Dear white conservative Christian,
I truly want to honor your beliefs and actions by increasing my awareness of what motivates them. I recognize that, according to your Scriptures, Jesus is to be the focal point of all that you are, believe, and do. In fact, it’s my understanding that Jesus summed up what is to be the core motivation for any of His followers with the command, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Apparently, for Jesus, this is the essence of what “loving God with all your heart” looks like in real Christian living.
So, in deep respect of that tradition, I’m trying to see things from your perspective and understand the thought process behind your faith, particularly as to how white conservative Christians have lived out that faith in the past and how you’re living it out now—socially, politically, and spiritually.
Everyone deserves to be heard and understood.
I’m simply trying to get to the heart of the matter.
I want to hear you.
So, I’ve got some questions. Yes, a lot of questions
For example, when a large group of white, primarily conservative Christians decide to crusade against their perceived enemies through a self-declared, “holy war” of massive, bloody violence and murder… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?”
I’m trying to understand.
Or, when white conservative Christians decide to portray a historically brown-skinned, Middle Eastern Jesus solely as a conservative, American, white-skinned man like themselves… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” By personifying Jesus as the personal mascot of your own race, country, and specific brand of believing, is that what you believe loving your neighbor means?
Yet again, I am trying to understand.
When a white conservative group of Christians decide to declare the Bible as infallible and their interpretations of that Bible as exclusively and divinely authoritative over and against all others… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Admittedly, I’m no superhero Christian, but doesn’t that seem more like trying to place oneself over and against your neighbor, instead of loving them?
Or, when a white conservative Christian, for example, like theologian John Calvin, decides to have his theological disagreers punished, maligned, and even murdered (in the case of John Calvin, he had them burned to death)… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” I’m truly curious, how is that white conservative Christians, even now, can subscribe to the theology of a man who apparently missed the highest admonition of Jesus in exchange for hating his neighbor to the point of melting them to death?
When a group of white conservative Christians take the words of Jesus, “make disciples” and replace them with “make colonies” through the violent pillaging, rape, abuse, and murder of the native people who first lived in America… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Honestly, I’m trying to understand. Which is why I’m wondering, doesn’t it disturb you that anyone could take the instructions of Jesus to, “make disciples” and twist them into, “mass murder people?”
But hey, what do I know?
Or, when a large, white conservative group of Christians decide to enslave black people, abuse them, discriminate, and (here we go again) murder them… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Let me guess, black people aren’t our neighbors?
When white conservative Christians attempt to scrub the history books of their acts of religious oppression and rewrite them by putting lipstick on the pig of their undeniable bigotry, greed, violence, and immorality… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Please, I beg of you, correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t “loving your neighbor as yourself” mean making the truth about other people’s history just as important (if not more important) as your own, even if that truth reflects poorly upon you?
Or, when a group of white, conservative Christians in 1945 unilaterally decide to reinterpret the biblical words long translated as “pedophilia” to now somehow mean, “homosexual”… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Maybe I’m missing something, but doesn’t a move like that seem more like a power play to spiritually justify condemning people you dislike?
When white conservative Christians go out of their way to find fault and criticize a black President while giving a pass to the very same issues (and much worse) that are observed in a white President of their political persuasion… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Maybe I’m way off base, but doesn’t “love your neighbor as yourself” actually mean to love your neighbor as yourself? Wait, black Presidents aren’t neighbors either? My bad.
Or, when white, conservative Christians label impoverished people as “lazy,” LGBTQ people as “evil,” and the unhealthy as “lacking faith”… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Maybe what Jesus really meant was, “Love your neighbors who act, believe, and look like you and don’t threaten your power and privilege. Otherwise, you’re free to demonize, exploit, and lord over as you please.” Yes, now that makes perfect sense, right?
When a majority of white, male, conservative Christians declare that our country has no responsibility to extend aid to immigrants and refugees… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?”
Better yet, when white conservative Christians seem to believe that they’re the only ones who truly want to protect the unborn, but are willing to support separating children from their parents at our border and place them in cages while promoting policies that foster homelessness in children… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” Aren’t all people our neighbors, and aren’t all neighbors a part of life. Thus, doesn’t truly being pro-life mean truly being pro-everyone from womb to tomb?
Or, when white conservative Christians quickly demonize anything that fosters the emergence of true equality or solicits even the slightest reduction of their dominion and privilege in society… where does that motivation come from? Is it from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?” For does not loving your freedom mean loving your neighbor’s freedom as much as your own? Does not loving your place in society mean loving the place of everyone else in society, as much as you do your own? Does not loving your way of living mean striving to see people loving their way of living, as much as you do your own?
You know… love your neighbor as yourself.
Dear white, conservative Christian… where does your motivation come from? Is it really from the highest command of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as yourself?”
Asking for a friend.
Grace is brave. Be brave.
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In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris chases the evils of conservative Evangelicalism out of the shadows and gives powerful voice to the cries of the religiously oppressed. Confronting issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, religious greed, hypocrisy, nationalism, white supremacy, privilege, and the weaponizing of the Bible, Leatherbound Terrorism pulls no punches. Endorsed by best selling authors Steve McVey and Baxter Kruger, Leatherbound Terrorism will challenge you, inspire you, and most certainly cause you to rethink your faith and life.
