Tag: christian (page 1 of 6)

Dear White Conservative Christian, I See You

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

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

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

Twenty one years of life and ministry with you.

White conservative Christian, I was you.

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

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

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

I see everything, so afresh, so anew.

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

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

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

I see you, I really do.

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

I see you, I really do.

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

I see you, I really do.

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

I see you, I really do.

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

I see you, I really do.

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

I see you, I really do.

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

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

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

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

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

The question is, will you ever see me?

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

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

Better yet, will you ever see Jesus?

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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

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

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

It’s time.

It’s time to draw the line.

Jesus did the same.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Money is more important than morality.

Power is more important than principle.

Privilege is more important than people.

Your faith brand is more important than freedom for all. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Grace is brave. Be brave. 

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

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

Trump Supporting Christian, Where The Hell Is Your Rage?

(Cover Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

I really want to know.

You say you love Jesus, trust the Bible, and faith is the most important thing in your life.

You want me to believe that you are in divine harmony with the heart of God and aspire nothing less than to reflect Him throughout every area of your living.

You tenaciously use the Bible and its verses to give justification and foundation for your every move, belief, and desire.

The bumper stickers, coffee table books, memes on Facebook, and the pictures covering your walls, all seem to point to one who is most certainly, “sold out” for Jesus.

Surely, you are familiar with the clear communication of the Bible as to God’s special love and value of children.

Surely, you are equally in tune with the many verses that demand our unconditional hospitality and sacrificial service to foreigners, immigrants, and the like.

Surely, you are not ignorant of the resounding biblical denouncement of leadership characterized by greed, lust, dishonesty, bullying, and self-centeredness.

Surely, you are more than familiar with the nonviolent example of Jesus and His willingness to confront religious oppression and stand in solidarity with the least of these, especially those who are deemed, “sinners.”

So, with all due respect, as surely as all of this is at the forefront of your faith, I surely want to know…

Where the hell is your rage?

You’re not blind, you’re not ignorant, and you’re not incapable of discernment. No, in fact, you are fully accountable and fully responsible. Every week, you see President Trump display clear and blatant traits that are not only grossly unbecoming of basic moral leadership, but nothing even close to that of a Christian—much the opposite.

Where is your rage?

You certainly aren’t afraid to name the names of those you believe to be errant and sinning against your Creator. Sermon after sermon, article after article, interview after interview, all point specifically to those you believe to be living counter to the ways of God with stern warnings against admiring or supporting them. Yet, when has President Trump ever been a subject on that list?

I ask you, where is your rage?

You have eyes to see innocent children being tear-gassed at our borders through the calculated permission of President Trump and his administration. You hear the broad labeling of human beings seeking asylum as “gangsters,” “rapists,” “criminals,” and “animals.”

With your clothes still freshly smelling with the scent of the church pew from which you raised your hands in praise of the immigrant Jesus, how could this ever become justifiable for you? How many “last straws” does it take to finally draw out any humaneness that might somehow still remain in your faith?

For Christ’s sake, where is your rage?

Why aren’t you frantically loading up your church vans, setting up youth bake sales, and leveraging every “mission” dollar you can commandeer to get your “sold out” self to that border and defend the most vulnerable? I mean, you don’t seem to have any problem sending them shoeboxes at Christmas when they’re miles away and no real threat to your privilege or the cleanliness of your sanctuary carpeting. But all of a sudden, when they show up at your Inn, spraying them with toxic chemicals becomes your best idea?

Why aren’t you demanding that Trump and his administration stop condemning and marginalizing those whom Christ demands we give special aid, service, and sanctuary?

No, don’t even take one step towards trying to convince me that you don’t like it nor support it, all while you refuse to engage your voice with shouts in fierce defiance. I’m not buying it one bit.

In fact, I’m going to ask you again, where the hell is your rage?

Show me.

You say you want America to be filled with Jesus, but seem to have no problem with policies that keep the poor at arms length. You say you want America to be filled with Jesus, but seem to have no problem with a president who desperately wants to keep minorities and immigrants from threatening white power and privilege. You say you want America to be filled with Jesus, but support a president who wants to erase those you deem to be deplorable, just because, in your mind, they sin differently than you.

Do you not see the duplicity into which you have been deceived?

For heaven’s sake, where is your rage?

You see the very people Jesus died for, being crucified. You see the very children Jesus drew up into his arms and sat upon his lap, being denied, denounced, deported, and demonized. You see the very people Jesus bent over backwards to feed, being starved and left to hunger. You see the very people Jesus baptized in Grace, being soaked with chemicals. You see the very people Jesus wrote with divine penmanship into the fabric of all creation, being condemned, marginalized, abused, and erased. You see the ways of Jesus being nothing less than stomped upon, twisted, and raped by the people who claim to know Him best.

And yet, at most, your lips can only muster a whisper, but largely, remain oh so eerily silent.

And so, I ask you.

Holy crap, where the hell is your rage?   

Sadly, I think I know.  

It’s buried deep underneath your white, male, heterosexual, conservative Christian privilege—the true god of your worship.

That’s why he’s president. That’s why you support. That’s why you fashion the hat. That’s why you rationalize. That’s why you entertain darkness as Light. That’s why you’re numb and refuse to engage. That’s why there is no rage.

And, that’s why Jesus weeps and vomits out your tepid faith.  

For hear me and countless others, and hear us well.

Until we see your rage, we only see your evil idolatry of self.

As we all wonder, along with Jesus, perhaps, that’s all there is.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave

 

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

There is no greater evil being wielded upon the planet than Conservative Evangelicalism, and Chris Kratzer’s life and ministry journey are undeniable proof. In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris tells of his 21 years as a conservative Evangelical pastor and the radical change of heart and mind that led him to walk away from it all. With a new sense of faith centered on Jesus and His pure Gospel of Grace, 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.

