Month: November 2019

When Evangelicals Get To Heaven

At the center of conservative Evangelical theology is the centerpiece of heaven and hell.

For them, nothing is more important. In their minds, hell is God’s eternal punishment for those who don’t respond in faith and faithfulness to the death and resurrection required of Jesus to save humanity from God’s wrath. With unending, unimaginable, and unbearable torture, fire, and pain, for Evangelicals, hell is the holy solution God creates for those who don’t respond properly to His unfailing love.

With this nearly singular focus on matters of eternity, conservative Evangelicals have been quick to first ensure their place in heaven, and then meticulously define those who will be sent to hell. Additionally, as they run their fingers through the Bible, they have been sure to carve out what they believe are the God-sanctioned requirements that must be met for one to truly have “saving” faith. From Calvinism to Arminianism, there are many different stances among conservative Evangelicals in regards to what “true” salvation involves. Yet, congruent in all of it is their focus on who’s in and who’s out. 

Inconvenienced and frustrated by what they see as a filthy, sinful, God-hating world, most conservative Evangelicals can’t wait to get into their heaven. For them, it’s a place absent of all their enemies, disagreers, problems, and cares filled only with people who believe, act, and look like themselves. Therefore, in the meanwhile of their earthly sufferings, the planet is theirs for their unlimited taking, prosperity and priority are entitled to the faithful, and people are projects to be converted into their believing that they might further create an earthly existence unto themselves of the like-minded and like-believing.

This is their heaven, devoid of diversity, disagreers, doubters, and the people who believe, act, and sin differently than they. It’s a walled-off place accessible only to the spiritually elite who have ascended to a certain set of beliefs and behaviors. Rewards and privileges are granted to the most faithful, and worship is joyfully extended to the god who sends, even from among their own, the unbelievers and rebellious to burn in hell. 

Yet, I wonder what their reactions might be if they aren’t rewarded with the heaven of their dreams. What would become of the expressions on their faces if eternity with God turns out to be an experience far removed from their expectations? What if, in heaven, the tables are turned on all the things they had hoped for and, instead, much the opposite is manifested and celebrated? What if the divine One isn’t as forever angry, cruel, and opposed to all the things they are?

Oh, the unconditional love of God in heaven that will forever feel, to them, like raging wrath as they are confronted with an eternity that is carpeted with an all-inclusive diversity of every size, shape, color, creed, sex, identity, spectrum, and orientation.

Oh, the torture that will forever plague their hearts as their eyes can’t escape a heaven where Jesus is robed in reams of rainbowed cloth, the sky snows glitter, and unicorns rule the fields.

Oh, the white hot coals that will forever heap fire upon their heads as they traverse a heaven that is ruled by pure Grace and overflowing with the presence of all their enemies happily reclined in the lap of Jesus.

Oh, the blood boiling rage that will forever consume their souls in a heaven where gay marriage, Transgender people, religious pluralism, women pastors, and racial equality dance in the streets while Jesus and George Michael spin the tracks.

Oh, the frustration that will send their bodies into uncontrollable tremors in a heaven where God is revealed to be genderless, colorless, flag-less, and gunless. 

Oh, the shame that will break their knees and press them into the fetal position in a heaven where the least of these are the greatest, the first are the last, the sinners are the saints, and the condemning, bigoted Christians are exposed of their folly. 

Oh, the fits of rage that will forever melt their skin from the inside out as the halls of heaven reveal the countless, earthly evils to which they subscribed and committed in the name of Jesus.

Oh, the embarrassment that will forever haunt their conscience in a heaven where God is Love, Grace is the Gospel, all are saved, the Bible is under, and Jesus is shown to have been over all and in all, all along—every person, every creed, and every place.

Oh, the dismembering dismay that will forever disarm their every faculty in a heaven where the clouds give constant witness that those outside the church were the most genuine in faith, the doubters were the strongest believers, the religiously oppressed were the favored, the nonbelievers were the included, and the questioning and resisting were the faithful.  

Oh, the psychotic mind-attacks that will forever terrorize their thoughts in a heaven where trumpets blast with crystal clarity as God parades the socialistic liberal, the desperate immigrant, the late-night McDonald’s worker, the foreign-born convenience store owner, the elderly Walmart greeter, the brave single mother, the caring stay-at-home father, the mentally ill, the disabled, the homeless, the uninspired, the undecided, the wandering, and the wayward as equal to all others, pure reflections of the Divine, and special recipients of the gleam in God’s eyes.     

Oh, what a terrible eternity that will be.

In fact, when Evangelicals get to heaven, for them, I’m thinking it’s going to be hell.

 

“Grace is the celebration of life, relentlessly hounding all the non-celebrants in the world.”   -Robert Capon

“The flames of heaven will be hotter for some than the flames of hell could ever be”  -Dallas Willard

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris Kratzer’s new book getting rave reviews… Leatherbound Terrorism.

In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris chases the evils of conservative Evangelicalism out of the shadows and gives powerful voice to the cries of the religiously oppressed. Confronting issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, religious greed, hypocrisy, nationalism, white supremacy, privilege, and the weaponizing of the Bible, Leatherbound Terrorism pulls no punches. Endorsed by best selling authors Steve McVey and Baxter Kruger, Leatherbound Terrorism will challenge you, inspire you, and most certainly cause you to rethink your faith and life.

Conservative Christian, Here’s What Trump Really Thinks Of You

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

So, you support President Donald Trump. Perhaps you believe he has been sent by God to recalibrate America back to your brand of Christian faith. Maybe you simply hated Hillary, or felt the need for an outsider to cleanse Washington of political corruption.

