Category: Uncategorized (Page 2 of 14)

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 Christian, Here’s What Trump Really Thinks Of You

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

So, you support President Donald Trump. Perhaps you believe he has been sent by God to recalibrate America back to your brand of Christian faith. Maybe you simply hated Hillary, or felt the need for an outsider to cleanse Washington of political corruption.

Whatever the rationale, you likely have many opinions about our President and the reasonings for your vote and continued allegiance. However, I wonder if you’ve given much energy to considering what his true thoughts and opinions might be of you, a conservative Christian. He obviously has your loyalty, but what is the basis of his new found interest in you? 

I know, we would all like to think that those we support and admire have our well-being at heart. We’d hope that our respect for them is reciprocal, and that their exploiting of our strengths and weaknesses would be an impossibility, given what we perceive to be their character. Never would we want to believe that the hands that feed us could be the same ones that are abusing and using us for personal gain. To be sure, when we feel that we have been wronged for so long (as I know you do), the elixir of those who promise salvation makes it hard to see, hear, and reason with clarity. Instead, with new found hope, our guards are let down and our radar screens turned off to the blips and sirens that should inform us. 

No, I’m not writing to criticize your support of President Donald Trump. Rather, I hope to challenge you to consider why Trump solicits and embraces you so passionately for your  support in the first place. 

Sadly, what I suspect to be his true thoughts and motives aren’t pleasant nor easy to hear, for anyone. Yet, as a former conservative Christian, I know intimately what it’s like to be used spiritually, emotionally, financially, and politically by people whose interests were ultimately dubious at best. Trust me, once it’s happened to you, you don’t forget it. And perhaps the only good thing that emerges from it is the heightened capacity you gain to identify it when you see it transpiring again.  

Unfortunately, my conservative Christian friend, I think it’s happening to you, because here’s what I see and believe Trump really thinks…

Trump thinks you’re stupid— It’s no new revelation that exceedingly sinful, rich, boasting, self-reliant people who haven’t placed their faith in Jesus Christ typically think that Christians (especially conservative ones) and their beliefs are basically stupid. For them, though they certainly wouldn’t say it this way, Christianity is for lesser people. People who are weak, impressionable, ignorant, needy, and gullible. They don’t go to church, read the Bible, nor believe in repentance because deep down they’ve determined it’s a significant downgrade to their life and IQ to do so.

Trump is no different. In fact, recently he used the blasphemous term, “Goddamn” with great ease in a public rally and once proudly stated that he has, “never asked God for forgiveness.” Only when it mattered for his election, did he begin to warm up to Christianity. Yet, even then, only as far as to say, “Jesus to me is somebody I can think about for security and confidence, somebody I can revere in terms of bravery and in terms of courage and, because I consider the Christian religion so important, somebody I can totally rely on in my own mind.” 

All politics aside, that sounds much more like a political acquiescence or something a child would say about their teddy bear than it does anything like a confession of true belief, care, and devotion to Jesus Christ, does it not? 

As a continued arrogant, carnal, blasphemous, unrepentant unbeliever, Trump obviously thinks that repentance, faith, and faithfulness are for stupid people, not a “stable genius” like himself.  

Trump thinks you’re gullible— In his mind, because you are willing to subscribe to the conservative Christian faith, which to him is fundamentally stupid and the stuff of ignorance and weakness, he thinks you have the gullibility to believe in anything. Trump knows that you’re trying to convert him and bring him to your side, but he also believes you’re gullible enough to conclude that your efforts are working. That’s why he throws you a spiritual bone from time to time and echoes your conservative Evangelical talking points. He sees in your gullibility that you’re desperate. So he lies right to your face, plays both sides of the fence, sleeps in your bed just enough for you to think he’s committed, and bullies all the right people for you to be convinced that he’s loyal. He thinks you are so gullible that he can say and do as he pleases, and your fidelity will be unwavering. 

Trump thinks you’re weak— Because he believes you are stupid and gullible as a conservative Christian, he also believes you are willing to do nearly anything with anyone to prosper and protect your power and privilege in society. Believe it or not, he’s read the history books and has seen with his own calculated eyes what conservative Christianity has been willing to embrace in order to prosper. He sees the weakness in character, integrity, and true faith within much of conservative American Christianity. He sees that no other religious group is willing to sell their souls for the hope of power than conservative Christianity. He sees their capacity to spiritualize and rationalize nearly any form of evil that charts a path of white, conservative Christian dominance in society. He sees the conservative Christian weakness that ensues when the promise of power is dangled in front of their eyes. And so he dangles, and dangles, and dangles until all are entranced and unhinged from the person of Jesus and, instead, addicted to him and the promise of power. A power that will seem like it yours, but it is, in fact, ultimately his. A power that will turn on you when you are no longer needed, be not deceived.

