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A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture
Dawning in darkness

Kingdom Clash 3: Dawning in Darkness

We blaze with expectancy in this last week of our Becoming Good News fast. What a gift to burn with you: for mercy, for truth, for the grace to flare up as the Spirit leads and shed warmth and light on the untouched. We on the Desert Stream staff are praying to become torches that light up the integrity of God’s image in humanity. A fire has blazed among us, incinerating our excesses and reducing us to something radiant for Jesus.

More than ever, I am convinced that Christians who trust in Jesus to transform all persons, including those who formerly identified as LGBT+, will light fires in their communities. Do not fear making known what Jesus can do! Let us dawn in the darkness of lies that have settled upon our churches, conforming pastors and fellow members to unbelief, false compassion, and an unbaptized embrace of gender benders. Thinking themselves wise, they have become fools and are portraying Jesus as a ‘feel-good’ advocate for the desecration of lives.

And these are saints! A woman in a key leadership role in a church that sponsors Living Water regularly celebrates a singer renowned for his ‘gay’ love songs and ‘non-binary’, ‘pre-trans’ self; she scowls at our ‘change’ ministry. A priest I love claims the Church is not clear on the issue of homosexuality and is waiting for Pope Francis to set us all straight on the matter (in other words, he is waiting for the pontiff to validate his own co-dependency with LBGT+ers.)

Asked to speak at a large convocation of evangelicals last month, a friend was the lone voice who described how her church offers transformation to the sexually broken; she was maligned for it, with persons shouting down her docile offering. At our City Hall battles this month, there were more rainbow ministers declaring support for the therapeutic ban than there were orthodox pastors fighting for transformation, therapeutic and otherwise.

We burn. We either allow the deception to sharpen and deepen our faith in God’s transformational love or we become conformed to it. Wake up. We all live in a false light which seeks to lull us into normalizing brokenness. LGBT+ activists have successfully persuaded our culture that nothing is wrong with gender confusion, be it a person’s lustful efforts to consume one’s same-gender friend or to become the other gender. We console ourselves with the lie that any other way of interpreting gender conflict will irreparably damage the beloved.

How kind our cowardice. Thinking ourselves loving and enlightened, we high-five another’s dehumanization. Believe me, it is much easier today to walk the broad path of embracing whatever gender variation one wants than to fight for something beautiful and creative hidden in his or her lustful self-rejection.

Jesus restores lives. He heals the broken. Do we still believe that? Can we say to our beloved infidel: ‘If you only knew the gift of God…’ (Jn. 4: 10)? Clearly the enemy of our souls has darkened minds and hearts. Not all want the light and the corporate unbelief surrounding sexual transformation has obscured, scandalized, even criminalized our message.

We cry out to the One: Hail Jesus, Almighty in Mercy—burn off our dross and burn in us afresh. Become our good news. Might we dawn in darkness with holy love!

You can purchase “Becoming Good News” in book form directly from Desert Stream or get it from Amazon for your Kindle.

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

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behold the sham james martin

Behold the Sham

‘You are the truth presiding over all things. But in my greed, I was unwilling to lose You, and wanted to have You at the same time as holding onto a lie…That is why I lost You: You do not condescend to be possessed together with falsehood.’ St. Augustine

We gathered in Palm Springs last weekend to celebrate the Lamb—He who became living water for us in the desert of sexual brokenness. Years prior, many of us had frequented this storied playground in pursuit of ‘gay’ everything; we fled to the desert from our Los Angeles suburbs to submerge ourselves in gleaming, toxic pools. Now we behold the Lamb and invite others to do the same. The marvelous Lutheran Church that sponsored us has a huge exterior cross emerging from a rock fountain. We entered those waters and were saved. Again.

With a 75% LGBT+ population, Palm Springs prides itself on having a City Council composed solely of LGBT members. We opened our doors to all who thirst. Cross and fountain await, smack dab in the middle of downtown!

A few persons asked me there about Fr. James Martin who also seeks to be a bridge between LGBT+ Catholics and the Church. He recently had a meeting with Pope Francis who Martin claimed was altogether supportive of his initiative ‘to offer this most marginalized group in the Church welcome, inclusion, and love.’

First, what I like about Martin.

He reminds us that many persons who identify as LGBT+ are baptized Catholics. That should encourage all family and friends to pray: ‘Awaken each to the truth of his or her status as a child of the Father, deeply loved!’

