Tag: lies

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.

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

It’s time.

It’s time to draw the line.

Jesus did the same.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Money is more important than morality.

Power is more important than principle.

Privilege is more important than people.

Your faith brand is more important than freedom for all. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Grace is brave. Be brave. 

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

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

Conservative Christian, When Is Enough, Enough?

You say that you love Jesus. 

You posture yourself to be a divinely sanctioned dispenser and guardian of Godly morality. 

You want to convince the world that your brand of faith is the only way, truth, and life. 

Yet, with all due respect and love, from where I sit, there seems to be no line of integrity you aren’t willing to cross, no fact you aren’t willing to overlook, and no example and mandate of Jesus you aren’t willing to dismiss.

I want to believe otherwise, but when I put two eyeballs upon what’s in front of me, I find it increasingly hard not to believe that you have, in fact, become a force in opposition to the Kingdom instead a bearer of it. Perhaps, you don’t realize the evil in which you participate nor the diabolical system of faith to which you subscribe. I keep hoping to hear your fierce denouncements of what conservative Christianity has largely become–spiritually, morally, and politically. Yet, much of what I experience from you feels like a calculated silence coupled with a callous ambivalence, as if all you care about is religious power and privilege.

I can understand succumbing to the seductive deceptions of Christian conservatism, for I too  was once held captive by the tractor beams of the conservative Evangelical Death Star. Yet, how much revelation is it going to take before the religious scales fall from your eyes? 

I want that question to haunt you, to pound at the doors of your soul. 

Please help me understand, I’m genuinely perplexed, when is enough, enough?

The word “salvation” in your Bible is the Greek word, “sozo.” It actually means, “to bring wholeness to the entire person.” Sadly, it seems that your faith system has twisted and raped this beautiful word and conveniently fabricated it into a singular issue of hell and heaven. Yet, Jesus created it to be so much more and nothing of the eternity you have carefully imagined. 

Instead, His “wholeness” is about the removal of condemnation, guilt, and shame, not the piling on of it. It’s about the equality of all humanity, not the discrimination and demonizing of it. It’s about peace with God, others, and creation, not fear, violence, and abuse. It’s about the complete ”wholeness” of all with all, not separation, imperialism, greed, and conquest. 

In fact, Jesus purposed this “wholeness” for everyone, not just you or me, and not just for some distant future reality. Instead, this “salvation” is for anyone and everyone–today, tomorrow, and forever. It’s a cosmic manifestation secured for all by Jesus, unconditionally. So much, that when religious people pridefully tried to make their “belief” a determining factor in who experiences this “wholeness” and who does not, Jesus said things like, “And if any man hears my words, and believes not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” 

See, now THIS is the Gospel of Jesus–wholeness for the entire person for every person: right here, right now, unconditionally and irrevocably, welling up into eternal life.  

Yet tragically, it appears you are bringing far more brokenness into the world than you are “wholeness.” You manifest the poison, not the cure; a prison, not salvation. In fact, truth be told, at the hands of your conservative Christianity, the American dream is, in reality, the American scheme. Heaven for you, and hell for everyone else. 

The proof is in the fruit.

I mean, do you really believe that whole raping and pillaging thing by conservative Christian settlers was Jesus’ best idea as to how to bring “wholeness” into the lives of the American Indian? 

Do you really expect me to bite the conservative Evangelical apple and believe that whole lynching, abusing, and enslaving thing that was inspired, supported, and justified by much of conservative Christianity, was Jesus’ best idea as to how to bring “wholeness” into the lives of black people?

Truthfully, how in the world can you even begin to imagine that your brutal condemnation of the LGBTQ community is bringing any level of “wholeness” into their humanity? I mean, do you really think your discrimination against women, minorities, and the vulnerable is the “wholeness” Jesus has in mind? How about desperate children and families seeking asylum? Perhaps you have mistaken the “wholeness” that Jesus admonishes us to manifest for the inhumane hell your system of faith often embodies. 

With all honesty, I’m struggling to understand, because it seems to be all too clear that your understanding of the Gospel and the way of Jesus is salvation for you and enslavement for everyone else.

