Category: Grace (page 1 of 21)

From Jesus To The LGBTQ Community

My dreams are made of you—from first light to the setting of the sun.

All that are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender—radiant shades and gleaming colors of the human tapestry. In every way, you’re beautifully and wonderfully made. The stars, dull in comparison to your splendor.

To those special souls who bear these human beings, conceived by the moving of My Spirit. You bring forth life—not just a life, but Light for all to see, exposing and revealing truth with every breath they breathe. Be it forever known in crystal clarity, you parent not just flesh and blood, but a cosmic awakening, pulsating from My creative majesty. Each one, a birthing from the throne so universe shaking—the mere truth of their divine being chases religious hearts out of deep seated shadows, setting free poets and prophets of true love and Grace in waves the size of eternity. Yours is an honor bestowed, a high privilege—the threads of Mary and Joseph spooled and weaved into the adornments of your calling.

All that are gay, all that are lesbian, all that are bisexual, all that are transgender, all of every shade of heaven in between—My dreams are made of you.

You are My smile that extends as far as the east is from the west. You are the joy the Father graciously sets before My chest.

You are the laughter that can’t be contained from the depths of My belly.

You are warmth of a winter’s fire, the breeze of a summer’s shower.

You are the echo of my voice through a river of mountains. You are the stream of sheer jubilation, welling up from My eternal fountain.

You are the delight that sends Me love-drunk into the streets. You are the pulse moving through My veins with every heart beat.

Forever and ever and ever I say—My dreams are made of you.

I know the hurt, the skin melting pain, the soul stripping floggings of condemnation.

When I was ridiculed and rejected by My own bigoted family—there I was thinking of you.

When I cried over Jerusalem, begging to be understood and simply accepted—there I was living as you.

When I was in the garden, on bended knee, begging for divine reprieve, my cup flowing over with doubts and hopelessness—there I was scared, just like you.

When I was left to die on a religiously conspired cross, murdered in body, mind, and spirit, crucified to death by ignorance and hate, while good people remain silent and unengaged—there I was dying, not just for you, but on the Tree… as you.

There has never been a time you have ever been alone.

You are not the forsaken.

You are not an abomination.

You are not a sin that needs reformation.

You owe no apology, no explanation, no verse, nor spiritual transformation.

This is your time, this is your permission, this is your affirmation, this is My decision.

Be you, be fully you—for My sake, for my Name, for my Fame throughout all the universe—be you, unashamed.

Everything I am, everything I make—everything that is of mine is forever and freely yours. You are the diamonds from which dreams are made—extravagantly, specifically, and intentionally created.

Bend your ear, release your soul, I’m shouting from the heavens—from the edge of My seat, the tip top of My heart.

Listen to the cry of My trinity, Three in One wrapped in infinity.

My dreams are made of you.

My dreams are made of you.

My dreams are made of—

You.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

The Apology Every White Christian Needs To Give To Black America

I am white, I am Christian, I am the problem, and I am sorry.

I have sinned against you and God in thought, word, and deed—even more so, in the brutal absence of thoughts, words, and deeds rendered on your behalf.

Where words of fierce solidarity were desperately needed, I have been cowardly silent and withdrawn. Where you have been crying out to simply be heard, bestowed justice, and afforded basic human rights, I have been tone-policing your every move while sitting in the comfort of my white Christian couch, staring down my nose at your plight.

My ignorance to my own white privilege, my apathy to your suffering, my comfort in comfortable living, and the worship of my status—all complicit evils to the undeniable hell you have been living.

History tells the disturbing and diabolical tale, I am the reason for your slavery, your continued discrimination, and your unending quest to grasp what God has already bestowed upon you—equal value, capacity, dignity,  beauty, and worth in every way and in all things. You don’t just matter, you are the majesty woven into God’s tapestry of life.

I have declared peace where this is no peace—to your destruction and my shame.

I have highjacked Jesus and turned Him into my personal cruise director, sipping Christian cocktails while the conservative evangelical Titanic plows through and vomits out hatred, bigotry, racism, and greed from sea to shining sea. Not just towards you, but the LGBTQIA community, women, the impoverished, and the immigrant included (to name a few).

At times, I have assumed the worst in you while blatantly dismissing the obvious systemic and intended desire within significant segments of my faith and country to erase you.

I have not resisted nearly to the needed measure, but rather have even participated in a faith system that has been the source of more discrimination, abuse, and destruction of your being and community than perhaps any other racist evil manifestation on earth.

