Tag: racial

No, Progressive Christian, You’re Not Insane

Since the birth of Jesus upon the earth, those who choose His ways have been deemed by society as the freaks–the misguided–the losers–the libtards–the snowflakes. At points along the way, Jesus Himself was labeled as insane. Apparently, when you shake your fist at the forces of imperialism, greed, religiosity, and self-righteousness while bringing forth a cosmic movement of extravagant inclusion, equality, generosity, and grace, you’re going to get some dirt kicked in your face. Perhaps, even nailed upon a politically conspired cross constructed under sheets stained of religion. 

Yup, you’re going get the shit beaten out of you–emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually. In fact, there’s a sure sense that if you aren’t being spun around like a breakdancer on crack for your resistance towards the conservative Evangelical Death Star, are you really even alive?

No doubt, it’s enough to cause even the bravest amongst us to shrink back and curl up in the fetal position of our discouragement. It seems like the forces of evil are taking the hill. The gaslighting is working. The Tweet storms hold their traction. What is up is down, and what is clear is clouded. The people of Light, the people of Love, the people of divine affirmation, the people of true equality, the people of humanity, the people of science, the people of generosity, the people of justice, the people of compassion, the people of Grace–we are the insane ones. 

Indeed, the patients are running the hospital. 

In moments like these it’s easy to wonder, “maybe I have lost my mind.” Maybe this life of solidarity with the least-of-these and fighting the forces of political and religious evil just isn’t worth it. The gravity of giving up weighs heavy, and conformity and surrender seem to be the only way out. Life could be so much easier if the blinds were closed, my eyes were turned away, and my heart was numbed. What difference does it make anyway?     

Yet, off in the distance a relentless voice is heard rising from the ashes, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Make straight a path for justice to roll down like a mighty stream. Bind up the broken hearted. Declare the divine affirmation of all. Push aside all bigotry and hate. Pave every street with human equality. Line the sidewalks with social justice. Build statues of the least-of-these. Light every corner, crossing, and alley with the mind of Christ, that all truth and goodness might be revealed and seen.   

This is the voice upon your life.  

Take heart. 

No, you’re not insane.    

For if you gaze upon the horizon of much of American Christianity and it all makes you want to vomit, you’re not insane. 

If you have a growing suspicion that much of right-wing conservative Christianity is a diabolical, evil scheme that has little to do with Jesus and everything to do with power and privilege, you’re not insane. 

If you tire of a false gospel that puts conditions on love, fosters hypocrisy, inflames self-righteousness, and personifies God as an unpredictable monster, you’re not insane. 

If you’ve discerned that much of Christianity has raped and twisted God into a frequently-temperamental divine drunk storming out of a bar, you’re not insane. 

If you question a faith that features a hell of eternal torment designed for the divine torture of people who don’t return God’s love in all the conservative Evangelically prescribed ways, you’re not insane.

If something checks in your spirit about turning off your brain, subscribing to a 6,000 year old earth, requiring your wife’s submission, and joining a group of people who appear to excel at talking amongst themselves and judging the world, all while calling it faithfulness to Jesus, you’re not insane. 

If you’re super close to blowing yet another brain gasket the next time someone quotes Scripture at you in hopes of turning you into their spiritual project, you’re not insane. 

If your head is spinning and your heart is confounded at the sure reality that scores of conservative Christians boastfully claim loyalty to the ways of Jesus, yet still vehemently support an anti-Christ president, you’re not insane. 

If you’re fed up with feeling spiritually obligated to prequalify people for love, condemn the LGBTQ community, discriminate against minorities, embrace sexism, weaponize the Bible, and turn Jesus into the hood ornament of your world bulldozer as you seek the dominance and supremacy of your faith in all of society, you’re not insane.

If you see much of the same evils that plague conservative Christianity to also be rampant within progressive Christian circles, you’re not insane. 

If you feel like ditching the whole “Christian” label all together, you’re not insane. 

If you feel like the true spiritual path of your life is to simply find your own way with the Spirit’s guidance alone, you’re not insane.

If you tire of the racism that is fostered primarily by white male Christians, you’re not insane. 

