Tag: white

Conservative Evangelical Christianity, The Death Of America

There’s an unsettling of the Spirit moving across the land—the culmination of years of religious Christian corruption. Good people everywhere are sensing it deep within. What for many has been a growing source of suspicion is now becoming a for certain certainty.  A time of emerging clarity is upon us as the curtains are drawn open and the true Wizard is revealed. Yet, there will be no clicking of the heels to save us now. For the American dream is being diabolically hijacked into the Conservative Evangelical scheme—God help us all.

In fact, in my estimation, there is truly no greater evil being wielded upon the earth. The false gospel of Evangelical Christianity has long been eroding our society, creating spiritual junkies, and asserting a white male heterosexual imperialism and privilege into every segment of our living. Its prescriptions for sin management only serve to further increase it, leaving good people spiritually strung out, hypocritical, self-righteous, and addicted to the poison, not the cure. With an insistence upon believing that God is angry, vengeful, and condemning of a sin-ladened humanity, followers spiritually justify a self-deputization to police society as they live out their perceived calling to convert the world to their privileged ideology, lest we all burn in hell. No matter the nobility of some with their good intentions and heart, the true aspirations, pursuits, and passions of much of conservative Evangelical Christianity are not true freedom and equality for all, but religious power and control for them. In their minds and hearts, the ushering in of the Kingdom of God is in reality, the ushering in of a white male heterosexual conservative Evangelical dominance in all places and things.

In contrast, a brown-skinned Jewish-born Jesus was crucified for bringing a scandalous message and manifestation of true Divinity that levels the playing field for all. For Grace is the great equalizer—none are better, only different—no matter your color, creed, orientation, gender, age, or status. Everyone is valued equally, all are given freedom completely, and no one is left condemned, unaccepted, or without affirmation, dignity, and community. Our best and worse performances are rendered powerless to sway that hands of God as our wholeness and purity before Her are irrevocably secured. Love is the very nature of God, and Grace is the only way of true Life. Faith is merely awakening to Grace by the power Christ’s faith within us. For Jesus came to destroy the ways of power, control, discrimination, violence, greed, and self-righteousness that empower the religious spirit who can so easily seduces us all—emptying Himself completely to reveal our true beauty and capacity to embrace what unites, heals, and connects us all—Love.

Sadly, as it was in the beginning, it is now most assuredly. The very same unconditional Love that brings heaven to the broken and emancipation to the captive, feels like hell to the religious, sending them into tailspins of furiously frustrated angst and rebellion—willing to crucify Jesus yet again wherever His truth threatens their evil empire. For the greatest menace to the conservative Evangelical Machine that seeks to overrun our planet is the emergence of true freedom and equality for all. That Jesus loves all, redeems all, embraces all, affirms all, and blesses all with heaven’s unlimited supply of equality and freedom is their greatest fear, trigger, and vulnerability—rendering their monstrous system of faith to be impotent, fraudulent, and devoid of true Life. That’s why nearly every conservative Evangelical interpretation of Scripture, personification of God, and assertion in society is desperately bent on diluting and covering up this revelation of Grace and its manifestation upon the earth, and quickly replacing it with a conditional religious self-righteous brand of believing—not because they are lovers of Truth, but because they are worshippers of power. For violence, hatred, bigotry, discrimination, greed, self-righteousness, judgmentalism, and evil are not intrinsic to being truly human, they’re actually common byproducts of being truly religious—subhuman.

This is the real cataclysmic spiritual battle being waged all around us that is now infiltrating and threatening the future of our country like never before. For what is the greatest obstacle to the full fruition of white male heterosexual conservative Evangelical dominance? A nation founded and anchored upon the sure premise that true equality, dignity, and freedom is for all, by divine design and sanction. For no one desires to commandeer the American flag, hijack our constitution, and fashion Jesus into the hood ornament of their world bulldozer more than white male heterosexual right-wing conservative Evangelical Christianity. In fact, the truth is, “Make America Great” is Evangelical code for “Make America Ours.” And not just America—the entire world.

My friend, most everything you see happening is leading towards these ends. Open your eyes to see and your ears to hear. The underlying reason why racism still lives and thrives, sexism is still rampant, homophobia and transphobia increases, kneeling for the national anthem is rendered a deplorable crime, the drums of war keep pounding, public school systems are being undermined, human rights are being dismissed, churches raise the Christian flag above our national flag, wars on drugs are declared that end up disproportionately imprisoning the black population and using them for free labor, foundational Christian morals and values are conveniently suspended in order to elect a white, male, heterosexual, Evangelical supporting President, and conservative Christians are charged with the mandate to assert their faith and values into every sector of society in order to win dominance. All of this is for one purpose, and one purpose alone—the full fruition of a white male heterosexual conservative Evangelical Christian Empire, even to the destruction of America and beyond.

