Category: Grace (page 1 of 21)

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.

Conservative Trump-Supporting Christian, You’re Wrong. There, I Said It.

In a world where diversity should be celebrated, we need to demonstrate the maturity to peacefully and fairly live life among people with whom we disagree. Being open to conversation, dialogue, and differing opinions are critical ingredients. 

Yet, where harm, injustice, inequality, greed, suffering, and evil are the poisoned fruits served at the table, clear distinctions must be made and boundaries must be asserted. For there can be no peace until there is first truth.

In fact, sometimes, division is a necessary and holy outcome from the interactions between those who side with that which is right and those who stand with that which is wrong. Light and darkness, universally, cannot and do not mix. 

As a white, male, former conservative Evangelical pastor of 21 years, I intimately know the system of belief to which you hold. That’s why my ardent confrontation is not with you, but the evil brand of faith that has seduced you, as it once did me. We are all human, beautifully and wonderfully made—each one of us.

Yes, I want to save you. 

I want to rescue you from the religious claws that suffocate you. I want to emancipate you from the disease that sucks the marrow out of your soul. I want to wipe clean the scales that blind your sight. Not as one who is judging, but one who has wept and suffered in your same prison, who now is breathing for the first time and embracing true freedom.

“You’re wrong. You’re flat out wrong.” These were the words, these were considerations, and these were the ringing bells that silenced my religious intoxication and dragged me to liberty.

I fought it at first. How could this be? It’s what I’ve been taught all my life. People I respected told me, sold me, and groomed my mind and spirit. I’m not stupid, gullible, or easily misled. No, as it turns out, just selfish, afraid, and impressionable. Like you, I thought that the Gospel, a white Jesus, and the American dream were ultimately all about me—my future, my freedom, my success, my faith, my fulfillment, and my destiny. I swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. All I had to do was cut and paste what the pastor said, and peace, prosperity, and living-my-best-life would follow. 

Trust me, I’ve been there, done that, and have the t-shirt. 

So, from a place of real experience and genuine understanding come these urgent words. As much as I hated hearing them, it’s equally uncomfortable to speak them, but nothing gets any better without the truth… conservative Trump-supporting Christian, you’re wrong.  

You’re wrong about the Bible, wrong about God, wrong about Jesus, wrong about the Gospel, wrong about faithfulness, wrong about America, and wrong about freedom. 

How do I know that? How can I be certain?

It’s simple—by the fruits of your beliefs. That’s what Jesus taught me—see the fruit and you’ll see the foundation. And sadly, with all due love and respect, when it comes to your Trump-supporting Christian conservatism, it’s all so disturbing if you’re willing to look.

You don’t insist on being last, you insist on being first.

You don’t sell all your possessions and give to the poor, you line your pockets with greedy systems of personal prosperity.

You don’t welcome the stranger, you cage them.

You don’t see the meek, the poor in spirit, and the mourning as blessed, you see them is inferior, problematic, and roadblocks to your future.

You don’t gather crowds and feed them with equality and grace, you exploit the masses and leverage them for your gain.

You don’t pray in closets, wash feet, and take up your cross, you insist on your own way in all of society. You seek to nationalize your faith, lord it over people, and gather in religious clubs with crosses on top. You take up your guns, the American flag, and your Bibles as weapons to prosper and preserve your self-centered brand of believing and living.

These are the fruits of the Trump-supporting conservative Evangelical spirit.

You don’t give without fanfare and personal attention, you send shoeboxes of white Christian superiority to poor black and brown children. You create memes of your morning coffee with a highlighted Bible and quotes from Scripture hoping to impress others. You take selfies with brown and black kids, post them on social media, and pray they stay in their own countries. 

You don’t live less sinful lives, you live quite the opposite. The faking it, hypocrisy, judgmentalism, and carnality surpasses most other humans. In fact, conservative Christians have a divorce rate of 50% compared to 20% for atheists. More conservative Christians have been arrested for inappropriate behavior in bathrooms than any within the Transgender community. 60% of conservative Christian pastors admit to frequently viewing porn—some, even on Sundays. Conservative Christian celebrity pastors end up living far more expensive, gluttonous lifestyles than nearly anyone in their cities, let alone their churches. The Native American Indian was murdered and pillaged at the hands of conservative Christians. Black slavery and murders were committed largely by conservative Christians. Mass shootings in America are the highest of any country largely because of the worship of guns by conservative Christians. Truth be told, America has become a far less moral, holy, and divine country because of conservative Christianity—period, full stop.

How can this be?

Because of a false faith system that entices sin instead of resolving it. It inspires selfishness, not sacrifice and service. It empowers hate, violence, and greed, not subduing and rendering it Godless. It solicits useless and inaccurate anxieties instead of embracing peace and goodness. 

In fact, when it’s all said and done, the conservative Evangelical brand of faith simply doesn’t work. That’s why you have to keep coming, giving, trying, striving, performing, lying, pretending, fearing, and condemning. It’s a religious treadmill that only sends you backwards as it keeps you running—running from truth, running from Grace, and running to appease an angry god and cleanse the world of all that is different and disagreeing. 

This is what you fear, and this is why you fear.

You’re afraid, like I once was, that the confirmation of global warming, the emergence of human equality, women’s rights, faith plurality, cultural diversity, economic equity, and a universal morality will all reveal the truth—you’re wrong. Not just wrong, but evil. Not just evil, but the enemy, as these long held beliefs have long been a part of the problem, not the solution. They work against the Kingdom of God and stand contrary to the heart and ways of Jesus. Everybody sees it, but you refuse.

So like a drunk, it seems to be all too clear, you’d rather die than admit your addiction and deception.

That’s why you blindly support Trump. That’s why you deny the refugee. That’s why you resist gun control. That’s why you give a pass to white supremacy. That’s why you demonize democratic socialism. That’s why you seek to nationalize your brand of believing. That’s why you twist, abuse, and rewrite the Bible and the Constitution.

You’re afraid. You’re afraid of what you know deep down in your spirit—you’re wrong. 

Jesus says so, and you know it.

