Tag: evangelical (Page 1 of 8)

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!”

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!”

 

 

 

No, We’re Not Denying God

You say we’re denying God, that we have rebelled and walked away. It so easily rolls off your lips. A go-to response against the things and people you seem to detest.

What you’ll never admit. The truth you’ll never face is that we’re not denying God, we’re simply denying you.

We’re walking away from a faith that makes us less like Jesus. A faith that hurts where it should heal and condemns where it should affirm. A faith that judges the world and excuses itself, instead of judging itself and seeing the good in the world.  A faith built on the pursuit of power over others instead of pursuing love and the humble serving of all humanity.

We’re not denying God, we’re just not following you.

We refuse to prequalify people for love. To live life on self-righteous terms. To exploit the vulnerable. To marginalize the different. To give safe harbor to racism and white supremacy. To serve barbaric systems of power-driven patriarchy. To bow to a spiritual narcissism that weaponizes the Bible, justifies your sin while condemning others, and turns God into a monster who seems to live only under the beds of those you deem to be the enemy.

You say we’re denying God. Nope, we’re just denying you.

We’re tired of playing church, and stacking the spiritual deck against the world on behalf of our benefit. We’re tired of “thoughts and prayers” that lack genuine care. We’re tired of a “pro-life” that is really just pro-your-life. We’re tired of prayer formulas, to-do steps, and a monsterous conditional god who is codependent on humanity to act so that He can.

So, perhaps stop blaming our lack of faith, and take a good look at the evil within yours.

Cause we’re not denying God, we’re simply denying 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!”

 

 

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!”

 

Evangelicals, You’ve Got Nothing

You’ve got nothing.

Not one thing.

 

You come at me with a god whose record is far more evil than mine.

You come at me with a Bible whose own believers can’t agree upon what is says and means.

You come at me with a way of life that scatters the broken and gathers the judgemental.

You come at me with a church that serves itself and polices the world, instead of serving the world and policing itself.

You come at me with an attitude convinced that you’re right and everyone else is wrong, while never seeing the wrongs that you insist are so right.

You come at me with a message oozing with guilt, depravity, and shame, all so you can fix me.

You come at me with a salvation that involves damnation, and expect me to receive it.

 

You wonder why I don’t run to your side. Why I don’t genuflect to your creeds. Why I don’t weaken at the knees upon the sounds of your believing.

You’ve got nothing. That’s why.

 

Nothing of beauty.

Nothing of healing.

Nothing of hope.

Nothing of Jesus.

 

You can back up with your driveling diatribes that insist it’s all because I lack the Light to receive truth and divine revelation. Your spiritual date drugs no longer bewitch me.

 

Let me see you bloodied in battle for human equality.

Let me see you mocked and maligned for your solidarity with the religiously condemned.

Let me see you broke from your generosity towards the outcasts of society.

Let me see you hoarse from your protests against Christian nationalism, systemic racism, and white supremacy.

Let me see you gasping for air from your relentless charges across the moats of patriarchy.

Let me see you bruised and battered from shielding the LGBTQ community against the weaponizing of Scripture.

Let me see you in tears from the condemnation of your loving too much and too unconditionally.

 

Until then, you’ve got nothing.

Not for yesterday, not for today, not for tomorrow.

Not for me.

Nothing.

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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!”

 

Conservative Evangelicalism, Are You Going To Kill Me Too?

The Bible is laced with stories of murder.

Christianity is laced with stories of murder.

Conservative Evangelicalism is laced with stories of murder.

 

Fact, fact, fact.

 

Everywhere you turn, it’s here, there, and everywhere; past, present, and future.

Whether intended or not, spiritual, emotional, and physical death are the wake your creeds have long created upon the sea of humanity. It’s undeniable, well documented, and refuses to be erased. Sadly, yours is a murderous brand of believing. Tough to hear, sad to say.

Don’t believe me?

Noah’s Ark, the Crusades, Indigenous Indian colonization, Black slavery, the list goes on and on. And now, your continued brutal assault on the LGBTQ community, the black community, the poor, women, minorities, and any and all of those who would stand against you and your pursuit to nationalize your white, male-driven, conservative Evangelical faith and the white supremacy it enables.