Trump thinks you’re expendable— He’s in it to win it. But, not for you and not for Christianity, not even America. He’s in it for himself. Make no mistake, you’re the means to an end. You’re the disposable needle to his insatiable lust for power. It feels like you’re connected, like you’re a team together on the path towards victory. Only until that day he gets his fix or finds a new dealer, and tosses you into the trash. Trump doesn’t think you are the prize, he thinks you’re the stupid, gullible, weak, expendable box that gets thrown away once everything has been opened and revealed. His loyalty is for the moment. His interest is for a time. His promises are for a season. When the moment is gone, the time is up, and the season ends, so too will your value be to him.

Yes, conservative Christian, here’s what Trump really thinks of you…

You’re stupid.

You’re gullible.

You’re weak.

You’re expendable.

My question for you is…

Is he right? 

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

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

In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris chases the evils of conservative Evangelicalism out of the shadows and gives powerful voice to the cries of the religiously oppressed. Confronting issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, religious greed, hypocrisy, nationalism, white supremacy, privilege, and the weaponizing of the Bible, Leatherbound Terrorism pulls no punches. Endorsed by best selling authors Steve McVey and Baxter Kruger, Leatherbound Terrorism will challenge you, inspire you, and most certainly cause you to rethink your faith and life.

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, I want to save you. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How can this be?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus says so, and you know it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isn’t it beautiful?

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

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

We can truly love and be loved in return.

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

There, I said it.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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

In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris chases the evils of conservative Evangelicalism out of the shadows and gives powerful voice to the cries of the religiously oppressed. Confronting issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, religious greed, hypocrisy, nationalism, white supremacy, privilege, and the weaponizing of the Bible, Leatherbound Terrorism pulls no punches. Endorsed by best selling authors Steve McVey and Baxter Kruger, Leatherbound Terrorism will challenge you, inspire you, and most certainly cause you to rethink your faith and life.

Conservative Christian, Do You See The Person You Have Become?

It’s subtle.

It’s illusive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What about you? 

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

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

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

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

Is that not all true?

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

What’s really at stake for you? 

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

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

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

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

And that’s just the Bible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

But sadly, even that’s not all.

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

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

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

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

I did. 

Before it was too late.

I hope you will too.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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

In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris chases the evils of conservative Evangelicalism out of the shadows and gives powerful voice to the cries of the religiously oppressed. Confronting issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, religious greed, hypocrisy, nationalism, white supremacy, privilege, and the weaponizing of the Bible, Leatherbound Terrorism pulls no punches. Endorsed by best selling authors Steve McVey and Baxter Kruger, Leatherbound Terrorism will challenge you, inspire you, and most certainly cause you to rethink your faith and life.

Dear White Conservative Christian, I See You

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

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

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

Twenty one years of life and ministry with you.

White conservative Christian, I was you.

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

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

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

I see everything, so afresh, so anew.

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

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

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

I see you, I really do.

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

I see you, I really do.

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

I see you, I really do.

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

I see you, I really do.

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

I see you, I really do.

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

I see you, I really do.

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

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

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

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

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

The question is, will you ever see me?

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

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

Better yet, will you ever see Jesus?

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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

In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris chases the evils of conservative Evangelicalism out of the shadows and gives powerful voice to the cries of the religiously oppressed. Confronting issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, religious greed, hypocrisy, nationalism, white supremacy, privilege, and the weaponizing of the Bible, Leatherbound Terrorism pulls no punches. Endorsed by best selling authors Steve McVey and Baxter Kruger, Leatherbound Terrorism will challenge you, inspire you, and most certainly cause you to rethink your faith and life.

Conservative Christian, When Is Enough, Enough?

You say that you love Jesus. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The proof is in the fruit.

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

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

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

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

When is enough, enough?

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

Is that enough?

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

Is that enough?

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

When is enough, enough?

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

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

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

When is enough, enough?

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

When is enough, enough?

