I marvel at the choice of the Gospel reading for the Feast of Christ the King. To finalize the Year of Faith, the Church spotlights not the triumphant Jesus but the One sneered as ‘King of the Jews’, punctured by spears and jeers (LK 23: 35-43). Jesus the criminal King, turning man’s justice on its ear. The blows He took broke the barrier between us; the blood shed rescues us from death, the shattered body makes us whole. The vehicle for our empowerment is His utter weakness.
‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this He meant the Spirit…’ (JN 7: 37-39) Each of us has been primed by merciful Jesus; He pours out life-giving Spirit upon the ground of our hearts. Holy water from without inspires a merciful fountain within. We learn to live from that well. Our sin, their sin, and the dulling of an idolatrous culture necessitate fresh
‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.’ (LK 9: 23) Jesus’ Cross is the foundation of our freedom. His broken body is the narrow way to a spacious life. He asks us to follow Him, to align our new lives with His cruciform one. That means discovering in every hardship we face for the Kingdom’s sake a little cross. Here He refines our allegiance and purges our ‘yes’ of fanciful spirituality. He bursts the bubbles of illusion: the q
‘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
‘These matters are in my hands and I will bring them to fruition according to My Mercy, for nothing can oppose My will.’ Jesus to St. Faustina Growing acceptance of gender brokenness seems founded on the belief that people are born incurably ‘gay,’ ‘transgender’ etc. Why not be and act according to who one intrinsically is? Rarely discussed is the fracturing impact such acceptance has upon vulnerable boys and girls. Identity formation involves far more than genetics. Who we b
‘I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, save me!” The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, He saved me.’ (PS 116: 1-4) I am grateful f
I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ amid the afflicting power of homosexual attraction and conduct. In those years, shame veiled such struggles. I was fortunate to find Christian guides who helped me to discover Jesus as the basis for a new and true humanity. Today, we arise out of shame and into the evolving community known as LGBTQ. Such a community may appear to afford some a kind of corporate identity and defense against a heterosexist world. What it actually doe
I am happy to announce the release of Desert Stream Ministries 2013 Mid-year Newsletter.
The newsletter features articles written by myself and Annette along with special contributions from friends of Desert Stream. In Intimate Authority, Tender Army, I write: Mary Magdalene is considered by the Roman Catholic Church to be the Apostle of Apostles. Why? The risen Christ revealed Himself to her first; out of all the disciples, God entrusted her with the witness of the resurrec
‘Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains alone. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.’ (Jn 12: 24) I hope I am not being dramatic here. After all, Scripture implores us to count all things loss for the sake of knowing Him more. (Phil. 3: 7, 8) These losses may be deeply personal: long-held expectations and aspirations that we have forsaken for the Gospel. It can also be the disorientation we experience when those around us change. Familiar rallying p
‘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
“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and don’t need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.” (Rev. 3:17) St. Peter reveals our prideful detachment. When Jesus knelt down to wash the apostle’s dirty feet, his response is ours: “Get up! Get away from my stench! Remember the fragrant things I do!’ Jesus responds to Peter and to us: ‘Unless you let Me wash you there [feet—the lowest, dirtiest parts of us], you can have no p
‘Am I stone and not a sheep, that I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy Cross, To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss, and yet not weep?’ – Christina Rossetti ‘A guilty suffering soul is more open to grace than an apathetic or smug soul.’ Edna Hong Maybe it hurts to slow down. To a church traumatized by sex abuse scandals, corruption in the ‘corporate offices’, and everyday injustices (parish and otherwise), busyness preserves us. Works defend us from our wounds. Better to
‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ (Matt. 6: 21) A few years ago, my teenage son told me that the largest evangelical church in our city was winning over many of his friends. His concern? Those new converts continued in sexual immorality as the church ‘did not make a big deal about premarital sex.’ Later I read one of the pastor’s books in which he conveyed quietly that Christians had to become ‘gay–affirming’ if they wanted to be relevant to a new e
‘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
‘For Zion’s sake, I shall not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake, I will not remain quiet, until her righteousness shines forth like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.’ (IS. 62: 1) Such intimacy prepares us for the Cross. As Lent becomes Holy Week 2013, might we wait longer with Him on Good Friday, and so rejoice more fully with Him on Easter Sunday? Lent is a time of reduction. We pare down the extras in our life; we turn down the noise of a thousand voices in order
‘A woman, clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown to twelve stars on her head…was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth…then an enormous red dragon stood in front of her …so that it might devour the child the moment it was born…she gave birth to a son …who was snatched up to God and to His throne…And there was war in heaven.’ (Rev. 12: 1-7) Creating new life requires faith. Only in surrender to the One under whose shadow we cre
‘When I talk about her, I cannot stop!’ St. Augustine ‘How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord;
My heart and flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—a place near Your altar,
O Lord God Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
they are ever praising You.’ (PS 84: 1-4) Let’s start
Jesus healed 10 lepers. ‘Only one of them came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him—and he was a Samaritan.’ (Luke 17: 15, 16) ‘Now in Christ Jesus you who were far away have been brought near through the blood of Jesus.’ (Eph. 2:13) We came back! We the disintegrated, harassed and helpless due to our misinterpretation of same-sex attraction have been cleansed by Mercy Himself. He made a way for us, and we travel back with shout
You could cite Obama’s slide as America’s; he started 4 years ago resolute in his ‘Christian’ commitment to marriage then unraveled. He became the first US president to champion ‘gay marriage’ last May. Did he lead America into ‘gay marriage’ or just reflect the superficial faith of many? Chicken or egg: discuss. Last Tuesday, the Church laid an egg; she chickened out, big time. How else do you explain the stats that most avowed Roman Catholics in the USA now support ‘gay mar
My wife Annette observed an 8-year-old boy in a waiting room trying to make sense of a photo in People magazine of two men in tuxes, probably a feature on some celeb ‘gay wedding.’ Wide-eyed, and too truthful to have anything but a visceral response to the madness, he said: ‘Are those guys… you know, together? That’s real scary.’ No scarier than the wedding photo in front of me of two men, 20-years apart yet mirror images of each other, with their adopted 4-year-old daughter