Category: Homosexuality

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

True Worship 1

We approach our fortieth anniversary bash this week; I am grateful, full of peace and praise for Jesus. In charting the breakthroughs and breakdowns throughout our four decades, I declare assuredly: ‘Lord, You establish peace for us; everything we have accomplished, You have done for us, O God’ (Is. 26:12).

At core He made Himself known to me, handing Himself over to this slave of sin. My eyes opened to behold Jesus-Savior. The knowledge of Him freed me to know myself as a man created for woman. He has empowered me to represent Him (unevenly, but always in earnest!) as a husband and father. For this I rejoice, body, soul and spirit—O God, You are Almighty Mercy, able to deliver Your creation from idolatry and self-delusion, and to free us for fruitfulness!

Pity those who split who God is from who He made them to be! This delusion is growing in the Church today—more than any other trend in our culture, I lament the deception of ‘LGBT+ Christians’ who claim devotion to Jesus while clinging to old identities and affections sourced in the father of lies, not Light. Whether it be the ‘gay’ Christian Revoice movement, Fr. James Martin’s burning ‘bridge’ in the Catholic Church, Wesley Hill’s version of ‘spiritual friendship’, or a host of recent books on the topic (the author of IVP’s SSA and the Church tips his hat toward transformation then stalls as a man mired in his ‘gay’ condition), the body of Christ seems hell-bent on making peace with LGBT+ ‘nature.’ Have we His members, lost sight of our Head who came to redeem our fallen natures? Such blindness is gnostic—splitting our spirits from our bodies and giving disordered desires the upper-hand to determine personhood.

We all need to reread Romans 1:18-32—the most substantial discourse in Scripture on homosexual conduct. St. Paul sources his understanding of sexual disorder on who God is and who humanity is based on ‘nature’, what Dr. Robert Gagnon defines as ‘the material order of things.’ Paul’s greatest theological letter opens by deeming humanity responsible for discerning the true God and for worshipping Him accordingly. Or we can do what Paul describes as the excesses evident in Rome: we deny the One and in darkness lose sight of our own created selves, sexually-speaking. This double-barreled descent into idolatry is at once spiritual —the worship of false gods—and sexual, the worship of the creature in the form of homosexual lust (1:24-27).

Heavy stuff. Could St. Paul be indicting us for how we have split our knowledge of the living God from His intention for our sexual selves? How else might we understand the unravelling of sexual order in our day? Has God handed 21st century citizens over to lustful rebellion, just as He did idolaters in Paul’s day?

Gratefully, St. Paul in Romans does not condemn sexually addictive persons but rather invites Jews first then the rest of us into the saving power of Jesus. The Apostle is clear: the domination of sin and rebellion can only be broken by faith in Jesus Christ. How can we be saved from our native idolatry, be it pious preening or exotic gender-bending? We cry out to Jesus-Savior and we worship Him!

We are back where we started. Jesus who with the Father made us: we worship Him. We return to Him who redeems us: Jesus breaks the hard heart and dissolves its filth. We worship Him and we are sustained. We go forward toward our future: eternal worship of the One. We bust idolatry by worshipping Jesus and allowing Him to restore our true personhood, including our sexual humanity.

For making Yourself known to us, we worship You Jesus. For freeing us to be who You made us to be, we worship You. For forty years of discipling others to worship You in spirit and truth, we give You praise, glory, and honor.

‘I urge you all, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will’ (Rom. 12:1, 2).

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Unforgettable: Covid Cure

‘I will not forget you! I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; your walls are ever before Me’ (Is. 49: 15b, 16).

In our covid-struck but not destroyed 40th anniversary as a ministry, I rejoice. I am grateful for periodic visits to my nearly 95-year-old Mom who still presides with dignity over the CA home in which I grew up.

Fun to serve her and fun to run thru the 3-mile radius where I can recall homes of classmates, from K-12. Last trip I determined to intercede for each house I ran by where I remembered its previous resident. I pleaded Jesus’ mercy over each.

The gift of remembrance! As I bounded by familiar dwellings, I recalled memories, foul and fair, plus phone numbers and spirit-to-spirit connection with a few who I knew in formative seasons. If I recall each one prayerfully, with hope for a brighter future, how much more does Jesus? ‘I will not forget you!’ says our God who does not forget each child’s cry for mercy, even if the adult-child appears to have forgotten Him.

Perhaps our prayerful remembrance has power to bring His Presence near. Now.

At the end of my intercessory run, I approached a street that flanked my elementary school and began to pray for an unusually good friend of the past, Elena, who had lived on that street. I recalled her with affection: funny, pretty, as insecure as the rest of us yet inclined toward God. In high school she turned her heart Jesus-ward while I turned toward ‘gay’ mischief; by the time I came to my senses through the mirror of Mercy, she had turned away from the One to other faces.