I understand, perhaps not all individuals within the conservative Evangelical faith support these pursuits, but as a former conservative Evangelical pastor of 20+ years, I know for sure, beyond any doubt, that your system of faith is a well-oiled catalyst, breeding ground, and incubator for violence of every type and kind. That’s the truth.

You know the saying, “If it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it probably is a duck.” A past of repeated, consistent behavior is a trustable indicator of the future. Patterns are powerful at predicting. One only needs to connect the very dots your faith system hopes to conceal. As your Lord and Savior Donald Trump declared, “I love the poorly educated.” 

Yes, I’m concerned. And, I wonder why you aren’t. Because now, more than ever, it seems that many among your faith system are willing to knowingly and cheerfully embrace any evil and all costs to lie, cheat, and bully your way into having democracy vanish and your dictatorship emerge, even to the spiritual rationalization of murder. 

You actually called the murder of a police officer during the January 6th insurrection, a “legitimate political discourse.”

You called the reality of school shootings a clear need for more people to have more guns, “if only the victims had been carrying guns.”  

You tell women in the inevitable event of a rape to, “lie back and enjoy it.” And don’t forget, there is such a thing as, “legitimate rape.”

You position yourself as against abortion, “every life is a sacred gift from God,” but refuse to support the solutions that actually work to remedy it. It’s as if you’ve decided that you can benefit from the problem more than the cure. 

You declare that, “America is not racist” while frantically trying to erase all the clear history that  reveals the contrary. In fact, it wasn’t until 1995, that your SBC finally admitted your supportive role in black slavery. Which, by the way, makes me wonder, how do you admit to fostering black slavery in the past and try to erase the history of it now? 

You want us to believe that you are, “pro-women” and “pro-life” but yet hold fast to patriarchal leadership and the demonizing of a woman’s choice, all while you objectify their bodies. Not to mention, all the violence and death you are quick to rationalize when it serves your purposes and decry when it doesn’t. 

Violence, murder, death, and abuse. 

Everything you touch that refuses to be white-washed and converted is subjected to your brutality. The history and present, they don’t lie.

Which leads me to wonder, are you going to kill me too?

For some, that may seem like a barbaric question. But at frequent moments in time, yours has been a barbaric system of faith. I would be ignorant not to consider the possibility. History and the present clearly shows me, it’s what you do.

So, I’m wondering. 

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, when I refuse to pledge allegiance to your so-called Christian flag, are you going to kill me too?

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, when I refuse to give up my land and property into your ownership and control, are you going to kill me too?

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, when I refuse to work in your camps and serve your plantations, are you going to kill me too?

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, when I profess to be a “progressive” and refuse to attend your churches, sing your songs, and believe your brand of believing, are you going to kill me too?

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, if I should have an LGBTQ child who I affirm, support, and empower, are you going to kill me too?

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, if I should stand between the barrel of your gun ready to shoot an innocent black man, are you going to kill me too?

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, if I should refuse to surrender my daughter into your sexual pleasure and service, are you going to kill me too?

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, when I can no longer benefit your pursuits or become a burden, are you going to kill me too?

If one day, your dreams come true and you rule the country and make all the rules, when I feed the poor, heal the sick, favor the brokenhearted, proclaim justice for the oppressed, visit an adulterous woman at a well, give hospitality to a Samaritan, feed thousands for free, dine with “sinners,” proclaim that all are equally imaged in God, place my hope in Love not a nation, denounce your politics, and stand in fierce resistance to your self-righteous, evil religiosity, are you going to kill me too? 

 

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

I’m Progressive, And I’m Walking Away From “Deconstruction”

I was a conservative Evangelical pastor of 20+ years.

Racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Republican, hell-preaching, bible-weaponizing, hateful, and hurtful; that was me.

Until I came to a moment of suicide.

It all started with my collision with honesty. An honesty that wrecked me. Coming forth from within, it forced me to realize and admit that the conservative Evangelical faith simply doesn’t work. Not even close. Everything that I had devoted my life to revealed itself to be a scheme. I had memorized the Scriptures, prayed the right formulas, and performed all the to-do steps. Yet, faced with the Light of truth breaking free from within me, I was confronted with the reality that nothing in my life had become any better, only worse. My faith was a fraud. Fake, empty, and cruel. I had become a monster far removed from the example of Jesus. 

At the height of those moments of devastating inner clarity, I told my wife to find a better husband and my children a better father. I was a broken down man. Beat to the pulp of my very core. Death, seeming to be the only way out. It was a darkness beyond darkness. 