I pray, before it’s too late.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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

In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris chases the evils of conservative Evangelicalism out of the shadows and gives powerful voice to the cries of the religiously oppressed. Confronting issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, religious greed, hypocrisy, nationalism, white supremacy, privilege, and the weaponizing of the Bible, Leatherbound Terrorism pulls no punches. Endorsed by best selling authors Steve McVey and Baxter Kruger, Leatherbound Terrorism will challenge you, inspire you, and most certainly cause you to rethink your faith and life.

Dear United Methodist Church, What If You’re Wrong?

(Photo: Sid Hastings/AP)

You did it.

You voted them out.

Not just gay marriage and queer pastors.

The entire LGBTQ community.

Closed hearts, closed minds, closed doors.

Your message is loud and clear.

Maybe you did it because, at the end of the day, your best guess is that being an LGTBQ person is a sin, whether it be in practice, orientation, or gender. Perhaps you have studied the issues, or mostly assimilated the beliefs heard from others. Your familiarity with some or all of the passages in the Bible that seem to specifically address human sexuality lead you to interpret them as likely condemnations against the LGBTQ community and probable proof that God declares it all as deviant.

And so, though perhaps with a bit of uncertainty, you did it.

You voted them out.

The entire LGBTQ community.

Or maybe, it’s because you have adopted a posture that concludes the most faithful response to these “complicated” issues is to, “hate the sin and love the sinner.” It feels so spiritual and gracious to you. In fact, in your mind, the LGBTQ community isn’t necessarily better or worse than you, just different in their disobedience. If you had your own way in church, family, or community they may even be welcomed. But, at the end of the day, their being a LGBTQ person is still deemed to be a sin-problem nonetheless. Jesus died for “them,” just like He died for you.

Therefore, when push came to shove, you did it.

You voted them out.

The entire LGBTQ community.

On the other hand, maybe you hate the LGBTQ community and have no restraint in saying so with all the lingual colors afforded you. Confident in your biblical grooming, you may even assert that being LGBTQ is a special kind of sin, more sinful than any other. To you, all persons in the LGBTQ community are self-declared exclusively by choice. They are at best, a deplorable kind of abomination in your sight, and less than qualify for any kind of harbor, inclusion, or acceptance in your denomination. With your Bible in hand, and perhaps a picket sign or two, you declare in either speech or action, “God hates fags” and therefore, deep down, at some level or another, so do you.

Well, wherever you are on the spectrum of response, at the end of the day, you did it.

You voted them out.

Not just gay marriage and queer pastors.

The entire LGBTQ community.

Closed hearts, closed minds, closed doors.

Your message is loud and clear.

When it’s all is said and done. in your judgement, being an LGBTQ person is never acceptable to God nor is it ever His will or design. Therefore, “repentance” is ultimately the only answer, whether empowered by Grace or Law or some mixture thereof… change, confess, move away from sin, apply the power of Jesus to overcome, turn or burn—however you want to put it. For you, that’s the answer, that’s the cure. Until then, there is still a “problem,” an “issue,” an “abnormality,” a “sin.” Most of all, until then, by your clear and decisive vote… they’re out.

The entire LGBTQ community.

Closed hearts, closed minds, closed doors.

Your message is loud and clear.

Now, I hope you will consider mine.

Because, I have a question for you… what if you’re wrong?

I know, it’s all so clear to you. The biblical texts, the studies, the nature of it all.

But, what if you’re wrong?

What if it’s not so clear, the studies not so definitive, the unnatural not so unnatural.

What if you’re wrong, like Peter in Scripture, who actually believed it was “unnatural” for the Gentiles to accept Christ and be included in the fellowship of believers? By the way, you know who the Gentiles are?  You are, United Methodist Church.

What if you’re wrong, like countless Christians throughout history who read your same Bible and vehemently concluded its support for racism and slavery?

What if you’re wrong, like court reporters and clerks in the 1960’s who, citing Biblical grounds, refused to document and issue interracial marriage certificates because they believed them to be committing sin?

What if you are wrong, like the Southern Baptist denomination, who finally in 1995, apologized to the black community for its role in using the Bible to endorse racism and slavery?

What if you are wrong, like the Pharisees, who believed they knew and lived the Scriptures better than anyone, but were shown-out by Jesus to not only be in biblical error, but completing absent of understanding in regards to His heart and essence?

I mean, just imagine if Hitler had only considered, “maybe I am wrong about the Jews.”

Imagine if the theologian John Calvin had only considered, “maybe I didn’t read this text right” before brutally burning one of his critics to death, all in the name of biblical faithfulness, mind you.

