Tag: church (Page 1 of 10)

Christian, Which Side Are You On?

Jesus loves everyone, He is pro-human.

He is All and in all.

 

He stands for everyone, but He doesn’t stand with everyone.

He takes sides. Definitive sides. Everywhere He goes, everything He does, and everything He says takes a side.

 

When Jesus invites people into His life, He seeks followers, not believers. Followers of His actions, example, and teachings. For Jesus, mere beliefs don’t change anything, actions can change everything. In fact, He scolds those whose faith is merely an exercise in creedal accession and lacking in actions that duplicate His. Their beliefs count for nothing and cost Him greatly. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the follower, not the believer.

When Jesus interacts with the poor in spirit, heart, mind, health, sustenance, and possessions, He takes care of them, defends them, and clothes them in high standing and value among all of humanity. He berates the privileged, the down-lookers, the stingy, the hoarders, the best-life living, the callous, and the wealthy, admonishing them to check their attitudes and write the checks that flip the tables of classism and privilege. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the poor, not the privileged.

When Jesus dines with “sinners,” He strips them of the label and tattoos their forehead with “friend.” When a woman is caught in adultery, He steps in and across to “Jackie-Chan” the religious haters and thrust a force field over her, disarming bigoted stones. Nobody rants against faith-phonies and legalism-pushers like Jesus. Nobody spits out religious to-do steps, sin-management, and “you must invite Him into your heart” like Jesus does. One religious lung-biscuit after another, He vomits faith-conservatism out of His mouth. The religiously condemned and oppressed are His people. The condemners and the oppressors, not so much. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the condemned, not the condemner.

When Jesus gathers His disciples for one last huddle, He tasks them with making “learners” of Him throughout the world. Yes, “learners,” not “lorders.” Learners who are free to think, free to doubt, free to question, and free to believe or disbelieve. Their learners–learners who can be learners of Him within all faiths, for He is All and in all. Those who want to use Him for political purposes, for gaining power over people, or for demanding their flavor of faith upon the masses, He resists and disowns, as they are far from being in tune with His message and mission. To any who wish to lord, colonize, or bulldoze their faith into hearts and society, He spreads donkey dung upon their self-serving path and dies on a cross so everyone will know the difference between Him and them. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the learner, not the lorder. 

When in the face of a capitalistic society, Jesus tells the controversial story of a boss who pays some workers exactly what he promised for the amount of time they worked. At the same time, he hires other workers to work less time, but pays them the same as those who worked longer. Of course, the original workers were furious, surely claiming that the boss was being “unfair” and socialistic. Jesus highlights the story to uplift the value of grace. The boss didn’t withhold blessings from the first workers, he simply graced the others. By capitalistic standards, it wasn’t fair. In the mind of Jesus, it was better than fair, it was grace. When it comes to anything, from “an eye for an eye” to “selling all your possessions,” Jesus doesn’t side with “fairness.” He doesn’t side with a “fairness” that rigs systems towards the benefit of the “haves” over the “have-nots.” Jesus sides with grace. And to those who withhold it, they receive His deep disdain. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the gracious, not the fair.

When confronted by a group of the religious who insisted that God favored them and were the center of His approval, heart, and blessings, He told them about a shepherd who had a 100 sheep, but left 99 of them to rescue one that got away. But not just got away; shoved out. The one who saw his escape as his only path of survival. The one that had been condemned, marginalized, thrown to the curb, and branded as an outsider. The one “loss” that was deemed by the 99 as the cost of being a “free” herd of sheep. So, Jesus turns over their religious calculations through a simple story to show that God actually sides with the one, not the 99. 

The one gun victim, not the 99 gun owners. The one transgender child, not the 99 MAGA bullies. The one gay teenager, not the 99 religious bigots. The one searching for the whole truth, not the 99 book banners and racist history erasers. The one raped woman, not the 99 political careers. The one falsely convicted, not the 99 hooded courtrooms. The one who can’t breathe, not the 99 cops who refuse restraint. The one medically vulnerable, not the 99 anti-maskers. The one following Jesus out of church, not the 99 in church who don’t follow Jesus at all. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the one, not the 99.

 

Everywhere Jesus is, He’s taking a side.

For the cross is the divine line drawn across the cosmos that makes absolutely clear that God does, indeed, take sides.

 

Christian, which side are you on? 

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

 

I’m So Exhausted

I’m so exhausted.

There are no other words. 

There’s no way around it, and I refuse to hide as if it’s shameful or indicative of some kind of deviance or weakness. 

So much hate everywhere. There is almost nowhere where it is not. Every crack, seam, crevice, platform, and instance. No more gowns and hoods. No more gloves or inside handshakes. No more concealment, embarrassment, brake pumping, or situational empathy. All out in the open, proudly parading in the light of day, longing for open spaces and closed minds. Zero to sixty at the drop of a hat. The curtain has been pulled back. The scab has been picked. The cancer has metastasized. The cover has been opened of the American sewer. Unrestrained, unchecked, and unabated hate of every kind, spewing everywhere. 

