Tag: sexual abuse

If Only Conservative Evangelicals Were Honest

Unfortunately, even a small step into the world of conservative Evangelicalism can leave you spinning like a breakdancer on crack cocaine. As masters of illusion and spiritual sleight of hand, right wing Christianity has lured many into its religious Borg of deception and trickery. As a result, countless lives have been mesmerized into its web, only to become spiritually strung out and abused by a gospel that is, in fact, no Gospel at all, a Christian life that is largely devoid of Christ, and a faith culture that, in the end, primarily worships self.

If only conservative Evangelicalism valued honesty and displayed even the slightest measure of truth-in-advertising, so many of its adherents wouldn’t be drinking the poison believing it’s the cure, and so many lives wouldn’t be devastated as a result.   

To be sure, these are tough words. But, words that must be spoken for truth to have the power to bring its freedom.

For sadly, transparency doesn’t seem to be an important value within much of the conservative Evangelical tribe. Perhaps, because, if they were forced to render an open and honest disclosure of the true nature and aspirations of their faith, there are numerous disturbing realities they’d have to admit—realities that no amount of staging, skinny jeans, tattoos, slick branding, and multi-million dollar facilities can disguise.  

In fact, if conservative Evangelicals were truly honest and forthright, many of them would have to admit…

We Support Trump Because We Are Fundamentally Selfish People– The days are long over when conservative Evangelicals can honestly blame “Hillary,” or claim their continued support for Trump is based on “Christian” values. For Trump is clearly no Christian, and his values and leadership are nothing like Christ. Rather, the hard truth is, conservative Evangelicalism is largely sexist, homophobic, transphobic, racist, greedy, and privileged—not unlike president Trump. Therefore, when they fearfully gaze upon a world that increasingly stands against and is evolving past their values and aspirations, in panic, they have decided to sell their soul to the one man whom they believe will protect their religious ideology from the masses that are rising above and beyond it. Even the issue of abortion is one upon which conservative Evangelicals can no longer honestly hoist their flag, as their theology of a god who sends His enemies to hell, their murderous shaming of the LGBTQ community, and their blatant greed and inhumane disregard for minorities and those from whom they cannot benefit, are far less than, “pro-life.”  

For sadly, the bottom line of much of conservative Evangelicalism is this—keeping and prospering their white, conservative, Christian, male, heterosexual privilege, even to the detriment and complete cessation of following Jesus and manifesting His Love. For them, it has become all to clear, money is more important than integrity, power is more important than sacrifice, privilege is more important than people, and control is more important than Christ. In fact, if conservative Evangelicals were honest they would post signs on every corner of their church lawns, “It’s never been about sin, Biblical faithfulness, Jesus, or divine morality—it’s always been about us and our big, fat, gluttonous, religious Empire of supremacy.” An Empire, sadly, that believes God created America exclusively for them, Jesus is a white, gun owning Republican, and prosperity and power are their divine right, inheritance, and mandate.  

If only conservative Evangelicals were honest.

Many would also have to admit…  

We Love People Only As Much As It Benefits Us To Do So- For if, to truly love another means the sacrificing of power, privilege, or the prospering of their faith ideology, all bets are off. Yes, many conservative Evangelicals love to serve the impoverished and others in need, but only as long as it fashions them a spiritual notch on their belt or the increase of financial giving to their ministry. So many Christian conferences on the topic of church growth blatantly frame the importance of “community service” as being integral to the ultimate goal of either increasing the financial and physical buy-in of people to their ministry or converting people into their fold. But when truly loving people isn’t politically correct or doesn’t prosper their bottom line, it’s almost nowhere to be found among conservative Evangelicals. For where is their true love of the LGBTQ community, the immigrant, or the minority? Where is their true care for victims of racism, children kept in cages seeking asylum, transgender people committing suicide, and brave women speaking out about being sexually assaulted by men? Where is the Jesus who protected and stood in solidarity with women who were bullied and oppressed by religious male abuse? Where is the Jesus who protected and stood in solidarity with the least of these, even to the sacrifice of His own life? Sadly, among much of conservative Evangelicalism, He is almost nowhere to be found. For there is always a catch, and that catch is crystal clear—many conservative Evangelicals care about humanity only as far as it is in their self-centered benefit to do so. In fact, if many conservative Evangelicals were honest, they would post a disclaimer underneath every crucifix they display, “We only care about the cross as far as it is convenient and conducive for us to do so. Sorry, not so sorry.”

