Tag: church (Page 1 of 9)

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.

Conservative Evangelical, Why Isn’t Jesus Enough For You?

Conservative Evangelical, I’ve been watching you, especially lately. Your political loyalties, your social desires, your faith declarations, your life values, and your national pursuits. I read your posts, observe your gatherings, and hear your passions. You’re putting a lot of energy into a lot of things. 

Your church buildings look amazing, along with all the specialized lighting, sound, and staging. The way people raise their hands in the air, dress their best, and give their emotions to the moment, it’s very impressive. So many of you are working so hard—at church, at home, in the public square, in politics… everywhere. There’s a lot of moving parts to your faith and faithfulness. Do this, don’t do that. More of this, less of that. Quite honestly, I don’t know how you pull it all off. Evidently, there must be a lot at stake to warrant so much effort.

Which, in all honesty, leaves me wondering, what’s really behind it all? 

Is it really just about Jesus?

Then why such urgency, angst, and determination?

Is there something you’re afraid of? 

Is there something missing?

It all leaves me with a question that actually rises from the confessions of your own faith… 

Why can’t Jesus be enough? 

For example, why do you so desperately need President Trump? It’s pretty obvious that you do. I mean, the way you give him your unwavering loyalty, excuse his unrepented sin, and vehemently defend him at all costs, it’s as if you’re deeply worried that your brand of faith won’t go on and your desires won’t be granted without him. 

All of which, leaves me wondering… isn’t Jesus enough for you? You know, the One you declare as having the Name that is above all names and the Author and Finisher of your faith. You don’t fully trust Jesus with your future and that of your brand of believing? You need a man to save it?

Or, what about the Bible, why does it need to be inerrant? It’s pretty obvious you believe it does. I mean, they way you wield it around like a weapon for battle to chop down your disagreers and defend your brand of faith, it’s as if you’re convinced that you are powerless without its inerrancy and incapable of spiritual influence. 

All of which, leaves me wondering… isn’t Jesus enough for you?  You know, the One who holds all the stars in His hands. Isn’t He powerful enough and fully capable of any needed persuasion? You need the Bible to be perfect in order to make the Perfect One effective?

Not to mention, the children—the children who come to our border for refuge, the children placed in cages, the children separated from their parents, the children taken off food stamps, the children in poverty, and the children who are disabled? It’s pretty obvious they’re unwanted. I mean, the way you are willing to take selfies with black and brown children when on “mission” to other countries, but see to their denial, abuse, and rejection when they knock on the door of your Inn. It’s as if you’re determined to limit the amount of black, brown, and impoverished people finding sanctuary, equal rights, and shared freedom and blessings in “your” country. 

All of which, leaves me wondering once again…isn’t Jesus enough for you? You know, the One who, by grace, freely gave you life, salvation, and meaning. Hasn’t He given you more than enough to share? You can’t live in a world where everyone is as valuable, blessed, free, and empowered as you? I think Jesus calls that the Kingdom.   

Or what about minorities? You know… women, black people, brown people, homosexual people, Transgender people, and the disabled. Not just them, but all the people who are different, act different, and believe differently than you. It’s pretty obvious they’re below you. I mean, the way you condemn, marginalize, discriminate, abuse, exploit, deny, displace, reject, and even murder, it’s as if you’re desperately afraid of losing control, privilege, power, and prosperity. Is that what you mean by your, “family values?”  

All of which, leaves me wondering… isn’t Jesus enough for you? You know, the One who you declare to be in control, all powerful, and admonishes, “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” Do you not trust Him to give you every good thing without your needing to deny the same for others? You think that in order for you to have, there must be have-nots? Is that the true essence of your gospel?   

I could keep on going, but the list simply keeps repeating. Name just about everything and everything your faith brand stands for and is pursuing, and my question still keeps persisting… isn’t Jesus enough for you?

By the looks of all that captures your heart, ambitions, and actions, He clearly isn’t. For if He was, you wouldn’t have to be so demanding, determined, desperate, demonizing, and insistent. 

