.- Think of the church as a hospital, a Franciscan University professor told some 1,000 Christians at a conference on the evils of pornography. âWe are all here not as doctors and nurses, but as patients,â said Catholic theologian Scott Hahn. âWe all need intensive care.â
Hahn and his wife, Kimberly, were the keynote Catholic speakers at the annual twin Men of Valor/Women of Virtue conferences in Olathe, Kan. Co-sponsored by the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, the conferences are also mainly sponsored by the inter-denomination, anti-pornography National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families, founded by Jerry Kirk, Kimberly Hahnâs father.
As it has for years, the conferences drew more than 1,000 Christians from both sides of the state line to learn more about raising faith-filled children in a culture saturated by sexual promiscuity. The Men of Valor Conference was held Jan. 30 at Mid-America Nazarene University, while a separate womenâs conference the same day was held at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, both in Olathe, Kan.
Participants in both conferences gathered together on the college campus on the evening of Jan. 29 to hear all four keynoters â Mark Laaser of Faithful and True Ministries, and Dannah Gresh of Pure Freedom as well as the Hahns.
In his keynote, Scott Hahn stressed the âTheology of the Bodyâ teachings of the late Pope John Paul II that sex reserved for a monogamous, sacramental marriage between one man and one woman is Godâs greatest gift to humanity.
âWhen we enter into a marriage covenant, your body is saying (to a spouse), âIâm yours, and only yours,â so that Godâs life-giving love can be expressed through us,â Hahn said.
âItâs not about sacrifice,â he said. âItâs about sanctification.â
Citing the Bible that says that man and woman become one flesh, Hahn said that âthe one flesh we become is so real, that nine months later, we have to give it a name.â
Hahn said that the commandments are not the product of a controlling God, but of a loving God.
âThe commandments are a description of who we are and what we need,â he said. âGod loves us more than we are ever capable of understanding. Thatâs why sin isnât just about broken laws. Sin is about broken lives and broken hearts.â
Hahn said that Christians must continually fortify themselves against sin.
âThis world is not a playground. Itâs a battlefield,â he said.
âWe face spiritual warfare, and we all know failure, and beginning over again and again,â Hahn said.
âThis is what it means to get to heaven. We will be carrying these scars to God,â he said. âWhat we have to offer God is a humble and contrite heart.
âGod is through all eternity a father,â he said. âWe are here to internalize that, and to ask him to help us do what we cannot do alone.â
In her opening keynote, Kimberly Hahn told of how Noahâs wife immediately accepted Godâs curious â to humans â command to her husband to build a huge ark, even without hearing it herself.
âMrs. Noah believed the word of God through her husband,â she said. âThere were no priests to go to, no pastors. She believed her husband and believed that God had spoken through him.â
And not just his wife, but his sons and their wives also believed Noah, âthe spiritual head of the family.â
By believing they were all saved, even though the world ridiculed them.
âMen who head households, you must act for the salvation of your households,â Hahn said.
âThe world isnât going to change,â she said. âWe are the ones who have to change.â
Speaking from the Protestant viewpoint, Laaser and Gresh both stressed that Satan is targeting marriages and families as the way to destroy the Christâs church.
Gresh told of the societal pressures on the teen and pre-teen girls she works with, and how the sex-saturated culture is the opposite of Godâs plan for their lives.
âWhen God looks down on earth in his quest to teach his passion for us, he sees a marriage bed, a pure and holy marriage bed. Thatâs the passion,â she said.
âIf your relationship with your kids, with your wife has the potential to be the picture of Christ and his church, how motivated is Satan to destroy that image?â Gresh said.
âThis weekend, we want to equip and motivate you to stomp on his head."
Laaser, without naming names, said he has counseled some of the worldâs wealthiest and most famous people through sexual addictions.
One Hollywood star â âa name you would all knowâ â once confessed to having sex with more than 3,000 women.
âHe told me that it was never enough. He always wanted more,â Laaser said.
âSexual things are never enough to satisfy our souls,â he said.
Laaser said the famous star had no idea what he was hungering and thirsting for, he said quoting the Bible: âThose who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they will be filled.â
Instead, the star and all others seeking satisfaction through promiscuity are trapped in a selfish, narcissistic lifestyle.
âHow do I get selfless?â Laaser asked. Then answering with more questions, he said, âWhat are we willing to die for? Would you die for your spouse?â
Speaking directly to the men, Laaser said, âThen I would say to you, when you look at pornography or lust after another woman, you are killing your wifeâs spirit.
âCan you turn to a life of purity?â Laaser asked. âIf you are a man of valor, you are willing to die for those who love you.
âTonight, are you willing not to die, but to die to yourself?â he asked. âIf you are, then the resurrecting love of Jesus Christ will be made manifest in your life.â
Printed with permission from The Catholic Key, newspaper for the Diocese of Kansas City â St. Joseph Missouri.