Sensory overload, news overload, trauma overload, opinion overload. “Do this, don’t do that” overload. Billboards, screens, “breaking news,” and algorithms raping our minds for every moment of our attention.

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer.
The oppressors keep winning, the oppressed keep suffering. Heartbreak and heavy lifting.

We’re all getting screwed. Everyone of us.

Only the few that hold all the cards are immune, drifting in yachts built by slavery ships and wooden canoes.

System after system designed to keep us dependent, compliant, and functioning just enough to serve their seven-deadly-sinning. Rats in a rat race designed by wolves. We are but cogs in the clock of those who rule our time.

The more we awake, the more they seduce our sleep. Distraction after distraction, dragging us around like dogs on a leash and spinning truth like a breakdancer on crack. 

 

Lies are approved. 

Violence is budgeted.

Oppression is focused-grouped.

Power and privilege are hoisted, legislated, and canonized as Scripture. 

 

I’m tired of face-slap debates, knees on necks, and people-erasing.

I’m tired of trucks with confederate flags flying and spiritualized patriarchy.  

I’m tired of Monday morning quarterbacking, Bible masturbating, and Transgender suicide legislating.    

I’m tired of “don’t say gay,” don’t see slavery, don’t learn history, don’t trust science, don’t question systems, don’t report abuse, don’t deny men, don’t read books, don’t resist injustice, don’t free think, and don’t believe the truth that you are truly seeing.  

 

Everywhere we turn. Every breath we breathe. It’s inescapable.

 

I’m so exhausted. 

You’re exhausted. We’re exhausted. 

It’s where we are, it’s who we are. 

It’s our teary-eyed, tired-eyed communal lament. 

It’s the closing of the blinds. The curling up into the fetal position. 

 

So, I’m listening to jazz again, returning my soul to a simpler time.

Taking in stories of enduring value, goodness, and humankind.

I’m turning off the news, the screens, and the voices wasting my time.

I’m protecting the streams stirring within me, welling up within me, and opening the door only when it’s time.

I’m resting more. Being careful more. Listening to me, more. 

To the blips on my own radar screen.

To my own pulse, presence, and people.

 

So, let’s rekindle, recalibrate, and renew together, that we might reconnect and resist all the more.

Cause I’m so exhausted, and I’m guessing you are too.

 

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

 

 

There’s No Such Thing As A Christian Nation

There is no such thing as a Christian nation.

It doesn’t exist.

It can’t exist.

Not a chance.

Not with Christ.

For Christ cannot be nationalized. He refuses the platform. He rejects any and all power established through vote, people, government, or popularity. He seeks no political party, no people group, and no established system of organization.

He cannot be colonized, weaponized, militarized, bulldozed into existence, marched down the street, hammered by a gavel, or flown over a stadium.

He dwells outside of walls, structures, and human constructs. He tears down all that would cage Him, franchise Him, leverage Him, and hoist Him upon a flag.

For Jesus lives in the margins, the cracks, the undefined, and the unconstituted. He cannot be legislated, demarcated, or plotted on a map.

Far beyond theology, denominations, creeds, rules, religion, news networks, social media, speeches, conferences, prayer formulas, mission statements, worship centers, bibles, and books.

He blesses all.

Lives in all.

Claims all… equally.

He is all, in all, and for all, or He means nothing at all.

There is no budget that can commandeer him, no army that can assert Him, no democracy that can elect Him, no dictator that can enforce Him, and no office, house, branch, or anthem that can contain Him.

In fact, you can surely be sure that any person, group, or effort to nationalize Him is not of Him. Not even close.

Perhaps it’s becoming all the more clear. The code has been cracked; the mystery has been solved. The cancer has been disguised as the cure; the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is revealed. Hidden in plain sight, Christianity without Jesus is the anti-Christ and the nationalization of this Christianity is his ultimate pursuit.

For you can nationalize hate.

You can nationalize greed.

You can nationalize racism.

You can nationalize violence.

You can nationalize injustice.

You can nationalize white supremacy.

But, you can’t nationalize Jesus.

For Christ can’t be nationalized, but all that is anti-Christ surely can.

Within every call, drumbeat, and chorus to nationalize Christianity is the screaming confession that, “we have not, believe not, and worship not Jesus.”

Don’t be fooled, all the pursuits of Christian nationalism and the establishment of a Christian nation. They have nothing to do with Him and cannot exist with Him, by Him, or for Him.

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

 

 

 

Conservative Evangelicalism, Are You Going To Kill Me Too?

The Bible is laced with stories of murder.

Christianity is laced with stories of murder.

Conservative Evangelicalism is laced with stories of murder.

 

Fact, fact, fact.