You don’t have to discriminate in order to insure your value and importance in society.

You don’t have to believe in a hell of eternal torture in order to motivate people to cling to your beliefs and validate the purpose of Jesus.

You don’t have to hold onto a faith of personal performance in order to have the peace of mind that your future is eternally secure and God’s not going to abandon you.

You don’t have to deny science in order to secure your economic future.

You don’t have to pre-qualify people for love, you can just love unconditionally.

You don’t have to believe the Bible is inerrant and infallible in order to assert the divinity of your creeds and control people towards your ideologies.

You don’t have to be first, supreme, entitled, privileged, and deemed the only partakers of truth in order to see your faith and values have a meaningful place in society.

You don’t have to foster the downfall of all others in order to see your own success and prosperity. 

Others don’t have to lose in order for you to win.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Yes, indeed, salvation has come as we don’t have to be so self-absorbed and hijack Jesus to spiritually justify it.

Instead, we can learn and trust the ways of the Master—to give more than take, to confess instead of condemn, to serve rather than to be served, and to put others before, instead of behind and below. We can embrace and trust the divine within all things, instead of only recognizing Her within ourselves and our own. 

We can truly love and be loved in return.

Yes, conservative Trump-supporting Christian, you’re wrong.

There, I said it.

 

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, Do You See The Person You Have Become?

It’s subtle.

It’s illusive.

Easily, it disarms the radar screens of our conscience—without notice, burrowing its teeth into our soul and spirit.

At first, it feels like life—this is what’s been missing. The answers are so clear; the plot so straight forward. I have finally found a path to travel and a people to travel with.

It’s not your fault; it’s happened to the best of us. 

Conservative Christian, do you see the person you have become?

I didn’t, not until it nearly cost me everything—almost my life.

Just in the nick of time, after 21 years of being a conservative Evangelical pastor, I was thrust in front of a mirror and forced to take an honest look at my true self, along with the perspective to see just how far I had fallen from Grace. I had become a monster disguised as a Messiah follower. Certain that Jesus was at the center of my faith and life, I was oblivious to the darkness that had truly taken over.

What about you? 

At the feet of conservative Evangelical Christianity, what kind of person have you truly become?

Are you even willing to ask the question, to take an honest look? 

As hard as it may be to do so (as I know it was for me), imagine for a moment what set of dominoes must fall in your own heart to actually become convinced that you, among all the people of the earth, have been divinely granted the one true interpretation of a book, while holding to the adamant conclusion that your interpretation, and the book from which it is derived, is nothing less than the infallible, perfect word of God. Regardless of the book’s indisputable human history, contradictions, and abuses, you willingly drink deep the cocktail that insists God wrote it, it all fits together for those who have true faith, and your brand of interpretation is sanctioned by the Divine for use in correcting, condemning, and asserting your beliefs into and over the masses. Conveniently, you interpret some texts literally when, to do so, it supports your agenda. Yet, other passages receive your demand for proper contextualization in order to be understood correctly the way you do. In the end, you believe that you alone possess the secret interpretative sauce for understanding and applying the Bible. 

Maybe you would never say it in that exact way, but inwardly it’s true. You believe the Bible and your conclusions about it give you a special appointment among and above all others. In the end, though there are some thirty thousand different Christian denominations who read this same book yet come to entirely different conclusions about its meaning, you have dug your heels into insisting that God penned it, you know what it means and says where others do not, and it gives you a special authority and mission to commandeer the world into you specific brand of believing. 

Is that not all true?

Why is it so important for you to hold such a death grip onto your personal beliefs that God wrote the Bible and your interpretation is exclusively authoritative? 

What’s really at stake for you? 

I’d like to somehow think that it’s because you’re humble, not willing to lean on your own understandings, desiring to sacrificially serve humanity, and attuned to the Spirit. Yet, it feels like much the opposite. 

In fact, every interpretive move I see you make with the Bible appears to be centered on you—condemning those who are different from you, insisting on your own beliefs and ways in all of life and society, winning arguments, fostering division, rationalizing sin, and spiritually justifying that which clearly stands against the heart of Jesus when it serves your interests to do so. It’s almost as if, without your beliefs that the Bible is God’s perfect word and your interpretations hold exclusive authority and accuracy, your ability to control people is lost, your power is eroded, and your faith system loses all meaning and purpose. 

With all due love and respect, I have to ask or nothing will ever get better. I know this to be true because it’s my story too. I cast no judgement; I’m just trying to be descriptive. Conservative Christian, do you not see the person you have become? 

A person who has allowed their God-given mind to become a playground for the very religiosity Jesus so vehemently stood against.  A person who is willing to stand so strongly on their own spiritual understandings of a book, that they are willing to hurt, harm, abuse, justify sin, and rape the message of Jesus into a self-serving scheme disguised as faith and faithfulness. 

And that’s just the Bible.

For a moment, imagine what it takes to adopt the mindset that the entirety of the Christian life is about you. 

Imagine the self-deception required to believe that Jesus was actually a white guy who loves guns, pledges allegiance to the American flag, and lives to serve your prosperity. Imagine the addiction to self that must be allowed a foothold into the soul in order to believe that “church” is to be a place where, instead of resting in Grace and sacrificially serving humanity, we are to be enticed into a self-serving flesh trap of pursuing the never ending task of trying to do better, pray harder, sin less, give more, and become all we can be for Jesus that He might bless us in this life and keep us from hell in the next. Imagine the narcissism that must ensue to believe that the ultimate fruits of the Christian life are big churches, big budgets, big bank accounts, big mission trips, big book deals, big speaking tours, big conferences, and big “success.” Imagine the sheer idolatry that must be given full reign of the heart and mind in order to believe that the fruition of Jesus’ work upon the earth is the cleansing of the world of all that is different and disagreeing to you.

Please help me understand, why is everything all about YOU? YOUR salvation. YOUR peace. YOUR prosperity. YOUR well being. YOUR beliefs. YOUR righteousness. YOUR fulfillment. YOUR growth. YOUR freedoms.

