Category: Leadership (Page 1 of 24)

Evangelical Christian, What The Hell Did You Expect Me To Do?

What the hell did you expect me to do?

You told me to love my neighbors, to model the life of Jesus. To be kind and considerate, and to stand up for the bullied.

You told me to love people, consider others as more important than myself. “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.” We sang it together, pressing the volume pedal and leaning our hearts into the chorus.

You told me to love my enemies, to even do good to those who wish for bad things. You told me to never “hate” anyone and to always find ways to encourage people.

You told me it’s better to give than receive, to be last instead of first. You told me that money doesn’t bring happiness and can even lead to evil, but taking care of the needs of others brings great joy and life to the soul.

You told me that Jesus looks at what I do for the least-of-these as the true depth of my faith. You told me to focus on my own sin instead of trying to police it in others. You told me to be accepting and forgiving.

 

I paid attention.

I took every lesson.

And I did what you told me.

 

But now, you call me a libtard. A queer-lover.

You call me “woke.” A backslider.

You call me a heretic. A child of the devil.

You call me a false prophet. A reprobate leading people to gates of hell.

You call me soft. A snowflake. A socialist.

 

What the hell did you expect me to do?

 

You passed out the “WWJD” bracelets.

I took it to heart.

I thought you were serious, apparently not.

 

We were once friends. But now, the lines have been drawn. You hate nearly all the people I love. You stand against nearly all the things I stand for. I’m trying to see a way forward, but it’s hard when I survey all the hurt, harm, and darkness that comes in the wake of your beliefs and presence.

 

What the hell did you expect me to do?

 

I believed it all the way.

I’m still believing it all the way.

Which leaves me wondering, what happened to you?

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

Some Of The Best Followers Of Jesus Aren’t Christian

Some of the best followers of Jesus aren’t Christian.

That’s right.

Catch your breath.

God doesn’t need you to believe in Jesus. Jesus doesn’t need you to believe in Jesus. He lives far beyond belief statements, doctrine, biblical scholarship, orthodoxy, and theology. He doesn’t align Himself to “right” believing, can’t be beamed into your presence through properly prayed prayers, nor suctioned into your heart through correct words of genuinely “genuine” contrition.

God doesn’t give a rip about what you think about Jesus. Whether He is the son of God or a pre-incarnation of Elvis, born of a virgin or an alien from another planet, or died on the cross for your sins or pulled a David Blaine and never died at all.

As one Scripture writer discovered, beliefs only upgrade you to the level of demons. That’s the company mere beliefs keep. “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”

Instead, Jesus is a way of life, not a way of belief.

“Whatever you “do” for them, you do it unto ‘Me.'”

For Jesus, belief is always connected, not to what you line up in your head, but ultimately to if and how you love. And when you love the way He loves, He counts it as faith, whether you believe or not.

And make no mistake, Christianity doesn’t have the corner market on love, not even close. In fact, many Christians want to regulate it, control it, prequalify people for it, and flat out stand against it. And Jesus just wants to spit it all out of His mouth and deny He even knows us.

So, maybe it’s best we check our Christianity at the door, because some of the best followers of Jesus aren’t Christians.

They don’t see Jesus as a Savior from a Hell wielding God, a religious mascot cheering the privileged into battle to colonize and conquer the world, nor a path of escape and eternal life for an elite group of people who cracked the code of God’s selective acceptance and approval.

Some are Atheist humans, Jewish humans, Muslim humans, Agnostic Humans–any and every other kind of non-Christian humans.

In fact, some of the best followers of Jesus don’t realize they are following Jesus at all. They love because it’s love, and love is the best way to live.

Church, Bible, rules, creeds, fear, conformity, to-do steps, and inviting Jesus into your heart… not required.

 

Only love.

Love only.

 

That’s it.

That’s everything

The only thing, to Jesus.

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

 

 

 

 

 

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I Can’t Vote Republican, The Bible Tells Me So

I just can’t do it.

I refuse to do it.

My faith is grounded.

You can pressure me, guilt me, shame me, and lure me with gold.

Not locally, not nationally, not at all.

I can’t vote Republican, the Bible tells me so.

Not just tells me, but screams it into my soul.

 

Starting with abortion. 

The Scripture writer declared, “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.” Jeremiah 6:14-16 

In this passage from the Bible, God is upset. The religious people of the day are exploiting harmful problems for personal, political gain and not addressing their true solutions. They act like they care, but intentionally allow the issues to remain unresolved. They outwardly insist that they desire a way forward, but inwardly they have no real desire at all. 

Sadly, Republicans treat “abortion” the same. They outwardly declare that they are “pro-life” and detest abortion. They feverishly rant against how many “babies” are being murdered. Many make abortion their defining issue as to the reason why they deserve our vote. They posture themselves as wanting to make it illegal, as if that was the cure. It all looks and sounds so spiritual to the casual observer. Yet, inwardly, they have little-to-no heart for a real solution. For if they did, they would be addressing, providing for, and adopting the proven remedies that positively impact abortion. But, they don’t. 