Annoyingly zealous, I invited her into my revival. She refused, but not without giving me some sage advice. ‘Do everyone a favor: when you talk about Jesus, don’t mimic someone else. Be yourself.’ Got it. Unforgettable. To paraphrase John Wimber: Be natural. Supernaturally natural.

I only saw Elena a few times after that—at class reunions, at the local gym when I visited Mom. She usually shared some sorrows. Her life had not gone as she hoped; her parents divorced, as did she, and her children suffered and wandered. We laughed of course—neither of us lost our spontaneity–but her pain lay close to the surface as did her resistance to trusting this Jesus again.

Years later, last month, I ran round the corner onto Elena’s old street. A woman walked ahead of me, and I knew it was her. We talked for an hour. Something had changed, her face was lit by unseen light. It seems the covid clampdown coincided with her mother’s death and a child’s further unraveling. Alone, she heard quietly: ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ She had nothing but time to return to her first love. He remembered her and she Him.

Of course, we spoke of our days 50 years earlier on that same street trying to figure out our lives. And we rejoiced together that the One who made us remembered us. He is becoming the very form of our lives now. More than nostalgia, we recalled His faithfulness revealed in myriad ways, including friendship. We rejoiced in new mercies that morning. Unforgettable.

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Joyful Rescue

By Marco Casanova, Asst. Director of DSM/LW

Jesus, through His Church, rescues the joy of my salvation.

The mission of Jesus, at its very core, is to offer Himself as our saving remedy. He’s what “salvation” is all about. Jesus Himself descends to the root of our existence, and heals us.

I needed salvation.

I didn’t choose to have same-sex attraction. I didn’t want it. There have been seasons of self-hatred because of it. If it were up to me, I’d choose a different story. Yet it’s precisely there that I needed Jesus, there that I met Him, and there that I continue to meet Him.

Same-sex attraction engendered a deep, ruminating sadness in me. It tried to determine my destiny, but I wanted more. Trusting Jesus, I called on Him.

I planted the Cross in the ground of my same-sex attraction. Instead of a deepening chasm of sadness, it became the base of His Cross. The Cross took root. I needed Jesus to be enthroned there. I needed Him to remain there. I desired Him to dwell there.

That was just the beginning for me. It’s essential: finding a place in my subjective, broken experience for the Cross. If I hadn’t identified that space, I wouldn’t need a Savior. Jesus is no hobby. I need Him.

After fixing the Cross in the place I abhorred most, the Savior sought to rescue a deeper joy. He wanted to rain on my parade of “worldly sorrow”, crucifying it.

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death” (2 Cor 7:10).

Catholic thinkers through the ages have developed a theology of human behavior called “moral theology.” Josef Pieper, an expert on the great , is a gift in this area. Pieper writes about “acedia,” a vice against hope. Synonymous with sloth, acedia is “worldly sorrow.” When I initially thought of sloth, I listed many ways to combat my millennial laziness. Pieper and Aquinas take it to another level.

Aquinas says that acedia is a sin against “sabbath rest.” To kill this vice against hope is not about doing, but about being. “Genuine rest and leisure are possible only under the precondition that man accepts his own true meaning” (Pieper). If humanity has no peace with who he is created to be, he is unable to rest. Or, maybe he’d rather stay in his unrest? Boom. Worldly sorrow tries again to determine his destiny.

Pieper goes on to say that acedia, in its final form, is a hatred of the divine good. It has “a monstrous result that, upon reflection, man expressly wishes that God had not ennobled him but had ‘left him in peace.’”

God created me, a man, for purposes above and beyond my low-ceiling expectations. What does worldly sorrow sound like? “Lord, I’d rather stay in my porn addiction. Leave me alone.” “Lord, I’d rather live a life of unfettered homosexual pleasure. Leave me be.” “Lord, I didn’t ask for this, and I could care less about your ‘plans and purposes’ for my life. I give up.”

This worldly sadness is subtle but grows in strength. It hates the light.

Why, in this ruminating state, was I so sad, asking God to leave me alone? I lacked hope in the God who raises the dead. I lacked hope that God created me for joy, not sadness. Why couldn’t I be reconciled to the good of my body? Why couldn’t God create a way for me to be known in my deepest wound? Why couldn’t God fulfill my desire for a bride and family?

The Cross is a doorway, leading me to the Church. As I placed that Cross in the ground I most hated, Jesus opened me to His friends. The Cross was no “joy-killer.” It was an invitation to a feast. This feast gives me hope.

Coaxed by the saints and Church teaching, I discovered the good of my body. Her Sacraments allow me to access Jesus’ forgiving, Sacred Heart. Her saints remind me that resistance to worldly sorrow is the path to victory. I am not alone; He gives me friends with whom to feast. And I seek a particular woman with whom to create family. Jesus, lead on!

