‘After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied.’ (IS 53:11) God surrenders to man’s sin and death in order to vanquish his sin and death. Forever. Today and for as long as we live on earth, Jesus desires that our lives declare that truth. He is reunited with the Father! He lives to intercede for us! He pours out His Spirit upon us continuously, and provokes us with the fruit of His suffering–the expansive, generous, inclusive union He now sha
I usually hate to travel during this desert season but I could not resist the temptation to invite myself to the first assembly of 100 Living Waters members and leaders from four robust groups around Poland. Under the strong leadership of Father Joseph and a national team of clergyman and lay persons, the Poles have taken up this work with an unprecedented focus and strategy. Joseph and tribe translated Living Waters, secured the theological blessing of the Polish bishops for
Francis’ long awaited report on marriage and family is good news, a hearty hug of a document that encompasses the best of what marital love can be. I consumed the 256 page exhortation—Love in the Family—as a hungry man. Pressures on my own marriage and family life had been mounting in the days leading up its release; I needed release from my clouded capacity to be a ‘good-enough’ gift for wife and kids. Like a father embracing his confused son who knew only to turn in the gen
Rome’s synopsis of its synod on ‘family life’ includes 3 paragraphs (out of 58) on homosexuality which could be a cause for alarm. The bishops appear to grant ‘homosexuals’ a kind of ethnic status—homosexuals are treated as a people group whose ‘sexual orientation’ we are ‘to accept and value.’ (50) Further, ‘it must be noted’ that the supportive components of homosexual unions are to be treated as ‘precious’. (52) This troubles me for many reasons, not the least of which is
‘God infuses the soul and sets it on fire with the Spirit of Love.’ St. John of the Cross My heart burns with hope. After a week enkindled with story after story of God’s healing love in the lives of persons wounded by homosexuality, I am a believer: the fiery love of Jesus overturns the claims of those who insist that ‘homosexuals cannot change.’ The Gospel truth is vastly superior. Jesus sets persons captivated by same-gender longing free: free from the shaming events and
‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for what is right, for they shall be filled.’ (Matt. 5:6) Jesus wrecks our appetites. Sexy idols compete in vain with the One who offers Himself to us constantly; He becomes the meal, living bread and drink endowed with power to secure our deepest desires. I spoke with a young Hungarian man the other day who proudly declared his openness to many gods and lovers in contrast to the ‘rigid’ Catholic family he left behind. ‘But don’t you m
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matt. 5:3) Poverty can incline us to riches beyond ourselves. When directing us to God as our wealth, poverty achieves holy ends; it renders us blessed citizens of a whole new world. In contrast to Luke, who begins his version of the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ with ‘blessed are the poor’ (LK 6:20), Matthew expands that phrase to ‘poor in spirit.’ I am grateful; it challenges a privileged white dude like me to
Advent 2: Beauty, Burning ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath! Produce fruit in keeping with repentance…I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come One who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.’ (Matt. 3: 7, 8, 11) John the Baptist’s cry against the corruption of human hearts cost him his head; the very leaders he decried killed him and so fulfill
‘Do not be conformed to this age but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…’ (Romans 12: 2a) ‘That was the first time I had ever heard anything hopeful about homosexuality’: a not unfamiliar response from Christians who hear us share our journeys out of homosexuality and into wholeness in Christ. My take? The body of Christ has bought the lie that Jesus cannot touch homosexuality! He may well have destroyed death, stormed the gates of hell to get us out of there, and ro
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
Facing well one’s same-sex attraction requires more than good theology. One must also understand how we develop into whole-enough men and women. Yes, we are born to become good gifts to the opposite gender and yes, we readily stall en route to the goal of such ‘gift-giving.’ Next to Leanne Payne, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi has influenced me more than anyone else in his astute psychological understanding of how we become (or do not become) mature expressions of men and women for each
Exodus VP Randy Thomas just wrote a glowing account of Paulk’s renunciation of his ‘ex-gay’ status. In the spirit of Exodus new ‘radical’ grace message, Thomas ‘agrees with 95%’ of what Paulk confided in him, commends him to us as ‘one pursuing the true meaning of grace’, and describes John as ‘a man without guile.’ Yet Thomas omits the fact that Paulk’s choices violate his vows to his wife and three boys who as teenagers need their father more than ever. Exodus seems more co
True marriage bears witness to all people, including to persons with same-sex attraction, of something deeper and more beautiful than two people sharing lives. It reveals a quality of sacrifice and mutual submission not unlike Jesus’ love for us. Early on in my journey out of homosexuality, still confused as to my sexual future, I caught glimpses of my parents’ love for each other. However imperfect, they always conveyed respect to each other; I noticed the very specific ways
‘For we are reduced, O Lord, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins.’ (Dan. 3: 37) Another pastor I know recently changed his view on homosexual practice and now believes it is compatible with the Gospel. One of his staff had repented of her lesbian past and had resolved, at no small cost, to live a chaste life. Hearing her senior associate’s new view opened doors for her. She has since met a vulnerable woman in the church with who she is now sexuall
‘The greatest figures of prophecy and sanctity step forth out of the darkest night.’ – St. Edith Stein Suffering alone does not give us life or make us good. Jesus does. He simply uses suffering to reduce us to Himself. Serious trouble invites us into the desert to prepare for the resurrection He has in store for us. Of all the kinds of suffering that exist, the best kind involves suffering for being a Christian. The Church at Smyrna knew that suffering well. (Rev.2: 8-11) T
‘I urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints’…for ‘godless ones have changed the grace of God into a license for immorality.’ (Jude 3, 4) Any challenge to the ‘gay self’ is seen as dangerous. Now educators, therapists, and social workers, even pastors, go to great lengths to confirm that ‘self’ by supporting alternative communities that support early expressions of ‘gender-bending.’ I recently read of a camp in upstate New York that hosts
‘So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets.’ (Is 59: 14) I marvel at how such a brilliant man could be so misguided on his view of homosexuality. Being a woman and a member of any ethnic group is immutable and morally beautiful. Assuming ‘the gay self’ is neither. Like me, many have made decisions to change their sexual identity. We have done so based on many variables, including the moral conviction that homosexual p
‘The sick soul fears more than anything else the demands made on one who is well.’
Joseph Pieper While addressing both Protestant and Catholic groups in France, I was warned twice not to mention ‘healing’ and ‘homosexuality’ in the same sentence as that is now illegal in France. Impassioned ‘gay marriage’ debates raged on every TV screen as France prepares to decide in February whether gays will share every marriage and family privilege with husband and wife. I was tempted t
8am: a man to whom I had been sharing Christ stopped our conversation short by introducing me to his new male lover then politely refused any more ‘God-talk.’ Noon: some dear friends called me to in tears to tell us that their son had just ‘come out’ and that the conservative Christian college he attended was supporting his new ‘gay self’. 4pm: a Christian leader called me to ask for help for a devout father of 4 children whose wife had just abandoned the family for a female