Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 15)

White, Conservative Evangelical, We See You

White, conservative Evangelical.

We see you.

We see your desires.

You want us to believe you’re all about Jesus, that your faith is authentic and rooted in Scripture.

You want us to be convinced that you follow the true ways of God, that your discernment is stamped with divine approval.

You want us to subscribe to your system of belief, the values you hold, and your vision for our lives and all of society.

You want us to trust that you are a reflection of Christ, one who bears His likeness, and manifests His heart and truth for the world.

Yet sadly, something is missing.

Twisted and distorted.

Of smoke and mirrors it seems.

It’s not what you want to hear, but it is our undeniable experience, what you say and what we see don’t resemble the same.

We’re looking hard, trying to add it up, hoping to find the integrity and goodness you insist is threaded through. Yet, the closer we get and the more we try to crack the code, the more cultish it all appears.

We mean no disrespect, but it’s hard to look at, it’s hard to watch.

The gravity is strong, like being pulled into a bizzaro world of opposites where up is down, inside is out, sickness is health, and evil is good. With every interaction and conversation, you aim the tractor beam of your creeds, hoping to pull us into a reality that isn’t a reality at all.

Many have surrendered to the weight, their strength could no longer withstand. The path of least resistance became their path of compliance. Shamed and manipulated in by the guilt-force winds of your crazed spiritual concoctions.

White supremacy, power, privilege, and prosperity, all in the luscious name of Jesus. For many, it’s the shiny, freshly Windexed apple that is far too alluring to resist.

It’s nothing less than a storm of spiritual insanity raining in a national brainwashing, hoping to transfix and hypnotize the masses into a diabolical, evil ideology.

So, like a child chained in isolation who repeats a shivering phrase over and over again to maintain their sanity in the lightless basement of their abductor, we too have a repeating chorus of emancipation. It’s our declaration of mental health and clarity. Three words to protect our souls, the person of Jesus, and our faith integrity from your soul-kidnapping…

“That’s not you.”

When we see Jesus sit, stand, suffer, and hang in solidarity with the people you call “sinners.” That’s not you. You’re nothing like Jesus. You condemn those who are different, you label with your own labels, and you stand only for yourself.

When we see Jesus feed the masses, heal the sick, and bind up the brokenhearted. That’s not you. You’re nothing like Jesus. You abhor altruism, economic and social justice, and unconditional compassion and care for the least-of-these.

When we see Jesus recalibrate and disarm the Bible with new understanding and fresh revelations that reveal its imperfection and frequent abuse. That’s not you. You’re nothing like Jesus. You read the Bible with weighted dice, always scheming your way to an interpretation that safeguards your white, conservative power and privilege, the default of all your aspirations and spiritual justifications.

When we see Jesus protect an adulterous woman from the condemnation of the religious. That’s not you. You sentence women to the prison of your patriarchy, throw them to the drooling wolves of your sexual perversions, and chain them to the ceilings of your toxic, male fragility.

When we see Jesus love unconditionally, affirm universally, and demand the embrace of an equality that knows no pre-qualifications. That’s not you. You’re nothing like Jesus. You create walls where God created tables. You separate what God has sewn together. You condemn what God affirms. You hate what God has made holy.

When we see Jesus ranting against the legalistic, self-righteous, rich, and privileged. That’s not you. You’re nothing like Jesus. You nurse upon the cold-nippled breasts of the rich and powerful. You plant fields of self-righteousness disguised as gardens. Your gospel is measured by the privilege it affords you and the subduing it assures of all others. No evil are you unwilling to embrace to commandeer the world into your narcissism.

We see you.

So, you can lie, plead, disguise, and wave your wands of trickery all around. You can steal, kill, and destroy every good foundation. You can shame, condemn, oppress, and imprison. Yet, we will not comply, conform, nor acquiesce to your spiritual mind-fuck and soul corruption.

No matter how hard you try with slight of hand and mass manipulation, we will not stop believing that everything we see in Jesus… that’s not you.

No matter how hard you try with mega-churches, fog machines, and lavish worship stages, we will not stop declaring that everything we see Jesus doing… that’s not you.

No matter how hard you try with bumper stickers, American flags, coffee table Bibles, conspiracy theories, prayer gatherings, Capitol insurrections, rants against abortion, and Facebook pics with brown and black kids from mission trips to third world countries, we will not stop insisting that in all the ways we see Jesus loving… that’s not you.