Instead, with deceit, they want to keep the abortion issue alive because it manipulates their voters. It’s a political false flag. The last card they have in their deck. Without it, they have no drum to beat and no provocative enemy upon which to summon their troops to fight. In fact, Dana Loeash vocalized the true mindset and heart Republicans have towards abortion…

“Keep in mind that I am concerned about one thing, and one thing only at this point. I don’t care if Herschel Walker paid to abort endangered baby eagles. I want control of the Senate.”

For them, it’s ultimately not about life, it’s ultimately about power. Republicans want to create the illusion that they lead the way against abortion while making sure it remains unresolved, that they might remain in power. In fact, perfectly credible and widely known statistics show that abortion rates have gone down significantly with the kind of Democratic leadership that approaches abortion wholistically and addresses the real issues that can bring real change. Yet sadly, these same statistics reveal that under Republican leadership, abortion significantly increases. I’m not siding with Democrats, that’s just the facts. Yet, Republicans “do not even know how to blush” at the truth about abortion, how they exploit it, and how they resist actual remedies. Instead, they declare “Pro-life, pro-life” where there is no pro-life among them. All in hopes of drowning the biblical voice crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the ways of the Lord to heal abortion and cure its causes.”  

Like most people, I detest abortion. I want to see it become a non-issue in our society. I want to see it remedied by real people who really care, who are willing to apply the difficult, but real solutions that work. I’m tired of people who are more interested in politics than life.

That’s why I can’t vote Republican, the Bible tells me so.

 

Or, how about their refusal to support meaningful gun reform.

With an epidemic of mass shootings that kill innocent people, including children, Republicans refuse to adopt meaningful gun restrictions. Instead, their sense of being a Christian involves owning and carrying, not just guns, but weapons of war. For them, their God embraces the ways of violence and the use of force to assert His will. And of course, somehow Republicans have the exclusive discernment to know exactly what God’s will is, and the special divine authority to use it.

Yet, while refusing to wear masks during a pandemic because, “God will protect us” and “my body, my choice,” they somehow feel the necessity and demand the right to carry an AR-15 into Walmart for, “self protection.” In fact, Republicans in Texas are now providing schools with DNA kits to identify children killed in mass shootings. So, instead of passing meaningful laws that will protect kids from guns, they want to make it easier to identify their unrecognizable bodies. So, this is pro-life, patriotic, and in concert with the ways of Jesus? This is the best we can do for America?

Ironically, the very Jesus most Republicans claim to serve and the Bible they love to quote have a lot to say about violence that, apparently, Republicans have developed a special gift for ignoring.

“He [Messiah] was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” Isaiah 53:9

In other words, if Jesus is the Messiah long foretold, as most Republicans believe, He didn’t commit violence nor condone it. That’s right, there is no such thing as an ass-kicking, gun carrying, Rambo flexing Jesus. Period. End of conversation.

In fact, when Peter misunderstood Jesus as being open to the use of swords for violence and therefore cut off the ear of a man sent to arrest Jesus, Jesus rebuked Peter saying, Put your sword back in its place. For all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Matthew 26: 51-52

Or, how about these words, among countless others…

“The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” Psalm 11:5

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:38-39

I want to live in an America where there are meaningful, effective gun laws that prevent mass shootings and protect children from murderous violence. I want my children and grandchildren to grow up in a nation where “pro-life” actually means embracing all of life—safeguarding it, and creating a society free from the fear of violence and those who would embrace it as a way of righteousness.  

That’s why I can’t vote Republican, the Bible tells me so. 

 

And then, their desperate pursuit to nationalize their brand of Christianity.

“Today Christianity stands at the head of this country. I pledge that I never will tie myself to those who want to destroy Christianity. In short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past few years.”

Most, if not all, Republicans would applaud these words and gladly adopt them as their own thoughts and feelings. Yet, these words were actually spoken by Hitler in pursuit of gaining power and ultimately the genocide of millions of Jewish humans—men, women, children, and babies.

Republicans don’t hide it, they want a Christian nation. Not just a Christian nation, but rather, a Christian nation based solely on their brand of Christianity. They believe America was founded as a Christian nation to espouse the beliefs and values of current Christian Republicans. They believe God uniquely created and blesses America above and beyond all other nations. In their minds, besides them, there is no other group, faith, or kind of person that is as knowing, equipped, divinely favored, and discerning to rule America towards what they believe God and the founders intended for our country. With their publicly stated desire and vision to do everything and anything to “own the libs” and when they refuse to support and approve good things for the country simply because they don’t want any success for the Democrats, Republicans don’t believe in a democracy equally for all, but rather a rulership calibrated towards their brand of faith, values, and beliefs. A rulership that demands compliance and allegiance by its citizens, and ultimately the rest of the world. 

Yet, there is no such thing as a Christian nation.

It doesn’t exist.

It can’t exist.

Not a chance.

Not with Christ.

For Christ cannot be nationalized. He refuses the platform. He rejects any and all power established through vote, people, government, or popularity. He seeks no political party, no people group, and no established system of organization.

