To Those Hurt By Franklin Graham And His Supporters

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There’s is no denying the hurtful, deplorable words recently communicated by Franklin Graham to the LGBT community.

His timing, message, and condemning posture are extremely disappointing and disturbing at best. The hateful march of many of his supporters rallying around their captain has left ditches full of casualties, shot at point-blank range with fiery darts of condemnation, hate, and judgment.

Yet Franklin Graham and his supporters are a symptom and product of a much deeper cancer in our Christian culture, the Evangelical highjacking of the Gospel, God, and what it means to follow Jesus. Until this spiritual disease in our nation is healed and the heart of Christ reclaimed, this religious spirit will continue to spread and spew its vomit. Hurting, harming, misleading, and destroying the lives of many in its path.

For those of us who are of the LGBT community or allies thereof, these are difficult times requiring great courage, honesty, togetherness, patience, faith, and Grace. Now more than ever, it’s time to be brave.

There is real hurt, pain, and hardship caused by those who would use Jesus to spiritually justify their bigotry, hate, and the pimping of a Gospel that is no Gospel at all. Never apologize nor shrink back from your cries being cried and your voices being heard. We must never become the evil done against us. We are a people of love because God is love. But that does not mean for us to be silent, or perfectly varnished in our feelings or even in our expressing. Jesus confronted the religious spirit of His day openly and honestly, and we are no less Jesus in our doing so.

In fact, in two instances, Jesus is specifically recorded as becoming angry. Not violent, but angry. Both times, at people who interestingly enough, were withholding Grace.

It is indeed right and salutary that we should be emotional, even carefully confrontational where we see Grace withheld, and condemnation and judgment its replacement. Opening wide the floodgates, with honesty in our sails. Yet, all a river leading us to become servants, lovers of our enemies, compassion overflowing. A stream that cannot be stopped, because love is unstoppable. For that is the gift of an enemy, that we learn to love anyway. Furiously and fearlessly.

Even as we hurt, even as we cry, even as we confront, even as we defend, even as we are crucified, we love anyway. Washing the very feet of those who would stomp on ours.

Please understand, Franklin Graham’s voice and those of his supporters, do not represent the Gospel nor Jesus. That is my opinion. His words, their words, are nothing like Him, nor the Gospel He brings. For God is love, Jesus is Grace, and His message is peace. Love, unconditionally without conditions. All affirmed, all included, all delightfully delighted in Him and by Him.

Just imagine what it’s like to be Franklin Graham. Immersed in a religious system at such a level that few ever have the discernment or courage of heart from which to break free. Constantly placing the footings of his faith, life, relationship with God and self on his performance. Forever being preoccupied with sin management, rule-following, and closeness-keeping with God. Imagine, the daily spiritual struggle and unrest in his life. Always having to live up to spiritual expectations, sleeping with one eye open, justifying and medicating shame with self-righteousness. Believing in a Gospel where God loves you… but. If you don’t do this, or you do that, all could be as nothing. A God whose justice, holiness, and love look like the eternal torture of billions of people who simply didn’t follow certain prescribed religious steps and expectations. Where there is no room for incongruent thinking, spiritual exploration beyond the tracks. Where you never get to fully love without restraint. There is always a governor affixed to the pedal of your heart. I love you… but. Just imagine what it’s like to be Franklin Graham.

I, and others, have been there, done that, and have the t-shirt. And I can tell you it’s a living hell that you’re fooled to believe is heaven.

The more Franklin Graham and his supporters speak, the more our hearts should be filled with deep sadness, even compassion. If it hurts so much for us to hear him, imagine what it feels like to be him. For the language he speaks out, is first the language he echoes to himself, believing God first decreed it. And perhaps there is not greater hell then self-condemnation, growing full term into religion, all the while believing its the best of heaven. Imagine what it’s like to be Franklin Graham. We are getting a mere taste of his reality.

