Search This Blog

Monday, October 26, 2015

When life is hard, we are primed to learn something absolutely central - Rohr, OFM

By Richard Rohr, OFM

Only the wounded physician heals. --C. G. Jung [1]

When life is hard, we are primed to learn something absolutely central. I call it God's special hiding place. The huge surprise of the Christian revelation is that the place of the wound is the place of the greatest gift. Our code phrase for this whole process is "cross and resurrection," revealing that our very wounds can become sacred wounds, if we let them.

No surprise that an unjustly wounded man became the central transformative symbol of Christianity. Once "the killing of God" becomes the very "redemption of the world," the pathway was revealed. Forevermore the very worst things have the power to become the very best things. Henceforth, nothing can be a permanent dead end; everything is capable of new shape and meaning. There is no advantage to playing the victim, and we are forever warned against victimizing others. Henceforth, we are indeed saved by gazing upon the wounded one--and loving there our own woundedness and everybody else's wounds too (John 3:14, 12:32, 19:37). One's world is henceforth grounded in mutual vulnerability instead of any need to have power over one another.

This is the core meaning of the Christian doctrine of Trinity--the inner shape of God is mutual deference and honoring among three, not self-assertion or autonomy by one. [2] God is "an event of communion" and perfect vulnerability, not an old man sitting on a throne. All creation is a replication of that foundational pattern. When Pope Francis first bowed to receive the blessing of the people instead of just giving his own blessing, he was bodily illustrating this wondrous divine revelation, which the church itself has seldom understood.

I usually find that most great people still carry a significant personality flaw. It is fairly predictable. St. Paul himself, clearly flawed, humbly recognized that God had given him a "thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to buffet me" (2 Corinthians 12:7), which he says was necessary "to keep me from getting too proud." In most wise people I know, their authority and wisdom comes from the struggle with their wound or some essential conflict. Material moves from the unconscious to the conscious through conflict and struggle, hardly ever through perfect coherence or ideal performance. The Jungian aphorism holds true: "The greater light you have, the greater shadow you cast." The search for the supposedly perfect is very often the enemy of the truly good. [3] All "important" people must daily recognize their own imperfection and sin or they become dangerous to themselves and others.

All scapegoating, the process of both denying and projecting our fears and hates elsewhere, only perpetuates suffering. The scapegoat mechanism is hidden in the unconscious; it proceeds from our unrecognized but real need to project our anxiety elsewhere. [4] Unfortunately, there is no elsewhere in the spiritual world. Either you transform pain within yourself or it is always an outflowing wound. You are transformed when you can refuse to project your anxieties elsewhere, and learn to hold and forgive them within yourself, which can only be done by the grace of God--and which grace is always given.

Jesus didn't project the problem on to any other group, race, or religion; he held it and suffered it and thus transformed it into medicine for the world. He neither played the victim nor created victims, which is the modus operandi of much of the world. Jesus revealed the redemptive pattern, the "third way," or what we call the Paschal Mystery. The significance of Jesus' wounded body is his deliberate and conscious holding of the pain of the world and refusing to send it elsewhere. Jesus' wounds were not necessary to convince God that we were loveable (atonement theory); his wounds are to convince us of the path and the price of transformation.

Jesus agrees to be the Universal Wounded One and thus to reveal God's willingness to share in our plight. Christians are the strange believers in a wounded healer, even though they seldom seem to appreciate the implications of this for themselves. If I were to name the Christian religion, I would probably call it "The Way of the Wound." Surprise of surprises, Christianity is saying that we come to God not by doing it right (which teaches you very little), but invariably by doing it wrong and responding to our failures and suffering with openness and awareness.

Jesus' wounded body is an icon for what we are all doing to one another and to the world.

Jesus' resurrected body is an icon of God's promise, response, and victory over these crucifixions.

The two images contain the whole transformative message of the Gospel. [5]

Gateway to Silence

"The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are." - C. G. Jung

Sunday, October 25, 2015

European leaders lash out at handling of immigration crisis

EU leaders exchange barbs at migrant summit as refugees march by the thousands across Europe


Refugees rest at the Slovenian-Austrian border in Spielfeld, Austria, 
Friday, Oct. 23, 2015. Thousands of people are trying to reach 
central and northern Europe via the Balkans but often have to wait 
for days in mud and rain at the Serbian, Croatian and Slovenian 
border. (Akos Treba/MTI via AP)

BRUSSELS -- European leaders lashed out Sunday at each other's handling of the continent's greatest immigration crisis since World War II, even as they came together to seek ways to ease the plight of the tens of thousands marching across the Balkans toward the European Union's heartland.