Spot on, thanks.
If this article were sincere, if the author were truly “trying to understand”, it would focus on how today’s Christians in America could be more loving, and examples of how Jesus showed love for his fellow man in the gospels. But even if it were successful in its clear attempt to convert conservatives into liberals… it still wouldn’t change history. It won’t change the Crusades or American slavery. So the article is doomed on its own merits and offers no point of correction. The article would be no different if it said “Dear White LIBERAL Christian, Asking For A Friend”. The same points mentioned in the article would still apply.
If you were familiar with Chris, you would know that he holds all Christians accountable, regardless of political affiliation. You conservative Christians bring the criticism on yourselves. And no, it’s not because you’re conservative. It’s because you want to force your beliefs on others and vote for politicians who want the same thing. You think anyone who disagrees with your dogmatic beliefs is going to hell. Having grown up Southern Baptist, I can attest to this.
I never stated my political leanings or religious beliefs. In fact, if this article were critical of the left and had a title like “Dear Liberal Christian, Asking For A Friend”, I would have made the same points about it. Or to put it more plainly, the article fails to accomplish its mission on 3 important points:
1. It does not show how Christian history is relevant to current political holdings, nor does it give any support for why it would only apply to “White Conservative” Christians.
2. It does not show any examples of what it means to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. What does the Bible say about what it means to “Love your neighbor as yourself”? Examples of loving your neighbor as yourself are, according to Jesus, a summary of the 10 Commandments or the passages found in Matthew 5~7 and Matthew 25. So for example, loving your neighbor as yourself would mean don’t kill people, don’t steal from people, feed the hungry, take care of the poor, don’t repay evil with evil, etc. Where are these examples in the article? Where are examples of liberal Christians doing this where “White Conservative” Christians fail? If we rely too much on history, we go on to the 3rd point.
3. It offers no solution to the proposed problem, the most disappointing point. As stated in my previous post, if an American Christian goes from conservative to liberal, the points made in the articles still stands. Slavery still happened. The Crusades still happened. White-skinned Jesus in movies still happened. So there is no point to change one’s political stance and no call to action, if this article is to be taken at face value.
You say that Chris “holds all Christians accountable, regardless of political affiliation”. By all means, point to such an article and I will review it with the same rigorous treatment. I believe Chris to be intelligent, insightful, and informed… but in my humble opinion this article needs a lot of work if it’s to appeal to those outside of a liberal echo-chamber. I feel there is potential in this article that was ultimately not realized. Truth should always prevail, not things that tickle our ears.
At any rate, thank you for your reply.
You mention in your posts that the Gospel is “All grace” and that there is “only grace, period”. I’m just a little bit confused by this comment. Do you believe there is a literal place called Hell? Jesus and the apostles spoke of it many times. They warned people about the possibility of going there. Jesus said he was the only way to the Father (Jn 14:6), that the way is hard and the gate is narrow leading to life (Matt 7:14), and that not everyone who says to Him ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only those who DO the will of the Father (Matt 7: 21-23). Jesus also mentioned the need to combat personal sin in our lives.
(Matthew 5:29-30 If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell). He speaks of the horrors of hell in the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16. Likewise, at the end of Revelation (chapters 20-22 I believe), the lake of fire is described as the final place for the Devil, the false prophet, the beast, and everyone whose name was not written in the book of life.
The apostle Paul also makes many mention of the dangers of living lifestyles characterized by sin. Several of his epistles give lists of sins that characterize unbelievers. Galatians 5:19-23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Paul explains in verse 11, that the believers at Corinth were washed and were not longer characterized by living lifestyles of sin. It is not their departure from such lifestyles that saved them, we must be clear about that. But this testified to the work of regeneration in their hearts.
My concern is that the Gospel message you presented earlier may be an oversimplification of the Gospel as presented in the Bible. I certainly do believe that we are only saved by Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone but as the reformers mentioned “we are saved by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone”. As the apostle Paul mentioned in Romans 6 “should we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid.” John the Baptist and Jesus proclaimed a message that said “Repent! For the Kingdom of God is at hand”. The Apostle John also mentioned that the one who practices sin is of the devil (1 John 3). I’m just curious how you reconcile these verses with your statement that it is only grace and unconditional. It would seem that the condition is to repent and believe the gospel, “count the cost” as Jesus mentioned, fully submit to Christ in total obedience to his Word (the whole council of God), and live a life honoring to Him (Ephesians 2:10). Jesus said, if you love me, keep my commandment. To believe in Jesus is more than a mental assent that he is the son of God (see the epistle of James), it is fully resting and trusting in “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified” (1 Cor. 2) for our salvation, and to “be ye therefore holy, as I am holy”. We are called to holiness. Will it be perfect? No, not while we are still on the earth, but God calls us to “strive for holiness, without which, no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews). It is not the perfection of our lives that count, but the direction. We are not saved by works and we are not kept saved by works, but our works testify that we are saved (Matt 3:10, Matt 7:17-19).
What are your thoughts?
Do you see a therapist to treat your deep-seated hatreds and bigotries?
Do you, hypocrite?