Be doubly assured, God is working in Franklin Graham’s life just as He is with you and me. Not through punishment, fear, guilt-trips, manipulation, rules, or condemnation. All through Grace.

In the same way, we can be, we must be… a manifestation and message of Grace to him.

Especially as it hurts, even as it hurts. Where life is a cross, not a couch. This is when Grace is most convincing.

To hurt and to give Grace at the same time, is to be fully human, fully Jesus. On the cross, blood flowing down, agony upon agony, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” Grace upon Grace.

For Grace is the only thing that changes anything and anyone. Grace wins where everything else does not and cannot.

At the heart of Grace is… forgiveness.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what Franklin Graham has said is now somehow true or acceptable. It doesn’t mean what he has done, is somehow now approvable. It doesn’t mean the hurt should somehow now be instantly removable; the anger subsided, and the injustice now somehow justified. It doesn’t mean any of that. For him or anyone else beside him.

It does mean, however, we emotionally release the false-accusers in our lives of the debt they owe that they cannot or will not repay.

Franklin Graham and those among him, they owe, and they owe big time. An apology, innocence returned, sleepless nights re-slept, tears removed, depressions lifted, tragedies averted. They owe big time. We all have our list.

Yet chances are, they cannot or will not repay. That apology is not coming. The affirmation is not coming. The compassion is not coming. The change of heart and mind… not coming.

Forgiveness means we no longer live with the bitterness, longing, and emptiness that comes from the expecting, even the demanding of a return. It gives us the power to be free, to never let the lack of integrity in another become the lack of integrity in us. To sing choruses crying, “It is well with my soul” not because it is necessarily all well with them, but forgiveness has necessarily made it all well in us. They no longer rent space in our heads, nor can their words unravel what God has knit together. Forgiveness has developed our immunity from the false-accusers within our faith. For we know who we are, and Whose we are. Beautifully and wonderfully made, the divine artistry of our Maker.

Forgiveness is releasing our offender only to realize we were the prisoner.

Franklin Graham, to all who gather around him, we love you as is. There is no condemnation for you, not from God, not from me, not from us. You are unconditionally loved without conditions. None of us are better, only different. We consider you, and all among you, cherished members of the family, completely included and affirmed.

To those who have been hurt by Franklin Graham and his supporters, walk with confidence today, that you are loved, affirmed and celebrated by your Father in heaven. Your LGBT child is loved, affirmed, and celebrated by your Father in heaven. Nothing to change, nothing to be rearranged. No sin, no darkness within. None.

You are secure in His arms of approval and pride. You are the joy set before Him, His affections are ever upon you. Unmovable and undeniable.

Lift up your head, lift up your head I say! You are the revival God is bringing to the world.

For such a time as this, you were born.

Be brave!

Love furiously and fearlessly.

Be brave!

36 Comments

  1. Yes, Chris there is no governor on the grace-filled heart. A compassionate plea that needs to be heard first by me and by all who call on the name of Jesus. Thank you for speaking humbly and courageously.

  2. Wow, this is one of the most hateful screeds I’ve seen in a while.

    If Graham is “hateful” for disagreeing with your beliefs, than what does calling his beliefs the “Evangelical highjacking of the Gospel”?

    It is no longer acceptable to criticize the beliefs of pro-gay activists without being met with vitriol. Thanks again for showing us the kind of “love” your movement really is defending.

    • You took the words right out of my mouth. I have more words, but I shall stop at that.

    • Franklin Graham is simply a bigot. Personally I think he is just a total fraud who is cashing in on his family name.

    • ckratzer

      December 3, 2015 at 1:45 pm

      Jojo, thanks for reading my post and for your honest comment. I hear what you are saying, though I don’t see it the same way. Sorry for any offense taken.

    • Perhaps some have not read a Bible written before the year 1946, that was the first year that the wording was changed to homosexual for political reasons.

      The TRUE enemies of Christ is not gender preference or how a person is created, but rather, hateful prejudice and religious bigotry.

