Author: ckratzer (page 1 of 22)

No, Christian, I’m Not Your Spiritual Bitch

I wonder if you can truly handle what’s on my mind. You’re not going to like it, I suspect, which is probably why I never give it full flight—at least, until now. Honestly, I just can’t shackle the voice in my soul any longer. Neither can I expect you to reconsider your ways if I’m not forthright with their true effect upon my life—however brutal these words might be perceived.

You believe it’s your job to change me, to partner with God to lead me to repent of my sins, surrender my life, and follow the Jesus of your understanding. In your mind, if your divine tag team efforts with the Father don’t work, my eternal destiny could be one of hellfire and forever torment. With such a daunting possibility at the forefront of your beliefs, I appreciate your concern and respect your efforts.

Yet, underneath and far beyond that, it seems you’re pridefully convinced that it’s your special responsibility to point me to the towering endless ladder of your customized, “to do” and “not to do” steps. If my careful ascension isn’t forthcoming and certain, in your mind, I’ll never be successful at activating the neon “Genuine Christian” sign you have conveniently dangling from the top—all to my sure demise and doom. Measuring up and fitting in are of the highest importance. No area of my life seems off limits to your inspection, assessment, and admonition. In the end, it feels like I have become, for you, some kind of Chia Pet-for-Jesus, where you’re hell-bent on making it your personal project to grow me into a “fully devoted follower of Christ” that, in reality, actually looks mostly like you. Oh, the horror that will ensue if I fail to come into compliance and therefore reap the consequence of your rejection.    

Still, I’m going to assume that your intentions are met with a goodness in your heart. Yet, all the same, I’m not so ignorant to be devoid of the awareness that some of the greatest of evils have started from the good intentions of people who feel spiritually justified in their actions—especially Christians. In fact, if I’m honest, more so than not, your efforts to save and sanctify me, no matter how well intended, leave me feeling thoroughly defaced as a human being, raped of dignity, condemned unfairly, and judged highly hypocritically. How could that ever be the work of Jesus?

That’s why today is the day of my emancipation.

I mean no disrespect nor lack of love in saying so, but I’m finally breaking free from your apparent determination to convince me that my future and my worth are somehow tied to your spiritual opinion, discernment, evaluation, counsel, influence, and religion. I’m pushing past the seemingly required belief that God is specifically using you to save me from Himself and all that He will do to me if I don’t love Him back in return; of course, with compliance to all your specifics. I’m breaking the chains of, what feels like, your continually condescending glare into my soul that clearly sees me as an inferior person who needs your intervention, lest I perish and waste my life.  

Why such resistance and seeming rebellion?

Because the mind of Christ within me has overridden your mind that’s trying to conform me. With heaping helpings of Grace overflowing, He has convinced me of perhaps the most important and liberating revelation of all, “I’m not your spiritual bitch.”

I’m not a misprint in need of your correction. I’m not a floundering vessel requiring your rescue. I’m not a lost cause simply absent of your assistance. I’m not a notch on your belt to appease your quest to earn favor with your deity.

I’m not a blemish the requires your erasing. I’m not a vote deserving of your hacking. I’m not a shame that needs your permission to be unashamed. I’m not a sinner in need of your salvation. I’m not a question mark that needs your answer. I’m not a disease that needs your cure. I’m not a stronghold that requires the strength of your religious prescriptions. And most of all, I’m not an inferior human being whose hope lies within your privilege.

No, I’m a beloved child of God—not by your doing, approval, or securing, but by His.

In fact, here’s what I’ve discovered in my awakening to Love and Grace, yours is not a position from which you should have any position in my life, anyways—only Jesus.  

Besides, the God I know, who lives and dwells within me, the One with whom I have full communion unconditionally, would never use hurtful, selfish, inhumane tactics postured from religious pride in order to bring about goodness in me and from me.

So, you can stop pretending I’m your patient and yours is a medicine I need taking. You can stop putting Laws where there are none, and conditions where there never have been. You can stop pimping God as punishing, the Bible as perfect, and your interpretations as exclusively authoritative. You can stop touting your spiritual gymnastics, spiritual navel gazing, and highfalutin exegesis. God’s not impressed and I’m no longer listening.  

Why?

Because…

I’m not your spiritual bitch.

And neither is He.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

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

There is no greater evil being wielded upon the planet than Conservative Evangelicalism, and Chris Kratzer’s life and ministry journey are undeniable proof. In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris tells of his 21 years as a conservative Evangelical pastor and the radical change of heart and mind that led him to walk away from it all. With a new sense of faith centered on Jesus and His pure Gospel of Grace, 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.

5 Essentials For Defeating Trump

As a result of the rising dictatorial leadership of President Trump, who is intentionally and aggressively fanning into flame a level of unprecedented hatred, division, and blind allegiance throughout our nation, there is an increasing anxiety growing across America as many wonder if this evil movement of right-wing conservative ideology can be defeated. With flashbacks to the rise of Hitler and the mass brainwashing of countless Germans who could be led to jettison all morality in exchange for power and privilege, we know these evils to be possible, and fear they could be repeatable.

Thankfully, light does still overcome darkness—there is always hope. We still stand in a moment where good can, once again, overturn evil and, this time, rescue our country from the claws of impending destruction. Yet, it will not be easy and will require keen awareness and focused bravery in the face of an emerging, cunning religious fascism that seeks to commandeer our great nation.

To that end, here are five essentials that must be engaged and uplifted if we are to defeat President Donald Trump and all that he represents.

We Must Connect The Dots– Conservative Evangelicalism has a middle finger, and that middle finger is Donald Trump. There can be no more denial and minimization, all that we see playing out on our national stage has long been brewing in the cauldrons of right wing Christian conservatism. In fact, this diabolical faith system is the one and only true wizard behind the curtain pulling the strings of tyranny. All that we see in Trump has been simmering in the hearts and minds of much of conservative Evangelicalism—racism, white privilege, greed, power, sexism, nationalism, homophobia, xenophobia, and alike—it’s all there and leatherbound. Make no mistake, at the core, conservative Evangelicalism is a fear-driven, hate-driven, and self-centered faith cleverly disguised as Jesus. Tragically, this evil, self-righteous system of belief has seduced and infected many across our nation and now, under the leadership of President Trump, has been pressed and sliced open to freely ooze its pus upon our land. For Trump is merely the head of a religious Monster that has now become unchained and unhinged.

Until conservative Evangelicalism is chased out of the shadows, exposed of its true evil, and dismantled of its influence, Trump will not be defeated and others like him will continue in his path an even accelerate the horrors.       

