Friday, 19 July 2013

The Dilemma of Grace

I think many people have the idea that grace (especially the "new" grace experience) is either a license to sin or a denial of the reality of our nature.

The view point of "license to sin" is simply based on not understanding the purpose and power of grace, and isn't the focus of this post.

Many, however, see that the embracing of the finished work of Christ, in that we are completely one with God, sin free, unconditionally loved, and completely free from any law etc, as being a denial of the reality of our life here and now.

The reality of what Christ did and the new covenant is even far more radical than that. God doesn't even see sin any more and only sees us as perfect loved children, well, more than that! He sees us, in fact, as lovers now, and simply wants us to enjoy him, living beyond the concepts of right and wrong (the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil).

Now this certainly sounds like a weird and wacky disregard of reality. A complete ignorance of the necessity for law and moral guidelines, and, even worse in some ways, a denial of our personal reality. By that I mean the processes that our minds deal with on a moment by moment basis. The complex dynamics of experience, paradigm, fears, guilt and shame, the handling of relationships that simply can't be nicely sorted and boxed. Our minds just don't resemble the ideal of this grace thing, so it seems like it really is just an ideal, but devoid of common sense and the reality of life.

Here's a quote by Paul Zahl:

Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable…. The cliché definition of grace is “unconditional love.” It is a true cliché, for it is a good description of the thing. Let’s go a little further, though. Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts” (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold…. Grace is one-way love.

Grace doesn't make demands. It just gives. And from our vantage point, it always gives to the wrong person. We see this over and over again in the Gospels: Jesus is always giving to the wrong people—prostitutes, tax collectors, half-breeds. The most extravagant sinners of Jesus’s day receive his most compassionate welcome. Grace is a divine vulgarity that stands caution on its head. It refuses to play it safe and lay it up. Grace is recklessly generous, uncomfortably promiscuous. It doesn't use sticks, carrots, or time cards. It doesn't keep score. As Robert Capon puts it, “Grace works without requiring anything on our part. It’s not expensive. It’s not even cheap. It’s free.” It refuses to be controlled by our innate sense of fairness, reciprocity, and evenhandedness. It defies logic. It has nothing to do with earning, merit, or deservedness. It is opposed to what is owed. It doesn’t expect a return on investments. It is a liberating contradiction between what we deserve and what we get. Grace is unconditional acceptance given to an undeserving person by an unobligated giver.

It is one-way love.

With this in mind, we have to come to terms with how it affects our inner life, our daily struggles and moment by moment realities. Here's how it works for me:

I'm convinced of the truth about the nature of grace and that the key to living in it is renewing my mind to its reality. So in daily life I take the time to just stop and remember that I really am a new creation, that I am one with God, and that He is completely besotted with me this second and that will never change. That's it! That's living in the "rest" of His love. Its allowing my mind to focus on that simple fact.

I can't change anything about myself, but I can begin the renewing of my mind by just letting myself be loved and allowing that to slowly alter my thoughts and emotions. Of course I'll still do lots of stuff that is not beneficial to God, myself and others. I'll hurt people, make stupid decisions, wrestle with my past and my future - all that stuff. BUT, they no longer define me. The real reality (lol), is everything I need to live loved has been done, that by focusing on that and resting in that place as often as I can, I WILL be changed. It can't be helped. 

The crap of daily life doesn't change, but my responses do. The recognition of my unity with Love himself will change me - it has and it will. This is the life changing power that Paul speaks of in his letters. Its the ONLY thing that brings change. And its simple and goes against everything logic tells us. It goes against religion, morality, tradition and most church doctrines. 

It is freedom! And remember: God is love - live loved!! ;-)

Monday, 15 July 2013

Renewed Hope Network

After a lot of deliberation, prayer and very little advice, I've launched a new website/ministry dealing specifically with Christians struggling with same sex attraction.

The demise of Exodus and the rise of other reparative groups, in particular Restored Hope Network, has inspired me to step out and create an alternative ministry firmly rooted in the complete unconditional love of God for every single person on the planet, His desire for complete union and intimacy with all of us and the finished work of Jesus that enabled that.

Its my absolute passion to reach every LGBTQ (etc) person in the church with the good news that the gospel is better than they ever thought possible, that they are loved beyond their wildest dreams, and God couldn't give a stuff about their orientation, but His heart breaks for the pain, abuse, fear, shame, guilt, rejection and suffering they have experienced.

Its His grace that brings complete freedom, and to be transformed in any way He sees fit.

I'm still building the site and the network of resources, supporters, finances etc to make it happen. Its early days, but the need is huge and in my naivety I actually believe I can make a difference.

Here's the site in its first form.

I'm hoping to register the name as soon as possible, and if I can, there are some other domain names that I'd like to buy to link as well.

Very simple at the moment, and I'll be adding content over the next few weeks, building on the outline I've got there.

Please support this in any way you can, if you feel inspired to. Donations welcome here or on the new site. Prayer is awesome, and helpful suggestions and guidance always appreciated!