I have become the onward Christian soldier who pierces your side as you hang on racial crosses.

I have blindly turned my brain, conscience, soul, and mind off at church and in society—numbed and satisfied with only having, at best, a passing knowledge and compassion for your history, story, suffering, divine worth, and life experience.

My shrinking back at the Thanksgiving table, the church picnic, the office water cooler, the Facebook comment thread, and the sideline at soccer practice. My carting off the kids to schools where diversity in status, intellectual intelligence, emotional intelligence, and color of skin is subtly, but surely discouraged. My laziness and chilling absence in being an active force for equality in the public arena with my words, my votes, and my resistance. All, scream of my resounding confession—I am the reason for your living hell. George Floyd, just another page in the nightmares of your story.

When you were thirsty for equality, I was watering and walling-off my privilege—using God and the Bible to rationalize my evil.

When you were naked and vulnerable as a despised minority, I looked away sitting on my hands, and therefore exploited you and raped you of your humanity.

When you were hungry to create a world where all are given equal value, opportunity, freedom, and worth, my irresponsiveness and complacency stole from the table of your divine affirmation and significance in order to fatten my own.

I am appalled at myself as I come face to face with the personal responsibility I have surrendered, the indoctrination I have allowed, and the contamination I have embraced through the spiritual justification of hate spewing out of the sewers of America, largely from the toilets of right-wing, conservative Evangelical Christianity.

I repent and agree with God—until my voice and actions of non-violent solidarity are as loud, numerous, and desperate as the cries of your oppression, I have deeply failed in being Jesus, living His Gospel, and extending His Kingdom to you.

For Jesus did not consider His heavenly privilege with God as something to be used to His own advantage. Rather, He made Himself a minority by taking the very nature of the religiously oppressed, being made in true human likeness and meekness. Being found in appearance as humanity, He humbled Himself, standing in fierce solidarity with the least of these unto death—even death on a cross.

As Jesus has done for me, I will do also for you. We are all equal, affirmed, and loved in His sight—period, the end of all debates.

Black America, my heart is sickened to the core at the evil racism I have allowed and therefore have adopted as my own.

For I am white, I am Christian, I am the problem, and I am deeply sorry.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

I’m White, Christian, Privileged, and Ashamed

There are moments in life where a truth can be so impacting it changes you forever—unhinging, transforming, and recalibrating nearly everything you once understood and believed.

I used to be a conservative, Evangelical, racist, homophobic, sexist, judgmental, and spiritually arrogant pastor and person. With no reservation, I pre-cataloged blacks as inferior and dangerous subhuman creatures, the LGBTQ community as mentally ill and spiritually depraved, and women as cupholders and casserole-makers for men.

In nearly every way, I was much the opposite of all that I am, hope to be, and stand for today. 

No, I didn’t finally reach the white quota of having enough black “friends” to look in the mirror and believe I’m not a racist. No, I didn’t have a child that came out as being gay or some moral failure or personal crisis that shook my foundations. The reversal of my heart and mind, and the dethroning of my racism, bigotry, hate, privilege, and conservatism came solely from being confronted by the true nature of God, the pure message of Jesus, and the revelation of His heart and mind towards all humanity.

To think that I painted inequality where there is none to see—a choice in sexual orientation where there is no choice to be. To think that gender ever mattered in calling, gifting, or creed—seeing women as some lessor form of a human being. To think that I condemned, in the name of Jesus, where there was no Jesus condemning. The evil ignorance of my white privilege blinded my perspective and deafened me to the real voices crying around me. 

To think that I loved with restrictions, restraint, and conditions—believed I had exclusive possession of all that is Truth to the exclusion of any other perspective or position. To think that I embraced a life and faith lacking in true compassion—leaving God-imaged people marginalized, discriminated, abused, alone, and undefended. To think that I lived and proclaimed it all as faith, faithfulness, and the way, Truth, and life—I am ashamed. Not just ashamed—disgusted. Not just disgusted, but wailing in ashes.

Look around.

Look at what many of us white, Christian, heterosexual, and privileged people have largely become—not all of us, but many—not always intentionally, but in sure reality.

Upon the necks of beautiful humans like George Floyd, our Jesus-grieving sins of racism, discrimination, white-supremacy, elitism, nationalism, ignorance, and condemnation are increasingly normalized, and even spiritualized as faithfulness. We have elected a childish, pussy-grabbing, womanizing, immoral, misogynistic, racist, and xenophobic president—touting him as a kind of God-appointed savior. 

