Tag: greed

I Can’t Vote For Trump, The Bible Tells Me So

I just can’t do it.

My faith is grounded.

The reasons are stacked far too high.

You can pressure me, guilt me, shame me, and lure me with gold.

I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so.

Not just tells me, but screams it into my soul.

Starting with abortion. 

The Scripture writer declared, “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.” Jeremiah 6:14-16 

In this passage from the Bible, God is upset. The religious people of the day are exploiting harmful problems for personal, political gain and not addressing their true solutions. They act like they care, but intentionally allow the issues to remain unresolved. They outwardly insist that they desire a way forward, but inwardly they have no real desire at all. 

Trump and many conservative Evangelicals treat “abortion” the same. They outwardly declare that they are “pro-life” and detest abortion. They feverishly rant against how many “babies” are being murdered. Many make abortion their defining issue as to the reason why they support Trump. They posture themselves as wanting to make it illegal, as if that was the cure. It all looks and sounds so spiritual to the casual observer. Yet, inwardly, they have little-to-no heart for a real solution. For if they did, they would be addressing, providing for, and adopting the proven remedies that positively impact abortion. But, they don’t. 

Instead, with deceit, they want to keep the abortion issue alive because it manipulates their voters. It’s a political false flag, the last card they have in their deck. Without it, they have no drum to beat and no provocative enemy upon which to summon their troops to fight. The need to create the illusion that they lead the way against abortion while making sure it remains unresolved, that they might remain in power. 

In fact, perfectly credible and widely known statistics show that abortion rates have gone down significantly with the kind of Democratic leadership that approaches abortion wholistically and addresses the real issues that can bring real change. Yet sadly, these same statistics reveal that under Republican leadership, abortion significantly increases–that’s the facts. Yet, with Trump at their side, conservatives ”do not even know how to blush” at the truth about abortion, how they expoit it, and how they resist actual remedies. Instead, they declare “Pro-life, pro-life” where there is no pro-life among them. All in hopes of drowning the biblical voice crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the ways of the Lord to heal abortion and cure its causes.”  

Like most people, I detest abortion. I want to see it become a non-issue in our society. I want to see it remedied by real people who really care, who are willing to apply the difficult, but real solutions that work. I’m tired of people who are more interested in politics than life.

That’s why I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so.

Or, how about unrepentant sin.

Most everyone agrees that sin is bad. Even Trump supporters acknowledge that he is an overly sinful man. All of the Seven Deadly Sins listed in the Bible, Trump blatantly exudes–no question about that. In fact, for some Trump supporters, they love his rebellious spirit, even against God. Yet, right in the face of the Bible, Christians who support Trump wave their many flags of excuses such as, “Everyone sins,” “We’re not electing a pastor” or, “Look at David in the Bible, he sinned, but God used him.”

To be sure, those statements are true. However, in Scripture, there is a huge, defining difference. God never raised up anyone for leadership who didn’t first repent of their sins. Not one, period. Scripturally, repentance has always been a precursor for being lifted up by God.

Yet, without any pause in their biblical steps, for many Christians who support Trump, they believe God anointed Him for leadership and to do His will in America and beyond. However, given the fact that Trump has never repented of his sins, even when given the chance, this is a biblical impossibility. In fact, in many conservative Evangelical churches, Trump couldn’t even qualify to become their janitor without a repentance of sins, but somehow he can become their God-appointed President?

Still to this day, Trump refuses to repent. How do I know? The “fruits of repentance” that John the Baptist insisted upon in Scripture are nowhere to be found in Trump. 

“But when John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his place of baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit, then, in keeping with repentance.’” Mathew 3:7-8

Trump is undeniably the same lying, profane, greedy, mocking, bullying, divisive, jealous, arrogant, narcissistic, and hateful man he was at the beginning of his presidency. That’s not a judgement, it’s an inescapable observation. Despite the lipstick Evangelicals want to put on this pig, God is not interested in Trump’s appearances of meeting with Evangelicals, closing his eyes during prayers, randomly using Christian jargon, or waving a Bible around. Instead, He is interested in a humble, genuinely contrite heart. Sadly, a heart Trump neither has nor apparently desires.

As Jesus warned in Scripture, no unrepented, sin-ladened Trump-like tree can “produce good fruit.” 

I want divine goodness for America. I want integrity and decency in our leadership. I want humble, teachable, kind people at the helm who show strength through maturity and stability.

That’s why I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so.

But, what about the lies?

Yes, 20,000 documented lies or misleading statements since Trump was elected. Certainly, by now, he must be giving the Father of Lies a run for his money. With this blatant stronghold of deceit and lying manifested in Trump’s life and leadership, to willfully follow him, vote for him, or give him loyalty is to pledge yourself to evil, is it not? How can it be anything different?

“No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.” Psalm 101:7

“Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool—how much worse lying lips to a ruler!” Proverbs 17:7

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord” Proverbs 12:22

Most Christian Trump supporters insist that the LGBTQ community is biblically declared an “abomination” to the Lord and should never be supported, followed, or given influence in our society. Yet, these same Christians joyfully give a man, who the Bible declares as a lying “abomination,” their praise, worship, and anointing as a healthy, worthy, divine leader. How can this possibly be? For it’s certainly not biblical.

“Let me describe for you a worthless and a wicked man; first, he is a constant liar; he signals his true intentions to his friends with eyes and feet and fingers. He is always thinking up new schemes to swindle people. He stirs up trouble everywhere. But he will be destroyed suddenly, broken beyond hope of healing.” Proverbs 6:12-16

Most recently, Trump was caught lying to the American people about the severity of the  Covid-19 virus. Once again, declaring “Peace, peace” where there is no peace. In fact, long after he knew about the lethal severity of the virus he labeled it a “hoax.” Trump lied, 200,000 people have died. 

