The Love Conservative Evangelical Christianity Refuses To Give

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

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

Sadly, nothing could be further from reality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sadly, this is the love you refuse to give.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Show us the refuge you have given to the immigrant.

Show us the healthcare you have provided for the vulnerable.

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

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

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

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

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

16 Comments

  1. Did the author say ALL? I don’t think that word was used. Some get it, some do not, don’t you think?

  2. Very true. I must also add that as a person of color myself, you’d be surprise at the number of people of color that have drunk the religiously conservative and mean spirited Kool-Aid to their own detriment…and they know not what they do.

  3. ckratzer

    April 14, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Sorry folks, had to remove some trolls from commenting.

    • Kathy hiltsley

      April 14, 2018 at 7:15 pm

      Thank you for being the voice in the wilderness… when I read what you write it waters my spirit . I grieve that others can not see the light that you bring to the darkness and hope that you will continue to speak truth to power. It does shine a light in the darkness and makes a dry spirit awaken if their ears are open. Thanks for staying faithful..

  4. Chris…your voice is so clear to me…this righteous attitude you write about is exactly what kept me away from church for 40 years. I believe that God made us all…ALL of us. To me that means you can’t pick and chose who is a child of God because we ALL are. Whatever color, faith, sexual orientation, good or bad, whatever difference just doesn’t matter – it’s all about God’s Love and Grace for all his children

  5. One word for this post. Truth. A truth that many conservative Christians will avoid acknowledging and dispute with “What about….”s. Love is the answer. The opposite of love is fear. This post perfectly sums that up. Thank you, Chris. When I read things like this, as rare as it may be, it gives me hope. Some folks actually get it. Thank you.

  6. “Grace is brave. Be brave.” I absolutely love this. Nicely done.

  7. When Jesus rescued the adulterous woman from stoning, He also said” Go and sin no more” Why is this comment rarely added when this particular story is told?

    • ckratzer

      April 16, 2018 at 8:47 pm

      Pamela, if you talk to most conservative Evangelicals, that’s almost the only part they tell. Like them, the religious people were trying to condemn the woman for her sin, and use it as an excuse to marginalize her and feel self-righteous about themselves. In contrast, Jesus extends to her pure Grace and the sure reality that she is NOT condemned. This is the only message and truth that frees her to move past the underlying influences that result in her behavior. Jesus isn’t telling her what she “needs” to do, but what she finally “can” do since she has now encountered the person and message of true Grace. That’s why Paul later learned, “It is the GRACE of God that teaches (enables) us to live rightly.” It’s not a message of “having” to live rightly, it’s a message of “getting” to live rightly, free from the roots of condemnation that imprison us to sin.

  8. For what do all these declared enemies of right-wing conservative Evangelicalism have in common? The answer is not sin, evil, or the powers of darkness. Instead, it is simply that they’re either not white, not male, not heterosexual, or not privileged
    Well put. I’ve apologized to a couple of people I used to judge. Not drinking the purple kool aid anymore.

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