A high-stakes, zero-sum game is unfolding in the heartland of America. And along with it, a glimpse into the brave new world that is being fashioned by homosexualists and abetted by the timid souls that increasingly “man” the Republican party.
For anyone unfamiliar with the term, “zero-sum” conditions exist whenever any gain on one side in a game or conflict is met with a corresponding loss for the other. Poker or the way two teams move or defend the position of a football on the playing field are two classic examples. But now another, far more ominous one is unfolding in the arena of civil rights. The campaign to normalize homosexuality is threatening to not just push Christians into their own end zone, but out of the stadium as well.
This past Tuesday, Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence did an about-face from his earlier defense of Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Faced with having himself and the state of Indiana branded with the dreaded “H” word (homophobic) as well as potential economic losses due to threatened boycotts (it’s money and not principle that matter in the end after all), Pence threw the bill back to the House, declaring that it needed to be rewritten so it wouldn’t “permit discrimination against gays and lesbians.” And today (Thursday), Republican lawmakers also bowed the knee, offering an amendment that not only gutted the original purpose of the bill (protecting religious liberty and freedom of conscience) but virtually guaranteed an open season on Christians who dared to not compliantly serve the homosexualist campaign. (To learn more the implications of this amendment, read Matt Barber’s insightful commentary here.)
Given the confusion ginned up by the “gay” left and their cohorts in the popular media, it’s important that people understand two things about the original Indiana bill.
First, its language pretty much mirrors the federal version that was signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1993. Championed by the likes of Ted Kennedy, the bill passed the House unanimously and by a 97-3 margin in the Senate.
Second, the idea that the act would, for example, grant a restaurant owner the right to refuse service to homosexuals is a complete myth, a propaganda point invented for the sole purpose of furthering the homosexualist agenda. The Indiana law simply notes that individuals and business owners’ religious values are important and should be taken into account when those beliefs conflict with other policies and values in the public arena. In other words, a Catholic pharmacist doesn’t necessarily have to dispense drugs that induce abortion. A bed and breakfast inn run by a devout Christian family doesn’t necessarily have to allow a homosexual couple to honeymoon under their roof. And wait for this (because it is coming, trust me) – a Christian church can’t necessarily be prevented from firing their choir director after he announces that he has married another man and is having faux sex with him.
Note the italics: the protection of religious liberty is not ironclad but simply recognized by the law as important and to be balanced against compelling government interests so as to find the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.
But even this flimsy token was an affront to the intolerance police on the left. Bowing before their ire, Hovernor Pence not only caved, he revealed the zero-sum nature of what he is helping unleash when he added this glittering nugget of newspeak: “Nobody should be harassed or mistreated because of who they love or what they believe in.”
Really? What if that somebody happens to love God and believe He created marriage and sex and ordained that they be uniquely realized within a covenant (marriage) relationship between one man and one woman? No soup for you. “Heterosexists” and “dinosaurs” (thank-you Miley for sharing your sinsights with us) can and should be harassed at will and further be forced to either offer a pinch of incense to Dionysius or whatever other idol to sexual debauchery man’s rebellion wants to trot out…or lose the right to engage in commerce. (Here it might be good for the reader to consider the broader outlines of Rev. 13:17.)
And herein lies the rub, a simple truth that every American needs to grasp without flinching: when it comes to the inevitable collision between “gay rights” and the religious liberty of the increasingly silent majority that deep down know that homosex is neither righteous or conducive to human, familial and societal flourishing: we are ineluctably on a zero-sum game playing field.
If you don’t believe me, listen to a key playmaker on the other side of the ball. Chai R. Feldblum has served as a Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since 2010. She is a former Georgetown law professor, a noted expert on civil – most notably gay – rights, and herself a lesbian. In a 2006 interview, she used the very term “zero-sum game” in describing the conflict and then explained:
“When we pass a law that says you may not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, we are burdening those who have an alternative moral assessment of gay men and lesbians…” She went on to say that there should be a ” respectful awareness of the religious position” but then concluded that when push comes to shove, it’s the religious position that needs to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus:
“…when religious liberty and sexual liberty conflict, she admits, ‘I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.'”
Then in a moment of startling, “Tell me your name” honesty, she revealed the true bottom-line in all of this: “Sexual liberty should win in most cases. There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases the sexual liberty should win because that’s the only way that the dignity of gay people can be affirmed in any realistic manner.” (“Banned in Boston: The coming conflict between same-sex marriage and religious liberty,” The Weekly Standard, May 15, 2006, Vol. 11, No. 33)
There we have it: the dignity of gay people trumps all.
Make no mistake about where this dignity train ultimately, logically leads. Homosexuality – and progressively this will include all its myriad subsets (bi and trans-sexuality, pederasty, promiscuity, S&M, open “marriages”, etc.) – must be treated and viewed to be just as good, true and beautiful – just as conducive to human, familial and societal flourishing – as biblical marriage. Heather being raised by her biological mom and dad, this brave new world will insist, will not have the slightest advantage over the Heather being raised by two moms or two dads where at best only one of them has any biological connection to her. Speech, actions and even thought that fall short of glorifying this Orwellian/Huxleyian ideal will have to be suppressed and eventually eradicated. Why? Because to allow anything else will be to tarnish the dignity of gay people.
“You exaggerate!” some (many?) will say. Well, perhaps a bit. But then again, maybe not. The same or worse would have been said of anyone in 1995 who warned that if the American people and her professing Christians (like Pence or Hovernor Scott Walker in Wisconsin, who is waging a similar campaign in his state) continued their decline into lawlessness and doing “what is right in their own eyes,” that homosexuality and gay marriage would become widely accepted in twenty years.
 Individuals that accept homosexuality as a moral and social good, on a par with heterosexuality, and want to see it normalized both legally and socially.
