Tag Archives: Parents

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Holy Family?

I prepared myself for the worst last Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Family. I prophesied a dismal homily on the too-radiant-to-be-believed triad: you know, ‘be holy as Mary, Joseph, and Jesus are holy’, piercing neither the surface of family nor holiness.

Wrong on all counts. My pastor pointed out the disparity between our generosity to family members and to strangers. We write big checks to orphans then all but get restraining orders on family members who ‘trigger’ us. Overly sensitive to those we love so much we hate, many of us are anything but holy in how emotionally stingy we are toward family members.

It’s our nature to defend ourselves when loved ones frustrate us. Or take some disturbing turn that frightens us. Jesus stressed Mary out by ditching the clan for some temple time. It was the first sign of Him distancing Himself from her for reasons not yet clear. To be sure, the analogy breaks down with our families: confusing members are messianic only in their own darkened minds. Yet it can help to remember everyone has a subtext that only God ‘gets’ as well as a noble destiny we may have forgotten.

This holy week I had the privilege of responding to an emergency call from colleagues in marital crisis. That holy family nearly blew up as they walked onto a landmine of familiar suspicions and judgments. But they surrendered together to the Father who calmed the storm; holy peace helped them to hear each other so they could glimpse his or her goodness once more. Another couple met with us to seek wisdom on how to best love a son in the throes of an identity crisis. (It’s hard to love a 36-year-old acting 16.) But these parents are digging deep into the Father’s love for their child and his best. However painful, the only way is down– on one’s knees–where love and wisdom are distilled. Generous, tempered care for the other’s good can result from such prayer.

Mary shows us the way here. After her anxiety over Jesus’ disappearance, she does something we all can do—she ‘treasured these things in her heart’ (LK 2:51). That word for ‘treasure’ means to reflect, to conceive something new out of the brooding. It provides sacred space for entrusting the beloved to the Father who sees all (LK 2:51); it may also grant one inspired sight. You could say that Mary’s prayer transformed her fear into marvel. May such prayer make our families holy this year too; may we love our members wisely, generously, in 2019.

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

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Mercy 12: Mercy for the Deep Wounds

‘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 »

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The Disappearing Path

“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)

The Disappearing Path by K.McKeownThat 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

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True Justice

‘The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.’ (PS 103:6)

‘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.)

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Justice for Whom

Advocates for ‘gay marriage’ usually claim no harm can be done to anyone through extending marriage and family rights to two men or two women.

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.

(See http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jun/10/study-suggests-risks-from-same-sex-parenting/)

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.

Amen.

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