Truly, I’d like to somehow think that it’s just a phase and you’ll soon be turning away from such childish priorities and spiritual fetishes as you become a selfless, unconditional loving, human serving, manifestation of Grace and goodness. Yet, from everything I’m seeing, it actually appears you’ve strongly concluded that you, and all your you-ness, are the final apex of all things Christian. 

With all due love and respect, again, I have to ask or nothing will ever get better. I know this to be true because it’s my story too. I cast no judgement; I’m just trying to be descriptive. Conservative Christian, do you not see the person you have become?  

A person who has a nearly unbreakable focus on self, self-preservation, and self-sustainment. A person who believes they can actually love a god whom they clearly fear with deep seated trepidation. A person who has convinced themselves that all their spiritual navel gazing and “to do” steps are actually working so well that the rest of us can’t see you faking it. A person who has allowed their faith to become a harbor for racism, sexism, white privilege, and the nationalization and politicalization of their creeds.    

But sadly, even that’s not all.

For a moment, imagine what it takes to come to a place of such twisted spiritual rationalization that it enables you, in the presence of evil, to switch off and override every moral alarm placed within your soul by God. Imagine the disconnect from holiness that must be established in order to support a President such as Donald Trump and claim faithfulness to Jesus in doing so. Imagine the idolatry of self interest it takes to unplug every spiritual warning system within your spirit so that your conscience and the character of Jesus are rendered powerless to direct your decisions, beliefs, and loyalties away from a President who is playing you, the Christian faith, the American people, and the Jesus whom you claim to love like a middle school clarinet. 

You want me to believe it’s all about abortion, Hillary, and making America great. Yet, sadly, it’s become all to clear, it’s always been about you—your privilege, your power, and your faith system creating a world that bows to and serves the cleansing of all that is different, threatening, undesirable, and disagreeing to you, at whatever the cost.   

With all due love and respect, one last time, I have to ask or nothing will ever get better. I know this to be true because it’s my story too. I cast no judgement; I’m just trying to be descriptive.

Conservative Christian, do you see the person you have become?  

I did. 

Before it was too late.

I hope you will too.

 

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.

Dear White Conservative Christian, I See You

I can’t say that I don’t love you, because I do. 

In fact, I used to share the same beliefs and values as you.

Not just that, I pastored you, led you, walked beside you, bought into everything about you.

Twenty one years of life and ministry with you.

White conservative Christian, I was you.

Yes, I walked away. Not just walked, but ran. As soon as the revelation of God’s pure Grace confronted me, I dropped the religious nets that imprisoned me, wrapped me in death, condemnation, and spiritual misery. Jesus, colliding my heart with the God who is Love and lives completely, unconditionally, and irrevocably within me and all things. Breathing for the first time, all of Life released like an emancipated stream. Deep calling to deep, flowing and freeing. 

For so long, what was I thinking? So much time, relationships, and purpose burnt and wasted. 

I couldn’t before, I was too close, too seduced, too buried, too blind. But now, I see. 

I see everything, so afresh, so anew.

Dear white conservative Christian, I see you. No, I really do.

I see you birthed into a system of faith. Thoughts that were thought into you. Thoughts that were thought for you. Thoughts that became you, all in subtle acquiescence. Passed down from belief to belief, memory to memory, fear to fear, and verse to verse. The spiritual web that feeds and feeds off you. Such a deceptively deceptive spiritual symbiosis that formed you. 

It’s not your fault, not even your choice, really. Who among us could climb against the white powdered avalanche that engulfs us? Doubts, questions, concerns, all frozen into capitulation. It’s life in the white conservative Christian Borg, where resistance it truly futile. 

I see you, I really do.

I see you convinced that the truth you believe is the only real truth to believe. It feels like faith, like the right way to see. Every piece seems to fit into place, all of life so easily coalesced into a black and white reality. Right or wrong, in or out, saved or condemned, faithful or backslidden—every question already answered, every doubt already relieved. No matter the debate, decision, or distress, there’s a verse for that, ready to roll off the tongue. One book, one interpretation, one conclusion. All so simple and seemingly divine.

I see you, I really do.

I see you wanting to fit in, we all want to love and be loved in return. I see the gravity of conformity pressing down, nearly impossible not to succumb. It seems too late to look back, too far gone to jump off now. The train is miles down the track. The doubts in your heart, the questions in your spirit, the concerns you have. You see evil within the system, contradictions within the creeds, cracks within the foundations. Yet, it’s as if you’ve surrendered to a life of destined deceit, imprisoned upon a spiritual locomotive that was never designed for course correction, thinking, or the mind of Christ within. You kid yourself with clever choruses, but Jesus doesn’t have the wheel because there’s no wheel to be had. Only tracks, power, and staying in your seat.

I see you, I really do.

The privilege of being a white conservative Christian, though you may not be aware of it, affords you things you certainly enjoy that others certainly do not. Perhaps you don’t recognize it within, for a long time I didn’t, but it’s there shaping your every moment. Being a white conservative Christian has rarely, if ever, positioned you as a minority or one who is the subject of negative assumptions simply because of the color of your skin or the creeds you confess. Your race and religion have never started you on anything less than equal footing in the eyes of American society. That, in itself, no matter your true character, competency, and condition, puts you ahead of so many others, unfairly. Yet, it seems, you refuse to even consider it.

I see you, I really do.

The very thing you claim doesn’t exist (your white conservative Christian privilege) is the very thing you seem so adamant to protect. Prayer belongs in public school, as long as it’s not from the Muslims or the Atheists. The Ten Commandments should be displayed in public buildings, but certainly not words from the Koran or Buddhist confessions. When white people protest it’s called patriotism, when black people protest, it’s called rioting. In your mind, America was most certainly founded as a white conservative Christian nation blessed by God above all others. Yet, it was built on the backs of black slavery, murder, and the rape and pillaging of the Native American Indian. Somehow, in the face of this brutal, diabolical history, you still claim to embrace the words of Jesus that admonish that good fruit doesn’t come from bad motives and foundations. Does this not bother you or at least challenge your thinking?   

I see you, I really do.

