‘By calling God the “Father,” the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that He is at the same time goodness and loving care for all His children. God’s parental kindness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood, which emphasizes God’s immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature.’ (CCC #239) Read more »
Tag Archives: Parents
“Jesus said to His disciples: ‘I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!’ ” (Luke 12: 49)
That God created humanity to be good gifts for each other, grateful for the other’s difference and committed to offering one’s body to him or her only as a lifetime pledge of allegiance, is a path disappearing on the earth.
Instead we celebrate ‘gay marriage’ and forego real marriage; we criminalize teens who seek to grow beyond their homosexuality but advocate for a child’s right to determine his or her own gender and have as much ‘consequence-free’ sex as (s)he wants by legalizing over-the-counter contraceptives.
We champion the demonized and demonize those in search of deliverance.
The church tends to look on such trends naively, as if the separation between church and state protects the holy. But the emergence of GLBTQ ‘advocacy’ groups in orthodox Christian campuses and congregations across the USA suggest something else. We whom Jesus entrusted with the path to clarity and purity in our sexual humanity have become deceived. The path to life is disappearing among the faithful, overgrown with ideas and sentiments alien to Jesus Himself.
Only the blazing fire of love from the lips of those who know better can clear that path. I think of Mike and Diane who almost lost their marriage to sexual sin and who through the powerful grace of the church, reclaimed their dignity and fidelity. They tell the truth of their sin and redemption and raze weeds from the path.
I think of 21-year-old Kim who became aware of same-sex attraction early on and acted accordingly. Jesus and His friends fought for her best and gave her vision beyond a lesbian destiny. Her testimony floored me: ‘As I have engaged with all the resources God has given me through members of His body, my needs have changed. My desires have changed. God does so much more than free us from sin. He is restoring my beauty and dignity as a woman made in His image.’
The beauty of her words shames the band-aid we put on ‘gay’ youth by fashioning their vulnerability into an identity, a shaky foundation at least. The only sure ground is the Creator and Redeemer of all who longs to restore our broken humanity. The language of Kim’s life burns a path for others to behold that ground. It is holy ground, and yet wholly available for all who seek Him.
Last week in Detroit, my friend Dean preached a fiery Gospel. He told the story of his return to his conservative parents, both pastors, who welcomed their HIV-positive son home. Dean testified to living honestly in the light of Love’s community: how trustworthy members of Christ help burn off shame and the anxiety that drives holy ones into the shadows. Dean’s words cleared the path for anxious parents and struggling sons and daughters. They welcomed the blazing love of God, beheld the path once more, and resolved to walk it with renewed strength.
‘A gospel that does not unsettle, a Word of God that does not get under anyone’s skin, a Word of God that does not touch the real sin of society in which it is being proclaimed, what gospel is that?’ – Bishop Oscar Romero
‘Defending the institution of marriage as a social reality is ultimately a question of justice, since it entails safeguarding the good of the entire human community and the rights of parents and children alike.’ Pope Benedict
My wife Annette observed an 8-year-old boy in a waiting room trying to make sense of a photo in People magazine of two men in tuxes, probably a feature on some celeb ‘gay wedding.’ Wide-eyed, and too truthful to have anything but a visceral response to the madness, he said: ‘Are those guys… you know, together? That’s real scary.’
No scarier than the wedding photo in front of me of two men, 20-years apart yet mirror images of each other, with their adopted 4-year-old daughter between them. Her smile is stained, theirs soft and wide as they beam through her at each other. A glimpse of unrealized manhood, a girl in trouble, and the hemorrhaging of justice in the form of ‘gay marriage.’
Children become parents, purveyors of truth, when we celebrate and seal the disintegration of gender identity in ‘gay weddings.’
Consider a young man—Ben—whom I just met at a healing conference. Having come to terms with his own same-sex attraction, he possesses a firm resolve to reach for all that Christ has for him. He also just discovered that his father is now ‘out’ as an active ‘gay man’ and is urging his son to do likewise. Ben’s first task was to set a firm boundary with his deluded father and make decisions for his own integration as a man, including coming to this conference. (Check it out: Ministry of Pastoral Care, founded by Leanne Payne. Excellent)
Over the course of our week together, I observed the Holy Spirit moving upon Ben. He received grace in such abundance that confessing his sin, and grieving over his damaged father and the arc of damage in his life thus far occurred readily, gently. Through a host of Christian loved ones who accompany him on this journey, he will continue to take hold of all for which Christ took hold of him.
In truth, Jesus’ justice for those with same-sex attraction lies in recognizing how oppressed we are and repenting unto the only One who can help us.
On the other hand, justice is thwarted when we redefine marriage. ‘Gay marriage’ validates the disintegration of gender identity for parents and children alike.
‘Marriage is not something abstract or neutral that the law may legitimately define and re-define to please those who are powerful and influential.
No-one has a civil right to have a non-marital relationship treated as a marriage. Marriage is an objective reality—a covenantal union of husband and wife—that it is the duty of the law to recognize for the sake of justice and for the common good. If it fails to do so, genuine social harms follow.
First, the religious liberty of those for whom this is a matter of conscience is jeopardized. Second, the rights of parents are abused as family life and sex education programs in schools are used to teach children that an enlightened understanding recognizes as ‘marriages’ sexual partnerships that many believe are non-marital and immoral. Third, the common good of society is damaged when the law itself becomes a tool for eroding a sound understanding of marriage on which the flourishing of the marriage culture in any society vitally depends.
