Month: July 2020

No, Progressive Christian, You’re Not Insane

Since the birth of Jesus upon the earth, those who choose His ways have been deemed by society as the freaks–the misguided–the losers–the libtards–the snowflakes. At points along the way, Jesus Himself was labeled as insane. Apparently, when you shake your fist at the forces of imperialism, greed, religiosity, and self-righteousness while bringing forth a cosmic movement of extravagant inclusion, equality, generosity, and grace, you’re going to get some dirt kicked in your face. Perhaps, even nailed upon a politically conspired cross constructed under sheets stained of religion. 

Yup, you’re going get the shit beaten out of you–emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually. In fact, there’s a sure sense that if you aren’t being spun around like a breakdancer on crack for your resistance towards the conservative Evangelical Death Star, are you really even alive?

No doubt, it’s enough to cause even the bravest amongst us to shrink back and curl up in the fetal position of our discouragement. It seems like the forces of evil are taking the hill. The gaslighting is working. The Tweet storms hold their traction. What is up is down, and what is clear is clouded. The people of Light, the people of Love, the people of divine affirmation, the people of true equality, the people of humanity, the people of science, the people of generosity, the people of justice, the people of compassion, the people of Grace–we are the insane ones. 

Indeed, the patients are running the hospital. 

In moments like these it’s easy to wonder, “maybe I have lost my mind.” Maybe this life of solidarity with the least-of-these and fighting the forces of political and religious evil just isn’t worth it. The gravity of giving up weighs heavy, and conformity and surrender seem to be the only way out. Life could be so much easier if the blinds were closed, my eyes were turned away, and my heart was numbed. What difference does it make anyway?     

Yet, off in the distance a relentless voice is heard rising from the ashes, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Make straight a path for justice to roll down like a mighty stream. Bind up the broken hearted. Declare the divine affirmation of all. Push aside all bigotry and hate. Pave every street with human equality. Line the sidewalks with social justice. Build statues of the least-of-these. Light every corner, crossing, and alley with the mind of Christ, that all truth and goodness might be revealed and seen.   

This is the voice upon your life.  

Take heart. 

No, you’re not insane.    

For if you gaze upon the horizon of much of American Christianity and it all makes you want to vomit, you’re not insane. 

If you have a growing suspicion that much of right-wing conservative Christianity is a diabolical, evil scheme that has little to do with Jesus and everything to do with power and privilege, you’re not insane. 

If you tire of a false gospel that puts conditions on love, fosters hypocrisy, inflames self-righteousness, and personifies God as an unpredictable monster, you’re not insane. 

If you’ve discerned that much of Christianity has raped and twisted God into a frequently-temperamental divine drunk storming out of a bar, you’re not insane. 

If you question a faith that features a hell of eternal torment designed for the divine torture of people who don’t return God’s love in all the conservative Evangelically prescribed ways, you’re not insane.

If something checks in your spirit about turning off your brain, subscribing to a 6,000 year old earth, requiring your wife’s submission, and joining a group of people who appear to excel at talking amongst themselves and judging the world, all while calling it faithfulness to Jesus, you’re not insane. 

If you’re super close to blowing yet another brain gasket the next time someone quotes Scripture at you in hopes of turning you into their spiritual project, you’re not insane. 

If your head is spinning and your heart is confounded at the sure reality that scores of conservative Christians boastfully claim loyalty to the ways of Jesus, yet still vehemently support an anti-Christ president, you’re not insane. 

If you’re fed up with feeling spiritually obligated to prequalify people for love, condemn the LGBTQ community, discriminate against minorities, embrace sexism, weaponize the Bible, and turn Jesus into the hood ornament of your world bulldozer as you seek the dominance and supremacy of your faith in all of society, you’re not insane.

If you see much of the same evils that plague conservative Christianity to also be rampant within progressive Christian circles, you’re not insane. 

If you feel like ditching the whole “Christian” label all together, you’re not insane. 

If you feel like the true spiritual path of your life is to simply find your own way with the Spirit’s guidance alone, you’re not insane.

If you tire of the racism that is fostered primarily by white male Christians, you’re not insane. 

If you want to vomit every time a white person says they are “color blind” but then wants to rub your face in “black on black” crime, you’re not insane. 

If you want to punch white Christians in the throat who want to declare “all lives matter” yet send their gay children to the curb, keep immigrants in cages, criminalize and dehumanize black people, celebrate the stripping of benefits for Transgender people, and hope to erase the LGBTQ community from the planet, you’re not insane. 

