Tag Archives: righteousness

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Provoking Life, Part 2

‘See! The winter is passed; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth, the season of singing has come.’ (S of S 2: 11, 12)

SONY DSCAmid the battle for souls—the gravitational pull of sin and sadness–let us discover the upward rising of Easter. The Spirit of Resurrection speaks to us constantly; in truth, ‘the heavens pour forth speech.’(PS 19:2) More evident than the life-signs of spring, we can detect the Spirit of Resurrection everywhere. All we must do is listen and look.

Jesus stormed the gates of hell to get us out of there. Let us encounter the blessed power of this new life in our fellows. Let us declare the triumph of Easter.

Last week I had the privilege of eating lunch at the home of Melissa and Garry Ingraham in upstate New York. Both come out of histories of same-sex attraction; together, united in Christ, they declare His image—humble and whole as man and woman submit to each other out of reverence for Him. (Eph. 5: 21)

Their household is full of life. The couple assumed the care of Garry’s aging parents. Father is dead now but Mother carries on peacefully through their love. Though stooped in body, she stands upright in Christ. Doubtless she is assisted by the joyful presence of the Ingraham’s two toddlers. These boys are forces of life, grounded in love. Both bear witness of an attentive mother whose challenges are offset by the care of a faithful husband.

After a meal with Garry and Melissa, I felt renewed. Instead of being overwhelmed by all the variables of their life, the sheer goodness of that life lifted me up. The Ingrahams testify of Resurrection without sermonizing.

The next day I visited my favorite couple in New York City, Joe and Anne Nolte. Joe is a great friend from Vineyard days, and Anne is a new friend, a doctor and fellow Catholic who received a prophetic call from God. She said ‘yes’ to providing the only genuinely Catholic women’s health clinic in Manhattan. That means no contraception or abortion, with wise and natural help for couples seeking to overcome obstacles to pregnancy. All this in the most expensive and (arguably) secular zone in the USA!

Jesus is committed to life; He has blazed a trail for this faithful woman. She now helps engender life in couple after couple who have found her ‘life-space’—a small suite of offices in midtown Manhattan. And what life! Anne proudly showed me pictures of 180 babies who have been born as a result of her team’s inspired care. Each one is a miracle, an Easter gift delivered by servants who said ‘yes’ to His life.

New York City can be intimidating: rich, inaccessible, proud. Life rises from its depths, more powerful than the down-drag of sin and selfishness.

Jesus has risen from the dead, and we rise with Him. Like the Noltes and the Ingrahams, we have the privilege of including others in that upward surge. He delights in giving us His Kingdom, (Lk 12:32) and our joy hinges on extending that life to others.

‘Without the Life, there is no living.’ (Thomas A Kempis)

‘Let us consider how we may provoke one another to love and good deeds.’ – (Heb. 10: 24)

 

 

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Seventh of 7 Prayers for Marriage: Under the Rainbow

‘The greatest figures of prophecy and sanctity step forth out of the darkest night.’ – St. Edith Stein

march marriageI marched last Tuesday in DC for marriage. America was not with me. Christians may still believe that marriage is about male and female but they hold their views quietly, passively. In the meantime, aggressive gay activists have captivated marriage and made it their own. They screamed their insistence on the steps of the Supreme Court while those who knew better slept. In our drowsiness we have become the minority. We are now the oppressed.

Maybe it was my expectation. I have fought hard for marriage, especially in the last five years. I have endured church after church politely refusing to take a stand for marriage on the basis of ‘love’. On a cold spring morning, I was looking for an adrenal blast of solidarity with thousands of like-minded ones.

As we rode the subway to the Capitol, I thought the swell of passengers were fellow warriors. Wrong. I counted two others getting off with us as we exited for the rally. Some came, a few thousand at best. Yet we seemed ragged and disjointed, an underwhelming army that barely enveloped the huge podium.

Then we marched, bravely holding our signs (‘Kids need a Mom and Dad’) and our tongues from lashing back at the screamers. I took a shortcut to get a better view of things. Away from the march, I encountered a handful of white, well-heeled professionals en route to work who looked with disgust at my sign and me. One of them scowled: ‘You’re stupid…you’re gay!!!’ Thoughtful political commentary…

As we turned the corner in front of the Supreme Court steps, our numbers seemed to swell as the path narrowed. I turned around and saw currents of ethnicities: streams of Africans, Hispanics and Asians who marched with dignity and humility in unison with their churches. White marchers like me were few; we were bland dots in a rich sea of America’s real diversity.

The empowered white folk were gay activists on the sidewalks flanking us and shouting: ‘Gay straight, black white, marriage is a civil right…’ The preppy good looks of the activists belied any authentic history with civil rights battles. I looked upon my fellow soldiers with new admiration: devout Christians of many tribes and tongues honoring God’s image and a nation for which they are grateful.

My fine friends at Regeneration with whom I marched–Bob Ragan and Josh Glazer—concurred. We, not the ever-morphing GLBT, are the real rainbow, a river of multi-colored currents flowing from the same Source and heading home to that Source.

As surely as the Bride longs for the Bridegroom, so we His people march for His image–one man committed to one woman—to be honored in the land. We must band together as wickedness grows.

The powerbrokers have abandoned us for other gods. Anyone who takes a stand for marriage loses power. When did an aspiring writer, artist, politician or popular churchman, for that matter, last take a bold stand for real marriage? We have taken up the traditions of men and have forsaken God’s (Mk 7:8).

God is mocked but not discouraged. He lives generously with those whose power is only Him. For His sake, I shall march for marriage all my days. I shall do so with a limp. And with the humble who have always been the minority. We are never mightier than when we stand together and He alone is our strength.

‘I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no-one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept My word and not denied My Name.’ (Rev. 3: 8)

‘Our weaknesses were turned to strength, and we became powerful in battle, routing foreign armies.’ (Heb. 11:34)

‘Father, Your Son is risen and we rise with Him in this season of new life. May His Life infuse us afresh as we march forward in a new season of battle. Thank You for endowing our little efforts with the power that catapulted You from the tomb. Keep our eyes fixed on Your absolute sufficiency. May we refuse every demonic scheme to divide and conquer the faithful. Empower our efforts to maintain the unity of Your Spirit in the bond of peace.’

 

 

 

 

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