Tag: afraid

Conservative Evangelicals, What Are You Afraid Of?

You want me to believe that your brand of faith is centered on love. That you love Jesus, love people, and love truth above all else. Yet, if I’m honest, so much of what I see in you is fear. Fear here, fear there, fear everywhere. Which makes it all the more confusing, given that your own Bible insists, “there is no fear in love.”

Like, I see you banning books. What are you afraid of? 

Is your truth so fragile, your parenting so ineffectual, and the power of your God so impotent that you can’t trust them to withstand the words, thoughts, perspectives, and experiences of others? What kind of love is that? With all due respect, it looks a lot like fear.

I see you standing against true human equality. What are you afraid of? 

Is your identity, faith, and sense of self-worth so brittle that you can’t love yourself without lowering others–lording and demanding your privilege and superiority above all. Do you not trust God to care for your needs while equally meeting the needs of others? Is your identity in Christ not enough for your security, satisfaction, peace of mind, and self-assurance when you compare yourself and your life to others? What kind of love is that? I gotta tell you, it looks a lot like fear.

I see you condemning, shaming, and marginalizing the LGBTQ community. I mean, really, what are you afraid of?

Is your own sexuality so in question that you fear your own truth? Is your faith so thin and your ignorance so thick that you actually believe that being LGBTQ is a kind of virus one can catch? Does the silence of Jesus on the subject and the false translations of Scriptures used to condemn the LGBTQ community scare you so much that you have to condemn the LGBTQ community yourself because you don’t want people to find out that the Holy Spirit doesn’t? What kind of love is that? In all honesty, my friend, it looks a lot like fear.

I see you pushing to nationalize your faith and force it upon society. What are you afraid of?

Is your Gospel, reputation, and “love” for others so unappealing and your Holy Spirit so uncompelling that you need to mandate your faith into the lives of others in order to preserve its existence and give you power? What kind of love is that? No doubt about it, it looks a lot like fear.

I see you resisting and abusing immigrants. You gotta be kidding me, what are you afraid of? 

Is your faith so dependent upon and protected by your brutal selfishness that to share space, blessings, dignity, respect, and existence with anyone different threatens the downfall of all of it? What kind of love is that? It looks a lot like fear.

I see you rejecting meaningful gun reform. My God, what are you afraid of? 

That your toxic version of masculinity, upon which your brand of faith was founded, won’t survive without guns and the ability to kill? That without the capacity to threaten, intimidate, use violence, and force yourself and your beliefs, you and your faith system have no defense or power? That your God is so impotent and feeble that He needs aggression, weapons of war, and male domination to do His will? What kind of love is that? No mistake, it looks a lot like fear.

I see you denying women’s rights. What are you afraid of? 

Is your faith so male-created, male-driven, male-codependent, male-insecure, male-immature, and male-fabricated that embracing the equal value, gifts, abilities, rights, respect, and dignity of women would send it crashing to the ground? Is your God so intimidated by females and insecure with His own divinity that He has to subdue and hide their true value, capacity, and power from the universe? What kind of love is that? There’s no denying, it looks a lot like fear.

I see you demonizing the poor and vulnerable. I mean, come on, what are you afraid of? 

That people will see that poverty is your creation, not the poor’s? That you could solve it, but choose not to? That you worship socialism for the top and harsh capitalism for everyone else? That you benefit from keeping the poor and vulnerable remaining poor and vulnerable? That your “success” and their “failure” comes from a rigged system that benefits you and unfairly burdens them? That your ultimate attraction to helping the poor and the less fortunate is in colonizing them into your faith Empire? What kind of love is that? It looks a lot like fear, and lots of it.

And then I see you embracing sin and spiritually justifying immorality when it serves your purposes. What are you afraid of?

Is your faith so impotent that it needs to cheat, steal, lie, bully, and deceive in order to get its way? Are righteousness, humbleness, holiness, kindness, and goodness not good enough for you? Is your God so weak, frail, and inferior that, at times, He needs to conspire with darkness and partner with evil in order to survive and achieve His will? What kind of love is that? Because it walks, talks, and looks a lot like fear.

For Jesus says nothing to condemn the LGBTQ community, nothing to ban books, nothing to stand against true human equality, nothing to nationalize your faith, nothing to resist and abuse immigrants, nothing to reject non-violence, nothing to deny women’s rights, nothing to demonize the poor and vulnerable, nothing to embrace sin and spiritually justify immorality. But instead, He demands in endless litany “do not fear.” 365 times. Over and over again.

Yet still, you choose to condemn the LGBTQ community, ban books, stand against true human equality, nationalize your faith, resist and abuse immigrants, reject meaningful gun laws, deny women’s rights, demonize the poor and vulnerable, and embrace sin and spiritually justify immorality.

There is no fear in love, but apparently, there is certainly fear in you.

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

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What people are saying:

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

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No Longer Afraid—The Day My Heart Outgrew Conservative Evangelicalism

I used to be, but today is a brand new day.

