Tag: black

The Real Reason Many Christians Support Trump

The difference is obvious, Trump is nothing like Jesus. A simple comparison of their character and ways reveal this truth.

Yet, so many Christians, in essence, don’t give a damn. For them, there is literally nothing he could say or do that would dislodge their obedience towards Trump. This has left analysts and Trump-disgusted Christians trying to crack the code as to how anyone who associates with Jesus could place their support and allegiance in such an anti-Jesus man and President.

The answer is simple. 

White, male-driven, conservative American Christianity has taken the person of Jesus who stands “for” so many beautiful things and twisted Him into a religion centered around the destruction of what they stand “against.” In truth, the Trump supporter isn’t concerned with what Trump is doing “for” Jesus, but rather intoxicated by what he is doing “against” their contrived enemies.

For example, for most white conservative Christians, converting people to Christ isn’t really about getting people into heaven, no matter how much they try to wrap their efforts with spiritual ribbons and bows. Instead, it serves as a weapon towards the dismantling of those religions they are “against.” Ultimately, their overarching concern isn’t about taking more people with them into the next world. Rather, their deepest care is centered around making this world more “like” themselves and more “for” themselves. Therefore, all the religions and beliefs that don’t fit their mold and foster their privilege are pinned upon the map of their enemies. In their mind, we can’t have a world where other religions and faiths are of equal value, worth, truth, rights, and influence. So, conversion thwarts this feared reality in hopes of ridding it completely from the planet via assimilation or persecution. For if white Christians were altruistically concerned about the eternity of their unbelieving neighbors, they’d be hitting the streets every moment of every day with a serving and sacrificial kind of love that couldn’t be resisted. But, they aren’t.

This is true of the white, male-driven, Christian colonization of America, their unwavering support of Israel, and the brutal eradication of Native Americans. No matter how much Manifest Destiny Lipstick you put on that pig, when your bottom line purpose is to make the world more “like” you and “for” you, anyone and anything that doesn’t foster and surrender to that agenda becomes a bright blip on the radar screen of the enemies you stand “against.”

This is also true of Trump’s Muslim travel ban, the border wall, and the increased demand for so-called religious freedom. None of it is about protecting our country from terrorism, illegal immigration, crime, nor fostering true religious pluralism. Instead, it’s about giving leverage and privilege to white, male-driven, conservative American Christianity through the demonizing, marginalizing, and belittling of all other religions and peoples.

This is why many so-called Christians are unwavering with their loyalty towards Trump, he falls in line and beats the drums of their rage towards all the things they hate. It has nothing to do with what Trump is doing “for” Jesus, it’s about what he is doing “against” their perceived enemies.

Think about the LGBTQ community. White, male-driven, conservative American Christianity wants us all to believe that their vehement disgust with this issue is because it’s a sin that offends God and undermines our culture. Excuse me, but that’s hilarious. 

What white, male-driven American Christianity cares about within the LGBTQ community is their relentless desire for shared rights. They can’t stand the idea that heterosexual patriarchy would have to share equal value, priority, influence, protections, space, and rights with any group besides themselves. If they cared about sin, they would be spending all their time policing the mountain high pile of debauchery rampant within their own camp and the numbers among them who, ironically, enjoy lesbian porn. Instead, they demonize and stand “against” the LGBTQ community, not because they are “for” dealing with sin (which LGBTQ it is not), but because they don’t want to share their heterosexual, patriarchal privilege.

The same is true of their oppression of other minorities. Within white, male-driven, conservative American Christianity there is a certain level of diversity they are willing to accept as long as they can patronize it, exploit it, and it doesn’t threaten their dominance in society. However, when that diversity finds its wings and starts to feel like it is crossing the line by encroaching the sandbox of their privilege and power, all bets are off and the bully is released. 

