You know the saying, “Be careful what you pray for…”
As a former conservative Evangelical pastor of 21 years, I know well the popularity of church revivals and the priority that Evangelicals give towards seeing their brand of “revival” take place in America and across the world. In their minds, the world is bad, people desperately need to believe and become more like them, and God needs to be begged and appeased in order to show up and move among us. So, for a focused period of time, they pray harder, they commit more, they preach louder, and hope their increased efforts move the hands of God in their favor.
Yet, a simple look at the Scriptural narrative will put on display the sure reality that God always shows up in ways that the religious never expect and almost always detest. That’s because many can only see the Jesus of their own image, which is why, in reality, they always miss the real One. Therefore, requiring revival, after revival, after revival, because their needle contains the poison, not the cure—the Satan, not the Savior.
In fact, to the shear panic and hair-pulling dismay of many Christians, the very revival that many spend hours pleading with God to bring, is already here among us—surprise! But sadly, most are oblivious to it, believing God is in the wind, fire, and quaking of their right wing conservatism, not in the choked, whispered screams of those they mute, ignore, condemn, marginalize, demonize, and declare to be the enemy.
That’s why today is a time of reckoning like no other. The top is being revealed as the bottom, the least as the greatest, the first as the last, and the condemned as the anointed ones. For indeed, the religious that claim to know Jesus the most, are in fact, the ones that truly know Him the least.
Just ask the disciple Judas, as he learned that Jesus had found him out to be a sneaky conniving religious phony. How awkward was that moment? Judas’ eyes and soul filled with surprise and shame. So too will be the faces of many Evangelicals when they discover that their prayers for revival have been answered. However, to their terror and alarm, it’s the LGBTQ community that are, in fact, the glorious revival God is bringing to earth. Oh, the weeping and gnashing of teeth that will ensue among the religious.
For conservative Evangelicalism has long led the way in manifesting, perhaps, the greatest evil being wielded upon the planet—the spiritual justification of inequality, and all the brutal hell that comes with it. White supremacy, racism, sexism, nationalism, imperialism, homophobia, transphobia, greed, self-righteousness, war, and violence are all weeds that find fertile soil and safe harbor among much of right wing Christianity.
Not for long.
For the very Grace that comforts the broken and authors sacred diversity and divine equality into every thread of God’s tapestry of creation, is the very same Grace that now renders heaping buckets of white hot coals upon the heads of the self-righteous, calling them to fierce repentance for their wicked conservative Evangelical ignorance and religious idolatry.
For nothing reveals the cosmic beauty, diversity, and complexity of God’s masterful penmanship like the reality of LGBTQ people.
Nothing reveals the irreversible equality God has written into every fiber of all humanity like the reality of LGBTQ people.
Nothing sounds the trumpets of God’s demand for the unconditional love, affirmation, and acceptance of all of Her creation like the reality of LGBTQ people
They are the revival God is bringing to earth.
They are the test God is bringing to Her Church.
They are the measure that reveals how far American Christianity has fallen.
For nothing reveals religious ignorance and bigotry like the reality of LGBTQ people.
Nothing pulls back the curtain on self-righteousness like the reality of LGBTQ people.
Nothing unveils right wing Christianity’s thirst for supremacy like the reality of LGBTQ people.
Nothing detects the underlying hate, selfishness, and greed of many conservative Christians and the shallowness of their faith ideology like the reality of LGBTQ people.
Nothing sends the religious screaming into the streets with protest and rebellion like the reality of LGBTQ people.
Yes, indeed, Jesus is bringing revival to the earth.
To be sure, thinking outside the echo chamber of right wing religious conservatism can be a daunting proposition whose risks seem too heavy to take and whose revelation too frightening to consider, but hear this, and hear it well…
Every time you wish that the rights and presence of LGBTQ people were erased from the earth, you are the evil Herod searching for the baby Jesus to murder Him and remove His threat to your power and privilege.
Every time you marginalize, distance, and discriminate against LGBTQ people, you are the callous Innkeeper whose lack of discernment and blatant spiritual emptiness could find no room for the presence of the Divine disguised as the misfit and the vulnerable.