He points out that persons who are hidden in their own divided sexuality may tend to demonize persons who are ‘out and proud’: ‘Remove the beam from our own eyes, O God, that we may behold the speck in our loved ones!’

He also underscores Pope Francis’ call to accompany LGBT+ persons patiently and mercifully. We are dealing with people–not abstract ‘issues’—who need our presence over the long haul.

But Martin’s reminder that we are all sinners in need of mercy rings false. He deceives us here. He does not view the LGBT+ set as sinners in need of a Savior. Rather than absolving them of sin, he claims they have none, at least in the sexual arena. The Church Martin invites them into is cross-free. Behold the Lamb? No need. Let the good father assume it by crying ‘peace’ when there is none.

Let me be specific. Father Martin insists that as a priest he would never challenge Church teachings. But he already has. He efforts to alter the Catholic understanding of same-sex tendencies and action. The Catechism defines the latter as ‘intrinsically disordered’ (#2357) and other documents define the attraction as ‘objectively disordered.’ Martin seems to support a new definition that reframes same-sex desires and actions as ‘differently ordered.’ No disorder, no need for redemption. Behold the man who takes away the sin of the world.

He writes that LGBT+ persons will not ‘receive’ the call to chastity. I think what he means is that the Church needs to wake up to the fact that LGBT+ persons should be free to act upon their feelings. Martin makes a big deal of how the Church houses all kinds of traditional sinners; what the heck, why not welcome a host of exotic ones too? And let’s not call them sinners! He cannot advocate for LGBT+ sexual liberties and not redraw the moral boundary lines for all persons. Martin wants to redefine chastity for us altogether.

Finally, Martin advocates for a new anthropology—the ‘LGBT+ Catholic’—and wants this language in Church documents. Here we face the difference between ‘disordered’ and ‘differently ordered’. If a person’s SSA or gender dysphoria is disordered, then why build an identity around a disorder? Isn’t it more congruent with Scripture and Catholic teaching to identify with the Source of our ‘ordering’—Jesus, who defines us as sons and daughters of the Father, and endows us with His Spirit to make it so? But here Martin is consistent. He sets up a new ‘order’ by normalizing a range of gender identity fractures and placing them on par with persons inclined toward the opposite gender. Martin wants to integrate LGBT+ reality in the Church. He wants Jesus’ Bride to take her cues from all the rainbowed institutions of our western culture.

Martin’s good intentions veil deception. In undermining Church teaching, he removes the heart of the Gospel for LGBT+ persons. Behold the Lamb? Nah. Behold the sham.

You can purchase “Becoming Good News” in book form directly from Desert Stream or get it from Amazon for your Kindle.

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

Download PDF

Pentecost and ‘Pride’

I love the fire of Pentecost—the coming of the Holy Spirit in power: exposing idols, commanding allegiance to one Father through the Son, raising up sons and daughters who will endure. One thing is sure amid ‘Pride’ month—we will burn like torches for chastity and gender clarity amid the fake fires raging around us. Our prayer at DSM this month as we go through many doors to effective ministry: ‘consume the sacrifice of our lives, O God.’ We draw upon Elijah who in the Spirit’s power gave all to expose the folly of Baal’s prophets in light of the ‘God who answers by fire’ (1 K 18:24).

Last weekend in nearby St. Louis, ‘Revoice’ held its second annual conference, gathering to extol the virtue of being ‘gay’ and Christian. Brainy millennials love this stuff—literate gender benders who have a form of faith but deny His power to transform them at core. Instead, the whole thing has a kind of whiny white narcissism—‘no-one knows the trouble I’ve seen’–in contrast to the stern and splendid task of actual conversion of gender identity and disordered desire. If Jesus did not die to reclaim for us the powers of life and love from our captivity to the Baals, then I do not understand Calvary. I don’t think ‘Revoice’ does either, if workshops like ‘Coming Out as a Gay Pastor’ and ‘Queer Culture’ are any indication.