No matter how hard you try with threats of hell, distance from God, family rejection, and relational isolation, we will not stop declaring that all the things we know about Jesus… that’s not you.

Sad, but true, there can be no more denial.

We see you.

You’re nothing like Jesus.

Unconditional love, human equality, social and economic justice, universal inclusion, divine affirmation, true care and compassion, honesty, respect, integrity, and sacrificial living.

Everything we see in Jesus…

That’s not you.

That’s not you.

That’s not you.

­

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris Kratzer’s 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.

Thankful For Nothing

In a world of everything, I am thankful for nothing.

I know, it feels like everything—that thing that you did…

You made a mistake, you screwed up—words you said, choices you made, plans you created. The moment got the best of you, it wasn’t supposed to happen that way—everything spiraling out of control. The crack on the ceiling became the whole house falling. It was bad—really, really bad.

So now, you run, but you can’t run fast enough—the medication, can’t medicate deep enough. Your success, can’t be successful enough. What you want to let go, won’t seem to let go—the guilt, the shame, the cost, the regret. At times, it’s all so overwhelming. What you did, it feels like—everything.

In your mind it’s haunting you, certainly this is all reason for His doubt, reason for His questioning—reason for your one-eye-open living. Will you get the ax? Will God storm out of the heavens like a drunk out of a bar—put you in your place under an angry thumb? Is this the time you pushed Him too far?

I know, it feels like everything—that thing that happened to you…

They stole your innocence, betrayed your trust—said terrible things, did terrible things. It wasn’t fair, wasn’t right—completely wrong in every way—stealing things that can’t be replaced. The hurts run deep, straight to the arteries of your soul—you’ll never be the same. Tragedy has many faces—some innocent, some not. You weren’t suppose to be alone, but now you are—the chair where they sat—now empty. No greater pain you have ever felt than being without, being alone—once loving in the physical, to now love in memory only.

So, you run, but you can’t run fast enough—the medication, can’t medicate deep enough. Your success, can’t be successful enough. What you want to let go, won’t seem to let go—the bitterness, the anger, the revenge—the hurt, the loss, the emptiness. What happened to you, it feels like—everything.

That’s why, in your mind, the questions pound you—is He real, was He asleep at the wheel? How could this ever happen under a God who’s supposed to be so loving? Beating His chest, crying every tear, feeling hung out to dry—perhaps these doubts should have been doubted long before. What you thought was a trust now seems so un-trustable.

I know, it feels like everything—what you are doing, who you are becoming, the life you are living…

The real you, the fake you, something in between—your secret thoughts, insecurities, desires, dreams. Passions in your heart—if only to love and be loved in return—declared of value, overflowing with worth. Fully accepted—never to die with your song still inside. You’ve got one life—air to breathe, breaths to take. Am I good enough? Am I like-able, love-able? Do I qualify “as is,” or something different? Status, labels, “likes” on Facebook—I don’t want to waste anytime. Fit in here, fit in there—maybe have no fit at all. Am I getting this right? Doing this well?

And so you run, but you can’t run fast enough—the medication, can’t medicate deep enough. Your success, can’t be successful enough. What you want to let go, won’t seem to let go—the insecurities, the uncertainties, the voices in your head—the naysayers, fair-weather players—the push to be seen, heard, affirmed, believed.

What you are doing, who you are becoming, the life you are living—it feels like—everything.

That’s why, in this world of everything, I am so thankful for nothing.

For nothing can subtract from God’s love for you. Nothing can change His mind, reduce His delight—kink the garden hose of His favor drenching you.

No mistake, no miscue, no atrocity—nothing of you can edit anything of Him.

All decided, once and for all—God’s perfect, unconditional, unrestricted love. Always has, always is, always will be, for there is nothing more pure and more sure than God’s heart—His love, His affections for you—nothing.

There’s nothing for Him to reexamine, to revaluate, to retract—nothing from Him withheld, reserved, restrained.

Nothing.

Nothing else is God but love—perfect, eternal, unconditional, unlimited love. All, poured out for you, for me, for everyone.

In a world of everything, I am thankful for nothing.

For nothing can improve upon the you that God has already finished—there’s nothing of blemish, nothing of sin, nothing of darkness in you within. Nothing to work on, nothing to strive for, nothing to earn—you are whole, complete, righteous, forgiven, forever pure. It’s nothing of what you do, only everything of what He did—there’s nothing left to do, only everything to believe, in Him

It’s not about what people think—not what people say. Not the height of your attitude, not the depth of your gratitude—nothing half empty, nothing half full. Nothing of your religious effort, believing, or work—nothing at all.

