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Chris Kratzer is a pastor and author of 25 years. His transition away from conservative Evangelicalism has served thousands around the world in discovering a faith that doesn’t require one to lose their mind, heart, and self in the process. Chris purposes his writing on being a voice for the spiritually oppressed that they may know they are loved, affirmed, and not alone, while also calling the evils of modern, conservative Christianity out of the shadows. Chris is married with four children.
Grace is brave. Be brave.
I assume you are Chris Kratzer. I just read what you wrote about Christians bullying those of us who belong to the LGBTQ community. I was born in 1951 and am myself a feminist, humanist lesbian Christian and I love Jesus and his Mother deeply because even when others have abandoned me, they never have. I thank you for challenging conservative Christians to love as Jesus loved/loves.
Blessings of peace and joy to you and your lovely family
Thank you Robin for reading that article and for your kind comments!
Thank you for being a voice to we LGBT folks who are believers in the power of grace and love that Jesus taught and extends to us. Having worked in churches, your insights are spot on. Keep sharing grace, brother.
Thank you Stacie! Humbled to be doing this work along side of you!
Chris, your article is very good. Having read what you have to say about Evangelical Christianity, I see where you are coming from. And I like it. There is one issue that needs to be dealt with. Under grace, the law has been superceded. That should mean, that under grace, there is no condemnation related to homosexuality. So far so good. Paul though clearly announces homosexuality as a sin. For what it’s worth, I have homosexual friends, although I find their tastes bizarre. They are precisely friends, because I refuse to judge. In my time, I have met “homosexuals” who have become heterosexual after a meeting with Jesus. i have no clue what to do with this, except absolutely to refuse judgement. on my own part. Lying, adultery and stealing are easier to deal with within our current cultural mores, because I suppose somewhere inside we, and our lawmakers can identify with these things. I did not find Jesus. He confronted me. Otherwise, I would still be an atheist. The grace of God, visited with me in Jesus . I am no exception. We are all EQUAL before God. Full STOP. His grace IS universal. In the face of this, it may seem false to say that “there is work to do”. There IS though a huge amount to do. Face to face with God one (at least myself), realises that there is no hiding place at all. So, as I am, a sinner, my job, is to live differently. Trouble is, it is not really a job , because I am madly and totally in love with Him. My guess is that when we stop long enough to listen what is going on within us, we all taste, and experience this “mad love”. When this happens, the world starts to make sense.
So you say that homosexual’s tastes are bizarre. You have passed judgement right there. A homosexual that is true to themselves will always be a homosexual. Those that claimed to be homosexual but were suddenly heterosexual after “finding Jesus” were living a lie. It’s not a choice we have, it is how we were born.
Just curious what do you do with the scripture about homosexuality. I know it is a sin among many that are named. Do we not pray for those?.. adulterous..fornicators…thieves…liars…cheaters…etc.. just ♂️
Only 8 verses in scripture out of thousands that make any reference to homosexuality. Most refer to something historical/cultural/Roman temple prostitute practices, etc.
Most Christians who quote these scriptures have never studied the differences in when they were written or their historical context. Studt that book you are referencing.
If that is so, pedophiles are born that way and they can’t help how they were born so its ok. False prophets always teach what the people want to hear. Jesus never broke the commandments that’s how you know He loved the Father; Obedience is the key to following,
Faith +Nothing =Salvation that is true. You find no scripture that allows sinful living as obedience. You may paint it any color you want to but underneath all that is darkness. The lie that Satan told in the garden is still the same lie “Yea, hath God said,” The woman was listening. “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:” Paul says in Romans 3 23″For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ” We all fight against the things that darken our journey that’s why living in the power of the Holy Spirit guides us to freedom, but freedom gives us no right to cause others to stumble.
Learn about the red herring falcious argument because that what you just did along with shifting the goal post, and used a false equivalency. Im giving your response an F for Bearing False Witness.
Thank you for taking the time to write your articles. Your wisdom and insight is something to be admired and appreciated.
Today is a particularly hard day for me due to some very hard personal events in my life. But a friend posted one of your articles on Facebook and after reading it I was compelled to leave you a heartfelt “thank you”.