He cannot be colonized, weaponized, militarized, bulldozed into existence, marched down the street, hammered by a gavel, or flown over a stadium.

He dwells outside of walls, structures, and human constructs. He tears down all that would cage Him, franchise Him, leverage Him, and hoist Him upon a flag.

For Jesus lives in the margins, the cracks, the undefined, and the unconstituted. He cannot be legislated, demarcated, or plotted on a map.

Far beyond theology, denominations, creeds, rules, religion, news networks, social media, speeches, conferences, prayer formulas, mission statements, worship centers, bibles, and books.

He blesses all. Lives in all. Claims all… equally.

He is all, in all, and for all, or He means nothing at all.

There is no budget that can commandeer him, no army that can assert Him, no democracy that can elect Him, no dictator that can enforce Him, and no office, house, branch, or anthem that can contain Him.

In fact, you can surely be sure that any person, group, or effort to nationalize Him is not of Him. Not even close.

“The first will be last and the last will be first.” Matthew 20:16

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourself.” Philippians 2:3

“Our citizenship is in heaven.” Philippians 3:20

“You cannot serve God and money.” Matthew 6:24

“These people worship me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Matthew 5:8

Within every call, drumbeat, and chorus of Republicans to nationalize Christianity is the screaming confession that, “we have not, believe not, and worship not Jesus.”

I want to live in a country where Republican Christians strive to actually live like Jesus instead of nationalizing their obvious hatred of His ways and their love of power and supremacy.

That’s why I can’t vote Republican, the Bible tells me so.

 

Enter the immigrant, refugee, and the foreigner.

No one wants illegal immigration or open borders as a national policy, regardless of how Republicans label the position of progressives. Once again, Republicans seem to relish in creating issues that aren’t real to deflect from addressing the ones that are.

Yet, If America becomes a “Christian” nation, what happens when immigration (illegal or not) happens? How, biblically, are we to treat the foreigners and immigrants among us, no matter how they arrive? What happens with refugees who come to our border? And, how are we to biblically treat those who seek asylum and new life within our country?

The Bible has crystal clear answers.

Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” Exodus 22:21

“When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as a citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt:  I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:33-34

“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner.” Leviticus 19:9-10

“As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.” (1 Kings 8:41-44)

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:5

“For the Lord your God…loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing.  You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10:18-19

“The Lord watches over the strangers…” Psalm 146

“The aliens shall be to you as citizens, and shall also be allotted an inheritance.” Ezekiel 47:21

“…I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:31 (Jesus speaking)

Notice, Jesus doesn’t say they, “caged me,” “abused me,” “neutered me,” “separated me from family,” “starved me,” “made immigration nearly impossible for me,” “mocked me,” “slandered me,” “deceived me,” “tricked me,” “flew me on airplanes as a political stunt, only to abandon me” or “murdered me.”  

No, he said of His true followers, they “welcomed” me. 

Sadly, this is not the policy of Republicans, even the ones who claim their faithfulness to the Bible and its “infallible inerrancy.” Instead, what God clearly admonishes, they vehemently resist.  

For if you take the Scriptures seriously, the immigrant, the refugee, and the foreigner should not just be “welcomed” with sacrificial hospitality, but “wanted” as God’s own favored blessing. They should be lifted high among all others. They should be loved, protected, and provided for with the same passion we love, protect, and provide for ourselves. They are not to be objects of resentment, oppression, rejection, exploitation, or inconvenience. Rather, they should be honored as angels sent from above. They are us, and we are them. For in Christ, “there is neither Jew nor Gentile.”

I want a country in sync with God’s heart for the immigrant, the foreigner, the alien, and refugee. I want a country in step with God’s biblical, unconditional “welcome,” “want,” and generous care for those outside of our borders who desire to come, live, and find new life within us.  

That’s why I can’t vote Republican, the Bible tells me so. 

 

But perhaps, most of all, loving your neighbor as yourself.

“‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Matthew 12:31

“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” Matthew 5:44

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

As a former white, Republican, conservative Evangelical pastor of 20 years, I know deeply how the system works. I’m not trying to slam the faith or the people within it, but the unbiblical evils must be chased out of the shadows, especially the hate of love that is so rampant among so many.

For most everything within the Republican vision and mission isn’t focused on having a neighbor to love, but rather based upon having an enemy that must be hated. Fear of these enemies is the ultimate motivator, not love. They will create it, fabricate it, and inflame it. 

For Republicans are nothing without fear and the hate it awakens…

…if we love minorities as ourselves, they’ll take over the country and all of society, and we’ll lose our white way of life, and white power. 

…if we love black people as ourselves with true equality, true police accountability, true legal fairness, true economic justice, and true opportunity, we’ll have to admit our racism and white privilege, lose our white way of life, and surrender our white power.

…if we love our wives as ourselves and remove the requirement that they must submit to us unquestionably, they’ll take over the family, usurp male power, and run America and society into the ground.

…if we love the LGBTQ community as ourselves, our Republican patriarchal power will be dismantled, God will punish our life, and all of white, male-driven, conservative Christianity will be flushed down the drain.