PS: Any similarity between the name Renewed Hope Network and any other ministry is completely intentional.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

A Request

Many of you may be familiar with my life story (you can read some of the preliminary biography entries for my book in Its Life Jim), and the struggles I have lived through with sexual identity.

I had been involved in an ex-gay ministry for a long time and am now working to help those in the church system to see their sexuality issues in a new light. A way of integrity, wholeness, love and acceptance.

There are many in the ex-gay/reparative therapy system who have claimed complete success and are now living totally "straight". I am familiar with a very small handful of people who have returned to heterosexual relationships after receiving some deep "healing" of emotional trauma that brought fear of the opposite sex, although this is almost exclusively with women.

My request is this:

I sincerely want to hear from anyone who has had this experience. I want to hear your story without any religious/christian language attached. I want to know exactly how you changed and what your lifestyle now looks like.

This is a genuine request and I'm not going to slam people and will respect confidentiality. I am open to God changing people and its not my intention to destroy people's faith and beliefs. My intention is reality and truth. Above all, I desire everyone to realise they are unconditionally loved no matter what their gender/sexual identity is.

I'm aiming to establish a website with resources and support for those christians who are in turmoil about what is right and wrong, and give real hope for a complete and whole life - as God created them. There are a few good sites around already but I feel I have a unique perspective that can be of help to many.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Apuckerlips Now!

Apocalypse - Apuckerlips!! Get it? Pucker lips - kiss - love, anyway...

My point is this: Are we doomed to an apocalyptic nightmare where God's wrath is poured out on mankind, or is the kingdom of God going to be fulfilled in love on this earth?

We are all familiar with the devastation in the world - the poverty, injustice, hate, oppression, bigotry, racism, greed, war, conspiracies, you name it! Yes the world is really full of the worst of mankind. There are things happening that fill us with revulsion and horror. The governments are corrupt and the powerful forces behind them are mind boggling.

But lets have a closer look. One thing that we must be aware of is the complete change in media and communication in the last century. We are now privy to every little piece of news in every corner of the world. We can instantly see every atrocity and injustice committed as it happens. The internet floods us with millions of images and reports of how bad and evil mankind can be. The capability to search out every little detail of every news item, every political activity, military, conspiratorial, corruption, fraud... We see live footage of mass murderers, terrorist bombings. We are confronted with an endless barrage of evil and carnage, to say nothing of all the natural disasters.

We use all this information to conclude that these are the end times. But history may lead us to other conclusions. the world has been full of evil and darkness for thousands of years. There have always been corrupt leaders, dictators and fascists. In fact, very few of the leaders we know of throughout history could be called "good". Probably most were worse than our current leaders. Poverty and oppression was rampant. Injustice was the norm through so many cultures. The Dark and Middle ages were horrific. Even life in Victorian times was oppressive unless you were rich.

But here's an even more important thought. They didn't know what was going on in every small corner of the world. Nobody knew what was going on outside their own small world. 

Its all relative. In reality, the world is a much better place than its ever been! We are all aware of what's going on. Democracy and justice is finding a firmer foothold through all the world. Slavery is is all but gone (yes it still exists). Discrimination of any kind is actively opposed in most countries. We are working together in so many ways that I find it incredible and inspiring. Technology, health, social welfare - all at a level that was unheard of even a century ago.

Yes, we have a long way to go. Yes there is a lot of "evil" working through this world, everything we see that is so disgusting about the world is true. But the thing is, we are constantly exposed to the negative every minute of the day and painted an image that negates all the good and all the amazing progress mankind has made.

So the next question is of course, what about the bible? It says we are all doomed and Jesus will come and take his elect and destroy everything else. Really? Have we actually done our homework on that? Yes, there's Revelation and the things Jesus said, and all the "experts" tell us in never ending (although conflicting) detail about how the world will end, but have we stopped to really consider and examine this stuff? Its way beyond the scope of this post to look at in detail, but research the idea of "preterist" beliefs and you may be surprised.

Anyway, lets suppose that the good news of the gospel is really way better than we could imagine. Lets suppose that as more and more people embrace the unconditional love of God and all that He has done for us, and how incredibly inclusive He is, and how much His heart aches for every single person ever created that He will establish His kingdom on this earth? His kingdom of love and inclusion. His kingdom of justice and equality - everything every human dreams of. What if that were actually beginning right now? What if his whole plan all along was not to wipe out all the evil nasty people, but to overwhelm and embrace them in His love, and bring that to our tired aching planet that has been groaning for the sons of God to be revealed?

Maybe we are those who will bring that kingdom. Maybe it will take generations as His love slowly but inexorably conquers all. Maybe we need to step back from the horror stories that bombard us every day and start to see the awesome things that God is doing and make some real comparisons about the state of the world.

Maybe we need to be love! Apuckerlips - not Apocalypse!

Monday, 8 July 2013

New directions

Hi all you rabid fans!!

The last 2 years have been quite a time for me as I find new directions in life. I'm moving back to the big(ish) smoke of Auckland to be closer to the action. Although my ties to the Warkworth area will still be strong.