Pretending that it’s all working—all the “to do” steps, talking points, and spiritual prescriptions to “do better” and ”give more” to Jesus. Oh how tiring it is to keep all the juggling acts of sin-management and faithfulness going. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt. I understand, I really do. So much is falling apart no matter how hard you keep trying. Deep down you know, the only thing that’s improved in your “Christian” living is your ability to fake it and convince yourself you are growing. Your secret life and secret thoughts are nothing like the garments of purity you wear for the public. Hands in the air for worship, the Bible on the coffee table. It all looks so convincing.   

I see you, I really do.

Performing every spiritual gymnastic and biblical convolution that could ever be contrived in order to rationalize the evil that protects your white conservative Christian way of life, beliefs, and place in society. You’re scared of diversity, equality, and a Love that loves unconditionally. So much, that all of a sudden, where the Bible is so clear to you about homosexuality, a hell of eternal torment, and the submissiveness of women, it’s now super muddy about immigrants, refugees, adultery, lying, violence, murder, greed, the poor, equality, racism, hate, and grabbing women’s pussies. Not to mention, the socialistic heart of Jesus who clearly declared, “The first will be last, and the last will be first,” “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth,” “It would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  

Brown kids in cages compel your thoughts and prayers while your true outrage is reserved for unfair judges at your children’s beauty pageants. Greed, adultery, bullying, lies, and profanity are now signs of Godly leadership. In fact, you equate President Trump to David of the Old Testament. Problem is, David repented. Yet, Trump has declared he’s never asked for forgiveness and wouldn’t bring God into his brokenness anyways. Oops.

Everything gets a pass or a creative excuse, as long as it serves to put money in your pocket, further your white conservative Christian way of life, and subdue or eliminate everything in our country that you perceive is a stumbling block to your comfort, prosperity, religion, and privileged place in society. 

There you sit, watching the bullies do the dirty work, cheering from the sidelines as you pass it all off as God’s work to cleanse and renew our society of all that is different and disagreeing to you. Maybe you’re not involved directly nor support it all whole heartedly. Yet still, the very things that would send you into fits of rage if they happened to you and your family, are now the very things that you are willing to believe are awarded with God’s stamp of approval when they happen to your perceived enemies. As much as I wish it were different, the duplicity, hypocrisy, and evil rationalizations are impossible to ignore. If not them, certainly your silence or passive indifference to it all. In the end, what am I to conclude in the absence of your denouncement and clear resistance? You seem to be increasingly immune to the ever growing darkness as the elixir of white, conservative Christian power and privilege takes over. So much, that all you hated about Obama you now magically support in President Trump. It’s the height of idol worship to believe that God is on your side to the detriment and destruction of all others, is it not?  

Dear white conservative Christian, I see you. I really do.

The question is, will you ever see me?

Will you ever see the refugee, the immigrant, the transgender person, the gay teenager, the black man, the brown woman, the poor, the Muslim, the Atheist, the female, the marginalized, the vulnerable, the outsider, the different, and the less fortunate? Will you ever see all whom God has created as humans beautifully formed in the image of our Creator–equally loved, valued, redeemed, authored, and affirmed by the Divine, needing not your rescue nor repair, but rather to be seen and celebrated as they are—fully equal to you and included just the same in the tapestry of the One who holds all things together?

See, the question is, will you ever see America?

Better yet, will you ever see Jesus?

 

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.

Sorry, Christian, You Can’t Love Jesus and Support Trump

It’s time.

It’s time to draw the line.

Jesus did the same.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” Matthew 23:15

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:17-28

In all of these instances, Jesus makes it crystal clear, there comes a certain point where if you hold to certain things, allow certain things, and do certain things, you can’t claim a love and faithfulness to Him, period. Your devotion to one is to despise the other. There is no in between. 

In the same way, the Spirit again is raising Her voice. God isn’t going to let anyone fake it anymore, play their self-righteous cards, nor disguise the wolf inside of them under the cover of sheep’s clothing. The prepackaged excuses that, “He was better than Hillary,” “I can’t stand abortion,” or “Our country needs to get back to Christianity,” are like filthy rags before the Lord. 

The time has come for the truth to be revealed and declared upon the mountain tops, you can’t support Trump and love Jesus. Your devotion to this man is to despise the Son of Man. There is no in between. 

To be sure, beyond a shadow of doubt and party politics, President Trump is an unrepentant, habitually lying, bullying, racist, glutinous, profane, special needs mocking, sexual assaulting man whose character, vision. and leadership stand in stark opposition to that of Jesus. In examination of his past and present record, he couldn’t even pass the screening process to serve in a church nursery. 

However, was it most alarming and defining is what the Trump presidency reveals about you who support him and your brand of Christian believing. As our attitudes and actions in regards to money reveal who we truly worship, your actions and attitudes in regards to Trump unveil the same. You believe Trump was sent by God, I believe that is true. Yet, you believe his purpose is to return our nation back to you, your prosperity, and your faith understanding. I believe it is to reveal an x-ray of your heart, soul, and the god you truly worship. And sadly, the results aren’t good, in fact they are terrifying—inhumane, anti-Christ, and even un-American.    

By your support of Trump and what he represents, it’s clear that you love your own financial security and prosperity more than Jesus, whose way is to place special care, sacrificial favor, and first priority to the vulnerable, poor, and marginalized.

It’s clear that you love the dominance of your Christian faith in society more than you love morality, Godliness, biblical holiness, and ethical integrity.

It’s clear that you love white privilege and supremacy more than God-authored equality and the divine image God mirrored into all humanity, regardless of color, creed, race, or sexuality.

It’s clear that you love the kingdom of white American Christian conservatism more than you love the diverse, color-blind, least-of-these focused, servant-hearted Kingdom of Jesus.

It’s clear that Christian prayer and priority in the public square is more important than your living of Jesus at home, work, and in all of society.

It’s clear that you worship the Bible when it serves your agenda to lord your brand of faith over society, but cleverly discard it when it serves the agenda of Jesus to align your creeds to His ways of service, sacrifice, and placing others above self.