Under His Eye : If Conservative Evangelicalism Gets Its Way

One of the most important questions facing our time in history is this… “If right-wing conservative Evangelical Christianity gets its way, what would the world look like?”

Despite how various Evangelicals might respond to this question, perhaps the best vantage point for an accurate discernment of the answer is to observe pivotal moments in history where conservative Evangelicals (as a whole) have actually won their desires. For nothing reveals the true content of one’s aspirations like the results they bring when successful.

Or perhaps, we could examine their commonly held beliefs and the future those beliefs envision. To be sure, the true sum of one’s faith can be found most clearly within the impact their faith desires, regardless of what they may or may not claim to confess. We are responsible both for what we believe and the future those beliefs ultimately bring forth, are we not?

With that in mind, one of the prized accomplishments of conservative Evangelicalism is the election and continued support of Donald Trump as President. Say what you will about the politics involved, the bottom line is this—his character, priorities, and leadership are clearly creating a world where the wealthy become richer, the poor become more vulnerable, greed is expanded, bullying is desensitized, corruption is protected, white privilege flourishes, elitism is unleashed, minorities are further marginalized, racism is energized, sexism is normalized, the LGTBQ community is increasingly demonized, and right-wing Christian conservatism is prioritized.

Yet sadly, this is not by chance.

In fact, among many conservative Evangelicals, these realities are tacitly received as nothing less than welcomed results. For if this presidency was the first occasion in which conservative Evangelicalism has had influential success towards the fruition of these same kind of deplorable outcomes, then this moment in history would be less profound. However, from the slavery and lynching of black people to the belittlement and abuse of women, conservative Evangelicalism has long resulted in the increased spiritual justification of some of the most evil atrocities ever committed on planet earth.

In fact, now we have an administration, like never before, that increasingly creates economic systems that blatantly benefit the wealthy and exploit the vulnerable, brutally splits families with children apart who are seeking asylum in our country, aggressively sides with Israel in order to further the fulfillment of “biblical” prophecy, threatens to pull news press credentials over “negative” coverage, belittles and thwarts people with disabilities, and has dismantled highly important LGBT-protecting policies, all in the name of undoing the leadership and legacy of our first black President.   

Yet sadly, once again, this is not by chance.

Conservative Evangelicalism teaches its followers that faithfulness to God leads to financial prosperity and wealth. Having pastors with six figure salaries, churches with multi-million dollar facilities, and followers with luxurious lifestyles are seen as a reward from God not a departure from the ways of Jesus. In the mind of conservative Evangelicalism, if you are struggling financially or devoid of financial abundance, it is likely that some aspect of your faith life is askew. Ministry and Christian “success” is largely defined by the increase and accumulation of “more”—more money, more power, more influence, more campuses, more staff, more baptisms, more attenders, more planes, more speaking engagements, more followers on Twitter. In the world of conservative Evangelicalism, more is never less, more is always more—even at the expense of others.

Conservative Evangelicalism sees people primarily as spiritual projects for the ultimate goal of conversion into their faith system. Even helping the poor and hurting is largely seen as a means to a faith-serving end that builds their kingdom with more converts and satisfies their obligations of obedience to their faith. Poor hurting people are ultimately helped only to the extent in which it somehow serves the Evangelical faith system. In fact, within conservative Christianity, poverty (and even hardship) is often deemed as a result of unfaithfulness and wrong belief.

Conservative Evangelicalism manifests a territorial greed that desires to conquer people, groups, communities, perceived enemies, and the planet at large, not for the purpose of serving humanity selflessly, but rather garnering its submission to their faith system.  

Conservative Evangelicalism largely portrays Jesus as a white man. Not just a white man, but a white man who is a Republican, gun-owning, racist homophobic nationalist who is wrapped in the American flag.

Conservative Evangelicalism manifests a good-old-boy-club mentality for white male heterosexuals that gives them a hypocritical privilege, license, and authority over women, often leading to their sexualization, discrimination, control, and abuse. In fact, the only sins that truly matter in conservative Evangelicalism are the ones that are different from theirs and enable them to condemn those who would threaten their white male heterosexual Christian privilege and power.

Conservative Evangelicalism declares the Bible as being the infallible word of God and their interpretations exclusively faithful and accurate to the discerning of its meaning and truth.

Conservative Evangelicalism interprets the Scriptures as condemning the LGBTQ community, labeling them as “abominations,” cancers to our society, enemies of procreation, and deviants destined for hell.

Conservative Evangelicalism once asserted a biblical justification for black slavery and murder, and the demonization of interracial marriage.

Conservative Evangelicalism portrays a god who is justified in killing his enemies, destroying entire of groups of people, and sentencing disobedient non-believers to a hell of eternal torment.  

Make no mistake, what we see unfolding before our eyes is nothing less than the manifestation of the dystopian dreams of much of conservative Evangelicalism. No matter how much they might sprinkle it with spiritual glitter and dress it up with stage lighting and smoke machines, the finish line of their faith understanding is a violent Armageddon that ushers in a kingdom where anything that does not prosper white, male, heterosexual, conservative Christian power and privilege is eradicated from the earth. Spiritually rationalized racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, nationalism, greed, violence, and hypocrisy are all merely pieces of a much bigger puzzle.

This is put on display perhaps in no more profound fashion than through the current television show produced by Hulu, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” based of the novel by Margaret Atwood. This prophetic drama puts forth many images, occurrences, and realities that can be easily seen as reflecting the dystopian fruition of the fundamental beliefs and values of right-wing conservative Evangelicalism.  

The truth is, this powerful show does not require a suspension of current reality to understand its message, but merely a gaze into the future of what could be if conservative Evangelicalism continues to gets its way.