Where our nationalistic, social, and political pursuits clearly conflict with the ways of Jesus, not to mention basic human ethics and morality, we conveniently turn a blind eye, and all of a sudden the “clear teachings of the Bible” aren’t so clear anymore and the compartmentalization of our faith becomes a worthy and important practice—smoke and mirrors were never so smokey and distracting. 

Still to this day, perhaps now more than ever, we harbor racism, boldly act on it, and even spiritually justify it, not to mention sexism, homophobia, and transphobia—all while ironically declaring ourselves to be the well from which genuine spiritual maturity flows. We can’t even stop the religious monster we have created long enough to seek true understanding in what it’s really like to not be white-skinned, heterosexual, Christian, or privileged. If only we knew how to listen as well as we know how to lean on and worship our own understandings and self-seeking ambitions. 

When a transgender person commits suicide at the hands of Christian condemnation, it’s like we don’t even pump the breaks or give a thought to reevaluating our faith understanding or position—arrogantly convinced we hold all the keys. Everyone else is always wrong and we are always right. Everyone else’s protest is an unworthy and blasphemous riot. Everyone else’s sin is destined for hell and ours is magically forgiven—thank God we believed the right things, said the right prayers, and made the right changes. Aren’t we all so special and so white.

While perhaps you are feeling oh-so special, I am feeling oh-so ashamed.

In fact, if this is what it means to be white, I don’t want to be “white” anymore.

If this is what it means to be Christian, I don’t want to be seen as “Christian” anymore.

If this is what it means to be heterosexual, privileged, or even American—you can have it all.

For Jesus flips the tables yet again in riot-ladened rebellion, revealing that we, in our undeniable worship of being white, heterosexual, Christian, American, and privileged are actuality the ones who have become the infected, pus-oozing, deplorable abomination. The finger pointers and speck removers are once again revealed to be the log possessors whose preoccupation with changing the world for Christ has left us tragically unaware of our own Christ-less souls.

Against this I must stand, turning shame for all that I had believed wrongly about God, Jesus, and people into an unstoppable solidarity with all that God has created good, beautiful, whole, and affirmed.

This is my resistance, this is my manifesto.

In the footsteps of Jesus, I’m a human that affirms all humans.

I’m a white man who sees as equal every shade of color and gender.

I’m a heterosexual that affirms every other kind of “sexual” rooted in honesty, love, and committed relationship.

I gladly surrender my privilege and tear off the “Christian” name tag.

I will no longer join hands nor heart with a faith understanding that fights against so much of what Jesus embraces.

I refuse to love, accept, and affirm any less than God who is pure Love, affirms, accepts, and loves me and all others without condition nor reversal.

For I am no better than any other—only different.

This is true of all people. Grace and Truth has made it so.

All are loved, equally and beautifully made—each a masterpiece, eternally valued and secured.

I will be forever brave on behalf of the “least of these,” proudly counting myself as equal among them, and manifest the delight of Jesus who is eternally proud to live, serve, sacrifice, and call them friend—as am I.

Ashamed, I am no less. Brave, I am, all the more.

 

Grace is brave.  Be Brave.

 

In America, Breathing Has Always Been For White People

No breath, no life.

Without oxygen, most everything withers and dies.

For those struggling to fill their lungs, every move, step, and aspiration is rendered difficult, diminished, and uncertain. Life is squelched and the marrow squeezed out. Freedom to live is shackled and choked, if not completely made impossible.

Sadly, in America, breathing has always been for white people. 

Breathing freely, deeply, and peacefully has been assigned to the privileged. The United States Constitution in manifestation truly reads, “We the white people,” and “All white men are created equal.” 

For actions speak louder than words.

With every lynching, enslavement, murder, displacement, beating, pillaging, and discrimination, everything that brings true life and living is reserved and restricted by the white man for the white man.

Breathing has always been for white people. 

Breathing while jogging through a neighborhood, never worrying about being deemed a threat, wrestled to ground, or even murdered.

Breathing while in the cubicle, never fearing mistreatment, false accusations, exploitation, the subject of racial humor, or the recipient of bullying.

Breathing while driving, never fearing being profiled, pulled over, misled, unfairly treated, assumed guilty, unjustly handled, violently treated, wrestled to ground, beaten, or even killed.