At a hastily called emergency summit in Brussels, 11 EU and Balkan leaders were especially looking to shore up Greece's porous border with Turkey and slow the flow of people heading north toward the European Union's heartland.

"Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

Nearly 250,000 migrants have passed through the Balkans since mid-September and the surge is not being deterred by either cold weather or colder waters off Greece. Croatia said 11,500 people crossed into the country Saturday, the highest in a single day since Hungary put up a fence and refugees started coming into Croatia in mid-September.

Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar said his tiny Alpine nation was being overwhelmed by the refugees -- with 60,000 arriving in the last 10 days -- and was not receiving enough help from its EU partners.

He put the challenge in simple terms: if no fresh approach is forthcoming "in the next few days and weeks, I do believe that the European Union and Europe as a whole will start to fall apart."

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic asked a fundamental question that the 28-nation bloc and non-EU nations like Serbia have been unable to answer since the migratory trek across the Mediterranean and through Turkey started last spring: "What we are going to do with hundreds of thousands of these people?"

Half a year later, there is no answer. Sunday's meeting was hoping to come up with some Band-Aid solutions at best. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras commented that having a summit on the migrant crisis was of little use if Turkey was not invited.

Many say the EU needs to get control of the refugee flow at the bloc's external border between EU-member Greece and Turkey. Migration experts, however, say the flood of refugees won't be halted until the world resolves the war in Syria, which is driving millions out of the country.

Vucic said he was prepared for "hard, not very pleasant" talks. He said Serbia would not "put up any walls" like Hungary's new razor wire-topped border fences.

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic asked of fellow EU nation Greece: "Why doesn't Greece control its maritime half with Turkey?"

Greece, criticized for being ill-prepared as a first EU buffer against the migrants, decried the lack of EU solidarity.

"Till today, it was difficult to find a solution, because a series of countries adopt a stance 'Not in my backyard,'" Tsipras said.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, so often the target for building border fences that diverted the flow of refugees to other nations, simply said "Hungary is not on the route anymore, so we are just observers here." Then he lashed into measures other EU nations had already taken, especially those belonging to the Schengen passport-free border zone.

"The no. 1 source of the crisis is that members of the European Union, and especially those who are members of Schengen treaty, are not able, or are not ready to keep their word," Orban declared.

As the leaders bickered, those out in the field begged them to act quickly and more decisively.

At Slovenia's overwhelmed Brezice refugee camp near the border with Croatia, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency urged leaders to come up with a system to register and screen newcomers when they first enter Europe, rather than in piecemeal attempts at borders along the way.

"But also very important is to help Syria's neighbouring countries, where there are around 4 million refugees," said UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch. "These people don't need to take these risky journeys if there are legal pathways to come to Europe."

Migrants now mainly travel across the water from Turkey to Greece, and then north to Macedonia and Serbia before entering Croatia and moving on to Slovenia and Austria. Most are aiming to get to Germany or Scandinavia.

In a reminder of the dangers, Greece's coast guard said a woman and two young children drowned and seven other people were missing after their boat smashed into rocks on the island of Lesbos amid turbulent seas. Fifty-three others were rescued.

Syrian refugee Mohamed Alabdulameed was one of many forging into Slovenia after nearly three weeks on the road.

The 28-year-old said he initially hoped to make it to Britain but was changing plans after hearing how dangerous it had become to try and get across the English Channel. More than a dozen migrants have been killed in the last few months trying to hitchhike on trains or trucks going through the Channel Tunnel.

"I am asking myself 'Why do they close the doors in front of us, especially the educated people who studied their language in other countries?'" he said. "That's why I am really surprised and astonished at the same time."

The number of people on the move across Europe was still in the tens of thousands.

Mahmoud Awad, a UNHCR field protection officer, said about 1,000 people passed through Serbia's border town of Berkasovo and into Croatia overnight. In the Austrian border town of Spielfeld, 2,500 people spent the night in tents and 7,000 more were expected Sunday from Slovenia, the dpa news agency reported. In Germany's southernmost state of Bavaria, the flow of asylum-seekers from Austria was steady at 3,000 to 6,000 people per day.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Listen for God


Thursday, October 15, 2015

St Teresa of Avila! Blessed Feast of Nuestra Madre in Carmel! 15 Oct 2015


Missionaries of Charity close adoption services after changes to Indian law

Missionaries of Charity close adoption services after changes to Indian law
by Staff Reporter
posted Monday, 12 Oct 2015

Members of Mother Teresa's order, the Missionaries of Charity (CNS)

The new rules have made it easier for single and divorced people to adopt

Thirty orphanages in India run by the Missionaries of Charity, the religious congregation established by Mother Teresa, have closed their adoption services after changes in the law have made it easier for divorced and single people to adopt.