…if we love special needs people as ourselves, we’ll have to make an honored and equal place for them in society, overpowering our “normal” lives with inconvenience.

…if we love the least-of-these as ourselves with economic equality, free health care, free college, a living wage, social security, long-term care, and the removal of poverty, we won’t be able to fund our industrial military complex and foster our diabolical economic system of socialism for top and capitalism for the bottom.  

…if we love the environment as ourselves with significant building and development restrictions, environmental controls, and clean energy standards and investments, we won’t be able to feed our insatiable appetites for economic and personal greed. 

“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.‘” -Matthew 25:41-45

“He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich–both come to poverty.” -Proverbs 22:16

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” -Ezekiel 16:49

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” James 2:8-9

See, where God admonishes that our highest motivation should be the unconditional love and care for all of humanity equally, in contrast, there is truly no other fuel that drives the Republican Death Star more than having enemies to fear, hate, marginalize, fight, and treat unequally.

This is why Republicans have the addictive support and allegiance of most conservative Evangelicals and Trump supporters. For the only thing they understand is fear, and Republicans speak their language like no other. They mock special needs people, bully perceived enemies, embrace racism, foster white supremacy, mistreat women, ignite division, worship greed, and love themselves above all things.

Biblically, this is the ultimate blaspheme of the Spirit.

To see love as the enemy.

To see fear as the friend.

To see enemies as the goal.

To fight at all cost, with lies, violence, duplicity, and sin.

To see a white, conservative, Republican, American Jesus as the way, truth, and life.

To see white, conservative Evangelicalism as the Kingdom.

I want leaders with whom love is greater than fear. I want a country where to love all people equally is a friend and not an enemy. I want the character of a great person, a great society, a great economy, and a great nation to be defined by their love for all people equally, not fear nor hate. 

That’s why I can’t vote Republican—

not locally, not nationally, not at all

—the Bible tells me so.

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

 

 

My Evangelical Friend, Why Don’t You Just Be Honest?

My Evangelical friend.

I’ve been where you are, walked the same journey. I know the Evangelical faith, system, and way of life. Twenty-two years as a pastor within it. Lived it. Breathed it. Gave my life to it.

Until I was honest, about the person I had become. Selfish, judgemental, manipulative, and deceived. Nothing like Jesus. Evangelicalism stole everything holy within me and poured gasoline on my vulnerabilities.

I know deep down inside, you feel it too. But quickly cover it over, lecture yourself with talking points, and frantically summon your heart back to going through the motions. Doing your best to convince yourself and those around you that you’re “sold out” to the “one true faith.”

Can we just be honest?

It’s not working, is it? Any of it. The only thing that gets better is our ability to fake it. Our best efforts at sin management eventually and always break down, sinning more not less. You know it’s true. We play the part and put on the appearances, but deep down we’re living a secret, hollow hell. Running ragged on a religious treadmill that goes nowhere, pretending it’s the best way, the highest truth, and the ultimate life.

Why don’t you just be honest?

It’s ok. Unwrap from the Evangelical burial clothes that mummify your soul. Listen to the cries of your heart to be free. There’s no shame or condemnation.

Deep down you know God is bigger than a Bible, more loving than a hell, and your understanding of truth is just as fallible and limited as the rest of us. You know you’re just as broken and fragile as any other. The Evangelical faith is but sinking sand disguised as a rock solid path. It’s a white-washed tomb that microwaves our lives—appearing done on the outside yet remaining frozen within.

Why don’t you just be honest?

You kinda enjoy the Evangelical feeling that you’re better than others, more favored, and uniquely in step with God. You like the rush of the “us” versus “them” battle. You find security and self-worth in having a spiritual justification to set yourself above and apart from others. It’s all a bit intoxicating, isn’t it? It’s ok to admit it. Been there, done that. It’s hard to resist.

So, why don’t you just be honest?

Deep down, there’s a question mark, a check in your spirit as to why you have to keep pre-qualifying people for love, put limits on compassion, be against so many good things, and do so much to appease and keep the gleam of what is supposed to be an all-loving and gracious God.

You wonder why you have to constantly turn off your brain to make sense of the teachings of your faith. You wonder what could possibly be so dangerous about giving value to science, critical thinking, equality, and education. You wonder how truthful and secure a faith can be if it needs to ban books, gain political power, and condemn those it deems to be the enemy in order to preserve and prosper its beliefs.

Why don’t you just be honest?

You look into the mirror. It’s hard to gaze at your reflection. You know your best efforts never seem to be enough. You do all the steps, prayer formulas, and spiritual disciplines, and it never adds up. You live with one eye open wondering if God sees through to the real you. If you could mess up too far. If your faith is strong enough, if you’re doing enough, if you’re genuine enough, if your good will ever be good enough.

Underneath your religious posturing and appearances of strength, you wonder if God really supports your gatekeeping, people condemning, and power grabbing. You wonder if you and your Christian friends would still be excited about being a Christian if you didn’t have anything to be against, and love was the only thing you were commanded and allowed to pursue. Deep down it’s all unraveling, isn’t it?