All this talk about sin, Jesus, morality, truth, biblical faithfulness, fairness, and societal health coming from the bloviations of right-wing conservative Christianity—don’t be fooled and bite from the dark fruits dangling off their tree. It’s all smoke and mirrors to disguise the real agenda hissing in the shadows. For if it were all about Jesus, sin, hell, and scriptural faithfulness, conservative Evangelical Christianity would be fully immersed and passionately engaged in all things opposite of what we see so many of them pursuing—and most of all, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, imperialism, bigotry, violence, white-privilege, greed, and self-righteousness would be rendered the greatest of sins and cease to be legitimized within American Christianity, resulting in it all becoming largely dismantled in our society.

Yet sadly, that day is not here, and likely not forthcoming. For the tenets of true freedom, divine dignity, and equality for all upon which this nation was birthed, are the ultimate obstacles to conservative Evangelical Christianity’s battle to take the hill and Lord itself over our country. For at the end of the day, what matters most is that true freedom, divine dignity, and equality for all is contrary to the conservative Evangelical agenda of white male heterosexual power and privilege. In fact, perhaps nothing is more repulsive to the Evangelical religious system than people living free to believe, worship, and pursue happiness outside of their control and without compliance to their creeds, especially those who in doing so would foster the dismantling of white male heterosexual conservative Evangelical power and privilege.

Connect the dots, look beyond the obvious, and engage the spiritual discernment the mind of Christ within you affords. Theological, spiritual, moral, and religious error, slight of hand, and brainwashing of this magnitude are never achieved unintentionally.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

The Apology Every White Christian Needs To Give To Black America, Now

I am white, I am Christian, I am the problem, and I am sorry.

I have sinned against you and God in thought, word, and deed—even more so, in the brutal absence of these on your behalf.

Where words of fierce solidarity were desperately needed, I have been cowardly silent and withdrawn. Where you have been crying out to simply be heard, bestowed justice, and afforded basic human rights, I have been tone-policing your every move while sitting in the comfort of my white Christian couch, staring down my nose at your plight.

My ignorance to my own white privilege, my apathy to your suffering, my comfort in comfortable living, and the worship of my status—all complicit evils to the undeniable hell you have been living.

History tells the disturbing and diabolical tale, I am the reason for your slavery, your continued discrimination, and your unending quest to grasp what God has already bestowed upon you—equal value, capacity, dignity, and worth in every way and in all things.

For I have declared peace where this is no peace—to your destruction and my shame.

I have highjacked Jesus and turned Him into my personal cruise director, sipping Christian cocktails while the conservative evangelical Titanic plows through and pollutes from sea to shining sea spewing out hatred, bigotry, racism, and greed—especially towards you and every minority—the LGBTQIA community, the impoverished, and the immigrant included.

At times, I have assumed the worst in you while blatantly dismissing the obvious systematic and intended desire within significant segments of my faith and country to erase you.

I have not resisted nearly to the needed measure, but rather have even participated in a faith system that has been the source of more discrimination, abuse, and destruction of your being and community than perhaps any other racist evil manifestation on earth.

I have become the onward Christian soldier who pierces your side as you hang on racial crosses.

I have blindly turned my brain, conscience, soul, and mind off at church and in society—numbed and satisfied with only having, at best, a passing knowledge and compassion for your history, story, suffering, divine worth, and life experience.

My shrinking back at the Thanksgiving table, the church picnic, the office water cooler, the Facebook comment thread, and the sideline at soccer practice. My carting off the kids to schools where diversity in status, intellectual intelligence, emotional intelligence, and color of skin is subtly but surely discouraged. My laziness and chilling absence in being an active force for equality in the public arena with my words, my votes, and my resistance. All, scream of my resounding confession—I am the reason for your living hell. Charlottesville, just another page in the nightmares of your story.

When you were thirsty for equality, I was watering and walling-off my privilege.

When you were naked and vulnerable as a despised minority, I looked away sitting on my hands, and therefore exploited you and raped you of your humanity.

When you were hungry to create a world where all are given equal value, opportunity, freedom, and worth, my irresponsiveness and complacency stole from the table of your divine affirmation and significance in order to fatten my own.

I am appalled at myself as I come face to face with the control I have surrendered, the indoctrination I have allowed, and the contamination I have embraced through the spiritual justification of hate spewing out of the sewers of America, largely from the toilets of right-wing, conservative Evangelical Christianity.

I repent and agree with God—until my voice and actions of non-violent solidarity are as loud, numerous, and desperate as the cries of your oppression, I have deeply failed in being Jesus, living His Gospel, and extending His Kingdom to you.

For Jesus did not consider His heavenly privilege with God as something to be used to His own advantage. Rather, He made Himself a minority by taking the very nature of the religiously oppressed, being made in true human likeness and meekness. And being found in appearance as humanity, He humbled Himself, standing in fierce solidarity with the least of these unto death—even death on a cross.

As Jesus has done for me, I will do also for you. We are all equal, affirmed, and loved in His sight—period, end of all debates.

Black America, my heart is sickened to the core at the evil racism I have allowed and therefore have adopted as my own.

For I am white, I am Christian, I am the problem, and I am deeply sorry.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

No Longer Afraid—The Day My Heart Outgrew Conservative Evangelicalism

I used to be, but today is a brand new day.

