. He is intellect and will, but he is also nature, and his will is rightly ordered if he respects his nature, listens to it and accepts himself for who he is, as one who did not create himself. In this way, and in no other, is true human freedom fulfilled.’ Pope Francis

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Living the Truth in Love

We ‘equip holy ones for the work of the ministry…so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human craftiness and cunning…Rather, living the truth in love, we shall grow up in every way to Him who is our Head, that is Christ’ (Eph. 4: 12, 14, 15).

What is the solution to the ‘craftiness and cunning’ of the Obama administration (to be accelerated by Hillary’s) in regards to a radical gender agenda now played out on the global arena (see Obama’s speech to the United Nations, September 20th, 2016)? This is the man who began office by pledging fidelity to traditional marriage then pushed through ‘gay marriage’, condemned reparative therapy, and ramrodded transgender bathrooms in every elementary school in the USA.

Anyone who disagrees with his advocacy of an ever-splintering array of gender identities is condemned as a hater, and is withheld power and finance. Worse, the majority of Americans have been tossed and blown about by this false justice; the latest Pew Research poll shows 54% of US Christians now believe that homosexuality should be accepted and integrated into society.

How do we respond? Legal answers won’t help us now. Nothing short of the radiance of wounded lives, raised from the dead of gender disorder by God’s grace, will do. They live the truth. Formerly divided, these men and women now bear Christ and bear witness to how He has united them with their gendered bodies and with His healing Body, the Church. They now live to make Him known through practical merciful service.

I witnessed this marvelously in Oklahoma City last week where sister ministry First Stone celebrated its 40th Anniversary. My great friend Stephen Black leads the work there and assembled quite a crew for the party, including ace radio talk show host Janet Mefferd and homegrown testimonies that blew me away. (Persons who almost lost their lives to the cunning and craftiness of men are always the best witnesses.)

One man became mercilessly addicted to meth in his ‘gay’ adventures and on his second jail sentence determined to follow Jesus, never to look back. He did not. Another lost family and self-respect to years of gender-bending pursuits until he began the road home, with a lot of help from Stephen and friends. Yet another testified of years of abusive treatment from men that resulted in a middle-aged affair with another woman and the torment that followed, torment that ended only when she called on Jesus Who then invited her onto a much longer process of gender reconciliation through a First Stone-sponsored Living Waters group. Her life radiated from within, a blend of beautiful womanhood lit up with merciful gratitude as she ‘shines like a star in the universe, holding out the Word of life’ (Phil. 2:15).

God is not duped by tricky humans. He foils their plans by persons who live to tell of His merciful love. We live only because of Him and for Him. We are many; He is rousing us for such a time as this.

‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ (JN 1:5)

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Fruitful and Faithful in London

Like Jacob, Janet wrestled with God and won. She described to me the battle she faced years earlier between the pull of the ‘gay self’ and her Christian commitment; at a Living Waters conference in London, 1994, she chose Jesus and never looked back. Now preaching in her central London church, I beheld her and several others whom God had plucked from the fire and granted a stake in His passion.

Humbled and grateful, ‘ex-gay’ Jim described the five children born since I last saw him. ‘God was faithful to me…He has helped me be faithful to my family.’

Jesus said simply that He came to give abundant Life to all who trust wholly in Him. Whether single like Janet or ‘father’ Jim, He makes us fruitful. Contrast that to the demonic claims of Obama and now the powers-that-be in Britain who claim that anyone who seeks to replace the ‘gay self’ with an authentically Christian one will die, consigned to a ‘death watch’ of suicidal tendencies and a fractured, fruitless existence.

Quoting Obama, and leafleting outside the church where I was preaching, two ‘gay Christian’ men who had become lovers warned all congregants that any kind of change promised by me or any Christian was ‘unethical’, would result in ‘tragedy,’ ‘psychological damage,’ and even ‘the destruction of churches’ due to pastors who seek in vain to leave behind their homosexuality.

Wow. I marvel at the enemy’s work in our nation and abroad who has taken the clear biblical call to pick up one’s cross and follow Jesus as the way of death, not the narrow road that leads to Life. In England, as in the USA, ‘gay Christians’, as well as an assortment of counseling associations, are claiming ‘once gay always gay’ and persecuting churches that think otherwise.

Thank God for Core Issues Trust, an organization which stands for freedom of choice through the Cross of Jesus Christ and sound clinical care for persons who seek transformation of same-sex attraction in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. We gathered in the shadow of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, Christians of all stripes and vocations to explore the theological, clinical and spiritual ways forward for brave souls who today risk the worst kind of judgments for daring to repent of homosexuality.

During the conference, my friend Robert Gagnon and I had the privilege of proclaiming Jesus’ freedom for persons who seek His way amid same-sex attraction. Having caught wind of our ‘scandalous’ claims, the BBC and other news outlets gave us prime time to announce His good news from coast of coast. Jesus turned around His enemy’s efforts to undermine Hope by amplifying His hope throughout the UK.

Together with all the saints we rejoiced and re-clarified our commitment to how Jesus has been to keep us faithful to Himself and to a younger generation who will perish without our witness of grace and truth. We exercised our rightful authority to silence the enemy of our souls. He changed our mourning into dancing, our fretful silence into shouts of joy: Life prevails over death and makes us truly fruitful.