“We have voluntarily given up our recognised status to run adoption centres,” the Missionaries of Charity said in a statement.

“This decision was arrived at soon after we received the new ‘Guidelines Governing Adoption of Children, 2015′ issued under a notification from the union ministry of women and child development.”

According to the Women and Child Development Ministry, only 2,500 orphans were adopted in 2014 out of an estimated 16 to 30 million. In response to the huge number of orphans, bureaucratic obstacles and child trafficking, the Indian government has made it a legal requirement for orphanages to submit records to a central database that helps match prospective parents with children, making it easier for divorced and single people to adopt.

Maneka Gandhi, head of the Women and Child Development Ministry, said the Missionaries of Charity have “cited ideological issues” with the adoption guidelines and that “they do not want to come under a uniform secular agenda.”

Sister Amala of Nirmala Shishu Bhawan, a New Delhi orphanage run by the Missionaries of Charity, said: “We have already shut our adoption services, because we believe our children may not receive real love. We do not wish to give children to single parents or divorced people.

“It is not a religious rule but a human rule. Children need both parents, male and female. That is only natural, isn’t it?”

Friday, October 9, 2015

Will Russian actions help Syria’s Christians?

Will Russia’s ‘holy war’ save Syria’s Christians?
by Ed West
posted Wednesday, 30 Sep 2015

Vladimir Putin has outfoxed the West in the Middle East (AP)

America and Britain have helped to endanger minorities in the Middle East

The war in Syria has taken a significant turn these past few months, with the migrant crisis and the intervention of Russia. Even a few months ago one might have expected Bashar al-Assad’s downfall, and two years ago one would have bet the house on it.

Now, with the refugee crisis seriously threatening Europe’s governments and the almost comic ineffectiveness of American-trained Syrian rebels, Western leaders seem resigned to accepting Russian’s involvement and some sort of truce that allows Assad to stay.

Whatever one thinks of Vladimir Putin, he has certainly outplayed Barack Obama in Syria; four years after the start of this tragedy Russia is much stronger in the Middle East, and the United States is weaker. There are reasons for this.

As this piece in the Spectator and this one in The Week by Michael Brendan Dougherty point out, Putin’s approach to Syria has actually been more rational than America’s. The American and British policy of backing a Gulf-sponsored uprising has been either woefully naïve or quite cynically designed to curry favour with the Saudis.

There’s something especially sinister about the way our governments have followed a Wahhabi-led scheme to overthrow a secular dictatorship, a revolution that would almost certainly endanger Christians in the land of St Paul.

For example, the rebel group al-Nusra Front, one of the players in the region Russia is now pounding, previously overran the Christian village of Maaloula, 40 miles north of Damascus, executing three Christians and kidnapping a dozen nuns before being driven out by the Syrian army.

During the battle for that village one Christian addressed the BBC cameraman with these chilling words: “Tell the Europeans and the Americans that we sent you St Paul 2,000 years ago to take you from the darkness, and you sent us terrorists to kill us”.

Hey buddy, you’re welcome.

Conspiracy theories are common in the Middle East, but it is hardly surprising that people think there are reasons behind the reasons when Western governments follow policies so at odds with what most Westerners think is morally right, and which are also not in their own interests.

In contrast, Russian policy is brutal, and involves supporting a ruthless dictatorship. But Russia’s approach is also logically consistent and demonstrates a clear understanding of what their long-term goals are. Russia has a firm idea of what Syria will look like in the near future, which presumably involves lots of posters of President Assad, maybe with a few of Putin wrestling a shark. The West, meanwhile, is clueless.

That is perhaps because Western policy in the Middle East is designed to win tomorrow’s newspaper headlines, such as when Britain and France rushed into overthrowing Gaddafi in 2011. This may be one of the strengths of an authoritarian system, where critics of the president tend to accidentally stab themselves to death. When it comes to Syria, none of the Western democracies has shown any long-term thinking.

Last month Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic leader, told Aid to the Church in Need that Syria’s Christians are at risk of extinction, with a third of the country’s faithful having left already. Ninety per cent of Christians in the city of Homs fled in early 2012 after Islamists went door to door ordering them out, and that year no Easter services were held in the city for the first time in millennia.