Nothing to fear, nothing of which to be ashamed, nothing of tarnish upon your name.

You are righteousness, when you get it all wrong—you are success, when failures go on and on—you are whole, even as it all unravels to the ground.

As He is, so are you—nothing less than the beauty of Jesus—nothing.

In a world of everything, I am thankful for nothing.

For nothing is the sum distance between you and God—He is beside you, within you, all around you, as you. Nothing closer, nothing thicker, nothing more real than the realness of His hand holding yours—you have never been alone.

He is your strength when yours is nothing—He is your guide, when your sight sees nothing. He is your hope, when hope seems like nothing.

Grace is awakening to the hug God has always had around you—a Grace that nothing can remove.

So, in a world of everything, I am so thankful for nothing.

Absolutely… nothing.

For in the nothing, I find everything for which to be thankful…

Nothing.

 

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 Trump Supporter, I Just Can’t Trust You Anymore

It used to be different.

I may not have always agreed with you, but I respected you and your views. It seemed as if being a person of truth and goodness was a value we mutually upheld.

Sure, we haven’t always seen eye to eye, but I never thought it would come to this.

Everything has changed.

So much, that as difficult as it is to say and an even more difficult reality to swallow, if I’m honest, I just can’t trust you anymore. I wish things were different, but they’re not.

Somehow, someway, you still support Trump.

From where I sit, the person you once were is no longer the person you have become.

It baffles me to my core.

Even after he publicly mocks the disabled, brags about “grabbing pussy,” swindles people for cash, labels brown-skinned people as criminals, bullies his perceived enemies, embraces racism and white supremacy, pays off porn stars, lies incessantly, and pimps conspiracy theories, you still give him your “amen” and “hallelujah.”

How can this be?

Are you really that blind and callous?

For Christ’s sake, you won’t even wear a damn mask to protect the life of your neighbor. Your church won’t practice social distancing for the thwarting of a deadly pandemic. And, worse yet, you actually believe Trump was sent by God with anointing.

You actually teach your children to admire him.

You donate your money and your heart to his narcissism.

You give headspace to his lies and ridiculous conspiracy theories.

You give him a pass on everything you have fiercely denounced in others.

You twist the Bible like a breakdancer on crack and rape the person of Jesus in order to rationalize your addiction to power and preferential treatment within society.

Hell, you can’t even see your own white privilege staring you straight in the face.

Trust me, it’s a hard thing to say and even a harder thing to behold, but you’ve come off the rails of having a capacity for discernment and self-control. Your moral compass is calibrated to the black hole of your selfishness, and your soul worships a golden calf glittered with white, conservative Christian supremacy. In the end, there is nearly nothing evangelical, Christian, loving, or Jesus-esque about you. Like the Wizard behind the curtain, the sheep’s clothing that garments your veneer has been torn wide open to reveal the wolf that has long lurked inside you.

I still can’t believe it.

If you can’t see Trump for who he is, your faith for the evil it embraces, and yourself for the person you have become, how am I supposed to see you in my life?

If you lack the courage and clarity to stand for what is right and stand against what is wrong, where should you stand in my life?

I’m sorry, Christian Trump supporter, I just can’t trust you anymore.

The writing is on the wall.

 

I can’t trust you with educating my children.

I can’t trust you with speaking into my spiritual life.

I can’t trust what you say about God.

 

I can’t trust you with advising my values and choices.

I can’t trust you to discern good from bad.

I can’t trust you to steer away from fact-denying.

I can’t even trust you to have my best interests at heart.

 

I can’t trust you to tell the truth.

I can’t trust you to discern evil.

I can’t trust you to be fair.

I can’t even trust you to denounce murder and violence.

 

I can’t trust you with my friends.

I can’t trust you with my family.

I can’t trust you with my safety.

I can’t even trust you with the little things.

Little things like holding my mail, serving me food, and walking my dog.

 

Yes, it’s that serious, Yes, it’s that real. Yes, it’s that specific.

Your allegiance to his ridiculousness is the betrayal of our relationship.

So, until you can vehemently reject Trump’s brutal policies of family separations and kids in cages, you can stop lecturing me about being pro-life.

Until you can mandate the removal of police brutality, economic and racial injustice, and educational segregation, you can put down your microphone, “all lives matter.”