 

Everywhere you turn, it’s here, there, and everywhere; past, present, and future.

Whether intended or not, spiritual, emotional, and physical death are the wake your creeds have long created upon the sea of humanity. It’s undeniable, well documented, and refuses to be erased. Sadly, yours is a murderous brand of believing. Tough to hear, sad to say.

Don’t believe me?

Noah’s Ark, the Crusades, Indigenous Indian colonization, Black slavery, the list goes on and on. And now, your continued brutal assault on the LGBTQ community, the black community, the poor, women, minorities, and any and all of those who would stand against you and your pursuit to nationalize your white, male-driven, conservative Evangelical faith and the white supremacy it enables.

I understand, perhaps not all individuals within the conservative Evangelical faith support these pursuits, but as a former conservative Evangelical pastor of 20+ years, I know for sure, beyond any doubt, that your system of faith is a well-oiled catalyst, breeding ground, and incubator for violence of every type and kind. That’s the truth.

You know the saying, “If it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it probably is a duck.” A past of repeated, consistent behavior is a trustable indicator of the future. Patterns are powerful at predicting. One only needs to connect the very dots your faith system hopes to conceal. As your Lord and Savior Donald Trump declared, “I love the poorly educated.” 

Yes, I’m concerned. And, I wonder why you aren’t. Because now, more than ever, it seems that many among your faith system are willing to knowingly and cheerfully embrace any evil and all costs to lie, cheat, and bully your way into having democracy vanish and your dictatorship emerge, even to the spiritual rationalization of murder. 

You actually called the murder of a police officer during the January 6th insurrection, a “legitimate political discourse.”

You called the reality of school shootings a clear need for more people to have more guns, “if only the victims had been carrying guns.”  

You tell women in the inevitable event of a rape to, “lie back and enjoy it.” And don’t forget, there is such a thing as, “legitimate rape.”

You position yourself as against abortion, “every life is a sacred gift from God,” but refuse to support the solutions that actually work to remedy it. It’s as if you’ve decided that you can benefit from the problem more than the cure. 

You declare that, “America is not racist” while frantically trying to erase all the clear history that  reveals the contrary. In fact, it wasn’t until 1995, that your SBC finally admitted your supportive role in black slavery. Which, by the way, makes me wonder, how do you admit to fostering black slavery in the past and try to erase the history of it now? 

You want us to believe that you are, “pro-women” and “pro-life” but yet hold fast to patriarchal leadership and the demonizing of a woman’s choice, all while you objectify their bodies. Not to mention, all the violence and death you are quick to rationalize when it serves your purposes and decry when it doesn’t. 

Violence, murder, death, and abuse. 

Everything you touch that refuses to be white-washed and converted is subjected to your brutality. The history and present, they don’t lie.

Which leads me to wonder, are you going to kill me too?

For some, that may seem like a barbaric question. But at frequent moments in time, yours has been a barbaric system of faith. I would be ignorant not to consider the possibility. History and the present clearly shows me, it’s what you do.

So, I’m wondering. 

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, when I refuse to pledge allegiance to your so-called Christian flag, are you going to kill me too?

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, when I refuse to give up my land and property into your ownership and control, are you going to kill me too?

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, when I refuse to work in your camps and serve your plantations, are you going to kill me too?

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, when I profess to be a “progressive” and refuse to attend your churches, sing your songs, and believe your brand of believing, are you going to kill me too?

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, if I should have an LGBTQ child who I affirm, support, and empower, are you going to kill me too?

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, if I should stand between the barrel of your gun ready to shoot an innocent black man, are you going to kill me too?

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, if I should refuse to surrender my daughter into your sexual pleasure and service, are you going to kill me too?

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, when I can no longer benefit your pursuits or become a burden, are you going to kill me too?

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, when I feed the poor, heal the sick, favor the brokenhearted, proclaim justice for the oppressed, visit an adulterous woman at a well, give hospitality to a Samaritan, feed thousands for free, dine with “sinners,” proclaim that all are equally imaged in God, place my hope in Love not a nation, denounce your politics, and stand in fierce resistance to your self-righteous, evil religiosity, are you going to kill me too? 

 

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

I’m Progressive, And I’m Walking Away From “Deconstruction”

I was a conservative Evangelical pastor of 20+ years.

Racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Republican, hell-preaching, bible-weaponizing, hateful, and hurtful; that was me.

Until I came to a moment of suicide.

It all started with my collision with honesty. An honesty that wrecked me. Coming forth from within, it forced me to realize and admit that the conservative Evangelical faith simply doesn’t work. Not even close. Everything that I had devoted my life to revealed itself to be a scheme. I had memorized the Scriptures, prayed the right formulas, and performed all the to-do steps. Yet, faced with the Light of truth breaking free from within me, I was confronted with the reality that nothing in my life had become any better, only worse. My faith was a fraud. Fake, empty, and cruel. I had become a monster far removed from the example of Jesus. 

