Tag: love (Page 1 of 7)

To My Evangelical Friends and Family : I’m Sorry, I Just Can’t Reach You

I’m sorry, I just can’t reach you.

Trust me, I so wish that I could.

I get it. I truly do. You’re an Evangelical. White, conversative, and perhaps still a Trump supporter. I’ve been who you are, I was a conservative Evangelical pastor for 22 years. So, I understand completely. I’ve seen, heard, and lived it all.

But now that I’ve walked away from it, every bit of it, I guess I wonder why you haven’t too.

When I was entrenched in that system of faith, no one could pull me away. Not reason, not tragedy. Not family, friends, or even truth. I was a captive, totally submitted to the conservative Evangelical Borg. Yet, all by choice, if I’m honest.

You think I’ve lost my mind. That I’ve fallen away. To you, I’m now an enemy of sorts, a project to turn back to your beliefs and ways.

You ask, “what happened to you?” You quote the Bible at me. You hold the flames of eternal torture over my head. Silent treatments here, silent treatments there. You condemn to hell nearly everything about me, perhaps even praying for my demise. Apart from a complete return to your acceptance and approval, it seems that in your mind, there is nearly nothing worthy about me. I’m lost. A heretic. A child of the devil. A “woke,” “baby killing” reprobate.

No matter what I say, no matter how I feel. No matter the Bible verses I point to, no matter the changes in my heart that have set me free. No matter the hurt you cause, the people you isolate. No matter the suffering you create, the destruction you rationalize. No matter the science, history, or facts. No matter my patience, no matter my pleading. No matter the tears in my eyes, nor the pain in my face. Nothing seems to get through. I’m not searching for perfection, I’m just searching for some humanity.

Yet, like the orange that can’t be pulled from the tree, no matter the force, because it isn’t ripe, I can’t reach you, and to keep on trying only breaks me and emboldens you. Lord knows, I’d do anything.

So, I’m standing with the ones you reject. I’m extending the love you refuse to give. I’m embracing the God that frustrates and offends you. I’m giving voice to the ones you oppress. I’m chasing the evils of your beliefs out of the shadows.

I’m finally breathing for the first time. I’m hearing the Jesus within me for the first time. I’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is thoroughly good: non-violent, inclusive, affirming, equality bringing, and unconditionally loving. I’m proclaiming good news to the poor, freedom for the imprisoned, and Light in the midst of darkness. For me, God is All and in all, inseparably and irrevocably. The Gospel in purest form. The earth is my sanctuary, humanity is my community, and love is my worship. And, that’s all I need to see, live, and believe. Finally, I’m alive and being me.

So, if I seem distant, it’s because I’m stewarding the Light within me. If I offend you, it’s because I am finally speaking. If I don’t participate in your attempts to change me, it’s because I’m at peace with who I am, and I’m finally realizing Jesus is too, and always has been.

I’m sorry, I just can’t reach you. Only an honesty from within yourself, ever can. And that is what I pray.

.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

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

What people are saying:

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

“This book is changing  the world.”

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

 

A Letter From Jesus To The LGBTQ Community

I love you,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I know the hurt, the skin melting pain, the soul stripping floggings of condemnation. When I was ridiculed and rejected by My own bigoted family—there I was thinking of you. When I cried over Jerusalem, begging to be understood and simply accepted—there I was living as you. When I was in the garden, on bended knee, begging for divine reprieve, my cup flowing over with doubts and hopelessness—there I was scared, just like you. When I was left to die on a religiously conspired cross, murdered in body, mind, and spirit, crucified to death by ignorance and hate, and even good people who remain silent and unengaged—there I was dying as you.

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

You are not the forsaken.

You are not an abomination.

You are not a sin that needs reformation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

My dreams are made of you.

My dreams are made of you.

My dreams are made of—you.

 

Love,

Jesus  (he/him/she/her/they/them)

.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

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

What people are saying:

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

“This book is changing  the world.”