Breathing while eating at a restaurant, never having to notice the eyes fixed upon you, feeling the attention to the color of your skin, fearing the abuse of your food, the diminished quality of service, and the obvious avoidance of your presence.

Breathing while your children attend school, never carrying the anxiousness of their undeserved  negative treatment, personification of wrong-doing, internalization of inferiority, the onset of depression, and consistent unfair treatment. 

Breathing while dealing with the legal system, never fearing being falsely accused, legally abused, criminally exploited, assumed guilty, the object of falsely placed evidence, the diminished or restricted access to proper legal support and counsel, or having a police officer kneel on your neck to the point of your death. 

Breathing while shopping, never feeling the weight of people’s attention as they automatically fear that you might rob them or steal something, or sensing the surprise in their eyes as they assume you can’t afford what they are selling. 

Breathing while enjoying success, knowing that people will never wonder what special circumstance, allowance, crime, or bending-of-the-rules were required for you to get there. 

Breathing while moving into a new neighborhood, job, or church, never fearing the likely rejection, gossip, passive aggressiveness, or flat out resentment that will soon follow.

Breathing while protesting, always knowing that everything you do will be framed as righteous, inside the lines, and justified by the cause, as you’re labeled a “good person” and never a “thug” like all the others. 

Breathing while pursuing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, never carrying the weight, facing the unfairness, and suffering the oppression of a system clearly and intentionally bent towards the benefit, progress, power, and privilege of white, male America.

For in America, breathing has always been for white people.

Lynching, choking, suffocating, wheezing, and struggling to catch your breath has always been for everyone else.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave. 

The You God : Embracing Your Own Spiritual Journey

Embracing and taking your own spiritual journey, that’s the point. Your journey is your own journey. It’s the essence of your creation. It’s everything. 

You are the You God. 

Everything you need is within you; the mind of Christ within you, the presence of Christ beside you (in full union with you, but yet fully distinct), and all around you in all things. Yes, the cosmic Christ. The universe in, beside, and all around you. There is no place where “I Am” is not. 

So much (if not all) of everything you seek, you already possess. In fact, God never intended His Word to be written on an external page, She already placed it in the depths of your heart. The Bible has never been the goal or finish. You are the goal. You are the finished. 

Jesus is the Word made flesh, and through His complete union and communion with you and the deposit of His mind with yours, so are you. You are a Word made flesh, with the potential of an ever expansive path of revelation rising up from within.

In fact, the externalization of the internal Word into a secondary/written Word (the Bible) actually leads to deep vulnerability and manipulation by the snakes of darkness. Make no mistake, it is evil that tries to entice and distract you from what you already possess within; every spiritual blessing. That’s why the dark deeds of men and women are always rationalized, at some level, by quoting from words written about God by men on pages (the Bible) deemed by them to be sacred and infallible. It’s the perfect scheme.

For God didn’t pen the Bible. He penned you. You are the You God. Taking your own spiritual journey, that’s the purpose.

Three beautiful, cosmic altering things happen when we embrace and focus on this journey…

God Speaks To Us Clearly and Identifiably

To those willing to rest, rely, and listen, God speaks clearly and identifiably to us from within.

In many instances, it is an undefinable experience that rings true to the soul. For me, in these moments, God often speaks ahead of my questions and thoughts. She knows my mind before I do, and speaks to it before I do. It is not a distorting, demanding, or taking-over experience. Instead, it is a gentle, friendly, available, and offered one. For God never insists upon Her own way, nor takes the wheel of our minds. She only assists, where assistance is allowed; never dismantling the difference between us.  

I have found, the more I am willing to rely on Her voice within, the more my journey is revealed. 

In contrast, I am amazed how many give little question to the words of men written in the Bible, given in counsel, or preached from pulpits, yet tremble with skepticism towards the capacity of people to hear God speak from her Word within with clarity, accuracy, and assurance. It is written in creation and the constructs of the soul that the guideposts for all that God is, speaks, and commands is Love. This is the litmus test for all discernment. Interesting, however, is the sure reality that a simple glance at Christian history reveals that the reading of the Bible (not the Word within) often leads us away from this cosmic truth instead of towards it. 

Yes, the soul and the conscience can be distorted and led astray from the Word within and God’s speaking to us. But this is not the root that lies within each one of us, nor can it ever be destroyed. It is eternal. True Love is clear, and pings and pierces the heart when it reaches it. 