Russia’s foreign policy is, no doubt, designed to serve Russia and those who rule Russia. But if it can bring an end to the war, and destroy ISIS, the al-Nusra Front and other militant groups, then Russia might just save Syria’s Christians and so fulfil the country’s historic promise to protect the region’s Christians.

No wonder the Russian Orthodox Church has given its support to “the holy war” against terrorism.

At any rate, the Russians could hardly do a better job of endangering the region’s Christians than Britain and America have.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Holy Martyrs of Libya, Pray for us!

Holy Martyrs of Libya, pray unto God for us!

(Malankara-Northeast) - Holy Martyrs of Libya, pray unto God for us! 

Let us continue to pray for all our brothers and sisters al over the world, who are being persecuted for their faith in Christ. May their prayers preserve us, and may their example inspire us in our faith!

Why Evangelicals Will Not be Surrendering to the Sexual Revolution

by Russell D. MooreOctober 2015

Could the next Billy Graham be a married lesbian? In the year 2045, will Focus on the Family be “Focus on the Families,” broadcasting counsel to Evangelicals about how to manage jealousy in their polyamorous relationships? That’s the assumption among many—on the celebratory left as well as the nervous right. Now that the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case has nationalized same-sex marriage, America’s last hold-outs, conservative Evangelical Protestants, will eventually, we’re told, stop worrying and learn to love, or at least accept, the sexual revolution. As Americans grow more accustomed to redefined concepts of marriage and family, Evangelicals will convert to the new understanding and update their theologies to suit. This is not going to happen. The revolution will not be televangelized.

In any given week, I’m asked by multiple reporters about the “sea change” among Evangelicals in support of same-sex marriage. I reply by asking for evidence of this shift. The first piece of evidence is always polling data about Millennial support for such. I respond with data on Millennial Evangelicals who actually attend church, which show no such shift away from orthodoxy. The journalist then typically points to “all the Evangelical megachurches that are shifting their positions on marriage.” I request the names of these megachurches.

The first one mentioned is almost always a church in Franklin, Tennessee—a congregation with considerably less than a thousand attendees on any given Sunday. That may be a “megachurch” by Episcopalian standards, but it is not by Evangelical standards, and certainly not by Nashville Evangelical standards. The church is the fifth-largest, not in the country, not in the region, not even in the city; it is the fifth-largest congregation on its street within a mile radius. I’ll usually grant that church, though, and ask for others. So far, no journalist has named more churches shifting on marriage than there are points of Calvinism. They just take the Evangelical shift as a given fact.

That presumption is a widespread case of wishful thinking. Many secular progressives believe that Evangelicals, along with their religious allies, just need a “nudge” to catch up with the right side of history, a nudge they are more than willing to provide through social marginalization or the removal of tax exemptions or various other state-mandated carrots and sticks. Our churches can simply accommodate doctrines and practices to new family definitions, these progressives advise, and everyone will be happy. Religious liberty violations, then, aren’t really harming Evangelicals, this reasoning goes, but instead are helping us to get where we’re headed anyway a little faster.

This narrative is entirely consistent with the sexual revolution’s view of itself—as progress toward the inevitable triumph of personal autonomy and liberation. As Reinhold Niebuhr put it, in the context of the New Deal, “In a democracy the crowning triumph of a revolution is its acceptance by the opposition.”

But however confident and complacent are these helpers, they can’t change the fact that the Evangelical cave-in on sexual ethics is just not going to happen. There is no evidence for it, and no push among Evangelicals to start it. In order to understand this, one has to know two things about Evangelicals. One, Evangelical Protestants are “catholic” in their connection to the broader, global Body of Christ and to two millennia of creedal teaching; and two, Evangelicals are defined by distinctive markers of doctrine and practice. The factors that make Evangelicals the same as all other Christians, as well as the distinctive doctrines and practices that set us apart, both work against an Evangelical accommodation to the sexual revolution.

The first stumbling block to any Evangelical cave-in is the Bible. Evangelicals are not “fundamentalists” in the way many have come to use the term—characterized by uniformity on secondary or tertiary doctrines along with a fighting sectarian spirit. But conservative Evangelicals are—and always have been—“fundamentalists” in the original meaning of the term, within the context of the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy of the early twentieth century. The controversy there was not over whether the millennium of Revelation 20 is literal or whether the days of Genesis 1 are twenty-four-hour solar cycles, much less over whether the King James Version of the Bible is the only legitimate English translation of Scripture.

The issues were the most basic aspects of “mere Christianity”—the virgin birth, the miracles, the atonement, the ­bodily resurrection, and the inspiration of Scripture. The Evangelical commitment to biblical authority means that the Bible is not written by geniuses but by apostles, to use Kierkegaard’s distinction. The words of the Bible are breathed out by the Spirit, as the apostle Paul puts it (2 Tim. 3:16). “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man,” the apostle Peter teaches. “But men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21).