This is the root impulse behind every form of their oppression of minorities. White, male-driven, conservative American Christianity wants power, control, and prominence in all of society, and they will use whatever methods to achieve this goal. Slavery, mass incarceration, lynchings, police brutality, tear gas, denial of rights, economic inequality, sexism, voter suppression, rigged elections, dictatorships, lying, labeling, denying science, weaponizing the Bible, demonizing, false-flag operations, fraud, constitutional abuse, and the list is unending. They don’t give-a-rip about aligning their values and pursuits with Jesus, they only care about aligning their lives and spinning their faith “against” anything and everything that threatens their appetite and addiction to self preservation and prosperity.  

Once again for the people in the back, this is why white, male-driven, conservative American Christians are unwavering with their loyalty towards Trump. He echoes and magnifies their rage towards the things they fear and hate. It’s not about what he is doing “for” Jesus, it’s about what he is doing “against” the people and things they fear will undermine their privileged way of life. In their minds, this country is for them, given by God to them, and should always serve and reflect them above all things. Some will “tolerate” a certain amount of controlled “sharing” as long as they’re still king of the mountain. It helps them sleep at night and convince themselves that they aren’t racist, sexist, or white privileged. However, to the privileged, the emergence of true equality always feels like war, a war they must fight. That’s how you know where racism truly lives; look for the subtle “actions” against, and the subtle “inactions” towards true equality.  

See, when people criticize white, conservative American Christians for not being “for” Jesus or for supporting a President who isn’t “for” Jesus, it all rolls off their back because ultimately it isn’t about being “for” Jesus anyways. It’s about fighting a war “against” what threatens their privilege. That’s why they will perform all sorts of spiritual gymnastics, rationalize their duplicities, and do anything to divert attention away from the stark contrast between Trump, Republicans, conservative Evangelicalism and the person and ways of Jesus. For them, standing against and thwarting their enemies trumps following Jesus every time. All pun intended.

Therefore, it’s largely useless to argue with Trump supporters about Jesus. To them, He’s irrelevant and can be rationalized away. Instead, what is relevant is their hate, fear, oppressiveness, and self-centeredness. Focusing on these issues is key. 

For these are the huge under-the-surface sins that have given rise to what we see on the surface of the iceberg of white, male-driven, conservative American Christianity today. Find me anything and everything that they stand “against” and it can be clearly connected, not to their love of humanity, freedom, or America, but to their hateful, fearful, oppressive, and self-centered desire to protect and prosper their white, male-driven, conservative Christian privilege and dominance in all of American society–period, full stop.

The real reason why many Christians support Trump isn’t about his being “for” Jesus, but about his being “against” the equality and diversity that threatens white, male-driven, conservative American Christian supremacy. 

 

Grace is brave. Be brave. 

No, Progressive Christian, You’re Not Insane

Since the birth of Jesus upon the earth, those who choose His ways have been deemed by society as the freaks–the misguided–the losers–the libtards–the snowflakes. At points along the way, Jesus Himself was labeled as insane. Apparently, when you shake your fist at the forces of imperialism, greed, religiosity, and self-righteousness while bringing forth a cosmic movement of extravagant inclusion, equality, generosity, and grace, you’re going to get some dirt kicked in your face. Perhaps, even nailed upon a politically conspired cross constructed under sheets stained of religion. 

Yup, you’re going get the shit beaten out of you–emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually. In fact, there’s a sure sense that if you aren’t being spun around like a breakdancer on crack for your resistance towards the conservative Evangelical Death Star, are you really even alive?

No doubt, it’s enough to cause even the bravest amongst us to shrink back and curl up in the fetal position of our discouragement. It seems like the forces of evil are taking the hill. The gaslighting is working. The Tweet storms hold their traction. What is up is down, and what is clear is clouded. The people of Light, the people of Love, the people of divine affirmation, the people of true equality, the people of humanity, the people of science, the people of generosity, the people of justice, the people of compassion, the people of Grace–we are the insane ones. 

Indeed, the patients are running the hospital. 

In moments like these it’s easy to wonder, “maybe I have lost my mind.” Maybe this life of solidarity with the least-of-these and fighting the forces of political and religious evil just isn’t worth it. The gravity of giving up weighs heavy, and conformity and surrender seem to be the only way out. Life could be so much easier if the blinds were closed, my eyes were turned away, and my heart was numbed. What difference does it make anyway?     

