Tag: guns

I Can’t Vote Republican, The Bible Tells Me So

I just can’t do it.

I refuse to do it.

My faith is grounded.

You can pressure me, guilt me, shame me, and lure me with gold.

Not locally, not nationally, not at all.

I can’t vote Republican, the Bible tells me so.

Not just tells me, but screams it into my soul.

 

Starting with abortion. 

The Scripture writer declared, “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.” Jeremiah 6:14-16 

In this passage from the Bible, God is upset. The religious people of the day are exploiting harmful problems for personal, political gain and not addressing their true solutions. They act like they care, but intentionally allow the issues to remain unresolved. They outwardly insist that they desire a way forward, but inwardly they have no real desire at all. 

Sadly, Republicans treat “abortion” the same. They outwardly declare that they are “pro-life” and detest abortion. They feverishly rant against how many “babies” are being murdered. Many make abortion their defining issue as to the reason why they deserve our vote. They posture themselves as wanting to make it illegal, as if that was the cure. It all looks and sounds so spiritual to the casual observer. Yet, inwardly, they have little-to-no heart for a real solution. For if they did, they would be addressing, providing for, and adopting the proven remedies that positively impact abortion. But, they don’t. 

Instead, with deceit, they want to keep the abortion issue alive because it manipulates their voters. It’s a political false flag. The last card they have in their deck. Without it, they have no drum to beat and no provocative enemy upon which to summon their troops to fight. In fact, Dana Loeash vocalized the true mindset and heart Republicans have towards abortion…

“Keep in mind that I am concerned about one thing, and one thing only at this point. I don’t care if Herschel Walker paid to abort endangered baby eagles. I want control of the Senate.”

For them, it’s ultimately not about life, it’s ultimately about power. Republicans want to create the illusion that they lead the way against abortion while making sure it remains unresolved, that they might remain in power. In fact, perfectly credible and widely known statistics show that abortion rates have gone down significantly with the kind of Democratic leadership that approaches abortion wholistically and addresses the real issues that can bring real change. Yet sadly, these same statistics reveal that under Republican leadership, abortion significantly increases. I’m not siding with Democrats, that’s just the facts. Yet, Republicans “do not even know how to blush” at the truth about abortion, how they exploit it, and how they resist actual remedies. Instead, they declare “Pro-life, pro-life” where there is no pro-life among them. All in hopes of drowning the biblical voice crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the ways of the Lord to heal abortion and cure its causes.”  

Like most people, I detest abortion. I want to see it become a non-issue in our society. I want to see it remedied by real people who really care, who are willing to apply the difficult, but real solutions that work. I’m tired of people who are more interested in politics than life.

That’s why I can’t vote Republican, the Bible tells me so.

 

Or, how about their refusal to support meaningful gun reform.

With an epidemic of mass shootings that kill innocent people, including children, Republicans refuse to adopt meaningful gun restrictions. Instead, their sense of being a Christian involves owning and carrying, not just guns, but weapons of war. For them, their God embraces the ways of violence and the use of force to assert His will. And of course, somehow Republicans have the exclusive discernment to know exactly what God’s will is, and the special divine authority to use it.

Yet, while refusing to wear masks during a pandemic because, “God will protect us” and “my body, my choice,” they somehow feel the necessity and demand the right to carry an AR-15 into Walmart for, “self protection.” In fact, Republicans in Texas are now providing schools with DNA kits to identify children killed in mass shootings. So, instead of passing meaningful laws that will protect kids from guns, they want to make it easier to identify their unrecognizable bodies. So, this is pro-life, patriotic, and in concert with the ways of Jesus? This is the best we can do for America?

Ironically, the very Jesus most Republicans claim to serve and the Bible they love to quote have a lot to say about violence that, apparently, Republicans have developed a special gift for ignoring.

“He [Messiah] was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” Isaiah 53:9

In other words, if Jesus is the Messiah long foretold, as most Republicans believe, He didn’t commit violence nor condone it. That’s right, there is no such thing as an ass-kicking, gun carrying, Rambo flexing Jesus. Period. End of conversation.

In fact, when Peter misunderstood Jesus as being open to the use of swords for violence and therefore cut off the ear of a man sent to arrest Jesus, Jesus rebuked Peter saying, Put your sword back in its place. For all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Matthew 26: 51-52

Or, how about these words, among countless others…

“The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” Psalm 11:5

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:38-39

I want to live in an America where there are meaningful, effective gun laws that prevent mass shootings and protect children from murderous violence. I want my children and grandchildren to grow up in a nation where “pro-life” actually means embracing all of life—safeguarding it, and creating a society free from the fear of violence and those who would embrace it as a way of righteousness.  

That’s why I can’t vote Republican, the Bible tells me so. 