Problems come far more from external distortions, not internal ones. Far more abuse and waywardness comes from listening and internalizing the human, external interpretations of God, not Her internal revelation, Word, and presence within.

In fact, if there is a spiritual war we must fight, it would be this one; resting in the Word within versus resting in the Bible. For in many instances, they are incompatible and lead us in opposite directions.

We Rest In His Presence Within

When I focus on embracing and taking my own spiritual journey, I grow in my capacity to rest in the Comforter within. His words increasingly overshadow any others. When they speak words of assurance from within in contrast to the anxiety around me, I can better rest in them instead of panicking from what I fear with my eyes, thoughts, and fears. 

In this way, His words become a foundation for the fielding of all others. No, not leading us down a path of denial, but instead, wrapping our hearts and anchoring our emotions upon the spiritual journey we are taking. A journey with the Comforter; a journey with the One who knows all things, sees all things, and whose future is in full communion with yours. No thing, no person, and no reality is more connected to your journey than God. The more we embrace our journey, the more we embrace God.

Therefore, when we hear in our depths Her speaking, “It’s going to be o.k,” we can learn to trust those words to the capacity they actually alter our emotions and perspective.  

For no other voice, opinion, person, or plan is in full communion and union with you and your spiritual journey, only God. This is where our rest belongs and best occurs.  Faith is not believing in something outside of you, beyond you, separate from you, ahead of you, requiring of you, or distant from you. Instead, it is resting in all that is beside you, within you, in mind with you, in communion with you, all around you, in Love with you, and inseparable from you—Jesus.

Make no mistake and live not in denial, clinical depression and anxiety are real things that can require clinical solutions. Yet, we should never underestimate the power of resting in the presence of the Comforter within to help lead us to clearer thoughts and the embrace of comforting realities in contrast to the irrationalities that can tractor beam our thoughts and emotions. 

We Need Not Compare Nor Explain, We only Love

Sadly, we live in a world of comparisons. Not just that, but also in a world of explanations. Often times, we want everyone else’s journey but our own. What they have seems so much better than what we have. And, at times, we feel the need to give explanations to why certain things happen in other people’s journey. We want to give answers and reasons, often out of the goodness of our hearts. And perhaps even more so, we can even feel the desire to have explanations to what’s happening in our own journey, especially when we compare them to what’s happening for other people in their journey. 

During a recent health emergency, I asked the Jesus within, “With so many people who don’t get good news in times of trauma, why me?” His sensed response… 

“This is your journey. Love does not require to understand another’s journey, nor compare it. Love comforts, celebrates, mourns, uplifts, and empowers the journey of others, but it does not seek to explain nor judge the journey of others. Love, peace, and faith do not flow from understanding, nor do they always create it. Instead, they free us to fully walk our own journey, and fully walk with others in theirs.”

When we embrace and take our own spiritual journey, we grow in our capacity to resist the need (and demands) to explain our lives and choices. This is our unique and exclusive journey with and as the divine. We need only compare ourselves and our lives to the Love that lives within and guides our journey. This is the true freedom we have in Christ who is in, with, besides, and under us all and all things. Without the debilitating gravity of comparisons and explanations, we can increasingly love others and ourselves without restraint, requirements, nor conditions. We love because we are love; not to appease, benefit, explain, compare, control, nor conform. 

Our capacity to truly love rests in our willingness to embrace and take our own spiritual journey; a journey that is explanation and comparison proof.

For you are the You God. 

Now, embrace it.

Take your own spiritual journey.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave. 

Dear White Conservative Christian, Asking For A Friend

Dear white conservative Christian,

I truly want to honor your beliefs and actions by increasing my awareness of what motivates them. I recognize that, according to your Scriptures, Jesus is to be the focal point of all that you are, believe, and do. In fact, it’s my understanding that Jesus summed up what is to be the core motivation for any of His followers with the command, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Apparently, for Jesus, this is the essence of what “loving God with all your heart” looks like in real Christian living. 

So, in deep respect of that tradition, I’m trying to see things from your perspective and understand the thought process behind your faith, particularly as to how white conservative Christians have lived out that faith in the past and how you’re living it out now—socially, politically, and spiritually. 

Everyone deserves to be heard and understood. 

I’m simply trying to get to the heart of the matter. 

I want to hear you. 

So, I’ve got some questions. Yes, a lot of questions

For example, when a large group of white, primarily conservative Christians decide to crusade against their perceived enemies through a self-declared, “holy war” of massive, bloody violence and murder… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” 

I’m trying to understand.