Why don’t you just be honest?

Because, if in doing so you fall away, most certainly the Spirit will draw you back and convict you of your waywardness.

But, if in doing so, you find yourself following Jesus out of Evangelicalism into freedom and life, you’ll be truly free and truly living… at last.

Either way, God’s got your back.

So, why don’t you just be honest?

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

 

 

 

Burn It Down, All Of It

So much of what’s been made of “church” is a blasphemous degradation of the Jesus it pimps. Oozing rivers of pus-ladened evil upon a hurting world.

What God meant for healing is used to inflict pain. What God meant for inclusivity is used to assert supremacy. What God meant for peace is used to declare war. What God meant for love is used to justify hate.

Burn it down, all of it.

Every part that condemns the different. Every part that attracts the religious and scatters the broken. Every part that lifts men over women. Every part that oppresses the least-of-these and excites the privileged. Every part that creates conditions, restrictions, rules, and limits where God created none.

The world doesn’t need more buildings, campuses, stages, light shows, soundboards, celebrity pastors, conferences, committees, coalitions of the self-righteous, and cults with crosses on top.

Jesus doesn’t need more Membership 101 classes, mission statements, prayer formulas, name-engraved Bibles, devotionals on coffee tables, “be blessed” memes on social media, or to be branded and franchised for the masses.

Burn it down, all of it.

 

Not literally, but figuratively. Not with fire, but with resistance. Not with violence, but with truth.

 

If church is a place you go, you’ll never get there.

If church is a pastor you follow, you’re already lost.

If church is a belief to which you subscribe, you’re in prison.

If church is a lense through which to see and judge the world, you’re blind.

If church is a gathering of the like-minded, like-living, and like-agreeing, trust me, you’re in hell.

 

For when your highest priorities are opulent buildings, slick marketing, the best programs in town, and skinny jeans for the pastor, you don’t have a church, you have a business with a side hustle in Jesus.

When your highest aspiration is to nationalize your faith, gain power over society, and force your beliefs and values into the lives of all others, you don’t have a church, you have a bulldozer with Jesus as a hood ornament.

When your most important day of the week is Sunday, and your most important activity is a worship service, and your most important measure is the attendance, and your most important calculation is the offering, and your most important person is the pastor, and your most important communication is the sermon, and your most important mission is to colonize the world, and your most important leverage is fear, hell, sin, and the devil, and your most important message is “God loves you, but…” You don’t have a church, you have a spiritual veil to an empty faith.

 

It’s the poison, not the cure.

It’s greed, not generosity.

It’s power, not sacrifice.

It’s control, not freedom.

It’s condemnation, not Grace.

 

It’s your way, not the Way

It’s deception, not Truth.

It’s death, not Life

 

It’s darkness, not Light.

It’s fear, not Love.

It’s you, not Jesus.

 

Burn it down, all of it.

 

Love unconditionally, until it is no more.

Include all the marginalized, until it’s squelched of its hate.

Affirm all of the condemned, until it’s smoldering in irrelevance.

Embrace true equality, until it loses its power.

Stand with the least-of-these, until it falls to its knees.

Speak good news that’s good news for all, until it has nothing left to say.

 

Burn it down, all of it.

Jesus says so.

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

.

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

 

Toxic Masculinity From A Toxic God

*trigger warning: abuse

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Thoughts lead to feelings. Feelings lead to actions. Actions lead to attitudes. Attitudes lead to behaviors.

 

It’s no wonder that many within the conservative brands of Christianity have adopted a toxic masculinity not unlike the god in which they subscribe. Believing in a vengeful, callous, narcissistic, exclusive, male, and patriarchal god will most certainly lead to feeling and behaving in much the same way and defining masculinity with much the same attributes and attitudes.

 

With an insistence on a literal interpretation of the Bible and a claim to holding the one true understanding of it, many conservative Christians have shaped God into a white-bearded man who is always right, always justified in his actions no matter how questionable, has little to no compassion nor emotional connection, and gets what he wants when he wants it. It’s as if they have created God in their own image instead of embracing the image in which God has created all people. In fact, it’s interesting that, in their minds, God is somehow always supporting and siding with their thoughts, beliefs, actions, attitudes, and behaviors as if God is under their authority and direction instead of the other way around.

 

For when your best ideas for “masculinity” are to become more aggressive, controlling, forceful, stern, abrasive, self-centered, emotionally distant, and entitled while becoming less compassionate, patient, kind, gentle, loving, peaceful, sacrificial, and emotionally accessible. You have not only betrayed God’s design for all humanity, you are blaspheming the fruit of the Spirit and sabotaging their growth and manifestation in men. Period.