Yet, off in the distance a relentless voice is heard rising from the ashes, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Make straight a path for justice to roll down like a mighty stream. Bind up the broken hearted. Declare the divine affirmation of all. Push aside all bigotry and hate. Pave every street with human equality. Line the sidewalks with social justice. Build statues of the least-of-these. Light every corner, crossing, and alley with the mind of Christ, that all truth and goodness might be revealed and seen.   

This is the voice upon your life.  

Take heart. 

No, you’re not insane.    

For if you gaze upon the horizon of much of American Christianity and it all makes you want to vomit, you’re not insane. 

If you have a growing suspicion that much of right-wing conservative Christianity is a diabolical, evil scheme that has little to do with Jesus and everything to do with power and privilege, you’re not insane. 

If you tire of a false gospel that puts conditions on love, fosters hypocrisy, inflames self-righteousness, and personifies God as an unpredictable monster, you’re not insane. 

If you’ve discerned that much of Christianity has raped and twisted God into a frequently-temperamental divine drunk storming out of a bar, you’re not insane. 

If you question a faith that features a hell of eternal torment designed for the divine torture of people who don’t return God’s love in all the conservative Evangelically prescribed ways, you’re not insane.

If something checks in your spirit about turning off your brain, subscribing to a 6,000 year old earth, requiring your wife’s submission, and joining a group of people who appear to excel at talking amongst themselves and judging the world, all while calling it faithfulness to Jesus, you’re not insane. 

If you’re super close to blowing yet another brain gasket the next time someone quotes Scripture at you in hopes of turning you into their spiritual project, you’re not insane. 

If your head is spinning and your heart is confounded at the sure reality that scores of conservative Christians boastfully claim loyalty to the ways of Jesus, yet still vehemently support an anti-Christ president, you’re not insane. 

If you’re fed up with feeling spiritually obligated to prequalify people for love, condemn the LGBTQ community, discriminate against minorities, embrace sexism, weaponize the Bible, and turn Jesus into the hood ornament of your world bulldozer as you seek the dominance and supremacy of your faith in all of society, you’re not insane.

If you see much of the same evils that plague conservative Christianity to also be rampant within progressive Christian circles, you’re not insane. 

If you feel like ditching the whole “Christian” label all together, you’re not insane. 

If you feel like the true spiritual path of your life is to simply find your own way with the Spirit’s guidance alone, you’re not insane.

If you tire of the racism that is fostered primarily by white male Christians, you’re not insane. 

If you want to vomit every time a white person says they are “color blind” but then wants to rub your face in “black on black” crime, you’re not insane. 

If you want to punch white Christians in the throat who want to declare “all lives matter” yet send their gay children to the curb, keep immigrants in cages, criminalize and dehumanize black people, celebrate the stripping of benefits for Transgender people, and hope to erase the LGBTQ community from the planet, you’re not insane. 

If it strikes you as ironic that some white people who want to help black people gain true equality, don’t see other white voices who are trying to help too as equal and equally valued, you’re not insane.

If it pisses you off that some Christians care more about their convenience than wearing a mask for the protection of others, you’re not insane.

If your neck veins pop out in rage because it’s becoming all too clear, even for Christians who declare loyalty to Jesus, that money is more important than people, you’re not insane.

If you want to denounce your pride and affection for “America” because of the unjust, bigoted, racist, and white supremacy-ladened sewer we have become, you’re not insane.

If you want to scream, “F*ck it all” at the top of your lungs as you pound the chest of your despair, you’re not insane.

No, you’re not insane. 

You’re not a heathen. You’re not a heretic, nor a snowflake.

No, you are Jesus.

 

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.

 

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.

Is Conservative Evangelical Christianity An Incubator For White Supremacy?

President Trump won’t exclusively condemn it, Frankly Graham won’t clearly denounce it, and many conservative Evangelicals remain all but silent and waffling with false equivalencies in its destructive wake—white supremacy.