In the end, by your support of Trump, your true confession of faith rings for all to hear.

Money is more important than morality.

Power is more important than principle.

Privilege is more important than people.

Your faith brand is more important than freedom for all. 

Loving your way of life is more important than loving your enemies

Your will and ways are more important than the will and ways of Jesus.

In fact, when it’s all said and done, it’s increasingly clear, the only reason why you support Trump is because of what you perceive he is doing to protect and prosper your white, conservative Christian power, privilege, and elite way of living. So much, that it seems as if Satan were to agree to accomplish the same, you’d find  a way to embrace every rationalization needed,  and proudly wear his hat and chant his slogans too. For with over 11,000 proven lies and misleading statements since taking office, with an average of 15 lies per day, the Father of Lies apparently has an eager understudy, his name is Donald Trump. 

Yet, most tragic, is the sure result of how his lying and misleading of the American public has greatly increased your capacity and willingness to lie and mislead yourself. 

In fact, it’s hard to look away as the hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance has become overwhelming.

You’re pro-birth when it favors you politically, but anti-life when minorities threaten your majority.

You’re pro-Jesus when He’s portrayed as being wrapped in the American flag, white-skinned, Republican, and carrying a machine gun, but you’re anti-Jesus when He’s welcoming the immigrant, defending the marginalized, loving people equally and uninterruptedly, treating the outcast and vulnerable with favor, condemning violence, and confronting your selfish imperialism.  

You’re socialistic when it pours wealth into your cup, no matter the economic divide it creates, but anti-socialistic when it calls you to pour out from your prosperity, privilege, and power to close the systematic oppressions that keep people from challenging and sharing your status.

You say it’s all about making immigration “legal” while you chant “send her back” to a brown-skinned, female, “legal” citizen and Congresswoman of the United States of America who isn’t politically loyal to your agenda. 

Like a serial killer who enjoys holding His grandchildren, your love of people only extends as far it benefits you and doesn’t distract for your underlying and overriding impulse to feed your insatiable lust for power and privilege, no matter who or what it kills in the process. 

Just because you have color-skinned friends, adopt a child from another country, go on mission trips, give minorities jobs, or raise their level in society a few pegs, doesn’t mean you aren’t a bigoted racist. It may just mean you can’t help but deceive yourself into believing that allowing people some crumbs off your table and fashioning the appearance of caring makes you a genuine follower of Jesus and justifies your brand of believing.

Unfortunately, to the detriment of your integrity and faith credibility, the way of Jesus isn’t to merely tolerate others as a lesser human being, but rather to see yourself as completely and thoroughly equal to them and in inseparable divine kinship with them. 

This is the love and way of Jesus you refuse, and quite frankly, your brand of Christianity stands vehemently against. This is the Kingdom of Jesus coming down upon the earth that you rush to wall off from entering into your heart, home, schools, government, society, and country. 

The thought that, under heaven and by God’s design, you are no better, no more favored, no more anointed, and no more approved than any other sends your heart into a tailspin of hatred and frustration. The call upon your faith and life to go to the back of the line, sacrificially serve those who believe and act differently than you, and give priority and favor to the minority and the marginalized causes your veins, like those of the rich young ruler and the workers in the field, to swell up with rage. This is why, even when given biblically faithful alternatives, you are determined to use and interpret the Bible in ways that give license and promotion to your desires to rule the world, highjack America and her equal freedoms, be granted privilege within it, cleanse it of all that is different from you, and subdue your perceived enemies under your feet. 

Claiming to love Jesus while supporting Trump may be fooling yourself, but it’s not fooling God nor the rest of us.

You can sing, pray, and declare that you love Jesus with every breath in your lungs, but your actions confess your true beliefs and the god of your ultimate worship… self.  

In your mind, what this life, what this world, what your god, and what this country should be centered upon is you and your white, conservative Christian faith, prosperity, and way of life. Apparently, even it means the exclusion of all others, even Jesus.

For until you seek true equality for all, you seek Trump, not Jesus.

Until you value morality more than money, you value Trump, not Jesus.

Until you prioritize people over your privilege and power, you prioritize Trump, not Jesus.

Until you place self last and others first, you place Trump first and Jesus last.

Until you are pro-all-of-life, not just pro-birth, you are pro-Trump and anti-Jesus.

Until you desire mercy, sacrifice, and enemy love above condemnation, greed, and violence, you desire the kingdom of Trump, not the Kingdom of Jesus.

Until the mind of the perfect Christ within you is more influential than your imperfect, biased interpretation of the imperfect Bible in front of you, Trump is more influential to you than Jesus.

Until you welcome and give safe harbor to the immigrant and the refugee, you welcome Trump and wall off Jesus.

Until you stop condemning, marginalizing, and demonizing those who believe, choose, live, love, and act differently than you, you condemn, marginalize, and demonize Jesus and idolize, normalize, and worship Trump.

In much the same way that you can’t serve God and money, you can’t love Jesus and support Trump.

So, as the words of an Old Testament writer admonish, “Choose this day whom you will serve…”

Sadly, it’s becoming all to clear, you’ve made your choice.

 

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, When Is Enough, Enough?

You say that you love Jesus. 

You posture yourself to be a divinely sanctioned dispenser and guardian of Godly morality. 

You want to convince the world that your brand of faith is the only way, truth, and life. 

Yet, with all due respect and love, from where I sit, there seems to be no line of integrity you aren’t willing to cross, no fact you aren’t willing to overlook, and no example and mandate of Jesus you aren’t willing to dismiss.

I want to believe otherwise, but when I put two eyeballs upon what’s in front of me, I find it increasingly hard not to believe that you have, in fact, become a force in opposition to the Kingdom instead a bearer of it. Perhaps, you don’t realize the evil in which you participate nor the diabolical system of faith to which you subscribe. I keep hoping to hear your fierce denouncements of what conservative Christianity has largely become–spiritually, morally, and politically. Yet, much of what I experience from you feels like a calculated silence coupled with a callous ambivalence, as if all you care about is religious power and privilege.