In fact, what should be most alarming to us all is this—if conservative Evangelicals were asked to publicly denounce every action and faith confession of the oppressors in “The Handmaid’s Tale” that they believe are contrary to their faith system, I suspect many would find little of which they could accurately object and honestly deny. In fact, nearly everything displayed in this prophetic drama is already currently taking place in one form or another, largely at the hands and influence of right-wing conservative Evangelicalism.

Read the Bible the way they read the Bible. Pray the prayers they pray. See the world the way they see it. Believe in God the way the believe in God. Spiritually justify what they spiritually justify. Then you will see, through a simple glance down the hall of its future, the kind of world conservative Evangelicalism envisions. For if conservative Evangelicalism gets its way, make no mistake, this is what the world would look like. To be sure, being “under his eye” won’t point us to the face of Jesus, but rather to the face of their evil.

Keep your soul vigilant, these are dark times for sure, and they’re only getting darker. Hear the call of Jesus upon your heart, “take up your resistance and follow me.”

America will die at the hands of men who exchanged a brown Jesus for white Christianity, and quite frankly, it’s beginning to seem like that’s just part of their plan—if they get their way.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

photo courtesy of Hulu

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 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.

Dear Conservative Evangelical Christian, Answer Me This

I have to admit, I’m growing increasingly confused with nearly every moment. Not just confused—alarmed, if I’m honest.

I’m no spiritual giant, but it’s been my longtime understanding that the Christian faith is to be centered on the person of Jesus. At least, that’s the divine plot God seems to have written and the Name many have boastfully placed on the marquee. Yet, when I survey the Scriptures and listen to His mind within me, I’m sadly left with no alternative but to be filled with disappointment and disillusionment. For the epic story of Jesus and His love that I had hoped would fill my senses with every scene you project into my seeing has become a horror show of conservative Evangelical Christian evil.

Perhaps, I’ve completely lost my mind and have fallen away from the Spirit—that’s certainly not beyond possibility. Perhaps, that prayer cloth I discarded along with the accountability partner that came with it, has put a divine jinx on my capacity to discern the spiritual. It’s probably all in my mind and a carnal figment of my imagination. Yet, I can’t seem to ignore the sure duplicity and sheer insanity of what your faith understanding seems to be wielding upon the earth with ever increasing fashion.

I want to give you the benefit of the doubt and even come to my senses if need be. So, please conservative Evangelical Christian, answer me this—I’m ready, and I’m listening.

Where does Jesus ever put the Bible (which hadn’t even been written yet) above Himself or even in equal standing, and where does He say it’s the perfect Word of God and admonish His followers to worship their own interpretations of it?  In fact, on several occasions, I’ve noticed that Jesus reinterprets the Scriptures and turns over the table on their traditional meaning. I don’t have a problem suggesting that the Bible was inspired by God as long as we admit that divine inspiration doesn’t automatically equate to human accuracy. Perhaps, that’s why Christian scholars can’t even agree to this day on how we arrived at the canonization of the Bible let alone what books should be included. And not just that, but with over 30,000 different denominations, we can’t even put all of our bumpers in the same parking lot in regards to something as central as the essence of salvation. Yet, you want me to believe that your Bible, your version, and even your interpretation is the infallible inerrant perfect Word of God. I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but I can’t deny how that leaves me suspiciously wondering, if it’s all so perfect, why would Jesus summon His Spirit (not you, me, or the Bible) to be humanity’s ultimate guide in all truth?  I’m trying to see Jesus in all this song and dance with the Bible, but if I’m honest, I just can’t—at least not the Jesus who lives within me.

Please conservative Evangelical Christian, answer me this.

Where does Jesus ever utilize a weapon in an act of aggression or defense, or even so much as hint that there could be an occasion where his followers would be righteous and justified in doing so? I’m not suggesting that a person who owns a gun for mere sport, hunting, or nonviolent pleasure is unfaithful to the Master. I’m not even suggesting that a person who possesses a gun for self-defense is necessarily a bad person. But, the more I experience the heart of Jesus the more I become convinced, if you’re going to own a gun which is purposed primarily on killing, and harbor the willingness to use it against another human being, you’re going to have to leave the person, example, and teachings of Jesus out of it and step outside of His ways to justify it. Stock up on all the weapons you want, rationalize a love of guns any way that helps you sleep at night, and insist on your Second Amendment rights even to the mass murder of children. However, with all due love and respect, you can stop trying to convince me that God blesses your endeavors and Jesus supports your armament and willingness to do violence—He doesn’t, at least not the Jesus who lives within me.

The fact that the NRA and conservative Evangelicalism have become two peas in a diabolical pod. The truth that many conservative Evangelicals propose that the solution to our gun problem is more guns. The reality that churches who claim to worship Jesus are now opening gun ranges. The daunting awareness that a majority of conservative Evangelical Christians are not willing to pick up their cross and lay down their love affair with guns when the safety of innocent people is undeniably in the balance. All of this tells me everything I need to know—Jesus has surely left the building. Go ahead, keep on trying to convince me there is some ominous “new world order” that is trying to disarm Americans for the purpose of conquest. In the meanwhile, I’ll be resting assured that if there is any influence in the world that is trying to strip us of our lust for power, privilege, violence, and the guns that are symptomatic of such, that influencer is Jesus who, for the joy set before Him, chose a cross instead of an AR-15, Glock, or any other weapon. And yes, that’s in the Bible—perhaps you should read it.

Please conservative Evangelical Christian, answer me this.