The Bible clearly teaches, nothing of God ever comes from lying. 

I want a truthful President. I want leadership that places honesty over personal gain. I want to be led by people who believe that “the truth shall set you free,” even if that truth is unpopular, difficult, or alarming. I want the Father of Lies not to be an object of political aspiration, but the subject of human and societal rejection. 

That’s why I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so.

Enter, the immigrant, refugee, and the foreigner.

No one wants illegal immigration or open borders as a national policy, regardless of how conservative Evangelical Trump supporters label the position of progressives. Once again, Trump supporters seem to relish in creating issues that aren’t real to deflect from addressing the ones that are.

If America is a Christian nation, what happens when immigration (illegal or not) happens? How, biblically, are we to treat the foreigners and immigrants among us, no matter how they arrive? What happens with refugees who come to our border? And, how are we to biblically treat those who seek asylum and new life within our country?

The Bible has crystal clear answers.

Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” Exodus 22:21

“When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as a citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt:  I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:33-34

“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner.” Leviticus 19:9-10

“As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.” (1 Kings 8:41-44)

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:5

For the Lord your God…loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing.  You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10:18-19

“The Lord watches over the strangers…” Psalm 146

“The aliens shall be to you as citizens, and shall also be allotted an inheritance.” Ezekiel 47:21

“…I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:31 (Jesus speaking)

Notice, Jesus doesn’t say they, “caged me,” “abused me,” “neutered me,” “separated me from family,” “starved me,” “made immigration nearly impossible for me,” “mocked me,” “slandered me,” or “murdered me.”  

No, he said of His true followers, they “welcomed” me. 

Sadly, this is not the policy of president Trump, nor the Republicans, nor the desires of many of his Christian supporters, even the ones who claim their faithfulness to the Bible and its infallible inerrancy. What God admonishes, they resist.  

For if you take the Scriptures seriously, the immigrant, the refugee, and the foreigner should not just be “welcomed” with sacrificial hospitality, but “wanted” as God’s own favored blessing. They should be lifted high among all others. They should be loved, protected, and provide for with the same passion we love, protect, and provide for ourselves. They are not to be objects of resentment, oppression, rejection, exploitation, or inconvenience. Rather, they should be honored as angels sent from above. They are us, and we are them. For in Christ, “there is neither Jew nor Gentile.”

I want a country in sync with God’s heart for the immigrant, the foreigner, the alien, and refugee. I want a country in step with God’s biblical, unconditional “welcome,” “want,” and generous care for those outside of our borders who desire to come, live, and find new life within us.  

That’s why I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so. 

But perhaps, most of all, loving your neighbor as yourself.

“‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Matthew 12:31

“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” Matthew 5:44

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

As a former white, conservative Evangelical pastor of 20 years, I know deeply how the system works. I’m not trying to slam the faith or the people within it, but the unbiblical evils must be chased out of the shadows, especially the hate of love among so many.

For most everything within white, conservative Evangelicalism isn’t focused on having a neighbor to love, but rather based upon having an enemy that must be hated. Fear of these enemies is the ultimate motivator, not love. They will create it, fabricate it, and inflame it. For they are nothing without fear and the hate it awakens…

If we love minorities as ourselves, they’ll take over the church and society, and we’ll lose our white church, white way of life, and white power. 

If we love black people as ourselves with true equality, true police accountability, true legal fairness, true economic justice, and true opportunity, we’ll have to admit our racism and white privilege, lose our white way of life, and surrender our white power.

If we love our wives as ourselves and remove the requirement that they must submit to us unquestionably, they’ll take over the family, usurp male power, and run the church and society into the ground.

If we love the LGBTQ community as ourselves, our patriarchal power will be dismantled, God will punish our life, and all of white, male-driven, conservative Christianity will be flushed down the drain.

If we love special needs people as ourselves, we’ll have to make an honored and equal place for them in society, overpowering our “normal” lives with inconvenience. 

If we love the least-of-these as ourselves with economic equality, free health care, free college, a living wage, social security, long-term care, and the removal of poverty, we won’t be able to fund our industrial military complex and foster our diabolical economic system of socialism for top and capitalism for the bottom.  

If we love the environment as ourselves with significant building and development restrictions, environmental controls, and clean energy standards and investments, we won’t be able to feed our insatiable appetites for economic and personal greed. 

“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.'” -Matthew 25:41-45

“He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich–both come to poverty.” -Proverbs 22:16

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” -Ezekiel 16:49

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” James 2:8-9

See, where God admonishes that our highest motivation should be the unconditional love and care for all of humanity equally, in contrast, there is truly no other fuel that drives the Evangelical Death Star than having enemies to fear, hate, marginalize, fight, and treat unequally.

This is why Trump has the addictive support and allegiance of most conservative Evangelicals. For the only thing they understand is fear, and Trump speaks their language like no other. He mocks special needs people, bullies his perceived enemies, embraces racism, fosters white supremacy, mistreats women, ignites division, worships greed, and loves himself above all things.

Biblically, this is the ultimate blaspheme of the Spirit.

To see love as the enemy.

To see fear as the friend.

To see enemies as the goal.

To fight at all cost, with lies, violence, duplicity, and sin.

To see a white, conservative, Republican, American Jesus as the way, truth, and life.

To see white, conservative Evangelicalism as the Kingdom.

I want a President with whom love is greater than fear. I want a country where to love all people equally is a friend and not an enemy. I want the character of a great person, a great society, a great economy, and a great nation to be defined by their love for all people equally, not fear nor hate. 

That’s why I can’t vote for Trump, the Bible tells me so. 

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

Conservative Christian, Here’s What Trump Really Thinks Of You

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’re stupid.

You’re gullible.

You’re weak.

You’re expendable.

My question for you is…

Is he right? 

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

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

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

Conservative 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.