When is enough, enough?

Will it be the day your gay or transgender child commits suicide after refusing to live a life on the receiving end of your relentless rejection and condemnation? 

Is that enough?

Will it be when your faith is finally persuaded by the person of Jesus and not the allure of political power, your lordship over people, or the fallible pages of an ancient book?

Is that enough?

Will it be when your honesty forces you in front of the mirror where you can’t escape the truth that your conservative Christian faith hasn’t made you a better person, but only a more judging, hypocritical, restless, fearful, and loveless one whose only improvement has come in learning to fake it? 

When is enough, enough?

How many lies must President Trump tell? How many women must he sexually assault? How many racists comments must he make? Give me a number.

How many children must die in cages at our border? How many false equivalencies and hypocrisies must be rationalized?  How many actions, attitudes, and examples that are clearly contrary to the person of Jesus must be put on display? How many laws, constitutional foundations, and freedoms must be forsaken? To what level must the least-of-these be exploited and even erased?

How much white supremacy, bigotry, sexism, greed, and hate must be welcomed and adopted by your conservative Christian faith?

When is enough, enough?

To wake up your soul, to resurrect your conscience, to enlighten your mind, to release your love, to ignite your rage, and to free your life?

When is enough, enough?

I pray, before it’s too late.

 

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.

If You Didn’t Before, You Do Now : A Pastor’s Love Letter To The LGBT Community

I’m not sure how this all started. All I know is, it has.

You are of the LGBT community, I am not, but I might as well be. You have a LGBT child, I do not, but who knows what could be.

A pastor who was once lost in anti-LGBT’s ignorance and delusion, now a pastor whose fight is to bring Light to the confusion.

Your story is my story, and my story, your story. Not exactly, but yet exactly—a glue that cannot be unglued from what God has knit together. You in my heart, and my heart with you—together.

Not out of some benevolence, as if you were some come kind of mission, but out of pissed-off objection to truths that have seen their evil omission. This is a violent world, and you, a prime recipient. Blind spots here, ignorance there—religion, both the product and the primary cause. You are a beautiful creation of the Creator and the victim of a darkness that only Truth can give pause.

A terrible, disgusting injustice has been done, you have been lied to flat out, and lies about you. Poisons of the Poisoner, hate from the Hater, deceptions of the Deceiver—proof texts, and cons from the removal of context, all from the Accuser. The waterfall of evil’s river, holding you under with shame, it’s time for the captive to be set free, to awaken to your true Name.

“Beloved”

There is nothing to be changed, not a problem to be solved, nor a choice to regret—no shame from which to hide, or a mistake for which to apologize. Nothing to cure, run from, remove, discipline, or overcome. You are not a blemish solved by Grace or some sympathetic exception, but a divine creation, no less than all the others, you are God’s intention.

Tolerance is reserved for things that annoy us, acceptance reserved for that which we deem abnormal. Run from it, all of it, a spiritual veil to an empty offering. Beauty and blessing are things to be desired—you deserve to be desired and I, desire you.

From the affection of the Father, the pride of His gleam, His favor poured over—I desire you.

I want to curse dark skies with you, wrestle out depression’s claws with you. I want to battle haunts in your head, stomach rejections’s vomit with you. I want to stand in “straight” lines, dine at homophobic tables with you. I want to walk on broken family glass with you, pull back the knife in your hands with you.

I want to catch fading breaths with you, beat ignorance’s chest with you. I want to dance in parades with you, laugh to the point of peeing with you. I want to rejoice at the dawn of a new day and celebrate the God-affirmation of being lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or gay.

If you didn’t have before, you do now—a warrior defending your side, a wing under which you can reside, a protector proclaiming your innocence, an ear that hears with no pretense, a mutual tear crying, a mutual heart sighing.

You have never been alone. You are not alone. Not ever before, not now.

Let’s take this hill together, run the race together—until strength we have no more. Let’s raises our glasses, stand up to the masses, “greater is He that is in us, more are they in heaven that are with us.”