Take a good look at the landscape of right-wing Christianity in America and tell me why we should be surprised when white supremacy is seen by some as, at least in part, a bi-product, intended or not, of significant segments of right-wing conservative Evangelical Christianity. The undeniable placid ambivalence, tiptoeing, and ambiguity displayed by some in response to the recent acts of domestic terrorism committed in Charlottesville give sure light to the elephant in the room—a white Jesus for white people creating white churches with white male leadership hoping to protect, preserve, and foster a white conservative Christian nation to rule the earth.

It’s high time we wake up and smell the vile stench—casting out our evil nose-blindedness. Should we be surpised when significant segments of right-wing conservative Evangelical Christianity are discerned as highjacking Jesus and turning Him into their personal cruise director, sipping Christian cocktails while their Evangelical Titanic plows through and pollutes from sea to shining sea spewing out sure levels of hatred, bigotry, racism, greed, and even the sounds of white supremacy?

There is much about the conservative Evangelical creed that could be understood as speaking of and fostering privilege—we are the saved, you are the lost; we are the faithful, you are the heathen; we are the blessed, you are the condemned; we are the friends of God, you are the enemy; we are the sole possessors of Biblical understanding and righteous interpretation, you are the sure heretics; we are the faith upon which this nation was founded, you are the people that need to be converted and conquered.

No, it’s not written in the church bulletin or some carefully crafted mission statement, but with white painted churches steepled with white crosses as far as the eye can see, it should be to no one’s surprise when people observe that Sunday mornings across America can be some of the most segregated hours of the week and a screaming indictment to some of the highly unfortunate fruit being grown on the vine of the gospel of significant segments of conservative Evangelical Christianity—not excluding, aspects of white supremacy.

For at some point, we have to do the difficult work of putting two eyes on what’s in front of us and connecting the dots.

No, of course, not everyone who identifies as a conservative Evangelical Christian manifests nor supports the evils of racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. There are many, if not most, standing in the gap, seeking to be a force for good. Yet sadly, but perhaps appropriately, the foundational theology, ethos, and culture of significant segments of right-wing conservative Christianity are now being questioned as a potential incubator, cesspool, and even catalyst for some of the evil tenets, actions, and aspirations found in white supremacy.

As unpopular and perhaps controversial as it is to shout from the mountain tops or assert at the Thanksgiving day table, we have a serious spiritual and moral problem in our country, and one of the cowardly wizards behind the curtain pulling its fair share of the strings is none other than significant segments of right-wing conservative Evangelical Christianity.

If you’re white, silent, and not completely enraged at the racism spewing from the privileged sewers of America, you are the problem.

If you’re a Christian and believe that your faith understanding affords you special dignity, rights, blessings, status, and the capacity to judge and Lord your creeds and values over another, you are the problem.

If you subscribe to any belief set that sees the color of your skin, the creed you confess, or the location of your birth as granting you special anointing, favor, and affirmation from God, you are the problem.

If you have taken even just one step towards concluding that God created anything less than perfect equality for all people as the predominant sign of the manifestation of His Kingdom, you are the problem.

If you dream of a world where white Christian people remain the majority, retain overall power, legislate society, and have their values, beliefs, and culture prevail in the public arena, you are the problem.

Take a good look at the landscape of right-wing Christianity in America and tell me why we should be surprised when white supremacy is seen by some as, at least in part, a bi-product, intended or not, of significant segments of right-wing conservative Evangelical Christianity.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

5 Solutions To The Racial And Spiritual Divide In America

There is a racial and spiritual divide in America. The cracks on the ceiling are giving way, some wondering if the whole house is about to fall—violence in thought, word, and deed gushing through every tube that connects us. The assumptions and predeterminations from which we view one another and render our conclusions have perhaps never been more jaded. Much of American Christianity has become weaponized, marching as to war—the political climate and social ills, mere surface products of our deeper spiritual fall from Grace. America is racially and spiritually divided and poised for certain eruption, not primarily from what is happening in the halls of our capitals, but first and foremost, because of who we have become sitting in the pews of our churches. With blood in the streets, discrimination around ever turn, cries going unheard, and condemnation gutting us from within, enough is enough, a new people we must become if America is to be racially and spiritually divided no more.