Dear World, President Trump Is Not Us, Not Even Close

You read the papers, watch the news, see the tweets, and survey the online reporting—it’s all too easy to conclude that we have elected nothing less than insanity for our President, and we have become an insane people. For so long, an imperialistic arrogance has plagued the political and religious halls of our country. And now, gasoline has been poured upon the flames of our greed by the privileged power-hungry imposter of patriotism we call our President, scorching our entire nation, from sea to shining sea, with every perverted puff from the nostrils of this orange-haired dragon.

We don’t blame you for harboring serious disdain and concern for our country and its current leadership—in fact, we share it. Yet, it is our deepest hope that you will gaze beyond the political circus show that imprisons our nation and discover there are many of us who join in your disgust, tenfold. We are the resistance that is putting hand to plow in hopes of moving our country to become a nation of renewed decency, true freedom, cultural diversity, religious pluralism, social compassion, global humility, diplomatic maturity, and human equality. In fact, know this and know this for sure, Trump is not us, not even close—his character, values, attitudes, and loyalties are nothing like the marrow that fills our hearts and compels our souls.

Instead, we are a people who love creation and desire to protect our environment for generations to come, even to the curbing of economic prosperity. Our unwillingness to compromise the health of our planet for political and financial gain, we believe, is a critical value necessary for the future of all living things. Unfortunately, our President and his political allies are willing to rape our environment for personal, financial, and economic gain. To that end, he and his administration have censored climate change websites, downsized two national monuments for the purpose of oil and gas exploration, cut funding to climate and clean energy programs, and withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris Climate Change agreement. With an insatiable appetite for economic prosperity and a blatant disregard for scientific fact regarding the environmental demise of our planet, President Trump is not us, not even close.

Instead, we are a people who believe violence doesn’t solve problems nor create solutions, and the military-industrial complex of which President Eisenhower warned and President Kennedy resisted has now become a rampant driving force within our government and right-wing religious circles, resulting in the unnecessary brutal destruction of many through war, oppression, and injustice. We reject the public possession of assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons, and if necessary, allowing only for those firearms that require a separate human action to reload. We believe that the safety of our fellow human being, especially children, takes the highest priority over any political and financial allegiances to the NRA or such entities that profit from weapons or the idolization of their use. We declare with boldness and accuracy that our undeniable national gun problem cannot be solved with more guns, especially in the hands of school teachers. We recognize the importance of our Second Amendment rights, but understand James Madison’s intention to allow “the people” as a whole (a well-regulated state militia) to bear arms, not every individual. Unfortunately, our president and his political allies believe violence and its threat are the quickest and surest way to gain and protect power and privilege. To that end, he and his administration have approved a $400 billion budget that sharply increases military spending at the expense of the federal deficit and important programs that protect and serve our society, particularly the underprivileged and less fortunate. With a willingness and desire to cut or significantly reduce spending for the National Endowment for the Arts, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Housing and Urban Development, NASA, EPA, Meals on Wheels, SNAP,  USDA, Education, and Health and Human Services, Trump and his supporters show their depraved lack of human compassion for the most vulnerable among us and an addiction to power for the privileged. With a clear willingness to abandon human life for the sake of protecting and prospering white male right-wing domination, President Trump is not us, not even close.

Instead, we are a people who believe God created all of humanity equal in dignity, worth, and value as we fiercely reject all forms of racism, discrimination, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and every type of inherent demonization. Our country has long been purposed on being a sanctuary of refuge for the refugee, opportunity for the immigrant, and equal hope and dignity for the minority and the most vulnerable among us. To that end, we believe in meaningful protection from those who would enter our country for the purpose of inflicting harm. Yet, we also refuse to conclude that our desire for safety prevents nor restricts us from affording human compassion, patience, appropriate leniency, and a realistic and accessible pathway to citizenship for any and all of those who desire to call our country home. We believe that the complexity of immigration and its surrounding issues should lead, not to the creation of bigger walls and callous systems, but to the rise of a greater people whose hearts are convinced that a country that does not joyfully, graciously, and passionately extend its freedoms to all is not a free country after all. For the protection of privilege is the enemy of true liberty. Thus, we vehemently oppose the discrimination of any people group based on skin color, nationality, gender identification, social economic status, or sexual orientation. We are a country purposed on the life, liberty, and equality of all people, not just white, male, heterosexual, right-wing conservative Christians. Sadly, our President and his political and religious allies now seek to curtail the sounds of true freedom and equality from being heard and realized by those who would threaten their power and privilege. To that end, he has labeled black people as being lazy, quick to commit crimes, and unpatriotic while referring to those friendly to white supremacy as being “fine people”—all while enjoying the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan. He has referred to Mexican immigrants as criminals and “rapists,” called for a complete shutdown of Muslims from entering the United States, and claimed that 15,000 immigrants from Haiti “all have AIDS” and that 40,000 Nigerians, once seeing the United States, would never “go back to their huts” in Africa. Trump once referred to a Hispanic Miss Universe as “Miss Housekeeping” and mocked Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.” He has frozen a series of LGBTQ-friendly healthcare rules, tried to reinstate a ban on transgender people in the military, argued that anti-gay discrimination is legal, and nominated multiple candidates to the courts and other public offices who have anti-LGBTQ records. With a long and continued record of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia that clearly displays his desire to protect and prosper white, male, heterosexual power and privilege seemingly at any cost, President Trump is not us, not even close.