Never giving up, never giving in—we will not stop, we will not retreat, we will not be silent

No chance, no way, not ever.

This is our day.

This is our time.

This is our life.

This is our truth!

If you didn’t have a pastor, you do now—never received a love letter from a pastor? You have now.

It’s about damn time.

You deserve to be desired, and I… desire you.

Ten Lies Church Taught Me

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” Galatians 1:6-9

I love the church, and believe it is God’s manger for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to reach a broken world. Though not perfect, the Christian church is in many aspects truly beautiful.  Countless lives have been changed, transformed, and blessed by the Christian church.

Yet, the chances are strong that the modern Christian church of the last 50 years while having blessed you has also perhaps misled you. Did it intentionally lie and deceive you? Doubtful.  But, with good-hearted intentions, the church of today has often misunderstood the Gospel and given many a distorted view of the Christian life.  At least, that is my humble view.  The distinctions may be subtle, but their impact is profound on every person, including you.

As you read below, perhaps you will identify areas where you have been misled, or perhaps some of these will offend your beliefs.

In any case, I suspect these will give all of us much to consider…

1) God is angry with you.

For many of us, we have been given the impression that God may love us, but up to a point. There are limits to His love. With a wrong move His love can be diminished or withheld. He could become disappointed with you and turn His face as He keeps a close watch and record of your every move. We sing about God’s love, but secretly wonder if and when His anger will manifest. At some level or another, many people believe God is angry with them.

The truth is God loves you perfectly, completely, and unconditionally. It is not based on you or your performance, but on His nature, will, and affection for you. The simple fact that He created you, is reason enough for Him to shine His eternal love on you without restraint or reserve. God does not “kinda” love you, He completely loves you.

God is not angry with you, at all. Furthermore, the Christian life is not about communicating an angry God to people. It is not about gathering together around what we are against in the world and thumping people over the head with our religiosity.

People who feel condemned, condemn others. People who believe in an angry God, fearfully live their lives focused on what is wrong and what they are against in themselves, others, and the world.

2) Repentance means to change your ways.

Many have taught that to receive the forgiveness and favor of God, you need to stop doing bad and start doing good. They suggest that if you don’t “repent” (clean up your act) God won’t save you or give you His presence, blessing, or favor in your life.

The truth is the word “repentance” in the Bible (gk. metanoia) actually means “to change your mind.”

It has everything to do with your beliefs and nothing to do with your actions.

We receive the Gospel through faith (a changed mind) about Jesus and His love, not our performance. This is also true about our closeness with God as Christians. It is not our performance that releases God presence, favor, and blessings for our lives, but rather our faith. We are renewed in our minds, not through our behaviors.

3) You need to give your life to Jesus 

You have likely heard a call to people to “give their life to Jesus” as a means of receiving salvation, or rededication. Of course, this sounds good and is well intentioned. Yet, the truth is, before faith in Christ we don’t have a life to give Him. And after faith in Christ, the life we live is Christ living in, as, and through us.

We don’t give our live to Jesus, Jesus gives us His life. This is a huge distinction. It is not Jesus and me, it is Jesus as me.

Before faith in Christ, we are as good as dead. After faith in Christ, we are as good as Him.

We give nothing, Jesus gives us everything. Grace is attracted to our weaknesses, not our strengths.

4) The more you attend church, raise your hands in worship, memorize the Bible, pray long and hard, and serve, the more spiritual you are.

There is no mistaking the fact that we live in the age of the performance-driven Christian. We have equated actions, efforts, and accomplishments with spiritual maturity. To be sure, obedience and faithfulness are important, but they are not necessarily indicators of spiritual maturity. Furthermore, we have labeled certain behaviors as primary indicators of spiritual maturity over others. Church attendance, passionate expressions of worship and devotion, bible quoting, underlining and studies, praying, and serving in church have been highlighted as defining bench marks.

The truth is, what is seen on the outside is not always congruent to what is going on in the inside. Spiritual maturity is more about what you belief first, then how you act. And more importantly, from what foundation you act.