      May the peace and love of Christ be with you and all equally.

    • You are so wrong. FG constantly incites against LGBTQ people on his FB page. Constantly. I’m personally disgusted with the Christian religious right trying to hijack our democracy and constitutional rights by continually imposing your evangelizing and witnessing at every opportunity (assaults on separation of church and state). FG incites hysteria and fear among his low info followers with his misleading posts and sly insinuations of a war on Christianity or proclaiming end times, the demise of our nation and advocating for a theocracy – something this nation has never been. Keep your religion to yourselves.

  3. “Medicating shame with self-righteousness.” YES!!

    And this is the best paragraph ever:

    “Just imagine what it’s like to be Franklin Graham. Immersed in a religious system at such a level that few ever have the discernment or courage of heart from which to break free. Constantly placing the footings of his faith, life, relationship with God and self on his performance. Forever being preoccupied with sin management, rule-following, and closeness-keeping with God. Imagine, the daily spiritual struggle and unrest in his life. Always having to live up to spiritual expectations, sleeping with one eye open, justifying and medicating shame with self-righteousness. Believing in a Gospel where God loves you… but. If you don’t do this, or you do that, all could be as nothing. A God whose justice, holiness, and love look like the eternal torture of billions of people who simply didn’t follow certain prescribed religious steps and expectations. Where there is no room for incongruent thinking, spiritual exploration beyond the tracks. Where you never get to fully love without restraint. There is always a governor affixed to the pedal of your heart. I love you… but. Just imagine what it’s like to be Franklin Graham.”

  4. Sorry. But I agree with Franklin Graham.

    • ckratzer

      December 3, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Jordan, thanks for your comment and honesty. Welcome to the table where we can all agree to disagree, and love and respect each other nonetheless!

      • So sorry, but I agree with Franklin Graham as well. Perhaps, not with the way that he may convey the message, but with what is written in the Bible. If you believe that the Bible is the inspired, infallible, written word of God, then you believe in Biblical inerrancy. I have nothing but love for you brother, and that is why I tell you this in all love, I care about you and not just for this life, but for what we will all one day face, life beyond what is temporal. I am not perfect, far from it, and I still am a work in progress, so I do not feel that I am better than anyone else who loves the Lord. Yet, please do not be deceived, for your adversary goes about seeking, and twisting the scriptures to deceive those who do seek the Truth. The path you are on is not true, I do pray that you’ll see what is the Truth. I hope one day we will see each other in Heaven, and you’ll remember what I told to you out of love, and if not there then,…there is nothing left to say. I bid you shalom my friend.

        • Rachael, Your words appear to be kind and you may be a kind and thoughtful person. But to say that the King James Bible is the innerant, infallable, written word of God is not what Jesus in the scriptures taught. Actually, if you read the words of Jesus he taught that the Holy Ghost would lead and guide his followers into all truth, not bind them to a book whose interpretation is used by money changers, greed, fear of hell, and unbelief that Jesus came to die for the sins of the whole world and not just the right-wing followers of the tv preachers including Franklin Graham who are plagues of Eygpt upon America and will to one day face the judgement of God and be turned away for doing many things in God’s name but were workers of iniquity. A true believer is one according to Jesus who worships not in Jersusalem, nor in this mountain but worships the Father in Spirit and in Truth and not in buildings and tv shows.

          • My friend, you lost me at, “the Bible, (is not), the inerrant, infallible, Word of God. I never mentioned in my statement either, the King James’s Bible. Yeshua HaMashiach was subject to the scriptures. He quoted them continually and fervently. He was the Word made flesh, that lived with us, and still does through the Holy Spirit. Nothing changed in the words with His coming. He fulfilled the Messianic prophecy that was foretold. His entire life on this earth, was doing what was written. Nothing, nothing has changed in His word. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. You mention “right-wing”, as though it’s a bad connotation. I do not follow Franklin Graham, nor do I follow any man. Jesus did not say to follow a religion or a man, but to follow Him. If believing in the infallibility of God’s word makes me a “right-winger”, then so be it. I will remain steadfast in this, and pray for all. For he died for all of us who are sinners, as his love is unconditional. Yet, there will be judgment, that is definite. And, harsh penalties for those who lead His sheep astray. I know you are a good man and gentle. I will pray for your journey in this life. Godspeed.