(Author’s note: The reader perhaps knows that the CEO of Apple – the most valuable company in history – recently came out publicly as a homosexual. In an interview with Business Week magazine (“Tim Cook Speaks Up,” 10/30/14), Tim Cook declared he is “proud to be gay” and considers “being gay among the greatest gifts God has given” him. My thoughts that follow were inspired by his confession.)
I am the CEO of a small ministry that uses Apple products. I very much appreciate the incredible things their customers can achieve with them.
Throughout my professional life, I’ve tried to keep the focus of the ministry on Jesus and His word and how they relate to the big questions and issues of life: creation, fall, redemption and destiny. I have never sought to bring attention to myself. However, given the trend towards using one’s position in the public eye to advocate for certain regressive lifestyles and worldviews, I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important: speaking up on behalf of a shrinking minority – people who believe that sex is a powerful and beautiful act that optimally belongs only in the context of a life-long, covenantal relationship between one man and one woman. That’s what has led me to today…and to this confession:
I have a fallen, sinful nature. Using the helpful – and in this instance relevant – analogy of a computer, this nature has profoundly gummed up my Operating System. As a result, it orients me towards all manner of things that are contrary to the operational parameters my Creator designed for me to obey in order to optimize system performance – both for myself and the good of those around me. One of them is the desire to have sex with women I am not married to. (Thankfully, I have been able to successfully resist this temptation.) This orientation is not something I want to experience or went looking for. It really seems I was just born this way. I am not proud of this orientation at all. As with my propensity to be selfish, impatient and not love everyone, particularly my enemies, I deeply regret it.
That said, I consider the cross of Christ and the outpouring of His grace and love through it – His death, resurrection, ascension and coronation – to be the greatest gift I have ever received from God. Not only do they cleanse me from the stain of these orientations, they further grant me the power to hate them and successfully wrestle against their corrupting power.
I can’t wait for the Great Day when my carbon-based quantum computer is rebuilt, my present OS wiped clean and the new and final version (completely free from the pesky viruses that infected the original) is installed and made fully operational.
I pray for Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, to experience this positive side of the Final Singularity as well. But as long as he continues to love one of the more pernicious viruses that have infected OS ver. 1 – and particularly encourage others to do the same (Luke 17:2) – he will fall into this Singularity with it intact, operational….but tragically incapable of functioning in the New World to come.
And then there will only be weeping and the gnashing of teeth.
Veni Sancte Spiritus, also called the “Golden Sequence,” is a Latin liturgical prayer that is sung or recited to commemorate Pentecost – the moment when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the nascent Church. It is usually attributed to either the thirteenth-century Pope Innocent III or to the Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton. (Langton was a central figure in the dispute between King John of England and Pope Innocent III that help lead to the issuing of Magna Carta in 1215 – one of the first charters that guaranteed the rights of commoners and restricted the heretofore “divine right” of kings to rule autocratically. He is also credited with having divided the Bible into the standard modern arrangement of chapters used today.)
Whatever your denomination, this is an anointed prayer if there ever was one (excepting the Lord’s Prayer, of course). I would encourage you to make it an occasional part of your devotional life.
It all makes me want to learn Latin.
|Latin text||English version|
|Veni, Sancte Spiritus,et emitte caelitus
lucis tuae radium.
Veni, pater pauperum,
veni, dator munerum,
veni, lumen cordium.
dulcis hospes animae,
In labore requies,
in aestu temperies,
in fletu solatium.
O lux beatissima,
reple cordis intima
Sine tuo numine,
nihil est in homine,
nihil est innoxium.
Lava quod est sordidum,
riga quod est aridum,
sana quod est saucium.
Flecte quod est rigidum,
fove quod est frigidum,
rege quod est devium.
Da tuis fidelibus,
in te confidentibus,
Da virtutis meritum,
da salutis exitum,
da perenne gaudium.
|Come, Holy Spirit,send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.
Come, father of the poor,
come, giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.
sweet guest of the soul,
In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.
O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.
Without your grace,
there is nothing in us,
nothing that is not harmful.
Cleanse that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.
Bend that which is inflexible,
fire that which is chilled,
correct what goes astray.
Give to your faithful,
those who trust in you,
the sevenfold gifts.
Grant the reward of virtue,
grant the deliverance of salvation,
grant eternal joy.
On this day 67 years ago, an Air Force pilot making $3,396.00 a year crawled into an experimental jet and risked everything to see if it was possible to fly faster than the speed of sound. More than a few scientists thought it was impossible, that the plane would disintegrate. For little more than the glory of being the first man to chase and capture the “daemon that lived out past Mach 1,” Captain Chuck Yeager pressed through two broken ribs, a buffeting plane, a broken altimeter and the fear of death and the unknown to successfully perform that exorcism.
Each of us reading this is flying through the aether of purpose and destiny at a certain rate of speed. None of us are flying as fast, as high or as well as we could, as we would like. Our jet shakes, something breaks, fear or complacency takes hold – and squeezes the faith, the desire for a better resurrection, out of us. And so we pull back on the throttle… often at the very time when we should be punching the afterburners.
There is a sense in which that is what this life is: a huge proving ground above some cosmic Mojave Desert. And God is watching. Who’s going to keep going after the daemons and defeat them? Who’s going to try – and be willing to pay the price – to fly as fast and as high as they can; to press through envelope of what is possible and then break into the realm of the impossible, into the higher heaven that shimmers just beyond our temporal firmament?
Some thirty, some sixty, some one-hundred fold (Matt. 13:8). And the stars differ from one another in terms of their glory (1 Cor. 15:41).
And here is the real bottom-line, the greatest truth ever told. We have no chance of ever going there – of ever breaking on through to the other side – on our own strength. We have to first be taken up in the air and then dropped from the belly of a B-29 bomber.
And that B-29 is the crucified, resurrected and enthroned Christ.