Or, when white conservative Christians decide to portray a historically brown-skinned, Middle Eastern Jesus solely as a conservative, American, white-skinned man like themselves… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” By personifying Jesus as the personal mascot of your own race, country, and specific brand of believing, is that what you believe loving your neighbor means? 

Yet again, I am trying to understand.

When a white conservative group of Christians decide to declare the Bible as infallible and their interpretations of that Bible as exclusively and divinely authoritative over and against all others… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Admittedly, I’m no superhero Christian, but doesn’t that seem more like trying to place oneself over and against your neighbor, instead of loving them?

Or, when a white conservative Christian, for example, like theologian John Calvin, decides to have his theological disagreers punished, maligned, and even murdered (in the case of John Calvin, he had them burned to death)… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” I’m truly curious, how is that white conservative Christians, even now, can subscribe to the theology of a man who apparently missed the highest admonition of Jesus in exchange for hating his neighbor to the point of melting them to death?  

When a group of white conservative Christians take the words of Jesus, “make disciples” and replace them with “make colonies” through the violent pillaging, rape, abuse, and murder of the native people who first lived in America… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Honestly, I’m trying to understand. Which  is why I’m wondering, doesn’t it disturb you that anyone could take the instructions of Jesus to, “make disciples” and twist them into, “mass murder people?” 

But hey, what do I know? 

Or, when a large, white conservative group of Christians decide to enslave black people, abuse them, discriminate, and (here we go again) murder them… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Let me guess, black people aren’t our neighbors? 

When white conservative Christians attempt to scrub the history books of their acts of religious oppression and rewrite them by putting lipstick on the pig of their undeniable bigotry, greed, violence, and immorality… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Please, I beg of you, correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t “loving your neighbor as yourself” mean making the truth about other people’s history just as important (if not more important) as your own, even if that truth reflects poorly upon you?  

Or, when a group of white, conservative Christians in 1945 unilaterally decide to reinterpret the biblical words long translated as “pedophilia” to now somehow mean, “homosexual”… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Maybe I’m missing something, but doesn’t a move like that seem more like a power play to spiritually justify condemning people you dislike? 

When white conservative Christians go out of their way to find fault and criticize a black President while giving a pass to the very same issues (and much worse) that are observed in a white President of their political persuasion… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Maybe I’m way off base, but doesn’t “love your neighbor as yourself” actually mean to love your neighbor as yourself? Wait, black Presidents aren’t neighbors either? My bad.

Or, when white, conservative Christians label impoverished people as “lazy,” LGBTQ people as “evil,” and the unhealthy as “lacking faith”… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Maybe what Jesus really meant was, “Love your neighbors who act, believe, and look like you and don’t threaten your power and privilege. Otherwise, you’re free to demonize, exploit, and lord over as you please.” Yes, now that makes perfect sense, right? 

When a majority of white, male, conservative Christians declare that our country has no responsibility to extend aid to immigrants and refugees… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?”

Better yet, when white conservative Christians seem to believe that they’re the only ones who truly want to protect the unborn, but are willing to support separating children from their parents at our border and place them in cages while promoting policies that foster homelessness in children… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Aren’t all people our neighbors, and aren’t all neighbors a part of life. Thus, doesn’t truly being pro-life mean truly being pro-everyone from womb to tomb?

Or, when white conservative Christians quickly demonize anything that fosters the emergence of true equality or solicits even the slightest reduction of their dominion and privilege in society… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” For does not loving your freedom mean loving your neighbor’s freedom as much as your own? Does not loving your place in society mean loving the place of everyone else in society, as much as you do your own? Does not loving your way of living mean striving to see people loving their way of living, as much as you do your own? 

You know… love your neighbor as yourself.

Dear white, conservative Christian… where does your motivation come from? Is it really from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” 

Asking for a friend.

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.

Progressives, You’d Better Get Your Shit Together

We’re closer now to losing our democracy than ever before.

It’s clear, the majority of Trump supporters are determined to see their agenda for America come to fruition at all costs. In Trump, their long-brewing angers, hates, fears, lusts, prejudices, and desires have been rallied to the surface and released from their cages. For many conservative Evangelicals, not even the core tenets of their faith give them pause nor restraint. Seemingly, nothing else matters but their acquisition of increased power and dominion.  