I’m not afraid anymore—something  has happened deep within my being. New perspectives, revelation, and spiritual understandings have changed my mind completely. No, not in some kind of condescending way nor with a joy that excludes you. I’m just a completely different person now—my soul convictions and overall posture are nothing of the same.

I understand. Perhaps to you, it seems like I’m out of control, descending into a death-spiral plummeting into everything and anything that is backslidden and heretical. Yes, I suppose it’s true, I am out of control and it’s such a beautiful thing—breathing for the very first time. I’ve lost no love for you, mean no disrespect, nor harbor any pride in saying so—but conservative Evangelicalism, it feels like my heart has outgrown you—I can’t lie.

Where I used to curl up in the fetal position, turn off my brain, play dead, tuck in my shirt, and quickly fall in line, a seismic grace-bomb has gone off within me sending waves of courage and freedom supplied with a simple message, “have no fear.”

Call it a spiritual emancipation, a soul-revolution, or a new found courage to walk away. All I know is this—today is like no other, I’ll never be the same. Conservative Evangelical Christianity—with all due respect, I’m no longer afraid.

I’m No Longer Afraid to Speak and Live my Truth, Without Fear of Your Rejection- I must admit, intended or not, you used to have me under your thumb and controlled a good bit of my headspace. But now, Grace has taught me who I am, full of divine splendor and perfectly loved by the Father. Without blemish, stain, or unrighteousness, God is well pleased with me, as is—just me being me. For I’m an unstoppable force of God-affirmation that is immune to condemnation, coercion, and the religious spirit. There’s no proof text, admonition, or guilt trip that could ever penetrate my Jesus-plated armor of identity. In a way like never before, I’m at peace with who I am, addicted to life outside conservative Evangelical control, guilt, and religious seduction—if I’m honest, that’s how I truly feel. My heart has outgrown your rejection.

I’m No Longer Afraid to Say You’re Wrong, Without Apology or Reservation- No, I don’t have all the answers or know things completely. Yet, I do have the Light of God’s Truth within me that confirms in my Spirit what my mind can’t always explain—sometimes you’re wrong, and now, I’m no longer afraid to say it. I don’t always have a defense or explanation, but the mind of Christ within me knows when something is amiss and you’re at it again, selling me more poisonous religion—no matter your intention. The difference now is this—I’m just not going to take it. In fact, I’m going to completely spit it out—for today, I’m no longer afraid. My heart as outgrown your religious spirit.

I’m No Longer Afraid to Live in a World of Grey- For the gravity of your controlling, fear-driven, and self-righteousness creed has long been pushing to reduce my heart and believing into a black-or-white right-wing religion, where God is on your side and the enemy of all others. Yet, here’s what I’ve discovered, I don’t have to align my faith to absolutes nor lord them over another, especially when God is so much bigger and His love so much more capable. My peace and centeredness is grounded in Jesus the Author and Finisher of a world of unlimited spectrum—far beyond my best conclusions and confessions—always revealing more. I’m not afraid to graduate from cut-and-paste conservatism and embrace a God of diversity, a world of differences, and a Jesus who purposely leads me to have more questions than answers. There’s nothing to fear in welcoming uncertainties—for today I’ve been awakened, it’s the place where true faith actually lives and flourishes. My heart has outgrown your narrow mindedness.

I’m No Longer Afraid to Embrace Science, Social justice, and Human Dignity. Jesus is all and in all things, for where can we go from His Spirit? How can I be afraid to consider facts, scientific wisdom, and their faith implications? In fact, when I gaze upon the Grand Canyon with all its rivers and layers, I’m not going to tremble anymore when my soul refuses to believe in a 6,000 year old creation. I’m not going to apologize for a practical faith and an all-inclusive human-loving compassionate Jesus, whose message and example applies to every aspect of life on earth and living. I’m not going to abandon human decency, rights, and dignity to embrace a conservative brand of faith that is skilled at spiritually justifying hate, privilege, and the dehumanizing of people with whom it disagrees or deems to be sinning. No-more-can-do—today is a new day of wisdom, mercy, and compassion—at least, for me. My heart has outgrown your apathy.

I’m No Longer Afraid to Look My Privilege in the Mirror with Honesty- It’s true, and I’m no longer afraid to admit it. I’m white, male, straight, and for so long, was totally clueless. The thought of being privileged was nowhere to be found blipping on my radar screen. Until that day when, because of my changed beliefs, I became a kind of minority. Mocked, maligned, betrayed, and presumed dirty and guilty, simply because I breathed—differently than you. The bias, racism, bigotry, sexism, judgmentalism, and elitism that was long undetected within me, revealed itself—shaking me to my core and haunting my every being. Now, this one thing I know for sure, I refuse to let fear win the day and live my life unaware, unchanged, and unmoved by the presence of my inherent privilege. I’m a changed man with new conviction, committed to being a force of true equality, as was and is Jesus—I believe. My heart outgrown your elitism.