I’ve been saying for almost a decade that gay marriage will be accepted and legalized throughout America. And all manner of cultural forces will be progressively unleashed in an effort to normalize homosexuality and other related beliefs and practices.
The Supreme Court’s decision on Monday to not consider – and thereby, in effect, reject – the appeals of five states (Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Indiana ) whose prohibitions on gay marriage had been ruled unconstitutional by regional federal appeals courts is a huge step in this normalization process; perhaps the largest to date.
As a result, the number of states permitting gay marriage just jumped from nineteen to twenty-four. Six more states (North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina, Wyoming, Kansas and Colorado) have similar bans that are directly affected by the same lower-court rulings. The Supreme Court’s tacit endorsement Monday of those rulings means those bans will likely soon fall as well.
Thirty states down, twenty to go.
In addition, within hours of the ruling, two 26-year-old women became the first couple to be legally declared “wife and wife” by the Commonwealth of Virginia. They will be followed by many more homosexual couples in Virginia and the other four states, joining the tens of thousands of same-sex marriages performed in America since Massachusetts became the first state to recognize them in 2004. And observers on both sides of this issue agree: you can graph the increase in the number of homosexual marriages against the likelihood that the Supreme Court will eventually rule that state bans on gay marriage are constitutional and thus permissible. The lines go in opposite directions. In other words, the more gay marriages take place, the more accepted and entrenched they become as a legal right and a cultural norm.
I hope I’m wrong. But I will say it again: “Gay marriage will be accepted and legalized throughout America. And all manner of cultural forces will be progressively unleashed in an effort to normalize homosexuality and other related beliefs and practices.”
Let me be very clear: In saying this I’m in no way suggesting so-called traditionalists throw their hands up in defeat and stop defending as truth and an optimum social norm the Bible’s prescriptions concerning marriage, gender and human sexuality. God has called us to be faithful, not necessarily always successful – at least not in the short term. If we are to suffer temporary defeat (we have and I predict it will continue and intensify); if some of us end up suffering loss, or are jailed, beaten or worse for peacefully refusing to go with the flow on these issues: let’s go down faithful and fighting – with our boots on and integrity intact.
This battle will be won by the Lord eventually; truth in time will always trump a lie. But that doesn’t mean it can’t “stumble in the public square” and unrighteousness prevail for a season. (Isa. 59: 14) Still we should ever take heart: light will at last dawn and push back the darkness.
The question before us now is just how dark it will become…and what the “children of light” (1 Thess. 5:5) are going to do in the midst of it. We’ll explore this in more detail in subsequent parts. I would also love to hear your own thoughts and suggestions on the subject. Email them to me at WhenTruthStumbles@gmail.com.
Have you every noticed how the Book of Acts just kind of….ends? It’s almost as if Dr. Luke got an emergency call while working on chapter twenty-eight and had to quickly bring it to a close. I mean we find Paul in Rome, teaching and preaching, handing out but another rebuke to some unbelieving Jews and then:
He lived there two whole years at his own expense, welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. (28:30) The end.
Talk about leaving the reader hanging!
But then again, maybe not.
One commonly accepted explanation is that Luke’s last sentence is really more of an ellipsis than a conclusion, suggesting that more can and will be said about the advance of the kingdom of God. The baton is being passed from the apostles to the Church that has been birthed by the Holy Spirit through their faithful efforts. In other words, it’s a big to be continued…
To which every Christian should say a loud “Amen!”
But there may be another reason Luke ended his account to Theophilus (can it be a mere coincidence that his name means “Love of God” or “Friend of God”?) on this note. He very likely was employing a common literary device—particularly for his time*—in order to sound a loud symbol as he ended his two-part (Luke and Acts) symphony. The purpose of the symbol crash? To put a strong emphasis on the inexorable advance of Christ’s Kingdom reign.
The device is called a chiasm or chiastic structure. The term derives from the 17th century term chiasmus, which refers to a crosswise arrangement of concepts or words that are repeated in reverse order. In essence, a chiasm is a repetition of similar words or ideas in a backward sequence. A simple example would be ABBA, where the second word or idea (B) becomes the first word or idea in the following clause or sentence. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27) and “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” (Hesitations 3:33) follow this pattern. But chiasms can be more complex (Joel 3:17–21 would be diagrammed as ABCXCBA) and sometimes encompass broader themes that can span an entire book or body of work.
Such is the case with Luke’s two books; his Gospel and The Acts of the Apostles. All manner of chiastic structures are found therein. But the one I want to emphasize here is how the beginning relates to the end of the overarching narrative.
Luke’s Gospel opens with an overture. The advent of Messiah is described and celebrated amid a chorus of prophecy and worship – with chiasms everywhere. Of particular note—because with chiasms the center letter (word, phrase or idea) is often the emphasis of the passage—are the following:
1. Gabriel: the Lord is with you (vs. 28); the Lord God will give Him the throne (vs. 32); son of God (vs. 35)
2. Elizabeth: mother of my Lord (vs. 43)
3. Mary: He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones. (vs. 51,52)
4. Zacharias: The center point is the covenant (vs. 72) and the oath (vs. 73) but is surrounded on both sides with promises of Messianic dominion; of God’s people being delivered from their enemies: that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us (vs. 71); that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies (vs. 74).
Then, with all these promises of Messiah and His godly reign sounding throughout Luke’s overture, it ends with this most pregnant of sentences:
And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance (anadeixis: showing, exhibition, revealing) to Israel. (vs. 80)
Let the show begin!
Act 1, verse 1: In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. (Luke 2:1)
We open then with a snapshot of the fallen world as it was at the time: under the dominion of a pagan emperor cult, one that John would later identify as the beast.** So the first line sets the stage. Babel appears to have won. Man, not God, seems to be ruling over the earth.
