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A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Falsifying Hope

‘There is no greater tragedy for man than the disillusionment he suffers when he has falsified his hope by placing it in something other than the Love that satisfies.’
St. Josemaria Escriva

We are setting up future generations for disillusionment. We are giving them false hope. Case in point: our national celebration of Bruce Jenner-in-drag as ‘athlete of the year’ at the ESPY awards and the smug assumption that we are now on the right side of history with ‘gay marriage’ in America.

The Supreme Court redefining marriage is founded on the wrong assumption that people are intrinsically, immutably homosexual, an ‘ethnos’ in its own right. We then conclude that the ‘gay’ pursuit of happiness must include the right to same-gender marriage, in the same breath that we champion freedom from racial discrimination.

That is a lie. Persons with same-sex attraction are not inherently ‘gay’ any more than are persons with heterosexual lust problems. Anyone facing disordered desires can change; ethnic status is immutable and inherently blessed, far removed from the moral implications of celebrating alternate sexual ‘selves.’

Could it be that persons with same-sex attraction are in conflict with their true ethnos–to be reconciled to their own gender in order to make peace with their need for the opposite gender? We do no-one any favor by holding out the hope that ‘gay’ marriage will resolve the conflict at the core of same-sex attraction. It falsifies the hope of happiness. We must dig deeper than superficial ethnic metaphors in order to probe why persons become ‘gay’ and how they can resolve their real conflicts.

On that fault line, we now embrace the right of persons to choose their own gender, a la Bruce Jenner. His hope now lies in creating a ‘female’ self through hormones and plastic surgery and designer gowns. I watched gap-mouthed as this deep-voiced 65-year-old man in a tight white dress received his ESPY award and cast a global vision of ‘self-acceptance’ for young people as equally conflicted in their gender identities as he is. In his words, ‘This award is about accepting people for who they are.’

Jenner is clueless about who he is and yet now seeks to guide thousands into becoming ‘who they are’. The blind lead the blind into bitter disillusion. ‘They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves to depravity’ (2P 2:9).

We only know who we are based on the One who made us and who with great compassion longs to redeem us from the catastrophic impact of sin upon our gender selves. For the sake of future generations, let us forsake all complicity with false hope. Let us seek with all our hearts to make Jesus known to vulnerable ones. He alone is trustworthy, the Hope who will not disappoint us.

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June Groom (not Gloom)

‘In California homosexuality is legal. When it becomes mandatory, I’m leaving.’ Bob Hope

I muttered to Annette how much I disliked ‘gay’ pride June, the month of rainbow marches and media glorification of every gender variant under heaven. This month began with a bang: ‘Fun House’, a new Broadway musical about a warbling lesbian cartoonist whose ‘gay’ father kills himself, swept the Tony Awards, while June 2015 will end with a Supreme Court decision sweeping away God’s definition of marriage.

I prophesied June gloom, the Southern California phenomenon in which offshore mist rolls in and shrouds the coast for a month. Annette countered my complaint: ‘Well, June is also the month we married. No-one can take that from us.’

True that. I considered the beauty and power of our 34-year-old vocation—Annette’s and my most basic call in life to unite as one and bear fruit that remains. Of course that means our four kids but it also applies to all who pass through our whole-enough marriage and partake of the goodness of man for woman, woman for man. God designed marriage to grace both parties so that the two can be fruitful in their self-giving for as many years as life allows.

Best decision I ever made. Best gift Annette and I give others is the integrity of our marriage, starting with our kids and rising up for many, like Ezekiel’s prophesy of healing waters filling the temple to overflowing (EZ 47). At Annette’s good prompt, I considered the truest meaning of June for me and hope emerged from the fog like a blazing sun.

Neither lyrical idolatry nor skewed justice can undermine the gracious authority of marriage. Yet both will try. In this battle for marriage, Jesus makes a way.

June 1981. Annette and I spent the first night of our honeymoon at the Beverly Hills Hotel then sped off the next day to more affordable fare. Or tried to. The annual gay pride parade encircled the city and blocked our exit on every side. We managed to squeak out though a small road that opened to the adventure of a lifetime. Beware of the broad way: ‘Narrow is the way that leads to life.’
(Matt. 7: 13, 14)

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Changing Hearts and Minds

Many Christians seek to be ‘on the right side of history’ by embracing ‘gay marriage.’ Jesus is not fooled. He exposes the fault lines underneath such thinking and reveals His heart to ours.

Last month at our Living Waters Training a woman admitted that she was all for ‘marriage equality’ and that her position put her at odds with her husband who felt otherwise. She believed that ‘gay’ is natural—inborn, intrinsic, immovable. If God made people ‘gay’, why would He not grant them marriage rights?

Similarly, she approached the training from a rather immovable posture. Though she wanted to learn more about helping people, she herself was not that open to being helped. God had other plans. He provided the mercy she needed to open to Him and others in the unseen, wounded areas of her life.

Similarly, she witnessed the suffering of men and women with same-sex attraction and for the first time could see the root issues at the core of their struggles. Like her, these persons had been subject to gaps and wounds that frustrated God’s best for them. And she began to experience how He could heal them through His Church, even how she might contribute to their transformation.