Where does Jesus ever display, condone, or dismiss any of the sin-ladened and anti-Christ attributes of President Trump? Most assuredly, no one is perfect and God uses imperfect people for great purposes. Yet, isn’t there a difference between being imperfect and being an unapologetically pussy-grabbing, adulterous, racist, sexist, xenophobic, mental illness mocking, greedy, lying, vulgar, belligerent, and bullying President? In conservative Evangelical churches across our country, imperfect people are being used appropriately to do great ministry. Yet, I suspect, President Trump couldn’t even qualify to serve in your nursery or youth ministry, let alone deserve the continued support and praise as the President of the Unites States from those who would claim to be Christian. Surely, you don’t want a man who brags about grabbing women’s pussies to be changing diapers or going on camping trips, do you? Yet, many conservative Evangelicals Christians, still to this day, can’t help but to worship this President and declare His divine anointing—all while throwing a temper tantrum over an Olympic ice skater who is simply gay. I’m not trying to be crass or push any buttons, but what is this insanity that we are becoming? In fact, I have this growing suspicion that if PresidentTrump ever turned his back on conservative Evangelicalism or got in the way of their greedy ambitions, all of a sudden, his nefarious character would become oh-so important and problematic. Until then, you’ll keep trying to convince me that sleeping with enemy and becoming his side-chick is really sitting at the table with Jesus and washing His feet. So, please don’t be surprised when I cry, “bullshit!” I mean no disrespect, but this isn’t about Jesus, faithfulness, and Godly living—that’s the problem, isn’t it?

See, the Bible, guns, and politics—everything seems to have become a weapon to you for emotionally, spiritually, and physically stealing, killing, and destroying all that you perceive to be an enemy that you might nationalize, militarize, and globalize your faith ideology. Not because Jesus is telling you to do so, but because you’re addicted to white, male, heterosexual power and privilege—the opioids of the Evil One.

I want to believe that your greatest desire is Jesus and knowing His heart for humanity. I want to believe that you care about children and the safety of innocent people. I want to believe that moral character, sacrifice, decency, and goodness are important to you and foundational to your faith system. But, every time you have an opportunity to take up your cross and show me, it seems as if you are more interested in taking up, protecting, and prospering white, male, heterosexual, right-wing conservative power and privilege.

I know your heart is good and filled with honorable intention. I know you want me to believe it’s all about God, the Bible, and Christian faithfulness. Yet, how am I to conclude, with even just a small measure of confidence, that Jesus is your Lord and the King of your faith system when it seems there are so many things of Satan that you worship before Him?

Please conservative Evangelical Christian, answer me this.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

No, Conservative Christian, God Doesn’t Send Mass Shootings

Just weeks ago, it was a hurricane.

Now, an horrific mass shooting by a white terrorist.

Here we go again, another tragedy being projected onto the heart and will of God.

Sadly, there’s nothing that seems to be more convenient and appealing to some Christians than claiming that the onset of human tragedy is a result of the actions of God in defense of the very things they support and in punishment of the very people and realities they are against.

It’s always amazing to see the spiritual gymnastics some Christians will perform in order to twist God into a divine puppet working on behalf of all that they hold to be true and troublesome. But then, when tragedy strikes inside their camp, all of the sudden, God’s ways are deemed to be mysterious and beyond human comprehension.

You know that your creeds and system of faith are bogus and desperately weak when you resort to portraying God as the author of human tragedy in an effort to legitimize and advance the validity of your faith understandings. This is why deflecting truth and blame has become nothing less than a prized spiritual gift among many conservative Evangelical Christians. While some point their fingers at God in the wake of human tragedy and misfortune, the ever growing necessity emerges for the rest of us to start pointing our fingers at right wing conservative Evangelical Christianity, lest we all be deceived.

In fact, as hard as it is to say and as difficult as it may be to hear, the truth is, until America wakes up to the true connections between conservative Evangelical Christianity and many of the deepest ills of our society, lasting change will elude us. When conservative Evangelicals proudly elect and continue to enthusiastically support a President whose campaign received a record $21 million dollars from the NRA who spent $36.6 million dollars on the election in total, the true diabolical wizard behind the curtain begins to appear. From slavery to the bloodshed of war, conservative Evangelical Christianity has long found ways to spiritual justify nearly every evil on planet earth when it favors their agenda, and escape into the shadows of ambivalence and proclaimed innocence the morning after.

Truth be told, there is no greater deception being wielded upon all the earth than the attributing of human tragedy and harm to the authorship of God—often, by the very same people that history reveals as being the ones who are in fact capable of the required levels of hate, religiously justified violence, and spiritual illness to enable such atrocities. In fact, when you believe in a god who loves people so much that he is holy and just in brutally punishing them eternally if they don’t love Him back in return, especially through your prescribed steps and rules, your capacity to justify your own violence and the harming of others is not far away.

For if anyone should be shouting from the mountain tops demanding real gun control, it should be Christians. If anyone should be first in line to limit or even surrender their rights for the greater good of their fellow humans, it should be Christians. It is the same nonviolent cross carrying Jesus who calls us to a life of service and sacrifice that we worship, is it not?

Sadly, while many conservative Christians hope we are baited and hooked by their declarations of being “pro-life,” the truth is, much of right-wing conservative Evangelical Christianity is proving itself to be about as pro-life as a wolf in a chicken coop.

No, most Christians would never pull the trigger, send the hurricane, or wield such suffering directly, but apparently some certainly don’t mind believing God does—that, my friend, is the new face of spiritual and mental illness. When you proclaim God as the author of human tragedy in retribution for people acting against what you believe to be God’s will, you are not only the problem, you are spiritually and mentally dancing with the devil. For the one who enables the alcoholic is just as ill and complicit as the alcoholic themselves.

No, conservative Christian, God doesn’t send mass shootings—perhaps, this is on you.