If it strikes you as ironic that some white people who want to help black people gain true equality, don’t see other white voices who are trying to help too as equal and equally valued, you’re not insane.

If it pisses you off that some Christians care more about their convenience than wearing a mask for the protection of others, you’re not insane.

If your neck veins pop out in rage because it’s becoming all too clear, even for Christians who declare loyalty to Jesus, that money is more important than people, you’re not insane.

If you want to denounce your pride and affection for “America” because of the unjust, bigoted, racist, and white supremacy-ladened sewer we have become, you’re not insane.

If you want to scream, “F*ck it all” at the top of your lungs as you pound the chest of your despair, you’re not insane.

No, you’re not insane. 

You’re not a heathen. You’re not a heretic, nor a snowflake.

No, you are Jesus.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Questions For Every School Board Before Reopening

The science is clear, Covid-19 has produced a dangerous and deadly pandemic. It’s nothing like the flu or the common cold. As of late, the amount of people contracting this virus has increased dramatically, largely because significant populations are unwilling to take even basic precautions. Regardless of fringe conspiracies and political bias, the urgency of this health and information crisis remains. Lives are at stake.

Enter, the reopening of schools.

This is truly where the rubber meets the road for our society. The choices of school boards will greatly reflect what our society values most and the maturity we have as humans in the face of crisis. As many are concerned, the clock is ticking to make critical decisions in regards to the reopening of schools that will affect the lives of everyone involved, not just students.  

In my opinion, as a parent and spouse of a teacher, the following are questions that must be raised and answered as school boards discern the best pathway forward. 

1) What is your priority, the lives of teachers and their families, students and their families, and staff and their families or in-person education? Which one is more important? Are you willing to take the clear and established risk of death that in-person education creates in exchange for an urgent reopening of schools with some form of in-person instruction?

2) Is delay of gratification an important principle for life and decisions? Is there room in your decision making to temporarily delay in-person education of any form for the sake of preventing the probability of permanent death to your students and their families, teachers and their families, or staff and their families?

3) How do you justify having virtual school board and leadership meetings for safety purposes yet ask students, teachers, and staff to participate in an in-person educational environment? 

4) If you measure a child’s temperature before entering an in-person educational environment, who will discern those students who have been medicated to reduce their fevers upon entering? Will temperatures be taken throughout the day? If so, who will be doing this? How will the school know if a child, teacher, or staff member tests positive for Covid-19? If a child presents symptoms of Covid-19 before or during school, what actions will be taken? If that child must remain at school, where will they go and who will monitor them?

5) When it’s known that a student, teacher, or staff member tests positive for Covid-19, will all persons having been in contact or proximity to them be required to quarantine for 14 days? When it’s a teacher or staff member, will they receive additional sick leave to cover their absence? When their recovery takes months, will they continue to be compensated even if they don’t have short-term disability? Knowing that some persons having had Covid 19 experience a return of the virus, will these students, teachers, or staff persons be allowed to return to an in-person instructional environment?

6) What becomes of the teacher or staff member who, due to their own medically validated health reasons or that of family members, is significantly placed at an even higher risk in an in-person educational environment and therefore refuses to do so? Will they be fired? Do they not have a civil right to work in a safe, educational environment as was established upon employment? Do you have teaching or staff options available with the same compensation and benefits for these high risk persons? Are you prepared for the numerous lawsuits that will ensue?

7) If masks or distancing are required in an in-person educational environment, what will be the consequences of violating these rules? Who will be enforcing these rules and consequences? Will there be different rules for different environments? If so, what are they and are they agreed upon?

8) What efforts have been made to hear from and solicit the concerns of your most important asset… teachers?  Have they been provided an autonomous environment from which to speak openly and honestly about their questions and concerns? What weight do those concerns carry?

9) In the end, what is the teaching moment for your school board in all of this? If you say that “The education of our students is the most important thing,” then how can that be achieved if they’re dead, their teacher is dead, or a staff member is dead–all unnecessarily? 

Is the removal of a temporary educational setback more important than people’s lives? Are academic performance, goals, and career ambitions more important than people’s lives? Is your alignment to personal politics more important than people’s lives? Are your personal agendas more important than people’s lives. As a school board, are the lives of students, teachers, and staff members expendable? In the months ahead, is the ultimate exam given to students, teachers, and staff going to be to see if they can stay alive? Instead of the EOG (End Of Grade) testing, will it be more like an EOL (End Of Life) testing?

In short, is your love of the idea of education more important than the reality of people’s lives? 

Choose wisely.

The lives of students, teachers, staff members and their families are literally all on you.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

© 2020 Chris Kratzer

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