Tag Archives: LGBT

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

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!

True Justice in Race & Sexuality

By Pastor Andrew Franklin, Living Waters leader and author of
‘Created for Love: Reclaiming Jesus’ Vision for Sexuality, Gender, and Relationships.’

Jesus created every tribe, tongue, and nation to express His glory in unique but equally meaningful ways. That means standing in colorful ethnic diversity and in the unique glory of our bodies made male and female in His image.

Through racism, the inherent dignity of the human person is compromised. Racism, whether overt (violence, discrimination) or covert (“I don’t see color”) distorts God’s image in us. Rather than defending the weak and vulnerable and loving justice, we defend our own compromise and love our own view of ourselves.

That brings us to our generation’s other social justice debate. Whenever awareness dawns on our duty toward black brothers and sisters, many Christians turn the focus away from them (too painful to stay there?) and begin to champion other causes, specifically LGBT+ ones, that have a similar “feel” of justice while serving a radically different ideology.

For many of my conservative friends, their hesitation at embracing social justice for African Americans may be rooted in the fear that the rainbow flag will follow the cause of black dignity. At the same time, I know many friends who begin to internalize the pain of the black experience then begin to question their sexual morality. “Am I blind, intolerant, and hateful toward homosexuality, just as my ancestors were blind, intolerant and hateful toward black people?”

We must give Holy Spirit room to search our hearts and expose pride, feelings of superiority, and unbiblical assumptions. Then, as we repent, we must re-define our anthropology and morality around the Word and ways of God. Repentance means returning to God’s vision for our humanity, His design for our unique ethnicities and our common call to sexual integrity as men and women choosing to dignify one another.

Through sexual immorality as with racism, the inherent dignity of the human person is compromised. Perversion, whether overt (sexual abuse, molestation) or covert (“love is love”) distorts God’s image in us. We again defend our own compromise and love our own view of ourselves.

Our enemy has insidious plots to de-rail us, to pervert us so we embody lust more than whole-hearted love. Over our history, and particularly in the last few decades, Christian leaders have used a distorted interpretation of God’s Word to defend sexual sin. As with any sin, the underlying thought is that I, the mere human being, have the definitive grip and grasp on what’s best for the human person (over the years, what has been “best” for the human person has included divorce, abortion, and LGBT ideology).

Although the LGBT movement positions itself to be the natural successor to black rights, it is more aligned with racism, for both positions base their view of dignity and destiny on ‘feelings’ rather than on God’s glory in creation. The LGBT advocate believes that ‘gay’ marriage or gender reassignment is what most dignifies a gender-insecure person, because it ‘feels’ just. A racist may ‘feel’ that subservience or silencing most dignifies a black person.

Our advocacy in social justice must come from the Word and ways of God.

Regarding racism, the New Testament is clear. The book of Acts describes racial compassion toward Gentiles as the source of early church persecution. Paul regularly reminds the church that Jesus has torn down the dividing walls between ethnic groups and has called for unity in the spirit and familial love for one another regardless of race (Ephesians 2:11-22). He reinforces that different ethnic groups are supposed to shine in their unique ways (Romans 3:1-2).

Regarding sexual morality, the New Testament is clear. In Acts 15, the apostles must decide on realistic expectations for new ethnic groups who are learning to follow Jesus without knowing Jewish ways. They encourage the new church leaders not to worry about making the Gentiles conform to Jewish culture but instead create a short list of essentials, such as rejecting sexual immorality. They challenge each person to be express their own ethnic heritage while calling them to a Jewish high standard of sexual integrity. Paul takes up this theme when he specifically charges the Gentiles to not act in accordance with their ethnic group’s values of sexual immorality, but rather clarifies that God’s will for each of them is to overcome lust and walk in a sanctified vision of sexual love (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7).

Paul commands us to renounce ethnic superiority and lust and perversion. That can liberate us to champion racial justice and sexual integrity. The early church did just that: these two values turned the whole world upside down by a love superior to the emptiness of racism and perversion. Let it be so in our generation!

Birthright

June ends with unabated clamoring for justice. Pent up by social isolation, an army of protesters vents in streets and squares. Equality, NOW! Lit by the murder of George Floyd, we face African Americans entrenched in attitudes and structures that are at best oppressive. The steely gaze illumines our complicity.