Whatever the rationale, you likely have many opinions about our President and the reasonings for your vote and continued allegiance. However, I wonder if you’ve given much energy to considering what his true thoughts and opinions might be of you, a conservative Christian. He obviously has your loyalty, but what is the basis of his new found interest in you? 

I know, we would all like to think that those we support and admire have our well-being at heart. We’d hope that our respect for them is reciprocal, and that their exploiting of our strengths and weaknesses would be an impossibility, given what we perceive to be their character. Never would we want to believe that the hands that feed us could be the same ones that are abusing and using us for personal gain. To be sure, when we feel that we have been wronged for so long (as I know you do), the elixir of those who promise salvation makes it hard to see, hear, and reason with clarity. Instead, with new found hope, our guards are let down and our radar screens turned off to the blips and sirens that should inform us. 

No, I’m not writing to criticize your support of President Donald Trump. Rather, I hope to challenge you to consider why Trump solicits and embraces you so passionately for your  support in the first place. 

Sadly, what I suspect to be his true thoughts and motives aren’t pleasant nor easy to hear, for anyone. Yet, as a former conservative Christian, I know intimately what it’s like to be used spiritually, emotionally, financially, and politically by people whose interests were ultimately dubious at best. Trust me, once it’s happened to you, you don’t forget it. And perhaps the only good thing that emerges from it is the heightened capacity you gain to identify it when you see it transpiring again.  

Unfortunately, my conservative Christian friend, I think it’s happening to you, because here’s what I see and believe Trump really thinks…

Trump thinks you’re stupid— It’s no new revelation that exceedingly sinful, rich, boasting, self-reliant people who haven’t placed their faith in Jesus Christ typically think that Christians (especially conservative ones) and their beliefs are basically stupid. For them, though they certainly wouldn’t say it this way, Christianity is for lesser people. People who are weak, impressionable, ignorant, needy, and gullible. They don’t go to church, read the Bible, nor believe in repentance because deep down they’ve determined it’s a significant downgrade to their life and IQ to do so.

Trump is no different. In fact, recently he used the blasphemous term, “Goddamn” with great ease in a public rally and once proudly stated that he has, “never asked God for forgiveness.” Only when it mattered for his election, did he begin to warm up to Christianity. Yet, even then, only as far as to say, “Jesus to me is somebody I can think about for security and confidence, somebody I can revere in terms of bravery and in terms of courage and, because I consider the Christian religion so important, somebody I can totally rely on in my own mind.” 

All politics aside, that sounds much more like a political acquiescence or something a child would say about their teddy bear than it does anything like a confession of true belief, care, and devotion to Jesus Christ, does it not? 

As a continued arrogant, carnal, blasphemous, unrepentant unbeliever, Trump obviously thinks that repentance, faith, and faithfulness are for stupid people, not a “stable genius” like himself.  

Trump thinks you’re gullible— In his mind, because you are willing to subscribe to the conservative Christian faith, which to him is fundamentally stupid and the stuff of ignorance and weakness, he thinks you have the gullibility to believe in anything. Trump knows that you’re trying to convert him and bring him to your side, but he also believes you’re gullible enough to conclude that your efforts are working. That’s why he throws you a spiritual bone from time to time and echoes your conservative Evangelical talking points. He sees in your gullibility that you’re desperate. So he lies right to your face, plays both sides of the fence, sleeps in your bed just enough for you to think he’s committed, and bullies all the right people for you to be convinced that he’s loyal. He thinks you are so gullible that he can say and do as he pleases, and your fidelity will be unwavering. 

Trump thinks you’re weak— Because he believes you are stupid and gullible as a conservative Christian, he also believes you are willing to do nearly anything with anyone to prosper and protect your power and privilege in society. Believe it or not, he’s read the history books and has seen with his own calculated eyes what conservative Christianity has been willing to embrace in order to prosper. He sees the weakness in character, integrity, and true faith within much of conservative American Christianity. He sees that no other religious group is willing to sell their souls for the hope of power than conservative Christianity. He sees their capacity to spiritualize and rationalize nearly any form of evil that charts a path of white, conservative Christian dominance in society. He sees the conservative Christian weakness that ensues when the promise of power is dangled in front of their eyes. And so he dangles, and dangles, and dangles until all are entranced and unhinged from the person of Jesus and, instead, addicted to him and the promise of power. A power that will seem like it yours, but it is, in fact, ultimately his. A power that will turn on you when you are no longer needed, be not deceived.

Trump thinks you’re expendable— He’s in it to win it. But, not for you and not for Christianity, not even America. He’s in it for himself. Make no mistake, you’re the means to an end. You’re the disposable needle to his insatiable lust for power. It feels like you’re connected, like you’re a team together on the path towards victory. Only until that day he gets his fix or finds a new dealer, and tosses you into the trash. Trump doesn’t think you are the prize, he thinks you’re the stupid, gullible, weak, expendable box that gets thrown away once everything has been opened and revealed. His loyalty is for the moment. His interest is for a time. His promises are for a season. When the moment is gone, the time is up, and the season ends, so too will your value be to him.

Yes, conservative Christian, here’s what Trump really thinks of you…

You’re stupid.

You’re gullible.

You’re weak.

You’re expendable.

My question for you is…

Is he right? 

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris Kratzer’s new book getting rave reviews… Leatherbound Terrorism.

In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris chases the evils of conservative Evangelicalism out of the shadows and gives powerful voice to the cries of the religiously oppressed. Confronting issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, religious greed, hypocrisy, nationalism, white supremacy, privilege, and the weaponizing of the Bible, Leatherbound Terrorism pulls no punches. Endorsed by best selling authors Steve McVey and Baxter Kruger, Leatherbound Terrorism will challenge you, inspire you, and most certainly cause you to rethink your faith and life.

© 2019 Chris Kratzer

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