I’m No Longer Afraid To See Women as Equal in All Things- The wizard is out from behind the curtain, there’s no theological slippery slope to fear, nor hierarchy to declare—it’s all smoke and mirrors. By God’s design, women are not inferior people nor lesser in capability—and I’m no longer afraid to look you in the eye and say it. I love and respect you, I really do. But, despite all the patriarchal pressure to see differences where there are none, I’ll be standing at the top of the mountain declaring full equality in home, marriage, society, work, and church—nothing short of in everything. It’s a new day, with a new me, embracing an eternal equality for all people. My heart has outgrown your discrimination.

I’m No Longer Afraid to Break Free from the Chains of Biblical Inerrancy- I know, it’s the Holy Grail of all that you believe. For you, it’s the foundation of everything—no one dare question it. But I have, and I will—I make no apology. In fact, I’m all together convinced that the Bible is much more a collection of our words about God than His perfect inerrant words for us. No, not because I want to twist it to say what I will, but to never commit God into saying and doing what He hasn’t. For He is the Word within me that reveals and guides me above all things, especially in regards to a book commonly used to condemn, control, and judge. My heart has outgrown your Scripture idolatry.

I’m No Longer Afraid To Love People, Without Fear of Aiding and Abetting Sin- What a constant pain and stress, prequalifying people for love, fellowship, and affirmation. Determining who is in or out, right or wrong, wayward or faithful—what a mess. If there is one thing for sure that emboldens my courage, it’s knowing that Grace and unconditional Love are the only things that truly change people. I’m not afraid to trust the Spirit to do what only She can, and for me to love unconditionally without fear, restriction, or restraint—trusting God with the rest. My heart has outgrown your conditions.

I’m No Longer Afraid To Affirm the LGBTQ Community- You believe it’s all sin and demonic manifestation—I simply don’t. You line up your passages as proof—I see them altogether differently. What else can I do, but believe what I believe with honesty? As much as your stereotyping desires to include me on your list of progressive, bible-ignoring people, I’m not afraid any longer to receive the stare-down of your disapproval. I stand in proud, full affirmation of the LGBTQ community. For me, it’s not a matter of Grace or biblical leniency, but of Gospel truth. My heart has outgrown your condemnation.

I’m No Longer Afraid To Go to the Hell of Your Faith Understanding- Yes, I’ve heard it a thousand time, “You’re in danger of going to hell” if not already guaranteed a reservation. I should be trembling in fear and confessing sins every moment of every day just to make sure. God is loving, but also just—and His will is to torture you eternally if you don’t love Him back in return—in precisely all the right ways. Thankfully, with all due respect, my heart has been captured by a Love that is permanent and unmerited. I have no fear of your hell or your conclusions that I’m going there. God’s Grace is sufficient and His love endures forever—who or what shall I fear? My heart has outgrown your hell and the god you’ve fabricated to send me there.

I’m No Longer Afraid To Walk Away from You and “Church” Altogether- If a bridge can be burned, it wasn’t worth it or its destination. I’m not going to be controlled anymore by your threats of abandonment and disassociation. At times, it feels like you leave me no other choice, but to walk away from you, and even “church” altogether. The fear I once had of life without you has shrunken in comparison to the regret I would certainly harbor if I caved to the fear of living and speaking my truth. I wish we could find a middle ground of peace, but if push comes to shove, I’m no longer afraid to leave. Thank God almighty, I’m free at last. My heart has outgrown your imprisonment of mine.

I’m No Longer Afraid to Resist, with Every Fiber of My Being- No more burying my head in hopes it all goes away. No more biting my tongue just to keep the peace. No more settling in order to appease. I’ve tasted and seen the toxins of your brand of believing, and now I just can’t idly stand and watch you seduce, abuse, bully, and deceive—no matter how sweet your fragrance or intention. I’ve come to realize, it’s not all just about me. When my moment of truth is before me and injustice and evil show their face, I will resist with non-violent solidarity no matter what it takes. Yah, there’s a new courage within me. My heart has outgrown your intimidation.

I’m No Longer Afraid To Do, What You Won’t Do For Me—Accept You Nonetheless. I’m not asking you to change, nor condemning you to hell. I’m not denying you rights or demanding my way in your public circles. I’m not labeling you a sinner or an abomination, nor peppering your life with condemnation. I’m not closing the church door or restricting your capacity to serve. I’m not sending you to the curb, if it turns out, you were one of my children. I’m not signing you up and dragging you to reparative therapy. I’m not keeping you from loving who you love or policing your bedroom. I’m not using the Bible to condemn all the people who sin differently than you, or beat you into repentance. No, I’m not afraid to affirm and accept you as is—a perfectly whole, beautiful, and God-imaged person whose faith happens to be conservative Evangelicalism. None of us are better, only different—Grace has made it so.

There was a moment, a cosmic shift in my entire being, the day I awakened and realized I was altogether different. There was a clarity that had never been so clear—a new wind blowing and filling my sails. I’ve lost no love for you, mean no disrespect, nor harbor any pride in saying so—but conservative Evangelicalism, it feels like my heart has outgrown you—all because, the one thing I know for sure is this, I’m no longer afraid.