At the height of those moments of devastating inner clarity, I told my wife to find a better husband and my children a better father. I was a broken down man. Beat to the pulp of my very core. Death, seeming to be the only way out. It was a darkness beyond darkness. 

There was much that was uncertain back then, but I can certainly tell you this now, not a single “deconstruction” sage, book, or conference could have talked me off the ledge upon which I was standing. “Deconstruction” could never have rescued me, nor turned back my desire for the ending of me. It could never have given me a new beginning from what I thought was an inescapable tragedy. 

And so, I’m here; alive, changed, progressive, affirming, inclusive, and empowered. But not by “deconstruction,” but rather by something far greater.

Please hear me well. I deeply love all my “deconstruction” friends. I love all “deconstruction” people, and I desire no conflict with you. We are all taking a journey of faith. Furthermore, I’m not writing to condemn “deconstruction” or those whose lives have benefited from it. I’m just telling my story, the lessons I’m learning, and what I’m discerning.

In reality, I have never been an intentional part of the “deconstruction” movement, though perhaps many would say that my writing has played a significant role in their “deconstruction.” 

For that, I am truly honored and appreciative. 

Yet, though I have no desire whatsoever to disconnect with anybody, I find it necessary to “walk away from deconstruction” in the sense that my path is increasingly moving in a different direction from what I see “deconstruction” increasingly becoming. And, here’s why.


First, in truth, there’s no such thing as “deconstruction.”

This is what I’m learning and this is what I’m discerning.

This whole faith “deconstruction” thing, it really isn’t about deconstructing at all.

In fact, there is no such thing as “deconstruction.” White, conservative Evangelicalism has already deconstructed all of us. There’s nothing left to deconstruct.

Piece by piece, they’ve taken all that was already holy, pure, beautiful, and divinely created about you and I and smashed into pieces.

We were perfect from the beginning, affirmed by the Universe, innocent from eternity. There was nothing wrong with us, yet they whispered such accusations into our ears and we believed them. And not just believed them, we believed them all the way

We bit the apple. Sucked in by the tractor beams of the white, conservative Evangelical Death Star. With Jesus as the hood ornament of their world bulldozer, they plowed over all that is good and of God with lies, manipulation, shame, guilt, and fear.

Seduced by their evil wizardry, we became less than human. Haters, judgers, bullies, and fakes. Nothing like Jesus.

See, we don’t deconstruct, we are the deconstructed.

They told us that we’re depraved, an evil blemish at birth.

They told us that we’re lost sinners in need of the salvation of a fire-breathing God who would joyfully drop-kick us into hell if we don’t repent in all the conservative Evangelical ways.

They told us that we’re not good enough, incapable of spiritual discernment, and that we need their guidance, discipleship, steps, formulas, discipline, and accountability to draw closer to God and keep Him there, lest we err and block the gleam of God’s eyes and summon the withdrawal of His favor.

They told us that if you are a woman, you’re hopelessly inferior to men and incapable of the same leadership, discernment, value, and authority as they.

They told us to prequalify people for love, abandon our LGBTQ children, and believe that they have the one and only true faith—a faith that God exclusively approves and ordains to take control of all of society, at any cost.

They told us that the Bible is the perfect Word of God, church is our home, the world is the enemy, they know all the answers, and we should never think or believe without them.

They told us that Jesus is a warrior, God is a Republican, progressives are going to hell, and racism is best served with “thoughts and prayers.”

They substituted trust with fear, Grace with conditions, inclusion with exclusion, divine affirmation with divine wrath, equality with privilege, social justice with selfish selfishness, peace with violence, integrity with hypocrisy, the Gospel with self-righteousness, and Jesus with the devil.

They deconstructed us all like Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck, spiritually policing the life out of us.

Make no mistake, everything that white, conservative Evangelicalism touches is deconstructed into ashes.

For we are the deconstructed. 

We are the deconstructed.

I repeat, we are the deconstructed.

It’s not something we do or can do, it’s who we are. 

That’s why there is no “deconstruction,” there can only be “resurrection.” And the difference between the two is cosmos-quaking and life changing. 

It’s resurrection. 

It’s the moment, like Lazarus in the tomb, that we hear and respond to the call of Jesus screaming from within our soul to, “get the hell out of there!”  “You’re alive, you’re good, you’re whole, you’re holy, you’re secure, you’re saved!” “Always have been, always will be!”

It’s resurrection.

The moment that the Light within us breaks free and pushes away the stone, kicks over tables, and shakes the conservative Evangelical dust off our feet. 

It’s resurrection.

Yet, like Lazarus, there’s a holy and sacred process of being unwrapped from the conservative Evangelical burial clothes that long entombed us and covered from our eyes all that was and is good about God, ourselves, and the world around us. 