We Must Become People of Grace-

Grace is the ultimate equalizer that declares the intrinsic, sacred order within all humanity—none are better, only different.

We are all human, created in divine imagery, having strengths and weaknesses. Yet, by God’s Grace, our weaknesses nor our strengths define us. Rather, our irrevocable and irremovable God-established worth forever qualifies all humanity for every right, blessing, and fair treatment. Under Grace, we travel this planet, all spinning on equal footing and value. As we pursue different paths and apply different choices, we are no less worthy nor more entitled to the fundamental qualities of life that God, by His Grace, has woven into His plan for every being—freedom, hope, life, love, eternity, and the fruition of their God-given capacity to be the person He created them in identity.

As we see people as equally reflecting our Creator’s image an possessing His value and worth, we live not to judge, conquer, lord over, nor undermine, but to see the quality and potential of our lives forever connected to that of all those around us. When we are people of Grace, we live not to point out imperfections nor be divided by inherent differences, but to sing in concert with the Creator’s plan that all might know and enjoy their divine beauty and the rest to one’s soul and living that Grace provides.

Under Grace, the nightmare of the American dream is revealed and the birth of a Kingdom hope takes flight, where people are fully free to be fully loved and to fully love in return—a hope where personal performance, success, and accomplishment do not create division nor distinction that measures, but rather reflects the artistry of our Maker who shares the benefits of His excellence and stature for the purpose of lifting everyone upon Him and blessing them with everything needed to enjoy and reflect Him. We must become a human-honoring, non-judging, equality-loving people.

We Must Become People of Unconditional Love-

The essence and entirety of God is unconditional love and His deepest desire is for us to embrace that love and manifest it to others. Love is love is love—it has no color, gender, orientation, status, limits, conditions, restrictions, or exclusiveness.

No matter our faith understanding or expression, until our theology is love, we will always be leaning on our own religious ideologies to the detriment, division and depravity of others and our nation. If love is not the ideal, the real, and the priority above all others, then all our creeds, policies, governing, and individual and corporate endeavors are rendered as gonging, clanging cymbals out of beat and out of touch.

Where temptation and even fair reason emerge for revenge, retaliation, subversion, isolation, or discrimination, love must be the alarm and the trumpet that calls us back to what is eternally true and relevant—only love wins, everything is a bandaid upon a cancer.

The ethos of our country as a nation and our faith gatherings as spiritual formations needs to centered far less on the creation of like-minded camps and exclusive denominations, and much more on the becoming of tables for transformative conversations. And where there are disagreements, love must be lifted as the common denominator and disposition that calibrates our hearts and attitudes towards mutual affirmation, even in the presence of honest disagreement. For the new unity of the future that will truly bring us together, spiritually or otherwise, will not be based upon what we can agree, but rather on the strong foundation of our willingness to have disagreements while doing life and freedom together in mutual respect and honor.

We Must Become People of Servanthood-

Grace doesn’t build walls, it builds mirrors that we might first see ourselves in the light of our shared humanity, spirituality, and equality with all others. Then, and only then, are we fully capable of truly seeing our neighbor in all their truth and assuming the right posture of heart to love, influence, and guide one another as mutual learners along this path of life, faith, and togetherness.

In this way, we become servants of one another, establishing the currency of our interactions to be measured by that which bestows the highest levels of honor to another, simply because they breathe.

Servanthood sees sin less as something to stand against, and more as an opportunity for love to find its highest fruition as it stands in solidarity with the redemptive value inherent in all creation, no matter the perceived sin or dissonance. For sin, differences, and creedal conflicts are not near the issue for God as they are for religion—making them a condition and stumbling block for servanthood where God makes them the object of it.