There was much that was uncertain back then, but I can certainly tell you this now, not a single “deconstruction” sage, book, or conference could have talked me off the ledge upon which I was standing. “Deconstruction” could never have rescued me, nor turned back my desire for the ending of me. It could never have given me a new beginning from what I thought was an inescapable tragedy. 

And so, I’m here; alive, changed, progressive, affirming, inclusive, and empowered. But not by “deconstruction,” but rather by something far greater.

Please hear me well. I deeply love all my “deconstruction” friends. I love all “deconstruction” people, and I desire no conflict with you. We are all taking a journey of faith. Furthermore, I’m not writing to condemn “deconstruction” or those whose lives have benefited from it. I’m just telling my story, the lessons I’m learning, and what I’m discerning.

In reality, I have never been an intentional part of the “deconstruction” movement, though perhaps many would say that my writing has played a significant role in their “deconstruction.” 

For that, I am truly honored and appreciative. 

Yet, though I have no desire whatsoever to disconnect with anybody, I find it necessary to “walk away from deconstruction” in the sense that my path is increasingly moving in a different direction from what I see “deconstruction” increasingly becoming. And, here’s why.


First, in truth, there’s no such thing as “deconstruction.”

This is what I’m learning and this is what I’m discerning.

This whole faith “deconstruction” thing, it really isn’t about deconstructing at all.

In fact, there is no such thing as “deconstruction.” White, conservative Evangelicalism has already deconstructed all of us. There’s nothing left to deconstruct.

Piece by piece, they’ve taken all that was already holy, pure, beautiful, and divinely created about you and I and smashed into pieces.

We were perfect from the beginning, affirmed by the Universe, innocent from eternity. There was nothing wrong with us, yet they whispered such accusations into our ears and we believed them. And not just believed them, we believed them all the way

We bit the apple. Sucked in by the tractor beams of the white, conservative Evangelical Death Star. With Jesus as the hood ornament of their world bulldozer, they plowed over all that is good and of God with lies, manipulation, shame, guilt, and fear.

Seduced by their evil wizardry, we became less than human. Haters, judgers, bullies, and fakes. Nothing like Jesus.

See, we don’t deconstruct, we are the deconstructed.

They told us that we’re depraved, an evil blemish at birth.

They told us that we’re lost sinners in need of the salvation of a fire-breathing God who would joyfully drop-kick us into hell if we don’t repent in all the conservative Evangelical ways.

They told us that we’re not good enough, incapable of spiritual discernment, and that we need their guidance, discipleship, steps, formulas, discipline, and accountability to draw closer to God and keep Him there, lest we err and block the gleam of God’s eyes and summon the withdrawal of His favor.

They told us that if you are a woman, you’re hopelessly inferior to men and incapable of the same leadership, discernment, value, and authority as they.

They told us to prequalify people for love, abandon our LGBTQ children, and believe that they have the one and only true faith—a faith that God exclusively approves and ordains to take control of all of society, at any cost.

They told us that the Bible is the perfect Word of God, church is our home, the world is the enemy, they know all the answers, and we should never think or believe without them.

They told us that Jesus is a warrior, God is a Republican, progressives are going to hell, and racism is best served with “thoughts and prayers.”

They substituted trust with fear, Grace with conditions, inclusion with exclusion, divine affirmation with divine wrath, equality with privilege, social justice with selfish selfishness, peace with violence, integrity with hypocrisy, the Gospel with self-righteousness, and Jesus with the devil.

They deconstructed us all like Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck, spiritually policing the life out of us.

Make no mistake, everything that white, conservative Evangelicalism touches is deconstructed into ashes.

For we are the deconstructed. 

We are the deconstructed.

I repeat, we are the deconstructed.

It’s not something we do or can do, it’s who we are. 

That’s why there is no “deconstruction,” there can only be “resurrection.” And the difference between the two is cosmos-quaking and life changing. 

It’s resurrection. 

It’s the moment, like Lazarus in the tomb, that we hear and respond to the call of Jesus screaming from within our soul to, “get the hell out of there!”  “You’re alive, you’re good, you’re whole, you’re holy, you’re secure, you’re saved!” “Always have been, always will be!”

It’s resurrection.

The moment that the Light within us breaks free and pushes away the stone, kicks over tables, and shakes the conservative Evangelical dust off our feet. 

