Tag Archives: Richard Rohr

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture
Enkindling Hope Andrew Comiskey

Enkindling Hope

‘A person’s resurrection is no personal privilege for himself alone. It contains within itself hope for all, hope for everything.’ Dorothy Soelle

Like you, I tend to fear what may come out of my mouth in ‘polite’ society. A fire burns in me constantly that longs to enkindle the hope of transformation for anyone serious about Jesus Christ. Good news yes, and scandalous too.

While at a well-heeled Christmas party with new neighbors last week, the subject of a particular Catholic theologian—Richard Rohr– came up. Rohr lost my respect a while back when he shifted his anthropology and began to recognize the ‘LGBT’ set as an ethnic group in need of rights rather than repentance unto the transforming love of Christ Jesus.

This theologian has now unwittingly blocked the way for men and women to open themselves to the new life Jesus has for them. Instead, his worldly thinking limits them to sexualizing their own gender, a direction that forever frustrates God’s will for their good lives.

In a flash, I thought of all the young women and men with same-sex attraction whose aspiration to walk in chastity is hindered by churchmen like Rohr who have become worldly in their thinking. The path of a generation needs to be cleared! We remove the weeds through the fire of truth, spoken in love. When well-aimed and timed, such fire enkindles hope for a life that surpasses ‘gay love.’

Fire burned in me. Amid the tinkling of wine glasses and well-tailored holiday wear, I knew that I had to basically undress and tell the whole truth of what Jesus can do for persons like me. I gently broke into the conversation and said that while I appreciated much of Rohr’s work, ‘I fear he is blocking the way for a generation to know the truth that can set them free.’

The woman, a college professor, interrupted me with some bogus worldly wisdom—‘Since the beginning of time, there has been the same % of gays everywhere on the planet…’ I quietly refuted her (such data does not exist) then redirected the conversation back to the truth of the Gospel—‘Jesus opens a door that cannot be shut for persons who knock for a way out of homosexuality and this is how He did so for me…’ Because my tone was respectful and my content deeply personal, she listened and left with ‘I see this now in a whole new light.’

That light is nothing less than the Gospel, which will remain hidden toward persons who will perish (2Cor. 4:3) unless people like you and me enkindle hope with the truth Jesus has entrusted to us.

Theologian Karl Barth says it best: ‘Something often flames up in our soul that we would like to call out to all people—a question, a complaint, a word of defiance, a rejoicing, a stark truth—something of a sort that a person cannot keep to himself once it is there…It saddens us to see people coming and going, all in so much dullness and error when we have something to tell them that would help them…Our talk is such a wooden, dead talk. Fire will not break out in it, but can only smolder in our words…Whatever does not grow out of God produces smoke, not fire. But that which is born of God overcomes the world (1JN 5:4). We need only to speak with our fellows on the basis of faith. As long as our words do not arise out of faith in God’s power, we will remain mute. Only faith can speak. But faith can speak! Our ears must be opened then our mouths.’

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Fire and Fortitude

‘Go forth from the quiet of contemplation and courageously bear witness to My truth.’ (Jesus to St. Catherine of Siena)

Christ’s coming at Christmas can only be received, treasured, contemplated; manifesting the Divine Child throughout the New Year requires all the courage and fortitude we possess.

Never before has His epiphany, or manifestation, been more urgent. The battle between Christ and anti-Christ in the form of gender reconstruction has broken out into the open. (I recently read an article by popular Catholic leader Richard Rohr who claimed: ‘The gender self is the false self.’ Really?) Calling all bright and shining lamps who can testify to the glories of Jesus and His Church–how His community liberated you to resume the journey to wholeness! The Spirit is summoning you to manifest the Almighty Mercy of Jesus amid the chaos at hand.

Reflecting on 2014, I can testify to the increase of darkness over God’s image in humanity, but also of the greater grace required to stand as His gleaming remnant. I refer not only to persons with same-sex attraction but all men and women burned by lust in whom Jesus has reclaimed authentic desire. Throughout a year marked by many obstacles, Jesus reminded me of Ezra’s words: ‘God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant, and giving us a firm place in His sanctuary…God has granted us new life to rebuild the house of God and to repair its ruins. He has given us a wall or protection.’ (Ezra 9: 8, 9)

New life to rebuild His house! Truly this is the season of the Church! He shines on churchmen and women who love nothing more than releasing streams of living water among the faithful through the word of their testimony and by gathering together to make a way for others to know His liberating truth.

That requires fortitude—the virtue of ‘firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of good.’ That virtue is worked in us by Jesus Himself as we say ‘yes’ to what He loves amid a thousand counterfeits. Annette and I have never been more hard-pressed on one hand; on the other, we experience the truth that ‘enduring difficulties, neither deliverance from them nor avoidance of them, constitutes the supreme moment of God’s power.’

Many difficulties, more power. Our gleaming as simple reflectors of His Mercy requires hardship. As the way narrows, we grow more desperate for Him, our limits eclipsed over and over by His superabundance. We live for Him and through Him. Our humble bush is consumed, but it is God that burns in us, He who cannot be extinguished and who through us will vindicate His glorious image upon the earth. ‘By standing firm we gain life’ (LK 21:19), and help others do the same.

‘Let’s wait and see is a dangerous saying. Who knows if we shall be around tomorrow? Surely the Savior will be there, but what about us? Life is not a light that can be enkindled again. Life is a fire given by God to burn on earth just once and never more! Dear friends, let us pay heed lest we miss the hour of this fire right here and now. O that today we would harken to His voice and harden not our hearts!’ Karl Barth

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