In her face, I witnessed my sorrow and somehow could feel it. My friend conveyed simple pain over her (natural) father’s ongoing failures, a man she wanted to love but could not trust. All she could summon was pity. And now grief as she witnessed him unraveling before her eyes. Strange. Since this prayer/fast for a Church shackled by abuse, I have been overcome by grief, a loss I cannot shake. Outrage over cover-ups and talky inaction has given way to disappointment, an abidi
My face is a mess. Overexposed for years in the California sun, it now looks like rugged desert terrain, baked red by heat. I am undergoing a harsh chemical treatment that surfaces precancerous blotches. Hidden no more, these sores must face the light, scab, and fall away with the advent of new skin. Vanity aside, I am glad to be monstrous for a time. How else will I heal? Our Church’s face has become monstrous too. I tremble at the deposing of now ex-Cardinal McCarrick whose
The other night, I dreamt of complicity—a good friend and colleague had been pronounced innocent of murder yet I knew otherwise. She killed someone and I killed the truth by saying nothing. I was just speaking with a fellow minister/healer from another country who described an important priest there who brought in a lot of money for the Church; most there knew he regularly pursued same-gender sex, yet even the bishop gave him a ‘pass’ because of his usefulness. Are we all a l
‘You are no longer aliens but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone’ (Eph. 2:19, 20). Mexicans do it better. Living Waters anyway. Attribute it to truer body/spirit integration. Or greater openness to the Spirit. Or deeper awareness of poverty, submitted to God. All I can say is that I left Guadalajara full of hope (‘esperanza’ in Spanish) for a
OK, OK, I love my wife and kids and dogs and house. But I am most at home before the One. During these days of Christmas, my eyes are fixed on the little baby in the cow stall; I bow in worship. He is the Lord. He is no mere extension of my religious imagination, nor a sentimental reminder of Christmases past. From the manger He burns with fire that unites crib to charismatic signs to cross. He is God, I am not, and as I bow I find peace. I am at home. True worship results fr
‘The joy of a saint is not to draw people to himself…but to cast his crown before God.’ Father Richard Veras This fall I’ve faced the down-drag of affliction—my Church’s tendency to look good rather than to become good, and my mother who shattered her shoulder in August. In the face of her mortality (resilient and recovering 93-year-old that she is!), I uneasily check my own and am tempted by resignation rather than resurrection. A young Filipina woman reads the Old Testament
I woke from a fitful sleep, jet-lagged and already critical of the things that awaited me at morning Mass. I countered with a prayer for humility and tolerance of things I dislike like dour congregants and uninspiring music. After all, it is Easter! Jesus is walking through walls and telling folks to get their hands off Him then insisting that they lay hands on Him—all kinds of messy, unpredictable stuff. I cringed slightly as I eyed the cantor for the morn; golden in her int
We are on fire and need fuel to stoke the flames. Help us with a one-time gift. Here’s the deal. We have been burning with passion for the Church as never before, starting with our 40-day fast last fall for the gender broken then blazing trails in congregations on the west and east coast. Most passionately, we fought hard to ignite a blaze smack dab in the middle. Our Gender Matters conference in February broke all expectations with over 20 different churches represented–both
Our Lenten offering is prayer for the whole, broken Church. Not so hard. We are wholly broken, full of faith, bursting with seeds of hope for her best and grateful to sow them in deep rich soil. We are nothing in contrast to how people rate greatness. But in prayerful response to His riches toward us, we have everything. We laugh: barren Sarah (Ge 18:12), David and his giants, a speck of mustard seed (Matt. 17:20), containing within herself a sheltering, towering tree. So we
‘Instead of a Church which clings to its own securities, I want one that is bruised and hurting because it has been out on the streets…’ Pope Francis (EG 49) How do we as the Church fulfill Jesus’ call to love sin-broken people in a way that frees them to let go of that sin? The Gospel witness is evident: in the face of Pharisaic scrutiny, His passion for the unclean makes them pure. His Presence delivers the Magdalene of her demons, draws the prostitute who weeps in remorse