 

And then, their desperate pursuit to nationalize their brand of Christianity.

“Today Christianity stands at the head of this country. I pledge that I never will tie myself to those who want to destroy Christianity. In short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past few years.”

Most, if not all, Republicans would applaud these words and gladly adopt them as their own thoughts and feelings. Yet, these words were actually spoken by Hitler in pursuit of gaining power and ultimately the genocide of millions of Jewish humans—men, women, children, and babies.

Republicans don’t hide it, they want a Christian nation. Not just a Christian nation, but rather, a Christian nation based solely on their brand of Christianity. They believe America was founded as a Christian nation to espouse the beliefs and values of current Christian Republicans. They believe God uniquely created and blesses America above and beyond all other nations. In their minds, besides them, there is no other group, faith, or kind of person that is as knowing, equipped, divinely favored, and discerning to rule America towards what they believe God and the founders intended for our country. With their publicly stated desire and vision to do everything and anything to “own the libs” and when they refuse to support and approve good things for the country simply because they don’t want any success for the Democrats, Republicans don’t believe in a democracy equally for all, but rather a rulership calibrated towards their brand of faith, values, and beliefs. A rulership that demands compliance and allegiance by its citizens, and ultimately the rest of the world. 

Yet, there is no such thing as a Christian nation.

It doesn’t exist.

It can’t exist.

Not a chance.

Not with Christ.

For Christ cannot be nationalized. He refuses the platform. He rejects any and all power established through vote, people, government, or popularity. He seeks no political party, no people group, and no established system of organization.

He cannot be colonized, weaponized, militarized, bulldozed into existence, marched down the street, hammered by a gavel, or flown over a stadium.

He dwells outside of walls, structures, and human constructs. He tears down all that would cage Him, franchise Him, leverage Him, and hoist Him upon a flag.

For Jesus lives in the margins, the cracks, the undefined, and the unconstituted. He cannot be legislated, demarcated, or plotted on a map.

Far beyond theology, denominations, creeds, rules, religion, news networks, social media, speeches, conferences, prayer formulas, mission statements, worship centers, bibles, and books.

He blesses all. Lives in all. Claims all… equally.

He is all, in all, and for all, or He means nothing at all.

There is no budget that can commandeer him, no army that can assert Him, no democracy that can elect Him, no dictator that can enforce Him, and no office, house, branch, or anthem that can contain Him.

In fact, you can surely be sure that any person, group, or effort to nationalize Him is not of Him. Not even close.

“The first will be last and the last will be first.” Matthew 20:16

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourself.” Philippians 2:3

“Our citizenship is in heaven.” Philippians 3:20

“You cannot serve God and money.” Matthew 6:24

“These people worship me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Matthew 5:8

Within every call, drumbeat, and chorus of Republicans to nationalize Christianity is the screaming confession that, “we have not, believe not, and worship not Jesus.”

I want to live in a country where Republican Christians strive to actually live like Jesus instead of nationalizing their obvious hatred of His ways and their love of power and supremacy.

That’s why I can’t vote Republican, the Bible tells me so.

 

Enter the immigrant, refugee, and the foreigner.

No one wants illegal immigration or open borders as a national policy, regardless of how Republicans label the position of progressives. Once again, Republicans seem to relish in creating issues that aren’t real to deflect from addressing the ones that are.

Yet, If America becomes a “Christian” nation, what happens when immigration (illegal or not) happens? How, biblically, are we to treat the foreigners and immigrants among us, no matter how they arrive? What happens with refugees who come to our border? And, how are we to biblically treat those who seek asylum and new life within our country?

The Bible has crystal clear answers.

Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” Exodus 22:21

“When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as a citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt:  I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:33-34

“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner.” Leviticus 19:9-10

“As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.” (1 Kings 8:41-44)

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:5

“For the Lord your God…loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing.  You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10:18-19

“The Lord watches over the strangers…” Psalm 146

“The aliens shall be to you as citizens, and shall also be allotted an inheritance.” Ezekiel 47:21

“…I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:31 (Jesus speaking)

Notice, Jesus doesn’t say they, “caged me,” “abused me,” “neutered me,” “separated me from family,” “starved me,” “made immigration nearly impossible for me,” “mocked me,” “slandered me,” “deceived me,” “tricked me,” “flew me on airplanes as a political stunt, only to abandon me” or “murdered me.”  

No, he said of His true followers, they “welcomed” me. 

Sadly, this is not the policy of Republicans, even the ones who claim their faithfulness to the Bible and its “infallible inerrancy.” Instead, what God clearly admonishes, they vehemently resist.  