We are to serve one another in spite of all things and because of all things, giving love center stage to do its work and win in the lives of ourselves and others. God is surely big enough for everyone’s truth to be important, respected, valued, and served. We must become a humble, serving people who are convinced that he or she that loves the deepest and with the least restriction is he or she that wins, to the gleam of God above.

We Must Become People of Shared Human Dignity-

Evil must be seen not as an inherent human condition, but rather in those actions that would withhold Grace, reduce the dignity, and undermine the sacred, equal value, goodness, and worth of all people.

When this becomes the tuning fork from which we align our perceptions, spiritualities, and attitudes—bigotry, racism, discrimination, condemnation and hate for any person for any reason will be aggressively called out, chased out of the shadows, and suffocated of the air it needs to breath. The “least of these” will be defined as those whose seat at the “importance” table has been conditioned, minimized, or removed. Thus, our hearts will be forever bent in sorrow towards anyone in lack, seeing their equal treatment and future as being forever weaved into ours.

Where those privileged today often see equality as anything that still keeps them privileged, equality in the future must look like that which manifests the reality that God created us all privileged, qualified for every good thing—and therefore, how dare we get in the way of that which the Divine has decreed or be silent when it’s missing. For silence and apathy are the incubators from which all evil is given permission to grow.

We must become a outspoken people who see evil as a dehumanizing reality and we as the ardent defenders, advocates, and caretakers of the least of these, shielding those who bare its brunt and force, and rescuing those who wilt in the soils of its poisoning.

We Must Become People of Nonviolence-

Where there is violence the real battle as already been lost.

Spiritual, physical, and emotional harm is always a surface acumen that rarely ever solves the core. For punishment never made anyone holy, nor healed the hurt fueling the hurter.

People are not the problem, our unwillingness to thoroughly listen to each other’s story and submit ourselves to their implications is much more the culprit. A changed mind about an enemy begins with a heard story. Sadly, we have become more addicted to being ignorant and isolated from people’s true pains, experiences, and histories, then in the discovering of where the seeds of condemnation were first planted that have blossomed into the aggressions, scars, twitches, and brokenness that are manifested.

Violence is often a compensation for the unwillingness to listen and be changed in mind and heart by the human histories and experiences of another. Listening begets understanding, understanding begets learning, learning begets compassion, compassion begets healing, and healing begets peace.

There will be no peace until there is passionate, humble listening. For in the end, we are altogether no different— in, under, and with the One who made us—equal by the Equalizer—Grace.

This is who we must become—gracious, unconditional-loving, all-people-serving, human-dignity-defending, nonviolent-listening people.

May it be so, beginning with me, beginning with you.

A White Christian’s Deep Apology to Black America

This has been a long time coming, an awakening that has been both freeing and yet disturbing. I am a white Christian, but not the same white Christian I used to be, for my whiteness has become to me, my new black. Walking in shoes never worn, walking in ways never walked.

Four years ago, though I had been a Christian since childhood and a pastor for 20 years, I discovered the pure Gospel of God’s Grace. This original Gospel that Jesus brought has been all but lost in our Christian culture. When my eyes were opened to its beauty, it was like breathing for the first time. The message of the pure Grace of God through Jesus changed my whole way of being, feeling, and thinking. Every day since then, this Grace has increasingly awakened me to the immeasurable love of God, my new-creation identity, and what it truly looks like to be a Jesus person.

Unfortunately, the more I have sprouted in Grace and allowed God (who is love) to shape my thinking and being, I have experienced sharp criticism, distancing, and blatant rejection from many in the faith community.  For the first time in my life, I have become a minority. I preach, teach, and live a message that is in many Christian circles unheard of, heresy, offensive, and controversial at best. I am beginning to know what it is like to be labeled, suspected, marginalized, demonized, misunderstood, and even hated. I am beginning to know what it feels like to be seen as the non matching puzzle piece, the one that is deemed second class, substandard, and different. I am beginning to know the frustration, the anger, the insecurities that are unavoidably intrinsic to being the minority; the last kid picked for the team, if picked at all… the one who is marked to be spiritually segregated, drinking from the fountain reserved for heretics, and escorted to sit in the “cheap grace” seat on the bus.