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

 

Christian, Which Side Are You On?

Jesus loves everyone, He is pro-human.

He is All and in all.

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Everywhere Jesus is, He’s taking a side.

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

 

Christian, which side are you on? 

.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

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

What people are saying:

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

“This book is changing  the world.”

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

 

The Jesus Born Gay

At times, there is silence for a reason as some things are best said by being left unsaid.

That there is no mention of Jesus’ sexual orientation in scripture is perhaps reflective of a profound, cosmic reality that one’s gender nor orientation are a prerequisite for determining that which is of the Divine. To the dismay of much of western Christianity, Jesus wasn’t purposed on being imaged into a caucasian, American, heterosexual, Republican, gun-owning, blue-eyed, conservative male with flowing locks of brown hair. Rather, He is the surest example of what it truly looks like to simply be fully human and fully rested in the Divine.

Was or is Jesus gay in terms of sexual orientation or behavior? I don’t believe so—but it certainly doesn’t matter. For being gay is about so much more than mere sexual orientation or gender identification. It’s about being a beautifully created soul adorned with eternal extravagance imaged in the splendor of the Creator. It’s about bearing the arduous task of navigating their unique, human experience through the minefields of a brutally inhumane world that would quickly ransack those who break religious molds while clawing to strip them of their divine value, identity, purpose and worth. Beyond the gravity of sexuality and orientation, this is the deeper, ultimate essence of the plight intrinsic to being gay. It’s the quest to be fully human and fully alive while sweating beads of blood in determination to find one’s way and hold onto one’s inherent dignity and God-delighting in a spiritually nefarious, different-condemning, and different-killing world.

In this way, Jesus was surely gay. 

For under a single glimmering star in a stable shadowed by the dark of night, Jesus is the gay senior citizen, the gay adult, the gay teenager, the gay child—all of them born gay from the very beginning in the manger of God’s delight. Not by choice, but by the Hands of the One who creates beauty itself and all beautiful things. Affirmed by only a few wise to the ways of heaven. Born into a war of ignorance and the lifelong battle to be valued for your divine worth.

In the face of being ostracized and derided by His own Nazareth family of bigots determined to misunderstand Him, Jesus is the gay man and the lesbian woman who live in the constant, gruesome torment of coming out, being known, and fully living their God-designed personhood—a kind of hell on earth of daily accusation and rejection God never weaved into the tapestry of what anyone should endure.

Or crying over Jerusalem, begging for His heart to be understood and His people to receive Him, Jesus is the parent who lies awake deep into the night, tirelessly fighting in solidarity for the defense, worth, dignity and affirmation of their LGBTQ child. God has surely blessed them, but the religious deem His gift a disgrace. Jesus, not just the parent, but also the LGBTQ child born innocent by the Spirit’s authoring, pursued by the cunning Herods of our world whose sure desire is to seek out and kill them, erasing them from existence.

There, praying in the garden of Gethsemane, begging for divine reprieve, Jesus is the lesbian teenager, trembling in terror as she cuts her arms and threads the noose, convinced that giving up is the only way out, and the only sure resolve to the pain that is before her.

In the outer courts, confronted by the religious through the evil venom of their creed—backed into a corner, a pointed finger pushing at His chest questioning His true identity, Jesus is the transgender person whose truth is too truthful for the ignorant to hear nor see.

Then, from the confines of Pilate’s Praetorium where flogged beyond recognition, to a savage, religiously-conspired cross where nailed, pierced and left to die of internal suffocation, Jesus is every LGBTQ person ever murdered in body, mind or spirit—crucified to death by religion, bigotry, and hate, and even good people who remain silent and unengaged.

In all these ways, Jesus is surely gay—not just gay, but One of us all for whom religion has demonized, illegitimized, and crucified in fear.

For Jesus didn’t die just for humanity, He died as humanity—all of it. Transgender, black, white, gay, straight, rich, poor, conservative, progressive—the haters, the lovers, the lifted high, the beaten low, the Christians, the Muslims—every type, color, creed, and flavor.