And is it is out of love (and not hate) and prudent concern for the common good (not prejudice), that we pledge to labor unceasingly to preserve the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and to rebuild the marriage culture.
How could we as Christians do otherwise? The Bible teaches us that marriage is a central part of God’s creation covenant. Indeed the union of husband and wife mirrors the bond between Christ and His church.
Just as Christ was willing out of love, to give Himself up for the Church as a complete sacrifice, we are willing in love to make whatever sacrifices are required of us for the sake of the inestimable treasure that is marriage.’
( If you are interesting in reading The Manhattan Declaration concerning marriage please click here.)
New evidence now exists to show a host of challenges to kids of gay parents.
Professor Mark Regenerus found that, when compared to adults raised in married, mother/father families, adults raised by lesbian parents had negative outcomes in 24 out of 40 categories, while adults raised by gay fathers had negative outcomes in 19 categories.
More studies are in the works to debunk the myth that kids don’t need parenting from the two who gave them life. To thrive, a kid needs a mom and a dad. Period.
We must take issue with those who, as a result of supporting gay loved ones, fail to see the implications of such skewed advocacy.
A legal change in the definition of marriage is short-sighted and cruel to the most vulnerable ones in our culture—children. Generations-to-come depend upon societal structures that advocate for their best. ‘Gay’ marriage and family is not one of them.
Strange justice: ‘gay marriage’ advocates often cite early childhood experiences of bullying and harassment for their same-sex tendencies as one reason why gay equality is imperative. Yet it is becoming increasingly clear that ‘gay marriage’ only perpetuates the destabilizing of young lives.
‘Gay’ marriage and family causes the very ills it seeks to cure.
Christians, take a stand and resolutely refuse to redefine marriage, especially in the face of our president’s decision to do so. Consider those who have come before you. On behalf of the Church, St. Thomas More refused to grant Henry VIII (his king) a divorce, and was beheaded. May we emulate his courage in championing marriage today.
Please join me in this prayer that American Catholics have been encouraged to pray on behalf of religious liberty until July 4th:
Grant we pray, O heavenly Father, A clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters gathered in your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome— for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us— this great land will always be ‘one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
‘Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you.’ (Jn 16:6)
Jesus had to leave us in order to liberate us. He had to depart in order to give us power. But for the disciples, Jesus’ ascension back to the Father may have felt more like abandonment than the assurance of authority.
Think about it. Jesus’ followers just got in the groove with the Resurrected Christ. (It took a while–remember? They failed to recognize him for days!) Just when they were in step with Him, the Lamb is swallowed up by a cloud. (Acts 1:9)
Jesus, now absent, gives disciples like us His Spirit—powerful and pervasive, but unseen. The Spirit demands our faith and action based on His leading. Yet His instructions are more whispers than proclamations. And we are imperfect ‘receptors’ at best, as inclined to our own darkness as we are to the light. How we long for Jesus-in-the-flesh declaring: ‘This is the way; walk in it!’
That means that we His disciples have to face our fears of ourselves: Can we do this? Was that a prophetic dream or a delusion? What if we obey that still small voice and turn out to be wrong?
What a risky God—entrusting us with continuing His reign of heaven on earth.
Scary stuff! I remember what I felt to be the Spirit’s leading to attend a university discussion on ‘Homosexuality, the Bible and Faith.’ In spite of all the major denominations represented, the course had little to do with any genuine respect for the Bible or faith; it was intent only on asserting ‘gay rights.’
I had only been a Christian for 6 months but I already knew that no-one there knew anything about genuine conversion. So I said so: ‘If Jesus really died for us, then we must die to our right to assert anything other than His rule and reign in our lives.’ I wasn’t voted most popular student that year.
But I did grow in faith because I learned to follow His lead. And He trusted me to step out, however awkwardly, and proclaim His rule and reign. He does so with any willing vessel.
This is the principle of Ascension: He must depart in order for His Spirit to empower us to extend His Kingdom on earth.
That principle applies to our letting people go in order to help them grow. Our releasing them releases the Spirit who will lead them beyond where we can take them.
I see this all the time in ministry. In order for men and women to become leaders, I must release them to step out and take risks. They won’t rely upon the Spirit as much if I am around. My presence may well be quenching the very Spirit that is straining to do great things through them.
‘Anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father.’ (Jn 14:12)
I also see this in parenting. Annette and I and most of our friends worked hard to be the best parents possible. And then, guess what? It isn’t enough! Our kids may still make bad, Spirit-free choices that grieve us terribly. That’s where Ascension comes in. Our kids’ departure from the Light doesn’t stop the Spirit from brooding, imploring, and ordering all things for the good in their lives.
But parents get in the way of Holy Spirit when we try to be that Spirit. Like Jesus Himself, we must entrust our kids to the One who knows and loves best. We do our part yes—but it is the wise parent who knows when (s)he can do no more but pray. Confessing our fears and controlling schemes only to God, we entrust the son or daughter to the Ultimate Parent. His Spirit will have His Way.
Ascension reduces us to prayer. We grieve and let go and make room for God. Jesus left in order to free us to become people of the Spirit. Might we do the same for those we love most?
‘You may ask for anything in My Name, and I will do it.’ (Jn 14:14)
‘When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you [and your loved ones!] into all truth.’ (Jn 16:13)