Sadly, even the elect are drinking the cool-aid. Sexpert Dr. Mark Yarhouse for whom I did have the utmost respect keynoted at Revoice and later extolled his advocacy for this group ‘coming to terms with enduring same-sex sexuality’ (aka no change possible); in truth, Yarhouse now frames homosexuality as a condition worthy of one’s adult identification—‘not a problem to be fixed but a people to love and learn from.’ A people? Is disordered identification now the basis for a ‘people group’ in the eyes of progressive evangelicals? We understand secular culture not ‘getting’ God’s take on true personhood—that’s why teachers and therapists are so intent on enslaving kids with perverse ‘adult’ labels. For Christians to do so is diabolical, dangerous to kids and to the integrity of our faith.

Catholics are guided by a marvelous Catechism which details sexual purpose through the virtue of chastity—becoming integrated, whole. That would appear to safeguard the Church from falsehood. (Cheers to the recent Vatican document on gender, which is founded wholly on the inherent complementarity of men and women). Yet the battle for clarity on homosexuality has never been more intense in Rome. One gets the impression that Pope Francis is surrounded by warring factions, some who fight for truth in the sexual arena but tend to do so with a heavy hand that is toxic to the Pope; more comforting to him appear to be ‘progressives’ like the now disgraced Theodore McCarrick and the ascending Fr. James Martin who alongside ‘compassionate’ friends is making every effort to alter the Catechism to reframe gender-bending as a morally neutral human variant, not a disorder to be redeemed. Wickedness in high places. Pray for Pope Francis. A battle rages in Rome for what it means to be human, made in God’s image. As for evangelicals, this is a war for the integrity of our faith. You cannot alter how God designed us and not undercut orthodoxy.

So we burn. Not with hate but with zeal for His house. If we the Church alter the goal posts due to love for winsome, disordered, and deceived players, we all lose. We win when we the broken—humbled and consumed by holy fire–arise to tell the truth of how His mercy has set us free. Is setting us free. Our ever-increasing chastity frees us to break out of every little box people place us in. We are healed and being healed, saved and becoming saved. We look to the God who answers us with the fire of love and life and who frees us to gather others who have not bent the knee to Baal (1 K 19:18). No other way to live. Pentecost frees us from intimidation, for holy confidence, amid the din of ‘Pride.’

Please pray for the annual Restored Hope Network Conference in the Twin Cities from June 20-22nd, for our Living Waters Trainings in Warsaw, Poland June 22-28th and in Kansas City July 6-12th, and the International Courage Conference in Chicago, July 18-21st. Registrations still open for all!

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

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bearing the cross

Bearing

Though I love the benefits of Jesus’ cross, I am tempted to hate sharing in that cross with Him. It hurts to bear up under the burden He invites us to shoulder, namely grief over His Church.

During prayer for the healing of our corporate compromises, I realized: what I most value as a Christian—killing sin through swift confession before it kills me, my marriage, or another; living out loud in community in order to grow beyond same-sex attraction into real fruitfulness—is not enough believed or practiced in my Church. For this I suffer, a grief Jesus has invited me to bear. I am not alone but alongside other members who share these values and love the bride enough to grieve too.

This Lent He invited us into a little share of His cross; would we bear this for an hour or so each week in prayer? We discovered we couldn’t shake that burden after the meetings ended. It stayed with us, and seems now like a heart condition. Indeed, we carry it for her cleansing. Perhaps St. Paul’s mysterious reference in Col. 1:24 to bear in one’s body a share in Jesus’ suffering for His body applies here. Who knows? We pray on.

My friend Dana recalled her experience of a 14-mile procession she and friends made one Good Friday with a large wooden cross—each took turns shouldering it: ‘As I carried the cross, it sunk into me and its weight increased. It became a part of me; I realized that it was Jesus inviting me to walk with Him to help carry His cross. What seemed too heavy became doable with Him.’ Christ in us: to suffer, and to hope for glory (Col. 1: 27). That reminds me of Bonhoeffer’s words: ‘We know too little in the church today about the peculiar blessing of bearing. Bearing, not shaking off; bearing, but not collapsing either; bearing as Christ bore the cross, remaining underneath, and there beneath it, to find Christ.’

Having looked hard together at a scandalized Church, we have done more than meet to pray; rather, we have received a spirit of prayer with which to pray unceasingly for her. Over the long haul. Change takes time and occurs as prayer like underground wells spring up on the earth and accomplish the impossible.

We pray for witnesses of transformation in the sexual arena to arise and take their places alongside leaders who welcome, guide, and amplify their experience of an empowered Gospel.