This is on you to lead the way in turning swords into plowshares in a culture dripping with violence and hate.

This is on you to loudly repent of your history of spiritually justifying harm upon those you to deem to be the enemy.

This is on you to boldly proclaim the nonviolent sacrificial example of the Jesus you claim to follow.

This is on you to silence meaningless political rhetoric and harness your influence to demand meaningful gun control.

This is on you to look inward to an evil spiritual system and creed that personifies God as a vengeful deity who is holy and just in hurting, harming, and causing people to suffer.

This is on you to be first in line to limit or even surrender your rights for the good of humanity.

No, conservative Christian, God doesn’t send mass shootings.

Yes, He did send His Son to show us the way of nonviolence, peace, sacrifice, and service.

Perhaps, now more than ever, you could consider denying yourself for a change and following Him.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

Conservative Evangelical Christianity, Tell Me, What Am I Supposed To Do?

We’re not face to face, so these words must serve the hope of connecting my heart to yours.

There’s a lot I really want to say, and even more that I hope you will hear.

Yes, I’ve changed—nearly everything about me. I know that can be a hard pill to swallow, especially the way our spiritual paths seem to be diverging, and at times, causing great tension between us. I’m a different person now, having traveled a complete one-eighty in beliefs, values, faith, heart, and my sense of self and purpose. I understand where this onset of change is met by the glares of your disapproval and anxiety. Perhaps to you, it feels like it’s happened overnight, but I can assure you, it’s been a long time coming.

Regardless, the truth is, I’ve stepped away and outside of the conservative Evangelical faith I once held so closely. My mind has been changed and my heart has outgrown the beliefs to which I once subscribed—not in some kind of arrogant way that renders me better than you, only different.

It’s all very concerning and perhaps even offensive to you—I understand.

But, with all due respect and love, please tell me, what am I supposed to do?

What am I supposed to do when everything you taught me to be true and life-giving simply doesn’t work? Being the best person I could be for Jesus was my ultimate goal—just like you wanted. I tried, I really did—praying, studying, worshipping, serving, giving—checking off every item on the list.

Yet, as much as I don’t want to disappoint you, there was this moment where I came to the edge of all that you had poured into my life. It was there that I took an honest look into the mirror and engaged in a thorough evaluation of my long-held beliefs. In that pivotal moment of clarity, I was confronted and collided with the undeniable reality, none of it was working—at least, not for me.

In fact, when I pulled back the curtains, a startling phenomenon appeared. Please don’t take this as being hurtful, demeaning, or lacking respect, but I can’t deny what my eyes were seeing. Everyone was faking it just like me—not because we wanted to, but because truth be told, that’s the best one can do while on the religious treadmill of conservative Evangelical Christianity. I know that’s hard to hear, but it is—reality.

All the formulas for prayer—didn’t work. All the steps for overcoming sin through behavior management—didn’t work. All the attempts to press harder into Jesus and lift Him higher—didn’t work. All the inspired teachings on growing the garden of my spiritual fruits—didn’t work. All the verses memorized, recited, declared, displayed, and prayed over—didn’t work. All the increased commitments to church, cultivating my relationship with Jesus, and becoming a promise-keeping man of God and spiritual leader of my home—didn’t work.

Not only did it not work, but it all left me exhausted, discouraged, empty, ashamed, and feeling even more distant from Jesus and the people He desires for me to love. At first I thought, surely the problem is with me, I must be doing it wrong somehow. Now, I’m not so convinced. In fact, not at all.

With all due love and respect, when nearly everything you taught me about the Christian life and growing spiritually erodes me into a phony, self-righteous, faking-it-to-make-it kind of person, tell me, what am I supposed to do?

What am I supposed to do when your spiritual prescriptions seem to bring far more death than life? I’ll never forget the moment, it was like no other. Face to face with a living and breathing human being who was desperately seeking hope and life, I sought to be the good and faithful Evangelical, taking everything that you taught me to be true and life-giving and apply it (verse by verse and line by line) into this broken, sin-labelled, religious oppressed person sitting right in front of me.

She had been brutally condemned by nearly every person and spiritual entity in her life, and was grasping at my counsel for one last ray of hope. Yet, with every conservative Evangelical prescription and pre-packaged talking point that vomited off my lips, it all fell flat and reeked of death, leaving this beautiful person all the more closer to giving up as the fading light behind her eyes was now all but snuffed out. What was “biblical” in your eyes brought death to hers.

In a way like never before, the alarms went off inside of me, “something is seriously wrong, and I just can’t do it anymore.” I mean no disrespect in saying so, but this whole, “hate the sin, love the sinner” crap is nothing like Jesus. Broken people didn’t cringe at His presence and leave defeated, instead they clinged to His every being and walked away with affirmation, freedom, and unstoppable courage. I know this will be met with your displeasure and even disagreement, but the cat was out of the bag and I could no longer deny it—the more of a conservative Evangelical I became, the less Jesus I portrayed. I’m sorry, when enough is enough is enough—tell me, what am I supposed to do?

When the fruits of being a conservative Evangelical leave broken people more broken, loved people feeling less loved, and Jesus curled up in the corner crying in disgust at the judging, condemning, pretentious people we have become, tell me, what am I supposed to do?

What am I supposed to do when most everything about conservative Evangelical Christianity turns out to be one big scheme? As hard as it is to say, and perhaps even harder to hear, there is no denying the conservative Evangelical fruit dangling off the tree. I’ve tasted and seen—and so much of it, it’s not good. Look around, just open your eyes to see.