I can understand succumbing to the seductive deceptions of Christian conservatism, for I too  was once held captive by the tractor beams of the conservative Evangelical Death Star. Yet, how much revelation is it going to take before the religious scales fall from your eyes? 

I want that question to haunt you, to pound at the doors of your soul. 

Please help me understand, I’m genuinely perplexed, when is enough, enough?

The word “salvation” in your Bible is the Greek word, “sozo.” It actually means, “to bring wholeness to the entire person.” Sadly, it seems that your faith system has twisted and raped this beautiful word and conveniently fabricated it into a singular issue of hell and heaven. Yet, Jesus created it to be so much more and nothing of the eternity you have carefully imagined. 

Instead, His “wholeness” is about the removal of condemnation, guilt, and shame, not the piling on of it. It’s about the equality of all humanity, not the discrimination and demonizing of it. It’s about peace with God, others, and creation, not fear, violence, and abuse. It’s about the complete ”wholeness” of all with all, not separation, imperialism, greed, and conquest. 

In fact, Jesus purposed this “wholeness” for everyone, not just you or me, and not just for some distant future reality. Instead, this “salvation” is for anyone and everyone–today, tomorrow, and forever. It’s a cosmic manifestation secured for all by Jesus, unconditionally. So much, that when religious people pridefully tried to make their “belief” a determining factor in who experiences this “wholeness” and who does not, Jesus said things like, “And if any man hears my words, and believes not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” 

See, now THIS is the Gospel of Jesus–wholeness for the entire person for every person: right here, right now, unconditionally and irrevocably, welling up into eternal life.  

Yet tragically, it appears you are bringing far more brokenness into the world than you are “wholeness.” You manifest the poison, not the cure; a prison, not salvation. In fact, truth be told, at the hands of your conservative Christianity, the American dream is, in reality, the American scheme. Heaven for you, and hell for everyone else. 

The proof is in the fruit.

I mean, do you really believe that whole raping and pillaging thing by conservative Christian settlers was Jesus’ best idea as to how to bring “wholeness” into the lives of the American Indian? 

Do you really expect me to bite the conservative Evangelical apple and believe that whole lynching, abusing, and enslaving thing that was inspired, supported, and justified by much of conservative Christianity, was Jesus’ best idea as to how to bring “wholeness” into the lives of black people?

Truthfully, how in the world can you even begin to imagine that your brutal condemnation of the LGBTQ community is bringing any level of “wholeness” into their humanity? I mean, do you really think your discrimination against women, minorities, and the vulnerable is the “wholeness” Jesus has in mind? How about desperate children and families seeking asylum? Perhaps you have mistaken the “wholeness” that Jesus admonishes us to manifest for the inhumane hell your system of faith often embodies. 

With all honesty, I’m struggling to understand, because it seems to be all too clear that your understanding of the Gospel and the way of Jesus is salvation for you and enslavement for everyone else.

When is enough, enough?

Will it be the day your gay or transgender child commits suicide after refusing to live a life on the receiving end of your relentless rejection and condemnation? 

Is that enough?

Will it be when your faith is finally persuaded by the person of Jesus and not the allure of political power, your lordship over people, or the fallible pages of an ancient book?

Is that enough?

Will it be when your honesty forces you in front of the mirror where you can’t escape the truth that your conservative Christian faith hasn’t made you a better person, but only a more judging, hypocritical, restless, fearful, and loveless one whose only improvement has come in learning to fake it? 

When is enough, enough?

How many lies must President Trump tell? How many women must he sexually assault? How many racists comments must he make? Give me a number.

How many children must die in cages at our border? How many false equivalencies and hypocrisies must be rationalized?  How many actions, attitudes, and examples that are clearly contrary to the person of Jesus must be put on display? How many laws, constitutional foundations, and freedoms must be forsaken? To what level must the least-of-these be exploited and even erased?

How much white supremacy, bigotry, sexism, greed, and hate must be welcomed and adopted by your conservative Christian faith?

When is enough, enough?

To wake up your soul, to resurrect your conscience, to enlighten your mind, to release your love, to ignite your rage, and to free your life?

When is enough, enough?

I pray, before it’s too late.

 

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.

LGBTQ People Are The Revival God Is Bringing To The Earth, Deal With It

You know the saying, “Be careful what you pray for…”

As a former conservative Evangelical pastor of 21 years, I know well the popularity of church revivals and the priority that Evangelicals give towards seeing their brand of “revival” take place in America and across the world. In their minds, the world is bad, people desperately need to believe and become more like them, and God needs to be begged and appeased in order to show up and move among us. So, for a focused period of time, they pray harder, they commit more, they preach louder, and hope their increased efforts move the hands of God in their favor.

Yet, a simple look at the Scriptural narrative will put on display the sure reality that God always shows up in ways that the religious never expect and almost always detest. That’s because many can only see the Jesus of their own image, which is why, in reality, they always miss the real One. Therefore, requiring revival, after revival, after revival, because their needle contains the poison, not the cure—the Satan, not the Savior.

In fact, to the shear panic and hair-pulling dismay of many Christians, the very revival that many spend hours pleading with God to bring, is already here among us—surprise!  But sadly, most are oblivious to it, believing God is in the wind, fire, and quaking of their right wing conservatism, not in the choked, whispered screams of those they mute, ignore, condemn, marginalize, demonize, and declare to be the enemy.

That’s why today is a time of reckoning like no other. The top is being revealed as the bottom, the least as the greatest, the first as the last, and the condemned as the anointed ones. For indeed, the religious that claim to know Jesus the most, are in fact, the ones that truly know Him the least.

Just ask the disciple Judas, as he learned that Jesus had found him out to be a sneaky conniving religious phony. How awkward was that moment? Judas’ eyes and soul filled with surprise and shame. So too will be the faces of many Evangelicals when they discover that their prayers for revival have been answered. However, to their terror and alarm, it’s the LGBTQ community that are, in fact, the glorious revival God is bringing to earth. Oh, the weeping and gnashing of teeth that will ensue among the religious.