It’s resurrection, not deconstruction. 

One bandage, one shroud at a time. Unraveling the layers of brainwashing, condemnation, and hate that strangled us.

It’s resurrection, not deconstruction.

One lie, one half-truth, one fear at a time. Peeling away the twisted images we believed about God, ourselves, and all of humanity.

It’s resurrection, not deconstruction.

The revealing and reclaiming of our true self, the good that was already there and already enough. 

Scales being resurrected away. 

Learning to breathe anew, learning to believe anew.

Learning to love anew, learning to be loved anew.

Learning to know ourselves, love ourselves, and be ourselves anew.

It’s resurrection, not deconstruction.

We were always beautiful, always loved, always affirmed, always included, always secure, forever and forever.

It’s resurrection, not deconstruction.

For we once were the deconstructed.

But now, we are the resurrecting.

The difference is night and day, and that’s why I’m walking away.

Second, “deconstruction” is just another spiritual treadmill.

It’s hard to say, but I believe it to be true. 

Please hear me well, yet again. I deeply love all my “deconstruction” friends. I love all “deconstruction” people, and I desire no conflict with you. We are all taking a journey of faith. 

Yet, I can’t deny nor hide what I’m seeing. So much of “deconstruction” has largely become conservative Evangelicalism wrapped in shiny new “progressive” paper. It has all the Evangelical components. Do this, don’t do that. Study this, read that. Try this, try that. Attend this, pray for that. Quote this Scripture over here, use this commentary over there. Listen to this podcast here, go to this conference there. It’s all so Evangelicky. 

Much of “deconstruction” isn’t about working out a God-driven “resurrection” from within that reveals and reclaims who we are, who God truly is, and seeing the world anew. Instead, it’s about a human-driven effort to “reconstruct” ourselves, “reconstruct” our faith, and “reconstruct” God. What is Jesus rolling away Evangelical stones from around our soul, “deconstruction” has turned into a human effort to tumble down walls through “better” exegesis and “better“ creeds.

It’s just conservative, Evangelical, performance-driven, behavior-management, belief-conforming religion with progressive make-up plastered on.

Truly, I mean no disrespect and desire no harm, but the term “deconstruction” reduces a holy, sacred, miraculous, and Spirit-driven process into a journey of human effort, steps, and measurements. 

In fact, I have never had so many people reach out to me in tears when they began to see their journey away from conservative Evangelicalism as a sacred-centered “resurrection” and not just a human-centered “deconstruction.” For them the pressure was removed, the divine was revealed, the process was given room to breathe, and real, lasting change could emerge.

The difference is night and day, and that’s why I’m walking away.

 

Third, many progressive “deconstruction” voices have turned a holy, sacred, and miraculous process into a monetized program of profiting sages pimping their books, talks, conferences, and ministry empires.

It’s all so triggering. It’s like going backwards instead of moving forward. Not just going backwards, but even worse, it feels like a falling from Grace. 

I’ve even heard the idea of starting a “deconstruction” worship service. 

What’s next, a “deconstruction” Bible?

I’m reminded of Joshua’s “stones of remembrance” described in the Old Testament. It is said that God instructed that they be placed to remind the people of Israel entering into the Promised Land to never go back to the slavery of Egypt. God knew that some would actually not be satisfied with the Promised Land and would either want to return or try to have one foot in both worlds. 

Sadly, I fear this is already happening. Much of “deconstruction” has taken on the empire-building, franchising, profiteering, legalism, churchiness, and religiosity of Egypt and brought them into the progressive Promised Land of “resurrection.”

The telling of “resurrection” stories has been polluted with ”deconstruction” to-do steps.

Listening to the mind of Christ within has been polluted with intellectualism, “new” biblical scholarship, “woke” exegesis, and the wisdom of wise “deconstruction” sages. 

The self-revelation of “resurrection” has been polluted with the self-improvement of “deconstruction.” 

Jesus’ statement, “You have heard it said, but I say unto you” has been polluted into a “deconstruction” call to somehow read the Bible in front of you better, instead of a call to read the mind of Christ within you better. 

One reveals the real you through “resurrection” and the other tries to change you, through you, through your “deconstruction.”

For me, the difference is night and day, and that’s why I’m walking away.

 

Fourth, it’s easy for Evangelicals to dismiss and condemn “deconstruction.”

Why? Because it’s filled with human effort. And human effort always and eventually breaks down.

It’s so easily criticized, and perhaps, rightly so. Why? Because it all boils down to their opinion versus ours. Their interpretation versus ours. Their understanding versus ours. Their beliefs versus ours. Their mind, versus ours. Their scholarship versus ours.. 

Yet, how much more difficult is it to discount, disarm, and disqualify a person’s “resurrection?”

How much more difficult is it to discount, disarm, and disqualify a community’s “resurrection?”

A resurrection that begins and ends through and with the power of God alone.