Every time you deny the clear science of human sexuality that ever widens the spectrum of God’s creativity, complexity, and diversity, and label LGBTQ people as merely having a mental disorder, you are the ignorant cowardly family of Jesus who, when push came to shove, claimed He was crazy.
Every time you claim to be pro-life and yet emotionally, spiritually, socially, and politically abort the lives of LGBTQ people, you are the faithless hypocritical brothers of Jesus whose primary attraction to His cause was to use Him for their selfish agenda and purposes and ignore the rest of Him.
Every time you use Scripture to judge and demonize an LGBTQ person, you are the Pharisees who, out of a desire for religious power, control, and domination, vigorously searched the Scriptures to justify their bigotry, while completely missing the heart of Jesus.
Every time you deny your LGBTQ child your love and acceptance, you are Peter in the garden denying Jesus, willing to cut off the ear of anyone who reveals your inability to hear the Spirit.
Every time you harm, sabotage, demonize, or render an LGBTQ person to be a lesser human being, you are the soldiers who flogged Jesus, tearing His flesh beyond recognition.
Every time you declare an LGBTQ person to be deviant and outside the creative will of God, you are the apostle Peter, whose ignorance and limited revelation caused him to wrongly pen in Scripture that salvation was only for the Jews.
Every time you condemn an LGBTQ person as a sinning abomination destined for the flames of hell, you are crucifying the risen Jesus all over again.
Oh yes, God is bringing revival to the earth, your prayers have all been answered. But sadly, like many before you, you miss it, and would even condemn, beat, and kill it, because you only see Jesus as the image of yourself and your religious ideology.
Thankfully, God is spitting this idol worship out of His mouth and washing it from the earth, cleansing the cosmos of inequality and hate through Her revelation of Grace, with LGBTQ people the front winds of Her Spirit moving over the waters bringing new Life and Kingdom to all who would have ears to hear it and eyes to see it.
For LGBTQ people are the Emmanuel that assures us that God is still with us…
…that blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. That blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. That blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. That blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. That blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. That blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. That blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. That blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. That blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Indeed, LGBTQ people are the revival God is bringing to the earth, deal with it.
Grace is brave. Be brave.
Check out Chris Kratzer’s new book getting rave reviews… Leatherbound Terrorism.
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.
I have said for a very long time that gays and lesbians are “God’s other angels”. I once asked a close straight friend what he believed the world might be like without gays. His immediate response, “Gray. A very dull shade of gray.”
It is sad how a vocal minority trumpets like it is the vocal majority.
Thank you Chris. For a straight, 83 yr old lady, your words are like a breath of fresh air winging HOPE.
Holy POW!!! There are so many quickening sparks in my heart and head after reading this post. Dude. This content reinforces hope and the process of that is heartwarming and consoling. Revival right here on a net page and loving my church…
Thanks so much Mike for reading and commenting!
The church has faced watershed moments…opportunities to repent (only repentance can bring revival). In the time before the American Civil War and following; during Jim Crow; after the Civil Rights Act of 64. The Moral Majority movement of the 90’s…wasted opportunities!
This is yet another opportunity for the church to confess their sins. But they are not focusing on their sins. Remove the beam in their own eye before they can operate on the speck in their neighbors eye.
Kirk, true that. Well said, thanks for reading and commenting!
Hi Kirk, howzit goin bro 🙂 Hope you’re well.
Doing just fine Tony! Thanks. Hope you are doing well too!
Yup, all good here bro 🙂
Thanks Chris. As a pastor and father of a gay son, I appreciate the recalibration you bring that the church needs to hear. I was fired for supporting my son after he came out. I served the same church for 28 years and then was let go over this one issue. Now I am pastoring a small open and affirming church named ShadeTree Community Church in Willoughby Ohio. We are slowly helping the LGBT community find life, love and light under the ShadeTree of God’s love. This never would have happened without this trial. It is words like yours that keep me stoked. Thanks.
Larry, thanks for sharing a bit of your story, you are inspiring! Thank you for manifesting Jesus in ways that are life changing, world changing, and cosmically profound! Please do check out my new book, Leatherbound Terrorism, I think you would resonate with it.