I am 38 and married to my wife. Previously I was married to a man and have 4 children from him. I was born into a very legalistic “Christian” family. We come from Europe where Christians of protestant faith were persecuted. So understand the deep desire of my family to want to defend their faith. However, I do not allow that to be an excuse for hate. I no longer speak to them and allowing God to resolve their issues with who God made me, as I no longer see that add an issue. I have accepted who I am, God’s beautiful creation. I have accepted that God does not need to heal me as I prayed for it most of my life, because I am not sick or broken. I am exactly as God wanted me to be.
My children’s father is using faith to keep the children from me. He had brainwashed the older two and they have renounced me as their Mother. Recently, my 11 year old took on their attitude and declared he will not visit with me no matter what the court papers say. It is a matter of time before my 9 year old succumbs to their manipulation and I lose her too.
Please pray for me. Your articles are very encouraging. Unfortunately I feel faith slipping at times when the pain of losing my children is too unbearable.
Thank you for your support for the LGBTQ community. May God bless you and your family with all that you need and more.
Beatten, thank you so much for your comments and encouragement. Let’s connect further if we can, so want to hear more about your story and help you in any way I can. email@example.com
BeattenDown, I don’t know if this reply will ever get to you, but I happened to see your comment and it was really encouraging reading a story similar to mine. I really hope and pray your children come back to you.
I’m still married to a man, but feel everything crumbling the more I grow, and I know there are better things for my life if I just have the courage to break out. I have been desperate to talk to people who know what it’s like being closeted by the church and all the confusion of growing up indoctrinated with evangelical gender norms. If you ever feel inclined, please drop me a line. firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris. Your last post touched a cord. You’ve put into words exactly what I think and have felt for many years now…but…you have to start saying more positive stuff. What does your ministry as pastor look like? How are you reaching out? What part are you playing to fix this? We can’t just be against something, we have to be pro something. Grace, love…
Gavin, I would encourage you to read through the articles in my blog, there are so many “positive” ones. Further more, what may see like a negatively themed article to some, are completely healing, encouraging, and freeing to others. You might be surprised how often that is the case. I don’t awas write to change minds, but to be a voice that lets the bullied know that are valuable, heard, and have one who will go with and for them!
Love and acceptance of all people. That is what Jesus taught, that is what we as his followers should be doing. Loving and accepting does not always mean total agreement, does not mean we will live in harmony with everyone all our lives, yet we can accept and respect one another in our differences with the love of God. It is sad that so many christians are known more for their judgment and condemnation rather than for following the example and words of Jesus to love God and love one another. Thank you for your message of grace to all people.
Chris, thank you so much for writing this. There are many of us that grew up within the greater EC that are voicing truth from within. We are not welcomed for it. There are some bright shining stars still amongst the darkness. Thank you for shining some light and truth.
Amen Jewel, I am so deeply grateful for your courage, it’s an honor to be brave along side you and many others. Shine on!
Dear Chris, I don’t want to alarm you by saying this, but ARE YOU A PROPHET? Cuz, I think you are. It scares me to say that. When I read your posts I hear myself saying aloud: “WOW!” I can hardly believe what I’m reading, because it feels like it’s coming from deep inside of me! And, I’m no prophet! I left the box church 22 years ago. I was not in a good place, I was sinning. The Mt. Everest of sinning. I couldn’t sit still in a church pew and listen to all that I was not. AND, I knew that if I confessed my Mt. Everest, THEY, these loving fellow Christians would skewer me. They had mole hills of sins, smoothed out and corrected. No such thing as Mt. Everest sins. So I hid, then I ran from all that boxed up pressure of judgement. I started walking in the woods. George MacDonald wrote that nature is “deaf and dumb”. It was and it wasn’t. I was not judged. I was not pointed out as flawed, I just was. It gave me peace. But, I felt guilty still. My family still attended the church. It was lonely. And then, over time, it became a calming refuge.
When I read your words, it feels almost painful and so unbelievable. Can I be enough? Really. I am loved just as I am (Thank you Mr. Rogers). Just the way I am? I am enough. It hurts my very soul. I want to cry. Let it soak in.