Until you are willing to tear down walls of discrimination, racism, and the unwelcoming of refugees, foreigners, and immigrants, you can keep your Old Testament quotations to yourself.

Until you turn the focus towards repenting of your own sins and the sins of your conservative Evangelical faith, you can forget about making me into your spiritual project and Chia Pet-for-Jesus as you hope to grow me into your hypocritical system of believing.

Until you cease to pursue the nationalism of your faith and a false religious freedom that is bent towards your benefit, can you stop trying to convince me that you worship Jesus and not Caesar.

Until you learn to lean not on your own understanding, put people first, and embrace the divinity and affirmation of all, you can stop insisting you occupy the inside scoop on God, the Bible, and how everyone else should be living.

Until you publicly reject the white, sexist, Republican, gun-wielding Jesus of conservative Evangelicalism, you can throw in the towel of your futile attempts to convince me that you worship the Jesus of Nazareth.

Until your faith becomes about the least-of-these instead of the privileged-of-these, the least-of-these instead of the whitest-of-these, the least-of-these instead of the sexist-of-these, and the least-of-these instead of the self-righteous-of-these, you can take everything about your faith, everything about your beliefs, and everything about who you have become and dance it all in front of me, but the scales have fallen from eyes and the truth has set me free.

Your loyalty to Trump has shown me everything I need to know about you, your faith, and the god you serve.

You can’t be trusted.

So, let me save you some time and disheartenment.

I will not believe the beliefs you believe.

I will not worship the idols to which you bow.

I will not become the evil you have become.

And most of all, I will not open my eyes, my heart, nor my life to any person or entity like you whose faith is so dedicated and committed to seeking its own way, that it is even willing to discriminate, demonize, and destroy all that is true, good, factual, and humane.

Sorry, Christian Trump Supporter, I just can’t trust you anymore.

And, to be honest, it scares me that I ever did.

 

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 Can’t Vote For Trump, The Bible Tells Me So

I just can’t do it.

My faith is grounded.

The reasons are stacked far too high.

You can pressure me, guilt me, shame me, and lure me with gold.

I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so.

Not just tells me, but screams it into my soul.

Starting with abortion. 

The Scripture writer declared, “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.” Jeremiah 6:14-16 

In this passage from the Bible, God is upset. The religious people of the day are exploiting harmful problems for personal, political gain and not addressing their true solutions. They act like they care, but intentionally allow the issues to remain unresolved. They outwardly insist that they desire a way forward, but inwardly they have no real desire at all. 

Trump and many conservative Evangelicals treat “abortion” the same. They outwardly declare that they are “pro-life” and detest abortion. They feverishly rant against how many “babies” are being murdered. Many make abortion their defining issue as to the reason why they support Trump. They posture themselves as wanting to make it illegal, as if that was the cure. It all looks and sounds so spiritual to the casual observer. Yet, inwardly, they have little-to-no heart for a real solution. For if they did, they would be addressing, providing for, and adopting the proven remedies that positively impact abortion. But, they don’t. 

Instead, with deceit, they want to keep the abortion issue alive because it manipulates their voters. It’s a political false flag, the last card they have in their deck. Without it, they have no drum to beat and no provocative enemy upon which to summon their troops to fight. The need to create the illusion that they lead the way against abortion while making sure it remains unresolved, that they might remain in power. 

In fact, perfectly credible and widely known statistics show that abortion rates have gone down significantly with the kind of Democratic leadership that approaches abortion wholistically and addresses the real issues that can bring real change. Yet sadly, these same statistics reveal that under Republican leadership, abortion significantly increases–that’s the facts. Yet, with Trump at their side, conservatives ”do not even know how to blush” at the truth about abortion, how they expoit it, and how they resist actual remedies. Instead, they declare “Pro-life, pro-life” where there is no pro-life among them. All in hopes of drowning the biblical voice crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the ways of the Lord to heal abortion and cure its causes.”  

Like most people, I detest abortion. I want to see it become a non-issue in our society. I want to see it remedied by real people who really care, who are willing to apply the difficult, but real solutions that work. I’m tired of people who are more interested in politics than life.

That’s why I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so.

Or, how about unrepentant sin.

Most everyone agrees that sin is bad. Even Trump supporters acknowledge that he is an overly sinful man. All of the Seven Deadly Sins listed in the Bible, Trump blatantly exudes–no question about that. In fact, for some Trump supporters, they love his rebellious spirit, even against God. Yet, right in the face of the Bible, Christians who support Trump wave their many flags of excuses such as, “Everyone sins,” “We’re not electing a pastor” or, “Look at David in the Bible, he sinned, but God used him.”