For conservative Evangelicalism has long led the way in manifesting, perhaps, the greatest evil being wielded upon the planet—the spiritual justification of inequality, and all the brutal hell that comes with it. White supremacy, racism, sexism, nationalism, imperialism, homophobia, transphobia, greed, self-righteousness, war, and violence are all weeds that find fertile soil and safe harbor among much of right wing Christianity.

Not for long.

For the very Grace that comforts the broken and authors sacred diversity and divine equality into every thread of God’s tapestry of creation, is the very same Grace that now renders heaping buckets of white hot coals upon the heads of the self-righteous, calling them to fierce repentance for their wicked conservative Evangelical ignorance and religious idolatry.

For nothing reveals the cosmic beauty, diversity, and complexity of God’s masterful penmanship like the reality of LGBTQ people.

Nothing reveals the irreversible equality God has written into every fiber of all humanity like the reality of LGBTQ people.

Nothing sounds the trumpets of God’s demand for the unconditional love, affirmation, and acceptance of all of Her creation like the reality of LGBTQ people

They are the revival God is bringing to earth.

They are the test God is bringing to Her Church.

They are the measure that reveals how far American Christianity has fallen.

For nothing reveals religious ignorance and bigotry like the reality of LGBTQ people.

Nothing pulls back the curtain on self-righteousness like the reality of LGBTQ people.

Nothing unveils right wing Christianity’s thirst for supremacy like the reality of LGBTQ people.

Nothing detects the underlying hate, selfishness, and greed of many conservative Christians and the shallowness of their faith ideology like the reality of LGBTQ people.

Nothing sends the religious screaming into the streets with protest and rebellion like the reality of LGBTQ people.

Yes, indeed, Jesus is bringing revival to the earth.

To be sure, thinking outside the echo chamber of right wing religious conservatism can be a daunting proposition whose risks seem too heavy to take and whose revelation too frightening to consider, but hear this, and hear it well…

Every time you wish that the rights and presence of LGBTQ people were erased from the earth, you are the evil Herod searching for the baby Jesus to murder Him and remove His threat to your power and privilege.

Every time you marginalize, distance, and discriminate against LGBTQ people, you are the callous Innkeeper whose lack of discernment and blatant spiritual emptiness could find no room for the presence of the Divine disguised as the misfit and the vulnerable.

Every time you deny the clear science of human sexuality that ever widens the spectrum of God’s creativity, complexity, and diversity, and label LGBTQ people as merely having a mental disorder, you are the ignorant cowardly family of Jesus who, when push came to shove, claimed He was crazy.   

Every time you claim to be pro-life and yet emotionally, spiritually, socially, and politically abort the lives of LGBTQ people, you are the faithless hypocritical brothers of Jesus whose primary attraction to His cause was to use Him for their selfish agenda and purposes and ignore the rest of Him.

Every time you use Scripture to judge and demonize an LGBTQ person, you are the Pharisees who, out of a desire for religious power, control, and domination, vigorously searched the Scriptures to justify their bigotry, while completely missing the heart of Jesus.

Every time you deny your LGBTQ child your love and acceptance, you are Peter in the garden denying Jesus, willing to cut off the ear of anyone who reveals your inability to hear the Spirit.

Every time you harm, sabotage, demonize, or render an LGBTQ person to be a lesser human being, you are the soldiers who flogged Jesus, tearing His flesh beyond recognition.

Every time you declare an LGBTQ person to be deviant and outside the creative will of God, you are the apostle Peter, whose ignorance and limited revelation caused him to wrongly pen in Scripture that salvation was only for the Jews.

Every time you condemn an LGBTQ person as a sinning abomination destined for the flames of hell, you are crucifying the risen Jesus all over again.  

Oh yes, God is bringing revival to the earth, your prayers have all been answered. But sadly, like many before you, you miss it, and would even condemn, beat, and kill it, because you only see Jesus as the image of yourself and your religious ideology.

Thankfully, God is spitting this idol worship out of His mouth and washing it from the earth, cleansing the cosmos of inequality and hate through Her revelation of Grace, with LGBTQ people the front winds of Her Spirit moving over the waters bringing new Life and Kingdom to all who would have ears to hear it and eyes to see it.

For LGBTQ people are the Emmanuel that assures us that God is still with us…

…that blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. That blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. That blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. That blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. That blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. That blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. That blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. That blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. That blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Indeed, LGBTQ people are the revival God is bringing to the earth, deal with it.

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.

We Are Trump, All Of Us

My disdain for him is equal to, if not greater than yours. So much of what he stands for, I simply detest. Not a day goes by where I don’t find his actions and attitudes unbecoming of a human being, let alone the President of the United States of America.

Yet, when I search to connect the dots that led to his rise in power. When I dissect the pathway of disease that has led to his infection. When I retrace the erosion that allows such a lapse of discernment, I must be willing to look into the mirror.  

To be sure, conservative Evangelicalism and the safe harbor it affords to countless evils, has led the way in opening wide the gates to Trump’s rule and reign. This is obvious and well documented.

Yet, perhaps what we fail to see, is that in some way, great or small, we are all the incubator from which “Trump” has been birthed into the world—yes, progressives included.

We say that we detest his gross inappropriate sexual immorality, yet we sexualize our young children with provocative attire, seductive poses for social media, and the competitive message that beauty is centered upon one’s outward appearance.

We say his lying is of pathological origins fit for the Antichrist, yet we internally exonerate the daily fibs and exaggerations we tell that are deemed necessary to get ahead in life, or at least, take hold of our share. Somehow, in our minds, those are innocent, not unlike the little-white-untruths we insist are developmentally healthy for our children to explore.

We say that we are “progressive” and therefore nothing like him, yet we roam social media waiting to devour our own at first sight of their departure from our own personal ideology of progressive conformity.

We say that he has foolishly walled himself off from wise counsel and only gathers those around him whose loyalty is blind and without ethics, yet we huddle in our exclusive progressive tribes centered on much the same tenets, positioning and using the people around us for our benefit and “progressive” aspirations.   