 

According to their own creeds, “In Christ, there is neither male nor female.” Men don’t get an exemption from being like Jesus nor an excuse for living in ways contrary to His graciousness, patience, humility, humbleness, tenderness, compassion, mercy, and softness. To pull these divine threads out of the tapestry of masculinity is to cut Jesus out of masculinity. You can’t be a male “in Christ” without them being lived and manifested in your life. Being a loving, peaceful, temperate, emotional, agreeable, nurturing, warm, and gentle person is not reserved for nor assigned merely to women. There’s nothing inherently complementarian about being male or female, there is only being fully human—with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

 

Make no mistake, what so many conservative Evangelicals fear most is men actually following and becoming like Jesus. All their power, privilege, patriarchy, sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and bigotry rests on the spiritual and emotional immaturity of men. That’s why they fight so vehemently to control “masculinity” and the masculine narrative. Make God look like a man just like them, and their boys will become just like them too. Never let them see the true Jesus. Never let them think, feel, and behave beyond their testosterone-driven image. Never let them exchange a narcissistic, poisonous distortion of masculinity for the beauty of being Jesus—fully human; of and with the divine.

 

I remember the time, as a 10 year old, when I was frightened by the story of God drowning the people in the flood. My mother comforted me by saying, “God created rainbows to remind us He’d never do that again.” As if God just had a bad day, and accidently stormed out of heaven like a drunk stumbling out of a bar, and committed genocide. Nothing to see here. Nothing that a rainbow can’t fix. “I’ll never do it again, I promise” says God. “Boys will be boys” says Evangelicals. 

 

I also remember the time, as a 6 year old, when I walked down the stairs from my bedroom into the living room to see that my dad had my mom tied up with a rope on the couch. Their fighting had woken me up, again. When he saw me looking around the corner, he told me it was to “control her” because she was, “out of control.”

 

Ropes, rainbows—symbols of abuse, not care.

Promises from a narcissist of more narcissism, not change or hope.

Confessions of toxic masculinity born from a toxic God.

 

Love doesn’t need rainbows or ropes; manipulation or control, aggression or compliance.

Masculinity doesn’t either—it does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

 

To My Evangelical Friends and Family : I’m Sorry, I Just Can’t Reach You

I’m sorry, I just can’t reach you.

Trust me, I so wish that I could.

I get it. I truly do. You’re an Evangelical. White, conversative, and perhaps still a Trump supporter. I’ve been who you are, I was a conservative Evangelical pastor for 22 years. So, I understand completely. I’ve seen, heard, and lived it all.

But now that I’ve walked away from it, every bit of it, I guess I wonder why you haven’t too.

When I was entrenched in that system of faith, no one could pull me away. Not reason, not tragedy. Not family, friends, or even truth. I was a captive, totally submitted to the conservative Evangelical Borg. Yet, all by choice, if I’m honest.

You think I’ve lost my mind. That I’ve fallen away. To you, I’m now an enemy of sorts, a project to turn back to your beliefs and ways.

You ask, “what happened to you?” You quote the Bible at me. You hold the flames of eternal torture over my head. Silent treatments here, silent treatments there. You condemn to hell nearly everything about me, perhaps even praying for my demise. Apart from a complete return to your acceptance and approval, it seems that in your mind, there is nearly nothing worthy about me. I’m lost. A heretic. A child of the devil. A “woke,” “baby killing” reprobate.

No matter what I say, no matter how I feel. No matter the Bible verses I point to, no matter the changes in my heart that have set me free. No matter the hurt you cause, the people you isolate. No matter the suffering you create, the destruction you rationalize. No matter the science, history, or facts. No matter my patience, no matter my pleading. No matter the tears in my eyes, nor the pain in my face. Nothing seems to get through. I’m not searching for perfection, I’m just searching for some humanity.

Yet, like the orange that can’t be pulled from the tree, no matter the force, because it isn’t ripe, I can’t reach you, and to keep on trying only breaks me and emboldens you. Lord knows, I’d do anything.

So, I’m standing with the ones you reject. I’m extending the love you refuse to give. I’m embracing the God that frustrates and offends you. I’m giving voice to the ones you oppress. I’m chasing the evils of your beliefs out of the shadows.

I’m finally breathing for the first time. I’m hearing the Jesus within me for the first time. I’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is thoroughly good: non-violent, inclusive, affirming, equality bringing, and unconditionally loving. I’m proclaiming good news to the poor, freedom for the imprisoned, and Light in the midst of darkness. For me, God is All and in all, inseparably and irrevocably. The Gospel in purest form. The earth is my sanctuary, humanity is my community, and love is my worship. And, that’s all I need to see, live, and believe. Finally, I’m alive and being me.

So, if I seem distant, it’s because I’m stewarding the Light within me. If I offend you, it’s because I am finally speaking. If I don’t participate in your attempts to change me, it’s because I’m at peace with who I am, and I’m finally realizing Jesus is too, and always has been.

I’m sorry, I just can’t reach you. Only an honesty from within yourself, ever can. And that is what I pray.

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

 

Imagine A Faith So Weak, A Truth So Fragile, And A God So Vulnerable

It’s hard to wrap my mind around it. Perhaps, like never before, we’re seeing the reality of it. Right before our eyes and without restraint. Hate-filled Christians are pursuing and doing unconscionable things in the name of Jesus.