This is the empire-building mentality of white, male-driven Christianity that, throughout history, has turned love into hate, faith into fear, the Bible into an idol, church into big business, humans into slaves, women into objects, minorities into mules, the different into devils, sacrifice into selfishness, equality into privilege, the Gospel into a commodity, and the Christian life into the self-centered, spiritual ego trip of the privileged. 

Yet, this lust for Empire is not a phenomenon intrinsic only to conservative Christians. Sadly, progressives are equally susceptible to its allures. Among democrats and progressives, the very same willingness to suspend truth, integrity, morality, and goodness in the pursuit of gain is not uncommon. With a sure capacity for viciousness, progressives of all types have been willing to eat their own and sabotage those who would obstruct their path. Sadly, personal gain, personal empires, personal platforms, and personal agendas have often been placed above integrity, decency, and the common good. 

This is the progressive, spiritually immature, divisive, bitchy pettiness that Trump is counting on from within democrats and progressives alike to further exploit America and win the 2020 election. We’ve self-imploded before, and I fear we’re doing it again. Like the whiney mother who refuses to lead the Christmas play unless her child gets the part of Mary, some progressives are already declaring that if their candidate doesn’t win the democratic nomination, they’ll vote for Trump or not at all. 

Progressives, you’d better get your shit together.

Sure, we can respectfully debate who has the most probability to defeat Trump. Sure, we can compare and contrast the candidates as to who best supports our personal preferences. Sure, we can converse vigorously about the ills of our two-party political system. However, in the urgency of this hour, there is no more time for infighting, backstabbing, smearing, or personal power grabs. Not from individuals, not from candidates, not from social media platforms, and not from news outlets. If your primary focus isn’t to remove Trump from the Presidency through the election of the candidate who wins the democratic ticket, you are the problem and the blood of our dying democracy will be on your hands.

To be sure, those whose political affinities fall outside of white, male-driven Christian conservatism carry the ideas and messages that bring hope and healing to our religiously abused and exploited country. However, I fear we are becoming the evil done against us. 

Where, with one voice, we should be boldly resisting Trump and his regime, we instead, gripe amongst ourselves. Where, with one voice, we should be vehemently protesting the lies and deceit, we instead, pick each other apart. Where, with one voice, we should be outrageously enraged at the blatant abuse of democracy, power, and privilege, we instead, punch each other in the throat.  

Progressives, you’d better get your shit together. 

America cannot withstand our lack of maturity, perspective, selflessness, and unity under the burden now upon Her.

In the midst of our progressive diversity, ours must be a singular focus with a singular message—”No more Trump, or no more America. The choice is yours.” For our willingness or unwillingness to unify will determine the future of our Republic. This is the sobering reality at hand, like it or not.

Now is the time to rise up.

Now is the time to speak not only a better message, but to be a better people.

Now is the time to put on full display the courage of our convictions.

Now is the time to stand with and under each other, that our democracy might withstand its darkest hour.

For if you are not angry enough to unify, you are the problem.

If you are not concerned enough to partner together, you are the problem.

If you are not democratic enough to lay down your differences to save our democracy, you are the problem.

If you are not libertarian enough to turn swords into plowshares to save the liberty of our nation, you are the problem.

If you are not progressive enough to put aside your personal preferences for the sake of our country, you are the problem. 

If you are not human enough to summon the love, compassion, and care needed to intertwine our bravery into one cord with one vote for the sake of the common good, you are the problem.

Progressives, you’d better get your shit together. 

 

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 Evangelical, Why Isn’t Jesus Enough For You?

Conservative Evangelical, I’ve been watching you, especially lately. Your political loyalties, your social desires, your faith declarations, your life values, and your national pursuits. I read your posts, observe your gatherings, and hear your passions. You’re putting a lot of energy into a lot of things. 

Your church buildings look amazing, along with all the specialized lighting, sound, and staging. The way people raise their hands in the air, dress their best, and give their emotions to the moment, it’s very impressive. So many of you are working so hard—at church, at home, in the public square, in politics… everywhere. There’s a lot of moving parts to your faith and faithfulness. Do this, don’t do that. More of this, less of that. Quite honestly, I don’t know how you pull it all off. Evidently, there must be a lot at stake to warrant so much effort.

Which, in all honesty, leaves me wondering, what’s really behind it all? 

Is it really just about Jesus?

Then why such urgency, angst, and determination?

Is there something you’re afraid of? 

