Tag Archives: Wound

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Mercy for the Bride, from the Bride

While en route to a Living Waters Leadership gathering in Europe, I was moved deeply by God’s heart for His European bride. The church there has played such a foundational role in western culture; from her has come our art, our music, our philosophy, and our ethics. In spite of her many faults and divisions, she continues to bear fruit that remains. She is the apple of God’s eye.

I thought of our small band of wounded healers gathered in Holland from all over Europe—faithfully washing the feet of Jesus’ body in our groups. What a privilege to serve those who help prepare the bride for Christ’s return.

Before our gathering, I had a day in Amsterdam. As usual, the city’s native beauty was marred by all manner of false freedoms— legal drugs and prostitution, porn around every corner, gender-bending of every kind. My experience was thus mixed. On the one hand, I marveled at her charm and historic treasures; on the other, I was troubled and vaguely tempted by her idols.

God is faithful to me, an often troubled and tempted expression of His bride. While wandering the State Art Museum, I encountered ‘The Jewish Bride’, Rembrandt’s exquisite rendering of a bridegroom’s love for His bride. Its truth is immediate and profound: he looks on her with ardent respect; she responds with peaceful love to his hand on her heart.

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Dying to Release Mercy

‘Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.’ (John 12:23)

Among the most bittersweet realities of ‘Living Waters’ around the world is the surrender of one’s leadership when his/her part has been played. That surrender may be for many reasons—a moral failure, a call to another type of ministry, or handing over the task to one better suited to take it the next step.

Regardless of the reason, the leader in transition usually experiences a kind of death: (s)he loses position and a certain place among the wounded healers that comprise global ‘Living Waters.’

In this grief, I also witness a sovereign aspect of God’s hand. Under His care, the ex-leader is actually allowing the ‘husk’ of one’s ministry to be broken, thus releasing more ‘seed’ for God’s mercy to be released.

It takes courage to do this. To surrender one’s leadership is actually among the most selfless acts of all—it means denying one’s need for significance and security in order that more ‘living water’ might be released in a nation under another’s lead. I have seen this happen over and over—one dies to position in order to release more souls unto life.

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Why Women Need Men

Femininity needs masculinity. Woman needs man. Her softness and depth not only invites intimacy; woman possesses a marvelous capacity to nurture relationship. Therein lies the paradox of woman—powerful in love yet equally powerful in her vulnerability to be wounded in those relationships.

Woman is a deep well. She needs man’s help to guard the waters, to keep them clear and free. And to help ensure that the gift of that water finds rich expression. Secure in the blessing of masculine love, she thrives like a ‘well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.’

A woman’s gift is herself. Unlike man, she finds meaning primarily in her relationships. The ‘earth-bound man’, raised from the dust, finds his match in the one taken from his side. Woman’s source is not inanimate; she is formed from a human, which establishes her as an essentially relational being.

Woman’s gift is in relationship. In whatever she aspires to do, her tasks and goals will have an implicitly relational dimension. Annette has noted that in spite of her many accomplishments, she instinctively defines herself relationally. She is not first a publisher/administrator/healer; she is Annette, daughter of Ruth and Harry, wife of Andy, mother of Greg, Nick, Kate, and Sam.

But that gift has a downside. Like the souring of man’s good earth and the strife that accompanied the work of his hands, woman can find her relational ‘sources’ cruel and embittering. And she not only the victim but the perpetrator as well!

Her curse involves relationships: the pain of bringing forth children, and a ‘desire’ for her husband that connotes a grasping, possessive grip. He will ‘rule over her’ outside the garden, an authority that strikes me as more ominous than protective. (Genesis 3: 16)

Woman is now set up for a grasping after relationship that invites pain and hurt—engendering a dark subjectivity in her depths. She needs the whole enough masculine to come alongside her, not to rule, but to call forth and guard the beauty of her exquisite and profound being.

When man rightly beholds her gift, and stands faithfully on her behalf, she thrives. Heaven is glimpsed on earth when a masculine image-bearer loves his feminine counterpart in a way that releases her to be grateful for the gift that she is.
Woman needs man. Honor marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

“O God, we honor Your design in creation, man for woman, woman for man. We do so humbly, full well knowing that our dignity together is matched by our capacity to bruise and break one another. In mercy, free us to honor Your design in creation by how we honor one another, man to woman, woman to man.”

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