If you want to vomit every time a white person says they are “color blind” but then wants to rub your face in “black on black” crime, you’re not insane. 

If you want to punch white Christians in the throat who want to declare “all lives matter” yet send their gay children to the curb, keep immigrants in cages, criminalize and dehumanize black people, celebrate the stripping of benefits for Transgender people, and hope to erase the LGBTQ community from the planet, you’re not insane. 

If it strikes you as ironic that some white people who want to help black people gain true equality, don’t see other white voices who are trying to help too as equal and equally valued, you’re not insane.

If it pisses you off that some Christians care more about their convenience than wearing a mask for the protection of others, you’re not insane.

If your neck veins pop out in rage because it’s becoming all too clear, even for Christians who declare loyalty to Jesus, that money is more important than people, you’re not insane.

If you want to denounce your pride and affection for “America” because of the unjust, bigoted, racist, and white supremacy-ladened sewer we have become, you’re not insane.

If you want to scream, “F*ck it all” at the top of your lungs as you pound the chest of your despair, you’re not insane.

No, you’re not insane. 

You’re not a heathen. You’re not a heretic, nor a snowflake.

No, you are Jesus.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

5 Solutions To The Racial And Spiritual Divide In America

There is a racial and spiritual divide in America. The cracks on the ceiling are giving way, some wondering if the whole house is about to fall—violence in thought, word, and deed gushing through every tube that connects us. The assumptions and predeterminations from which we view one another and render our conclusions have perhaps never been more jaded. Much of American Christianity has become weaponized, marching as to war—the political climate and social ills, mere surface products of our deeper spiritual fall from Grace. America is racially and spiritually divided and poised for certain eruption, not primarily from what is happening in the halls of our capitals, but first and foremost, because of who we have become sitting in the pews of our churches. With blood in the streets, discrimination around ever turn, cries going unheard, and condemnation gutting us from within, enough is enough, a new people we must become if America is to be racially and spiritually divided no more.

We Must Become People of Grace-

Grace is the ultimate equalizer that declares the intrinsic, sacred order within all humanity—none are better, only different.

We are all human, created in divine imagery, having strengths and weaknesses. Yet, by God’s Grace, our weaknesses nor our strengths define us. Rather, our irrevocable and irremovable God-established worth forever qualifies all humanity for every right, blessing, and fair treatment. Under Grace, we travel this planet, all spinning on equal footing and value. As we pursue different paths and apply different choices, we are no less worthy nor more entitled to the fundamental qualities of life that God, by His Grace, has woven into His plan for every being—freedom, hope, life, love, eternity, and the fruition of their God-given capacity to be the person He created them in identity.

As we see people as equally reflecting our Creator’s image an possessing His value and worth, we live not to judge, conquer, lord over, nor undermine, but to see the quality and potential of our lives forever connected to that of all those around us. When we are people of Grace, we live not to point out imperfections nor be divided by inherent differences, but to sing in concert with the Creator’s plan that all might know and enjoy their divine beauty and the rest to one’s soul and living that Grace provides.

Under Grace, the nightmare of the American dream is revealed and the birth of a Kingdom hope takes flight, where people are fully free to be fully loved and to fully love in return—a hope where personal performance, success, and accomplishment do not create division nor distinction that measures, but rather reflects the artistry of our Maker who shares the benefits of His excellence and stature for the purpose of lifting everyone upon Him and blessing them with everything needed to enjoy and reflect Him. We must become a human-honoring, non-judging, equality-loving people.

We Must Become People of Unconditional Love-

The essence and entirety of God is unconditional love and His deepest desire is for us to embrace that love and manifest it to others. Love is love is love—it has no color, gender, orientation, status, limits, conditions, restrictions, or exclusiveness.

No matter our faith understanding or expression, until our theology is love, we will always be leaning on our own religious ideologies to the detriment, division and depravity of others and our nation. If love is not the ideal, the real, and the priority above all others, then all our creeds, policies, governing, and individual and corporate endeavors are rendered as gonging, clanging cymbals out of beat and out of touch.

Where temptation and even fair reason emerge for revenge, retaliation, subversion, isolation, or discrimination, love must be the alarm and the trumpet that calls us back to what is eternally true and relevant—only love wins, everything is a bandaid upon a cancer.