Imagine, just imagine.

Now just imagine, if you’re wrong about people who are LGBTQ.

What if ignorance has eclipsed your understanding, not unlike the kind Hosea spoke of as the prime destroyer of people?

What if mistranslation, proof texting, and a lack of proper contextualization has rendered the Scripture as saying that which God never meant it to?

What if your unyielding grip on inerrancy has become in fact, your own spiritual death hold?

What if your fear of being wrong and therefore having to deconstruct and rebuild one’s heart, mind, faith, and denomination is preventing you from the guidance of the Spirit?

What if peer pressure, purse strings, and the gravity to conform to the prevailing Christian “norm” is squelching the wind of Jesus from His revelation in and transformation of your Church?

What if being an LGBTQ person isn’t a sin after all, and now you don’t have a “sin” that you are confident can never and will never apply to you from which to comfortably condemn others and drink from the intoxicating chalice of self-righteousness that medicates your own inner shame, insecurity, condemnation, and guilt?

What if, like your heterosexuality, being LGBTQ is not a choice, any more than the color of your eyes and skin?

What if… you’re wrong?

As for me, I didn’t become an LGBTQ affirming pastor out of some issue of “grace” or pretentious religious tolerance. Instead, it was being confronted and collided with divine truth that paddle-shocked my heart and brought true life to my mind and soul—nothing less than a spiritual enema from the throne of God straight into the pungent bowels of my conservative Evangelical poop chute.

Grace is for sin, brokenness, and that which is incomplete and lacking.

People of the LGBTQ community are far from being broken, inferior, or inherent vessels of depravity simply because of their sexuality and honest existence. Rather, they are nothing less than all that is beautiful and holy—a sacred thread in the tapestry of God’s awe-inspiring creation.

They are not a mistake that needs correction, a question that needs answering, a blemish that needs erasing, a problem that needs fixing, a sin that needs repentance, an illness that needs reparative therapy, or an issue that needs your voting.

In fact, truth be told, many are a far better example than most Christians of what it looks like to be divinely human and in concert with the heart and mind of Jesus.

Make no mistake, people of the LGBTQ community are no less human, divinely affirmed, intentionally created, and unequivocally equal than any other.

We are them, they are us. All together, human.

If I am wrong, the Holy Spirit will simply pursue me with correction, go around and ahead me to thwart the misleading, and work in the lives of the LGBTQ community to lead them to, “repentance.”

However, if you’re wrong…

You have condemned, marginalized, persecuted, and falsely judged an entire group of God-imaged people.

You have labeled as sin, that which is not.

You have put barbed-wire fences where God meant for tables.

You have now become a contributor to the depression, the isolation, the terror, the suicide, and the living hell of countless people.

You have participated in nothing less than the new racism of the 21st Century.

And worst of all, you have joined the choir of the False Accuser, singing songs of pure evil, believing them to be hymns of the Savior that reflect His heart and bidding.

Indeed, you have partnered with Satan in the stealing, killing, and destroying of an entire population of God’s beloved children.

All, in the name of Jesus and biblical faithfulness.

Honestly, I am o.k. if somehow it turns out I’m wrong.

My question for you, United Methodist Church, is simply this, how can you ever be o.k. with the sure possibility… you are.

 

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.

 

The Coming American Civil War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

The Love Conservative Evangelical Christianity Refuses To Give

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

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

Sadly, nothing could be further from reality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sadly, this is the love you refuse to give.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Show us the refuge you have given to the immigrant.

Show us the healthcare you have provided for the vulnerable.

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

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

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

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

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

What So Many Really Want To Say To American Christianity

To be sure, there are good people doing good things within American Christianity. Not everyone has taken the message and cause of Jesus and raped them of their unconditional love, beauty, and purity of Grace.

Yet sadly, much of American Christianity, as well intentioned as it may be, has largely become a religious machine of institutional self-preservation, self-righteousness, condemnation, and power-seduced privilege—some, not aware of the evil in which they participate.

In its wake, there is a disillusionment and disgust that has long been building in the caverns of many a soul. With the full capacity of discernment, countless have tasted and seen that what has become of much of American Christianity is not good, not good at all.

Despite the aggressive efforts within significant segments of American Christianity to minimize, discredit, and demonize these voices of dissent, good people everywhere aren’t fooled by the slick circus show of American Christianity with its endless maze of funhouse mirrors. They see the dark fruits growing on the tree, requiring very few brain cells to discern their obvious evil.