From outer space, there is no distinction between Mt. Everest and a mole hill. They are all equalized. We are the same. I am no better than anyone.
I am on earth now, but feel my soul is embraced by a different perspective, it eliminates from a core of love. I am humbled.
I got through those dark years, with no Christian comforting me, scolding me, rebuking me, praying for me, etc. I slowly woke up to the light. I’m healthy and doing my best. Thank you.
Tita, thank you for such a profound comment and for sharing a bit of your story! Would you be willing to also share this same comment in the comment section of my article, “The Conservative Christianity That Is Killing You”? I think it would really bless the readers of that article.
I don’t know who you are but reading this writing of yours made me feel like you were reading my mind!!! I’ve tried to express what I know now and feel, but just couldn’t put it into words! You said it for me – perfectly! I grew up with the jumbo package: Pentecostal, charismatic, born again, New Age, etc. But through it all I kept getting to just follow Jesus and His loving acceptance of everyone! I couldn’t explain what I knew in my heart – that it was just all about loving others. Period. I’m now 80 yrs old and I know what I know. And you are so right on!!! Thank you for putting it into words for me.
Love and blessings, my brother
Bobbie, thanks so much for sharing your journey. I am honored to walk this journey of faith with you! Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. I am encouraged by you!
Activist mommy, needs to let this sink in
She is the appitomy of a judgemental, snide, blind, arrogant “conservative christian”
I can’t seem to find the comment from “Activist Mommy” where is it? I’m getting old and my eyes are not great but i scanned the entire list a number of times and just couldn’t see it.
Hi Chris –
Kudos to you for your piece calling out the evils of Conservative Evangelical Christianity. It sounded like a ‘John the Baptist’ moment to me. I’ve tried to share wherever I have been able.
Keep preaching it brother. It’s the only way we transform our understanding of our religion and it’s purpose for Humanity. It has become more and more apparent that this renewal is imperative.
God be with you in your ministry. Thank you for having the courage to tackle the tough realities with grace and elegance .
Doug, thank you so much for taking the time to read my work and share such an encouraging comment as this! I hope we can stay connected, would sure love to know of your story and stay in touch as we walk this path.
Just read your “Damn rite I’m in a rebellion” piece. I hope that rebellion turns to a full blown revolution. I would love to spend some time to pick your brain (& heart). Keep up what you do.
Viva la Revolution!
Carey, I hope so too! Would be honored to chat with you. Hit me up on fb or email@example.com and we can set a phone or Skype conversation from there.
As a militant atheist slash humanist your writings have done something pretty damn amazing, no I have not changed my mind about the existence of a god, etc. But rather allowed me to correct my negative thinking, my stereotyping of people who identify themselves as a pastor. Keep up the good work.
Alan, this comment has truly encouraged me, so honored to be connected with you.
You don’t have to believe in God but would you consider adopting His message of unconditional love?
Thank you for your blog. You write in a coherent, eloquent, accessible way and offer plenty of food for thought and valuable arguments to defend the truth of love and the gospel.
Keep doing what you’re doing. Love from the UK.
Dan, thank you so much for the encouraging words and for taking the time to read and comment on my work!
I consider myself someone who is spiritual but not religious because I’ve always felt all the world’s major religions contain beauty at their heart. I have to admit, however, that Christianity has come more and more abhorrent to me as I see people move away from Jesus’ humility and sincerity, and toward the pursuit of an authoritarian, exclusive Christian nationalism.
I don’t see many people “walking the walk” anymore, and increasingly, I’m not even hearing people “talking the talk.” Love, kindness, compassion, understanding of others, a willingness to honor strangers — all of those traits that I think should be the core of Christianity seem to be washed away more and more. Jesus’ words are now too often wrapped in hate speech.
Your blogs, however, really bring me back to the heart of what Christianity should be, and I am so appreciative to have your voice as a contrast to what I see and hear on a daily basis on social media and from some family and friends. You are someone I call a “walking Christian” — you walk what you talk. Your religion is clearly inseparable from your life; it takes place every day and not just on Sunday mornings. Do you know how rare that is these days? You give me hope.