Fast forward. How does it all end? With the son of man taking on the full wrath of the Roman imperial system and defeating it through His resurrection from the dead. With Jesus ascending and sitting down at the right hand of God, enthroned as the true Lord of heaven and earth. As the book of Acts winds to a close, with Paul freely preaching Christ as Lord on Malta, an island off the coast of Italy that served a major naval base for the Roman Empire. The leading citizen of the island (Publius, a very common name that essentially means “public,” an everyman in other words) hosts God’s apostle for three days and a healing revival breaks out, no doubt leading to any number of Roman citizens being converted and acknowledging Jesus, not the emperor, as the true kurios (Lord). And finally with Paul receiving something of a celebrity’s welcome as he arrives in the capital of the world, “proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance”…under the very nose of Caesar himself.
There is evidence to suggest that Luke finished the second half of his two-book narrative after Paul arrived in Rome but before A.D. 64, when a great fire burned down much of the city and Nero used it as a pretext to begin his persecution of Christians. Similarly, it’s likely that Paul’s epistle to the Philippians was written during this same period of imprisonment. If this is true—and it almost certainly is and further that Luke would have been aware of the events described therein—we’re granted in Paul’s letter even more evidence of the prevailing power of the Gospel and the grand reversal that at that point was well underway. The world was slowly being turned right-side up again!
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. (Phil. 1:12-14)
Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. (4:21-22; emphases mine)
And so Luke’s saga opens with the City of Man and its fascist leader “large and in charge.” But it ends with the City of God being built and the emperor’s power being incrementally conquered by the Gospel, a counterinsurgency of love and faith. In this chiasm, the essential message of the entire Bible is writ large. Light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot contain or comprehend it.
*Oral literature—which ruled the roost until the invention of the printing press—particularly relied on chiasms, both as art but also as a mnemonic device (aid for memorization). For example, two of the most memorized and performed works of ancient literature, the Iliad and the Odyssey, have a chiastic structure “of the most amazing virtuosity” that permitted the oral poet to better recall the basic formula of the composition during performances. (Cedric M. Whitman. Homer and the Heroic Tradition. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1958) Much of the Bible is like this.
** This is according to the many scholars who see John’s last book as describing what Jesus promised the generation then living would see: a great tribulation that ended with the destruction of the temple and the Old Testament world. (For the reader who may consider this approach absurd (likely because they have never heard it before and have further been marinated in the “Left Behind” worldview), consider that twice in the first three verses John notes the imminence of the events he is about to describe (1:1, the things that must soon take place; vs. 3, for the time is near). And there are number of other places (21:12; 22:6; 22:10) in Revelation where there are strong suggestions its prophecies were going to unfold near the time of their composition.)
Once upon a time the son of a Great King decided to plant a vineyard on a certain hill.
His Father had done the same years before. But because the gardeners — husbandmen they called them in those days — had been unfaithful, the vines had withered and the fruit had turned bad. Now weeds and toppled stones were all that were left. Worse, those first husbandmen had also fraudulently mortgaged the land. Now the hill was “owned” — as far as any mere creature could ever own something that ultimately belongs to God — by a very evil man.
Still, the Prince saw something in the land — a potential treasure of great value. So he set out to redeem the hill and re-establish the vineyard.
We don’t have time now to tell of all the amazing things the Son did to fulfill His dream. In fact, all the time in the world wouldn’t do justice to His mighty deeds. Suffice it to say that the impossible happened. The hill was ransomed and the evil man’s authority was destroyed. The stones were removed, a walled enclosure was built, and a strong tower was placed in its midst. And perhaps most incredible of all, a vine of the most unusual sort was planted. Virtually impervious to disease and able to withstand every challenge that the weather and the environment could throw at it, this vine was guaranteed to produce bountiful harvests of the sweetest, most wonderful grapes.
Once again, gardeners were hired. But these were not just strangers as before, who worked only for wages. They were actual kinsmen of the Son.
And though they weren’t necessarily the smartest, or the strongest, or the best natural-born gardeners in the world, they were loyal to Him. They loved the Prince very much because of the way He loved them.
The Son trained these husbandmen well. He gave them a manual that contained all the information they needed to ensure both their well-being and the success of the vineyard. And on top of that, both the King and the Prince sent…well, we’ll just call Him the “Helper.” This is deep magic and hard to explain in human language, but basically having Him was the same as having the Father and the Son invisibly present, assisting the husbandmen, overseeing their on-the-job training, strengthening them when they grew weary, protecting them from the evil man and his friends who liked to roam outside the walls looking for trouble… all manner of wonderful and magical things.
One day the Son left to go on a long journey from which He would one-day return to receive the harvest of the vineyard. But having left both the manual and the Helper, the Prince had made certain His kinsmen-gardeners had everything they needed to ensure both their success and that the vine would grow to fill the entire hill. He reminded them one last time of his absolute authority over the hill and even the enemies who would seek to take it back. (Later, many would wonder, particularly when these adversaries would attack, why the Son didn’t use that authority to permanently banish or destroy them. But the wiser among them eventually realized that the Son was as interested in them as he was in the vineyard and that dealing with these enemies was preparing them for something even more grand awaiting them after his return.) Mounting his horse, the Prince turned and restated their Prime Directive as if it was a benediction: “Because I have won this hill and vanquished its enemies, fear not: go throughout this land, cultivate it and help this vine that I have planted send forth new branches until it covers the hill even as the waters cover the seas.”
Seeing this happen, they soon learned after he left, wasn’t going to be easy. But things of great value never are. There were times when the vine’s growth slowed. Often it was because of mistakes made by the gardeners. Eventually they would learn from their blunders and the vine’s growth would pick back up again….that is, until the next lapse or mistep occurred.
