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A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Safe House

‘O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires…All your sons and daughters will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace’ (IS 54: 11, 13).

Our churches, lashed by identity politics and afflicted by abuse, need the Bridegroom to make us a ‘safe house.’ This is our last week of ‘Becoming Good News’; in truth, it is only the beginning of our becoming the Church ‘whose conventional appearance makes it a safe place into which one might take refuge,’ aka a ‘safe house.’

But how can a Church riddled with immorality become a sanctuary for the abused and identity confused? Responding to a rebuttal of his claim that the Pope and many Vatican officials covered for high-ranking homosexual abusers, Archbishop Vigano writes: ‘It is no exaggeration to say that homosexuality has become a plague in the clergy…It is an enormous hypocrisy to condemn sexual abuse, claim to weep for its victims, and yet refuse to denounce the source of so much abuse: homosexuality.’

Why pray for prodigals to come home to a sleazy celebration? Because God is raising an army of wounded healers who are intent on making that Church safe. Cowardly men in power cannot stop the Lord of hosts. He accomplishes what He wills. He wills to set captives free through His house, not in spite of it.

I write this at the end of a rocky finger pointing east off the Connecticut coast. We are lashed here by winds and rain as seasoned Living Waters leaders and new leaders-to-be gather. The range of churches–from contemplative Catholics to shaking Pentecostals—is awesome. We need each other’s gifts to become safe houses in our communities for every estranged son and daughter that Jesus is calling home. In response to our prayers!

We tell the truth about our lives—the disordered desires, abuse that divided us, shame that derided us—and the family of God whose pure hearts and clean hands helped reconcile us to the gendered gifts we are. No human powers can block what God is building. We are following His plan: humble disclosure met by Almighty mercy flowing through Christ’s members. Unstoppable. God does not need more clever administrators, more artful dodgers; He just needs willing hearts made tender and trustworthy by mercy.

We take our places–mutually submitting to bishops and pastors as we become ‘like living stones, built together into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ’ (1 P 2:5) Our sacrifice? The re-offering of our wounds, now visible to all–washed, set, becoming integrated into our good full lives. I submit to you this short film—Chaste Together (click here to watch)—that describes how Living Waters helps create a ‘safe house’ in local churches for the abuse and afflicted.

My hope is in Jesus. I am not discouraged by sleazy strains in the Church. I cannot answer for the accused. All I know is that God is mobilizing a healing army that will accomplish His purposes—‘to present to Himself a radiant bride’ (Eph. 5: 27), a bride who welcomes the wounded in mercy and truth.

‘See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return. They will come weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them besides streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble. For I am Israel’s Father, Ephraim, my firstborn son’ (Jer. 31: 8-10).

We are currently in a time of prayer and fasting. 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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Fifth of 7 Prayers for Marriage: Children Need Mom and Dad

prayer-mercy‘At stake [in ‘gay marriage’] is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and mother and willed by God.’    Former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis

May I implore you to join me in prayer for marriage? For children’s sake, might we pray for those making a case for marriage before the US Supreme Court next Tuesday the 25th? Those challenging Prop. 8 are taking the most aggressive stance possible by insisting on a sweeping constitutional right to ‘gay marriage.’ If they succeed, not only must CA implement ‘gay marriage’ but every state in the union must strike down its ‘marriage as male and female’ law.

Please gather with a handful of people before the 25th and pray for real justice. What matters to God and what should matter to us is the fate of children who have no voice. If ‘gay marriage’ becomes the law of the land, children will be subject to the delusion that gender makes no difference in human relating–a slap in the face to God and to the real needs of children everywhere.

Fueling this delusion is practicing gay judge Vaughn Walker who struck down Prop. 8 upon its appeal. He claims that ‘gender is neither relevant nor essential to marriage’, and ‘that it is beyond any doubt that parents’ genders are irrelevant to children’s developmental outcomes.’ Lie upon lie upon lie, poised to become the toxic ground for a new definition of marriage in the USA.

The truth: marriage is sealed by intercourse, the only way to generate kids. Kids require the fidelity of parents in order to thrive, and so marriage demands this fidelity. The marital bond insists that man and woman call each other into account for the children they have created. However imperfect, those who stay together provide for kids masculine and feminine models and faithful love.

Gay couples do neither; they exist in reaction to male/female, and the most recent study suggests that gays tend to be ‘monogamish’—‘emotionally’ bonded to one but sexually open to many.

Dr. Mark Regnerus of the Univ. of TX conducted the most extensive study yet on the effect of gay parents. In contrast to kids from normal marriages, adults raised by lesbian mothers had negative outcomes in 24 of 40 categories, while adults raised by gay fathers had negative results in 19. Not surprisingly, activists have all but lynched Regnerus and his meticulously done work. Just google his ‘New Family Structures Study’; its clarity is confounded by slander posing as science.