I’m not afraid anymore—something  has happened deep within my being. New perspectives, revelation, and spiritual understandings have changed my mind completely. No, not in some kind of condescending way nor with a joy that excludes you. I’m just a completely different person now—my soul convictions and overall posture are nothing of the same.

I understand. Perhaps to you, it seems like I’m out of control, descending into a death-spiral plummeting into everything and anything that is backslidden and heretical. Yes, I suppose it’s true, I am out of control and it’s such a beautiful thing—breathing for the very first time. I’ve lost no love for you, mean no disrespect, nor harbor any pride in saying so—but conservative Evangelicalism, it feels like my heart has outgrown you—I can’t lie.

Where I used to curl up in the fetal position, turn off my brain, play dead, tuck in my shirt, and quickly fall in line, a seismic grace-bomb has gone off within me sending waves of courage and freedom supplied with a simple message, “have no fear.”

Call it a spiritual emancipation, a soul-revolution, or a new found courage to walk away. All I know is this—today is like no other, I’ll never be the same. Conservative Evangelical Christianity—with all due respect, I’m no longer afraid.

I’m No Longer Afraid to Speak and Live my Truth, Without Fear of Your Rejection- I must admit, intended or not, you used to have me under your thumb and controlled a good bit of my headspace. But now, Grace has taught me who I am, full of divine splendor and perfectly loved by the Father. Without blemish, stain, or unrighteousness, God is well pleased with me, as is—just me being me. For I’m an unstoppable force of God-affirmation that is immune to condemnation, coercion, and the religious spirit. There’s no proof text, admonition, or guilt trip that could ever penetrate my Jesus-plated armor of identity. In a way like never before, I’m at peace with who I am, addicted to life outside conservative Evangelical control, guilt, and religious seduction—if I’m honest, that’s how I truly feel. My heart has outgrown your rejection.

I’m No Longer Afraid to Say You’re Wrong, Without Apology or Reservation- No, I don’t have all the answers or know things completely. Yet, I do have the Light of God’s Truth within me that confirms in my Spirit what my mind can’t always explain—sometimes you’re wrong, and now, I’m no longer afraid to say it. I don’t always have a defense or explanation, but the mind of Christ within me knows when something is amiss and you’re at it again, selling me more poisonous religion—no matter your intention. The difference now is this—I’m just not going to take it. In fact, I’m going to completely spit it out—for today, I’m no longer afraid. My heart as outgrown your religious spirit.

I’m No Longer Afraid to Live in a World of Grey- For the gravity of your controlling, fear-driven, and self-righteousness creed has long been pushing to reduce my heart and believing into a black-or-white right-wing religion, where God is on your side and the enemy of all others. Yet, here’s what I’ve discovered, I don’t have to align my faith to absolutes nor lord them over another, especially when God is so much bigger and His love so much more capable. My peace and centeredness is grounded in Jesus the Author and Finisher of a world of unlimited spectrum—far beyond my best conclusions and confessions—always revealing more. I’m not afraid to graduate from cut-and-paste conservatism and embrace a God of diversity, a world of differences, and a Jesus who purposely leads me to have more questions than answers. There’s nothing to fear in welcoming uncertainties—for today I’ve been awakened, it’s the place where true faith actually lives and flourishes. My heart has outgrown your narrow mindedness.

I’m No Longer Afraid to Embrace Science, Social justice, and Human Dignity. Jesus is all and in all things, for where can we go from His Spirit? How can I be afraid to consider facts, scientific wisdom, and their faith implications? In fact, when I gaze upon the Grand Canyon with all its rivers and layers, I’m not going to tremble anymore when my soul refuses to believe in a 6,000 year old creation. I’m not going to apologize for a practical faith and an all-inclusive human-loving compassionate Jesus, whose message and example applies to every aspect of life on earth and living. I’m not going to abandon human decency, rights, and dignity to embrace a conservative brand of faith that is skilled at spiritually justifying hate, privilege, and the dehumanizing of people with whom it disagrees or deems to be sinning. No-more-can-do—today is a new day of wisdom, mercy, and compassion—at least, for me. My heart has outgrown your apathy.

I’m No Longer Afraid to Look My Privilege in the Mirror with Honesty- It’s true, and I’m no longer afraid to admit it. I’m white, male, straight, and for so long, was totally clueless. The thought of being privileged was nowhere to be found blipping on my radar screen. Until that day when, because of my changed beliefs, I became a kind of minority. Mocked, maligned, betrayed, and presumed dirty and guilty, simply because I breathed—differently than you. The bias, racism, bigotry, sexism, judgmentalism, and elitism that was long undetected within me, revealed itself—shaking me to my core and haunting my every being. Now, this one thing I know for sure, I refuse to let fear win the day and live my life unaware, unchanged, and unmoved by the presence of my inherent privilege. I’m a changed man with new conviction, committed to being a force of true equality, as was and is Jesus—I believe. My heart outgrown your elitism.