A resurrection that is ”worked out,” and not “worked on.”

A resurrection that flows like a river welling up from within, not franchised like a business.

A resurrection that is an experience, not an exegesis. 

It’s far more difficult, I would say.

Because the difference is night and day, and that’s why I’m walking away.

But not without leaving some suggestions for the “deconstruction” movement, if you would allow me…

1) Consider not calling it “deconstruction.” 

2) No more steps, only stories. Tell your story, and let that be enough. 

3) Refrain from enabling “deconstruction” consumerism, conformity, and gated community.  

4) Take the needle out of your veins of becoming or being a “deconstruction” sage and building a ministry empire.

5) Be a team player. Value all voices, not just your own.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.


 

 

Maybe This Is The Real Reason You Believe Being Gay Is A Sin

So, you believe homosexuality is a sin.

I get it—it’s where you’re at and what you uphold to be true.

Maybe for you, you’re not exactly sure why you subscribe to that position, other than the countless times you have been told, “That’s what the Bible says.” You want to be loving, accepting, and viewed as a compassionate follower of Jesus, but numerous admonitions from fellow Christians declaring that “loving people doesn’t give license to their sin” seem to give you no other alternative posture than one of judgement and distance. Sure, you’re familiar with a few of the verses typically used to condemn homosexuality and those of the LGBTQ community. Since childhood, your mind and heart has been seated around the traditional male/female relationships of Scripture as being the only God-approved model for marriage, gender, and sexuality. But, that’s about as far as your thinking has taken you. Deep down, it’s a complicated issue, and quite honestly, you’re not always sure what you believe. Even though you know some LGBTQ people and perhaps might even call them friends, moments of questioning your beliefs or considering LGBTQ-affirming views are quickly summoned to a much more comfortable, default position in your faith, “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” For you, you’re hoping it’s that simple, and if it’s not, it’s just going to have to be.

On the other side of the coin, maybe for you, it’s all so perfectly crystal clear. There’s nothing to reconsider, nothing to learn or unlearn. It’s a slam dunk, a biblical no-brainer. Not only have you sat under the popular chorus, “This is what the Bible says,” you proudly and boldly sing it from the mountain tops. You believe to know every verse relevant to the issues, even citing original Greek and Hebrew words and context. In your mind, heart, and faith, all things LGBTQ are a deplorable, disgusting affront to God and an offensive abomination before the Lord. Maybe you have never held the sign (or maybe you have), but “God hates fags” largely fits hand-in-glove with the bottom line of your faith understanding. Sure, if they repent, change their ways, and adopt your faith views, there’s hope. However, until that day comes, “ground and pound” is your perceived divine mandate to wrestle the LGBTQ demons out of our culture and country. No matter the consequences or costs wrought by your anti-LGBTQ angst and rage, you are “right” and everyone else will always be “wrong”—even to the exclusion, excommunication, and potential suicide of your own LGBTQ child, sister, brother, parent, congregant, or friend. In your mind, any other way of seeing things is to author confusion where God created infallible clarity—and you, the God appointed vessel of His authority and truth. If a transgender person were to commit suicide and your secret (or not so secret) conclusions to this tragic event were displayed on your church’s worship screen, it might read something like, “They had it coming to them, for the consequences of sin is death.”

Well, no matter where you are on the spectrum of believing homosexuality is a sin, I have an honest question.

Are these really the true reasons you believe being gay is a sin? These are the case “evidences” you really want us to attribute to your actions and beliefs?  “The Bible says so…” “God hates fags…” “Rethinking my views or considering new information is unnecessary…” “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” These are the foundational, core kind of sentiments that make up the sum, depth, and rationale of your thoughts, words, deeds, and creeds regarding one of the most important issues of our time affecting countless God-imaged souls?

With all due love and respect as I truly want to understand and believe the best, if I’m honest, the ruby-slippered Dorothy in me is having a hard time swallowing that pill. In fact, pull back the curtain of your confessions and I wonder if there’s perhaps a deeper Wizard behind the smoke and mirrors of your anti-LGBTQ declarations—and it’s not God, the Bible, or spiritual laziness—in fact, I think it just might be… you.

Maybe, just maybe, the real reason you believe being gay is a sin, is because—you want to. When it’s all said and done, it’s not anybody else’s voice or choice—it’s yours.

In a Christian church-world where there are over 30,000 different denominations who read the very same Bible you do, and come to thousands of different conclusions on major theological issues. In a Christian church-world where elective misunderstanding and ignorance are seen as legitimate positions instead of serious problems. In a Christian church-world where there are countless, growing numbers of biblical scholars with the same love for Jesus, submissive heart for Scripture, and tenacity for Truth as you, who see the Bible as affirming LGBTQ people, not condemning them. Maybe, just maybe, the real reason you believe being gay is a sin is because—you want to. It’s not the Bible saying so, it’s you saying so. In fact, if one can be faithful to the sacred Scriptures and yet come to an LGBTQ-affirming view  instead of condemning, demonizing, and abusing a whole God-adorned population of humans, why wouldn’t you? Maybe, just maybe, the real reason is because—you don’t want to.