Everywhere there is religious oppression, everywhere there is bigotry, discrimination, or injustice—where there is the branding with labels or the withholding of Grace, Jesus is there in Person and as the person being deprived of that which has been given to them freely and irrevocably from the goodness of His Name.

In this way, if you can’t handle the notion of Jesus being gay then you aren’t fully understanding the essence of Jesus being you.

To be you or to be gay is essentially one in the same—it’s what it means for all of us to simply be human, created in the likeness, image, and favor of our Maker, living in a religious world that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy all that His hands have made, with special sights on that which the religious deem inferior or against the grain.

Run your fingers through the strands of an LGBTQ soul, then through mine, or that of any other, and soon you will declare the only declaration that can be truthfully rendered—that none are better, only different. For the sooner we see Jesus in and as the people around us, the sooner the lenses of God’s affirming view become the windows through which we see ourselves and all humanity.

If Jesus isn’t gay then Jesus isn’t you, and if Jesus isn’t you, then the incarnation is a fake, and your resurrection a certain uncertainty.

No one chooses to be born LGBTQ, but in Christ Jesus, God has chosen to be—not just One of them, but He even does the unthinkable and dares to be One of you.

Yes, that’s right.

Jesus is gay, Jesus is me, and Jesus is even…

You.

 

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.

 

Thankful For Nothing

In a world of everything, I am thankful for nothing.

I know, it feels like everything—that thing that you did…

You made a mistake, you screwed up—words you said, choices you made, plans you created. The moment got the best of you, it wasn’t supposed to happen that way—everything spiraling out of control. The crack on the ceiling became the whole house falling. It was bad—really, really bad.

So now, you run, but you can’t run fast enough—the medication, can’t medicate deep enough. Your success, can’t be successful enough. What you want to let go, won’t seem to let go—the guilt, the shame, the cost, the regret. At times, it’s all so overwhelming. What you did, it feels like—everything.

In your mind it’s haunting you, certainly this is all reason for His doubt, reason for His questioning—reason for your one-eye-open living. Will you get the ax? Will God storm out of the heavens like a drunk out of a bar—put you in your place under an angry thumb? Is this the time you pushed Him too far?

I know, it feels like everything—that thing that happened to you…

They stole your innocence, betrayed your trust—said terrible things, did terrible things. It wasn’t fair, wasn’t right—completely wrong in every way—stealing things that can’t be replaced. The hurts run deep, straight to the arteries of your soul—you’ll never be the same. Tragedy has many faces—some innocent, some not. You weren’t suppose to be alone, but now you are—the chair where they sat—now empty. No greater pain you have ever felt than being without, being alone—once loving in the physical, to now love in memory only.

So, you run, but you can’t run fast enough—the medication, can’t medicate deep enough. Your success, can’t be successful enough. What you want to let go, won’t seem to let go—the bitterness, the anger, the revenge—the hurt, the loss, the emptiness. What happened to you, it feels like—everything.

That’s why, in your mind, the questions pound you—is He real, was He asleep at the wheel? How could this ever happen under a God who’s supposed to be so loving? Beating His chest, crying every tear, feeling hung out to dry—perhaps these doubts should have been doubted long before. What you thought was a trust now seems so un-trustable.

I know, it feels like everything—what you are doing, who you are becoming, the life you are living…

The real you, the fake you, something in between—your secret thoughts, insecurities, desires, dreams. Passions in your heart—if only to love and be loved in return—declared of value, overflowing with worth. Fully accepted—never to die with your song still inside. You’ve got one life—air to breathe, breaths to take. Am I good enough? Am I like-able, love-able? Do I qualify “as is,” or something different? Status, labels, “likes” on Facebook—I don’t want to waste anytime. Fit in here, fit in there—maybe have no fit at all. Am I getting this right? Doing this well?