We pray for the eloquent truth of Pope Emeritus Benedict—‘Sexuality has an intrinsic meaning and direction which is not homosexual…its meaning is to bring about the union of man and woman which gives humanity posterity, children, future. This…is the essence of sexuality’—to fuse with the fatherly compassion of Pope Francis. May that fullness of mercy and truth compel Christians to turn from sexual sin (beginning with clergy) toward the arduous, splendid process of becoming chaste.

We pray for courageous leaders who eschew politics for the transformation of souls. Might orthodox leaders refuse clericalism by equipping lay men and women to serve the broken; might the unorthodox be routed lest the Church’s mercy be diluted further by the call to ‘accompaniment’ without repentance or discipline.

Might we, horrified by our own sin, find beneath the cross that no sin can ever be alien to us (Bonhoeffer) and in mercy cry out for all sinners–bishops and busboys, popes and plumbers. Might God grace us to bear holy grief and the hope of glory long after Lent.

‘We do not want you to grieve like those who have no hope…’ (1 Thess. 4:13).

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

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Presumption and Prayer

Between the lines of what we know and what we do not, we pray. The powerlessness of not knowing invites us into the depths of mercy. There many waters cannot quench love (SS 8:7). Deeper than the swirl of suspicion and fear, we discover a warm current that envelopes and carries us like a mother cradles her infant. St. Faustina is right: We ‘are closer to God in His mercy than an infant at its mother’s heart’ (Diary, #423).

What we know: Pope Francis received Cardinal Wuerl’s resignation for collaborating with homosexual abuser McCarrick then touted Wuerl as noble and placed him on a committee that will select future bishops of America. What kind of mixed message is that? Persons sexually abused by adults bear a wound that only Jesus can heal; persons abused by clergy struggle to even say His Name. Let judgment begin at our house, O God. Pray courage for Pope Francis to manifest his intolerance of clergy sexual abuse and its collaborators with a sword, not a kiss. He must lose clever, loyal friends in order to gain back our trust.

What we don’t know: the intolerable pressure of leading the biggest group of Christians in the world. Lord, have mercy on Francis. May he be closer to God in His mercy than an infant at its mother’s heart.

What we know: President Trump says/does what he wants whether it is true or not, refuses to admit wrongdoing, and eviscerates those who stand in his way. Oh, by the way, he is the fiercest defender of an infant’s right-to-life of any president. Pray for his success in stopping abortion rights in the USA.

What we don’t know: the intolerable pressure of leading the most powerful nation on earth. And why no-one has the power to curb his blather. Lord, have mercy on Donald. May He be closer to God in His mercy than an infant at its mother’s heart.

What we know: the Youth Synod (mostly graying bishops) continues til the end of October and includes a fight to expand the Church’s assimilation of ‘diverse’ (LBBT+) identities and families. Pray that champions of the imago dei–what it means to be human–prevail. Pray also that from the fire will emerge orthodox leaders better able to engage a generation about how Jesus restores lives.

What we don’t know: how centuries of clerical compromise (with fellow adults) and abuse (of children) have blocked healing passageways for the sexually broken throughout the Catholic Church. To the degree that secrets and lies still keep us bound, Lord have mercy. May the still being-exposed–Church be nearer to God in His mercy than an infant at its mother’s heart.

What we know: our children are wandering in a wilderness of half-truths empowered by an irrational drive toward exhibitionism (Hmmm, sounds like my teen years…) They appear to have lost sight of any ‘Father’ who might call them onto anything harder and higher than their latest fancy. Creating one’s own gender universe is a dramatic example. Let’s pray for Jesus, who always shows willing hearts His Father, to guide our loved ones into true love and identity.

What we don’t know: what is actually going on inside our loved ones. We cannot know another’s deepest heart and must respect that gap. Just think of what you now know about yourself. You weren’t hiding all these years; you just couldn’t see it yet! So too with those we love.

So in these forty days of Becoming Good News we slow down, we pray, and we cry out for mercy that the few words we say might be a bridge to the Father’s love. We impart best when giving from the overflow of this divine bond of love. May we and our loved ones be closer to God in His mercy than infants at their mother’s heart.

We’ll be starting our prayer/ fasting time on October 10th for anyone who wants to join. If you’d like to pray along with us, let us know and we can send you a book or you can get it through kindle here: https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Good-News-Andrew-Comiskey-ebook/dp/B07F95JKP5!

 

 

 

 

 

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