Chris, this was so much appreciated after reading recent word spoken by some modern day Pharisees. As a gay Christian, I feel between the lines so much, walking a narrow path between people who say they love but throw the words of God around like knives, and people who are so hurt and angry by the other group that they are belligerent toward ones like me that love Jesus but also love someone of my own gender. It’s exhausting and scary.
Thank you for speaking words that are very much timely and encouraging, that speak truth in the darkness. I believe what you are saying is true. I am a late bloomer with my authentic self and having lived in both camps I can say that the spiritual awakening I’ve had to be who I am and to live in the light of God as myself is very aligning and draws me closer to God. Revival starts in every heart and I hope and pray that it continues.
Eric, thanks so much! Honored to be on this spiritual journey with you! Keep finding your own path, and stay true to you.
Wow. If your intent here is to drum up the base of those who already agree with you, splendid job. If it is to convince those who don’t agree with you to change, this will only do the opposite.
As a pastor who was once a staunch, vocal and rabid ally for full LGBTQ inclusion in the church (even losing my job for writing posts like yours), one thing I observe from your post is that since losing my job as a pastor 10 years ago, I’ve never met a conservative Christian who hates gay people nearly as much as you come off in this post as hating conservative Christians.
Didn’t you submit this exact same comment to one of my articles some time ago?
Not that I’m aware of
I don’t write to change people’s minds, though that certainly happens. I don’t write to appease people’s desire to tone-police me or circumvent their potential negative assumptions of me. People read what they want to read into my work, often as a reflection of themselves, much more so than an accurate observation of me. Believe what you will, it’s totally cool with me.
I don’t believe I’m reading anything into your post when I conclude that you really, really dislike conservative Christians who maintain a historic, orthodox view on sex and gender. Am I misreading you to say that? Your words (even apart from your tone) suggest that you know their motives and their hearts, and seem to care quite about about what they believe or don’t believe. So I find it hard to believe you when you say “believe what you will, it’s totally cool with me,” when the few posts of yours I’ve read are tirades against people believing differently than you.
Thank you for your commentary.
I’ve been impressed by Pete Buttigieg’s openness, and his April 7 comment : “If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade.”
I spent my first 22 years raised as an Evangelical. I was taught about the God who was basically the the Old Testament God ready to smack you down if you stepped out of line and to condemn you to Hell if you didn’t believe. And I learned that Jesus was basically an early form of Superman, “strange visitor from another planet who came to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.”
In the last 51 years I’ve been learning about Emmanuel, the very human God-with-us Jesus, who defied the religious and governmental establishment, and who loved and spent his time with lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes, the crippled, the uneducated, the unskilled day workers and other “least of these” mentioned in Matthew 25. This was Jesus, the God who preached a new Gospel: the good new of love, grace, forgiveness and acceptance.
In a way, it is ironic that Mayor Pete, a member of the LBGTQ community by birth and not by choice at his pay grade, may be the person who is willing to talk candidly about his Christian faith and his sexuality and to lead the Democratic Party to being the “Values Party” as he talks about the genuine Christian values. It is up to him and to us to spread the good news as Jesus did.
Well said, Jay!
“I spent my first 22 years raised as an Evangelical. I was taught about the God who was basically the the Old Testament God ready to smack you down if you stepped out of line and to condemn you to Hell if you didn’t believe. And I learned that Jesus was basically an early form of Superman, ‘strange visitor from another planet who came to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.'”
This is not Evangelicalism. The God of the Bible is neither Old Testament or New Testament. Jesus was neither “Superman” nor simply a man. God will send you to Hell if you don’t believe, however. This is not an “evangelical” boogeyman meant to keep others in line, simply a fact one cannot escape if reading the Bible. God is the Alpha and Omega. He is unchanging. The “God of the Old Testament” is the same yesterday, today and forever.
God loves homosexuals. He loves adulterers. He loves gossips. He loves the vain, atheists, mean spirited, even, yes, Evangelicals believe it or not. God loves all sinners.