Listen to the story of a man reflecting on growing up with two moms:

‘Growing up in with gay parents was very difficult. To most I was a well-raised, high-achieving kid. Inside, however, I was confused. When your home life is so drastically different from everyone around you, you grow up weird. I grew up in a home so unusual that I was destined to exist as a social outcast.

My peers learned all the unwritten rules of decorum and body language in their homes; the learned both traditionally masculine and feminine social mechanisms. Even if their parents’ divorced, my peers grew up seeing male and female social models. They learned to be bold from male figures, and sensitive from female ones. These are stereotypes of course, but stereotypes come in handy when you have to leave the safety of your lesbian mom’s trailer and work and survive in a world that thinks in terms of stereotypes.

I had no male figure at all to follow, and my mom and her partner were unlike traditional mothers or fathers. As a result, I had no few recognizable social cues to offer friends of either gender. Thus I befriended people rarely and alienated others easily. Life is hard when you are strange.’ Robert Oscar Lopez

Please pray with us that the US Supreme Court will uphold marriage and refuse its counterfeits. In its gender duality and pledge to fidelity, marriage serves justice to kids and to the common good. The hour of decision is now upon us.

‘Father, please empower the entire Alliance Defending Freedom team as they make a case for marriage on March 25th. Prepare the Supreme Court to hear their case and be persuaded that it is unwise to redefine the most basic and influential social unit on earth. We pray especially for Chief Justice Roberts. Might You bless and honor him, his faith and his family? Grant him a spirit of wisdom and revelation as he weighs the evidence and guides his colleagues in the decision that is best for all US citizens, especially our children.’

 

 

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Lent Devotion 5: Light the Fire Again

‘Am I stone and not a sheep, that I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy Cross, To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss, and yet not weep?’ – Christina Rossetti

‘A guilty suffering soul is more open to grace than an apathetic or smug soul.’ Edna Hong

CrucifixLent alerts us to self-deceit. We can fool ourselves with a good Christian reputation. Proud to be in a lively congregation, we dull ourselves to how dead we actually are. Our works for Jesus become detached from Him. We choke down the Eucharist and race off to many things. We forget the One thing needful.

Maybe it hurts to slow down. To a church traumatized by sex abuse scandals, corruption in the ‘corporate offices’, and everyday injustices (parish and otherwise), busyness preserves us. Works defend us from our wounds. Better to busy ourselves than to feel and to face our betrayals.

With severe mercy, Jesus slowed down the church in Sardis by calling them back to Himself. (Rev. 3:1-6) He warned them to not be fooled by their good reputation; the appearance of spiritual life masked something deadly. (vs. 1, 2) However successful, the church had been encroached upon by sins of various sorts, including sexual immorality (‘only a few in Sardis had not defiled their garments’ v.4)

‘Be watchful, and strengthen what remains and is about to die…Remember what you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.’ (v. 2, 3a) Through renewed connection with Himself, Jesus intends to save them and the beautiful works He has entrusted to them. The key? Remembering Mercy: all He accomplished for them at Calvary and all He entrusted to them. He urges repentance unto His new life but also unto ‘the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings.’ (Phil. 3:10)

Like Jesus’ call to the church at Sardis, Lent invites us to turn back to Jesus. Lingering with Him, we feel our betrayals. But we also can experience the Love of the Betrayed whose healing Presence removes the poison from our wounds. He frees us from frantic dodging of our pain. He frees us for Himself in the pain. He assumes it and somehow transforms it. Our very church ‘wound’ becomes fuel for works of mercy rooted in the Merciful One Himself.

We have a part to play in all of this. We must turn to Jesus. And we must remember and hold fast to what He entrusted to us, to stir it up so that it will not die. I spent the last year tending to a series of ‘Christ-centered’ betrayals that tempted me, not so much to bitterness, but to resignation. I felt inclined to give up my own calling and the desire to work out that calling with others. At age 55, early retirement sounded good!

Jesus reminded me of what He had entrusted to me that was not finished. He reminded me that such a trust was from Him; mere creatures could not remove it from me. He called me to fight for that calling, so that it would not die under the weight of sin and sorrow. He urged me to get out of the bed made by my betrayers. Keep watch. Wake up. Remember what He has entrusted to you.

‘God has entrusted His Church to those who betray Him again and again.’

Pope Emeritus Benedict

 

‘Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you…Do not be foolish but understand what God’s will is.’ (Eph. 5: 14, 17)

 

 

 

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