“Two steps forward and one step back!” became a common refrain among those gardeners who took their eyes off the temporary setbacks and considered the bigger, long-term picture. “He who has promised is faithful,” they would say, “and will He not bring to pass what He has promised?”
Other times the slower growth was caused by inclement weather over which the gardeners had no control. But over time they — or at least some of them — learned that the vine would grow even faster after these bouts of severe weather and, even more wonderfully, the next harvest of grapes would be all the more sweet.
Many years passed and the vine, by fits and starts, grew so much that over half of the great hill was covered. Seeing the great patches of green, some of the husbandmen began to forget that there was still much work to be done. Others made wine from the succulent grapes that previous generations had toiled to produce − and their over-imbibing resulted in an even more relaxed attitude towards the work at hand. And there were those who contemplated the growth, and then made the same mistake as previous gardeners who experienced their own season of blessed fruitfulness: they took for themselves the credit that belonged to the Helper, the wisdom of the manual, and the incredible vitality of the vine itself. Eventually there were even those who began to question whether the manual was the best authority on husbandry. New theories were floated and published—and in no time a good percentage of the gardeners were infected with these novel, man-made ideas.
The result was that the vine was increasingly left untended. More and more gardeners stopped cultivating the land where the vine was supposed to spread. The walls surrounding the vineyard were deemed unnecessary by many; and some even began removing its stones in order to build monuments to themselves or to some new idea. More and more, the tower was left unmanned.
And so the inevitable happened. The growth of the vine grew slower and slower. Weeds sprang up everywhere. And missiles from the enemy outside were increasingly able to find there way into the garden sanctuary. For those who had forsaken the manual, the explosions falling around them suddenly seemed fresh and even exciting. More stones were removed to let more rockets in. On and on it went, until it seemed — for about the tenth time in the history of the vineyard — that all hell was breaking loose.
But where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. The Helper began to move on the hearts of those gardeners who were trying to be faithful. Seeing all the chaos and damage, they were compelled to come up with answers, trying to make sense of what was happening around them. In time, two theories and plans of action were developed and then presented to the loyal remnant. Though frightened and at times confused, they all wanted to obey the Prince.
“This is primarily the Evil One’s doing,” proclaimed Mr. Moody. He was a good and well-respected gardener who had done much to help the vine grow. He had also become the primary spokesman for one of the two courses of action. “Let’s continue to do what we can to be personally faithful to the Prince and His manual,” he cried. “But it’s inevitable that the Evil One shall prevail against us. The weeds will all but choke out the vine. Look around you. It’s already happening. There’s no way that we, as mere gardeners, can prevail against the weeds. But do not fear,” he continued. “The Prince will return and take us away, and then return to judge the Evil One and this corrupt vineyard. And then He will plant the true vine — and we will be His true branches — and we will live with the Son forever.”
“No, No!” countered Mr. Edwards. “With all due respect to my dear brother, his way with a hoe is commendable − but he is dead wrong about this!” Mr. Edwards was a key advocate for the other position. He was also known as the great, great, great grandson of Jonathan Edwards; the famous husbandmen who helped tend the vine during one its greatest periods of growth. But most gardeners on this day agreed that his plan of action, like the Edwards’ name, had fallen on hard times.
“Yes, the Evil One is a party to this, “he thundered. “But the greater fault lies with us. We’re the ones who have forsaken the ways of the Prince. It is we who have been unfaithful in our care for the garden. We’re the ones who have damaged the wall and invited this wickedness in. It is no wonder that our world has become as it is. Truly, it is mostly our fault!”
Many of the husbandmen now looked nervously at the ground, not sure they liked where this was heading. Several looked back to Mr. Moody, hoping he would speak up and take back the discussion.
“But all is not lost!” Edwards continued. “For the Prince has promised that if we will humble ourselves and repent and give up our evil ways, that He will forgive us and the Helper will step in and heal the vineyard. We can, by the Helper’s hand, rebuild the walls. We can pluck up the weeds. We can and shall repel our enemies. Remember, the Prince, not the Evil One, holds the deed to this land. The Son has crushed Him before; He will do so again. Only now it is His delight to have us, His brethren, join Him in the battle!” Mr. Edwards then closed his impassioned speech with a great cry, “TO OUR KNEES—AND THEN TO THE WALLS!”
No sooner had Mr. Edwards uttered these words than a great missile landed in the midst of the gathered gardeners. Seeing the wave of fear rippling through the crowd, Mr. Moody stepped back to the microphone. “Take courage my friends! The Prince will soon come to save us. These are but the birth pangs; the sign that the end of all things is at hand.”
As the panicking crowd dispersed to their homes, Moody shouted one last word of encouragement. “I’ll see you here, there…or in the air.”
There were only a few left to notice as Edwards turned to face the tower that stood atop the great hill. “One step forward…and three steps back,” he said softly, as if to himself. And then louder, his voice echoing throughout the valley, “Another trip around the mountain, eh Lord?”
An explosion from just on the other side of the damaged wall cut him off.
One doesn’t have to study or think long about the current trends in our culture relative to the normalization of homosexuality before realizing that it’s a significant front… but only in a much larger battle. Whether intended or not—and for most homophiles I don’t believe it is—the disconnection of marriage, sex and gender from the gold-standard of Judeo-Christian scripture and tradition has made the equivalent of runaway inflation in the arena of human sexuality inevitable.
To paraphrase Yeats in his celebrated poem “The Second Coming,” once the center no longer holds and the voice of our Creator is lost, an incremental anarchy will be the inevitable result. (And a rough beast in now slouching towards Sodom and Gomorrah to be born.)
I believe we need a meme, a word or phrase, that better captures the bigger picture, the end-game of this third and final stage of the sexual revolution. “Homosexuality” doesn’t come close to describing what we’re up against. And it also carries with it an air of prejudice and hypocrisy because many if not most of the manifestations of this “rough beast” will be heterosexually inclined.