It’s resurrection.

Yet, like Lazarus, there’s a holy and sacred process of being unwrapped from the conservative Evangelical burial clothes that long entombed us and covered from our eyes all that was and is good about God, ourselves, and the world around us. 

It’s resurrection, not deconstruction. 

One bandage, one shroud at a time. Unraveling the layers of brainwashing, condemnation, and hate that strangled us.

It’s resurrection, not deconstruction.

One lie, one half-truth, one fear at a time. Peeling away the twisted images we believed about God, ourselves, and all of humanity.

It’s resurrection, not deconstruction.

The revealing and reclaiming of our true self, the good that was already there and already enough. 

Scales being resurrected away. 

Learning to breathe anew, learning to believe anew.

Learning to love anew, learning to be loved anew.

Learning to know ourselves, love ourselves, and be ourselves anew.

It’s resurrection, not deconstruction.

We were always beautiful, always loved, always affirmed, always included, always secure, forever and forever.

It’s resurrection, not deconstruction.

For we once were the deconstructed.

But now, we are the resurrecting.

The difference is night and day, and that’s why I’m walking away.

Second, “deconstruction” is just another spiritual treadmill.

It’s hard to say, but I believe it to be true. 

Please hear me well, yet again. I deeply love all my “deconstruction” friends. I love all “deconstruction” people, and I desire no conflict with you. We are all taking a journey of faith. 

Yet, I can’t deny nor hide what I’m seeing. So much of “deconstruction” has largely become conservative Evangelicalism wrapped in shiny new “progressive” paper. It has all the Evangelical components. Do this, don’t do that. Study this, read that. Try this, try that. Attend this, pray for that. Quote this Scripture over here, use this commentary over there. Listen to this podcast here, go to this conference there. It’s all so Evangelicky. 

Much of “deconstruction” isn’t about working out a God-driven “resurrection” from within that reveals and reclaims who we are, who God truly is, and seeing the world anew. Instead, it’s about a human-driven effort to “reconstruct” ourselves, “reconstruct” our faith, and “reconstruct” God. What is Jesus rolling away Evangelical stones from around our soul, “deconstruction” has turned into a human effort to tumble down walls through “better” exegesis and “better“ creeds.

It’s just conservative, Evangelical, performance-driven, behavior-management, belief-conforming religion with progressive make-up plastered on.

Truly, I mean no disrespect and desire no harm, but the term “deconstruction” reduces a holy, sacred, miraculous, and Spirit-driven process into a journey of human effort, steps, and measurements. 

In fact, I have never had so many people reach out to me in tears when they began to see their journey away from conservative Evangelicalism as a sacred-centered “resurrection” and not just a human-centered “deconstruction.” For them the pressure was removed, the divine was revealed, the process was given room to breathe, and real, lasting change could emerge.

The difference is night and day, and that’s why I’m walking away.

 

Third, many progressive “deconstruction” voices have turned a holy, sacred, and miraculous process into a monetized program of profiting sages pimping their books, talks, conferences, and ministry empires.

It’s all so triggering. It’s like going backwards instead of moving forward. Not just going backwards, but even worse, it feels like a falling from Grace. 

I’ve even heard the idea of starting a “deconstruction” worship service. 

What’s next, a “deconstruction” Bible?

I’m reminded of Joshua’s “stones of remembrance” described in the Old Testament. It is said that God instructed that they be placed to remind the people of Israel entering into the Promised Land to never go back to the slavery of Egypt. God knew that some would actually not be satisfied with the Promised Land and would either want to return or try to have one foot in both worlds. 

Sadly, I fear this is already happening. Much of “deconstruction” has taken on the empire-building, franchising, profiteering, legalism, churchiness, and religiosity of Egypt and brought them into the progressive Promised Land of “resurrection.”

The telling of “resurrection” stories has been polluted with ”deconstruction” to-do steps.

Listening to the mind of Christ within has been polluted with intellectualism, “new” biblical scholarship, “woke” exegesis, and the wisdom of wise “deconstruction” sages. 

The self-revelation of “resurrection” has been polluted with the self-improvement of “deconstruction.” 

Jesus’ statement, “You have heard it said, but I say unto you” has been polluted into a “deconstruction” call to somehow read the Bible in front of you better, instead of a call to read the mind of Christ within you better. 