We Must Expose the End Game– The end game of President Trump and the conservative Evangelicalism that birthed him is nothing less than the complete purification of America and the world of all that threatens and stands against white, male, heterosexual, conservative Christian power and privilege. Don’t be fooled, this is the theocracy to which they aspire and will rationalize any evil in order to facilitate—period, full stop. Ignore all the spiritual veneer, excuses, and sideshows. For them, there is no common good. It does not exist. It is, instead, a concept of weakness–there is only uncommon privilege and power for the privileged and the powerful.

For them, there is no unity, there is only conformity. There is no freedom, there is only compliance. There is no justice, there is only dominance. There is no equality, there is only exceptionalism. There is no making America great again, there is only making America just like them. This awareness is of the utmost importance in the face of a master of deception and deflection.

President Trump and all that he stands for will not be defeated until we learn to read between the lines, discern the nefarious trickery, and consistently expose their true agenda with fierce bravery—that is, the complete purification of America and the world of all that threatens and stands against white, male, heterosexual, conservative Christian power and privilege.

When one supports Trump, this is the end game to which they are aspiring, whether they realize it or not, and to which they must be held accountable. We cannot allow to go unchallenged, the people who support President Trump that declare they have signed up for and support something less sinister. To do so, is to allow the evils of deception to flourish.

We Must Reveal The Trap-  For those who support President Trump, there is an intoxication that takes place that disarms objectivity, rational thinking, and foresight. The rage and fear within that is given permission to take flight creates an urgent, combative narrative that cannot be easily resisted. To be sure, the promise of power and privilege is an addictive cocktail.

Yet, what is kept in full concealment is the reality that in the mind and heart of President Trump and the conservative Evangelicalism that sustains him, people are disposable—even the faithful.

Make no mistake, Trump supporters are being used, and when they are no longer beneficial or color outside the lines, they too will reap the consequences and suddenly become the enemy. For constrictions and intolerances only increase where power and privilege reign. With each day, elitism becomes more elite and the circles of acceptance and conformity become smaller and more stringent. In the eyes of Trump supporters, the sun may be shining now, but dark clouds are surely ahead. What looks like conservatism now, will soon be deemed liberal by comparison to what is next. Be not deceived, power and privilege are insatiable animals of darkness that will eat their own if necessary, or even not.  

President Trump and all that he stands for will not be defeated until this trap is revealed. Only when people wake up and see the coming reality that they, or someone they love, will eventually fail to meet the growing expectations and heightened conformity required under their regime. Only when they realize that to support President Trump in the here and now is to invest in their own future demise, or that of someone they love. Only when we look people in the eye and continually raise the question, “What happens when it’s you?” What happens when it’s your family member? What happens when you or they fail to measure up and march in perfect concert? What happens when you, the oppressor, become the oppressed? Only then, when the trap is revealed and made personal, can Trump and all that he stands for be defeated.

We Must Hold Up The Mirror– For the trance of conservative Evangelicalism is not one that is easily escaped. Yet, still, as futile as it might seem, we must hold up a mirror in hopes of reflecting who we are becoming as a people and a nation under this emerging rule of right-wing Christian imperialism. For under President Trump and conservative Evangelicalism, one can only become either a controlled, manipulated person who eventually steps in line, or a person who is condemned for resisting. Make no mistake, this is the kind of people we are becoming, and this is the kind of nation that is emerging. The dividing line is all too clear, conform or be cast out. Become a conservative Evangelical, or be demonized. Embrace nationalism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, racism, sexism, greed, privilege, white male heterosexual supremacy, or be condemned.  

President Trump and all that he stands for will not be defeated until we see the evil inhumanity of conservative Evangelical beliefs, aspirations, and actions. And, in response, it breaks us to our core as we realize just how far we have fallen from Grace, love, decency, goodness, the ways of Jesus, and His Kingdom. For it will be in that moment, that either we change because we are convicted, or we become more brave in our nonviolent resistance because we further embrace our call.   

We Must Raise The Flag Of True Freedom- One thing is clear, President Trump and the conservative Evangelicalism that supports him do not desire an America this is truly free. Instead, their vision is of a country where there is freedom for some, but not for all. It is within this vision, that laws and policy promote a freedom that is largely served on the tables of the privileged and then rationed out to commoners, if extended at all.   

Yet, what Trump supporters do not realize is that freedom for some, is fear for all. Even the powerful and privileged cannot escape the ever present anxiety of being overthrown by the oppressed whose freedoms are being denied. And certainly, the oppressed cannot outrun the fears of being further condemned and abused by those who would take their freedoms. This, is a sure kind of hell.

President Trump and all that he stands for will not be defeated until freedom is seen as being that which must be extended to all equally, or it is in fact not freedom at all. And therefore, neither will there be peace nor true prosperity where freedom is the wine of the privileged and powerful, and only a future hope for everyone else. For freedom brings no gift, no promise, no justice, no life, and no happiness until it is freedom for all, equally.   

This is how we defeat President Trump and all that he stands for.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

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

There is no greater evil being wielded upon the planet than Conservative Evangelicalism, and Chris Kratzer’s life and ministry journey are undeniable proof. In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris tells of his 21 years as a conservative Evangelical pastor and the radical change of heart and mind that led him to walk away from it all. With a new sense of faith centered on Jesus and His pure Gospel of Grace, 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.

We Are The Unerasable : Jesus Is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer

At times, there is silence for a reason as some things are best said by being left unsaid.

That there is no mention of Jesus’ sexual orientation in Scripture is perhaps reflective of a profound, cosmic reality that ones gender nor orientation are a prerequisite for determining that which is of the Divine. The person of Jesus and the Kingdom He brings make gender beautifully irrelevant and the spectrum of creative possibilities wonderfully endless. To be human is to be human, regardless of orientation or gender. In fact, to the dismay of much of western Christianity, Jesus wasn’t purposed on being imaged into a caucasian, American, heterosexual, Republican, gun-owning, blue-eyed, conservative male with flowing locks of brown hair. Rather, He is the surest example of what it truly looks like to simply be fully human and fully rested in the Divine—beyond all that is gender and orientation.

Was or is Jesus gay in terms of sexual orientation or behavior? I don’t believe so. Was He transgender, queer, or questioning of any aspect of His sexuality? I suspect not—but it certainly doesn’t matter. For being LGBTQ is about so much more than mere sexual orientation or gender identification. It’s about being a beautifully created soul adorned with eternal extravagance, imaged in the splendor of the Creator. A soul who bears the arduous task of navigating their unique, human experience through the minefields of a brutally inhumane world that would quickly ransack those who break religious molds—clawing to strip them of their divine value, identity, purpose and worth. Beyond the gravity of sexuality and orientation, this is the deeper, ultimate essence of the plight intrinsic to being LGBTQ. For theirs is the courageous, pain-ladened journey to be fully human and fully alive while sweating beads of blood in determination to find ones way and hold onto ones inherent dignity and God-delighting in a spiritually nefarious, different-condemning, and different-killing world.

In this way, Jesus was surely gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer.