The Reformation principle of sola scriptura does not mean, as it is often caricatured by non-Protestant Christians, that the only authority is the Bible and the individual Christian. It means instead that the only final authority is the prophetic-apostolic word in the writings of Scripture. If an Evangelical needs driving directions to Cleveland, she consults Google maps, not her concordance. If, though, Google tells her that first-century Judea was uninhabited, she knows Google is wrong. The authorities here conflict, and Scripture trumps other authorities, not the other way around.

It’s also not accurate to say that sola scriptura negates church authority or the necessity of tradition or a teaching office. The most vibrant sectors of American Evangelicalism are those most committed to creedal definition and to a disciplined church. Evangelicals, though, do not believe in a “once saved, always saved” sort of eternal security for any particular institutional church. A church can lose the Gospel and with it the lampstand of Christ’s presence (Rev. 2:5).

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Evangelical view of scriptural authority, a persistent cultural pattern has emerged from it. Evangelical Protestants are always aware of the possibility of false teachers. They judge every human teacher or teaching against the text of Scripture. This by no means is foolproof—see the heresies of prosperity gospel teaching, for just one example—but it does mean that innovators must be especially cunning, able to explain their views in a way that does not seem out of step with the Bible—if they are to win a long-term hearing among Bible-believing Evangelicals.

Revisionist arguments will not work among conservative Evangelicals because people read the texts, and the biblical texts—as orthodox believers and antagonistic unbelievers agree—hold to a vision of marriage and sexuality wholly out of step with post-Obergefell America.

Revisionists get around that flat conflict by citing a context for the text, asserting the difference between ancient and modern notions of sexual orientation. But, Evangelicals reply, the definition of marriage is not grounded in ancient Near Eastern culture but in the created order itself (Gen. 2:24). That’s why Jesus speaks of man-woman marriage and its permanence as “from the beginning” (Mk. 10:6). Moreover, the canon asserts that even this natural “one-flesh union” points beyond nature to the blueprint behind the cosmos, the mystery of the union of Christ and his Church (Eph. 5:32).

Much has been made in media circles of Evangelical dissenters from traditional orthodoxy on questions of sexual ethics. These dissenters, however, are not leaders known for Bible-teaching or church-building or institution-leading. They are known for the dissent itself. In virtually every case, the high-profile “Evangelicals” who have shifted on sexual ethics were already theologically liberalized on multiple other issues, often for decades. An “Evangelical” who attends a mainline, liberal Protestant church or who shares platforms with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is not likely to be received as an Evangelical by Evangelicals.

Journalists covering such dissenters should ask them these basic questions: Where do you go to church? What do you believe about the inerrancy of Scripture? Is there a hell, and must one believe consciously in Christ in order to avoid it? They cannot portray these figures as representative Evangelicals unless they give certain answers. I would bet that a little probing would show that these stories are the equivalent of writing an article about the Democratic party’s views on foreign policy by citing hawkish independent-Democratic former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman.

In his commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, the late Anglican Evangelical John R. W. Stott offers a prescient point relevant to this issue. It turns on Paul’s defense, in the opening chapter of the letter of his apostleship, of his genuine witness to the risen Christ and his authority to speak on Christ’s behalf by the Spirit. Against Paul were the “super-apostles” who sought to divide Paul from the original apostles in Jerusalem and even from Jesus himself. This contest did not end with the apostle’s beheading in Rome, Stott observes, nor with the close of the canon.

“The view of modern radical theologians can simply be stated like this: The apostles were merely first-century witnesses to Christ. We on the other hand are twentieth-century witnesses, and our witness is just as good as theirs, if not better,” Stott wrote. “They speak as if they were apostles of Jesus Christ and as if they had equal authority with the apostle Paul to teach and to decide what is true and right.”

The sexual revisionists within Evangelicalism appeal not merely to the priesthood of all believers. They appeal to the apostleship of all believers, something orthodox Christians of all branches reject. It underlies the crux of the revisionist argument: that the apostles did not know what we know now about sexual orientation.

The fact that homosexuality—and other forms of sexual immorality—is always and everywhere spoken of negatively in Scripture is explained away by a lack of scientific knowledge about loving, monogamous same-sex unions, the immutability of sexual orientation, or something else. Such arguments make sense if the authority of Scripture rests in the expertise of the apostles and prophets themselves. If, on the other hand, the authority of Scripture rests in the Spirit inspiring and carrying along the authors, the arguments collapse. If the Bible is a coherent book, with an Author behind the authors, one can hardly say that God is ignorant of contemporary knowledge about sexuality.