In a Christian church-world where many apparently have little-to-no true fear of having a sin lifestyle of blatant, chosen gluttony and greed that potentially even compromises their eternity. In a Christian church-world where virtually none of its participants would ever dare construct nor hold up the sign, “God hates fatsos.” In a Christian church-world that largely has little-to-no restraint in looking the other way regarding its own sins and strongholds. In a Christian church-world where nearly 50 percent of its married adherents end up divorced, and even the “unbiblical” ones are given a free pass. Maybe, just maybe, the real reason why you believe being gay is a sin, isn’t for fear of condoning it or leading one into hell, but simply because—you want to.

In a Christian church-world that is known for justifying and feeling oh-so-good and righteous about itself through the condemning and demonizing of people they conveniently deem to be sinning differently than they. In a Christian church-world that largely needs a sin-battle to fight in order to justify its purpose, worth, validity, energy, and existence. Maybe, just maybe, the real reason why you believe being gay is a sin is because—you want to. The self-righteous perch from which doing so seems to afford you exclusive divine favor, license for anger, and spiritual justification for hate is just too convenient to step down from. Watching porn on Sunday afternoons never seemed so benign as after a rousing, gay-condemning sermon from Romans 1 and 2. It’s a drug only Grace can disarm, but you refuse the “reparative” cure. Why? Because—you want to.

In a Christian church-world where community is often centered around the conformity of beliefs and behaviors. In a Christian church-world where in many of its expressions you are either “in” or “out.” In a Christian church-world where to believe differently is often met with a kiss of death—discipline, rejection, marginalization, termination, or just a good-ole’-fashion greeting line of cold shoulders and religious spankings. Maybe, just maybe, the real reason why you believe being gay is a sin is because—you want to. The fear of being convinced of LGBTQ-affirming views is just too strong, and the perceived ramifications, just too costly. When the rubber meets the road and you hear the Jesus-call to put the suffering of others above your own—you simply don’t want to.

See, at the end of the day, when Toto draws the curtain open, the scheme that was concealed becomes the truth that is revealed—people don’t choose to be LGBTQ, but they sure do choose to believe whether it’s a sin or not.

In fact, I find it interesting how many Christians proudly proclaim to be pro-life and wear it as a badge of faith-honor, all while at the same time they are certainly pro-choice about the Bible—determined to protect their freedom to use every interpretive knife they can contrive to abort countless people into hell, murder their souls with condemnation, and yank them out of the womb of God’s Grace and affirmation, slicing and dicing them with sin-labels and discrimination—all while singing songs to Jesus with a self-righteous, anti-gay smirk on their face.

When all the smoke clears, perhaps the real puppeteer behind your anti-gay beliefs finally emerges—it’s you. You don’t “have” to believe being LGBTQ is a sin—you want to. When all is said and done, the pain of affirmation has been determined to be greater than the pain of discrimination. The call to take up our cross and follow Jesus, perhaps, is a cost you have concluded is too costly to endure. The ego-humbling, faith-reconstructing, soul-examining, human-loving, life-transforming, and courage-requiring invitation of Jesus to put down the nets of religion for the sake of “the least of these” is finally met with what is perhaps the real sum and truth behind your response—”I don’t want to.”

Maybe, just maybe, this is the real reason why you believe being gay is a sin—it’s not God, not the Bible, not spiritual laziness, nor moral purity or responsibility.

But rather, all because—you want to.

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

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Check out Chris Kratzer’s book getting rave reviews… Stupid Shit Heard In Church.

 

 

If White, Conservative Evangelicalism Gets Its Way

The evil is real, the danger is ever present.

This is not a test, this is not a drill, this is not a time for rose-covered fields of denial.

Honestly, I’m not sure we understand nor grasp the weight of what’s at stake.

If they play out their faith system, if they believe it all the way, if they fully act on the aspirations of their ideologies, do we really comprehend what the world would look like when conformed to their true desires?

I’m sounding the alarm.

I’m blaring the siren.

Hear this and hear it well, if white, conservative Evangelical Christianity gets its way, I fear that our future is more terrifying than we ever imagined.

Simply observe the many horrible, pivotal moments in history where white, conservative Evangelicals (as a whole) have actually won their desires. Closely examine their commonly held beliefs and the diabolical future those beliefs envision. 

Or, just consider this, the most prized accomplishment of conservative Evangelicalism in all of its history was the election of Donald Trump. Not just the election, but their continued support.

Yes, their most celebrated and esteemed accomplishment… Donald Trump.

How can this possibly be?