The very same Jesus who insisted, “by their fruits you will know them.” It’s true, actions not only speak louder than words, they reveal the sole sum of one’s faith, heart, and spirituality. There are no hacks to get around it. The perfect mirror.

So, just imagine.

Imagine a faith so weak, a truth so fragile, a god so vulnerable, that you have to ban books to keep kids from seeing behind the curtain and to prevent the entirety of your faith from crashing down.

Imagine a faith so violent, a vision so discriminating, and a history so racist, that you have to rewrite it, erase it, and frantically keep it from being taught, learned, and acknowledged because you’re so nervous about people seeing it, and deep down you might just like to repeat it.

Imagine a faith so brutal, a truth so deniable, and an identity so brittle, that you have to demonize and criminalize transgender kids and their families in order to satisfy your addiction to power, refuel your hatred, and keep your deep-seated, heterosexual insecurities from being exposed. All, while you secretly pray for their suicides.

Imagine a faith so repulsive, a truth so rejectable, and a lifestyle so pungent, that you have to fabricate an eternity spent in a fiery hell and a diabolical god who would create it in order to scare people into your brand of believing and keep them in it. Otherwise, they would never sign up for your circus.

Just imagine.

Imagine a faith so desperate, a truth so untruthful, and a god so impotent that you have to sleep in the bed of politics, hypocrisy, lies, greed, and debauchery in order to prosper and protect your faith ideology.

Imagine a faith so weak, a truth so refutable, and a reputation so deplorable, that you have to nationalize your faith for it to have existence, influence, and adherents in society.

Imagine a faith so self-centered, a truth so childish, and a god so limited that you have to force your beliefs, your Bible, and your prayers into schools, government, and public settings in order to make sure your god is working, your faith is winning, and you’ll get your way in everything.

Imagine a faith so fragile, a truth so untrustworthy, and a god so human-imaged, that you have to insist that the Bible is inerrant and your interpretation of it as being exclusively authoritative, in order for people to believe you, follow you, submit to you, and do your bidding. Not to mention, convince yourself and all those around you, that anything you believe or teach is real, true, or worth living.

Just imagine.

Imagine a brand of believing so insecure, a masculinity so fragile, and a lifestyle so duplicit, that you have to marginalize and subdue women, and colonize their bodies in order to distract from your pro-death faith, preserve your patriarchy, and demand your sexist privilege within your faith system and all of society.

Imagine a faith so immoral, a truth so uncompelling, and a god so psychotic, that you to have to force your beliefs, rules, god, and values into the lives of people and into every area of life and living, because otherwise, they would never choose them, and worst of all, they might just find out that your entire faith is a fraud, because true love doesn’t insist on its own way.

See, apparently, where you believe that your Evangelical faith, god, truth, and religion are so indestructible that even the gates of hell cannot prevail against them, you forgot about books, truth, solidarity, women, love, grace, equality, diversity, compassion, generosity, and Jesus.

At times, it’s hard to understand how people who claim to have such great faith and divine wisdom can act so faithlessly and with such maliciousness. Yet, the fruits dangle all so clearly upon the tree.

I beg of you, help me understand, who is this god that you are serving? He may be in your Bible, but he’s certainly not in Jesus.

No more need to imagine.

We see you.

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

 

It’s Colonization, All Of It

It’s colonization, all of it.

 

It’s not, “pro-life.”

It’s not, “protecting kids in classrooms.”

It’s not, “preserving family values.”

It’s not, “making America great again.”

It’s not, “restoring religious freedom”

 

No, not even close.

It’s colonization, all of it.

 

It’s what you do when you have not love.

It’s what you do when you have not Jesus.

It’s the best idea of those whose hearts long only for self, even to the destruction of others.

For colonization is greed wrapped in spiritual justification. It’s the face of evil masked in holiness.

It’s the stealing of what belongs to others and making it your own. It’s the taking of what God created for equality and highjacking it for supremacy. It’s the enslavement of what should be free and hoarding it for elitism. It’s the condemning of all that is divine and beautiful, and shaming it into religion. It’s the forcing of yourself into someone’s life and living, to the point that their life is no longer a life of their own.

It’s greed, selfishness, control, and power plastered with divine lipstick and the gloss of moral urgency. Nothing is good, divine, or worthy about it. Every sin that is sin is involved. Colonization is the fruition of corruption. It’s the wake of evil souls. It’s the manifestation of those who have exchanged love for lordship that they might bulldoze the world.

 

Fox News colonizing the truth.

Elon Musk colonizing Twitter.

A worship singer colonizing an airplane.

DeSantis colonizing Florida schools and Disney World.

Let’s call it what it is… it’s colonization, all of it.

 

Republicans colonizing women’s bodies.

Republicans colonizing human sexuality.

Republicans colonizing healthcare.

Republicans colonizing the economy.

Republicans colonizing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

 

White Evangelicals colonizing the Bible.

White Evangelicals colonizing Jesus.

White Evangelical men colonizing church and home.

White Evangelicals colonizing libraries.

White Evangelicals colonizing American history.

White Evangelical Christians colonizing everything and anything they can overpower into their submission.