So, with all due love, respect, and seriousness, please help me understand, what’s missing that Jesus isn’t supplying? What is it that you want that Jesus isn’t supporting? What is it that you desire that Jesus is denying?

Perhaps, it’s not your faith that you fear won’t go on without Trump, it’s your power and privilege.

Perhaps, it’s not the inerrancy of the Bible that you’re worried about losing, it’s the control and manipulation of others that you’ll lose without it.

Perhaps, it’s not the faith and lives of children that are your “mission,” but rather the preservation of your prosperity, white privilege, and “Christian” priority that reflect your true purpose and passion.

Perhaps, it’s not reaching people, dealing with sin, and ushering in the Kingdom that invokes your allegiance and faithfulness, but rather making sure true equality and freedom for others never emerges to the extent that your white, male, heterosexual, conservative Christian power, privilege, prosperity, and supremacy are in any way diminished, disturbed, or inconvenienced. 

It’s been over 2,000 thousand years since the birth of Jesus, and yet, here we are years later, having traveled a long global history of white, conservative Christian violence, abuse, greed, and the pursuit of dominance and power over people, and now asking the same question yet again…

Conservative Evangelical, why isn’t Jesus enough for you? 

Perhaps it’s because, like it was for Herod it is for you, it’s never been about Jesus being The Way, it’s rather about using Jesus to get your way and never allowing Him to get in your way.

 

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.

When Evangelicals Get To Heaven

At the center of conservative Evangelical theology is the centerpiece of heaven and hell.

For them, nothing is more important. In their minds, hell is God’s eternal punishment for those who don’t respond in faith and faithfulness to the death and resurrection required of Jesus to save humanity from God’s wrath. With unending, unimaginable, and unbearable torture, fire, and pain, for Evangelicals, hell is the holy solution God creates for those who don’t respond properly to His unfailing love.

With this nearly singular focus on matters of eternity, conservative Evangelicals have been quick to first ensure their place in heaven, and then meticulously define those who will be sent to hell. Additionally, as they run their fingers through the Bible, they have been sure to carve out what they believe are the God-sanctioned requirements that must be met for one to truly have “saving” faith. From Calvinism to Arminianism, there are many different stances among conservative Evangelicals in regards to what “true” salvation involves. Yet, congruent in all of it is their focus on who’s in and who’s out. 

Inconvenienced and frustrated by what they see as a filthy, sinful, God-hating world, most conservative Evangelicals can’t wait to get into their heaven. For them, it’s a place absent of all their enemies, disagreers, problems, and cares filled only with people who believe, act, and look like themselves. Therefore, in the meanwhile of their earthly sufferings, the planet is theirs for their unlimited taking, prosperity and priority are entitled to the faithful, and people are projects to be converted into their believing that they might further create an earthly existence unto themselves of the like-minded and like-believing.

This is their heaven, devoid of diversity, disagreers, doubters, and the people who believe, act, and sin differently than they. It’s a walled-off place accessible only to the spiritually elite who have ascended to a certain set of beliefs and behaviors. Rewards and privileges are granted to the most faithful, and worship is joyfully extended to the god who sends, even from among their own, the unbelievers and rebellious to burn in hell. 

Yet, I wonder what their reactions might be if they aren’t rewarded with the heaven of their dreams. What would become of the expressions on their faces if eternity with God turns out to be an experience far removed from their expectations? What if, in heaven, the tables are turned on all the things they had hoped for and, instead, much the opposite is manifested and celebrated? What if the divine One isn’t as forever angry, cruel, and opposed to all the things they are?

Oh, the unconditional love of God in heaven that will forever feel, to them, like raging wrath as they are confronted with an eternity that is carpeted with an all-inclusive diversity of every size, shape, color, creed, sex, identity, spectrum, and orientation.

Oh, the torture that will forever plague their hearts as their eyes can’t escape a heaven where Jesus is robed in reams of rainbowed cloth, the sky snows glitter, and unicorns rule the fields.