For in the face of being ostracized and derided by His own Nazareth family of bigots determined to misunderstand Him, Jesus is the gay man and the lesbian woman who live in the constant, gruesome torment of coming out, being known, and fully living their God-designed personhood—a kind of hell on earth of daily accusation and rejection God never weaved into the tapestry of what anyone should endure.

Or crying over Jerusalem, begging for His heart to be understood and His people to receive Him, Jesus is the parent who lies awake deep into the night, tirelessly fighting in solidarity for the defense, worth, dignity and affirmation of the LGBTQ child with which God has blessed them. The very child the religious deem a disgrace. Yet, Jesus, not just the parent, but also too the LGBTQ child born innocent by the Spirit’s authoring, pursued by the cunning Herods of our world whose sure desire is to seek out and kill them.

There, praying in the garden of Gethsemane, begging for divine reprieve, Jesus is the queer teenager, trembling in terror as she cuts her arms and threads the noose, convinced that giving up is the only way out, and the only sure resolve to the pain that is before her.

In the outer courts, confronted by the religious through the evil venom of their creed—backed into a corner, a pointed finger pushing at His chest questioning His true identity, Jesus is the transgender person whose truth is too truthful for the world to hear or see.

Then, from the confines of Pilate’s Praetorium where flogged beyond recognition, to a savage, religiously-conspired cross where nailed, pierced and left to die of internal suffocation, Jesus is the Orlando night club, He is Londonn Moore, He is Ally Steinfeld, He is Matthew Shepard, and every LGBTQ person ever murdered in body, mind or spirit—crucified to death by religion, ignorance, and hate, and even good people who remain silent and unengaged.

In all these ways, Jesus is surely LGBTQ—not just lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, but One of us all for whom religion has demonized, illegitimized, and crucified in hate.

For Jesus didn’t die just for humanity, He died as humanity—all of it. Transgender, black, white, gay, straight, rich, poor, conservative, progressive—the haters, the lovers, the lifted high, the beaten low, the Christians, the Muslims—every type, color, creed, and flavor.

The Kingdom of Jesus comes to enable the odd to get even, to be seen as even, and to live in a world where all is even—beautifully different, but entirely equal.

Try as you may, you can’t erase what God has written into eternity—Jesus is all and in all.

We are the unerasable.

For everywhere there is religious oppression, everywhere there is bigotry, discrimination, or injustice—where there is the branding with labels or the withholding of Grace, Jesus is there in Person and as the person being deprived of that which has been given to them freely and irrevocably from the goodness of His Name.

In this way, if you can’t handle the notion of Jesus being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, then you aren’t fully understanding the essence of Jesus being you.

To be you or to be LGBTQ is essentially one in the same—it’s what it means for all of us to simply be human, created in the likeness, image, and favor of our Maker, living in a religious world that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy all that His hands have made, with special sights on that which the religious deem inferior or against the grain.

Run your fingers through the strands of an LGBTQ soul, then through mine, or that of any other, and soon you will declare the only declaration that can be truthfully rendered—that none are better, only different. For the sooner we see Jesus in and as the people around us, the sooner the lenses of God’s affirming view become the windows through which we see ourselves and all humanity.

If Jesus isn’t LGBTQ, then Jesus isn’t you, and if Jesus isn’t you, then the incarnation is a fake, and your resurrection a certain uncertainty.

No one chooses to be LGBTQ, but in Christ Jesus, God has chosen to be—not just One of them, but He even does the unthinkable and dares to be One of you.

Yes, that’s right.

Jesus is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. ‘

Jesus is me, and Jesus is even…

You.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

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

There is no greater evil being wielded upon the planet than Conservative Evangelicalism, and Chris Kratzer’s life and ministry journey are undeniable proof. In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris tells of his 21 years as a conservative Evangelical pastor and the radical change of heart and mind that led him to walk away from it all. With a new sense of faith centered on Jesus and His pure Gospel of Grace, 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.

Vote, While You Still Can, And It Still Matters

With the emergence of President Donald Trump, it is no exaggeration that we are on the verge of losing our democracy. There has never been a more dangerous time for our country, as the enemy to all that is truly good and truly free has a sure footing from within with their greedy fingers hovering over the “abort” button, ready to gut our nation’s soul and topple our freedoms from the inside out.

It is high time we start connecting the dots of evil. What is quickly playing out on our national stage is directly rooted in what has long been brewing in the cauldrons of conservative Evangelical churches for decades. In the same way that democracy has largely been pushed out of churches and ministries across America through the rise of gluttonous, narcissistic, power-addicted pastors and leaders, democracy in America is now being aggressively sent to the curb. The emergence of “staff-led” and “pastor-led” churches and ministries where congregants and followers have little to no voice but to worship the leader, has now given birth to the spiritual justification of a theocratic, President-led country, also known as a fascist dictatorship. To be sure, as voting has been largely reduced if not eliminated throughout modern, conservative Christianity, voting is being undermined, constricted, and manipulated to favor the rise of an Empire of white, male, heterosexual, Christian, national conservatism.

Perhaps, if this rising Empire placed human equality, religious plurality, economic compassion, and political humility as the centerpiece of their mission, there would be far less cause for alarm. Instead, this dubious concoction of darkness is clearly willing to spit in the face of morality, decency, justice, democracy, truth, and even Jesus Himself in order to fulfill their inhumane aspirations.

Now, in ever increasing fashion, under the influence of President Trump, states across the country are chomping at the bit to make it significantly harder for Americans—particularly black people, the elderly, students, and persons of special needs—to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot. From cuts to early voting, voter ID laws, and purges of voter rolls, the voice of Americans is aggressively being compromised.

In fact, in 1980, Paul Weyrich, a founder and leader of the modern conservative movement, told a conference of conservative Evangelical activists, “I don’t want everybody to vote. Our leverage in the elections, quite candidly, goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

Folks, sometimes you have to put two eyeballs on what’s in front of you. This is the true heart, aspirations, and blatant aggression that has now been fanned into flame and given wings under President Trump and his administration. Like never before, Christian conservatives are drinking the elixir of power and driving the HOV lane like banshees to rush ahead of voting Americans in an effort to herald the death of our democracy. And now, with the modern emergence of the real potential for the hacking of our voting process by foreign and domestic sources, we are standing at the edge of a frightening new world. A world, in which, we’d better wake up before this nightmare becomes our reality, with little hope of return.

Do you really want to be governed by an ideology that seeks to purify the world through the eradication of the common good?

Do you really want to live in a nation where freedom and prosperity is a wine enjoyed only by the privileged?

Do you really want to build your life in a land where true equality is demonized as a threat, instead of prized as a God-given right and value?

Do you really want to live and breathe in a society where religious conformity replaces human diversity?