Is there something missing?

It all leaves me with a question that actually rises from the confessions of your own faith… 

Why can’t Jesus be enough? 

For example, why do you so desperately need President Trump? It’s pretty obvious that you do. I mean, the way you give him your unwavering loyalty, excuse his unrepented sin, and vehemently defend him at all costs, it’s as if you’re deeply worried that your brand of faith won’t go on and your desires won’t be granted without him. 

All of which, leaves me wondering… isn’t Jesus enough for you? You know, the One you declare as having the Name that is above all names and the Author and Finisher of your faith. You don’t fully trust Jesus with your future and that of your brand of believing? You need a man to save it?

Or, what about the Bible, why does it need to be inerrant? It’s pretty obvious you believe it does. I mean, they way you wield it around like a weapon for battle to chop down your disagreers and defend your brand of faith, it’s as if you’re convinced that you are powerless without its inerrancy and incapable of spiritual influence. 

All of which, leaves me wondering… isn’t Jesus enough for you?  You know, the One who holds all the stars in His hands. Isn’t He powerful enough and fully capable of any needed persuasion? You need the Bible to be perfect in order to make the Perfect One effective?

Not to mention, the children—the children who come to our border for refuge, the children placed in cages, the children separated from their parents, the children taken off food stamps, the children in poverty, and the children who are disabled? It’s pretty obvious they’re unwanted. I mean, the way you are willing to take selfies with black and brown children when on “mission” to other countries, but see to their denial, abuse, and rejection when they knock on the door of your Inn. It’s as if you’re determined to limit the amount of black, brown, and impoverished people finding sanctuary, equal rights, and shared freedom and blessings in “your” country. 

All of which, leaves me wondering once again…isn’t Jesus enough for you? You know, the One who, by grace, freely gave you life, salvation, and meaning. Hasn’t He given you more than enough to share? You can’t live in a world where everyone is as valuable, blessed, free, and empowered as you? I think Jesus calls that the Kingdom.   

Or what about minorities? You know… women, black people, brown people, homosexual people, Transgender people, and the disabled. Not just them, but all the people who are different, act different, and believe differently than you. It’s pretty obvious they’re below you. I mean, the way you condemn, marginalize, discriminate, abuse, exploit, deny, displace, reject, and even murder, it’s as if you’re desperately afraid of losing control, privilege, power, and prosperity. Is that what you mean by your, “family values?”  

All of which, leaves me wondering… isn’t Jesus enough for you? You know, the One who you declare to be in control, all powerful, and admonishes, “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” Do you not trust Him to give you every good thing without your needing to deny the same for others? You think that in order for you to have, there must be have-nots? Is that the true essence of your gospel?   

I could keep on going, but the list simply keeps repeating. Name just about everything and everything your faith brand stands for and is pursuing, and my question still keeps persisting… isn’t Jesus enough for you?

By the looks of all that captures your heart, ambitions, and actions, He clearly isn’t. For if He was, you wouldn’t have to be so demanding, determined, desperate, demonizing, and insistent. 

So, with all due love, respect, and seriousness, please help me understand, what’s missing that Jesus isn’t supplying? What is it that you want that Jesus isn’t supporting? What is it that you desire that Jesus is denying?

Perhaps, it’s not your faith that you fear won’t go on without Trump, it’s your power and privilege.

Perhaps, it’s not the inerrancy of the Bible that you’re worried about losing, it’s the control and manipulation of others that you’ll lose without it.

Perhaps, it’s not the faith and lives of children that are your “mission,” but rather the preservation of your prosperity, white privilege, and “Christian” priority that reflect your true purpose and passion.

Perhaps, it’s not reaching people, dealing with sin, and ushering in the Kingdom that invokes your allegiance and faithfulness, but rather making sure true equality and freedom for others never emerges to the extent that your white, male, heterosexual, conservative Christian power, privilege, prosperity, and supremacy are in any way diminished, disturbed, or inconvenienced. 

It’s been over 2,000 thousand years since the birth of Jesus, and yet, here we are years later, having traveled a long global history of white, conservative Christian violence, abuse, greed, and the pursuit of dominance and power over people, and now asking the same question yet again…

Conservative Evangelical, why isn’t Jesus enough for you? 

Perhaps it’s because, like it was for Herod it is for you, it’s never been about Jesus being The Way, it’s rather about using Jesus to get your way and never allowing Him to get in your way.

 

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.

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.

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