And so you run, but you can’t run fast enough—the medication, can’t medicate deep enough. Your success, can’t be successful enough. What you want to let go, won’t seem to let go—the insecurities, the uncertainties, the voices in your head—the naysayers, fair-weather players—the push to be seen, heard, affirmed, believed.

What you are doing, who you are becoming, the life you are living—it feels like—everything.

That’s why, in this world of everything, I am so thankful for nothing.

For nothing can subtract from God’s love for you. Nothing can change His mind, reduce His delight—kink the garden hose of His favor drenching you.

No mistake, no miscue, no atrocity—nothing of you can edit anything of Him.

All decided, once and for all—God’s perfect, unconditional, unrestricted love. Always has, always is, always will be, for there is nothing more pure and more sure than God’s heart—His love, His affections for you—nothing.

There’s nothing for Him to reexamine, to revaluate, to retract—nothing from Him withheld, reserved, restrained.

Nothing.

Nothing else is God but love—perfect, eternal, unconditional, unlimited love. All, poured out for you, for me, for everyone.

In a world of everything, I am thankful for nothing.

For nothing can improve upon the you that God has already finished—there’s nothing of blemish, nothing of sin, nothing of darkness in you within. Nothing to work on, nothing to strive for, nothing to earn—you are whole, complete, righteous, forgiven, forever pure. It’s nothing of what you do, only everything of what He did—there’s nothing left to do, only everything to believe, in Him

It’s not about what people think—not what people say. Not the height of your attitude, not the depth of your gratitude—nothing half empty, nothing half full. Nothing of your religious effort, believing, or work—nothing at all.

Nothing to fear, nothing of which to be ashamed, nothing of tarnish upon your name.

You are righteousness, when you get it all wrong—you are success, when failures go on and on—you are whole, even as it all unravels to the ground.

As He is, so are you—nothing less than the beauty of Jesus—nothing.

In a world of everything, I am thankful for nothing.

For nothing is the sum distance between you and God—He is beside you, within you, all around you, as you. Nothing closer, nothing thicker, nothing more real than the realness of His hand holding yours—you have never been alone.

He is your strength when yours is nothing—He is your guide, when your sight sees nothing. He is your hope, when hope seems like nothing.

Grace is awakening to the hug God has always had around you—a Grace that nothing can remove.

So, in a world of everything, I am so thankful for nothing.

Absolutely… nothing.

For in the nothing, I find everything for which to be thankful…

Nothing.

 

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, Asking For A Friend

Dear white conservative Christian,

I truly want to honor your beliefs and actions by increasing my awareness of what motivates them. I recognize that, according to your Scriptures, Jesus is to be the focal point of all that you are, believe, and do. In fact, it’s my understanding that Jesus summed up what is to be the core motivation for any of His followers with the command, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Apparently, for Jesus, this is the essence of what “loving God with all your heart” looks like in real Christian living. 

So, in deep respect of that tradition, I’m trying to see things from your perspective and understand the thought process behind your faith, particularly as to how white conservative Christians have lived out that faith in the past and how you’re living it out now—socially, politically, and spiritually. 

Everyone deserves to be heard and understood. 

I’m simply trying to get to the heart of the matter. 

I want to hear you. 

So, I’ve got some questions. Yes, a lot of questions

For example, when a large group of white, primarily conservative Christians decide to crusade against their perceived enemies through a self-declared, “holy war” of massive, bloody violence and murder… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” 

I’m trying to understand.

Or, when white conservative Christians decide to portray a historically brown-skinned, Middle Eastern Jesus solely as a conservative, American, white-skinned man like themselves… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” By personifying Jesus as the personal mascot of your own race, country, and specific brand of believing, is that what you believe loving your neighbor means? 

Yet again, I am trying to understand.

When a white conservative group of Christians decide to declare the Bible as infallible and their interpretations of that Bible as exclusively and divinely authoritative over and against all others… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Admittedly, I’m no superhero Christian, but doesn’t that seem more like trying to place oneself over and against your neighbor, instead of loving them?

