What if your pastor asked you to help make your church a healing community for the sexually broken? This is what I would say:
As a young man I ran out of a party and into a church just blocks away from what had become an uneasy gathering of ‘gay’ men acting badly. As soon as the lit-up Christians greeted me, I felt like I had come home. Afterwards, I knew deep within that if I didn’t ‘root’ with people like that, I would be lost forever.
A few years later my pastor asked me to start a group for ex-vagrants like me trying to find their home in the Church. I had received some healing. No longer under the domain of lust and dating a good woman, my fiancé and I started one such community. We called it Living Waters.
Today lust (disordered desire) has become a weapon, a politicized torch that ignites a never-ending list of LGBTQ+-selves. What happened to the wound that Jesus longs to cleanse, the divide He can heal, and the people of God who contextualize the saint-bound sinner into a family of Love?
We must reclaim the authority of Jesus and Church, Bridegroom and Bride, if we want to offer persons what they really need. And what we need is ‘grace with faces’: Christians who don’t use Church to hide but the place where they expose what needs to be saved. That’s what Living Waters is—a place where sinners gather around one Cross and steep in Mercy and the Truth of God’s best for our sexual humanity.
Three things I’ve learned about the Church as a healing community:
1. Lay aside all labels that divide and politicize us. Just be a son or daughter whom the Father loves and always leads into greater chastity (integration).
2. Don’t dumb down sin. Raise the standard of who God made us to be and face honestly the sin of settling for lesser selves. Our freedom hinges on a high view of sin and a higher vision of human dignity.
3. Accept in humility that we need little communities within the greater community to work out profound wounds. Utilizing solid resources for creating such communities, e.g. Living Waters and other offerings, gives the Church radiant authority in a sexually dark culture.
If you mobilize to dig a deep well for healing in your community, sinners like me will run home from the chaos. True story: we started Living Waters at my parish. Pastors were open yet skeptical that upright Catholics would come. A young man, desperate to salvage a marriage torpedoed by his adultery, ran down the street from his home and burst into the office of the pastor-on-call. Pentecostal, he had never ventured into a Catholic Church. Jesus led him to us for the saving of his marriage; Jesus’ members welcomed him home.
Please pray for me this Wednesday the 12th at 10am (3am CST!). The Polish Congress of Bishops has invited me to help make their Church a healing community for the sexually broken. Hear more about it and related topics on a recent interview I had with Christopher West.