For many, the foundation behind their church attendance, serving, prayer, devotion, study, etc. is from a lack of spiritual maturity, not the presence of it. Out of a lack of faith and trust in the Gospel and the goodness of God, they are striving, trying, earning and performing their way into God’s favor, blessing, and forgiveness. They are trying to convince themselves of what they are not really convinced, that they can truly trust in Jesus’s performance above and beyond their own. What passes as spiritual maturity is often a result of the development of the religious spirit.

The truth is, spiritual maturity is first right believing, then right living. It’s first about the true Gospel of Grace believed, and then the Gospel of Grace lived. And here’s the kicker, you can’t have the second without the first, as much as many Christians strive and try. Spiritual maturity is a rest, not a test. It’s about trust, not trying and striving.

God is not impressed with our raised hands, attendance records, prayer sessions, studies, expressions of devotion, and feats of Christian service that come from any other foundation than resting, trusting, and believing in the Gospel of God’s grace, where God works through you and as you as you believe, trust, and rest in Him.

Peter boasted of His love for Jesus and ended up denying Him three times. Not good. John boasted of Jesus’ love for Him and ended up reclining with Him at the table. Now, which one was more spiritually mature? The one who boasted of His love for Jesus, or the one who rested and trusted Jesus’ love for him?

Spiritual maturity happens when His performance means much more to you (and Him) than your own.

5) God does His part, but you need to do your part.

The Gospel is this… God does His part, and your part is to realize you have no part, only to believe. Yet, what is often taught is… God does His part, but you need to do yours, whether it’s about your salvation or your sanctification. You just gotta love God more!

The truth is, you have no part other than to believe.

Not only can you not produce your salvation, you cannot produce spiritual fruit, you can only bear the fruit God produces in you. And that, only by faith.

Faith is what releases God to work in and through you, not effort. When we rest, God works. When we work, God rests. God does not need you, He wants you. He does not need your service to bless Him, He enables it to bless you and others. God is the author and perfector of your faith, not a partner.  As He is, so are we in this world. We co-labor with Christ as Christ in this world. It is not a condition for relationship, it is a manifestation of what He has done TO you and FOR you. What we owe Him, Christ paid.

We serve not from lack or debt, but from Grace and righteousness.

6) A believer is a sinner saved by Grace.

You have probably heard a Christian say to a non-believer, “the only difference between me and you is, I’m forgiven.” Though this is well intentioned I’m sure, it is completely false.  A believer is not merely a sinner saved by Grace.

The truth is, on the cross, Jesus didn’t just do something FOR you, He did something TO you that becomes actualized the moment you believe. A believer is no longer by nature a sinner. This is not the essence nor reality of their identity.

In the NT scriptures, Paul went through great lengths to convince and declare to us as Christians, through faith in the work of Jesus on the cross, our old sinful nature has been crucified, put to death once and for all. Now, we are the righteousness of Christ, partakers of the divine nature, no longer condemned, receiving every spiritual blessing not just as children of God, but sons, daughters, priests, and kings.

Believers are not sinners saved by Grace, but saints sustained by Grace.

If you believe by nature you are still a sinner, what will you do? Sin. If you believe by nature, you are the righteousness of Christ, what will you do? Live rightly.

Right believing leads to right living.

7) Obedience is the essence of the Christian life

It is true that in the Old Testament, under the Mosaic Law, obedience was the essence of a Godly life and the key to a relationship and fellowship with God. The performance of people is the essence of relationship with God under the Old Covenant.

But when Jesus said it was “finished” as He died on the cross and was resurrected, the Old Covenant was destroyed and the New Covenant of God’s Grace was established. We are no longer under the Law, but under Grace. If you don’t rightly divide the Word of God between these covenants, you miss God’s heart and the reality of Him and His presence here and now.

The obedience of performance that was once the essence of a relationship with God under the Law, was fulfilled and therefore rendered null and void through Jesus’ performance on the cross. There is no longer an obedience of performance, but only an obedience of faith. Jesus’ performance accomplished it all because ours could never measure up.

Obedience under the New Covenant has nothing to with our performance, but everything to do with our faith. This is the “obedience of faith” Paul spoke of in NT scripture.