For history undeniably reveals that his character, priorities, and leadership clearly created a world where the wealthy became richer, the poor became more vulnerable, greed was expanded, bullying was further desensitized, corruption was protected, white privilege flourished, elitism was unleashed, minorities were further marginalized, racism was energized, sexism was normalized, the LGBTQ community was increasingly demonized, and right-wing Christian conservatism was increasingly prioritized. 

Light was exchanged for darkness. The everything of the Son of God was traded for the everything of the Father of Lies.

Sadly, this is not by chance, and certainly not by error.

White, conservative Christians violently and illegally attempting to overthrow the government and murdering innocent people… not by chance and not by error.

Blatantly lying about the integrity of the election of President Joe Biden… not by chance and not by error..

Inventing and inflaming conspiracy theories about Covid-19, vaccines, and preventative solutions… not by chance and not by error.

Turning a blind eye to police brutality against black people… not by chance and not by error.

Mocking disabled people… not by chance and not by error.

Discriminating against women… not by chance and not by error.

Refusing to adopt proven solutions to remedy abortion… not by chance and not by error.

Falsely and intentionally demonizing socialistic solutions that would benefit society while deceiving the public into supporting socialistic systems that benefit the wealthy… not by chance and not by error.

Hoping to erase our white, American, genocidal history of torturing, enslaving, abusing, incarcerating, exploiting, and murdering indigenous, black, brown, and Asian people for the sole purpose of creating and keeping a white, conservative Christian, patriarchally-ruled nation… not by chance and not by error.  

In fact, among many conservative Evangelicals, these realities are joyfully received as nothing less than welcomed outcomes. For conservative Evangelicalism has long resulted in the spiritual justification and activation of some of the most evil atrocities ever committed on planet earth.

That’s why, never before has there been a more urgent time for us to connect the dots.

Conservative Evangelicalism teaches its followers that faithfulness to God leads to financial prosperity, wealth, and a blessed life. 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, devoid of financial abundance, or even physically unhealthy it is likely that some aspect of your faith life is askew. As “works” are an essential aspect to the establishment and keeping of their relationship with God, their primary solution to issues of poverty, struggle, and lack in people’s lives is simply to “work” harder. Ministry and Christian “success” are largely defined by the increase and accumulation of “more”—more money, more power, more influence, more privilege, and more blessings for them. In the world of conservative Evangelicalism, more is never less, more is always more—even at the expense of others. In the end, enough is never enough.

Conservative Evangelicalism sees people primarily as spiritual projects for the ultimate goal of conversion into and obedience towards their faith system. Even helping the poor and hurting are largely a means to a faith-serving end that builds their kingdom with more converts and satisfies the obligations of their faith. Poor, hurting people are ultimately helped only to the extent in which it somehow serves the Evangelical faith system and appeases their ego. In fact, within conservative Christianity, poverty and hardship are often deemed as a result of unfaithfulness and wrong belief. Everyone and everything is a means to an end. Even expressions of care and concern are ultimately distractions away from their ultimate pursuit—power and privilege.

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. No evil is out of the question if it enables the furthering of their dominance over all of society. 

Conservative Evangelicalism largely portrays Jesus as a white man. Not just a white man, but a white man who is a Republican, gun-owning, violent, racist, bigoted nationalist who is wrapped in the American flag and ready to kick ass. 

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 that 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. Their capacity to auto-tune the Scriptures to serve their agenda is their ultimate method of controlling people and spiritually justifying their evil. Blind obedience to their authority, the denial of science, a life of submission, and the turning off of one’s intellect and free thinking are all signs of faithfulness and spiritual maturity.

Conservative Evangelicalism portrays a god who is justified in killing his enemies, destroying entire groups of people, and sentencing disobedient non-believers to a hell of eternal torment. Conveniently, in their minds, God has and will call his faithful people (them) to, at times, do the same.  

So, 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 future 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 on 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.  

Alarmingly, this powerful show does not require a suspension of current reality to understand its message, but instead, grants us a true gaze into the future of what would surely be if conservative Evangelicalism continues to get its way.

In fact, what should be most terrifying to us all, is this—if conservative Evangelicals were asked to publicly denounce the actions and faith confessions of the oppressors in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” I suspect many would find little of which they could accurately object to 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. Brutal injustice, hypocrisy, murder, lies, spiritual abuse, nationalism, and the addiction to power and privilege, it’s already here. 

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 they 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, the “Handmaid’s Tale’ is what the world will look like. 

Keep your soul vigilant, ignore not the signs around us.

Hear the call of Jesus upon your heart, “Take up your resistance and follow me.”

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

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

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

From Jesus To The LGBTQ Community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are not the forsaken.

You are not an abomination.

You are not a sin that needs reformation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

My dreams are made of you.

My dreams are made of you.

My dreams are made of—

You.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

The Apology Every White Christian Needs To Give To Black America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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