Do you really want your children to grow up under the suppression of people who see women as created for male pleasure and service, minorities as inferior, the vulnerable as disposable, and ideological obedience as essential?  

Do you really want to be caged by a theocratic dictatorship?  

Do you really want to be ruled by Christians who are nothing like Christ?

For goodness sake, wake up.

Immigrants and refugees are not animals. Women are not sex toys. Minorities are not subhuman nor inferior. People of the LGBTQ community are not abominations. Climate change isn’t a hoax. Poverty isn’t tolerable. Freedom isn’t a privilege. The office of President of the United States of America isn’t a circus show in need of a clown. And, Jesus is not a white, Republican, sexist, gun owner wrapped in the American flag with a name engraved Bible clasped in His hands.

My friend, listen and listen carefully.

This is not a test. This is real reality.

Your non-vote is a sure surrender to the coming darkness and an abandonment of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave—at least for now.

For goodness sake, vote, while you still can, and it still matters!

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

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

There is no greater evil being wielded upon the planet than Conservative Evangelicalism, and Chris Kratzer’s life and ministry journey are undeniable proof. In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris tells of his 21 years as a conservative Evangelical pastor and the radical change of heart and mind that led him to walk away from it all. With a new sense of faith centered on Jesus and His pure Gospel of Grace, 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.

If Today, Your Heart Breaks And Your Hope Is Fading

There is perhaps no heavier and more gruesome weight to bear than to be a person living under the oppression of another.

Good people with worthy causes never seek nor require the submission or subservience of a fellow human being. Rather, only the heart captivated by the evils of privilege, power, and greed would ever connect its mind and actions to that which desires to rule and control.

Sadly, spiritually justified and inflamed by conservative Evangelicalism, we now live in a culture where white, male, heterosexual, conservative Christian privilege is clawing and scrapping for dominance. A dominance that is apparently willing to adopt nearly every form of oppression and abuse to accomplish and secure its aspirations. Emboldened by the lusts of entitlement, the good-ole-boys club that has become of much of right-wing Christianity now licks its chops at every opportunity to push their sexist, racist, self-serving, duplicit, and bigoted ideology onto the center stage of America.

What started with the rape and murder of the American Indian and the brutal slavery of black people, has now poured over into the condemnation of the LGBTQ community, the abhorrent discrimination of women, and the ruthless exploitation of the least-of-these. It is becoming all too clear, as history reveals their blood ladened trail, that conservative Evangelicalism in America will seek, kill, and destroy anything that presents a threat to their power and privilege. No woman, no minority, no disagreer, no individual, and no free thinking freedom-lover is safe.

In fact, now like never before, at the hands of much of conservative Evangelicalism, women are openly and permissively seen and treated as objects of male, sexual gratification and service, the LGBTQ community is openly and permissively seen and treated as divinely declared abominations, minorities are openly and permissively seen and treated as inherently inferior, and non-believers and non-conformers are carefully marked as the enemy. Indeed, the horrific realities portrayed in the popular television show, “The Handmaid’s Tale” are what life truly looks like if conservative Evangelicalism gets its way. Sadly, there are no exaggerations.

To that end, with every headline it seems we are frightfully moving closer to the evil, dystopian dreams of right-wing Christian conservatism. And now, with the recent, deplorable, and national mocking of Christine Blasey Ford, the belittling of female sexual assault survivors, and the rushed and manipulated confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, it’s enough to make ones heart sick and hopes surrender to the darkness.

For sure, these are terrible, frightening times that we live in as an evil Empire rises and breathes its fire from white privileged steeples everywhere.

Yet today, if your heart breaks and your hope is fading, there is good news that comes forth from our shared misery.

For out of the ashes of our disdain, you can be well assured…

Your Soul Is Calibrated To The Divine- Though, at times, it may feel much the opposite, there is nothing wrong with you—I promise, and I repeat, there is nothing wrong with you. Your disgust, as you gaze upon the nation and people we are becoming at the hands of right-wing religiosity, is not a sign of illness nor insanity, but rather, a sure declaration of beautiful health and clarity. With every prompting swelling up from within to vomit in dismay, the goodness of your heart is ringing true with divine confirmation. For this you must know, God also hates so much of what our nation has been and is now aspiring to further become. With every moment of brutal injustice, discrimination, condemnation, greed, violence, and the religious rape of Jesus and His Gospel of Grace, a soul calibrated to the divine cannot help but to become enraged. In times like this, it’s a painful thing to have a heart in sync with the Creator. Yet, this is the bravery that is needed for these important hours. A bravery of heart willing to endure the burden of being good and of God in a bad world of evil.    

You Are Further Awakening To The Darkness- Every time a woman opens her eyes and sees the sexism she once believed was her God-given role in life as now being abusive and contrary to the heart of God, a human being awakens to the darkness. Every time a white man or woman acknowledges their inherent privilege and falls to their knees in repentance for their ignorance and callousness, a human being awakens to the darkness. Every time our hearts mourn all the more deeply in witness of the manifestation of religious greed, injustice, and oppression, we are further awakening to the darkness. In these times, to have a heart filled with brokenness and a soul standing at the edge of hopelessness is to be a human being further awakened to the darkness that would devour us. And in this awakening to the darkness, we are further embracing the Light, knowing the difference that we might finally enter the fight instead of becoming its victim.  

Resistance Is Its Own Victory- No heart that collides with the person of Jesus can avoid the call to resist the ever reaching venomous tentacles of the conservative Evangelical Empire. For it is our good responsibility and highest honor to stand in solidarity with the least-of-these and to never surrender the values of Grace, unconditional love, equality, truth, justice, freedom, and divine affirmation for all. Not because we are superior, but because our redemptions our mutually intertwined. We are brothers and sisters—none of us better, only different. In our willingness to unravel from the fetal position of despair and stand tall in our commitment to resist, we break the cycles into which the enemy would have us forever seduced. Resistance is the refusal to allow evil to be done against another, and the refusal to become the evil done against us. In so doing, we have already won—breaking the chains, unleashing our hearts, partnering with the Divine, and standing on the right side of history. This, is its own victory.

Change Is A Vote Away- In the end, grab ‘em by the ballot box, I say. Not just in the elections, but in all of life. Decide to be a person of true equality where many will discriminate and cling to privilege. Choose to be a person who speaks out where others remain silent. Embody the bravery to stand in solidarity where others shrink back into the shadows. Take hold of the moments to be the nonviolent change you desire to see.

Every day we cast our vote.

When facing that bigoted family member with whom we fear their rejection or the awkwardness that would surely ensue. In the words of LGBTQ affirmation we so desperately want to type into our Facebook status, cringing in panic at the relational dominoes that might soon tumble down. In the store where the person standing in front of us is being discriminated, and yet everyone remains unengaged. In the workplace where closed door sexism runs rampant, yet a call to HR would jeopardize everything. In church, where deep down inside you know better, but the cost of resistance, free thinking, and charting a new course comes with a price seemingly too high to pay.