One reveals the real you through “resurrection” and the other tries to change you, through you, through your “deconstruction.”

For me, the difference is night and day, and that’s why I’m walking away.

 

Fourth, it’s easy for Evangelicals to dismiss and condemn “deconstruction.”

Why? Because it’s filled with human effort. And human effort always and eventually breaks down.

It’s so easily criticized, and perhaps, rightly so. Why? Because it all boils down to their opinion versus ours. Their interpretation versus ours. Their understanding versus ours. Their beliefs versus ours. Their mind, versus ours. Their scholarship versus ours.. 

Yet, how much more difficult is it to discount, disarm, and disqualify a person’s “resurrection?”

How much more difficult is it to discount, disarm, and disqualify a community’s “resurrection?”

A resurrection that begins and ends through and with the power of God alone.

A resurrection that is ”worked out,” and not “worked on.”

A resurrection that flows like a river welling up from within, not franchised like a business.

A resurrection that is an experience, not an exegesis. 

It’s far more difficult, I would say.

Because the difference is night and day, and that’s why I’m walking away.

But not without leaving some suggestions for the “deconstruction” movement, if you would allow me…

1) Consider not calling it “deconstruction.” 

2) No more steps, only stories. Tell your story, and let that be enough. 

3) Refrain from enabling “deconstruction” consumerism, conformity, and gated community.  

4) Take the needle out of your veins of becoming or being a “deconstruction” sage and building a ministry empire.

5) Be a team player. Value all voices, not just your own.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.


 

 

The Horrific Gospel Of White MAGA Christianity

Among MAGA Christians, it’s a deeply loved story.

Noahs’ Ark.

Everyone’s heard it.

 

The ideas, themes, and tenets are simple…

 

1) The default position of God is to kill His enemies.

2) God sees his newly-created humanity as falling short of expectations.

3) Fueled by wrath, His best idea is to mass murder all of them through a global flood.

4) The “good news” is that God saves a precious, redeemable few on an Ark.

 

“I am going to destroy all flesh because the world is full of violence.”  -Genesis 6

Oh, the irony. God’s response to violence is to commit more violence.

 

Wonderful, isn’t it?

Millions of babies, children, families, and people screaming, gasping, and drowning. God’s a murderous tyrant, but no big deal. Let’s paint murals about it in the halls of our Children’s Ministry. Indoctrinate them early.

In the mind and heart of MAGA Christianity, “No need for critical thinking or discerning. We love it. As is. Every bit of it.” “Praise God for His faithfulness. He is holy, just, and good!” In fact, you’ll never hear a MAGA Christian question it or denounce it. Instead, they will even recreate it, line by line and piece by piece, and even lay down some serious cash to celebrate it and make it a tourist attraction.

This isn’t just the story of Noah’s Ark. This is the horrific Gospel of white, MAGA Christianity. Sadly, it has all their treasured themes–enemies, murder, hate, violence, duplicity, hypocrisy, elitism, and privilege–all spiritualized for their viewing and doing pleasure.

Enter Jesus.  

It’s been years since the days of Noah’s Ark. Apparently, God still hasn’t been through an anger management course. Not surprisingly, much of humanity is still pissing Him off. But this time, God decides that He won’t send a flood. Instead, He wields a hot, burning hell of fire. Threading his beard with His fingers, he chuckles to himself, “Floods are for amateurs.”

But, don’t be misled, God’s not a monster, right? No, new leaves are being turned. This time, he creates a “loving” work-around to keep a larger, select group of people from becoming the next victims of his default position to kill his enemies. Pacing the halls of heaven, he conjures up his best idea yet–Jesus. God will murder His own son Jesus instead. It’s brilliant! Then, those who believe all the correct things about Jesus and follow the rules will be saved and go to heaven, gated and sealed far away from all the dirty, disgusting, unbelievers. It’s a win, win. God still gets to murder something, but keeps a larger, select group of people alive so He can sleep a bit better at night, curled up in his hell-heated blanket.

Nothing to see here. Millions of people who somehow, for whatever reason, miss the MAGA Christian mark will spend eternity tortured forever in hell. That’s right, tortured in hell, forever. At least, in the flood they got to die, but in hell they are forced to live forever being tortured by demons and fire. God’s a diabolical, vindictive mass torturer who’s powerless to save all, and creates a system of winners and losers, right and wrong, saved or unsaved, heaven or hell, and calls it all “love” and the “Kingdom.”