Right believing leads to right living. Right thinking leads to right acting. Not the other way around.

The truth is, the essence of the Christian life is faith, not obedience. Believe rightly, and the rest will take care of itself.

Every sin in your life comes from wrong belief. Deal with the belief and the behavior will take care of itself.

Before the cross, God allowed us to attempt to perform our way to redemption and relationship with God to ultimately show that we can’t. At the cross, God gave His son to perform for our redemption and secure our relationship with God because only He can. Now, God calls us to faith in Him not performance from us, because the performance is finished, and only faith receives it and releases it in your life. There is no more performance, only God working through you as you believe and rest in Him.

8) Grace causes people to sin more

You hardly hear much of Grace in church today. If you do, it is often with a mixture of the Law (religious rules and conditions) mixed in. That’s why you hear spoken or unspoken messages like, “God loves you, but here’s what you need to do” or “God loves you, but here are some steps you need to take”

Why? Because like the Pharisees, we have become frightened, intimidated, and convicted by Grace. We fear if we teach, counsel, and preach the pure Grace of God through Christ as taught in scripture, people will spiral out of control and take a nose dive into an unrestrained life of sin.

The truth is the Bible teaches, it’s actually the Law (religious rules and conditions) that entices people to sin, not Grace. In fact, it specifically teaches that Grace is what teaches us to live rightly. It is God’s kindness that leads to repentance.

No one was ever made Holy through punishment. Yet, that is what we are often taught about God, sin, and Grace.

People who truly get a hold of Grace and the Grace message of the Gospel don’t sin more, they sin less. In fact, I would venture to go so far as to say that the modern church with its mixture of Law and Gospel has likely enticed and imprisoned more believers to a sinful life filled with shame and guilt than perhaps the world could ever do. Grace is the cure to sinfulness, not religious fear, intimidation, guilt, and shame.

A sin problem is an identity problem, only Grace through Jesus Christ shows us who we really are in Christ and heals our identities.

9) You need to ask God to forgive you.

Many people live their lives preoccupied with their sins. They are primarily sin conscious instead of being Jesus conscious.

No one should be surprised by that, that’s how church has taught them to be. They believe that they need to be on watch for sin in their life so as to make sure they confess it so God can forgive it.  The one sin they miss confessing, could be the very one that messes up everything between them and God. Or, it could be the one straw that broke the back of God’s patience.

The truth is, God has already forgiven every sin in your life, past, present, and future. Without you even asking. When Jesus said it was finished, he meant it. God’s Grace is sufficient for you. Forgiveness is something God already accomplished on your behalf as He who knew no sin, became sin, that we might become the righteousness of Christ. Faith is what receives forgiveness, not confession.

Stop asking God to do something He already has accomplished. Rather, trust in His work on the cross and focus on Him, not your sin. As you do, the enticement of sin will depart, and your sense of identity in Christ will flourish and release you.

10) The job of the Holy Spirit is to convict you.

We have been taught in church to primarily see the Holy Spirit as a kind of policeman in your life. He’s there to make sure you stay on the straight and narrow, giving you a prod of conviction when you aren’t.  Yes, we have been taught the Holy Spirit will comfort you in times of trouble, but also give you a good jab in the ribs when you cause trouble. Just hope that you don’t need His comfort when you are causing trouble, you may just get a hit instead of a hug.

To be sure, the job of the Holy Spirit in the non-believer’s life is to convict them of their unbelief in Jesus, but that is not the job of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. His role as “convictor” doesn’t carry over into the Christian’s life. To do so would merely be to convict Himself, as Paul in the NT said “it is not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.”

Rather, the job of the Holy Spirit in the believers life is not to condemn, convict or any of the alike, but rather to convince them of their righteousness in Christ.

The deepest issue in the Christian’s life is not if they are convicted of any sin in their life, but if they are convinced of their righteousness in Christ. A Christian convinced of their righteousness in Christ is a Christian who is an overcomer of sin in their life. Right believing leads to right living.

What would you add or subtract from this list?

© 2020 Chris Kratzer

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