Or, when a white conservative Christian, for example, like theologian John Calvin, decides to have his theological disagreers punished, maligned, and even murdered (in the case of John Calvin, he had them burned to death)… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” I’m truly curious, how is that white conservative Christians, even now, can subscribe to the theology of a man who apparently missed the highest admonition of Jesus in exchange for hating his neighbor to the point of melting them to death?  

When a group of white conservative Christians take the words of Jesus, “make disciples” and replace them with “make colonies” through the violent pillaging, rape, abuse, and murder of the native people who first lived in America… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Honestly, I’m trying to understand. Which  is why I’m wondering, doesn’t it disturb you that anyone could take the instructions of Jesus to, “make disciples” and twist them into, “mass murder people?” 

But hey, what do I know? 

Or, when a large, white conservative group of Christians decide to enslave black people, abuse them, discriminate, and (here we go again) murder them… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Let me guess, black people aren’t our neighbors? 

When white conservative Christians attempt to scrub the history books of their acts of religious oppression and rewrite them by putting lipstick on the pig of their undeniable bigotry, greed, violence, and immorality… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Please, I beg of you, correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t “loving your neighbor as yourself” mean making the truth about other people’s history just as important (if not more important) as your own, even if that truth reflects poorly upon you?  

Or, when a group of white, conservative Christians in 1945 unilaterally decide to reinterpret the biblical words long translated as “pedophilia” to now somehow mean, “homosexual”… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Maybe I’m missing something, but doesn’t a move like that seem more like a power play to spiritually justify condemning people you dislike? 

When white conservative Christians go out of their way to find fault and criticize a black President while giving a pass to the very same issues (and much worse) that are observed in a white President of their political persuasion… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Maybe I’m way off base, but doesn’t “love your neighbor as yourself” actually mean to love your neighbor as yourself? Wait, black Presidents aren’t neighbors either? My bad.

Or, when white, conservative Christians label impoverished people as “lazy,” LGBTQ people as “evil,” and the unhealthy as “lacking faith”… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Maybe what Jesus really meant was, “Love your neighbors who act, believe, and look like you and don’t threaten your power and privilege. Otherwise, you’re free to demonize, exploit, and lord over as you please.” Yes, now that makes perfect sense, right? 

When a majority of white, male, conservative Christians declare that our country has no responsibility to extend aid to immigrants and refugees… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?”

Better yet, when white conservative Christians seem to believe that they’re the only ones who truly want to protect the unborn, but are willing to support separating children from their parents at our border and place them in cages while promoting policies that foster homelessness in children… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Aren’t all people our neighbors, and aren’t all neighbors a part of life. Thus, doesn’t truly being pro-life mean truly being pro-everyone from womb to tomb?

Or, when white conservative Christians quickly demonize anything that fosters the emergence of true equality or solicits even the slightest reduction of their dominion and privilege in society… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” For does not loving your freedom mean loving your neighbor’s freedom as much as your own? Does not loving your place in society mean loving the place of everyone else in society, as much as you do your own? Does not loving your way of living mean striving to see people loving their way of living, as much as you do your own? 

You know… love your neighbor as yourself.

Dear white, conservative Christian… where does your motivation come from? Is it really from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” 

Asking for a friend.

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.

LGBTQ People Are The Revival God Is Bringing To The Earth, Deal With It

You know the saying, “Be careful what you pray for…”

As a former conservative Evangelical pastor of 21 years, I know well the popularity of church revivals and the priority that Evangelicals give towards seeing their brand of “revival” take place in America and across the world. In their minds, the world is bad, people desperately need to believe and become more like them, and God needs to be begged and appeased in order to show up and move among us. So, for a focused period of time, they pray harder, they commit more, they preach louder, and hope their increased efforts move the hands of God in their favor.