Every day, in every moment, we cast our vote.

Yet today, if your heart truly breaks and your hope is truly fading, may this be the day your bravery becomes more powerful than the Oppressor and the oppression they hope to bring, that our future might not become the sum of our fears, nor the result of yielding to them.

Be like Blasey.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Purchase Chris Kratzer’s new book, Leatherbound Terrorism…

If Only Conservative Evangelicals Were Honest

Unfortunately, even a small step into the world of conservative Evangelicalism can leave you spinning like a breakdancer on crack cocaine. As masters of illusion and spiritual sleight of hand, right wing Christianity has lured many into its religious Borg of deception and trickery. As a result, countless lives have been mesmerized into its web, only to become spiritually strung out and abused by a gospel that is, in fact, no Gospel at all, a Christian life that is largely devoid of Christ, and a faith culture that, in the end, primarily worships self.

If only conservative Evangelicalism valued honesty and displayed even the slightest measure of truth-in-advertising, so many of its adherents wouldn’t be drinking the poison believing it’s the cure, and so many lives wouldn’t be devastated as a result.   

To be sure, these are tough words. But, words that must be spoken for truth to have the power to bring its freedom.

For sadly, transparency doesn’t seem to be an important value within much of the conservative Evangelical tribe. Perhaps, because, if they were forced to render an open and honest disclosure of the true nature and aspirations of their faith, there are numerous disturbing realities they’d have to admit—realities that no amount of staging, skinny jeans, tattoos, slick branding, and multi-million dollar facilities can disguise.  

In fact, if conservative Evangelicals were truly honest and forthright, many of them would have to admit…

We Support Trump Because We Are Fundamentally Selfish People– The days are long over when conservative Evangelicals can honestly blame “Hillary,” or claim their continued support for Trump is based on “Christian” values. For Trump is clearly no Christian, and his values and leadership are nothing like Christ. Rather, the hard truth is, conservative Evangelicalism is largely sexist, homophobic, transphobic, racist, greedy, and privileged—not unlike president Trump. Therefore, when they fearfully gaze upon a world that increasingly stands against and is evolving past their values and aspirations, in panic, they have decided to sell their soul to the one man whom they believe will protect their religious ideology from the masses that are rising above and beyond it. Even the issue of abortion is one upon which conservative Evangelicals can no longer honestly hoist their flag, as their theology of a god who sends His enemies to hell, their murderous shaming of the LGBTQ community, and their blatant greed and inhumane disregard for minorities and those from whom they cannot benefit, are far less than, “pro-life.”  

For sadly, the bottom line of much of conservative Evangelicalism is this—keeping and prospering their white, conservative, Christian, male, heterosexual privilege, even to the detriment and complete cessation of following Jesus and manifesting His Love. For them, it has become all to clear, money is more important than integrity, power is more important than sacrifice, privilege is more important than people, and control is more important than Christ. In fact, if conservative Evangelicals were honest they would post signs on every corner of their church lawns, “It’s never been about sin, Biblical faithfulness, Jesus, or divine morality—it’s always been about us and our big, fat, gluttonous, religious Empire of supremacy.” An Empire, sadly, that believes God created America exclusively for them, Jesus is a white, gun owning Republican, and prosperity and power are their divine right, inheritance, and mandate.  

If only conservative Evangelicals were honest.

Many would also have to admit…  

We Love People Only As Much As It Benefits Us To Do So- For if, to truly love another means the sacrificing of power, privilege, or the prospering of their faith ideology, all bets are off. Yes, many conservative Evangelicals love to serve the impoverished and others in need, but only as long as it fashions them a spiritual notch on their belt or the increase of financial giving to their ministry. So many Christian conferences on the topic of church growth blatantly frame the importance of “community service” as being integral to the ultimate goal of either increasing the financial and physical buy-in of people to their ministry or converting people into their fold. But when truly loving people isn’t politically correct or doesn’t prosper their bottom line, it’s almost nowhere to be found among conservative Evangelicals. For where is their true love of the LGBTQ community, the immigrant, or the minority? Where is their true care for victims of racism, children kept in cages seeking asylum, transgender people committing suicide, and brave women speaking out about being sexually assaulted by men? Where is the Jesus who protected and stood in solidarity with women who were bullied and oppressed by religious male abuse? Where is the Jesus who protected and stood in solidarity with the least of these, even to the sacrifice of His own life? Sadly, among much of conservative Evangelicalism, He is almost nowhere to be found. For there is always a catch, and that catch is crystal clear—many conservative Evangelicals care about humanity only as far as it is in their self-centered benefit to do so. In fact, if many conservative Evangelicals were honest, they would post a disclaimer underneath every crucifix they display, “We only care about the cross as far as it is convenient and conducive for us to do so. Sorry, not so sorry.”

If only conservative Evangelicals were honest.

They would also have to admit…    

We Believe Our White Christian Privilege Gives Us The Power To Justify Evil, Define Morality, And Embrace Duplicity- Just ask the LGBTQ community, or their parents who can’t sleep at night in fear for their children. Just ask countless women like Christine Blasey Ford, or the American Indian. Just ask the black community, or the person devoid of affordable healthcare. Just ask the countless people condemned, marginalized, and sent to the curb by conservative Evangelicalism. The river of blood flowing from the wake of right-wing conservative Christianity is never ending, if only they embraced the honesty to see it.

In fact, the truth is, if many conservative Evangelicals were ever compelled by the Spirit to honesty look into the mirror, they would break to their knees in sorrow and write upon their foreheads a confession for all to see, “It is we who have become the enemy of all that is Jesus and truly American.” We are the ones whose addiction to power is detrimental to life, equality, and freedom. We are the ones seduced by greed to the point of becoming a blasphemy of Jesus and His ways. We are the ones who worship our faith ideology to the complete denial of Christ and His Gospel of peace. We are the ones who refuse to put down our guns, bigotry, narcissism, privilege, and thirst for supremacy, and instead, take up the cross and follow Him.

For sadly, there has never been a greater evil wielded upon our planet than the dark faith system of conservative Evangelicalism that now excels like never before at spiritual justifying the manifestation of hell upon the earth, defining morality for its benefit, and embracing duplicity in the name of protecting and prospering their faith ideology.

If only conservative Evangelicals were honest.