We say that the way he undermines his competition and enemies with vicious tweets and callous decisions is of the devil himself, yet when another walks into our own territory of influence, we guard our platforms at all cost, willing to send to the curb anyone who dares to get in the way of our spotlight and progressive empire building.

We say we are a people for the “common good,” yet we can’t find enough in common or good with each other to pause from our repeated self-destruction long enough to come together and unite our votes for the defeat of blatant tyranny.

We say his vacations are a rape of the American taxpayer, yet we refuse to muster the short amount of time and energy it takes to get up off the couch, educate our brains, and vote.

                                                                                                                           

Every time we make beauty something that can be accomplished through powder, poses, and privilege, we are Trump.

Every time we place promotion, progress, or personal gain above truth, we are Trump.

Every time we subscribe to a legalism that affords us the exclusive right to judge, condemn, and marginalize, we are Trump.

Every time we position and use people in our lives for the fulfillment of personal aspirations, we are Trump.

Every time we sabotage and demonize those who would share in our spotlight or thwart our empire building, we are Trump.

Every time we eat our own and render people as disposable, we are Trump.

Every time we turn platforms into pedestals, we are Trump.

Every time we choose ignorance, complacency, and comfort over integrity, responsibility, activism, and the welfare of humanity, we are Trump.

We can bend, twist, and hide behind our excuses, but the cold hard truth is this… in some way, great or small, we are Trump—all of us. Not because we are simply imperfect humans like him, but because we all have been bewitched by a self-centered American spirit that has turned the very best and most sacred things of life into commodities of personal gratification. People, power, platforms, church, politics, and even Jesus: nothing has been exempt from being fashioned into a flag to wrap around our own selfish pursuits.

As hard as it may be to hear, Trump is a product of ourselves, we are not immune to culpability—all of us.

Therefore, it’s high time we stop pointing to the many obvious reasons why Trump is a thing, and start looking to ourselves as an integral part of the problem and likely the only part of the solution. Not simply because we believe to have better ideas, theologies, views, or values, but because at the end of the day, we are better humans.

For our most important vote will not be in the 2020 ballot box, but in our daily choice to actually live against the very things we say we are against.

Until we do, there will always be a Trump.

 

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.

I’m Sorry Church, My Hope Is Gone

I’m done.

It doesn’t matter what flavor—conservative, progressive, or something in between.

I wish it were different, I wish it wasn’t true.

I’m taking the card out of the deck.

Not playing, not going to be played any longer.

This is where I exit.

My need for you has healed, my trust in you has been educated, my respect for you has opened its eyes.

I’m sorry church, my hope in you is gone. And I’m thinking, this time, it’s gone for good.

It’s not that I ever worshipped you or let you take the place of Jesus. Stupid me, I just believed that “church” could truly be a place or a people where loving well is the highest value and exercised commodity. Yet, as inclusive, loving, and accepting as even the most beautiful ecclesial wrapping paper may appear, underneath, there is always a lurking spirit of Empire building at the heart, overshadowing all the good people. Slice it, dice it, cut it wide open—at the core, I’m sorry, I’ve tasted and seen, and it isn’t good.

I deeply wish my experiences proved otherwise, I wish I could come to another conclusion. I’ve tried—even after all we have been through, I’ve held out hope. But I can’t turn off what plays out right in front of me over and over again. What we have in so much of American Christianity is beyond simple human error, imperfection, or oversight, but a callous lust for personal gain and all the blatant disregard for people and integrity that comes with it.

Who has the fanciest facilities, the latest technology, the most inspiring worship, the best sermons, the slickest branding, the most followers, the highest attendance, the greatest programs, the fastest growth, the largest book sales, the most podcast downloads, the most speaking engagements, the coolest look, the best theology, the purest doctrine, the strongest scholarship, the most attended events, the highest influence.  

                                                                                                                           

Church is big business—progressive or conservative.

Sadly, its darkened fruits dangle clearly in the wind, for those who have ears to hear and eyes to see.

We have become experts at gathering in exclusive tribes with shared creeds as the inside handshake. Cool pastors lunch tables where few are ever allowed or invited. Ideological forts where conformity is the bridge to the door and the key to enter in. Celebrity leaders dressed in the latest fashions with polished appearances and presentations to impress and entice the masses. Little pink spiritual houses for you and me, as far as the eye can see.

No real place for the misfit or the in between. The prophet, the questioner, or the one lagging behind. No bigger tables, just bigger egos wrapped in inclusive spirituality and sprinkled with unconditional love glitter. Looks so good on the outside, but tastes of death in the middle. There is always something more at stake, a deeper lure underneath, than loving simply to love, and that being enough–period, end of sentence and sum of aspiration.

Perhaps it really is true, there is nothing new underneath the sun. All is meaningless, especially what church has become, conservative or progressive.  

Good men, women, and children rarely win, even within, of all things… church. Instead, to survive and stay the course, your hands must become callous, your heart quickly attuned to self, your ears oblivious to honesty, and your mind unshakably focused on more, better, and further. These are often the drugs one must take, the humanity within that must be turned off, and the integrity that must be subdued to survive and participate.  

“But not my church” is the pre-prescribed opioid that keeps things from ever getting better. Surely, not that blogger, not that pastor, not that speaker, not that author, not the group, not that leader, not the person in the mirror.

The bar my family attends for food and drink, the cubicles in which I work to live and breathe, the nature in which I roam, the secular in which I live, all are far more spiritual, holy, and pure, at least for me.  

I’ve cursed you, spit at you, praised you, believed in you, and died a thousand deaths for you. But now, as I follow Jesus towards the anew He is creating of me, I must leave you as I acknowledge the lamp going out deep inside of me, not because darkness has won the day, but because Dawn has come and awakened my entire being.

Today, I resign from being a guinea pig in the emotional and spiritual slaughter house of gaslighting Empire Christianity.

It’s all yours—take it, have it. 

I’m done. Never coming back. Never looking back. 

I’m sorry church, my hope is gone, because my life is finally beginning. 

I’m breathing for the first time, and with all due respect and love, it’s oh so good.

 

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.

 

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