Salvation has come—I’m no longer afraid.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

I’m White, Christian, Heterosexual, Privileged and Ashamed

There are moments in life where a truth can be so impacting it changes you forever—unhinging, transforming, and recalibrating nearly everything you once understood and believed.

I used to be a conservative, Evangelical, homophobic, sexist, racist, judgmental and spiritually arrogant pastor and person. In nearly every way, I was much the opposite of all that I am, hope to be, and stand for today. No, I didn’t have a child that came out as being gay or some moral failure or personal crisis that shook my foundations. The reversal of my heart and mind, and the dethroning of my bigotry, hate, privilege, and conservatism came solely from being confronted by the true nature of God, the pure message of Jesus, and the revelation of His heart and mind towards all humanity.

To think that I saw color where there is none to see—a choice in sexual orientation where there is no choice to be. To think that gender ever mattered in calling, gifting, or creed—seeing women as some lessor form of a human being. To think that I condemned in the name of Jesus where there was no Jesus condemning—ignorant of my white privilege that blinded my perspective and deafened me to the real voices crying around me. To think that I loved with restrictions, restraint, and conditions—believed I had exclusive possession of all that is Truth to the exclusion of any other perspective or position. To think that I embraced a life and faith lacking in true compassion—leaving God-imaged people marginalized, discriminated, abused, alone, and undefended. To think that I lived and proclaimed it all as faith, faithfulness, and the way, Truth, and life—I am ashamed. Not just ashamed—disgusted.

Look around.

Look at what many of us white, Christian, heterosexual, and privileged people have largely become—not all of us, but many—not always intentionally, but in sure reality. The Jesus-grieving sins of racism, sexism, discrimination, legalism, elitism, and condemnation are increasingly normalized, and even spiritualized as faithfulness. We have elected a childish, pussy-grabbing, womanizing, immoral, misogynistic, and xenophobic president—touting him as a kind of God-appointed savior of our country. Where our nationalistic, social, and political pursuits clearly conflict with the ways of Jesus, not to mention basic human ethics and morality, we conveniently turn a blind eye, and all of a sudden the “clear teachings of the Bible” aren’t so clear anymore and the compartmentalization of our faith becomes a worthy and important practice—smoke and mirrors were never so smokey and distracting. Still to this day, we harbor racism, act on it, and even spiritual justify it, not to mention sexism—all while ironically declaring ourselves to be the well from which genuine spiritual maturity flows. We can’t even stop the religious machine we have created long enough to seek true understanding in what it’s really like to not be white-skinned, heterosexual, Christian, privileged, or male—if only we knew how to listen as well as we know how to lean on and worship our own understandings. When a transgender person commits suicide at the hands of Christian condemnation, it’s like we don’t even pump the breaks or give a thought to reevaluating our faith understanding or position—arrogantly convinced we hold all the keys. Everyone else is always wrong and we are always right. Everyone else’s sin is destined for hell and ours is magically forgiven—thank God we believed the right things, said the right prayers, and made the right changes. Aren’t we all just so special.

While perhaps you are feeling oh-so special, I am feeling oh-so ashamed.

In fact, if this is what it means to be white, I don’t want to be “white” anymore.

If this is what it means to be Christian, I don’t want to be seen as “Christian” anymore.

If this is what it means to be heterosexual, privileged, or even American—you can have it all.

For Jesus flips the tables yet again, revealing that we, in our undeniable worship of being white, heterosexual, Christian, American, and privileged are actuality the ones who have become the deplorable abomination. The finger pointers and speck removers are once again revealed to be the log possessors whose preoccupation with changing the world for Christ has left us tragically unaware of our own Christ-less soul.

Against this I must stand, turning shame for all that I had believed wrongly about God, Jesus, and people into an unstoppable solidarity with all that God has created good, beautiful, whole, and affirmed.

This is my resistance, this is my manifesto.

In the footsteps of Jesus, I’m a human that affirms all humans.

I’m a white man who sees as equal every shade of color and gender.

I’m a heterosexual that affirms every other kind of “sexual” rooted in honesty, love, and committed relationship.

I gladly surrender my privilege and tear off the “Christian” name tag.

I will no longer join hands nor heart with a faith understanding that fights against so much of what Jesus embraces.

I refuse to love, accept, and affirm any less than God who is pure Love, affirms, accepts, and loves me.

For I am no better than any other—only different.

This is true of all people.

Grace and Truth has made it so.

All are loved, equally and beautifully made—each a masterpiece, eternally valued and secured.

I will be forever brave on behalf of the “least of these,” proudly counting myself as equal among them, and manifest the delight of Jesus who is eternally proud to live, serve, sacrifice, and call them friend—as am I.

Ashamed, I am no less. Brave, I am, all the more.

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.

Anti-LGBTQ : The New Racism of the 21st Century

I once was full blown, anti-LGBTQ… but not anymore. Not even close.