So many would also have to admit…

We Believe Our Faith Understanding Is Right And All Others Are Wrong- As a matter of full disclosure and honesty, this sentiment should be clearly expressed in every conservative Evangelical church bulletin and upon every worship screen—”Conform or be cast out.” For the true goal of conservative Evangelicalism isn’t to lead people to freely think, believe, and grow in Christ. Rather, it’s to lead people to think, believe, and become one of them—convinced they have been exclusively granted the divine stamp of theological and spiritual approval from Jesus Himself. So much, that to be deemed “wrong” or “lost” by conservative Evangelicals is to likely become their spiritual project of conversion and conformity. A project where, if you refuse, resist, or color outside the lines, you are then subtly or not so subtly shunned, condemned, demonized, and even labeled as worthy to be cast into a hell of eternal torment. For the basis of their unity is not in the mutual journey one is taking to embrace divine spirituality, but rather upon the level of conformity, submission, and loyalty that one is willing to display towards their religious ideology. Either you are “in” or you or “out,” saved or lost, member or heathen, faithful or carnal, right or wrong. In fact, from the very same religious spirit that can lead to the emergence of dark realities such as racism, elitism, violence, and even genocide, much of conservative Evangelicalism has embraced an “us” vs. “them” mentality that has become capable of spiritual justifying some of the very worst of evils, all in the name of Jesus.

If only conservative Evangelicals were honest.

They’d finally have to admit…

We Are Really Just Faking It- For them, this is perhaps the hardest disclosure of all. Why? Because admitting they are no better, holier, righteous, valued, spiritual, saved, and loved than any other completely dismantles so much of their entire faith system and confronts them with their most haunting reality—human equality is at the center of Jesus and His Gospel of Grace. This is the truth they so vehemently seek to deny, demonize, and destroy, because when all are equal in God’s sight, then power, privilege, condemnation, and supremacy can be no more.

If only conservative Evangelicals were honest.

America, and the world beyond would be such a more beautiful place.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Purchase Chris Kratzer’s new book, Leatherbound Terrorism…

Stories of Leatherbound Terrorism

This is forum specifically for people who have read Chris Kratzer’s new book,  Leatherbound Terrorism,  and desire to share their story of crucifixion by conservative Evangelicalism and/or resurrection by Jesus. If you have not read the book, please do so before commenting or sharing your story.

Purchase Here

This is NOT a forum where trolling or negative comments about the book or negative replies to people in the comment thread will be tolerated. If you wish to share your criticism of the book, please do so by emailing the author at leatherboundterrorism@gmail.com

Use the comment section of this post to share your story.  The author reads and replies to each and every story.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

Under His Eye : If Conservative Evangelicalism Gets Its Way

One of the most important questions facing our time in history is this, “If right-wing conservative Evangelical Christianity had its way, what would the world look like?”

Despite how various Evangelicals might respond to this question, perhaps the best vantage point for an accurate discernment of the answer is to observe pivotal moments in history where conservative Evangelicals (as a whole) have actually won their desires. For nothing reveals the true content of one’s aspirations like the results they bring when successful.

Or perhaps, we could examine their commonly held beliefs and the future those beliefs envision. For in the end, the true sum of one’s faith can be found most clearly within the true impact their faith desires, regardless of what they may or may not claim to confess. We are responsible both for what we believe and the future those beliefs ultimately bring forth. Are we not?

Most recently, one of the prized accomplishments of conservative Evangelicalism is the election and continued support of Donald Trump as President. Say what you will about the politics involved, the bottom line is this—his character, priorities, and leadership are clearly creating a world where the wealthy become richer, the poor become more vulnerable, greed is expanded, bullying is desensitized, corruption is protected, white privilege flourishes, elitism is unleashed, minorities are further marginalized, racism is energized, sexism is normalized, the LGTBQ community is increasingly demonized, and right-wing Christian conservatism is prioritized.

Yet sadly, this is not by chance.

In fact, among many conservative Evangelicals, these are tacitly received as nothing less than welcomed results. For if this presidency was the first occasion in which conservative Evangelicalism has had influential success towards the fruition of these same kind of deplorable realities, then this moment in history would be less profound. However, from the slavery and lynching of black people to the belittlement and abuse of women, conservative Evangelicalism has long resulted in the increased spiritual justification of some of the most evil atrocities ever committed on planet earth.

In fact, now we have an administration, like never before, that increasingly creates economic systems that blatantly benefit the wealthy and exploit the vulnerable, brutally splits families with children apart who are seeking asylum in our country, aggressively sides with Israel in order to further the fulfillment of “biblical” prophecy, threatens to pull news press credentials over “negative” coverage, belittles and thwarts people with disabilities, and has dismantled highly important LGBT-protecting policies, all in the name of undoing the leadership and legacy of our first black President.   

Yet sadly, once again, this is not by chance.

Conservative Evangelicalism teaches its followers that faithfulness to God leads to financial prosperity and wealth. Having pastors with six figure salaries, churches with multi-million dollar facilities, and followers with luxurious lifestyles are seen as a reward from God not a departure from the ways of Jesus. In the mind of conservative Evangelicalism, if you are struggling financially or devoid of financial abundance, it is likely that some aspect of your faith life is askew. Ministry and Christian “success” is largely defined by the increase and accumulation of “more”—more money, more power, more influence, more campuses, more staff, more baptisms, more attenders, more speaking engagements, more followers on Twitter. In the world of conservative Evangelicalism, more is never less, more is always more—even at the expense of others.

Conservative Evangelicalism sees people primarily as spiritual projects for the ultimate goal of conversion into their faith system. Even helping the poor and hurting is largely seen as a means to a faith-serving end that builds their kingdom with more converts and satisfies their obligations of obedience to their faith. Poor hurting people are ultimately helped only to the extent in which it somehow serves their faith system. In fact, within conservative Evangelicalism, poverty (and even hardship) is often deemed as a result of unfaithfulness and wrong belief.

Conservative Evangelicalism manifests a territorial greed that desires to conquer people, groups, communities, perceived enemies, and the planet at large, not for the purpose of serving humanity selflessly, but rather garnering its submission to their faith system.  

Conservative Evangelicalism largely portrays Jesus as a white man. Not just a white man, but a white man who is a Republican, gun-owning, racist homophobic nationalist who is wrapped in the American flag.

Conservative Evangelicalism manifests a good-old-boy-club mentality for white male heterosexuals that gives them a hypocritical privilege, license, and authority over women, often leading to their sexualization, discrimination, control, and abuse. In fact, the only sins that truly matter in conservative Evangelicalism are the ones that are different from theirs and enable them to condemn those who would threaten their white male heterosexual Christian privilege and power.

Conservative Evangelicalism declares the Bible as being the infallible word of God and their interpretations exclusively faithful and accurate to the discerning of its meaning and truth.

Conservative Evangelicalism interprets the Scriptures as condemning the LGBTQ community, labeling them as “abominations,” cancers to our society, enemies of procreation, and deviants destined for hell.

Conservative Evangelicalism once asserted a biblical justification for black slavery and murder, and the demonization of interracial marriage.

Conservative Evangelicalism portrays a god who is justified in killing his enemies, destroying entire of groups of people, and sentencing disobedient non-believers to a hell of eternal torment.  