It’s not about Jesus, it’s about power. It’s not about Jesus, it’s about personal ministry empire building and fame. It’s not about Jesus, it’s about million dollar state-of-the-art worship auditoriums carefully staged with tattooed skinny-jean wearing song leaders. It’s not about Jesus, it’s about the commercialism and franchising of His name. It’s not about Jesus, it’s about a false gospel of conditions, to-do lists, sin-management, spiritual performance, and a self-righteousness that seeks to leverage control by keeping people fearfully addicted to the cancer not the cure. It’s not about Jesus, it’s about spiritually policing the world, looking for ways to lift the sins of others above the weight of our own in order to justify hate, discrimination, judgement, and the condemnation of others. It’s not about Jesus, it’s about white male heterosexual privilege and perpetuating the conservative Evangelical Death Star that seeks dominance in every sector of society. I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but with every bite deeper into the fruit of conservative Evangelical Christianity, it all becomes blatantly clear—it’s not about Jesus, and truth be told, it never really has been and probably never will.

When countless LGBTQ people are bullied, driven to depression and suicide, mocked, marginalized, and rendered as sinful abominations who need to repent, or else. When women are treated as second class citizens and a lesser vessel best suited for the kitchen, church nursery, secretarial services, sexual exploitation, and lower wages. When global warming, genuine scientific discovery, and the consideration of fresh biblical understandings of Scripture are eagerly dismissed in exchange for greed, a 6,000 year old earth, and the spiritual justification of condemnation. When homosexuality is vehemently demonized and labeled a sin despite sound biblical scholarship that refutes such claims, yet racism, supremacy, gluttony, duplicity, discrimination, greed, violence, xenophobia, and nationalism are met with ambivalence and a deaf ear. When countless conservative Evangelicals elect and continue to support a pussy-grabbing, racist, greedy, childish, adulterous, vulgar, inflammatory, discriminating, bullying, and war-driven President, please tell me, what the hell am I supposed to do?

There is no denying, your heart is good and your intentions are noble. There is no denying, good and great things have come from you and your ways of believing. Yet, when nearly everything about becoming more aligned to your creeds, attitudes, and actions results in a serious downgrade in my life where with virtually every moment I become less like Jesus, increasingly imprisoned to sin, and further nose-blinded to the stench of true evil, what am I supposed to do?

If I’m honest, I would rather hang on a torturous cross fit for the worst of criminals than continue to hang out in an evil system that, in my personal opinion and experience, has ransacked Jesus and morphed Him into a conservative Evangelical tyrant whose yoke is heavy with self-righteousness, condemnation, fear, arrogance, greed, and all things religious.

With all due respect, love, and appreciation, until I see conservative Evangelical Christianity acknowledging its catastrophic fall from Grace. Until I hear the sounds of its repenting becoming louder than the rationalization of its sins. Until I witness the full-force pursuit of conservative Christianity cleaning up its own act while ceasing and desisting from bullying and condemning others. Until I see churches jettison their spiritual club mentalities, fat budgets, and judgmental stances against the world. Until I see pastors fully reject the allure and onset of ministry fame and fortune. Until I see the LGBTQ community being extravagantly served with unconditional love, listening, protection, and true humility—putting their rights and needs above our own. Until I see ministries value and declare women as being fully equal in all things with unrestrained enthusiasm. Until I see conservative Christianity leading the way in thwarting racism, supremacy, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, violence, war, discrimination, and bullying. Until I see a faith that doesn’t encourage me to turn my brain off, reject science, require my wife’s submission, and ask me to pre-qualify people for love. Until I see the ways of Jesus becoming the ways of the conservative Evangelical faith understanding, what am I supposed to do?

Perhaps you’d like to me to sit down and shut up. Perhaps you’d like me to walk it all back and beg for your forgiveness. Perhaps you’d like me to yield to your tone-policing and soften my directness. Perhaps you’d like me to retreat into the land of silence, apathy, and self-preservation. I will not, and in the presence of evil, I cannot. Grace has made it so with a bravery that will not be contained—what am I supposed to do? For He alone has the words and ways of true Life.

I want you to know, it’s never been about a loss of love, I promise—at least not for me. There’s a special place deep within where cherished memories of our togetherness reside, and I suspect they always will. I wish things were different, but sadly they aren’t. We are all human, seeking the heart of Jesus. Which is why I pray you will know for sure, none of this has been easy—not one bit.

Yet, conservative Evangelical Christianity, tell me, what am I supposed to do when my heart has been so confronted and collided by Grace, love, and Jesus that I just can’t believe in you, as you, and be you anymore?

Not because I’m better than you, but because Jesus is so much better than this.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

No, Christian, God Doesn’t Send Hurricanes

I imagine that nothing (not even sin) frustrates God more than when people misrepresent His heart and ways—the copious amounts of time He must spend cringing at every negative dot we connect to Him.

In fact, it’s a telling gaze into the true essence of one’s faith when their default setting for filling in the blanks of God’s movement in the lives of people is always bent towards concluding that a vengeful god of retribution and punishment must surely be working behind the scenes. When a hurricane brings devastation, God is quickly deemed to be the angry white-bearded captain at the helm steering a course of divine retribution. When a child dies from cancer, God is quickly suspected as working directly and intentionally to teach a lesson or bring about some kind of better future that could not have been rendered without this divine intervention—as twisted and evil as that would surely be.

It’s high time we grow past anchoring our faith to the limited revelation of Biblical writers who personified God as the author of atrocious events and occurrences in which He surely had no part or influence. In fact, we Christians would do well to stop echoing the popular pre-packaged message of modern Christianity that flippantly declares, “God is in control.” This oversimplified sentiment, though perhaps well intentioned, falls desperately flat in the heart and mind of good thinking people who refuse to believe in a god who would author evil. In fact, God surely paces the halls of heaven in dire disgust with every characterization and conclusion that connects His fingers with the misfortunes of others.

Truth be told, it’s we who desire to be in control, not God.