Please keep writing, because I’ll definitely keep reading.
Thank you so much for such a generous comment, Susan! You are not alone!
I just read your article on the need for Conservative Evangelicals to be honest. Thank you, thank you, may God bless you!!! This is what I have spoken about to many in the last few years…nearly everything that evangelicals stand for is, unfortunately, anti-Christ. Evangelicalism is purely American and grew out of the late 19th/early 20th Century and prospered under Billy Graham. It was compounded by the 80’s Moral Majority and
emblazoned by Trump…the complete opposite of Christ. It is unfortunate that so many have been taken in by this selfish and immensely hateful ideology. The reckoning is coming. Again…thank you for so eloquently communicating my thoughts.
Thanks Patrick! Would you be willing to copy this comment and place in the comments of the actual article. Sure would love for others to hear your perspective!
I finished “Leatherbound Terrorism” yesterday, and was stunned and humbled by it.
The book resonated and clarified many things I’ve struggled with the last few years. One of the difficult things for me is believing in, and accepting God’s all-sufficient grace, and shaking my guilt and inadequacy before Him, having grown up in first a Catholic, then Missouri Synod Lutheran church.
At the risk of sounding like a crazy person, I realized an analogy the other day, as I lay on my bedroom floor comforting my beloved cat, Finn, who is recovering from a medical emergency/surgery/recovery. (I’ve never had children of my own, but feel as bonded to him as I think any mother might be to a child.) As I gazed at this sweet and dependent soul, I realized there is nothing I wouldn’t do to give him comfort, peace, and trust that I am doing what is best, and life-saving, for him. I’ve grieved for his pain, and the “cone of shame” he has had to endure through his recovery.
It dawned on me that my relationship with Finn is no different than God with me… He only wants comfort and peace for me, and trust in his care and salvation, and wants nothing more than to release me from my “cone of shame.”
I thirst for grace, but also struggle to find a way to forgive those who, in today’s social and political environment, callously inflict, or support, harm upon so many marginalized people. Are they worthy of the same grace?
Thank you for your bold, raw, telling of your transformation to grace. It has given me hope and inspiration, and I will revisit it often until your message sinks fully into my heart.
Thank you so much Leslie!
WoW..I’m not insane…we are all saved by Gods grace and the blood of Jesus. American churches have made following Jesus too difficult, too taxing, too biased, and too selective about us…God forgive us!
Plenty of stereotypes in your “article.” Heavy on opinion, light in facts. I am sure you nailed some folks desires and drivers. The idea that your opinion is accurate for all trump supporters is as foolish as many of your assumptions. Way to go to simplify the issue by just creating the straw man concept of a trump supporter that can be universally disliked. But you accomplished nothing with your diatribe except to demonstrate that you suffer from the same narrow minded thoughts as those you criticize, with just a different view of what’s right and wrong. Hopefully, I will remember your name so I do not repeat the mistake of reading your writings.
My name is Harry. I am gay and was raised strongly evangelical until the age of 12. Coming out was hard years later while in college. Even though my family moved on to a far more liberal church, I was never able to jump tracks into liberal theology. Having had the strong evangelical foundation was a good thing because I always had a concern about salvation and when I did something wrong my conscience convicted me, but I never had peace to accept who I am. I knew I was attracted to men at the age of 4, but nobody talked about it so I kept it to myself.
I tried the ex gay movement because they taught about getting filled with the Holy Spirit, and they believed in miracles, something my cessationist Advent Christian upbringing denied. I thought if I got filled with the Holy Spirit, that it would make me heterosexual.
A few months later I found books by Sylvia Pennington in my local LGBTQ community center lending library. Sylvia was from an orthodox Jewish background. She found faith in Christ during the Jesus people movement in the late 1960s. A straight, Spirit filled woman, over time became the first heterosexual affirming Pentecostal minister in the gay community. The anointing broke the yoke. God told her to go to MCC Los Angeles in about 1970, pastored by Troy Perry, a gay man from a Pentecostal background. It was Cornelius’ house in the book of Acts all over again. She recognized the presence of the Holy Spirit in the service and could not deny it. It changed her mind about gay people when she sensed God moving among them.