Yet, a simple look at the Scriptural narrative will put on display the sure reality that God always shows up in ways that the religious never expect and almost always detest. That’s because many can only see the Jesus of their own image, which is why, in reality, they always miss the real One. Therefore, requiring revival, after revival, after revival, because their needle contains the poison, not the cure—the Satan, not the Savior.

In fact, to the shear panic and hair-pulling dismay of many Christians, the very revival that many spend hours pleading with God to bring, is already here among us—surprise!  But sadly, most are oblivious to it, believing God is in the wind, fire, and quaking of their right wing conservatism, not in the choked, whispered screams of those they mute, ignore, condemn, marginalize, demonize, and declare to be the enemy.

That’s why today is a time of reckoning like no other. The top is being revealed as the bottom, the least as the greatest, the first as the last, and the condemned as the anointed ones. For indeed, the religious that claim to know Jesus the most, are in fact, the ones that truly know Him the least.

Just ask the disciple Judas, as he learned that Jesus had found him out to be a sneaky conniving religious phony. How awkward was that moment? Judas’ eyes and soul filled with surprise and shame. So too will be the faces of many Evangelicals when they discover that their prayers for revival have been answered. However, to their terror and alarm, it’s the LGBTQ community that are, in fact, the glorious revival God is bringing to earth. Oh, the weeping and gnashing of teeth that will ensue among the religious.

For conservative Evangelicalism has long led the way in manifesting, perhaps, the greatest evil being wielded upon the planet—the spiritual justification of inequality, and all the brutal hell that comes with it. White supremacy, racism, sexism, nationalism, imperialism, homophobia, transphobia, greed, self-righteousness, war, and violence are all weeds that find fertile soil and safe harbor among much of right wing Christianity.

Not for long.

For the very Grace that comforts the broken and authors sacred diversity and divine equality into every thread of God’s tapestry of creation, is the very same Grace that now renders heaping buckets of white hot coals upon the heads of the self-righteous, calling them to fierce repentance for their wicked conservative Evangelical ignorance and religious idolatry.

For nothing reveals the cosmic beauty, diversity, and complexity of God’s masterful penmanship like the reality of LGBTQ people.

Nothing reveals the irreversible equality God has written into every fiber of all humanity like the reality of LGBTQ people.

Nothing sounds the trumpets of God’s demand for the unconditional love, affirmation, and acceptance of all of Her creation like the reality of LGBTQ people

They are the revival God is bringing to earth.

They are the test God is bringing to Her Church.

They are the measure that reveals how far American Christianity has fallen.

For nothing reveals religious ignorance and bigotry like the reality of LGBTQ people.

Nothing pulls back the curtain on self-righteousness like the reality of LGBTQ people.

Nothing unveils right wing Christianity’s thirst for supremacy like the reality of LGBTQ people.

Nothing detects the underlying hate, selfishness, and greed of many conservative Christians and the shallowness of their faith ideology like the reality of LGBTQ people.

Nothing sends the religious screaming into the streets with protest and rebellion like the reality of LGBTQ people.

Yes, indeed, Jesus is bringing revival to the earth.

To be sure, thinking outside the echo chamber of right wing religious conservatism can be a daunting proposition whose risks seem too heavy to take and whose revelation too frightening to consider, but hear this, and hear it well…

Every time you wish that the rights and presence of LGBTQ people were erased from the earth, you are the evil Herod searching for the baby Jesus to murder Him and remove His threat to your power and privilege.

Every time you marginalize, distance, and discriminate against LGBTQ people, you are the callous Innkeeper whose lack of discernment and blatant spiritual emptiness could find no room for the presence of the Divine disguised as the misfit and the vulnerable.

Every time you deny the clear science of human sexuality that ever widens the spectrum of God’s creativity, complexity, and diversity, and label LGBTQ people as merely having a mental disorder, you are the ignorant cowardly family of Jesus who, when push came to shove, claimed He was crazy.   