    • Sorry I disagree with Franklin Graham.

    • yes, I’m sorry you do too.

  5. True followers of Christ use His teachings and commandments as a mirror.
    To keep them.

    Religious bigots use the Bible as a mallet.
    To break them.

    May the peace and love of Christ be with you and all equally.

  6. Franklin Graham expressed the truth in love. We are all sinners in need of a Savior, but we don’t receive the grace of God so we might live in a state of unrepentance. And yes, when Jesus encountered the religious leaders who dragged a woman caught in adultery to His feet, He did extend grace. However, he also challenged the woman to leave her life of sin. That’s what we are all called to do as followers of Christ.

    • Bryan,

      Very good!

    • ckratzer

      December 4, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      Bryan, thanks so much for your comment. Obviously, we see things differently. But glad we have connected. Blessings on your ministry my friend!

      • Now I am curious. Other than Bryan’s first sentence about FG’s intention, there is nothing about his remaining statement to see differently.

      • Other than the first sentence regarding FG’s intention, there is nothing in the remaining statement to disagree with.

        • I’m really sorry cuz this is gonna sound rude and it’s not meant to. But obviously, that’s what he disagrees with since there’s nothing else to disagree with

  7. I am not a Franklin Graham fan but I would not rebuke someone publically unless I had spoken with him first or God asked me to do it. I am assuming God would never ask someone to do it. It’s similar to the Baptists bashing Joel Osteen. God’s using him for awesome things.

  8. I’ve just recently come across your blog and this is the first article I have read on it. Great stuff! I love your heart and your spirit and I like what you have to say. FG has always left me feeling a bit squirley and uncomfortable, though I haven’t bothered to listen to him for years, so this does not surprise me. It is such a puzzle to me that we as Christians are so tardy about checking the Scriptures out. Perhaps it’s laziness. We accept them at face value and don’t question the veracity of them by going into the original languages and making sure they are saying what the original languages intend. I’m just as guilty here too, by the way and was once as homophobic as FG sounds. But having been forced into really sorting out what God says (in the Bible) about gays, has really opened my eyes, thankfully. I rest easy in the peace and love of God, unlike FG and others who are constantly, as you say, having to do all sorts of things to justify their position. How unpeaceful that is and so unproductive too. Praying for FG and others caught up in a similar net. And also praying for you CK. Bless you in this ministry and may your voice have an ever wider platform.

  9. Thanks Chris for writing this. It is very thoughtful and gracefully written.

    I believe God is moving in the hearts on this issue.

    I was in a conservative church in the South. I noticed a multiracial family was part of the church. It was not so long ago that they would not have been welcome. They would have been shunned and excluded because of “not being equally yoked”. It has taken time but from what I know few churches isolate and have prejudice against those who marry someone of a different nationality. Much like the LGBT community, they faced the same condemnation, hate, and judgment.

    There’s a movement towards inclusion of all in the church. It is much slower than I would like to see but it is happening.

    Until then we need reminded we are the beloved children of God regardless of labels.

  10. Hi Chris,

    It’s been a while since I have seen you, brother. I want to begin with a compliment on your blog. I really enjoyed your article entitled “Learning to love ISIS…” If readers are new to this blog, I encourage them to read that posting.