Instead, we are a people who believe that all religions are to be extended equal rights and protections. Regardless of ones faith, we believe no religion should be granted preference in the public square or afforded special privileges. By constitutional design, we are not a Christian nation nor do we have a state religion—period, full stop. Accordingly, with great enthusiasm and vigor, we fundamentally value, respect, and appreciate people of all religions and defend their rights to exercise their faith peacefully and to be given equal status and treatment alongside all others. Yet, conservative Evangelical Christianity has long been striving to prosper a right-wing, male, heterosexual, white-privileged, conservative brand of Christianity and to attain its dominance in all of society, even to the exclusion, discrimination, demonization, and marginalization of other religions. With a willingness to spiritually justify sin, hypocrisy, duplicity, greed, racism, bullying, violence, war, and discrimination, conservative Evangelicalism sees President Trump as an irresistible pathway to the nationalization of their religion of white power and privilege. To that end, President Trump has enthusiastically opened his presidency and his policies to the influence and partnership of right-wing conservative Evangelical Christianity. Sadly, to the privileged, the emergence of true equality always feels like war. Thus, Trump and his side-chick of conservative Evangelical Christianity have bit the apple of spiritual and political greed in hopes of subduing the greatest threat to their elitism and imperialism—true equality for all. With an overwhelming lust for dominance in all things and a diabolical partnership with the evils of conservative Evangelicalism in order to spiritually justify it, Trump is not us, not even close.

Instead, we are a people who strongly believe that women are equal to men and therefore should be granted the same rights, opportunities, dignity, and rewards—especially where men have enjoyed unfair advantage, double-standards, and preferential treatment. We believe women are not lesser vessels, inferior human beings, sexual objects created to serve the pleasure of men, nor designed to take a submissive role in any arena of life—especially at home, in society, or at the work place. Rather, women are fully capable human beings equally empowered by the divine. Unfortunately, President Trump has long exploited and abused women for personal gratification and gain. He has suggested that sexual assault in the military is simply what happens when men and women work together, stated women are inherently manipulative, credited women’s professional success to their looks, declared that childrearing is women’s work, told a woman she was disgusting for pumping breast milk, referred to a woman as a “piece of ass,” and bragged about grabbing women’s pussies. With a disgusting unapologetically sexist, predatory, demeaning, discriminating, and exploitive view of women, Trump is not us, not even close.

Instead, we are a people who firmly believe that those with special needs represent nothing less than the beauty and divine diversity of creation. In fact, we hold that all people have limitations and inabilities of various kinds, some are just more apparent than others. Therefore, we abhor any sentiments that ridicule, belittle, or devalue people with disabilities, and commit ourselves to stand in solidarity. Sadly, President Trump has publicly mocked people with special needs, exhibiting a pubescent callousness becoming of none other than the devil himself. In fact, he and his political allies are proposing legislation that will dismantle the Americans with Disabilities Act, leaving people with disabilities gravely exposed while making those who violate the ADA virtually consequence-free. With a brutishness towards human diversity and a blatant disregard for those with disabilities, President Trump is not us, not even close.

Instead, we are a people who believe economic prosperity and its benefits should not be limited to the privileged nor should our societal systems create a playing field that fast-tracks the elite and stymies the rest towards receiving the equal blessings of good fortune, hard work, and financial well-being. We aggressively refuse to settle for a hypocritical economic system that postures a greedy socialism for the top and a callous capitalism for the bottom. Unfortunately, president Trump and his allies will seemingly stop at nothing to stack the deck towards the financial benefit of white male privilege. To that end, Trump has created an economic advisory team that is devoid of women, minorities, working people, and the middle class. It is indeed, a “suicide squad” for the prospering of an elitist economy with dark money infiltrating our government and politics like never before. With an unprecedented level of financial greed and arrogance, and a willingness to spend more taxpayer money in one month on personal trips than former President Obama did in one year, President Trump is not us, not even close.

Instead, we are a people who believe that truthfulness and moral integrity are foundational for leadership, especially when endorsed by the religious. Though no person is perfect or devoid of flaws in character, we believe a humble repenting spirit is required for leadership that is characterized by trust, noble influence, and divine authentication. In that way, America has long valued presidential leadership that is, at the very least, marked by basic decency, relational maturity, and human respect. To that end, we vehemently stand against any justification, especially spiritual, that turns a blind eye towards leadership characterized by infidelity, deception, avarice, immorality, discrimination, bullying, dishonesty, and illegal pursuits—no matter how politically or financially advantageous it may be to do so. Sadly, Trump and his political and religious allies are largely devoid of nobility, moral and spiritual integrity, human decency, and the hallmarks of true leadership. Instead, their seemingly insatiable appetites for power and privilege have created a narcissistic political climate nothing shy of the lawless, nefarious, and greedy culture of the Wild West where virtually anything goes and anything can be said that benefits their agenda. The sheer frequency, spontaneity, and arrogance of our President’s lies have no precedent in American politics. In fact, with Trump, the Father of Lies has met his match as our entire country has been waterboarded by the constant flood of his falsehoods and a supporting religious right who have lost their capacity for moral discernment. So much, that they will quickly gas-light the crap out of those who would expose their evils. With an unapologetic willingness to engage in numerous acts of marital unfaithfulness, bully his disagreers, lie to the American people, and leverage every opportunity to enflame his narcissism, even to dire expense of our nation, Trump is not us, not even close.

Instead, we are a people who love creation, reject violence, and value true human equality.

We are a people who uphold religious pluralism, see women as equal, and defend the vulnerable.

We are a people that joyfully extend liberty to all, denounce personal, religious, and national greed, and abhor corrupt arrogant carnal narcissistic leadership.

Dear world, this is the America we believe in, this is the people we are.

President Trump is not us, not even close.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

America Is Not Great, And Evangelicalism Is Not Good

Countless women and men of selfless valor have died for her.

Many have given their life’s work to prosper her.

To be sure, she embodies many good things worthy of honor and thanksgiving.

Yet, no matter how many times we pat ourselves on the back. No matter how loud we cheer ourselves on. No matter our resilience to believe in brighter days ahead. No matter how vigorously we attempt to wall ourselves off from our own shameful realities. The truth that we desperately don’t want to hear is in fact the one bell whose ring could free us all, if we’d only listen—America is not great.