I’m No Longer Afraid To See Women as Equal in All Things- The wizard is out from behind the curtain, there’s no theological slippery slope to fear, nor hierarchy to declare—it’s all smoke and mirrors. By God’s design, women are not inferior people nor lesser in capability—and I’m no longer afraid to look you in the eye and say it. I love and respect you, I really do. But, despite all the patriarchal pressure to see differences where there are none, I’ll be standing at the top of the mountain declaring full equality in home, marriage, society, work, and church—nothing short of in everything. It’s a new day, with a new me, embracing an eternal equality for all people. My heart has outgrown your discrimination.

I’m No Longer Afraid to Break Free from the Chains of Biblical Inerrancy- I know, it’s the Holy Grail of all that you believe. For you, it’s the foundation of everything—no one dare question it. But I have, and I will—I make no apology. In fact, I’m all together convinced that the Bible is much more a collection of our words about God than His perfect inerrant words for us. No, not because I want to twist it to say what I will, but to never commit God into saying and doing what He hasn’t. For He is the Word within me that reveals and guides me above all things, especially in regards to a book commonly used to condemn, control, and judge. My heart has outgrown your Scripture idolatry.

I’m No Longer Afraid To Love People, Without Fear of Aiding and Abetting Sin- What a constant pain and stress, prequalifying people for love, fellowship, and affirmation. Determining who is in or out, right or wrong, wayward or faithful—what a mess. If there is one thing for sure that emboldens my courage, it’s knowing that Grace and unconditional Love are the only things that truly change people. I’m not afraid to trust the Spirit to do what only She can, and for me to love unconditionally without fear, restriction, or restraint—trusting God with the rest. My heart has outgrown your conditions.

I’m No Longer Afraid To Affirm the LGBTQ Community- You believe it’s all sin and demonic manifestation—I simply don’t. You line up your passages as proof—I see them altogether differently. What else can I do, but believe what I believe with honesty? As much as your stereotyping desires to include me on your list of progressive, bible-ignoring people, I’m not afraid any longer to receive the stare-down of your disapproval. I stand in proud, full affirmation of the LGBTQ community. For me, it’s not a matter of Grace or biblical leniency, but of Gospel truth. My heart has outgrown your condemnation.

I’m No Longer Afraid To Go to the Hell of Your Faith Understanding- Yes, I’ve heard it a thousand time, “You’re in danger of going to hell” if not already guaranteed a reservation. I should be trembling in fear and confessing sins every moment of every day just to make sure. God is loving, but also just—and His will is to torture you eternally if you don’t love Him back in return—in precisely all the right ways. Thankfully, with all due respect, my heart has been captured by a Love that is permanent and unmerited. I have no fear of your hell or your conclusions that I’m going there. God’s Grace is sufficient and His love endures forever—who or what shall I fear? My heart has outgrown your hell and the god you’ve fabricated to send me there.

I’m No Longer Afraid To Walk Away from You and “Church” Altogether- If a bridge can be burned, it wasn’t worth it or its destination. I’m not going to be controlled anymore by your threats of abandonment and disassociation. At times, it feels like you leave me no other choice, but to walk away from you, and even “church” altogether. The fear I once had of life without you has shrunken in comparison to the regret I would certainly harbor if I caved to the fear of living and speaking my truth. I wish we could find a middle ground of peace, but if push comes to shove, I’m no longer afraid to leave. Thank God almighty, I’m free at last. My heart has outgrown your imprisonment of mine.

I’m No Longer Afraid to Resist, with Every Fiber of My Being- No more burying my head in hopes it all goes away. No more biting my tongue just to keep the peace. No more settling in order to appease. I’ve tasted and seen the toxins of your brand of believing, and now I just can’t idly stand and watch you seduce, abuse, bully, and deceive—no matter how sweet your fragrance or intention. I’ve come to realize, it’s not all just about me. When my moment of truth is before me and injustice and evil show their face, I will resist with non-violent solidarity no matter what it takes. Yah, there’s a new courage within me. My heart has outgrown your intimidation.

I’m No Longer Afraid To Do, What You Won’t Do For Me—Accept You Nonetheless. I’m not asking you to change, nor condemning you to hell. I’m not denying you rights or demanding my way in your public circles. I’m not labeling you a sinner or an abomination, nor peppering your life with condemnation. I’m not closing the church door or restricting your capacity to serve. I’m not sending you to the curb, if it turns out, you were one of my children. I’m not signing you up and dragging you to reparative therapy. I’m not keeping you from loving who you love or policing your bedroom. I’m not using the Bible to condemn all the people who sin differently than you, or beat you into repentance. No, I’m not afraid to affirm and accept you as is—a perfectly whole, beautiful, and God-imaged person whose faith happens to be conservative Evangelicalism. None of us are better, only different—Grace has made it so.

There was a moment, a cosmic shift in my entire being, the day I awakened and realized I was altogether different. There was a clarity that had never been so clear—a new wind blowing and filling my sails. I’ve lost no love for you, mean no disrespect, nor harbor any pride in saying so—but conservative Evangelicalism, it feels like my heart has outgrown you—all because, the one thing I know for sure is this, I’m no longer afraid.

Salvation has come—I’m no longer afraid.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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