    However, my main purpose is to respond to the above posting. I was very disappointed by much of what was written. I find it completely acceptable to disagree with other Christians, but as Paul writes in I Peter 3:15-16 “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
    I saw that you disagreed with Franklin Graham, but your disagreement quickly turned vicious. Using words such as hateful, shooting fiery darts of condemnation, hate, and judgment, and then comparing him to cancer, spewing vomit and a pimp! I had to look back to see if you were really talking about Franklin Graham or somebody like Mussolini or Hitler. Are we talking about the same Franklin Graham, Chris? This is the man who ran from God (see his book “Rebel With A Cause”) and only to find Grace and his way back into the arms of God’s love. He is so motivated by God’s love, that he has dedicated his life to telling people about the Grace of God. Last year alone, over 3 million people received the free gift of eternal life through his ministry, Samaritan’s Purse. Operation Christmas Child organized the distribution of more than 11 million shoebox gifts to little boys and girls. That same ministry has invested huge amounts of time, money, and resources to build up communities all around the world (http://www.samaritanspurse.org/). My family has been to the Operation Christmas Child center in Charlotte, NC. The people were absolutely wonderful. I did not see any of this “hateful march of many of his supporters”. When I think of a model Christian ministry, Samaritan’s Purse usually comes to mind. I have so much respect for how they run things.

    Chris, you speak about love, not being judgmental, and showing grace to the LGBT community. How about showing a little bit of that towards our brother in Christ, Franklin Graham? You, Franklin, his supporters, and I are all part of the body of Christ. Are we not working toward the same goal? This particular posting of yours feels more like the right arm stabbing the left than Grace. May we all strive to be more like Jesus as we continue on in our journey with God.

    Your brother in Christ,
    Jay

    • ckratzer

      January 2, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      Jay, what a pleasant surprise to hear from you. Hope you and your family are doing well! Where I appreciate your comment, I see Jesus boldly confronting the religious spirit of His day, one time referring to such people as “white-washed tombs.” There are only two places in Scripture where it is specifically recorded that Jesus got “angry.” On both occasions, it was at people withholding grace. I will do no less than Jesus, confronting the religious spirit in our day, no matter how sacred to some and wrapped in good works.

  11. Jay, if you would analyze their 990 prepared by their accountants, you would also see that Franklin Graham and family are not exactly running around the world doing things in the same manner that Jesus did either. They are very well compensated ten to 20 times more than the average church going contributors to their ministry. This is fine within our governmental laws except for Franklin Graham’s exhibition by use of words and actions toward the disenfranchised, the outcasts and the objects of hatred that is spewed forth toward persons such as LGBT, Progressive or Liberal Churches and meddling in politics in the North Carolina State races and Federal Races to which that Ministry supported by supposed preaching in favor of the Republican Party’s Right-Wing Radical politicians. This should have reported as they did with valuation of their Christ Child Gifts and Volunteer Efforts by Professionals. This ministry should have checked off the lobbying that was done by using the media in the form of preaching to advance the Republican Party’s hateful agenda toward the poor and disenfranchised in America and the hateful agenda toward the LGBT using supposed preaching to influence elections in favor of Right-Wing, Radical positions of politicians in our own country and also in Africa. When Romney visited the Grahams, he was given assurances that they would DO ALL THEY CAN to help him get elected. When President Obama visited the Grahams, he was given a lecture on abortion, gay-marriage and one could see in the Newspapers and Press Coverage, the icy chill that the Democratic President received as compared to the Republican Candidate. Within 48 hours, the Mormon Religion was taken off the Graham’s list of cults where it always had been before Romney was the Republican Candidate. That is political meddling and should be sanctioned. Even the elder Graham got involved in the Gay-Marriage Election Referendum in North Carolina. Why was all this valuation of media coverage of favorable and unfavorable political media coverage not valuated and correctly listed on their 990 ?

  12. @Chris: I’ve read this blog-entry with great interest, and the comments with rapt attention – and once again resolved to reaffirm a stand I took when some time ago I happened on this blog, and that is to, in spirit, reaffirm my place right next to you 🙂 Thanks, Bro, for not remaining silent…

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