Jesus, through the Church, rescues my joy. Over and over. Worldly sorrow still knows my name, but I choose to resist. God made me for so much more; therefore, I place my hope in Him.

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Glorious Church

‘For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, til her righteousness shines forth like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.’
(Is. 62:1, 2)

It is too easy to dismiss the Church as inadequate to convey the whole Gospel to LGBT+ persons: she appears to slalom from rigorous truth—a fortress inaccessible–to grace that can only be described as flabby in failing to recognize what ails us, to faith-filled but gnostic in promising spiritual ‘healing’ without touching what drives our sexual ‘diversity.’

But I will not forget what she can be! On the eve of our 40th-year celebration on August 7-9th, we at DSM/LW champion the Bride who is making herself winsome for the broken, chaste for her soon-coming King.

At our recent training in Kansas City, I saw Jesus equipping His Church to embody Himself through members who fuse ‘grace and truth’ (Jn. 1:17). He manifested Himself in a host of Christians who knelt to wash the feet of those desperate for salvation–body, soul, and spirit.

For such a time as this! Elizabeth Woning wrote a brief, compelling exhortation to the Church in Charisma News (July 2nd) to make a way for many former LGBT+ persons who in the aftermath of Bostock (the Supreme Court decision that officially altered ‘sex’ to include LGBT+ diversity) are wholeheartedly seeking Jesus through His body. More than ever, vulnerable members need the community of Jesus, brimming with grace and truth!

I am buoyed by three expressions of ‘church’ in Kansas City who are tending to vulnerable members mercifully and responsibly: Redeemer Fellowship in Midtown (a large expression of the Acts 29 movement), International House of Prayer in South Kansas City, and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City/St. Joseph (which serves many parishes in a large geographic area under one bishop). Each of these communities are distinct from the other–Redeemer is reformed and thoughtfully biblical, IHOP a non-stop prayer and worship center fueled by zealous young adults, and the Diocese, well, a vast and diverse group united by the Eucharist and RCC authority structures.

What these three communities have in common are leaders who champion what it means to be human–made in God’s image as male and female, who thoroughly believe that Jesus can transform any identification to the contrary, and who work hard to provide practical, effective means for such transformation. Each of the three communities have strong lead men who commission colleagues to head up pastoral care arms that provide solid counsel and groups like Living Waters.

These three faithful arms of Jesus can say in good conscience: we do and will do all we can to shelter persons broken by the enslaving ‘liberties’ of our day. For them and for all communities who emulate them, we declare: ‘Your righteousness is shining forth like the dawn, your salvation like a blazing torch’, O Glorious Church!

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Injustice for All

‘Protecting our neighbors from unjust discrimination does not require redefining human nature.’ Archbishop Jose Gomez, President of US Bishops Congress.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of America violated the meaning of sexual identity by broadening it to include persons who LGBT+ identify. Our highest Court did so by amending a 1964 Civil Rights Act designed to protect workers of all races, religions and both men and women, namely the latter due to misogynistic policies, from job discrimination. Now men who ‘feel’ like women are legally recognized on par with women. America just divorced sexuality from the body. We feel, therefore we are.

America just redefined sex. Gone are the days when we assumed male and female had meaning, dignity, some intrinsic value tied to creating and protecting new life. The 1964 Act defended that meaning by insisting that women not be excluded from fair treatment on the job. Any person at odds with his or her sexual birthright was considered in need of clinical and spiritual help, not legal status.

Well, you say, haven’t we already been through this when the Court sanctioned ‘gay’ marriage in 2015? Kind of. But that involved only same-sex friends who want to ‘play house.’ Redefining any figment of one’s fractured imagination as a protected minority is far more dangerous than ‘gay’ marriage.

How so? In redefining human nature, the Court legalizes human unhappiness. Our freedom hinges on aligning ourselves with Reality. Reality includes sexual birthright. I may feel many things about my sex: empowered, oppressed, lusty, anxious, splendid, empty, proud, etc.; my peace rests on integrating the truth that my body is either male or female and there is no other! To grant ‘feelings’ the power to cancel out who we in truth are is nothing short of sexual suicide.

J.K. Rowlings elucidates this well. (and has taken huge hits for doing so). As one intent on empowering women, she points out that females who ‘transition’ alter their bodies irrevocably and cannot reclaim their fertility once they seek to ‘de-transition’ as many do. She cites the faddish ‘social contagion’ of the trans-phenomenon, and the truth that most young people who feel at odds with their sex pass through dysphoria unto making peace with ‘birth’ bodies.

Her main concern? Women’s well-being. The very Civil Rights Act that sought to protect women now endangers them. ‘When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believe he is a woman, then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside.’

America just opened that door. Unhappiness, injustice for all.

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