I have met extensively with LGBTQ people, many of which were already friends. I have read, studied, and dissected every biblical passage on the matter. I have sought the counsel of scholars, scientists, church historians, all from various sides and angles. In the process, I have come to a place of level rest and resulting peace that LGBTQ is no more “sin” than having flat feet. You can’t choose it, and you can’t lose it. Heterosexual, or gay. Straight, or LGBTQ. It’s what you are, or aren’t.

I fully understand the complexity of this issue and all the spiritual, religious, and relational strings attached. This is tough stuff. I am well aware of the nature verses nurture debate and the reparative therapy discourse. The science of gender variances in human biology is compelling to stay the least. Yes, there are those who may “try to be gay” for various reasons. But that is far from the norm, nor the reality for the overwhelming majority.

For the LGBTQ person, there is nothing to be repaired, changed, overcome or transformed. It is… who one is.

As a Jesus follower and pastor, long before I became LGBTQ-affirming, this reality first confronted me when feeling the difference in my Spirit between counseling a person involved in something like abusing alcohol verses counseling a person in regard to their sexuality. Guiding a person abusing alcohol in applying the power of God’s Grace to overcome, fit hand in glove with the heart of Jesus. Doing so with a LGBTQ person left my Spirit deeply unsettled and conflicted. Something didn’t add up. At the time, I couldn’t put words to the disconnect, but I can now.

Being LGBTQ isn’t a problem to be fixed, a sin to overcome, a temptation to subdue, or a stronghold to break. It is the person’s beautiful, God-imaged reality, unchosen and inseparably interwoven into their personhood. There is nothing to change, that can be changed, that should change. It’s like asking a tree to become a mountain. Why would you do that? Both are simply different, and wonderful in and of themselves.

Racism towards black people essentially began during the Renaissance and Reformation. Europeans were coming into increasing contact with people of darker skin in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Merely because of the skin color differences among a minority of people, judgments against blacks were increasingly asserted. From this biological condemnation, a rationale for enslaving Africans developed. Because of their darker skin color, a spiritual scar was branded upon them, declaring them “heathens.” Many used the Bible as their justification. In most instances, a story regarding Noah and his sons is referenced. Ham finds Noah drunk and naked in Noah’s tent. He tells his brothers, Shem and Japheth, who then proceed to cover their father without looking at him. When Noah finds out what happened, he curses Ham’s son Canaan, declaring he will be ”a servant of servants.” In the biblical account, Noah and his family are never described in any sort of racial terms. But as the story morphed over the centuries, falling into the hands of the religious, Ham became widely portrayed as black. Blackness, servitude and the construct of racial hierarchy emerged.

From simple, unchosen biological differences in a minority, to labeled demonic spirituality, to judged inferiority, to active slavery, prejudice, and abuse. Racism against blacks is born. Much of which, in the name of God and biblical faithfulness.

“[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God…it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation…it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.” –Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America

“…the right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example.”Richard Furman, President, South Carolina Baptist Convention

Enter LGBTQ.

From an unchosen, biological difference among a minority, to labeled demonic origin, to judged deviancy from the divine, to active condemnation, isolation, inferiority, and prejudice. Anti-LGBTQ is born. Much of which, in the name of God and biblical faithfulness.

“[homosexuals are] brute beasts…part of a vile and satanic system [that] will be utterly annihilated, and there will be a celebration in heaven.” -Jerry Falwell, Christian Leader

“Homosexual conduct is, and has been, considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God upon which this Nation and our laws are predicated. Such conduct violates both the criminal and civil laws of this State and is destructive to a basic building block of society — the family….It is an inherent evil against which children must be protected.” -Chief Justice Moore, Alabama

“Build a great, big, large fence, 150 or 100 mile long. Put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified till they can’t get out. Feed ’em. And you know what? In a few years they’ll die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce.” -Charles Worley, Christian Leader

Sound familiar?

Anti-LGBTQ, the new racism of the 21st Century is here.

This, my friends, is what we have, and it ought to shake you to your core and sound off every alarm in your conscience and creed.

Maybe for you, like many who lived in the midst of the racial history of the past seven centuries, you don’t see it that way. There are too many cultural, spiritual, and religious biases and presumptions constricting your view. For many, you are simply trying to navigate from what you have heard and long been taught. But just because you don’t see it now, doesn’t it mean it isn’t true now.

I know some of my readers will consider this line of thinking as an atrocity. How can LGBTQ today be symbiotic with the racism of yesterday? Yet, I find it interesting how what are often deemed in history to be theological atrocities of the present later become Christian apologies of the future.

What is a different color of skin on the outside for some, is a different sexual orientation on the inside for others. At the core, it’s as simple as that. No choice, no sin, no different than the color of your skin.

“We struggled against apartheid because we were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about. It is the same with homosexuality. The orientation is a given, not a matter of choice. It would be crazy for someone to choose to be gay, given the homophobia that is present.”Desmond Tutu

Wake up America, wake up Christians. Do you really want to be on the wrong side of history, biblical interpretation, and the manifesting of God’s heart for our culture yet again? Do we really want to be connected to and the catalyst of atrocities being committed towards LGBTQ people not unlike the ones we once (and even still) asserted towards blacks?