‘If we are to evangelize the “prostitutes and sinners,” it demands that we be secure enough and mature enough in our own freedom to not be evangelized by them.’ Christopher West Exposed by loving eyes and primed with living water, the Samaritan ‘bride’ raced off to tell others the good news about Jesus. Newly kindled faith made her fearless. All she wanted was for her friends to know ‘this man who told me everything I ever did.’ (Jn 4:29) And guess what? ‘They came out of tow
‘Let us consider how we may provoke one another to love and good deeds.’ (Heb. 10:24) We go through the fire of God’s refining love in order to know Him more. We endure the shame of exposing our idols to Him and to others so we can be whole; our integration as persons depends on worship of the true God, not many false ones. We admit our losses and disappointments, especially with the Church, in order for God to tenderize our otherwise hardening hearts. The result of love’s fi
‘Zeal for Your house consumes me.’ (PS 69:9; JN 2:17) During our forty days of ‘Pierced for the Bride’, we shall ‘fast’ lesser loves in order to know Him more. But in this case, intimacy with Jesus is unto a particular end. We will ask Him for His heart for His house, the Church. We avail ourselves to the Bridegroom to receive His affection for the Bride. The truth is: we are His bride. Yet we often fail to recognize who we are as the communal object of His deepest desire. In
How do you love someone whose self has become a defense? My friend John found it easier to present outrageous escapades than the longings of his heart. At times we wondered: are gay sex and drugs really that important to him? We needed mercy to remind ourselves that the real John was much more than both. I first met John 35 years ago, before AIDS even had a name. He then lived in West Hollywood from which he bounced to San Francisco then back, a ricochet driven by failed atte
‘Christians who are afraid to build bridges and prefer to build walls are Christians who are not sure of Jesus Christ. When the Church loses this apostolic courage, she becomes a stalled Church, a tidy Church, a Church without fertility, because she has lost the courage to go to the many people who are victims of idolatry, of worldliness, of weak thought…Those who do not walk in order not to err make the more serious mistake.’ Pope Francis Jesus suffered to heal us, to resto
“In that day, declares the Lord, you will call me my husband; you will no longer call me my master…I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you to me in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” (Hosea 2: 16, 19, 20) Church needs to be a place of encounter between God and His lepers. We gather to open ourselves to the only One who knows us fully: what we are for and how far we have fallen
But when local churches become advocates of grace and truth for the gender broken, healing rises like sun breaking through clouds. And I am pleased to say that the church is rising in this hour to mobilize for such healing. She has been provoked by ‘gay marriage’ victories, by the confusing face of once reliable ministries, and by the falling away of many whose sexual shame has now become their boast. Most importantly, her faithful pastors have heard the cries for help from c
‘A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure.
A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth.
A faithful friend is a saving remedy, such as he who fears God finds.
For he who fears God behaves accordingly, and his friend will be like himself.’ (Sirach 6: 15-17) What most fail to realize is that the journey to actually becoming a whole-enough gift for the opposite gender is a magnificent and arduous journey that cannot be reduc
‘I believe, help my unbelief!’ (Mark 9: 24) A malaise broods over the earth today, scrambling moral reality to the degree that even good Christians cede ethnic status to ‘gays’ and laugh like the world at anyone’s effort to change his/her homosexuality. The salt has lost its savor, the Gospel its power, as the church limply lays hands on seriously confused people and confirms them as ‘gay.’ I want to change minds and hearts with the truth that Jesus Christ came to set captive
‘Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shone like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.’ (PS 37: 5, 6) Last week’s Time Magazine featured photos of sexy lip-locked gay couples under the heading: ‘How Gay Marriage Won.’ The popular media prophesies an utterly gay-friendly America; in the words of Time, we are ‘eyewitnesses of history’, the successful homosexualization of our culture with ‘gay marriage