Oh, the white hot coals that will forever heap fire upon their heads as they traverse a heaven that is ruled by pure Grace and overflowing with the presence of all their enemies happily reclined in the lap of Jesus.

Oh, the blood boiling rage that will forever consume their souls in a heaven where gay marriage, Transgender people, religious pluralism, women pastors, and racial equality dance in the streets while Jesus and George Michael spin the tracks.

Oh, the frustration that will send their bodies into uncontrollable tremors in a heaven where God is revealed to be genderless, colorless, flag-less, and gunless. 

Oh, the shame that will break their knees and press them into the fetal position in a heaven where the least of these are the greatest, the first are the last, the sinners are the saints, and the condemning, bigoted Christians are exposed of their folly. 

Oh, the fits of rage that will forever melt their skin from the inside out as the halls of heaven reveal the countless, earthly evils to which they subscribed and committed in the name of Jesus.

Oh, the embarrassment that will forever haunt their conscience in a heaven where God is Love, Grace is the Gospel, all are saved, the Bible is under, and Jesus is shown to have been over all and in all, all along—every person, every creed, and every place.

Oh, the dismembering dismay that will forever disarm their every faculty in a heaven where the clouds give constant witness that those outside the church were the most genuine in faith, the doubters were the strongest believers, the religiously oppressed were the favored, the nonbelievers were the included, and the questioning and resisting were the faithful.  

Oh, the psychotic mind-attacks that will forever terrorize their thoughts in a heaven where trumpets blast with crystal clarity as God parades the socialistic liberal, the desperate immigrant, the late-night McDonald’s worker, the foreign-born convenience store owner, the elderly Walmart greeter, the brave single mother, the caring stay-at-home father, the mentally ill, the disabled, the homeless, the uninspired, the undecided, the wandering, and the wayward as equal to all others, pure reflections of the Divine, and special recipients of the gleam in God’s eyes.     

Oh, what a terrible eternity that will be.

In fact, when Evangelicals get to heaven, for them, I’m thinking it’s going to be hell.

 

“Grace is the celebration of life, relentlessly hounding all the non-celebrants in the world.”   -Robert Capon

“The flames of heaven will be hotter for some than the flames of hell could ever be”  -Dallas Willard

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, I want to save you. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How can this be?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus says so, and you know it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isn’t it beautiful?

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

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

We can truly love and be loved in return.

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

There, I said it.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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

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

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

It’s subtle.

It’s illusive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What about you? 

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

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

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

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

Is that not all true?

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

What’s really at stake for you? 

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

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

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

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

And that’s just the Bible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

But sadly, even that’s not all.

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

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

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

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

I did. 

Before it was too late.

I hope you will too.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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

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

Dear White Conservative Christian, I See You

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

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

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

Twenty one years of life and ministry with you.

White conservative Christian, I was you.

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

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

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

I see everything, so afresh, so anew.

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

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

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

I see you, I really do.

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

I see you, I really do.

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

I see you, I really do.

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

I see you, I really do.

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

I see you, I really do.

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

I see you, I really do.

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

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

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

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

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

The question is, will you ever see me?

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

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

Better yet, will you ever see Jesus?

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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

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

We Are Trump, All Of Us

My disdain for him is equal to, if not greater than yours. So much of what he stands for, I simply detest. Not a day goes by where I don’t find his actions and attitudes unbecoming of a human being, let alone the President of the United States of America.

Yet, when I search to connect the dots that led to his rise in power. When I dissect the pathway of disease that has led to his infection. When I retrace the erosion that allows such a lapse of discernment, I must be willing to look into the mirror.  

To be sure, conservative Evangelicalism and the safe harbor it affords to countless evils, has led the way in opening wide the gates to Trump’s rule and reign. This is obvious and well documented.

Yet, perhaps what we fail to see, is that in some way, great or small, we are all the incubator from which “Trump” has been birthed into the world—yes, progressives included.