It’s the religious spirit we have fornicated that gives birth to such distorted images of the Father and His ways.

It’s we who would wield such destruction in the lives of those we deem to be wayward while hoping to spiritually justify it all.

For God is the author of freedom, not the orchestrator pulling the strings of disaster.

She is Love, not the leader of tragedy.

She is Grace, not the bestower of punishment.

In fact, if you find that God always seems to be the enemy of your enemies and working calamity into the lives of the very same people your faith stands against, chances are, you have raped Jesus into a missile of your own religious targeting system. So much, that when tragedy and hardship come to those you believe to be in violation of God’s will, He is quickly deemed as being just, holy, and a clear ally working directly on behalf of your faith. Yet, when difficulty and disaster come to your doorstep or those aligned with your creeds, God is suddenly personified as being mysterious and beyond ones capacity to fully understand.

These diabolical convenient conclusions smell of a person desiring to spiritual justify hate and harm, and use God to manipulate and control others.

The truth is, God uses hurricanes to send a message of judgement as much as He sends the LGBTQ community to conservative Evangelical churches to find Jesus—He doesn’t. Better than that, Jesus is in hurricanes as much as He is in right wing Christianity—He isn’t.

In fact, every time you boastfully declare that God sends hurricanes (or any other destruction) you expose the deep dark desire within you to turn God into a divine bully—the image of one just like you.

You may desire to see punishment and misfortune come into the lives of those you deem to be the enemy—if only you were in control to make it a sure reality. But since you are not, you therefore find an evil solace in demonizing God into a deity that is not only in contriving control of everything, but works destruction and difficulty into people’s lives in ways that you can spiritual justify and support while cowardly thrusting the blame on Him.

No, Christian, God doesn’t send hurricanes.

No, He sent His Son to save us all from believing He ever would.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

For Those Skeptical Of Prayer, You’re Not Alone

Prayer—a popular part of the Christian life.

Perhaps for you, prayer is believed to “change everything.” Seek Jesus with all your heart while plugging in the right spiritual algorithms and prayer becomes a powerful tool to influence God towards your desires and unlock His. The measure to which God is working in your life is in direct proportion to your prayer skills, faithfulness, and persistence. God gives the gift of prayer as a way for His followers to open the heavens, learn of His specific will, and unlock the blessings and capacity of God to benefit your life, pursuits, and those for which you pray. From prayer warriors to prayer chains, the accessing of God, moving Him to do the miraculous, or simply wrenching a blessing out of His hands are all just prayers away for those who crack the code. In fact, don’t expect to hear much from God or land the key to His blessings if you aren’t seriously getting on your knees and prioritizing purity. Pray more and pray better, get more and live better—it’s that simple. To those who believe differently than you and do not share your same prayer experiences and vigor, a simple answer is ready to thwart their reservations—”If your prayers aren’t working, the issue isn’t with God, the issue is surely something with you.”

Or maybe for you, prayer is more complicated and mysterious. You love Jesus, feel a responsibility to pray, and sense it’s probably a good thing. But, how it works and whether it works is, at times, certainly uncertain. When things are clicking in life and all the pistons of firing, prayer feels awesome and is rendered such a powerful experience. Yet, when the chips fall and the ground crumbles from underneath, prayer is met with suspicion and secretly questioned to be a spiritual gimmick that can’t be trusted nor can the God to which it is directed. As a result, prayer becomes a kind of protection from being caught with your pants down. You do it, not necessarily believing it really works, at least not consistently, but because you don’t want to take the chance of not having checked it off your spiritual “to do” list. So, you go through the motions, just in case God’s in a good mood or it’s your special day. In the presence of your doubts and lukewarmness toward prayer, your Christian friends and church leaders encourage you to adjust your methods, strengthen your faith, give God the benefit of the doubt, be more patient, and remember “God works in mysterious ways.” Yet, when all is said and done, in your mind, if you are honest, prayer is hit or miss—perhaps even a bit misleading, cruel, and unfair.

Well, no matter where you are in the spectrum, chances are you have been taught that prayer is a transactional exchange.

That is, we are down here, God is up there—and prayer is largely how we connect with God, access His mind, and move His hand to work from there to here on our behalf. Prayer is that which bridges the gap, the disconnect, and the distance believed to be present between us and Him. It’s a kind of life-line, necessary for communication and the delivery of His will, blessing, guidance, movement, and favor from His world into ours. Without prayer, only the autopilot default interactions between God and humanity would be possible, filled with significant limits, disconnects, static, and separation. Therefore, prayer is what opens the flow of the divine spigot so that God can greater move in response to our greater movements of faith, faithfulness, and asking—it’s all transactional.

With that as the popular Christian view, no wonder why you’re skeptical of prayer and I gladly join you at the table—you’re not alone.

For if prayer is transactional in any way shape of form, then God is an unfair, callous, inconsistent, limited, humanly codependent god, and prayer is a scam and scheme of the most diabolical flavor.

For I have witnessed repentant Christ-worshipping alcoholics desperately pleading with God to be released from their addiction, only to be tortured with a life of unending vigilance and unequaled burden. I have watched humble Jesus-loving sacrificial pastors begging God for revival in their church only to be unfairly sent to the curb by the Deacon Board who is there today and gone tomorrow. I have watched good-hearted Christians ask God to bless the food on the church picnic table only to spend the next three days knee-bent at the porcelain altar. I have heard the despair of Jesus-worshipping church-attending parents who pray day and night, week after week, every year of their children’s adolescence only to see them grow up and face severe tragedy or embark on unyielding rebellion. I have observed numerous believers pray in and around their local schools, only to have them fall victim to devastating violence and murder. I have seen my fair share of faithful Christian fathers and mothers praying in tears for the cure to their child’s cancer only for their son or daughter to tragically die months later.