Perhaps, what is most challenging and elusive along this journey through religious darkness is the permission and freedom to be fully enraged, and the words to express it. Most resolve that the problem is somehow within themselves, what they feel must be wrong, or it’s a useless endeavor to resist and hope for change. In the end, many remain largely silent or extremely careful with their words, intimidated by the Death Star that has become of much of American Christianity.

Yet, there is a new level of urgency that has been thrusted upon our time. A spiritual civil war is emerging that is threatening the very foundations of our nation and all of humanity at large. There is no more time for squabbling over messages of “deconstruction” by those who wish to carve out some kind of “higher” ground and rationalize their lack of courage. There is no time for tone-policing the truth of people who have suffered in the concentration camps of religiosity. There is no time for feathery fantasies of long tables filled with conceding conversations. There is no more time for declaring peace where there is no peace as much we might desire its full fruition. There is only time for truth, and truth doing whatever it will wherever it lands. Either the Gospel of pure Grace faithfully reflects the complete heart of Jesus, His ways, and all the ramifications thereof, or it does not. With a religious conservatism that vehemently seeks to rule the world and a progressive passivism that might just allow it, there has been perhaps no more important time in all of history for the bravery of unbridled evil-confronting Grace to find its voice and to speak it loudly without restraint.

Dear American Christianity, this is what so many of us really want to say to you…

“Stop Being So Damn Selfish”– Whether it’s your intention or not, it truly feels likes everything about Jesus has become all about you. In fact, the average American church spends 75% of its budget on staff and buildings, and 80% of its time and energy on self-serving endeavors that ultimately benefit their own sustainment. If Jesus applied that same formula to His ministry, He would have never made it the cross, let alone out of the manger. Sadly, in most congregations, self-preservation and institutional success is the pendulum from which decisions are weighed and rationalized. Nearly everything about American Christianity speaks of a self-serving desire to franchise Jesus and build exclusive clubs with crosses on top. In both progressive and conservative circles, pastors and leaders dream of ministry fame, book deals, speaking engagements, conference presentations, Facebook shares, Twitter retweets, and overall personal ministry empire building–many of whom will steal, kill, and destroy in order to build and protect their throne of popularity. For others, the consumer-driven nature of American Christianity has forced them to spend their time and attention on keeping church people happy, entertained, and committed to their ministry, lest they hop to a better show down the street and jeopardize their future.

Yet sadly, the moments when we do finally see you serving altruistically beyond your own interests, it still feels like it’s all about you. From photo-ops posted on Facebook holding babies from third world countries, to emotionally crafted and carefully placed video clips during worship to display your good deeds in the community. From tales of late night prayer meetings where you “win” people into the Kingdom, to your public declarations of your “radical” living for Jesus. From the unique niche and brand that you have created for your personal ministry, to your self-promotion of everything you are doing for the Kingdom. Every light you seem to shine into the darkness has a way of ultimately swinging the attention back onto you. For Christ’s sake, can’t you just serve for the sake of serving without any fanfare, Facebook pics, name-dropping, attention seeking, slick branding, empire building, or the hoisting of trophies won as you play the never ending game of Christian competition?   

“Your Worship Is Empty”- In fact, it’s not only empty, it’s thoroughly insulting. Insulting to God, insulting to Jesus, and insulting to humanity. Have you ever considered that perhaps God desperately tires of all your singing, repenting, preaching, praying, and staged spirituality, especially when hours upon hours of ritual rarely lead to a minute of seeing you in true worship through genuinely serving, loving, and extending pure Grace unconditionally to anyone and everyone who is willing. I think God gets it—you love Him and He loves you too. Great, congratulations—now what the hell are you going to do about it? The truth is, God doesn’t need your dressed-up Sunday morning gatherings, so why is it alarmingly apparent that you can’t live without them? Perhaps, it’s all become a spiritual veil to an empty life. For all the effort, time, and resources you put into it, I wonder if an offering wasn’t taken from the crowd you’ve gathered, would it be such a big deal to you? Besides, when do we get to sing the hymn, “God I Hate You Right Now, Life Is So Depressing?” Let me guess, that probably wouldn’t be good for business, and besides, how could you ever program the right mood-lighting? When do we get to feed the poor, clothe the naked, affirm the condemned, protect the minorities, rage against the religious spirit, and stand with those discriminated–not as a side item on your spiritual menu, but the main thing? When do we get to love people unconditionally without fine print, restrictions, or fear-pedaling? When do we get to stop trying to convince God we love Him, but instead, spend our time convincing the world they are loved, affirmed, and included? When do we get to stop erecting and maintaining buildings to hide in, and start seeing all the world as our sanctuary and loving people unconditionally as our worship? Quite frankly, ask around, it doesn’t matter about your style nor flavor of liturgy, so much of your worship seems completely superfluous—all leading to the sermon where you weigh me down with formulas for life improvement and God-appeasement, and then ask me for my offering and energy so we can hop back on this religious treadmill again next week. Listen to the Spirit moving among you—staged spirituality is out, and true worship through sacrificial service, unconditional love, human affirmation, and pure Grace extending is in. Not just in, but the only thing that matters—especially to Jesus.        