We say that we detest his gross inappropriate sexual immorality, yet we sexualize our young children with provocative attire, seductive poses for social media, and the competitive message that beauty is centered upon one’s outward appearance.

We say his lying is of pathological origins fit for the Antichrist, yet we internally exonerate the daily fibs and exaggerations we tell that are deemed necessary to get ahead in life, or at least, take hold of our share. Somehow, in our minds, those are innocent, not unlike the little-white-untruths we insist are developmentally healthy for our children to explore.

We say that we are “progressive” and therefore nothing like him, yet we roam social media waiting to devour our own at first sight of their departure from our own personal ideology of progressive conformity.

We say that he has foolishly walled himself off from wise counsel and only gathers those around him whose loyalty is blind and without ethics, yet we huddle in our exclusive progressive tribes centered on much the same tenets, positioning and using the people around us for our benefit and “progressive” aspirations.   

We say that the way he undermines his competition and enemies with vicious tweets and callous decisions is of the devil himself, yet when another walks into our own territory of influence, we guard our platforms at all cost, willing to send to the curb anyone who dares to get in the way of our spotlight and progressive empire building.

We say we are a people for the “common good,” yet we can’t find enough in common or good with each other to pause from our repeated self-destruction long enough to come together and unite our votes for the defeat of blatant tyranny.

We say his vacations are a rape of the American taxpayer, yet we refuse to muster the short amount of time and energy it takes to get up off the couch, educate our brains, and vote.

                                                                                                                           

Every time we make beauty something that can be accomplished through powder, poses, and privilege, we are Trump.

Every time we place promotion, progress, or personal gain above truth, we are Trump.

Every time we subscribe to a legalism that affords us the exclusive right to judge, condemn, and marginalize, we are Trump.

Every time we position and use people in our lives for the fulfillment of personal aspirations, we are Trump.

Every time we sabotage and demonize those who would share in our spotlight or thwart our empire building, we are Trump.

Every time we eat our own and render people as disposable, we are Trump.

Every time we turn platforms into pedestals, we are Trump.

Every time we choose ignorance, complacency, and comfort over integrity, responsibility, activism, and the welfare of humanity, we are Trump.

We can bend, twist, and hide behind our excuses, but the cold hard truth is this… in some way, great or small, we are Trump—all of us. Not because we are simply imperfect humans like him, but because we all have been bewitched by a self-centered American spirit that has turned the very best and most sacred things of life into commodities of personal gratification. People, power, platforms, church, politics, and even Jesus: nothing has been exempt from being fashioned into a flag to wrap around our own selfish pursuits.

As hard as it may be to hear, Trump is a product of ourselves, we are not immune to culpability—all of us.

Therefore, it’s high time we stop pointing to the many obvious reasons why Trump is a thing, and start looking to ourselves as an integral part of the problem and likely the only part of the solution. Not simply because we believe to have better ideas, theologies, views, or values, but because at the end of the day, we are better humans.

For our most important vote will not be in the 2020 ballot box, but in our daily choice to actually live against the very things we say we are against.

Until we do, there will always be a Trump.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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

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

I’m Sorry Church, My Hope Is Gone

I’m done.

It doesn’t matter what flavor—conservative, progressive, or something in between.

I wish it were different, I wish it wasn’t true.

I’m taking the card out of the deck.

Not playing, not going to be played any longer.

This is where I exit.

My need for you has healed, my trust in you has been educated, my respect for you has opened its eyes.

I’m sorry church, my hope in you is gone. And I’m thinking, this time, it’s gone for good.

It’s not that I ever worshipped you or let you take the place of Jesus. Stupid me, I just believed that “church” could truly be a place or a people where loving well is the highest value and exercised commodity. Yet, as inclusive, loving, and accepting as even the most beautiful ecclesial wrapping paper may appear, underneath, there is always a lurking spirit of Empire building at the heart, overshadowing all the good people. Slice it, dice it, cut it wide open—at the core, I’m sorry, I’ve tasted and seen, and it isn’t good.