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The Bad and the Beautiful

‘We don’t want merely to see beauty. We want to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to become a part of it.’ C. S. Lewis

June was a bad month for persons seeking to overcome homosexuality. The once morally sound Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) voted overwhelmingly to change its definition of marriage, Obama polished up his gay-affirming legacy by extending all kinds of ‘gay’ federal rights and an ex-Exodus leader came out with a smooth- as-a-snake testimony of how ‘love means never having to say you’re sorry’ for homosexual practice.

Ah well. I am learning to hear the bad news while listening more intently than ever to God’s love song. Through the God who took on a body, we can hear and see and taste in our bodies Heaven’s desire for us. It’s true: God Himself wants to unite Himself with us, which corresponds with our deepest desires. More than anything or anyone else, we want Him! And He wants us–the God of beauty wants to abide and dwell and remain with us in profound communion.

Amid the din of fallen humanity, I am learning to listen to the Song of Songs. When I do, beauty overcomes the bad and I am reminded that One greater has overcome the world and its deceit. He will overcome that deceit through persons who have been wooed and won over by Beauty Himself.

Applying deftly JPll’s teaching on ‘The Theology of the Body,’ Christopher West describes the real desire in us that God accesses. That desire is sourced in His design for our bodies, a truth He liberates as we learn to dance in harmony with His great love for us. Finally, that ‘dance’ results in our destiny, which is to join Him eternally when heaven and earth become one at the end of time. For now, we long and listen for Heaven’s song, music that flows from His heart to ours. The key is to learn to sing along, and to invite others into the dance.

We cannot expect broken people who barely can hear His song to line up with Christian morality. Instead, we must teach them God’s song of love to them. Once they hear the music, God will prepare them to take the next steps, to begin to move closer to His design for their lives. That’s how I see ‘Living Waters’: it is a series of dance lessons, well-choreographed, in which we begin to move in accord with our design. But that would mean nothing without beautiful love songs.

The Father urged me to begin to listen and pray for a wonderful gay-identified man at my gym who needs Jesus desperately (but does not yet know that.) While praying, Jesus gave me a picture of him, driven and distracted by the demands of others. Then a light shone on him and compelled him to look up. He was filled with light and his face went from gray to gold. Our glorious God said to him: ‘I want your happiness.’ I recounted my vision and his eyes filled with tears. ‘I did not know God cared about my happiness,’ he replied.

My friend is not yet ready to repent of homosexuality. But he is beginning to hear heaven’s song. Alleluia. Beauty wins.

‘Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers; if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.’ Pope Paul Vl

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Risky Living

‘The sick soul fears more than anything else the demands made on one who is well.’ Joseph Pieper

When the Holy Spirit blew open Jesus’ tomb, God blew away our excuses for living half-lives. The very Spirit that liberated Jesus from sin and death summons us from our tombs as well. We must choose. Will we leave our prisons, now that the door has been opened? Will we lay claim to the ground of the new creation or remain in the shadows, more comfortable in grave clothes than in robes of righteousness?

Pope Emeritus Benedict describes personal encounter with Jesus Christ as the opening of a new horizon. It is as if the Risen Lord blows away the pollutants that have prevented us from beholding a range of mountains. Their imposing beauty beckons us; we know that somehow our destiny lies in following Jesus to the summit. Here we face real fears: alive to the Creator and Redeemer of all, will we become who we are by following Him into our destiny?

Many excuse themselves from the path and the goal, citing any number of weaknesses. In the arena of sexual recovery, becoming chaste seems impossible; the barriers to fruitful, faithful love with another person seem insurmountable.

The world provides many excuses. Note these excuses generated by gay activists. Homosexual identity and practice become a closed horizon for anyone with same-gender attraction. The gay self becomes a new ethnos, a genetically-inspired destiny devoid of any choice and thus free from moral meaning. Rather than open prison doors, such activists pad the prison and convince the vulnerable that this is their destiny. ‘By appealing to lustful desires, they entice people who are barely escaping from those who live in error. Offering freedom, they are slaves themselves…’ (2P2: 18, 19)

I winced at how the NY Times Sunday Magazine featured covers on two consecutive Easter Sundays that employed homosexuality to mock the resurrection. Last year’s feature highlighted ‘gay’ Easter bunnies as a serious attempt to prove the goodness of gay practice among humans (I kid you not.) This year’s Easter story charted how Obama hid his pro-gay marriage agenda at the beginning of his presidency until it was safe to ‘come out’ without crucifying political alliances. So much for Christian integrity. Still, the NY Times lauded Obama’s courage as a symbol of new life, the dawn of a new day for America. In truth, what Obama and the Times did was put the stone back on the tomb for persons with SSA.

Time for Christians to take seriously the real power of Resurrection. Perhaps those of us who are tempted to return to the tomb of gay identity and practice can lead the way. Filled with power from on high, our eyes wide open to see the summit before us, let us follow the Lord of Life and discover our real destinies: beloved children of the Father, and pure gifts to one another.

We shall face countless obstacles to get off track; see these barriers as the proving ground for your own commitment. When discouraged, recognize how badly you need help. Secure help from all the saints; grow in trust and humility. The mountains are nearer today than yesterday. Jesus is taking new ground in you as you take the ground He won for you in His resurrection.

“Peter preached: ‘God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact…’ The people hearing this were cut to the heart and asked, ‘What shall we do?’ Peter replied: ‘Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…’ And he pleaded with them: ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’”(Acts 2:32-40)

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