If only conservative Evangelicals were honest.

They would also have to admit…    

We Believe Our White Christian Privilege Gives Us The Power To Justify Evil, Define Morality, And Embrace Duplicity- Just ask the LGBTQ community, or their parents who can’t sleep at night in fear for their children. Just ask countless women like Christine Blasey Ford, or the American Indian. Just ask the black community, or the person devoid of affordable healthcare. Just ask the countless people condemned, marginalized, and sent to the curb by conservative Evangelicalism. The river of blood flowing from the wake of right-wing conservative Christianity is never ending, if only they embraced the honesty to see it.

In fact, the truth is, if many conservative Evangelicals were ever compelled by the Spirit to honesty look into the mirror, they would break to their knees in sorrow and write upon their foreheads a confession for all to see, “It is we who have become the enemy of all that is Jesus and truly American.” We are the ones whose addiction to power is detrimental to life, equality, and freedom. We are the ones seduced by greed to the point of becoming a blasphemy of Jesus and His ways. We are the ones who worship our faith ideology to the complete denial of Christ and His Gospel of peace. We are the ones who refuse to put down our guns, bigotry, narcissism, privilege, and thirst for supremacy, and instead, take up the cross and follow Him.

For sadly, there has never been a greater evil wielded upon our planet than the dark faith system of conservative Evangelicalism that now excels like never before at spiritual justifying the manifestation of hell upon the earth, defining morality for its benefit, and embracing duplicity in the name of protecting and prospering their faith ideology.

If only conservative Evangelicals were honest.

So many would also have to admit…

We Believe Our Faith Understanding Is Right And All Others Are Wrong- As a matter of full disclosure and honesty, this sentiment should be clearly expressed in every conservative Evangelical church bulletin and upon every worship screen—”Conform or be cast out.” For the true goal of conservative Evangelicalism isn’t to lead people to freely think, believe, and grow in Christ. Rather, it’s to lead people to think, believe, and become one of them—convinced they have been exclusively granted the divine stamp of theological and spiritual approval from Jesus Himself. So much, that to be deemed “wrong” or “lost” by conservative Evangelicals is to likely become their spiritual project of conversion and conformity. A project where, if you refuse, resist, or color outside the lines, you are then subtly or not so subtly shunned, condemned, demonized, and even labeled as worthy to be cast into a hell of eternal torment. For the basis of their unity is not in the mutual journey one is taking to embrace divine spirituality, but rather upon the level of conformity, submission, and loyalty that one is willing to display towards their religious ideology. Either you are “in” or you or “out,” saved or lost, member or heathen, faithful or carnal, right or wrong. In fact, from the very same religious spirit that can lead to the emergence of dark realities such as racism, elitism, violence, and even genocide, much of conservative Evangelicalism has embraced an “us” vs. “them” mentality that has become capable of spiritual justifying some of the very worst of evils, all in the name of Jesus.

If only conservative Evangelicals were honest.

They’d finally have to admit…

We Are Really Just Faking It- For them, this is perhaps the hardest disclosure of all. Why? Because admitting they are no better, holier, righteous, valued, spiritual, saved, and loved than any other completely dismantles so much of their entire faith system and confronts them with their most haunting reality—human equality is at the center of Jesus and His Gospel of Grace. This is the truth they so vehemently seek to deny, demonize, and destroy, because when all are equal in God’s sight, then power, privilege, condemnation, and supremacy can be no more.

If only conservative Evangelicals were honest.