I'm putting all my efforts now into writing, music and Christian LGBT advocacy. I'm a volunteer worker and on the board of OUTLine NZ, who are very keen for me to work with the LGBT community in areas of spirituality. I have already started a forum/group on this area and loving it. I'll share more of my hopes and dreams soon.

I was hoping that I could raise a little money from my book of poems to help finance my new ventures. That would be nice, but I would rather just put them out there to provide whatever encouragement etc people may get from them (or not) for free, and if people want to donate to what I'm doing, then that's also great.

I've now published Jimzpomez through who have a good promotional network and the options for donations. Here's the link:

Friday, 5 July 2013

Comfy Religion

Religion is comfortable.

I want to be discipled by wise and knowledgeable teachers who've spent years studying scriptures and can give me the real meat.

I want to be held accountable for the way I think, and be pulled back into line if I drift into heresy.

I want the company of like minded believers so we can encourage and build each other up in correct doctrines. To search the scriptures together with the same vision as our leaders.

I want to have clear guidelines for what's right and wrong, for godly living.

I want clear understanding of what the bible says about the way we should live.

I want good boundaries, wholesome fellowship, biblical standards, strong leadership.

I want to be comfortable and safe in my beliefs.


Really, despite my "natural" inclinations for the above, God wants something entirely different. He wants us to walk a narrow road, a difficult road.

He wants us to think for ourselves.

He wants us to be accountable to no man.

He wants us to be so tight with him that we don't need any guidelines, rules or principles.

He wants nothing more (and nothing less) than to walk in love - allow HIS love to fill us and affect all we are and do.

He wants us to forget all about right and wrong, good and evil, sin and righteousness. He just wants relationship.

Everything else comes from that relationship. What that looks like is God's business. How that works for each of us is totally different. Sometimes it can be a challenge, sometimes it means running the gamut of human emotion as we are confronted by the depths of the love in that relationship.

But all he wants is for us to allow him to love us. Its that simple.

Monday, 1 July 2013


I've been thinking a bit about division amongst christians lately. I don't mean things like petty squabbles over who's been promoted to head usher or when the sound guy refuses to turn up the keyboard.

No, I'm talking about doctrines and the attitudes we have when we disagree.

My first thought is that doctrines don't make a scrap of difference really. God couldn't care what  doctrines we follow as they are all subjective understandings based on our own paradigms. They are just part of our journey and should really be constantly changing as we grow. For this, we extend unconditional grace. We can discuss, debate, challenge etc but we must respect each other. We must realise that each of our journeys is unique and God shows us stuff in his time and in his way

But then there are some pretty big issues that I have difficulty with. Issues that are so big that they affect the foundations of what we believe. They change the way we view God and his relationship with us and each other. They change the way we relate to the whole of humanity and creation. There are beliefs and doctrines that affect the very basis of our understanding of God's inherent nature - who He is, who we are, how he sees us, how we see each other.

The central beliefs that the church is now wrestling with, that are causing the greatest divisions are hypergrace and universalism. Some would say sexuality is also right up there, but its not a game changer, it doesn't alter the foundational character of God like the others.

These are the big doctrines that seriously divide the church, and we are going to have to make a decision sooner or later because they just aren't going away. They are just getting hotter!

Many christians are of the view that we must respect each other's journeys no matter what we believe and extend the unconditional love and grace to each other that we all so desperately need. There has to be love and compassion for each other as we discuss these things, or we are undoing any credibility we have for the very message we are supporting.

I agree! We must have that respect and love. But here is where it gets difficult. The two hot topics are complete game changers and those on both sides recognise this, creating a sense of urgency and passion that truth will prevail. To accept the new revelations of grace opens us up to the realisation that the traditional "gospel" the church has taught for so long is not only wrong, but seriously damaging.

Traditional christians often get upset about the intensity of the grace arguments, and indeed there are many "gracers" who love the new knowledge but haven't had their minds renewed by it, and come across quite arrogant. The traditionalists also get very hot under the collar about this "heresy" and become quite abusive.

I can't help but think that it will get worse. That those who are open to this grace message will see the incredible lies and deceit, the abuse and complete misrepresentation of God that has been perpetrated for so long. And those who hold the traditional views will equally vilify the grace view for its "unbiblical" heresies.

Personally, from the viewpoint of a "hypergracer", I can empathise with those who don't get where I'm at. I even empathise with the likes of Driscol and others who hide behind the safety of literalism and fundamentalism. I know what its like to think like that. But I will attack their message. I will attack the very foundations of all they stand for, as Luther did, without fear. I will continue to respect every individual's personal journey, but I will make the very clear distinction about their belief systems, challenge their paradigms, call the horrific heresy of legalistic religious fundamentalism for what it is. I will do all I can to break its hold on our hearts and minds, so that the fullness of God's true character, his unconditional love and grace for all mankind, can bust through the cracks and release true freedom for every person on this planet.

Extending love and respect for individuals doesn't mean I have to just smile and accept the status quo.