The revisionist position stands, then, not on an interpretation of the words of Scripture, but on a choice of who is the author of them. The revisionists are not only teachers; they are apostles, too. They can pronounce the meaning of Christ just as the first-century apostles did. The revisionists most often wish to keep the attention on Moses and Paul, pointing to the fact that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. Of course, by defining marriage in terms of male–­female complementarity and by affirming the moral teachings of the Torah, Jesus did speak to the issue. Not only that, but Evangelicals don’t set the words of Scripture not explicitly uttered by Jesus in so ­malleable a condition. If “all Scripture” is breathed out by the Spirit (2 Tim 3:16), and if the Spirit inspiring the biblical authors is the “Spirit of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:10–11), then every text of Scripture is Jesus speaking, not just those that publishers code out in red letters.

Increasingly, though, revisionists have to deal with Jesus himself. Journalist Brandon Ambrosino argued that the best argument for same-sex marriage is that Jesus was simply wrong about marriage, owing to the fact that he was ignorant of contemporary scientific notions of sexual orientation and the evolving standards of a morality of love. It takes quite a messiah complex to school the actual Messiah on moral and ethical truth, all while claiming to follow him. This argument is immediately off-limits for Evangelicals because they are, first of all, “mere Christians” who agree with Nicaea and Chalcedon about who Jesus is. The argument that “Jesus would agree with us if he’d lived to see our day” won’t work for people who know that Jesus is alive today—and that his views aren’t evolving (Heb. 13:8).

Some would say, though, that even if the ­Bible can’t be easily made to fit into a sexual revolutionary matrix, the culture will change quickly enough to make traditional ­Christian sexual ethics implausible. The Church will adapt to same-sex marriage the way the Church adapted to divorce. Pastor Danny Cortez, for instance, who was dis-fellowshipped from the Southern Baptist Convention for moving his church to a “welcoming and affirming” position on homosexuality, argued that Evangelicals have already moved in this direction on divorce and remarriage. Few celebrate divorce in theory, but there are many divorced and remarried people in our pews, sometimes even in our pulpits. There’s some truth to this. I’ve argued for years that too often Evangelical churches are filled with “slow-motion sexual revolutionaries,” adapting to where the culture already is, simply ten or twenty or thirty years behind. Divorce is all too common in Evangelical congregations, even the most conservative ones. But divorce does not show us the future as it relates to the current controversies over marriage and sexuality.

First of all, most Evangelicals (unlike Roman Catholics and some other groups) believe there are some instances in which divorce and remarriage are biblically permitted. Most Evangelical Protestants acknowledge that sexual infidelity can dissolve a marital union and that the innocent party is then free to remarry. The same is true for abandonment (1 Cor. 7:11–15). Disciplined churches that held couples accountable to their vows would see far fewer of these situations, but, still, remarrying after divorce is not, on the face of it, sin in an Evangelical perspective, and never has been.

Beyond that is the question of what repentance looks like. In an Evangelical Protestant view, a ­remarriage after a divorce may well constitute an act of adultery, but the marriage itself is not, in the view of most Evangelicals, an ongoing act of adultery. Even if these marriages were entered into sinfully in the first place, they are in fact marriages. Jesus spoke of the five husbands of the woman at the well in Samaria, and differentiated them from the man with whom she lived, who was not her husband (John 4). Same-sex unions, which do not join male and female together in the icon of the Christic mystery, do not constitute marriages biblically. Repentance, in this case, looks the same as it does for every other sexual sin—fleeing from immorality (1 Cor. 6:18).

A better example for the future shape of this debate is that of “Evangelical feminism.” In the 1970s and 1980s, a movement gained steam in Evangelicalism to read biblical texts on gender in a more egalitarian way. These feminist groups stood with other Evangelicals on biblical inerrancy (and on the prohibition against homosexuality) but argued for women’s ordination. They wrote scholarly books and articles on why the apostolic prohibitions on women “teaching and exercising authority over men” (1 Tim. 2:12) were culturally conditioned, addressing specific problems in the first-century churches rather than timeless prescriptions for the Church. Several years ago, I argued that although I strongly disagree with it, I thought Evangelical feminism would win the day in American Evangelicalism. The cultural currents were simply too strong, I thought.