In her last book, Ex-Gays, There Are None!, a gay affirming Pentecostal church was listed in New York State, near Albany. It was close enough to drive to in Connecticut where I lived.
It was founded by a man and a woman who were kicked out of the United Pentecostal Church for being gay. They kept the same theology but went in an LGBTQ affirming direction. I was baptized in water by immersion in the Name of the Lord at their church in 1996 and I received the Holy Spirit baptism in a gay affirming Pentecostal church.
That set me free from all doubt and Jesus Christ changed my life forever. I have never experienced such love as I received from Him by His Spirit. Sometimes I couldn’t stand when I experienced it, and sometimes I would weep uncontrollably with great joy while reading the Word and He would anoint a certain Scripture just for me.
So I’m gay, and I love the Lord, and Jesus is my all in all. HE MAKES ME TICK. HE IS SO INCREDIBLY AMAZING. He has brought me through so many things. I wish everyone I know could know this simple thing without forced patriotism, nationalism and politics enmeshed. It causes the Word of God to be nullified of its freeing, saving power because of the “traditions of men”.
Harry, thanks for sharing a bit of your journey!
You are a breath of clean, fresh air. Your essay on why you cannot vote for trump gave me chills and hope.
Just wanted to say thank you and blessings on your post about why biblically we should not be voting for Donald Trump. I really appreciate you backing up everything with Scripture from our Lord’s Holy Word. Prayers
Thanks Phillip, appreciate that encouragement!
Hi Pastor, I am a Christian, who loves our Lord, have sinned in life & so thankful the Lord forgives us if we ask. I cannot support our POUS on just 1 thing, like abortion like Christian’s r saying why he has their support when I see no charactics from the bible. I love ur article helped me to just keep praying to our Lord if I am wrong & asking for his will.,
I’ve been posting a lot of your articles on facebook because they succinctly express what I have long believed. But now I’m wondering if you might do an article regarding Matthew 7.6? It might be helpful. Thanks. 🙂
Connie, thanks for the shares!
Thanks for your posts. I’m interested to read more. I found you through someone who reposted one of your posts on Facebook. I’m sorting through how to better love people. Your articles are being some insight.
I have a question that I have, though, in what I’ve I’ve read so far, There will be a gap between what Christian’s “believe” and the loving action that is the true litmus test of the Christian life. There will be many who Jesus will say.”Away from me evil doers for I never knew you. When I was hungry you gave me nothing to eat, thirsty nothing to drink, naked nothing to clothe me, when in prison you didn’t not come to visit me…for whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me. “
That said, is there any Christ centered standard of behavior that would be considered sin? Should we refrain from sin? Would Jesus ask us to? Sure, he ate with sinners, but sinners did go away in repentance.
Homosexuality is an easy one for Christian’s to call out, I get the hypocrisy of it. But didn’t Jesus have an even higher standard?. To the woman at the well he called out her series of husbands. To the woman caught in adultery he told her to stop sinning. To those who deemed themself innocent of adultery, he declared lust the same sin. To Peter, his Rock, he called him Satan for attempting to circumvent the cross. To those who called their brother racca they were in danger of the fire of hell. Truly, his harshest words were toward the religious who’s lips were with God but their hearts were far from Him, shutting the kingdom of God in people’s faces but not entering themselves.
So as a EWM, I feel like the things that have made unreachable by you isn’t Trump, it isn’t my evangelical church. It isn’t my craving for oppressing others or anything related to the Evangelical machine. But it’s my perception that though God has a standard, instead of loving his standard, believing that his ways are the ways of life, and that his forgiveness of my sins makes me righteous, admitting that my mind is often selfish and that I’m in need of transforming and renewing it,… that if there are to be standards, they simply need to conform to me.
I was a youth pastor/ministry for 20 years. Have been a Christian my entire life in several denominations. I look forward to loving and pursuing people in ways that look more like Jesus with you.
Warm regards friend,