Yet he is a holy God. He will not, cannot, abide sin. Homosexuals aren’t any more sinful in themselves than any other fallen human. Any act which is outside of the will of God is sinful, though. God has set forth his will for sexual relationships. It is simply one man, one woman in a lifelong monogamous relationship. Anything outside this, from adultery, to fornication, to, yes, homosexual sex, is sin. God will not abide sin. When you call yourself a disciple of Christ, yet advocate for that which he is against, you are being a wolf among sheep. This is a shame, as people really need to hear the true word of God.
” God will send you to Hell if you don’t believe…” Please can you clarify which Hell this would be: is it Sheol, Hades, Tartarus or Gehenna?
Tony Cutty, I am talking about the hell mentioned in these verses: Matt. 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15; 23:33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6 Matt. 11:23, 16:18; Luke 10:15; 16:23; Acts 2:27, 31; 1 Cor. 15:551; Rev. 1:18; 6:8; 20:13, 14 2 Pet. 2:4.
The Hell discussed by Jesus, Paul, Peter, John and James. The Hell, and particularly the lake of fire referenced in Revelation, which God describes as the final destination of those who reject the words and ways of his Son Jesus Christ.
Good points – GOd has a standadrd and he will back it up for sure – I believe the Lord will use the LGBTQ etc community to awaken the body to a new thing – they are never the issue- it is the ideologues who have politisized the issues and shoved it down everyones throats – calling others names if they don’t follow thwor religion and they actually could not care less at the end of the day about the LGBTQ community anyways! But they certainly talk a lot about it ! And, “fight for justice” for them. However, the hunger this community has is real and God sees it and knows his own. Yes, God is going to use them as a power house as they become closer to Jesus but God means business too, real business unlike the ideologues with an agenda of their own who fight to politisize marriage definition and secure, un-annointed leadership – But in truth they don’t actually represent the heart of these people when in fact, many LGBTQ are not even fighting for this- that is what is sad so this is why GOD himself will use all those who are truly hungry for him and he will use the LGBTQ community to do it – another note, GOD uses all sorts of riff-raff as we all know like inmates in prison, the wrongfully convicted, prostitutes, drug addicts. We know this already and we know GOD builds his church from the ground up using socities “losers” as it were so this is not news. What a wonderful God we serve!!!
Can you provide a Biblical reference of Peter stating that salvation is for the Jews only? Acts 10 seems to contradict your statement.
Acts 10 shows Peter doubting the Jews ability to receive the Gospel through the metaphorical conversation about clean and unclean. It’s only when he meets Cornelius that he changes his mind, and begins to believe this is possible.
Thank-you for your wonderful words, far more eloquently put than I ever could.
And especially welcome as a link to this appeared in my Facebook timeline directly underneath yet another anti-LGBT article from Public Discourse, shared by someone in the church I no longer go to (made up mostly of exactly the people you describe).
I’m so glad to be out of that church and welcomed and accepted in a church which preaches God’s love for all.
Rachel, well said, thanks for reading and commenting!
Wow Chris! Thank you for this beautiful essay. I want to share with you how this message is moving forward. I am the music teacher/band director at a Catholic high school. My classroom is a “hang out” spot for a lot of kids; before school, at break and lunchtime and after school. I shared this with one of the trans-teens. He, in turn, shared it with his senior religion teacher who, after reading it, shared it with the entire class. It made quite an impact. Later on, my student shared it with their therapy group. There were tears and cheers and lively discussion. It motivated many to share experiences that had been kept hidden deep inside. It truly opened the way for some real healing. FYI. I will be ordering another copy of Leatherbound Terrorism since I gifted mine to my student.
Wow, this is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this with me! What an honor to connect with those students through my writing. Please give them my love and invitation to reach out to me personally anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org From there, I am happy to share my cell# with any who would like to talk.
I would just like to confirm this as prophetic, Chris. For about two years, now I have been convinced about – and written about – the centrality of LGBTQ+ people, and their affirmers, as well as other people persecuted by today’s Church, as being absolutely instrumental in God’s plan for the next revival.
I am so looking forward to it!
No wonder the Fundies tried to torpedo it with their pathetic ‘Nashville Statement’!