Make no mistake, what we see unfolding before our eyes is nothing less than the manifestation of the dsytopian dreams of much of conservative Evangelicalism. No matter how much they might sprinkle it with spiritual glitter and dress it up with stage lighting and smoke machines, the finish line of their faith understanding is a violent Armageddon that ushers in a kingdom where anything that does not prosper white, male, heterosexual, conservative Christian power and privilege is eradicated from the earth. Spiritually rationalized racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, nationalism, greed, violence, and hypocrisy are all merely pieces of a much bigger puzzle.

This is put on display perhaps in no more profound fashion than through the current television show produced by Hulu, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” based of the novel by Margaret Atwood. This prophetic drama puts forth many images, occurrences, and realities that can be easily seen as reflecting the dystopian fruition of the fundamental beliefs and values of right-wing conservative Evangelicalism.  

The truth is, this powerful show does not require a suspension of current reality to understand its message, but merely a gaze into the future of what could be if conservative Evangelicalism continues to gets its way.

In fact, what should be most alarming to us all is this—if conservative Evangelicals were asked to publicly denounce every action and faith confession of the oppressors in “The Handmaid’s Tale” that they believe are contrary to their faith system, I suspect many would find little of which they could accurately object and honestly deny. In fact, nearly everything displayed in this prophetic drama is already currently taking place in one form or another, largely at the hands and influence of right-wing conservative Evangelicalism.

Read the Bible the way they read the Bible. Pray the prayers they pray. See the world the way they see it. Believe in God the way the believe in God. Spiritually justify what they spiritually justify. Then you will see, through a simple glance down the hall of its future, the kind of world conservative Evangelicalism envisions. For if conservative Evangelicalism gets its way, make no mistake, this is what the world would look like. To be sure, being “under his eye” won’t point us to the face of Jesus, but rather to the face of their evil.

Keep your soul vigilant, these are dark times for sure, and they’re only getting darker. Hear the call of Jesus upon your heart, “take up your resistance and follow me.”

America will die at the hands of men who exchanged a brown Jesus for white Christianity, and quite frankly, it’s beginning to seem like that’s just part of their plan—if they get their way.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

photo courtesy of Hulu

The Coming American Civil War

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” -Ephesians 6:12

One would be hard pressed to find a single battle in all of history that wasn’t fought without some level of declared spiritual rationale. Sadly, throughout the ages, pronouncements of Christian faith have been used to pound the drums of violence. Many who profess to be followers of Jesus have claimed God’s anointing to engage in wars and acts of aggression that they believe are necessary to cleanse society of its evils. The world has been watching, documenting, and increasingly connecting the dots of Christian-driven hatred—now, like never before.

As the appearance of being shrouded in righteousness and divine faithfulness can be convincing to the untrained eye, nothing is more deceptive than the spiritual rationalization of violent acts that are ultimately motivated by the desire for power and privilege. Underneath the convenient veil of biblical faithfulness and divine sanction, selfishness, greed, and supremacy are often the true desires lurking in the shadows of those who would turn to Jesus for the justification of their aggression. For nothing speaks of privilege like the condemning, enslaving, or killing of another in order to further one’s faith system. What has been transpiring in church-ladened communities across America for decades is now being manifested on a national scale. In the name of Christianity, oceans of emotional, spiritual, and even physical blood have been shed in an effort to assert their brand of freedom upon countless people who are, in essence, already free.

In fact, for many Christians, their faith is rooted upon the premise that there is an enemy that needs to conquered, a divine prosperity that is theirs for the taking, and an inferior world that needs to be converted. For them, there is an underlying belief that they are “set apart” from the rest of society by God Himself. Therefore, their mission is to engage the world in such a way that their own prosperity is realized, the enemy is defeated, and the world is either converted or condemned. In fact, acts of Christian “mission,” though appearingly noble, are often a means to a self-serving end—that is, the conversion of people into their faith system and the correlating stroke of their spiritual egos upon success.

Combined with a white, heterosexual, male-driven privilege intrinsic to much of global society (especially America and European countries), Christianity has long become the spiritual rationale-of-choice for those who desire the fruition of white male heterosexual power and privilege. With a brand of Christianity that declares the Bible infallible and their interpretations uniquely faithful to its “clear teachings,” right wing conservative Christianity offers an additional level of spiritually rationalized control and power over people.

This toxic diabolical concoction of Jesus-justified savagery can be seen no more clearly than what has become of much of American Christianity. From the rape of the American Indian to the slavery of black people. From the brutal condemnation of the LGBTQ community to the discrimination of women and minorities, a white male heterosexual lust for power and privilege has long hijacked the person and cause of Jesus to spiritually justify their creeds of greed. In fact, intended or not, right wing conservative Christianity has now become nothing less than an incubator for a tacit white supremacy that desires to commandeer the world. Search the vaults of historical fact and there you will find, it is not the average citizen who is leading the way in these atrocities against humanity, but rather pastors, Christians, and communities of faith, all in the name of Jesus and the Bible. From sea to shining sea, right wing conservative Christianity has been the spiritual lense through which many have rationalized their acts of dominance and destruction. Thankfully, the cat is out of the bag as a great awakening is rising from the depths. The evils of right-wing conservative Christianity are being chased out of the shadows–the elixir is wearing off and the deception is being dragged into the light.

Now, a perfect storm of human terrorism cloaked as Christian faithfulness has emerged onto the scene of our American journey. Inflamed by the presidency of Donald Trump and their concerns over an increasingly vocal and organized resistance, right wing conservative Christianity has reached a boiling point unprecedented in history. From voices like Alex Jones of Infowars to Sean Hannity of Fox News, the dogs of war are barking with an emboldened sense of empowerment from their growing base. In fact, for some, their aspirations are nothing less than the ushering in of Armageddon where they believe God has promised to defeat their enemies and cleanse the world of all that does not conform to their ideology. With 70% of the murders committed by domestic extremists stemming from right-wing influences, the line between what is considered mainstream and the fringe is increasingly becoming blurred. Sadly, it seems that right wing conservative Christianity is not far removed from translating the pages of Old Testament scenes of God-sanctioned violence into the real-life tragedy of our near future. In response, segments of liberal resistance have trumpeted their willingness to do battle if necessary, some even taking a bold initiative. The age old question of “who started it?” becomes mute in the context of the long historical trail of leatherbound terrorism spiritually rationalized by right wing religious conservatism. To be sure, growing numbers on both sides seem ready to take off the gloves—one side desiring further dominance and the protection of their privilege, the other defending human dignity and the rights and freedoms that are intrinsic.   

For this is the underlying plot behind ever battle. This is the path that led to the cross. This was the provocation behind our first American civil war—religiously rationalized human oppression versus true human equality and freedom. An ancient conflict of the spiritual realm is now coming to fruition on American soil once again.  