Every time you claim to be pro-life and yet emotionally, spiritually, socially, and politically abort the lives of LGBTQ people, you are the faithless hypocritical brothers of Jesus whose primary attraction to His cause was to use Him for their selfish agenda and purposes and ignore the rest of Him.

Every time you use Scripture to judge and demonize an LGBTQ person, you are the Pharisees who, out of a desire for religious power, control, and domination, vigorously searched the Scriptures to justify their bigotry, while completely missing the heart of Jesus.

Every time you deny your LGBTQ child your love and acceptance, you are Peter in the garden denying Jesus, willing to cut off the ear of anyone who reveals your inability to hear the Spirit.

Every time you harm, sabotage, demonize, or render an LGBTQ person to be a lesser human being, you are the soldiers who flogged Jesus, tearing His flesh beyond recognition.

Every time you declare an LGBTQ person to be deviant and outside the creative will of God, you are the apostle Peter, whose ignorance and limited revelation caused him to wrongly pen in Scripture that salvation was only for the Jews.

Every time you condemn an LGBTQ person as a sinning abomination destined for the flames of hell, you are crucifying the risen Jesus all over again.  

Oh yes, God is bringing revival to the earth, your prayers have all been answered. But sadly, like many before you, you miss it, and would even condemn, beat, and kill it, because you only see Jesus as the image of yourself and your religious ideology.

Thankfully, God is spitting this idol worship out of His mouth and washing it from the earth, cleansing the cosmos of inequality and hate through Her revelation of Grace, with LGBTQ people the front winds of Her Spirit moving over the waters bringing new Life and Kingdom to all who would have ears to hear it and eyes to see it.

For LGBTQ people are the Emmanuel that assures us that God is still with us…

…that blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. That blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. That blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. That blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. That blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. That blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. That blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. That blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. That blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Indeed, LGBTQ people are the revival God is bringing to the earth, deal with it.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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

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

I’m Sorry Church, My Hope Is Gone

I’m done.

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

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

I’m taking the card out of the deck.

Not playing, not going to be played any longer.

This is where I exit.

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                           

Church is big business—progressive or conservative.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s all yours—take it, have it. 

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

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

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

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

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

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

 

The Love Conservative Evangelical Christianity Refuses To Give

The greatest problem within much of Christianity is not in its ability to draw a crowd, build buildings, debate creeds, lure people onto a spiritual path, or assert its agenda, but rather in its unwillingness to simply love.

In substitution, large segments of conservative Christianity have become skilled at spiritually rationalizing violence, discrimination, condemnation, and religious greed. Under the guise of biblical faithfulness, a white male heterosexual desire for supremacy has carved a never ending trail of religious atrocities upon the maps of history. From black slavery to sexism. From the rape of the American Indian, to the violent condemnation of the LGBTQ community. From the pursued nationalization of their faith ideology, to the duplicit rationalization of their own sinful behavior. From the denial of freedoms for the immigrant, to the brutal murders and imprisonment of black males. Right wing conservative Christianity has staged a diabolically brilliant performance in skillfully hating its perceived enemies while convincing itself, and those who would drink of their Kool Aid, that it’s all one big beautiful manifestation of divine love and biblical faithfulness.

Sadly, nothing could be further from reality.

For what do all these declared enemies of right-wing conservative Evangelicalism have in common? The answer is not sin, evil, or the powers of darkness. Instead, it is simply that they’re either not white, not male, not heterosexual, or not privileged. In fact, when we begin to connect the dots of what conservative Evangelicalism truly worships, a clear picture quickly emerges. Tragically, it’s not the face of Jesus that is revealed, but rather a sure reflection of white male heterosexual supremacy under the dark veil of religious Christian faithfulness.

This is the evil that crucified Jesus upon the cross, as He came boldly manifesting a Love that exposes and confronts the privileged self-righteous spirit of the religious. In fact, He insisted on a Love crafted by the Divine that first embraces Grace and then stands in solidarity with ones neighbor—who is anyone and everyone, especially the least of these. He came to declare human equality and divine affirmation, and to defend the oppressed against all other messages. In the heart of God, everyone is included in the everything of Himself—always has been, always will be. This is the Gospel.