This has been an eye opening experience to say the least, and one that has left me with a deeply changed perspective on what it must feel like to be a black person in America. If it feels anything remotely like what I have experienced, it is a sure kind of hell. And sadly, racism towards blacks has historically and presently been far worse in comparison to any social or societal experience I have ever had.

To be honest, as I grow in Grace, I have come to realize that I have been a white Christian racist who has no clue. Racist, not because I don’t love, respect, and honor black people, but because I have been satisfied with harboring limited, ignorant perspectives on what it must be like to be black. And that, because I have chosen to close my mind, heart, and experience to the reality that black people have not only had a terrible history of slavery and abuse in America, but currently experience real racism.

I have been the white Christian who unfairly gets nervous on a late night in the city when a black man walks towards me on the sidewalk, simply because he is black. I have been the white Christian who, when driving by an impoverished black neighborhood, had streaming, inward trains of thought, “That’s too bad, it’s their own doing, glad it’s not me.” I have been the white Christian who assumes that there is more (or at least equal) reverse racism towards whites than there is legitimate racism towards blacks, and somehow that justifies my disregard and callousness towards the issue. I am the white Christian whose ignorance eclipses him from even knowing how to talk about this issue without tumbling over words, history, and vernacular. I certainly don’t have that problem with other issues that affect me and impact what I love. And there in lies the problem, a lack of love. I have not listened fully nor intently to their story, taken seriously their adversities, nor truly empathized with their experiences. All, while many (if not all) of my black brothers in sisters seriously suffer, struggle, and carry an intrinsic burden of being black in America.

No, I don’t believe every instance that is deemed racists against blacks to be true. Not every police experience, job interview, or legal issue involves or has been influenced by racism. Are there people who exploit and even perpetuate racism for their personal gain or political advantage? Surely so. Are there rushes to judgement and premature conclusions drawn regarding white people committing racial acts? To be sure. Not every arrest, death, decision, comment, or outcome is racially motivated. Certainly, there is no excuse for race hustlers, but if you have had your ass unfairly handed to you as an individual, race, and people for years and years, you might have some moments here and there of overreaction and bias too.

Some say there is a systemic issue of racism in our country in almost every facet of our culture, others say this is exaggerated. Each bringing their studies and statistics to prop up their conclusions.

Yet, the truth is, we can go around and around debating the statistics and trends and brand our views with clever slogans, “black lives matters” “white lives matters” “all lives matter” and yet completely miss the forest from the trees. The fact is, racism against blacks is historically and presently real, no matter how you slice it. And by my lack of empathy, level of ignorance, bias, silence, and absence of genuine care, I am a white Christian who has become much more a part of the problem than the solution. Drastically failing to be Jesus to my black brothers and sisters. And for that, I deeply apologize. I am embarrassed and disgusted with my lack of Grace and love for black America.

The bigger problem is, I am not the only one.

White Christianity today has largely remained silent, in the eyes of much of black America, in responding to the racism being expressed towards them. I tend to agree. Yes, many have been afraid to speak for fear of being labeled the very thing they are trying to avoid being seen as, a “racist.” Others, would just rather avoid the charged issue all together and keep their hands clean. I understand that pressure.

Yet, I just don’t see Jesus ever being silent or content with non action with regards to those who are on the receiving end of physical, spiritual, or emotional violence, abuse, marginalization, or discrimination. Jesus has always been colorblind to race, and a defender of the oppressed.

We Christians have, because of Jesus, the solution to racism, the only solution…not policy, slogans, or politics… but Grace. Pure Grace.

For Grace puts everyone on the same playing field. All are of equal value, worthiness, and hope. Grace does not judge nor condemn. It is the only thing that solicits true change in heart, mind, and behavior. It is the only answer to sin and life.

It does not evaluate ones identity by the color of skin, nor even the content of one’s character, but by the quality of Jesus who created all and qualifies all for every blessing, despite one’s performance in life. For Grace sees all people as the loveliness of Jesus, and nothing less, regardless of their personhood.