To be sure, those statements are true. However, in Scripture, there is a huge, defining difference. God never raised up anyone for leadership who didn’t first repent of their sins. Not one, period. Scripturally, repentance has always been a precursor for being lifted up by God.

Yet, without any pause in their biblical steps, for many Christians who support Trump, they believe God anointed Him for leadership and to do His will in America and beyond. However, given the fact that Trump has never repented of his sins, even when given the chance, this is a biblical impossibility. In fact, in many conservative Evangelical churches, Trump couldn’t even qualify to become their janitor without a repentance of sins, but somehow he can become their God-appointed President?

Still to this day, Trump refuses to repent. How do I know? The “fruits of repentance” that John the Baptist insisted upon in Scripture are nowhere to be found in Trump. 

“But when John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his place of baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit, then, in keeping with repentance.’” Mathew 3:7-8

Trump is undeniably the same lying, profane, greedy, mocking, bullying, divisive, jealous, arrogant, narcissistic, and hateful man he was at the beginning of his presidency. That’s not a judgement, it’s an inescapable observation. Despite the lipstick Evangelicals want to put on this pig, God is not interested in Trump’s appearances of meeting with Evangelicals, closing his eyes during prayers, randomly using Christian jargon, or waving a Bible around. Instead, He is interested in a humble, genuinely contrite heart. Sadly, a heart Trump neither has nor apparently desires.

As Jesus warned in Scripture, no unrepented, sin-ladened Trump-like tree can “produce good fruit.” 

I want divine goodness for America. I want integrity and decency in our leadership. I want humble, teachable, kind people at the helm who show strength through maturity and stability.

That’s why I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so.

But, what about the lies?

Yes, 20,000 documented lies or misleading statements since Trump was elected. Certainly, by now, he must be giving the Father of Lies a run for his money. With this blatant stronghold of deceit and lying manifested in Trump’s life and leadership, to willfully follow him, vote for him, or give him loyalty is to pledge yourself to evil, is it not? How can it be anything different?

“No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.” Psalm 101:7

“Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool—how much worse lying lips to a ruler!” Proverbs 17:7

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord” Proverbs 12:22

Most Christian Trump supporters insist that the LGBTQ community is biblically declared an “abomination” to the Lord and should never be supported, followed, or given influence in our society. Yet, these same Christians joyfully give a man, who the Bible declares as a lying “abomination,” their praise, worship, and anointing as a healthy, worthy, divine leader. How can this possibly be? For it’s certainly not biblical.

“Let me describe for you a worthless and a wicked man; first, he is a constant liar; he signals his true intentions to his friends with eyes and feet and fingers. He is always thinking up new schemes to swindle people. He stirs up trouble everywhere. But he will be destroyed suddenly, broken beyond hope of healing.” Proverbs 6:12-16

Most recently, Trump was caught lying to the American people about the severity of the  Covid-19 virus. Once again, declaring “Peace, peace” where there is no peace. In fact, long after he knew about the lethal severity of the virus he labeled it a “hoax.” Trump lied, 200,000 people have died. 

The Bible clearly teaches, nothing of God ever comes from lying. 

I want a truthful President. I want leadership that places honesty over personal gain. I want to be led by people who believe that “the truth shall set you free,” even if that truth is unpopular, difficult, or alarming. I want the Father of Lies not to be an object of political aspiration, but the subject of human and societal rejection. 

That’s why I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so.

Enter, the immigrant, refugee, and the foreigner.

No one wants illegal immigration or open borders as a national policy, regardless of how conservative Evangelical Trump supporters label the position of progressives. Once again, Trump supporters seem to relish in creating issues that aren’t real to deflect from addressing the ones that are.

If America is a Christian nation, what happens when immigration (illegal or not) happens? How, biblically, are we to treat the foreigners and immigrants among us, no matter how they arrive? What happens with refugees who come to our border? And, how are we to biblically treat those who seek asylum and new life within our country?

The Bible has crystal clear answers.

Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” Exodus 22:21

“When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as a citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt:  I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:33-34

“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner.” Leviticus 19:9-10

“As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.” (1 Kings 8:41-44)

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:5

For the Lord your God…loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing.  You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10:18-19

“The Lord watches over the strangers…” Psalm 146

“The aliens shall be to you as citizens, and shall also be allotted an inheritance.” Ezekiel 47:21

“…I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:31 (Jesus speaking)

Notice, Jesus doesn’t say they, “caged me,” “abused me,” “neutered me,” “separated me from family,” “starved me,” “made immigration nearly impossible for me,” “mocked me,” “slandered me,” or “murdered me.”  