It was this love that Jesus put on display as He defended the women caught in adultery. The right wing religious conservatives of the day had her surrounded with weapons of every kind—stones, proof-texts, snap shots of her Facebook page. Jesus stepped in and between with rage on his face, writing one simple word in the sand that sent the religious screaming like schoolgirls…”Grace.”

It was this love that Jesus drank to overflowing as He sat dining with those the religious would call, “sinners.” Certainly, among them were repeat offenders, illegal aliens, minorities, gays and lesbians, and even a liberal or two—oh my goodness! There was no condemnation, guilt trips, or shaming. Their evenings together around the table never led to accountability partners, programs, or “to-do” lists. To Jesus they were just neighbors, like everyone else. That’s why they called Him, “friend.”  

It was this love that compelled Jesus to endure, without violence or physical retaliation. In the face of religious hate, He took upon Himself every kind of hell that the self-righteous could muster. Flogged beyond recognition, backed into a corner, He would never betray the Love who sent Him by manifesting anything different—love of neighbor, even unto death.

It was this love that fed the masses, clothed the naked, and healed the sick as the first priority without discussions of worthiness, qualification, or pre-existing conditions.

It was this love that saw no difference based on skin color, and welcomed the immigrant even without proper papers.

It was this love that died not just as a human, but as all humanity—every single one of them. Gay, straight, transgender, male, female, poor, rich, liberal, conservative, majority, minority, black, white, brown, and everything in between. All neighbors under the cosmic Jesus tent.

For those who may agree that conservative Evangelical Christianity has had its failings, there is still a deafening unwillingness to lift the sounds of their repentance to the level of their sin. Truth and reconciliation are sequential. There can be no peace and understanding until the poison has been fully understood and acknowledged. Perhaps, in fear that their privilege might become threatened and compromised by the emergence of true equality, conservative Christianity has instead become an expert at tone-policing, demonizing, deflecting, and minimizing those who would point to the brutal truth of their evil. For the emergence of genuine equality always feels like war to the privileged.       

Make no mistake, the heart of Jesus is this… love of neighbor as yourself, because we are all neighbors, we are all each other—none are better only different. All are affirmed and included. Grace upon Grace. 

Sadly, this is the love you refuse to give.

This is the gun you refuse to put down in exchange for taking up the cross.

This is the last-in-line that you refuse to fall into because you always have to be first.

These are the feet you refuse to wash lest you acknowledge that yours are filthy too.

This is the equality that eats at your skin because yours is an image believed to be superior.

This is the servanthood your soul can’t stomach as it guts the very pillars of your privilege.

This is the Jesus who sees everyone as a neighbor to be celebrated, while you seem determined to view the world as a nuisance to be converted.

So, while you’re tone-policing, trolling, and deflecting my every word, I’m just trying to love my neighbor by standing up for them in fierce solidarity with a willingness to shine a light on the horrible religious darkness they endure, and give voice to the true cries of their soul. Call it hypocrisy, overgeneralizing, or a message of “deconstruction”—whatever helps you sleep at night. The truth is, this is the love that Jesus came to bring, the world needs most, and that right-wing conservative Evangelicalism largely refuses to give.

Show us the scars of your solidarity with the LGBTQ community.

Show us the bullets you’ve taken for the black American.

Show us the refuge you have given to the immigrant.

Show us the healthcare you have provided for the vulnerable.

Show us the women whom you’ve given equal honor, pay, opportunity, and dignity.

Show us the outcast, condemned, and marginalized that call you, “friend.”

Show us the tears in your eyes and the cries of your heart as you live your life to bring the Kingdom of equality to all humanity—divinely affirmed as beautiful by the Father.

Until then, this is the love you refuse to give.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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