Racism cannot live nor grow where Grace is planted. Grace is the great equalizer. The kryptonite of labelers. The leveler of all that would Lord over, look down, or declare privilege or entitlement.

Only Grace can win against race.

We all would do well, to become and be people of Grace. Whites and Blacks.

I for one, have had a change of mind and heart regarding my black, brothers and sisters. The oil of Grace has penetrated this area of my thinking, believing, feeling, and behavior. For my whiteness has become to me, my new black. Walking in shoes never worn, walking in ways never walked. Loving the freedom to love completely and without restraint, black people everywhere. They are my brothers and sisters, deserving of my ardent defense, love, ear, and honor, not because of some political correctness, or religious call to do so. Not because of some kind of minority or majority construct, but because we are, and always have been, in fact… equal. Their history is my history, their present, my present, their future my future, because at the end of the day, we are all human… together.

I am a white Christian, but not the same white Christian I used to be.

Grace wins, yet again.

Do Black Lives Matter?

When the Ferguson incident happened some weeks ago, I was quickly prompted by several people to give some kind of response.  Of course, it was clear that more than anything, they wanted to see if what I had to say agreed with what they had to say about it all.  When I took a neutral stance and stated that I hadn’t formed a clear point of view yet, many were even more frustrated with me, and some went ahead and decided for me as to what I believe; putting words, thoughts, and feelings in my my mouth and heart that I did not, nor still do not have.

I am not an expert in race or race relations, nor have I been a victim of slavery or birthed into a racial minority. I have very little frame of reference as to what it feels like and means to be a black person in America. Equally, I have never been a police officer or a part of our legal system. No one in my family has ever been in either of these arenas.  I have very little frame of reference as to what it feels like and means to be a police officer of part of the legal system in America.

We are so quick to speak and slow to listen in our culture. And furthermore, we often place our agendas, experiences, and emotions above the truth about things, or the seeking thereof.  I know have been guilty of this myself in other issues. I became so sure that I knew the truth before I in fact, knew the truth.

I have no clue as to the complete truth about the Ferguson tragedy, or any other. I have read the same articles and reports as you. But for me, the final conclusion is… I wasn’t there at the incident and I was not a part of the legal process.  Does that make me a racist that I don’t declare war on white police officers and our legal system? No. Does it make me a cop-hater and one who does not value our legal system because I don’t automatically side with officers and juries involved in any and every shooting or incident? No.

But here is what I do know…  When there is perceived to be an error of people in practice or thinking (such as racism) the predominant reaction is to quickly swing the pendulum the other direction, often over emphasizing things in an effort to correct things.  In my own line of work, this happens frequently. When there is an error of people in their practice or thinking about God or the Christian life, some quickly swing the theological pendulum in the other direction, unintentionally creating another theological error in order to bring correction to a previous one.

Yet, what is needed is not over correction, but to find true correction.  Not a mark north of north, but true north.

The truth is, the only statement, call, declaration or battle cry we could ever rightfully imagine coming from the mouth of Jesus, our Creator is ALL LIVES MATTER.  I understand where people come from when trying to bring justice to a perceived injustice. But, this is the only message that will bring us to the center, to the truth, and to the solution of racism of every kind and color. Otherwise, we will just be a perpetual, swinging pendulum of racism. When our practice and thinking in America aligns to ALL LIVES MATTER, then and only then will people be free and racism disarmed. Only then, will justice flow like a river, and all men be judged by the quality of their character not the color of their skin.

Do black lives matter? Of course they do. All LIVES MATTER…. police, victims, perpetrators, black, white, brown, rich, poor, enemy, friend, born, unborn. ALL lives matter. Until that is our song, our anthem, our heart, our cause, our banner, our focus, our resolve, we will fall short of God’s heart and continue to have racism (and injustice) of every kind and flavor… black against white, white against black, asian against hispanic, and on and on and on.

Because God hates racism and injustice of every kind, ALL LIVES MATTER, equally.

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