America, and the world beyond would be such a more beautiful place.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Purchase Chris Kratzer’s new book, Leatherbound Terrorism…

Recovering From A Disappointing Dad

As a father, I know over the course of my parenting I will have many areas where I don’t measure up and will have times where I disappoint my children and God who entrusts them to me.  No father is perfect, and being a faithful father is tougher now than perhaps ever before.  Every dad, to at least some degree is a “disappointing dad.” Only our heavenly Father is perfect and leaves nothing lacking.

Yet, there are those fathers whose disappointment factor rises to a level of leaving severe scars and deep unmet needs in their children’s lives.  They are the abusing, absent, or abdicating dad.  Some fathers abuse their children, emotionally and physically. Other fathers are absent from their children’s lives as they bury themselves in work, hobbies, distractions, or keep an emotional distance from their child’s life, sometimes to the point of abandoning their children all together. Other fathers abdicate their role to the mom, coaches, schools, churches, and culture as a whole as they refuse to lead, set the example, take responsibilities, and become an active, beneficial part of their child’s life. This is what I am referring to when I speak of “Disappointing Dads.” Fathers are to be the lead example setters, coaches, spiritual directors, protectors, correctors, monitors, providers, and time involved persons in their child’s life.

The role of father in our culture needs to be reclaimed and restored in our culture. Our society has portrayed fatherhood as one big joke, and fathers like Bart Simpson and Ozzy Osbourne are leading the way. Unfortunately, many men have gladly kicked backed in their recliners and adopted the mindset they see on television.

Sadly, just ask any school teacher, the carnage from “Disappointing Dads” is everywhere. Kids, mothers, families and society as a whole are paying the price big time. Furthermore, though this reality is probably worse now than ever before, there are previous generations now in their adult years who are trying to recover from “Disappointing Dads.” In fact, gen-“x”ers (now in their late 30’s to late 40’s) were the first to be named “Latch Key Kids” as their pre-boomer parents were off chasing the American Dream and living their own post-version of the 60’s.  The fathering trends haven’t gotten any better since then, but only worse.  I suspect the counseling, psychiatric side of the economy will be doing well for many years to come as these generations age.

Obviously, when it comes to recovering from a “Disappointing Dad” finding a good, Christian counselor is likely going to be a must. There are so many layers and connections that only a trained counselor can help you integrate into your life and faith in a way that is going to bless you and glorify God.  Yet, here are few steps you can take that will surely help you recover.

0.01  Grieve the Loss

Life is full of loss and pain. The hurts these cause in our life become most harmful when we don’t properly grieve.  So much of the dysfunction in our life is a result of a loss that has not been grieved completely.  Grief is God’s way of healing us from pain and loss in our lives.  Grieving is not an easy process, but it is a necessary process for finding healing and purpose within our pain and loss.

“Disappointing Dads” leave our lives with loss and pain. This pain and loss often centers around areas where they fell short as fathers and/or took something from us. That is why there is disappointment. God knows we can’t go back and remove the pain or undo the loss. This is where God’s gift of grief comes in. Grief enables us, through the power of Jesus, to integrate the pain and losses of life into our present and future in ways that ultimately bless us and glorify God.

The basic stages of grief are as follows… 1) Shock 2) Painful Feelings 3) Acceptance 4) Meaning 5) Empowerment

This process requires us to go through all 5 steps in order. And even though we may get through all five steps, it doesn’t mean we  still won’t have moments where we revisit one of the other steps. However, as you go through these steps, God is able to transform you and your circumstances to the place where you discover the tremendous purpose in pain and a ministry from within your misery.

I strongly encourage you to listen to the message series, “Rise Above: Defying the Gravity of Adversity” located on this website. This message series will guide you step by step through discovering the purpose within your pain and how to get to a place in your life where you actually have overcome the pain and loss you have experienced.

God fully understands and cares about your experience with a “Disappointing Dad” and desires to come along side of you as your Heavenly Father and heal those wounds. Walking with Him through the steps of grief will be a significant part of your healing and transformation.

o.o2  Renew and Release

One of the most powerful verses in the Bible that applies to an issues like this is…  Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. 

There are two critical ideas presented in this passage. 1) When we hope or long for something to come into our lives that for whatever reason is very likely not going to occur, it creates pain and suffering. 2) When our God given hopes and longings are fulfilled, it brings growth and life to our being.