Privileged? Yes. Powerful? Yes. Wealthy? Yes. Domineering? Yes.

Great? No.

In fact, the foundational attributes that make greatness truly great reveal themselves to be much the opposite of who have we become. Search through the tenets of nearly every world religion, especially the very Christianity many deem to be foundational to the fabric of our country. There you will find common definitions of greatness that cast an epic dark shadow across our history, current realities, and aspirations.

Jesus, Gandhi, Buddha, and many others of divine wisdom all sit at the table and sing from a familiar chorus—”Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.

Yet, sadly these are not the sounds of our national anthem nor our ethos.

No matter how large the flags we unfold onto the playing fields of American life with jet fighter flybys and fireworks. No matter how subtly we sanitize our history to insure the ignorance and compliance of future generations to our atrocities. No matter how many “bread and circus” shows we materialize in order to deflect from the evil of our endeavors. There is a prophetic chant of life-giving truth crying out from the wilderness of our nation, “America is not great, not great at all.”

Just unravel the American scroll but a few inches.

Consider the bloody rape, murder, pillaging, and displacement of millions of native Americans for the purpose of personal and religious conquest largely driven by white conservative Christian males seduced by evil visions of a twisted sense of manifest destiny. Consider the brutal enslavement, abuse, and murder of millions of black people for the purpose of personal and religious conquest spiritually justified by white conservative Christian males addicted to their privilege. Consider the vial discrimination, demonization, and marginalization of thousands of people in the LGBTQ community for the purpose of personal and religious conquest largely influenced and orchestrated by white conservative Christian males intoxicated by power and the control afforded by their bigotry. Consider the diabolical invasion of countries, the false flagging of wars, and the killing of innocent women, children, and men without legitimate provocation for the purpose of personal and religious conquest predominantly authored by greedy white Christian conservative males whose appetites will stop short of nothing less than ruling the world.

We have long lived by the swords of spiritually justified violence, greed, and imperialism, and now we are dying by them as we bury our heads deep into the sand and numb our collective conscience with the opioids of mass denial.

Americans are 10 times more likely to be killed by guns than people in most every other country. Gun-related murders in the United States rate 25 times higher than all of the high-income countries of the world. America is ranked 16th on the world’s top 100 corruption list. We are cited as one of the top 10 most racist countries in the world. America is home to the highest number of overweight and obese people. In fact, we throw way 200,000 tons of edible food daily. 34% of billionaires are Americans, yet the US poverty level is the highest in the developed world. Americans constitute 5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy. America makes up 37% of the 1.6 trillion dollars spent globally on military expenditures. Not surprisingly, the US military budget is the largest in the world. All, while US college students face tuition rates that far outrun inflation rates with more than $1.2 trillion in student debt, an increasing middle class and elderly population that is being further denied adequate health coverages, and Social Security projections that significantly decrease future payouts. And to top it off, America, the land of the free, ranks 47th in press freedom—no surprises there.

There is no doubt, for those with eyes willing to see and ears willing to hear, we have become the bratty narcissistic child who has warped divine freedom into barbaric ferociousness. With all the world our sandbox, we have become consummate experts at casting blame upon everyone else for our problems, gas-lighting the crap out of our dissenters, and bullying anyone and anything that challenges the elite’s quest for power and privilege.

Make no mistake, in the eyes of Jesus and the common sense goodness of humanity, we are not great, not great all.

Yet sadly, we have long been blind to the evil Wizard pulling the strings behind the American curtain, and therefore, have wielded little power and success in turning the Titanic around. For conservative Evangelical Christianity is increasingly showing itself to be perhaps the greatest evil ever manifested upon the earth—nothing less than the foundational fuel behind the moral and spiritual decline of America. Yes, as hard as it is to hear and as difficult as it is to say, the very entity that has long postured itself as having the Savior is being exposed as harboring the Satan.

With a gospel that is no Gospel at all, as it actually further imprisons and entices people to sin while pimping the poison, not the cure. With a prescription for Christian living that most assuredly and directly leads to self-righteousness, judgmentalism, hypocrisy, duplicity, double standards, and pretentiousness. With a church culture overflowing with greed, consumerism, conformity, selfishness, exploitation, ministry empires, pastoral fame, and the franchising of Jesus. With a driving leadership of white heterosexual males fueled by their egos and an addiction to grandiose aspirations of ministry and cultural supremacy. With a declaration that they hold the infallible exclusive inside scoop to all things God, the Scriptures, and truth. With an overall purpose and vision of world domination that divides the planet into the converted-to-heaven and the condemned-to-hell. With a belief in a god who spiritually justifies violence, condemnation, sexism, murder, conquest, elitism, and imperialism, all under the twisted auspices of love—not to mention the worship of a white Jesus who encourages and enables personal prosperity and separatism. As has become America, conservative Evangelical Christianity is perhaps the most gun-loving, enemy-bullying, defensively postured, greedy, gluttonous, bigoted, oppressive, marginalizing, sexist, freedom-killing, narcissistic, imperialistic, militant, and controlling manifestation on the planet.

Truth be told, now like never before, America and conservative Evangelical Christianity have become two evil peas in a evil pod, creating a death cocktail that intoxicates the privileged and religious, and drowns out all others. Find me places in the history of America and our current endeavors where we have done and aspired to evil things, and there you will have found the underlying direct influence of a white heterosexual male-driven conservative Evangelical brand of Christianity. No wonder how such a deplorable president as Donald Trump could have been elected and remain continually supported.

For where in America are freedom of speech, thought, and belief most likely to be squelched? Where are women most likely to be shackled by sexism? Where is the LGBTQ community most likely to be demonized, condemned, and driven to suicide? Where are minorities most likely to be discarded and discriminated against? Where are the poor and vulnerable most likely to be exploited for personal or corporate gain?

Where? All at the feet of conservative Evangelical Christianity, that’s where.

