Dignify and Deploy 3: Truth and Freedom
‘It is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear.’ (Gaudium et Spes 22)
John Wimber inspired and raised a young lay woman, Denise, to run one of many weekly prayer groups out of his ‘mother church’, the Vineyard Anaheim. Denise cared for people by listening to each and mobilizing others to listen to God and act on His direction for him or her.
One such person was Kevin who, born a female (Karen), had been undergoing a sex re-assignment process unbeknownst to the small group. During the last leg of ‘his transition’, Kevin felt inclined to include Denise in ‘his’ process. Startled, Denise promised to commit this important disclosure to prayer.
Denise received simply from the Spirit: ‘God made you Karen.’ She surrounded Kevin with arms of love and promised small group support. ‘Kevin’ repented and began the arduous journey of gender reconciliation. Living Waters had just begun at Vineyard Anaheim, Karen joined, and she became one of our best witnesses and leaders.
The Word made flesh, embodied in activated Christians, unlocked Karen’s dignity. Jesus summoned the most authentic part of her. Wimber helped realize this dignity through deploying thousands of healing advocates like Denise.
Karol Wojtyla fought for and articulated this human dignity. He anchored this dignity in Jesus—the Source and Summit of each person’s aspiration to realize his or her native greatness. Father and Son made each one, Father and Son could redeem each one according to Their original design.
While Wimber forged his vision of original dignity in the sunny individualism and opportunism of post-war California, Wojtyla’s was forged in Poland, first pummeled by Nazi Germany then slowly strangled by Soviet rule (still operative when he helped pen Gaudium et Spes during Vatican ll in the sixties). Out of the fire, Wojtyla gave voice to the essential link between truth and freedom—that each person should have a right to know this Jesus, and that each person should be free in his or her choice to accept or reject Him. Discovering the gift of God and one’s own self-gift has meaning only to the degree that it is freely discovered.
We can attribute to Pope St. John Paul ll the clarion call to each person’s and nation’s right to self-determination. Timely. In this day of Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, John Paul champions the Ukraine’s valiant fight to refuse Putin’s fetters. That applies to deeply personal matters as well. Both Wimber and John Paul fight for ‘Karen’ as she chooses to embrace her original dignity as a woman.
Both Wimber and Wojtyla equipped the modern world to know her dignity and fend off her robbers. We continue to wage that war by inviting all who will into robust, ordered self-giving.
“Lord, we embrace the link between truth and freedom. You gave Yourself freely to us and we decide to welcome (or refuse) You. You made us free so our self-gift might aspire to all you made us to become. Liberate the Ukraine as she fights; liberate us as we fight for our most authentic selves.
Come Holy Spirit. Liberate what is most true and beautiful from what debases us. May we not settle but aspire to the dignity of our sexual humanity. Might we grow into ‘mature expressions of the gift’ by helping others to do the same. Deployed to dignify, we ‘harness the John force.’”