I was wrong. It is now hard to find leaders of Evangelical feminist organizations who are recognized by the rest of the movement as solidly conservative and orthodox. The ones who speak up and often about gender are those with “complementarian” (traditional) views. The largest Evangelical denominations and church-planting organizations and conferences are now complementarian (in a way that wasn’t true at all just a decade or two ago). What happened? The center of gravity in Evangelicalism moved from “seeker sensitive” pragmatism to a yearning for connection to older, theologically robust, confessional traditions, which often had developed theologies of gender. Moreover, the “slippery slope” from Evangelical feminism to heterodoxy proved to be real. More and more Evangelical feminists applied their gender views to sexuality in ways clear enough for conservative Evangelicals to see it as a rejection of biblical authority.

It is not the case that gender egalitarians challenge Christian orthodoxy at the same fundamental level as same-sex marriage revisionists do. I disagree with these egalitarian arguments, but they have a far stronger case for their views than the sexual revisionists, both in terms of the biblical text (examples of women leaders such as Deborah the judge and the joint inheritance of men and women in Christ, etc.) and in terms of the history of the Church (some orthodox groups in, for instance, the Wesleyan and Pentecostal wings of the Church had women preachers and leaders long before the modern feminist movement). Yet if Evangelicalism can withstand the strong cultural tides of feminism—even in its most popularly palatable forms—Evangelicalism can do the same with the even more clearly defined issues of sexual morality.

The Christian sexual ethic is controversial, to be sure, and in different ways at different times, it always has been. But it’s not the most controversial thing orthodox Christians believe. That would be the doctrine of hell. In almost every generation of the Church, someone seeks to negotiate away the doctrine of hell through a universalism that sees to it that judgment will not fall on sin. Churches that embrace universalism typically start out on that path with exuberance, as they are freed from the shackles of guilty consciences and fears of eternity. But those churches quickly wither and die. There are no universalist megachurches, no universalist church-planting movements. That’s because consciences are not burdened with an externally imposed eschatology; consciences are pre-loaded with an eschatology. The law written on the heart, the Apostle Paul writes, informs the conscience which “bears witness” toward the day when “God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus” (Rom. 2:15–16).

What the sexual revolution’s revisionist ethic asks is that the Church adopt a pinpointed surgical-strike universalism, one that denies that judgment is coming for this one particular set of sins. As with any form of universalism, this doesn’t liberate people, but rather enslaves them to their own accusing consciences. Even if we can excise what the revisionists call “clobber verses” from the Bible, we cannot overpower the witness of the conscience.

Will some high-profile Evangelicals cave on a Christian sexual ethic? Yes, of course, a few will. Some Evangelical leaders are entrepreneurial and driven by pragmatism and a need for relevance. Others use Evangelicalism the way an aging rock star uses the country music audience when he’s too old for top-40 radio. They make a living peddling mainline Protestant shibboleths to Evangelical markets because, after all, that’s where the money is. But, as the apostle Paul says of the Egyptian magicians Jannes and Jambres and of the false teachers in the first-century church at Ephesus, “They will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all” (2 Tim. 3:9).

Secularization and sexualization have put orthodox forms of Christianity on the defensive, especially the most culturally odious form of Christianity, conversionist Evangelicalism. This not only changes the nature of the Church’s mission field; it also clarifies the Church’s witness. What previously could be assumed must now be articulated.

For nearly the past two centuries, Evangelicals, especially in the South and Midwest, could count on the culture to do a kind of pre-evangelism. The culture encouraged people to aspire to a kind of God-and-country citizenship, to marriage, and to stable family life. Even when people didn’t live up to those ideals, they knew what they were walking away from. Evangelicals, then, could use “traditional ­family values” to build a bridge to people for the Gospel. Churches could plan on crowds to hear counsel for a better marriage, or how to put the sizzle back in a sex life, or how to discipline toddlers or maintain a good relationship with one’s teenagers. One could trust that the culture shared the “values.” People just needed practical tips on how to achieve those values, starting with “a personal relationship with Jesus.”

We can no longer assume, even in the Bible Belt, that people aspire to, or even understand, our “values” on marriage and family. These parts of our witness that were the least controversial—and could be played up while playing down hellfire and brimstone, for those churches wanting a softer edge—are now controversial. Churches that reject the sexual revolution are judged as bigoted. Churches that don’t won’t fare much better, for in a secularizing culture, churches that embrace the revolution are unnecessary—just as the churches that rejected the miraculous in favor of scientific naturalism were in the twentieth century.