And sadly, if this corrupted faith system has its way, it will be at the feet of all of America too.

To those who would criticize me as being harsh or overgeneralized, the truth is, these realities are just that deeply disturbing and widely infiltrating. I refuse to shrink back in fear and be recorded by history as one who became complicit out of an unwillingness to sound the alarm and stand atop the walls of humanity and shout the truth. For we are not far from a tipping point from which there will be little to no return.

No, there is no pleasure taken in shining a light into these caverns of darkness. No, not all conservative Evangelicals are willing participants or knowingly support such abhorrent things. Of course, no church, group, denomination, or faith expression is perfect. Yet, make no mistake, conservative Evangelical Christianity as a faith system is nothing shy of pure evil. And now more than ever, we are witnessing before us on a national and global scale the devastating fruitions of its hollow fruit.

These are desperate times that call for determined bravery—a bravery that begins with brutal honesty. For we have met the true enemy of all that is Jesus and all that is good—and it is us. We are the false accusers, the bulliers, the conquerers, the oppressors, the condemners, the deceived deceivers, and the exploiters of humanity and abusers of all that is God who is Love.

America is not great, and Evangelicalism is not good.

That’s the truth, and it’s high-time we wake up to it.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

No, Conservative Evangelical Christianity, This Isn’t About Sin

If there’s one message that much of right wing conservative Evangelical Christianity desires for all people to hear with crystal clarity, it’s their frequent declarations of that which they vehemently stand against and hope to convince the world they should do so as well.

Vigorously combing the sands of our culture with their high-powered sin detectors in hand, much of conservative right wing Christianity seems to revel in moments where they can point the finger at perceived sin and parade their admonishment of it. Their aggressive stances, statements, and resolutions against the LGBTQIA community, including the recent “Nashville Statement,” are some of the many striking examples. To be sure, conservative Evangelical Christianity would love nothing more than to have us all convinced their agenda is altruistically focused on what they perceive to be sin and its negative impact on people and society.

Not true.

In fact, there’s something much deeper and disturbing under the surface.

For if the focus, mission, and heart of conservative Evangelical Christianity was truly pointed towards confronting sin and its devastating effects, several things would be happening that certainly aren’t.

Conservative Evangelical Christianity would be aggressively focused on their own sin, not others’. The teachings of Jesus that call our attention to give personal sin far greater importance than the speck perceived in another, would be given top priority. The primary sounds you would be hearing from conservative Evangelical Christianity would be the continuous cries of their own repenting for the countless atrocities that have been wielded from their system and manners of faith. Statement after statement and resolution after resolution would declare their continued remorse and commitment to personal change and soul searching. Thousands would be desperately ridding their lives of gluttony, greed, judgementalism, racism, sexism, bigotry, legalism, discrimination, imperialism, nationalism, and countless double standards. Churches would be selling their multi-million dollar state-of-the-art facilities and moving to much more cost effective solutions in order to gain the resources to reach the “least of these” instead of building ministry empires and franchising Jesus. Countless churches would be begging for mercy in response to all the ways they have put the color of carpets, the style of music, their personal preferences, the worshiping of the Bible, their spiritual navel-gazing, and the keeping of traditions far ahead of extending the love of Jesus to people. The world would tire of hearing the deafening laments and pleas for forgiveness pouring out endlessly from conservative Evangelical circles—if it was all about sin.

Conservative Evangelical Christianity would be communicating far more Grace and kindness. In fact, conservative Evangelical Christians would be ascribed as undeniably being the kindest most gracious people on the planet, trumpeting the message of the pure Gospel of Grace at every opportunity—knowing and teaching that, “It is God’s kindness that leads to repentance,” and “It’s the Grace of God that teaches us to live rightly.” Sin would be taken so seriously that pure Grace would be valued as the only solution. Change away from sin would be so important that kindness and Grace would be uplifted and protected as the only catalysts to freedom. All because, nothing else works and we don’t have time to waste prescribing the cancer and not the cure—if it was all about sin.

Conservative Evangelical Christianity would be truly and completely trusting the Spirit. For the Christian calling isn’t to change people, but to love them unconditionally while the Spirit does what only the Spirit can do. In the presence of perceived sin, conservative Evangelical Christians would be doing everything possible to get out of the way of the Spirit and to doubly make sure they didn’t serve as a detriment or distraction to the Spirit’s work. They would be so sensitive to this movement in people’s lives that to potentially error on the side of thwarting God’s transformative hand through fostering guilt, shame, and condemnation, would send shivers down their spine causing them to value restraint above all else—if it was all about sin.

Conservative Evangelical Christianity would be serving and loving to the extreme. In fact, conservative Evangelical Christianity would be declared the greatest friend a person could have, especially those labeled as “sinners.” The way conservative Evangelical Christians generously served, put their needs aside, and extravagantly loved people who have been marginalized, condemned, and demonized would be so world-renowned that people might become attracted to engage in sin or experience religious oppression just for the overwhelming love and selfless serving they would receive in response from conservative Evangelical Christians. In fact, the unconditional love and serving of people deemed to be sinning would become such a priority for conservative Evangelicals, there would be little time for much of anything else to do, dream, or desire—if it was all about sin.

But sadly, it’s not, and these actions, values, and attitudes are rarely seen within much of right wing conservative Evangelical Christianity.

Why?

Because here’s the revelation of the century, for so much of conservative Evangelical Christianity, it’s not about sin and it never has been.

It’s about power—their power.

Sin has been used, abused, and fabricated into an ultimate diabolical distraction away from their primary aspiration and goal—power.

For if it were all about sin, there is no clearer example than much of conservative Evangelical Christianity’s election and continued support of President Donald Trump. It would have never happened, but it did. Why? Because it’s never been about sin, it’s always been about power.

Conservative right wing Evangelical Christianity, we’re not fooled—at least not anymore.