Behind banners of Black Lives Matter fly rainbow flags. Straining to draw parallels between empowering an ethnic group enslaved once and still by myriad tyrants, LGBT+ activists clamor for social recognition. Heterosexism replaces white privilege as the enemy. And America answers with the biggest victory yet for the sexually ‘diverse’—a court ruling two weeks ago that redefined sexual nature as whatever one thinks and feels it to be.

Persons still inclined to reason amid the clamor may wonder why the two strains of protest—one seeking freedom from insidious slavery, the other for enslaving lives with a host of ‘selves’ that result in sexual suicide—can peacefully intermingle. In truth, they cannot. The answer is simple and radical, rooted in our Creator. We are born male and female. Human happiness lies in making peace with our bodies and in overcoming attitudes and behaviors to the contrary. African Americans are born and blessed by God with an ethnicity that commands full rights and privileges on par with any other race. Dignity demands reason: it directs us to clear out any shadow cast on one’s ethnic birthright and on one’s sexual birthright.

As for the latter, at risk of offending Gaga, you were not born that way. You just lost your way in a pandemic of sexual confusion fanned by the Supreme Court.

Around the corner from me is Troost, an 11-mile avenue that demarks the institutionalized racism of my town, Kansas City, the ninth most segregated city in the USA. 2000 of us prayed there last week to repent of how we contributed to the Troost wound, a street that divides blacks from whites in a shameful historic effort to fund good white neighborhoods and schools and to let African Americans work it out for themselves. West of Troost are tony tidy homes; eastward lie mostly African American neighborhoods which struggle for equality and opportunity. Two of my kids live and teach in schools there. They embody the truth that overcoming racism takes more than a prayer. They work to help African Americans recover the dignity of their birthright.

Just after the Troost prayer, I left for our training in Kansas City Kansas where 60 brave persons gathered to reclaim the beauty and power of their birthright, made in His image as male or female. Jesus loves that. He comes quickly for persons seeking to become who the Father made them to be. Amid the clamor for justice, we need each other more than ever to stay true. Our confusion should be clearer than ever. When we lump justice for ethnic birthright with empowering sexually broken ‘selves’, we trivialize the real wound still bleeding in African-Americans and further distance the LGBT+ set from making peace with their birthright.

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.

Become Who You Are

The full stature of our humanity is always just outside our grasp. Someone truer, stronger, more tender-in-love awaits his or her true revelation.

As God made us in us His very image, He has wired us to represent Him more nearly, more authentically. For this we must reach. Joseph Pieper describes such inspired aspiration as magnanimity, our ‘yes’ to realizing the greatness He stamped upon every cell of our being.

He is faithful. We have all experienced leaders who have witnessed our childishness, roll their eyes, and mutter: ‘Grow up.’ Not our Father and Son. When we fall short of greatness, fumble the ball or even foul out, He loves us through our shame and gently commands that we become more. He wills what He commands. Nothing less than the power that elevated Jesus from the tomb infuses our weak ‘yes’; He helps us to break through the invisible wall that keeps us crowned by childish things.

The other day, in response to an attitude Annette witnessed in me as less than godly and manly, I sought the Lord and He invited me: ‘I want you to become bigger in this area. As you stand tall and refuse to bend, I will give you victory.’ He has. I must choose daily to stand in that higher place. As I do, I grow into the freedom for which Christ set me free.

It hurts but helps us to bump against low ceilings of immaturity. Growth requires our ‘yes’ to Spirit-inspired commands to break the previously unseen wall.

How sad when we don’t. I know a good man who loves Jesus and leads others in His Name who is convinced that he is intrinsically ‘gay.’ Though he refuses explicit homosexual behavior, he is bound by boyish dependencies that belie his 39-years. These friendships are flirtatiousness and campy; his immaturity confuses others and keeps him a pre-teen, emotionally speaking.

It’s hard to grow up. And our Father helps us. He knows we tend to familiar, lesser selves due to laziness and lack of vision. You could say St. Paul wrote most of his epistles for just that reason, to remind faltering Christians to become who God made and redeemed them to be.

LGBT+ month reminds us that we live in an age that has stripped ‘compassion’ of magnanimity; we have lost vision and spiritual power. Let us reclaim both. St. Paul’s words ring truer than ever: ‘For you were once darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord. Live as children of the Light’ (Eph. 5:8). St. Augustine says it another way. ‘Live up to what you have become.’ Become who you are.

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