One of the most destructive things “Disappointing Dads” leave in our lives are unfulfilled hopes and longings.  God created us needing and deserving of fathers that meet critical needs in our lives. Furthermore, God designed our fathers to shape and mold our futures in ways that honor and foster God’s plan for your life. Unfortunately, when those needs, longings, and positive influences that only fathers can give do not occur, it leaves our lives filled with longings and hopes that are unfulfilled. In a very real sense, your “Disappointing Dad” owes you big time.  Maybe they owe you your innocence back, the childhood you deserve, the attention you should have been given, the father you should have had, etc.  Unfortunately, with many “Disappointing Dads” they either can’t repay what is owed you, or they refuse to do so. Either way, you have a “hope that is deferred” or said another way “a debt that isn’t being paid”  What happens? We live our lives hoping that somehow or someway these needs will be met by the person that should have met them in the first place, our father.  We look for the apology that is likely never to come, the change of heart or behavior that is likely never to change, and the list can go on and on. What’s the result? Our hearts grow sick with bitterness, disappointment, anger, frustration, guilt, and alike. We want to love our father and for our fathers to love us the way it was supposed to be, but that reality very likely just isn’t going to ever happen. That reality makes us sick in more ways than one.

So, what are we do to? Be heart sick the rest of our lives holding onto the past and feeling emotionally incomplete and cheated, many of us having the scars to show for it?  No.

God came up with the most brilliant solution to the pain and loss people create in our lives, especially “Disappointing Dads.” The solution is… forgiveness. Now before you wig out and click off this post thinking there is no way you are going to forgive the dad that screwed up your life, please hear me out.

Forgiveness does NOT mean that what your dad did or didn’t do is somehow now “o.k.” Forgiveness does NOT mean that the relationship is automatically reconciled or restored. Forgiveness does NOT mean you have to remove healthy boundaries and feel good about being around that person, what happened in the past, and what the relationship is like now.

Rather, forgiveness means you are canceling the debt. You are emotionally releasing your father of the debt they owe you that they cannot or will not repay.  Through forgiveness you are fulfilling the longing and hope you have for the father and childhood you did not receive by canceling the debt. In so doing, you are moving from bondage to the past into life for the present and future. You or no longing looking to your father to be or become someone to you that they cannot or refuse to be or become. The hole that your father left in your life is now able to be filled by the presence and provisions of God. Unforgiveness keeps this from happening and prolongs the pain and suffering that was caused years ago. Forgiveness stops the negative pattern, and our emotional enslavement  to it.

Forgiveness is very likely going to be the only thing that satisfies the longing and hopes left in our lives from the blood sucking of “Disappointing Dads”  Forgiveness removes the leach of their behaviors from continuing to suck the life out of us long after our childhoods are over.

Forgiveness is not easy and takes the power of God working in our lives, but it is perhaps the most critical step in recovering from “Disappointing Dads”

I strongly suggest reading my post “What’s Up With Forgiveness” for more details on what forgiveness is and isn’t and how to apply it to your life.

0.03  Take up Your Cross

I believe the purpose of your life can be found very close to the pain in your life. Taking up your cross, at least in part, means being willing to use your experiences of pain for the glory of God. Additionally, it carries with it the reality that we will all have crosses to bear as we do our best to live our lives and make the most of them for God’s purposes.

Recovering from a “Disappointing Dad” is a life long  journey.  Sometimes, you will make great strides forward and other times you will have to “fight the good fight of faith” as you battle to create a better future.  God knows you and your needs better than anyone. Jesus’ invitation to “take up you cross and follow me” is a sure indicator that 1) Jesus wants you, baggage and all 2) Following Jesus is the best way to live (though it may not be the easiest)  3) The best chance and only chance you have to take your disappointments and turn them into destiny is by placing them at the feet of Jesus.

You won’t ever be able to truly leave the pain and loss all behind while on this side of heaven, but you can take it up and follow Jesus. As you do, your pain and loss will be transformed into peace and gain. It really is true. That’s the miracle of following the Master!


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