Paraphilia has been suggested. And it’s a apt term. But I suspect it’s too cold and clinical to catch on.
Allow me to recommend we use pomosexuality.
Pomosexual is a made-up word (as all words were at some point) that comes from combining an abbreviation of postmodern (“pomo”) with sexual. It was developed within the LGBTQ community to encompass the numerous categories of sexual and gender identities, orientations and appetites that have and are still emerging.
I believe it’s also a significant, even prophetic, word in that it represents a modern example of what happened when Jesus confronted the demoniac of Garasene and demanded that the evil spirits oppressing the man identify themselves. (Mark 5:1-9) With pomosexuality we have truth in advertising; an instance where the LGBTQ world is actually being honest about itself and the worldview/presupposition driving their movement.
So what does it actually mean?
Well, we first need to define postmodern. Briefly, postmodernism was a reaction (hence post) to modernism, the overtly (and overly) rationalistic and materialistic worldview that was born of the Enlightenment (so-called) and developed in and through the scientific and industrial revolutions. Where modernism sought certainties rooted in supposed objectivity and human reason, postmodernism insists that truth is relative and certainties ephemeral. Where modernism was concerned with drawing clear lines and categories, postmodernism is given to blurring those distinctions; constructing instead multiple subjectivities and exploring difference, plurality, textuality, and skepticism.
As Christians there are some things we can sympathize with in this counter-revolution. Modernity often sought—with some success culturally—to attack the idea of God and transcendent, Spirit-breathed truth. If it wasn’t something you could analyze in a lab, materialism insisted, it either wasn’t real or relevant.
Unfortunately Christians have done a so-so job filling the vacuum and the opportunity left by the collapse of modernity. Instead a radical relativism has flooded western culture; “a revolt in the direction of a pagan polytheism—multiple gods, multiple voices, multiple laws, and a general clamor out of which it is possible to select whatever suits one at the time.”**
The result, sexually speaking, is “the queer erotic reality beyond the boundaries of gender, separatism, and essentialist notions of sexual orientation.” (From the back cover of PoMoSexuals.) In other words: People have the right to be what they want as regards their gender identity and sexual orientation; to do anything they want and with anyone they want.
I remember well the national consternation that arose as the “gay rights” movement picked up steam in the early 1970s. Over the next decade America gradually got used to it…only to wake up one day and find that an “L” (for lesbian) had been added to the “G.” Then came the “B”, followed by a “T.” And now all kinds of other letters (“Q” for queer; “C” for curious; “P” for polyamorous; etc.) are being added to the bizarre alphabet soup that defines the bleeding edge of the sexual and gender frontiers.
Many people today, particularly social conservatives, throw their hands up in frustration at this evolving sexual landscape, asking where it all will end. It’s hard to shoot at such a fast-moving and changing target.
Allow me to suggest that instead of confusion and frustration, we see this eddy of “sexual soup” for what it is: a demon telling us its name. And that we then use this knowledge to take the next step biblically: square off against this dark force and cast it down in the name of the LORD.
The continuing addition of letters in this final chapter of the sexual revolution—accurately summed up in the phrase pomosexual movement—is actually a perfectly logical, even necessary, extrapolation from its root causes.
The ultimate root, of course–in this or any other departure from the divine order–is sin, our inborn penchant for self-referential morality: doing and then justifying whatever we want to do. (And sexual desires are among the most powerful and universal of all human appetites–of what “we want to do.”) Coupled with other dark forces, sin and its passions provide the baseline from which secondary causes emerge. Among them relative to pomosexuality are:
- 1. A prevailing postmodern worldview (as discussed above)
- 2. The explosive growth of the cult of the “sovereign self” that took place in the 20th Century
This cult was driven by all manner of forces, each interacting with the others so as to create a vast and powerful feedback loop. They include but are not limited to:
- — postmodern thought,
- — Western affluence and the enormous increase in personal leisure time,
- — a massive campaign of thought and behavior control waged by the public relations/advertising industries as they discovered how influential and lucrative it was to evoke/create the notion of the sovereign self…and then sell it things,
- — disenchantment with the establishment thinking that gave us two World Wars and Vietnam,
- — the sea-change that was the 60s, when “Do your thing”—with the emphasis on the “you”—became axiomatic,
- — the breakdown of the family and the general atomization of society,
- — creeping socialism: the growth of entitlement spending and entitlement thinking,
- — revolutions in technology and digital communications that gave multitudes access to their own car, phone, iPod, computer…and a seemingly infinite world of hard-core pornography,
- — a popular media industry (television, movies, music, magazine, books, video games, etc.) that absorbed the sovereign self motif and then explored, reiterated and milked it endlessly.
But perhaps the most important contributing factor of all was a Church that was far too compromised by all the above.
The stage was effectively set for multitudes “to begin to do what was right in their own eyes.” (Deut. 12:8; Judges 21:25; Pro. 12:5, 21:2)
- Enter now #3: The increase in the instances of physical, psychological and spiritual trauma impacting people’s families, sexual and gender identities and practices.
To adequately explore this last point would take a book, a big one. But in a nutshell the trauma was rooted in:
- — the breakdown of the family (whether through divorce, out-of-wedlock births or the dearth of responsible, godly parenting in technically “intact” families),
- — the explosion of pornography,
- — the increase in sexual abuse (and the laxity of the laws and penal sanctions dealing with it),
- — teasing, bullying and rejection on the part of one’s peers during early, key developmental periods for failing to conform to simplistic gender stereotypes,
- — the culture’s growing acceptance and then celebration of “diversity” regarding twisted sexual and gender identities—coupled with the popular lie that sexual orientation is inborn and immutable,
All of this and more came together to create, populate and legitimate the fabric of lies and deceptions that is the homosexual and now pomosexual subculture. And truth is its only cure.