The ethos of our country as a nation and our faith gatherings as spiritual formations needs to centered far less on the creation of like-minded camps and exclusive denominations, and much more on the becoming of tables for transformative conversations. And where there are disagreements, love must be lifted as the common denominator and disposition that calibrates our hearts and attitudes towards mutual affirmation, even in the presence of honest disagreement. For the new unity of the future that will truly bring us together, spiritually or otherwise, will not be based upon what we can agree, but rather on the strong foundation of our willingness to have disagreements while doing life and freedom together in mutual respect and honor.

We Must Become People of Servanthood-

Grace doesn’t build walls, it builds mirrors that we might first see ourselves in the light of our shared humanity, spirituality, and equality with all others. Then, and only then, are we fully capable of truly seeing our neighbor in all their truth and assuming the right posture of heart to love, influence, and guide one another as mutual learners along this path of life, faith, and togetherness.

In this way, we become servants of one another, establishing the currency of our interactions to be measured by that which bestows the highest levels of honor to another, simply because they breathe.

Servanthood sees sin less as something to stand against, and more as an opportunity for love to find its highest fruition as it stands in solidarity with the redemptive value inherent in all creation, no matter the perceived sin or dissonance. For sin, differences, and creedal conflicts are not near the issue for God as they are for religion—making them a condition and stumbling block for servanthood where God makes them the object of it.

We are to serve one another in spite of all things and because of all things, giving love center stage to do its work and win in the lives of ourselves and others. God is surely big enough for everyone’s truth to be important, respected, valued, and served. We must become a humble, serving people who are convinced that he or she that loves the deepest and with the least restriction is he or she that wins, to the gleam of God above.

We Must Become People of Shared Human Dignity-

Evil must be seen not as an inherent human condition, but rather in those actions that would withhold Grace, reduce the dignity, and undermine the sacred, equal value, goodness, and worth of all people.

When this becomes the tuning fork from which we align our perceptions, spiritualities, and attitudes—bigotry, racism, discrimination, condemnation and hate for any person for any reason will be aggressively called out, chased out of the shadows, and suffocated of the air it needs to breath. The “least of these” will be defined as those whose seat at the “importance” table has been conditioned, minimized, or removed. Thus, our hearts will be forever bent in sorrow towards anyone in lack, seeing their equal treatment and future as being forever weaved into ours.

Where those privileged today often see equality as anything that still keeps them privileged, equality in the future must look like that which manifests the reality that God created us all privileged, qualified for every good thing—and therefore, how dare we get in the way of that which the Divine has decreed or be silent when it’s missing. For silence and apathy are the incubators from which all evil is given permission to grow.

We must become a outspoken people who see evil as a dehumanizing reality and we as the ardent defenders, advocates, and caretakers of the least of these, shielding those who bare its brunt and force, and rescuing those who wilt in the soils of its poisoning.

We Must Become People of Nonviolence-

Where there is violence the real battle as already been lost.

Spiritual, physical, and emotional harm is always a surface acumen that rarely ever solves the core. For punishment never made anyone holy, nor healed the hurt fueling the hurter.

People are not the problem, our unwillingness to thoroughly listen to each other’s story and submit ourselves to their implications is much more the culprit. A changed mind about an enemy begins with a heard story. Sadly, we have become more addicted to being ignorant and isolated from people’s true pains, experiences, and histories, then in the discovering of where the seeds of condemnation were first planted that have blossomed into the aggressions, scars, twitches, and brokenness that are manifested.

Violence is often a compensation for the unwillingness to listen and be changed in mind and heart by the human histories and experiences of another. Listening begets understanding, understanding begets learning, learning begets compassion, compassion begets healing, and healing begets peace.

There will be no peace until there is passionate, humble listening. For in the end, we are altogether no different— in, under, and with the One who made us—equal by the Equalizer—Grace.

This is who we must become—gracious, unconditional-loving, all-people-serving, human-dignity-defending, nonviolent-listening people.

May it be so, beginning with me, beginning with you.

© 2020 Chris Kratzer

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