In post-Obergefell America, Evangelicals and other orthodox Christians will be unable to outrun our freakishness. That is no reason for panic. Some will suggest that a Christian sexual ethic puts the churches on the “wrong side of history.” Well, we’ve been on the wrong side of history since a.d. 33. The “right side of history” was the Eternal City of Rome. And then the right side of history was the French Revolution. And then the right side of history was scientific naturalism and state socialism. And yet, there stands Jesus still, on the wrong side of history but at the right hand of the Father.

If we are right about the end of human sexuality, then we ought to know that marriage is resilient. The sexual revolution cannot keep its promises. People think they want autonomy and transgression, but what they really want is fidelity and complementarity and incarnational love. If that’s true, then we will see a wave of refugees from the sexual revolution, those who, like the runaway son in Jesus’ story, “come to themselves” in a moment of crisis.

Churches so fearful of cultural marginalization that they distort or ignore the hard truths of the Gospel will not be able to reach these refugees. Churches that scream and vent in perpetual outrage won’t, either. It will be of no surprise if the churches most able to reach those wounded by sexual freedom, and the chaos thereof, will be the churches most out of step with the culture. Whatever one thinks of the “temperance” of many wings of American Evangelicalism, it is no accident that so many ex-drunks, and their families, found themselves walking sawdust trails to teetotaling Baptist and Pentecostal churches, not to the wine-and-cheese hour at the respectable downtown Episcopalian church.

The days ahead require an Evangelicalism that is both robustly theological and warmly missional, both full of truth and full of grace, convictional and kind. This does not mean a kind of strategic civility that seeks to avoid conflict. The kindness that is the fruit of the Spirit is of the sort that “corrects opponents,” albeit with gentleness and patience (2 Tim. 2:24–25). A Gospel-driven convictional kindness will not mean less controversy but controversy that is heard in stereo. Some will object to the conviction, others to the kindness. Those who object to a call to repentance will cry bigotry, and those who measure conviction in terms of decibels of outrage will cry sell-out. Jesus was controversial among the Pharisees for eating at tax collectors’ homes, and he was no doubt controversial among the tax collectors for calling them to repentance once he arrived there. He sweated not one drop of blood over that, and neither should we.

While I am not worried about Evangelicals’ caving on marriage and sexuality in post-Obergefell America, I am worried about Evangelicals panicking. We are, after all, an apocalyptic people, for good and for ill. We can wring our hands that the world is going to hell, but then we ought to remember that the world did not start going to hell at Stonewall or Woodstock but at Eden. Adam was our problem, long before Anthony Kennedy. Mayberry without Christ leads to hell just as surely as Gomorrah without Christ does. We cannot respond pridefully to the culture around us as though we deserve a better mission field than a sovereign God assigned to us.

This means that Evangelicals can best serve the culture by being truly Evangelical. We are not in a “post-Christian” America, unless we define “Christian” in ways that disconnect Christianity from the Gospel. The mission of Christ never calls us to use nominal Christianity as a bridge to redemption. To the contrary, the Spirit works through the open proclamation of truth (2 Cor. 4:1–2). It is the strangeness of the Gospel that confounds the wisdom of the world, and that actually saves (1 Cor. 1:18–31). The Gospel does not need idolatry to bridge our way to it, even if that idolatry is the sort of “Christianity” that is one birth short of redemption. Our frame of reference is not happier times in the 1770s or 1950s or 1980s. We are not time travelers from the past; we are pilgrims from the future. We are not exiles because American culture is in decline. We are exiles and strangers because “the world is passing away, along with its desires” (1 Jn. 2:17).

I don’t think American Evangelicals will fold on our sexual ethic. But if we do, American Evangelicalism will have nothing distinctive to say and will end up deader than Harry Emerson Fosdick. If so, the vibrant Evangelical witness God has called together in Nigeria or Argentina or South Korea or China will be alive and well and ready to send missionaries to preach the whole Gospel. Whether from America or not, a voice will stand, crying in the wilderness, “You must be born again.”


Russell D. Moore is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and author of Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Our Lord and Lady of the Rosary!!! Blessed Feast!!! 7 October 2015


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Happy Feast of St Bruno of Cologne - Carthusian Order founder !!! :)

St Bruno of Cologne -
Carthusian Order founder

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Teresa of Avila, Nuestra Madre en Carmel!


Friday, October 2, 2015

CARMEL: Our Lord and Lady with Saints - 2 Oct 2015


Thursday, October 1, 2015

St Therese of Lisieux! Happy Feast!

Thérèse in an icon written by the Carmelite nuns of Ravenna,
in York Carmelite Friary


Sts Maximilian Kolbe & Therese with Our Lord and Lady :)


Protection of the Mother of God! Blessed Feast!


CARMEL: Our Lord and Lady with St Simon Stock