The truth is that each of us was created by God to be both heterosexual and monogamous. Furthermore, God—being the infinitely creative, diversity-loving Tri-unity He is—fashioned each of us with unique temperaments, personalities, cognitive abilities and other aspects of our internal “wiring.” As a result, we each respond differently to the diverse situations and stimuli we encounter in our journey through life.***
Biologically, all of us are innately attracted to our gender opposites–gender being defined by our chromosomes and corroborated over 99.9% of the time by physiology (genitalia, hormone ratios, and hundreds of other gender-specific differences). But this congenital orientation towards heterosexuality—while varying in intensity from person to person—can be impacted by a broad range of negative external influences, the “trauma” mentioned above. (It’s important to keep in mind here the ultimate “trauma,” one’s that both external and internal: the baseline of man’s sinful nature.) Depending on their type, frequency, and magnitude, an individual, again contingent upon their disposition and internal wiring, can be pushed towards various deviant sexual practices specifically defined or alluded to by scripture. Some are volitional, connected to the choices we make. Others—particularly when we are young and vulnerable—are involuntary; are things that happen to us. (Initial sexual experiences, like viewing pornography or being molested, are also very important in this regard since they set a kind of bonding “norm” and exert enormous influence on the development of one’s sexual appetites.)
The final form these adaptations or coping mechanisms take depends again on the individual and their internal “wiring.” (People, and the reasons they do certain things, are, in other words, extremely complicated.) So, for example, one girl experiences trauma from being sexually abused by a male relative and for whatever reasons—grace, disposition, counter-balancing life experiences, counseling, etc.—maintains her inborn heterosexuality and gender identity and eventually gets married and lives a good, moral life. But another girl experiences the same trauma and later, while remaining “straight”, cannot maintain a relationship, moving from one man to the next (“P” for polyamorous). Another ends up embracing homosexuality (“L”), while another feels that she is really a man (“T”), while still another becomes asexual (“A”).
So calling it the LGBTQCP…XYZ Movement actually makes perfect sense. Each letter is just a sliver from the same shattered coin. In terms of our fallen natures in a fallen world, anyone can potentially “become” almost anything.
The big question we need to address as individuals and as a society is whether we want to hold and aspire to the standards defined by God, to the notion that His prescription for sexual and gender expression produces true and long-lasting happiness and health for both the individual and society. Or do we throw up our hands and simply bow to the idols of postmodernism and fallen, broken sexuality?
It has become painfully obvious which road the pomosexual movement has taken and is promoting.
I’ll close with three quick and illustrative examples of where this road is taking us:
One of the contributors to the fifteen essays that make up PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality is Riki Anne Wilchins. The book describes her as “a lesbian or bisexual, transsexual or transgender, man or woman living in Greenwich Village…Her hobbies include the Transsexual Menace, the Lesbian Avengers, and attacking false binaries.” (p.191) Depending on the homophile, there is the end-game–or the unintended consequence–in a nice little nutshell: a person who is a lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgendered man/woman–all at the same time. And the book is filled with similar, even stranger examples of gender and sexual chaos.
A more philosophical exploration of this same chaos can be seen in the life and work of Marco Vassi, another contributor to the book. Vassi was a prolific and internationally respected writer/chronicler of the bleeding edges of the sexual revolution. His Wikipedia entry states (emphases mine):
He was married three times, but was well-known for sexual, drug, and alternative-lifestyle experimentation. He viewed life as the theory and practice of liberation, an exploration of being sexual, that is an all-sexual being, bisexual, and homosexual. Marco Vassi coined the term metasex, which meant any sex outside the bounds of heterosexual marriage. He once wrote (in “Beyond Bisexuality”):
“When one transcends male-female dualism, eroticism becomes susceptible of a more subtle mathematical understanding. For each number, there is a different and unique quality of consciousness, and no one is intrinsically superior to any of the others.
The introduction of the metasexual paradigm is no less a shift in the history of our evolving understanding. The vast majority of the species has not seen past the conditioned strictures of the number *two.* And even those in the vanguard, having their orgies, still operate from the standpoint of a male-female dualism. The most sophisticated among them proclaim themselves bisexuals, not aware that this is the dead-end of that particular tunnel vision. The only way out is to go within to heal the internal split. A monad has no gender.”
This entry concludes with the chilling fact—an irony likely missed by his acolytes—that Vassi was unable to sustain a love relationship and died of AIDS, with only a former girlfriend to note his passing.
Both Wilchins and Vassi are intellectuals, members of the intelligentsia helping define and guide the pomosexual movement. Perhaps of greater interest and significance is the way their thinking has trickled down to the grass roots. Our third example is from one of the millions of web sites, blogs, YouTube videos and Facebook postings exploring and enlarging the boundaries of the sexual revolution; in this case a pomosexual female and musician whose music and writing reflects intelligence, talent and a classic postmodern sensibility. (The censoring is by me.)
Something about the human brain just loves to place people into neat little categories & boxes. Race. Hair color. Height. Place of origin. The gender you prefer to ****.
It’s been established that women who love women are lesbians, men who love men are gay, and women/men who love either gender are bisexual. Anyone involved in the gay community can surely tell you about how close-minded each group can be against anyone who doesn’t fit the description verbatim, despite the fact that close-mindedness & discrimination are the very things gay people are supposed to be fighting against…
They’d rather put me in the bisexual box, thinking this is where I rightfully belong since I take a **** to the **** & face every now & then.
Consider a woman who is married to a man…wait…that was actually born female (and she’s aware of the fact). Is she lesbian, due to the fact that she’s committed to a biological woman? Is she straight, because she’s married to a man? Is the FTM, who is visually & mentally masculine, straight or gay? Are they both bi? Another example would be the guy who doesn’t consider himself gay at all, but he finds pleasure in ***** other guys in the ***** sometimes…and just that activity alone. He is only interested in dating & marrying a woman, is only visually turned on by women. He doesn’t consider himself bi, but most straight people wouldn’t agree with him stating he is one of them.