Let’s surprise even God Himself, and go ahead and write that letter now, apologizing to the LGBTQ community for our role in demonizing, marginalizing, and damaging their lives. A letter, mark my words, we will most certainly construct, sadly years from now, when we finally realize our error and grow the fruits to admit it, in the same way we did with racism, slavery, interracial marriage, and might I add… divorce and women in ministry.

The new racism of the 21st Century is here. It has a name… anti-LGBTQ.

A White Christian’s Deep Apology to Black America

This has been a long time coming, an awakening that has been both freeing and yet disturbing. I am a white Christian, but not the same white Christian I used to be, for my whiteness has become to me, my new black. Walking in shoes never worn, walking in ways never walked.

Four years ago, though I had been a Christian since childhood and a pastor for 20 years, I discovered the pure Gospel of God’s Grace. This original Gospel that Jesus brought has been all but lost in our Christian culture. When my eyes were opened to its beauty, it was like breathing for the first time. The message of the pure Grace of God through Jesus changed my whole way of being, feeling, and thinking. Every day since then, this Grace has increasingly awakened me to the immeasurable love of God, my new-creation identity, and what it truly looks like to be a Jesus person.

Unfortunately, the more I have sprouted in Grace and allowed God (who is love) to shape my thinking and being, I have experienced sharp criticism, distancing, and blatant rejection from many in the faith community.  For the first time in my life, I have become a minority. I preach, teach, and live a message that is in many Christian circles unheard of, heresy, offensive, and controversial at best. I am beginning to know what it is like to be labeled, suspected, marginalized, demonized, misunderstood, and even hated. I am beginning to know what it feels like to be seen as the non matching puzzle piece, the one that is deemed second class, substandard, and different. I am beginning to know the frustration, the anger, the insecurities that are unavoidably intrinsic to being the minority; the last kid picked for the team, if picked at all… the one who is marked to be spiritually segregated, drinking from the fountain reserved for heretics, and escorted to sit in the “cheap grace” seat on the bus.

This has been an eye opening experience to say the least, and one that has left me with a deeply changed perspective on what it must feel like to be a black person in America. If it feels anything remotely like what I have experienced, it is a sure kind of hell. And sadly, racism towards blacks has historically and presently been far worse in comparison to any social or societal experience I have ever had.

To be honest, as I grow in Grace, I have come to realize that I have been a white Christian racist who has no clue. Racist, not because I don’t love, respect, and honor black people, but because I have been satisfied with harboring limited, ignorant perspectives on what it must be like to be black. And that, because I have chosen to close my mind, heart, and experience to the reality that black people have not only had a terrible history of slavery and abuse in America, but currently experience real racism.

I have been the white Christian who unfairly gets nervous on a late night in the city when a black man walks towards me on the sidewalk, simply because he is black. I have been the white Christian who, when driving by an impoverished black neighborhood, had streaming, inward trains of thought, “That’s too bad, it’s their own doing, glad it’s not me.” I have been the white Christian who assumes that there is more (or at least equal) reverse racism towards whites than there is legitimate racism towards blacks, and somehow that justifies my disregard and callousness towards the issue. I am the white Christian whose ignorance eclipses him from even knowing how to talk about this issue without tumbling over words, history, and vernacular. I certainly don’t have that problem with other issues that affect me and impact what I love. And there in lies the problem, a lack of love. I have not listened fully nor intently to their story, taken seriously their adversities, nor truly empathized with their experiences. All, while many (if not all) of my black brothers in sisters seriously suffer, struggle, and carry an intrinsic burden of being black in America.

No, I don’t believe every instance that is deemed racists against blacks to be true. Not every police experience, job interview, or legal issue involves or has been influenced by racism. Are there people who exploit and even perpetuate racism for their personal gain or political advantage? Surely so. Are there rushes to judgement and premature conclusions drawn regarding white people committing racial acts? To be sure. Not every arrest, death, decision, comment, or outcome is racially motivated. Certainly, there is no excuse for race hustlers, but if you have had your ass unfairly handed to you as an individual, race, and people for years and years, you might have some moments here and there of overreaction and bias too.

Some say there is a systemic issue of racism in our country in almost every facet of our culture, others say this is exaggerated. Each bringing their studies and statistics to prop up their conclusions.

Yet, the truth is, we can go around and around debating the statistics and trends and brand our views with clever slogans, “black lives matters” “white lives matters” “all lives matter” and yet completely miss the forest from the trees. The fact is, racism against blacks is historically and presently real, no matter how you slice it. And by my lack of empathy, level of ignorance, bias, silence, and absence of genuine care, I am a white Christian who has become much more a part of the problem than the solution. Drastically failing to be Jesus to my black brothers and sisters. And for that, I deeply apologize. I am embarrassed and disgusted with my lack of Grace and love for black America.

The bigger problem is, I am not the only one.