What’s the bottom-line allure beneath your insistence on biblical inerrancy? Power

What’s behind your aggressive necessity to continuously condemn and demonize the LGBTQIA community? Power

What’s at the center of your determination to believe in a hell of eternal torture for those who believe differently than you? Power

What’s underneath your mixed-gospel filled with conditions, loopholes, “to do” lists, and spiritual gymnastics? Power

What’s at stake behind your continued manifestation of sexism, nationalism, and elitism? Power

Power to condemn, power to control, power to Lord over, power to legitimize your existence, purpose, and actions, power to spiritually justify hate, and power to manipulate people into your fold.

No, conservative Evangelical Christianity, this isn’t about sin—it never has been.

It’s always been about power.

Thankfully, the good people of Nashville will have nothing of it, and neither will I nor countless others.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

Dear Conservative Evangelical Christian, Is This The Darkness You’ve Become?

I know, because it was me.

I’m the guy—I’m the pastor who once embodied the very evils that often become of those who sit at the feet of conservative Evangelical Christianity.

I was seduced, deceived, and wasted years of my life adopting and exuding a kind of religious hate and harm that levels nearly everything in its path. Little did I know, the person I had become while nursing at the cold steel-plated breasts of conservative Christianity. What I thought was the way of Jesus, was no way at all—a twisted gospel so sinister and callous only Grace could free my soul and break my fall.

To those who have ears, let them hear the alarms sounding from the halls of heaven—these are the evils, the darkness that will surely become of those who eat of the demonic fruits glistening as they dangle from the tree of conservative Evangelical Christianity.

It wasn’t my fault, and surely not my intention—neither is it yours, or anyone who becomes a conservative Christian. We are good people with good intention, tractor-beamed by the Death Star of conservative Evangelical Christianity.

Search your soul, let honesty rule the day—are these the dark, diabolical things you are subtly becoming?

A Person Who Makes Faith An Exclusive Club- For at the feet of conservative Christianity, “making disciples” who simply awaken to the Grace of Jesus has sadly eroded into the pursuit of “making people into people just like us.” New converts don’t become free-thinking, free-living “learners” of Jesus, but spiritual lapdogs—molded to submit and serve conservative churches, denominations, and faith constructs. Instead of falling in love with Jesus, they are led to fall in line with conservative Evangelical Christianity. Faith becomes, not a journey to be traveled but an ideology in which to be conformed. People are intentionally evaluated based on their willingness to comply and manifest the prescribed behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes. Nothing could be clearer than the lines that are drawn by many conservative Evangelicals as to who is in, and who is out—who is faithful, and who is not. Proud of this exclusive privileged club, conservative Evangelicals excel at the use of control, fear, guilt, and power to herd the cattle, milk them for all they’re worth, and brand them into the fold. There is perhaps no greater darkness than one who rejoices in an exclusive, pretentious, and people-manipulating faith.

To those who have ears, let them hear—is this the person you are becoming, one who would dare embrace a faith that makes Jesus into an elite cult of conformity and limited accessibility?

A Person Who Embraces Collateral Damage- For in the halls of conservative Christianity, people are not the primary purpose. Rather, preserving the conservative Evangelical institution trumps all other pursuits. If in this process of furthering, protecting, and extending conservative Evangelical Christianity, a person is harmed—so be it. Doctrine, power, and dominance are lifted above all things. When push comes to shove, theological submission, creedal conformity, institutional preservation, an ideological alignment are determined to be far more important than serving, sacrificing, and putting the needs of others above ones own. If, in order to preserve and prosper conservative Evangelicalism, people must die in war, sinners must be condemned to hell, disagreers must be demonized, non-conformers must be cast out, and people must suffer emotionally, spiritually, or physically—that’s just a part of the cost of following Jesus. Easy come, easy go—there is perhaps no greater darkness than one who could be so callous and ruthless in the name of Jesus.

To those who have ears, let them hear—is this the person you are becoming, one who would dare participate in a faith that allowed and fostered such religious oppression, brutality, suffering, and violence?

A Person Who Belittles Jesus and Sin- For at the center of conservative Christianity is the fundamental tenet that sin is actually manageable, spiritual growth is possible, and holiness is attainable through the exertion of human performance in concert with Jesus. Faithfulness is seen as a team effort—God does His part, but we must do ours. Sin is softened to a depravity that is within human capacity to overcome through spiritual disciplines and the harnessing of our will. Jesus is belittled into a life-partner who bestows his presence, favor, blessings, and power in as much as we spiritually perform correctly. Jesus didn’t die on the cross because sin is so sinful that only He could manage, conquer, and destroy it and give us righteousness, holiness, and sanctification as a free gift. Rather, Jesus died because sin isn’t so sinful and He isn’t so powerful, the best He could do is offer its management, conquering, and destruction through a conditional contract of mutual performance between us and Him. Therefore, at the table of conservative Christianity, self-righteousness is not only a thing, it’s the centerpiece of ones entire faith. It’s a living hell of rule-keeping, sin-managing, and do-gooding in fear and pressure to meet expectations, never truly knowing when enough is enough. But not just that, it’s the imposition of this hell onto others through the judgmental, condemning, and people-measuring attitudes that surely grow when self-righteousness is the meal upon which you are feasting to stay alive. There is perhaps no greater darkness than one who replaces Jesus and His Grace with a self-righteous, judging, fear-driven, legalistic, Jesus-minimizing and sin-minimizing faith.

To those who have ears, let them hear—is this the person you are becoming, one who would dare belittle Jesus, the cross, and the power of sin?