 

History reveals the dark tale. If they can’t covert you, they will colonize you; if they can’t colonize you, they will crucify you. Sadly, it’s true, all of it.

There is nothing of Jesus, God, love, morality, holiness, or goodness involved. Only insatiable evil, salivating out of colonizing mouths gaping with spiritual depravity.

 

For when Jesus instructed, “Go make disciples of all nations” the word translated as “disciples” is actually the word “learners.”

Notice He didn’t say, “lorders.” He said, “learners.” 

People learning Jesus-love, Jesus-feeding, Jesus-healthcare, Jesus-economy, Jesus-ranting-against-the-religious.

People learning Jesus-compassion, Jesus-equality, Jesus-generosity, Jesus-human-serving, and Jesus-least-of-these-defending.

For “learners” aren’t colonizers and condemners, “learners” are lovers and servants, just like Jesus. 

If only Christianity had adopted the slogan, “No lords, only learners.” Oh, the world we’d be living in.

Colonization and colonizers have nothing to do with Jesus and everything to do with control, power, and ferocious greed.

It’s colonization, all of it. It’s what they do.

 

Let’s learn this.

Learn this now, before learning is colonized too.

It’s coming. It’s here. Look around.

Show up, show out. Like never before, the time is now.

 

“‘So tractable, so peaceable, are these people that I swear to your Majesties there is not in the world a better nation. They love their neighbors as themselves, and their discourse is ever sweet and gentle, and accompanied with a smile; and though it is true that they are naked, yet their manners are decorous and praiseworthy.’ All of this, of course was taken as a sign of weakness, if not hedonism, and Columbus being a righteous European was convinced the people should be ‘made to work, sow and do all that is necessary and to adopt our ways.’ Over the next four centuries (1492-1890) several million Europeans and their descendants undertook to enforce their ways upon the people of the New World.”  

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, Dee Brown (pgs 1-2)

 

It’s colonization, all of it.

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Grace is brave. Be brave. 

 

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

 

 

I’m So Exhausted

I’m so exhausted.

There are no other words. 

There’s no way around it, and I refuse to hide as if it’s shameful or indicative of some kind of deviance or weakness. 

So much hate everywhere. There is almost nowhere where it is not. Every crack, seam, crevice, platform, and instance. No more gowns and hoods. No more gloves or inside handshakes. No more concealment, embarrassment, brake pumping, or situational empathy. All out in the open, proudly parading in the light of day, longing for open spaces and closed minds. Zero to sixty at the drop of a hat. The curtain has been pulled back. The scab has been picked. The cancer has metastasized. The cover has been opened of the American sewer. Unrestrained, unchecked, and unabated hate of every kind, spewing everywhere. 

Sensory overload, news overload, trauma overload, opinion overload. “Do this, don’t do that” overload. Billboards, screens, “breaking news,” and algorithms raping our minds for every moment of our attention.

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer.
The oppressors keep winning, the oppressed keep suffering. Heartbreak and heavy lifting.

We’re all getting screwed. Everyone of us.

Only the few that hold all the cards are immune, drifting in yachts built by slavery ships and wooden canoes.

System after system designed to keep us dependent, compliant, and functioning just enough to serve their seven-deadly-sinning. Rats in a rat race designed by wolves. We are but cogs in the clock of those who rule our time.

The more we awake, the more they seduce our sleep. Distraction after distraction, dragging us around like dogs on a leash and spinning truth like a breakdancer on crack. 

 

Lies are approved. 

Violence is budgeted.

Oppression is focused-grouped.

Power and privilege are hoisted, legislated, and canonized as Scripture. 

 

I’m tired of face-slap debates, knees on necks, and people-erasing.

I’m tired of trucks with confederate flags flying and spiritualized patriarchy.  

I’m tired of Monday morning quarterbacking, Bible masturbating, and Transgender suicide legislating.    

I’m tired of “don’t say gay,” don’t see slavery, don’t learn history, don’t trust science, don’t question systems, don’t report abuse, don’t deny men, don’t read books, don’t resist injustice, don’t free think, and don’t believe the truth that you are truly seeing.  

 

Everywhere we turn. Every breath we breathe. It’s inescapable.

 

I’m so exhausted. 

You’re exhausted. We’re exhausted. 

It’s where we are, it’s who we are. 

It’s our teary-eyed, tired-eyed communal lament. 

It’s the closing of the blinds. The curling up into the fetal position. 

 

So, I’m listening to jazz again, returning my soul to a simpler time.

Taking in stories of enduring value, goodness, and humankind.

I’m turning off the news, the screens, and the voices wasting my time.

I’m protecting the streams stirring within me, welling up within me, and opening the door only when it’s time.

I’m resting more. Being careful more. Listening to me, more. 

To the blips on my own radar screen.

To my own pulse, presence, and people.

 

So, let’s rekindle, recalibrate, and renew together, that we might reconnect and resist all the more.

Cause I’m so exhausted, and I’m guessing you are too.

 

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…

What people are saying:

“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”

“This book is changing  the world.”

“Profound, life-changing; that says it all!”

 

 

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