“Not only do I now see ‘gay marriage’ as a bad idea, I am convicted about the things that drive same-sex attraction and the healing that is available for it…”

Next month, the Supreme Court will decide on marriage ‘equality.’ America may well go the way of our friend before she learned the truth.

We who bear that truth have our work cut out for us. By making known the depth of our brokenness, and the beauty of God’s healing, including for persons with SSA, we proclaim the Gospel—the good news of His Kingdom come to earth. In so doing, we can change hearts and minds.

Instead of passive resignation to the majority view, let us be provoked by God’s side of history. His is the only side worth fighting for.

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Love’s True Freedom

‘Jesus’ crucified flesh reveals the bond between truth and freedom, just as His resurrection exalts the fruitfulness of a freedom lived out in truth.’ St. John Paul ll

We live in a noisy, confusing world of sexual ‘freedom.’ From Hillary Clinton lamenting Indiana’s religious freedom bill on the grounds that it fetters ‘gay love’ to the Supreme Court insisting that feds cover a prisoner’s gender reassignment costs, we are now subject to a new vision of human freedom that excludes any hint of God. Might the Creator and Redeemer of our humanity know something about true freedom?

No stranger to sexual indignities, Mary Magdalene discovered freedom at the Source. Jesus gave Himself to a woman traditionally believed to be driven by disordered desires and demonized by a culture intent on exploiting such women. Unafraid of her impurity, Jesus offered Mary almighty mercy. He became her refuge and gave her a place alongside of Him. Jesus’ powerful Presence in her life delivered Mary from seven demons (LK 8: 2). ‘He did not hand her over to the enemy but set her feet in a spacious place’ (PS 31:8).

Divine love broke the low ceiling over Mary’s life and gave her inspired options. Love alone restored Mary’s human freedom. In love Jesus created her; in love He reclaimed her dignity. She was tempted otherwise, perhaps not unlike a woman today so wearied by broken men that she opens to the affections of another woman or eschews her womanhood altogether.

Jesus rescued her from any number of futile solutions. That’s what real love does: it shames the strong who currently champion any number of civil liberties as the best option for the sexually broken. Will Christians do better than legally securing others in a futile, disordered destiny? We need to impart a quality of love to disordered ones that corresponds to the real ache, the true aspirations of our ailing humanity.

Mary chose the dignity of love that Jesus alone offers. Love became her freedom. And she gave herself freely to His purposes. Do you marvel that Jesus chose her–a formerly demonized, scorned woman–from among all the disciples to deliver the message of resurrection? The freedom of her new life became the glorious vehicle through which all of humanity can say: ‘I have seen the Lord!’ (JN 20:18)

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Heartless

‘All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.’

If you remove the central feature from which something derives its nature, you distort its meaning. That ‘thing’ ceases to be what it is; it loses its heart. Look at the Gospels. Cut out Christ’s resurrection and you have a teacher/healer doomed for his radical goodness. Or the film ‘Unbroken,’ in which the screenwriters omitted the hero’s watershed conversion to Christianity. Unbroken indeed.

Now we face the prospect of marriage without male and female. Last week the Supreme Court agreed to decide by June whether all 50 states must allow gay couples to marry. Following the breathless pace at which individual states have assumed gay marriage rights (36 and counting), it seems unlikely that the very court which encouraged these changes two years ago will now backtrack.

A chief activist gushed prophetically: ‘Finally gay couples will be able to share in the joys, protections and responsibilities of marriage…’ Right?

Wrong. Marriage without male and female ceases to be marriage. Why? Because marriage is fundamentally about children. Same-gender couples cannot create them and should not parent them. (Would you want to be a child trying to secure its gender self from parents evidently unsure of their own?)

Since time began, marriage has been about creating and tending to kids. Although not all couples create them, it is still the orientation of male and female to do so. And family remains the fundamental fruit of marriage, complete with the ‘joys and responsibilities’ that the modern state seeks to protect. Why? So that couples can have tax benefits and hospital visitation rights? No, so that their commitment might stabilize sexual love and give rise to children, who in turn might secure a foundation of stable love from the man and woman who made them. Period.

Remove male and female from marriage and it ceases to be marriage. It mutates; it becomes an extension of something else. In this case, marriage becomes the selfish arm of an extremely individualized, short-sighted people who refuse to recognize that marriage must answer to a call greater than the bond of two persons. Sex like marriage must answer to children.

If the Supreme Court defines marriage as free from gender restraints, then it will take the heart out of marriage. We will pass down a cruel decree on persons who have no voice and who need protection from the state. Children deserve a higher standard that will protect their formation and dignity as male and female.

It is no irony to me that the Supreme Court agreed to decide ‘gay marriage’ just days after the anniversary of ‘Roe vs. Wade’ which legalized abortion. For over 30 years now, we have lived heartlessly, in the shadow of life without protection. Do we want life without gender clarity?

Pray for the Court’s abrupt reversal of the slide into national ‘gay marriage.’

Pray for and encourage the marriages around you.

Do everything in your power to ensure that your church becomes a safe and powerful place of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction. God desires mercy and not judgment. If we do not care for willing broken hearts before they are seduced by worldly solutions, we help create a problem. We become heartless, a boney arm of judgment.

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