No, he said of His true followers, they “welcomed” me. 

Sadly, this is not the policy of president Trump, nor the Republicans, nor the desires of many of his Christian supporters, even the ones who claim their faithfulness to the Bible and its infallible inerrancy. What God admonishes, they resist.  

For if you take the Scriptures seriously, the immigrant, the refugee, and the foreigner should not just be “welcomed” with sacrificial hospitality, but “wanted” as God’s own favored blessing. They should be lifted high among all others. They should be loved, protected, and provide for with the same passion we love, protect, and provide for ourselves. They are not to be objects of resentment, oppression, rejection, exploitation, or inconvenience. Rather, they should be honored as angels sent from above. They are us, and we are them. For in Christ, “there is neither Jew nor Gentile.”

I want a country in sync with God’s heart for the immigrant, the foreigner, the alien, and refugee. I want a country in step with God’s biblical, unconditional “welcome,” “want,” and generous care for those outside of our borders who desire to come, live, and find new life within us.  

That’s why I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so. 

But perhaps, most of all, loving your neighbor as yourself.

“‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Matthew 12:31

“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” Matthew 5:44

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

As a former white, conservative Evangelical pastor of 20 years, I know deeply how the system works. I’m not trying to slam the faith or the people within it, but the unbiblical evils must be chased out of the shadows, especially the hate of love among so many.

For most everything within white, conservative Evangelicalism isn’t focused on having a neighbor to love, but rather based upon having an enemy that must be hated. Fear of these enemies is the ultimate motivator, not love. They will create it, fabricate it, and inflame it. For they are nothing without fear and the hate it awakens…

If we love minorities as ourselves, they’ll take over the church and society, and we’ll lose our white church, white way of life, and white power. 

If we love black people as ourselves with true equality, true police accountability, true legal fairness, true economic justice, and true opportunity, we’ll have to admit our racism and white privilege, lose our white way of life, and surrender our white power.

If we love our wives as ourselves and remove the requirement that they must submit to us unquestionably, they’ll take over the family, usurp male power, and run the church and society into the ground.

If we love the LGBTQ community as ourselves, our patriarchal power will be dismantled, God will punish our life, and all of white, male-driven, conservative Christianity will be flushed down the drain.

If we love special needs people as ourselves, we’ll have to make an honored and equal place for them in society, overpowering our “normal” lives with inconvenience. 

If we love the least-of-these as ourselves with economic equality, free health care, free college, a living wage, social security, long-term care, and the removal of poverty, we won’t be able to fund our industrial military complex and foster our diabolical economic system of socialism for top and capitalism for the bottom.  

If we love the environment as ourselves with significant building and development restrictions, environmental controls, and clean energy standards and investments, we won’t be able to feed our insatiable appetites for economic and personal greed. 

“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.'” -Matthew 25:41-45

“He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich–both come to poverty.” -Proverbs 22:16

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” -Ezekiel 16:49

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” James 2:8-9

See, where God admonishes that our highest motivation should be the unconditional love and care for all of humanity equally, in contrast, there is truly no other fuel that drives the Evangelical Death Star than having enemies to fear, hate, marginalize, fight, and treat unequally.

This is why Trump has the addictive support and allegiance of most conservative Evangelicals. For the only thing they understand is fear, and Trump speaks their language like no other. He mocks special needs people, bullies his perceived enemies, embraces racism, fosters white supremacy, mistreats women, ignites division, worships greed, and loves himself above all things.

Biblically, this is the ultimate blaspheme of the Spirit.

To see love as the enemy.

To see fear as the friend.

To see enemies as the goal.

To fight at all cost, with lies, violence, duplicity, and sin.

To see a white, conservative, Republican, American Jesus as the way, truth, and life.

To see white, conservative Evangelicalism as the Kingdom.

I want a President with whom love is greater than fear. I want a country where to love all people equally is a friend and not an enemy. I want the character of a great person, a great society, a great economy, and a great nation to be defined by their love for all people equally, not fear nor hate. 

That’s why I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so. 

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

Questions For Every School Board Before Reopening

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

Enter, the reopening of schools.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Choose wisely.

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

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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. 

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