Sadly, it seems as if there is no way to avoid it—each side emboldened to their cause. I fear a new American civil war is on the horizon. This time, it will not be north versus south, or even left versus right. Instead, it will be Christianity versus Jesus, the Kingdom of religion versus the Kingdom of Grace, the human oppression of some versus human equality for all, the way of violence versus the way of peace, the exclusion of some versus the inclusion of all, and a god who punishes versus the God who is Love. For this is a war of ultimate truth with seemingly irreconcilable differences at the core.

Unfortunately, these battles have already begun in the homes, schools, streets, cubicles, courtrooms, computers, churches, televisions, social media outlets, and halls of America. We are a people and a nation divided at the marrow of who and whose we are. True evil is being exposed from the caverns of religious disguise, and true resistance is finding its wings through the bravery of Grace.

The truth is, the coming American civil war is already here. Who knows to what level the battle will further rise and consume us all. One thing is for sure, our future is in the balance like never before.

Come what may, it is my prayer that as the religious oppressor draws the sword and summons their ranks for battle, the lovers of true freedom and equality will faithfully endure and boldly resist with a refusal to become the evil done against them—just like Jesus.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

The Love Conservative Evangelical Christianity Refuses To Give

The greatest problem within much of Christianity is not in its ability to draw a crowd, build buildings, debate creeds, lure people onto a spiritual path, or assert its agenda, but rather in its unwillingness to simply love.

In substitution, large segments of conservative Christianity have become skilled at spiritually rationalizing violence, discrimination, condemnation, and religious greed. Under the guise of biblical faithfulness, a white male heterosexual desire for supremacy has carved a never ending trail of religious atrocities upon the maps of history. From black slavery to sexism. From the rape of the American Indian, to the violent condemnation of the LGBTQ community. From the pursued nationalization of their faith ideology, to the duplicit rationalization of their own sinful behavior. From the denial of freedoms for the immigrant, to the brutal murders and imprisonment of black males. Right wing conservative Christianity has staged a diabolically brilliant performance in skillfully hating its perceived enemies while convincing itself, and those who would drink of their Kool Aid, that it’s all one big beautiful manifestation of divine love and biblical faithfulness.

Sadly, nothing could be further from reality.

For what do all these declared enemies of right-wing conservative Evangelicalism have in common? The answer is not sin, evil, or the powers of darkness. Instead, it is simply that they’re either not white, not male, not heterosexual, or not privileged. In fact, when we begin to connect the dots of what conservative Evangelicalism truly worships, a clear picture quickly emerges. Tragically, it’s not the face of Jesus that is revealed, but rather a sure reflection of white male heterosexual supremacy under the dark veil of religious Christian faithfulness.

This is the evil that crucified Jesus upon the cross, as He came boldly manifesting a Love that exposes and confronts the privileged self-righteous spirit of the religious. In fact, He insisted on a Love crafted by the Divine that first embraces Grace and then stands in solidarity with ones neighbor—who is anyone and everyone, especially the least of these. He came to declare human equality and divine affirmation, and to defend the oppressed against all other messages. In the heart of God, everyone is included in the everything of Himself—always has been, always will be. This is the Gospel.

It was this love that Jesus put on display as He defended the women caught in adultery. The right wing religious conservatives of the day had her surrounded with weapons of every kind—stones, proof-texts, snap shots of her Facebook page. Jesus stepped in and between with rage on his face, writing one simple word in the sand that sent the religious screaming like schoolgirls…”Grace.”

It was this love that Jesus drank to overflowing as He sat dining with those the religious would call, “sinners.” Certainly, among them were repeat offenders, illegal aliens, minorities, gays and lesbians, and even a liberal or two—oh my goodness! There was no condemnation, guilt trips, or shaming. Their evenings together around the table never led to accountability partners, programs, or “to-do” lists. To Jesus they were just neighbors, like everyone else. That’s why they called Him, “friend.”  

It was this love that compelled Jesus to endure, without violence or physical retaliation. In the face of religious hate, He took upon Himself every kind of hell that the self-righteous could muster. Flogged beyond recognition, backed into a corner, He would never betray the Love who sent Him by manifesting anything different—love of neighbor, even unto death.

It was this love that fed the masses, clothed the naked, and healed the sick as the first priority without discussions of worthiness, qualification, or pre-existing conditions.

It was this love that saw no difference based on skin color, and welcomed the immigrant even without proper papers.

It was this love that died not just as a human, but as all humanity—every single one of them. Gay, straight, transgender, male, female, poor, rich, liberal, conservative, majority, minority, black, white, brown, and everything in between. All neighbors under the cosmic Jesus tent.

For those who may agree that conservative Evangelical Christianity has had its failings, there is still a deafening unwillingness to lift the sounds of their repentance to the level of their sin. Truth and reconciliation are sequential. There can be no peace and understanding until the poison has been fully understood and acknowledged. Perhaps, in fear that their privilege might become threatened and compromised by the emergence of true equality, conservative Christianity has instead become an expert at tone-policing, demonizing, deflecting, and minimizing those who would point to the brutal truth of their evil. For the emergence of genuine equality always feels like war to the privileged.       

Make no mistake, the heart of Jesus is this… love of neighbor as yourself, because we are all neighbors, we are all each other—none are better only different. All are affirmed and included. Grace upon Grace. 

Sadly, this is the love you refuse to give.

This is the gun you refuse to put down in exchange for taking up the cross.

This is the last-in-line that you refuse to fall into because you always have to be first.

These are the feet you refuse to wash lest you acknowledge that yours are filthy too.

This is the equality that eats at your skin because yours is an image believed to be superior.

This is the servanthood your soul can’t stomach as it guts the very pillars of your privilege.

This is the Jesus who sees everyone as a neighbor to be celebrated, while you seem determined to view the world as a nuisance to be converted.

So, while you’re tone-policing, trolling, and deflecting my every word, I’m just trying to love my neighbor by standing up for them in fierce solidarity with a willingness to shine a light on the horrible religious darkness they endure, and give voice to the true cries of their soul. Call it hypocrisy, overgeneralizing, or a message of “deconstruction”—whatever helps you sleep at night. The truth is, this is the love that Jesus came to bring, the world needs most, and that right-wing conservative Evangelicalism largely refuses to give.

Show us the scars of your solidarity with the LGBTQ community.

Show us the bullets you’ve taken for the black American.

Show us the refuge you have given to the immigrant.

Show us the healthcare you have provided for the vulnerable.

Show us the women whom you’ve given equal honor, pay, opportunity, and dignity.

Show us the outcast, condemned, and marginalized that call you, “friend.”

Show us the tears in your eyes and the cries of your heart as you live your life to bring the Kingdom of equality to all humanity—divinely affirmed as beautiful by the Father.

Until then, this is the love you refuse to give.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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