I deeply wish my experiences proved otherwise, I wish I could come to another conclusion. I’ve tried—even after all we have been through, I’ve held out hope. But I can’t turn off what plays out right in front of me over and over again. What we have in so much of American Christianity is beyond simple human error, imperfection, or oversight, but a callous lust for personal gain and all the blatant disregard for people and integrity that comes with it.

Who has the fanciest facilities, the latest technology, the most inspiring worship, the best sermons, the slickest branding, the most followers, the highest attendance, the greatest programs, the fastest growth, the largest book sales, the most podcast downloads, the most speaking engagements, the coolest look, the best theology, the purest doctrine, the strongest scholarship, the most attended events, the highest influence.  

                                                                                                                           

Church is big business—progressive or conservative.

Sadly, its darkened fruits dangle clearly in the wind, for those who have ears to hear and eyes to see.

We have become experts at gathering in exclusive tribes with shared creeds as the inside handshake. Cool pastors lunch tables where few are ever allowed or invited. Ideological forts where conformity is the bridge to the door and the key to enter in. Celebrity leaders dressed in the latest fashions with polished appearances and presentations to impress and entice the masses. Little pink spiritual houses for you and me, as far as the eye can see.

No real place for the misfit or the in between. The prophet, the questioner, or the one lagging behind. No bigger tables, just bigger egos wrapped in inclusive spirituality and sprinkled with unconditional love glitter. Looks so good on the outside, but tastes of death in the middle. There is always something more at stake, a deeper lure underneath, than loving simply to love, and that being enough–period, end of sentence and sum of aspiration.

Perhaps it really is true, there is nothing new underneath the sun. All is meaningless, especially what church has become, conservative or progressive.  

Good men, women, and children rarely win, even within, of all things… church. Instead, to survive and stay the course, your hands must become callous, your heart quickly attuned to self, your ears oblivious to honesty, and your mind unshakably focused on more, better, and further. These are often the drugs one must take, the humanity within that must be turned off, and the integrity that must be subdued to survive and participate.  

“But not my church” is the pre-prescribed opioid that keeps things from ever getting better. Surely, not that blogger, not that pastor, not that speaker, not that author, not the group, not that leader, not the person in the mirror.

The bar my family attends for food and drink, the cubicles in which I work to live and breathe, the nature in which I roam, the secular in which I live, all are far more spiritual, holy, and pure, at least for me.  

I’ve cursed you, spit at you, praised you, believed in you, and died a thousand deaths for you. But now, as I follow Jesus towards the anew He is creating of me, I must leave you as I acknowledge the lamp going out deep inside of me, not because darkness has won the day, but because Dawn has come and awakened my entire being.

Today, I resign from being a guinea pig in the emotional and spiritual slaughter house of gaslighting Empire Christianity.

It’s all yours—take it, have it. 

I’m done. Never coming back. Never looking back. 

I’m sorry church, my hope is gone, because my life is finally beginning. 

I’m breathing for the first time, and with all due respect and love, it’s oh so good.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

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

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

 

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

(Photo: Sid Hastings/AP)

You did it.

You voted them out.

Not just gay marriage and queer pastors.

The entire LGBTQ community.

Closed hearts, closed minds, closed doors.

Your message is loud and clear.

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

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

You voted them out.

The entire LGBTQ community.

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

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

You voted them out.

The entire LGBTQ community.

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

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

You voted them out.

Not just gay marriage and queer pastors.

The entire LGBTQ community.

Closed hearts, closed minds, closed doors.

Your message is loud and clear.

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

The entire LGBTQ community.

Closed hearts, closed minds, closed doors.

Your message is loud and clear.

Now, I hope you will consider mine.

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

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

But, what if you’re wrong?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imagine, just imagine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What if… you’re wrong?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

However, if you’re wrong…

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

You have labeled as sin, that which is not.

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

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

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

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

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

All, in the name of Jesus and biblical faithfulness.

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

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

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

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

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

 

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