In the heart and mind of MAGA Christianity, “No big deal, no need for critical thinking or discerning. We love it. As is. Everything about it. Just act, believe, join, live, and become exactly like us and you’ll be fine.” “Holy, holy, is the Lord Almighty!”

It’s the Ark 2.0 We win! Everyone else… tortured forever.

Enter the Native American Indian.

Minding their own business and tending to their own lives with a gentle spirit, they possess and steward their land with great care and competency. Yet, white, male Christians, intoxicated by years of being groomed by the horrific gospel of white MAGA Christianity, travel vast oceans with an ominous heart willing to take what is not their own, at any price. They arrive on the shores of Native land, ready to conquer. When greeted by the Indigenous people, they discern their beautiful, peaceful humanity, not as an opportunity for mutual respect and partnership, but rather for exploitation. Soon, they will rape, pillage, steal, and destroy the American Indian and their land, convinced they are spiritually justified in doing so. In their white, 15th century MAGA minds, they rationalize and determine that the American Indian is evil and must be colonized or killed.

It’s the Ark 3.0. Manifest Destiny. Drown the Red man, long live the white man.

Nothing to see here. Millions of men, women, children, and babies raped, pillaged, and murdered. Land stolen, lives destroyed, an entire people erased from the planet.

In the heart and mind of white MAGA Christianity, “No big deal. No need for critical thinking or discerning. Besides, look at what God did with the flood. Murder, death, cleaning house, it’s just part of God’s glorious plan” “This land is your land, this land is my land. From California to the New York island!”

Enter slavery.

This new Ark 3.0 needs building. In their minds, God has bigger dreams. It’s to be a nation, not just a boat. A country, not just a colony.

In the beginning, in order to do the heavy lifting, they enslaved the American Indian, but soon an even better option presented itself–the black man.

Experts at using the Bible to justify their bidding, these white, male MAGA Christians personified God as creating a lesser, evil race best suited for slavery. It was an economic decision as much as it was a racial one. Money is power. Power is privilege. And, in the mind and heart of white MAGA Christianity, the white man was destined by God to lord and hoard it all. But if Ark 3.0 was going to succeed, it needed little Arks spread out everywhere. Little Arks to manage the spiritualization of slavery, stoke the hell fires, and rationalize, promote, and protect whiteness everywhere.

Enter church.

MAGA churches here. MAGA churches there. Patriarchal, white, privilege-promoting, and racist-ladened churches everywhere. Some protestant, some not. It didn’t matter, the horrific Gospel of white MAGA Christianty was upstairs, downstairs, around the corner, on every corner. It was baked into nearly every expression of Christianity. In fact, if early American Christianity and churches were centered on, “loving your neighbor as yourself” there wouldn’t be many early churches, and perhaps, not much of early American Christianity. That wasn’t their purpose. Instead, someone had to repeatedly spiritually justify all these evils, and MAGA churches were a critical, necessary place.

Sadly, this is still true today. The desire to build Ark 3.0 is still much alive. It’s the white MAGA American dream.

When it’s all said and done, this is what America means to white, male MAGA Christianity. For them, it’s a divinely created Ark where God destroys their enemies and saves them alone from the rest of the evil world. It’s uniquely blessed, privileged, and protected by God for the white man, established through the spiritually justified murder, marginalization, and demonization of millions of people. Men, women, children, and babies. Nothing to see here. “God Bless America, land that I love!’

Everywhere white MAGA Christianity goes, there you will find an enemy they must fight, violence as their solution, and white privilege their ultimate priority. History tells the tale, many more people die because of MAGA Christianity than ever live and find life because of it.

It’s heaven for them, hell for the rest.

Freedom for them, conformity for the rest

Prosperity for them, poverty for the rest.

Inclusion for them, exclusion for the rest.

Divine favor for them, condemnation for the rest.

Anointed biblical interpretation for them, heresy for the rest.

Double standards for them, one standard for the rest.

It’s Noah’s Ark 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 for them, infinite devastation for the rest.

 

This is the horrific gospel of white, MAGA Christianity.

I am going to destroy all flesh because the world is full of violence.” -Genesis 6

 

God’s response to violence is to commit more violence.

There is nothing more MAGA Christian than that.

.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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