“I’m Not Your Spiritual Bitch”- Every time you try to turn me into your personal Chia Pet for Jesus through growing me into a “fully devoted follower of Christ” who believes and acts like you, every gag reflex in my body violently begins twitching, and it’s all I can do to keep myself from kneeling into a full body vomit. With all due love and respect, while I appreciate your efforts, I don’t need you to save me, especially from the god of your faith understanding who tortures people forever in hell simply because they didn’t follow the proper codes for loving him back in return. The more you see me as a problem to be solved, a project to complete, and a mission to fulfill, the more your image of Jesus shows itself to be filled with far more of you and far less of Him. In fact, your leatherbound terrorism of proof texts, clobber passages, claims of inerrancy, and the weaponizing of Scripture has only served to convince me that you are devoid of the cure and filled with the cancer. I don’t want to be a part of your club, denomination, or Christian supremacy. The way I see it, there is enough useless division and inequality in the world, and to me, it’s a sin the way you use Jesus to foster it. So, you can take all your accountability partners, incense ladenned sanctuaries, and crusades to save the “lost,” I refuse to become enslaved by the tyranny you are wielding upon the earth. When I see that your faith is about unconditional Love from the Father through the Son, from the beginning to the end, maybe, just maybe, I’ll want to sign up. Until then, I’m not your spiritual bitch. Never have been, never will be.

“Zip Up, Your Privilege Is Showing” With every ounce of praise and worship you sing towards our lying, adulterous, carnal, bullying, and pubescent President. With every push for the nationalization of your faith ideology. With every white, male, heterosexual demonization and condemnation of minorities and those you deem to be sinning. With every spiritual rationalization of greed, discrimination, and inequality, your addiction to power and privilege is showing, not Jesus.

With every grip you refuse to loosen upon the guns you worship at the bloodied sacrificial altar of our children. With every segregated church service on Sunday morning. With every denial of the equal calling, value, and gifting of women. With every mission trip that serves your interests more than truly serving the needs of others. With every committee purposed on reaching the “lost” through your Christian supremacy, your privilege is showing, not Jesus.  

Stop complaining that the world can’t see Christ when you’re the one standing in the way.

For what’s most certainly clear from the shadow you cast upon the earth is this—it’s not about sin, it’s not about Jesus, and it’s not about extending a Kingdom of unconditional love and Grace. For you, it’s about the fruition of your white, male, heterosexual power and privilege disguised as the ministry of Jesus.  

“Get Your Shit Together Or Close Up Shop” The time has come, there’s too much at stake. People are dying, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Sadly, any light you bring to the planet is being eclipsed by your dark religious blanket. If you aren’t willing to reboot your entire system of faith, then power down altogether for Christ’s sake. The truth is, you have become much more of the problem and an antagonist of the solution. For when there is no turning the Titanic around, perhaps it’s better to send it sinking to the bottom. 

If anyone needs to be sidelined until their repentance is louder than their sin. If anyone needs to choke on a good swallow of their own medicine. If anyone’s tree should be laid bare to the stump. If anyone needs to kneel down at the altar of recommitment, it’s you—American Christianity, it’s you.

You are the wolf in sheep’s clothing. You are the Judas reclined at the table. You are the Herod whose addiction to power would kill the person of Jesus. You are the Jezebel whose greed and desire for domination is insatiable. You are the demon dressed as an innocent angel. You are the Ephesus that has fallen from Grace. You are the white-washed tombs that reddened Jesus’ face.

This is why we rage, this is why we cry.

This is why refuse to be silent.

This is why we will not comply.

American Christianity, this is what so many of us want to say.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

  

 

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