In actuality, we can be considered Pomosexuals. Pomosexual (a real word) refers to a non-orientation, a dismissal of all labels, by which sexuality is viewed as a fluid experience, rather than a fixed point. This new view understands that love transcends gender, and that one’s identity is not defined by their gender or sexual orientation.****
Welcome to the end-game, the brave new world that is presently being fashioned all around us. Beyond labels. Beyond “the number *two*” and “false binaries.” Beyond good and evil. Man–or whatever name we should now call him/her/it now–is finally and completely free.
Free to embrace the chaos…and ultimately destruction.
* Kate Bornstein (author, playwright, performance artist, and gender theorist; born male, had sex-reassignment surgery, now identifies as neither a woman nor a man) on the back cover of PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality (Cleis Press; October 10, 1997)
** Douglas Wilson, Sermon: Pomosexuality (Psalm 115:4-8; 2 Cor. 3:16)
*** It should be noted that these experiences can then turn around and impact our internal “wiring.” I have interviewed several people who struggle with unwanted same-sex inclinations. A common theme is having experienced, often unwillingly, a homosexual act when they were young. This episode, often their first sexual encounter, had a profound impact on them akin to a type of “re-wiring”—as if they had been diverted to an exit ramp and now found themselves on a highway going in the opposite, and wrong, direction. Given the Bible’s admonition—and warning—in Proverbs 22:6, this should come as no surprise.
There are few things I enjoy more than God’s wisdom, love and sovereign grace shining into darkness…and then watching as unclean spirits fall all over themselves trying to run from the light. This phenomenon can manifest itself in any number of ways. Listening to NPR last night, I heard a textbook example of one of my favorites: When supposedly bright, educated people start sawing away on some rotten branch they’re upset about—not realizing that they’re sitting on the same branch. And that it’s a real long way to the ground.
Or as Fred, the foreman of a pipe-fitting crew I once worked on, would more colorfully put it: When people complain about finding a hair in a @#*! sandwich.
Here’s the hair: According to the NPR story, When States Can’t Control Violent Youth, Is Prison The Answer?, advocates for juvenile justice reform and LGBT youth in Connecticut are upset by a recent court decision to place a “16-year-old transgender girl” in an adult woman’s prison.
It’s not completely clear from the story if this teen was born a boy and is now self-identifying as a girl. One would assume so in that referring to the former him as a her is the politically-correct way to describe this type of thing now. (FYI for all you Neanderthals out there.) This would make his/her placement in a women’s prison (one would assume that he/she hasn’t had gender reassignment surgery yet, so his/her “package” would still be present and presumably operational) every bit as troubling as the opposite: that she/he is being placed among a bunch of older woman who could be in the mood for some jailbait. Unless they’re lesbians or she/he self-identifies as a lesbian man or a bisexual woman in a man’s body who really wants to be with another bisexual – man or woman – as long as they … wait, I think I may have lost the thread here. But you get my point.
Anyway, the court has placed “Jane Doe” in the adult prison because of “her” penchant for violent behavior.
Joette Katz, commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, has defended the decision: “She engaged in some of her typical — I hate to say typical — but some behaviors. Assaulting youth, grabbing hair, punching.” The final straw came last January when “she” assaulted a staff member at a Massachusetts facility for girls.
The progressives are up in arms because beyond whatever gender and sex issues may be involved, “her” incarceration is seen as an excessive and inhumane response that will only exacerbate Jane Doe’s problems, making “her” even more prone to violent behavior.
John Tuell, executive director of the RFK National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice, explained: “This step that was taken by Connecticut puts this youth at higher risk for continued failure. It would not be hard to argue that this was simply another factor that contributed to that downward spiral.”
Here’s the sandwich: What do the advocates for juvenile justice reform and LGBT youth see as the root cause of Jane Doe’s violent behavior? I quote:
“The girl has a long history of being sexually and physically abused. She has been in multiple residential programs since she was 9, and some of the abuse allegedly happened while she was in DCF care. Experts say this kind of trauma can make children violent.” (Emphasis mine)
So there we have it. It’s OK, even necessary, that we point out the connection between the type of abuse Doe experienced and “her” violent behavior. And furthermore, that we muster the full power of the state and the therapeutic industry—as well as taxpayers’ money—in an effort to treat and end it.
But we better be damn well sure we never, ever consider or mention that this same sexual abuse may be the cause of this poor child’s gender confusion.
Yeah, right. Professing to be wise…
Last year my hometown of Nashville experienced another flavor of this same type of insanity when a local, gay-identified teen killed himself. In death the poor kid found his fifteen minutes of Warholian fame as homophile spinmeisters promptly made him another causality of gay-bullying. I mean, come on–he was gay and he killed himself. What else could it be?
The problem was that there was little or no evidence he had been bullied. In fact, as is the case more and more in the era of Glee and Modern Family, his gayness gave him a certain cachet, particularly with girls, that more than made up for whatever trash talk he may have received from some idiot-punk. But there was plenty of evidence that he came from an extremely dysfunctional family: no father; an often absent, substance-abusing mother; being raised primarily by his grandmother, etc. To blame “homophobia” and not these negative family issues for his suicide—to say nothing of his sexual confusion—demonstrates just how irrational and agenda-driven this whole crazy LGBTQ thing has become.
The cultural landscape is strewn with examples of this type of cognitive dissonance. And I fear we have only seen the beginning as our nation more and more lifts up its collective fist to heaven’s throne and declares, “We will not have You rule over us!” (Psalm 2:1-3) A scoffing laughter (vs. 4,5) and a fearful expectation of judgment (Heb. 10:27) are the normal blowback.