White Christianity today has largely remained silent, in the eyes of much of black America, in responding to the racism being expressed towards them. I tend to agree. Yes, many have been afraid to speak for fear of being labeled the very thing they are trying to avoid being seen as, a “racist.” Others, would just rather avoid the charged issue all together and keep their hands clean. I understand that pressure.

Yet, I just don’t see Jesus ever being silent or content with non action with regards to those who are on the receiving end of physical, spiritual, or emotional violence, abuse, marginalization, or discrimination. Jesus has always been colorblind to race, and a defender of the oppressed.

We Christians have, because of Jesus, the solution to racism, the only solution…not policy, slogans, or politics… but Grace. Pure Grace.

For Grace puts everyone on the same playing field. All are of equal value, worthiness, and hope. Grace does not judge nor condemn. It is the only thing that solicits true change in heart, mind, and behavior. It is the only answer to sin and life.

It does not evaluate ones identity by the color of skin, nor even the content of one’s character, but by the quality of Jesus who created all and qualifies all for every blessing, despite one’s performance in life. For Grace sees all people as the loveliness of Jesus, and nothing less, regardless of their personhood.

Racism cannot live nor grow where Grace is planted. Grace is the great equalizer. The kryptonite of labelers. The leveler of all that would Lord over, look down, or declare privilege or entitlement.

Only Grace can win against race.

We all would do well, to become and be people of Grace. Whites and Blacks.

I for one, have had a change of mind and heart regarding my black, brothers and sisters. The oil of Grace has penetrated this area of my thinking, believing, feeling, and behavior. For my whiteness has become to me, my new black. Walking in shoes never worn, walking in ways never walked. Loving the freedom to love completely and without restraint, black people everywhere. They are my brothers and sisters, deserving of my ardent defense, love, ear, and honor, not because of some political correctness, or religious call to do so. Not because of some kind of minority or majority construct, but because we are, and always have been, in fact… equal. Their history is my history, their present, my present, their future my future, because at the end of the day, we are all human… together.

I am a white Christian, but not the same white Christian I used to be.

Grace wins, yet again.

Do Black Lives Matter?

When the Ferguson incident happened some weeks ago, I was quickly prompted by several people to give some kind of response.  Of course, it was clear that more than anything, they wanted to see if what I had to say agreed with what they had to say about it all.  When I took a neutral stance and stated that I hadn’t formed a clear point of view yet, many were even more frustrated with me, and some went ahead and decided for me as to what I believe; putting words, thoughts, and feelings in my my mouth and heart that I did not, nor still do not have.

I am not an expert in race or race relations, nor have I been a victim of slavery or birthed into a racial minority. I have very little frame of reference as to what it feels like and means to be a black person in America. Equally, I have never been a police officer or a part of our legal system. No one in my family has ever been in either of these arenas.  I have very little frame of reference as to what it feels like and means to be a police officer of part of the legal system in America.

We are so quick to speak and slow to listen in our culture. And furthermore, we often place our agendas, experiences, and emotions above the truth about things, or the seeking thereof.  I know have been guilty of this myself in other issues. I became so sure that I knew the truth before I in fact, knew the truth.

I have no clue as to the complete truth about the Ferguson tragedy, or any other. I have read the same articles and reports as you. But for me, the final conclusion is… I wasn’t there at the incident and I was not a part of the legal process.  Does that make me a racist that I don’t declare war on white police officers and our legal system? No. Does it make me a cop-hater and one who does not value our legal system because I don’t automatically side with officers and juries involved in any and every shooting or incident? No.

But here is what I do know…  When there is perceived to be an error of people in practice or thinking (such as racism) the predominant reaction is to quickly swing the pendulum the other direction, often over emphasizing things in an effort to correct things.  In my own line of work, this happens frequently. When there is an error of people in their practice or thinking about God or the Christian life, some quickly swing the theological pendulum in the other direction, unintentionally creating another theological error in order to bring correction to a previous one.

Yet, what is needed is not over correction, but to find true correction.  Not a mark north of north, but true north.

The truth is, the only statement, call, declaration or battle cry we could ever rightfully imagine coming from the mouth of Jesus, our Creator is ALL LIVES MATTER.  I understand where people come from when trying to bring justice to a perceived injustice. But, this is the only message that will bring us to the center, to the truth, and to the solution of racism of every kind and color. Otherwise, we will just be a perpetual, swinging pendulum of racism. When our practice and thinking in America aligns to ALL LIVES MATTER, then and only then will people be free and racism disarmed. Only then, will justice flow like a river, and all men be judged by the quality of their character not the color of their skin.

Do black lives matter? Of course they do. All LIVES MATTER…. police, victims, perpetrators, black, white, brown, rich, poor, enemy, friend, born, unborn. ALL lives matter. Until that is our song, our anthem, our heart, our cause, our banner, our focus, our resolve, we will fall short of God’s heart and continue to have racism (and injustice) of every kind and flavor… black against white, white against black, asian against hispanic, and on and on and on.

Because God hates racism and injustice of every kind, ALL LIVES MATTER, equally.

© 2017 Chris Kratzer

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