A Person Who Demonizes God- For in order to justify the very existence and legitimacy of conservative Evangelical Christianity, one must choose an interpretation of hell that is filled with eternal torment for the unbelieving and disobedient, and a picture of God who is willing and just in sending His creation there. Without this Dante-inspired characterization of hell and a God who is complicit in its rendering, the house of cards that is conservative Christianity crumbles to the ground. To accomplish the ultimate end of conservative Christianity where the unrepentant are damned to an eternal suffering beyond human imagination, God must be demonized into the most diabolical parent in all the cosmos and an impotent deity who loves His own creation less than the devil himself.

With the sure presence of alternative, scholarly, and faithful interpretations of Scripture that view God as pure Love. With the sure presence of alternative, scholarly, and faithful interpretations of Scripture that see Jesus as the One who overcomes the dark systems of the world for all humankind. With the presence of alternative, scholarly, and faithful interpretations of Scripture that understand hell to be an eternal existence in the presence of God, where Grace is so fully, powerfully, and inclusively extended that it becomes unbearable to the religious who would limit it with condition. With all the many faithful interpretive options, believing in a hell of eternal torment and a God who allows it, is not just a convenient interpretive choice, it’s an affront to the cross and a murdering of God. There is perhaps no greater darkness than a willing blasphemer who warms their self-righteousness around the religious bonfire of a hell-loving conservative Evangelical Christianity.

To those who have ears, let them hear—is this the person you are becoming, one who would dare to error on the side of demonizing God and misrepresenting the wondrous life and future He has secured for all people?

A Person Who Steals Life, Joy, And Freedom- For on the horizon of conservative Evangelical Christianity there is always a sin to point out, a behavior to avoid, an issue to stand against, a debate to be argued, a rule to keep, an expectation to meet, and a “to do list” to accomplish. With so much to be against, so many battles to fight, and a life lived in a constant state of trepidation—all joy, enjoyment, rest, and true surrender to the Spirit is quickly and thoroughly snuffed. The blackhole of conservative Christian living not only sucks the life out of its adherents, but many of the bystanders who get caught up in their downward spiral. Deep within, the unsettling reality constantly rears its ugly face—the truth is, you’ll never measure up, your faithfulness eventually breaks down, you’re doing more damage than good, and all you can do is pretend and hope it’s enough to fool God, others, and yourself. The freedom that you’re convinced exists because of the confines and obediences of your conservative faith is in fact the very prison in which Satan has seduced you—believing that life is found in what is in reality, a ministry of death. There is perhaps no greater darkness than a strung-out, exhausted, judging, sin-focused, and performance-driven Christian.

To those who have ears, let them hear—is this the person you are becoming, one who would dare to waste your God-adorned life bewitched by Satan into living a life that is no life at all, bringing death to every good thing in and around you?

A Person Who Has Made An Idol Out Of Their Understanding- For there is perhaps no Christian faith-expression on all the earth more insistent that their beliefs about God, Jesus, and the Scriptures possess the exclusive divine stamp of approval, accuracy, and authority than conservative Evangelical Christianity. With a kind of callous arrogance, there is little consideration among conservatives that perhaps their understandings of the Bible are not exclusively faithful and could even be flat out wrong. With cocked and loaded phrases like, “the clear teachings of the Bible,” many conservatives sit on the thrones of their biblical interpretations eagerly waiting upon anyone who would dare challenge their long-held perspectives. With interpretive blinders restricting their view, many seldom see their evil idolatry of Scripture. For if our understanding and revelation of Jesus is restricted to the Bible, we have not only fashioned the Scriptures into an idol, but have silenced the mind of Christ within us and the work of the Spirit. There is perhaps no greater darkness than an arrogant, ignorant, bible-worshiping believer who builds their house upon the sands of their interpretations.

To those who have ears, let them hear—is this the person you are becoming, one who would dare lean on your own understandings of Scripture to the squelching of the Spirit, the dethroning of Jesus, and the detriment of other people?

A Person Addicted To The Accessories- For in order to feed the fleshly addiction of conservative Christianity to “get more Jesus” and prove yourself to be “sold out” for Him, one must be constantly consuming from the spiritual drug lord that is conservative Evangelical Christianity. With every book, conference, worship chorus, building project, concert, revival, retreat, group, event, and prayer marathon, many conservative Christians see faithfulness as moving from one spiritual fix to the next. Because Jesus isn’t enough, Grace isn’t sufficient, and Love doesn’t win, conservative Christianity creates famished consumers hopelessly addicted to the accessories. Mesmerized by the latest Christian fad, worship album, book, mega-pastor, or “secret” to taking your faith to the next level, adherents to conservative Christianity are stripped of their cash, drained of their souls, and imprisoned to a life chasing after a God who is already there and a peace you can’t fabricate. There is perhaps no greater darkness than a spiritual junkie addicted to the consumerism of Jesus.

To those who have ears, let them hear—is this the person you are becoming, one who would dare turn Jesus into a corporate franchise and good people into the spiritual addicts that fuel it?

A Person Who Spiritualizes Arrogance and Greed- For it’s not enough for evangelical Christianity to worship, believe, and express their faith within the framework of the freedoms of our country. It’s not enough that they enjoy the rights that all others do under our Constitution. It’s not enough to follow the call of Jesus to serve, sacrifice, and consider others as more important than self. Instead, in every arena of life, society, our nation, and our planet, conservative Evangelical Christianity is aggressively insisting on its own way to the discrimination, the reducing and restricting of rights, and the suffering of other people. Greed and arrogance drive conservative Christianity to be a brand of faith whose ultimate goal isn’t to lead the way in serving the world, but to lead the way in dominating it. There is perhaps no greater darkness than a religious glutton whose heart and aspirations have been poisoned with the cancer of conquering.

To those who have ears, let them hear—is this the person you are becoming, one who would dare turn Jesus into a world bulldozer driven by religious pride and the desire for power?

Search your soul, let honesty rule the day—conservative Evangelical Christian, is this the darkness you’ve become?

Grace is brave. Be brave.

© 2021 Chris Kratzer

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