This is forum specifically for people who have read Chris Kratzer’s new book, Leatherbound Terrorism, and desire to share their story of crucifixion by conservative Evangelicalism and/or resurrection by Jesus. If you have not read the book, please do so before commenting or sharing your story.
This is NOT a forum where trolling or negative comments about the book or negative replies to people in the comment thread will be tolerated. If you wish to share your criticism of the book, please do so by emailing the author at email@example.com
Use the comment section of this post to share your story. The author reads and replies to each and every story.
Grace is brave. Be brave.
I have spent 47 years walking with Jesus. At 26 years of age I met Jesus with a powerful sense of his love for me. I met him through an evangelical mission. I continued my walk in the context of charismatic Christianity. I looked forward to growing in holiness as I left my sins behind. I loved the worship and fellowship of home church style meetings. But as months and years passed I continued to struggle with personal sin and guilt. I sought healing and deliverance prayer to no lasting avail. I was encouraged to read my bible more, to stay close to God, go to conferences and read some good books on discipleship. The bible was the inerrant word of God. He was a holy god who couldn’t look on sin, hence Jesus was sent to cover me so that his father could love me. All of this seemed OK with me but I lived in denial about hell, divine vengeance, Old Testament violence, my secret sins and my public facade. I couldn’t find the victorious life I was promised. Sure I experienced many renewing touches through different ministries. But when I returned to my daily life it was the same old same old roller coaster. It was as if Jesus saved me then said now you keep this thing going. I know. I must live in constant dependence on God through regular surrendering so that I can stay close to him. It didn’t work.
Meanwhile I came across a book on Grace. I suddenly found hope. One early morning quiet time I was reading this book and was directed to Romans 6:6. It was the watershed of my Christian life. I was no longer a sinner saved by grace. I, along with all of humanity, died with Christ! I realized that I wasn’t a sinner trying to become holy anymore. I was perfect and complete in Christ at the centre of my being! I leaped out of my chair and shouted quietly with utter joy! As time went on I began to unpack this Good News and read everything I could on Grace. I realized that there were no hoops or rules anymore. Jesus had done it all. I was in union with God long before I was a twinkle in my parents eyes. There was nothing left to do but let Jesus’ life unfold in me. What amazing freedom! God is not angry. I am nothing but pleasure to God. Personal sin and issues are losing their power over me as I rest in the One who I could never disappoint. Others are no longer people I need to convert. They are all my brothers and sisters. They all have Christ in them whether they know it or not. God’s love has no conditions. it just is present in all things and people.
The next major shift in my life was the reading of a blog by Chris Kratzer on coming out as a loving ally of LGBT people. On reading that blog I wept with the sense of Jesus’ love and acceptance of LGBT folk It was a complete 180 in my attitude towards those who have been vilified for their sexual orientation. Chris articulates the mind-blowing Gospel of Grace better than anyone I know. Leather-bound Terrorism is a manifesto that serves to validate all who have been wounded by conservative evangelicalism at the same time pointing to the awesome truth of a God who is lovesick over all of Creation. Thank you, Chris.
Thank you for sharing your story, Paul.
Paul…your story resonates with me, and I am sure many people…long years of trying but, but not finding peace. It sounds like you and I were both older when we discovered grace…God willing, my children and grandchildren will hear this message and be smitten by the truth of God’s grace much sooner. Thank you so much for this story of rescue and freedom!!
We all need to resonate with each other! Thank you R Westfall.
Paul, you are named well. My name is Joy. Thanks for sharing your “blinded by the Light” story which has a second half called “now I see!” Grace is a healing salve, isn’t it?
I used to believe that I must put Jesus first in my life. Now I know he IS my life! There is no separation only continuous joyfilled union. You are named well, Joy!
Paul, you are named well. Once you were blinded by the Light, and now you see with Grace. Both are gifts from God. Thank you for sharing your story. My name is Joy.
I have gender dysphoria. When I came out to my Mom, she talked to a pastor about it, and he convinced her to distance herself and the family from me. I grew up thinking family was everything, family gatherings were the highlights of my year. And in an instant, my family was taken from me, because of this pastor’s words. I still love them, and miss them so much I try not to think about it. I have nieces and nephews I haven’t seen in years, one of my nieces I know I will never see. That happened about five years ago, it doesn’t get any easier.
In 2016 I started going to church again. It was terrifying for m, but over a few months I began to feel safe there. A friend asked me if I’d like to go to a women’s bible study with her, so I signed up. The woman leading it went to our Pastor and complained, I wasn’t welcome there. I was crushed. The church had a Stephen Ministry I wanted to be a part of. I thought my experiences would help me help others going through terrible things. I was told no. I asked to serve in other ways, and was told no. I served drinks to kids during VBS that next summer, and the crap really hit the fan. Over the next several months of continually being told I couldn’t serve, and the increasing passive aggressiveness of others, it got to the point where even going was too painful.
There’s a more welcoming church I could go to here, and I tried, but too much has happened, and I couldn’t feel comfortable there. I can’t see any reason to go. It’s just not even worth it to try anymore.
It’s stories like yours, Traci, that so-called Christians need to hear. Your pain should shake us up from our tunnel vision to see how little of Christ’s love we extend. You are the Apple of God’s eye. You give your heavenly Mapa tremendous pleasure! I don’t worship at any church right now. Sometimes I miss it but I keep in mind that everyone is my brother and sister. I pray continued healing for you and opportunities for lifegiving relationships on your path. Love you, Sis!
Thank you Paul. I really needed that. I miss church too, but there’s just been too much hurt to risk being rejected again. When church doctrine supersedes the heart of Christ, there is a serious problem. Bless you. I love you too! <3