I know, I’ve heard it all before—God is going to use the death of their child, their addiction, their termination, or their misfortune to work out greater things in their life or that of others, and besides, He was focused on meeting their “needs” not their “wants.” Really, that’s how prayer and your god works? God is impotent to prosper people without pain, death, and difficulty, and everything He gives is predicated on stinginess? The same Jesus who fed the multitudes with a few loaves of bread can’t afford the healing of a cancer-stricken child? I know, “His ways are not our ways and His timing is perfect.” Really, for who?

If that isn’t enough, I’ve also witnessed countless people who couldn’t give a rip about Jesus, God, or their fellow human, seemingly blessed at every turn and miraculously spared of tragedy. In fact, the only explanation to their success, deliverance, and good fortune is to attribute it to the Divine, though they would surely never acknowledge it. If God truly “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” then this transactional understanding of prayer is the child making a Christmas list of hopes, dreams, and wishes with a special note of their love for Santa, all while the evil Parent has already determined what they will and won’t get—love letter or not.

For if this is the sum and true essence of prayer, and God gives it to us in hopes of convincing us of His love and goodness, then He surely has a funny way of going about it, and you are not alone in questioning it.

Thankfully, our relationship with God and the essence of prayer have been widely misunderstood—the truth is so much better.

Thank God almighty, the truth is so much better.

First, because of Jesus and the cross, there is nothing transactional about our relationship with God. Any needed exchanges and transformations between us and God were completed at the crucifixion on our behalf. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He meant it. The cross obliterated any distance, conditions, and transactional kind of relationship present between us and God. All of those are now relational relics of a covenant long past.

In fact, truth be told, we really don’t have a relationship with Jesus at all—certainly not in the conditional, transactional, distanced, and compartmentalized way we think of it. No, what we have is so much better. For we are nothing less than perfectly interwoven into the Trinity having full communion and union with God. He is us, we are Him—His life is our life, our life is His life. This is the power of Grace sealing us indistinguishably and irrevocably together with Him in a divine togetherness that is impenetrable and irreversible.

In fact, everyone you see, including yourself, is a walking Trinity in the flesh. As Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit are One, so are we with the Creator of the universe.

This is the mind-blowing cosmos-shaking reality the biblical writer Paul tasted on his lips when He penned,But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” It’s the same Grace-bomb Jesus desired to explode in our understanding when He announced, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” Notice, according to Jesus, our inclusion and infusion into the Trinity was a past reality already established in the heart and mind of God that He longed for us to awaken to in the present. This is why Paul could confidently declare we “lack no spiritual blessings” from God. For God extends His generosity as far as possible in fully giving Himself to us, to be us, with us, as us—living, breathing, walking Trinities sharing completely in everything He is and possesses.

Are you ready for this?

Therefore, the true essence of prayer must reflect the true essence of our inclusion and infusion with God.

Prayer isn’t the inferior language of a transactional, conditional, and distance-ladened relationship with God, it’s the divine language of our full union and unconditional communion in, with, and as the Trinity Itself. It’s the voice and echoes of our heart reverberating with His in the living mystical chamber of our inclusion into the fellowship of the Trinity. Prayer as a life-line is rendered woefully obsolete as He is our life, and our life is His—inseparably.

Prayer is the longings of our heart in conversation with the Father, Son, and Spirit within and all around, with every word continually recalibrating our soul to the unstoppable, fully capable, and beautiful human we are in Him, lacking nothing in capacity to face our every moment.

It’s not a pleading with a distant God to receive something we don’t already possess or He might not give, but our words, feelings, and thoughts being shaped and sounded into faith by the Trinity within and all around—convincing us that everything He is and has is already ours—self-sustained Trinities with skin.

It’s the gaze of our insecurities into the Trinitarian mirror dwelling inside and out, showing us who we truly are—whole, righteous, divine, loved, affirmed, inseparable from the Father, Son, and Spirit—popping and sparking with life.

It’s the every step we take, not into the divine or in pursuit of gaining closer proximity to His presence, but rather as the divine and as His presence in this world—this is prayer, for you are the Trinitarian conversation that changes everything.

It’s the crying of our heart that is met with the shared tears of the Father, Son, and Spirit when our divinity interacts with the insanity of an insane world.

It’s the rage of our anger that is met with the shared angst of the Father, Son, and Spirit when the Trinitarian chord of justice indistinguishably interwoven into our being is sought to be silenced and defeated by the darkness.

It’s the desperation in the depths of our soul that is met with the shared compassion and passion of the Father, Son, and Spirit within, when unfairness seeks to devour the perfect sufficiency of Grace that fills us and all things.

It’s the fierce and courageous solidarity we express that is met with the shared unyielding inclusiveness of the Father, Son, and Spirit within, when discrimination, inequality, and condemnation seeks to undermine the Kingdom of Love we are and bring.

It’s the thanksgiving we feel welling up in our hearts when the Trinity within assures us there is no distance nor lack from God to us in any way or anything.

It’s the asking, seeking, and desiring that is supplied and resolved instantly and effortless without pause, not with pithy answers, clear paths, miraculously changed realities, and instant Jedi powers, but with nothing less than an awakening to our complete seamless inclusion into, with, and as the Trinity Itself—together navigating life on planet earth as One.

No more wondering, have I been heard?

No more questioning, has God turned His back?

No more doubting, maybe I’m not good enough?

No more believing God is inconsistent, distant, callous, stingy, and downright unfair and un-trustable.

For the more we pray the more we realize, God is moving in, through, and as our lives, not because we pray, but because it is who He is and who we are with Him.

Living in the Trinity, as the Trinity, the ultimate unstoppable force in a forceful world.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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