For if you take the Scriptures seriously, the immigrant, the refugee, and the foreigner should not just be “welcomed” with sacrificial hospitality, but “wanted” as God’s own favored blessing. They should be lifted high among all others. They should be loved, protected, and provided for with the same passion we love, protect, and provide for ourselves. They are not to be objects of resentment, oppression, rejection, exploitation, or inconvenience. Rather, they should be honored as angels sent from above. They are us, and we are them. For in Christ, “there is neither Jew nor Gentile.”

I want a country in sync with God’s heart for the immigrant, the foreigner, the alien, and refugee. I want a country in step with God’s biblical, unconditional “welcome,” “want,” and generous care for those outside of our borders who desire to come, live, and find new life within us.  

That’s why I can’t vote Republican, the Bible tells me so. 

 

But perhaps, most of all, loving your neighbor as yourself.

“‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Matthew 12:31

“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” Matthew 5:44

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

As a former white, Republican, conservative Evangelical pastor of 20 years, I know deeply how the system works. I’m not trying to slam the faith or the people within it, but the unbiblical evils must be chased out of the shadows, especially the hate of love that is so rampant among so many.

For most everything within the Republican vision and mission isn’t focused on having a neighbor to love, but rather based upon having an enemy that must be hated. Fear of these enemies is the ultimate motivator, not love. They will create it, fabricate it, and inflame it. 

For Republicans are nothing without fear and the hate it awakens…

…if we love minorities as ourselves, they’ll take over the country and all of society, and we’ll lose our white way of life, and white power. 

…if we love black people as ourselves with true equality, true police accountability, true legal fairness, true economic justice, and true opportunity, we’ll have to admit our racism and white privilege, lose our white way of life, and surrender our white power.

…if we love our wives as ourselves and remove the requirement that they must submit to us unquestionably, they’ll take over the family, usurp male power, and run America and society into the ground.

…if we love the LGBTQ community as ourselves, our Republican patriarchal power will be dismantled, God will punish our life, and all of white, male-driven, conservative Christianity will be flushed down the drain.

…if we love special needs people as ourselves, we’ll have to make an honored and equal place for them in society, overpowering our “normal” lives with inconvenience.

…if we love the least-of-these as ourselves with economic equality, free health care, free college, a living wage, social security, long-term care, and the removal of poverty, we won’t be able to fund our industrial military complex and foster our diabolical economic system of socialism for top and capitalism for the bottom.  

…if we love the environment as ourselves with significant building and development restrictions, environmental controls, and clean energy standards and investments, we won’t be able to feed our insatiable appetites for economic and personal greed. 

“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.‘” -Matthew 25:41-45

“He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich–both come to poverty.” -Proverbs 22:16

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” -Ezekiel 16:49

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” James 2:8-9

See, where God admonishes that our highest motivation should be the unconditional love and care for all of humanity equally, in contrast, there is truly no other fuel that drives the Republican Death Star more than having enemies to fear, hate, marginalize, fight, and treat unequally.

This is why Republicans have the addictive support and allegiance of most conservative Evangelicals and Trump supporters. For the only thing they understand is fear, and Republicans speak their language like no other. They mock special needs people, bully perceived enemies, embrace racism, foster white supremacy, mistreat women, ignite division, worship greed, and love themselves above all things.

Biblically, this is the ultimate blaspheme of the Spirit.

To see love as the enemy.

To see fear as the friend.

To see enemies as the goal.

To fight at all cost, with lies, violence, duplicity, and sin.

To see a white, conservative, Republican, American Jesus as the way, truth, and life.

To see white, conservative Evangelicalism as the Kingdom.

I want leaders with whom love is greater than fear. I want a country where to love all people equally is a friend and not an enemy. I want the character of a great person, a great society, a great economy, and a great nation to be defined by their love for all people equally, not fear nor hate. 

That’s why I can’t vote Republican—

not locally, not nationally, not at all

—the Bible tells me so.

.

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!”

 

 

Christian, Which Side Are You On?

Jesus loves everyone, He is pro-human.

He is All and in all.

 

He stands for everyone, but He doesn’t stand with everyone.

He takes sides. Definitive sides. Everywhere He goes, everything He does, and everything He says takes a side.

 

When Jesus invites people into His life, He seeks followers, not believers. Followers of His actions, example, and teachings. For Jesus, mere beliefs don’t change anything, actions can change everything. In fact, He scolds those whose faith is merely an exercise in creedal accession and lacking in actions that duplicate His. Their beliefs count for nothing and cost Him greatly. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the follower, not the believer.

When Jesus interacts with the poor in spirit, heart, mind, health, sustenance, and possessions, He takes care of them, defends them, and clothes them in high standing and value among all of humanity. He berates the privileged, the down-lookers, the stingy, the hoarders, the best-life living, the callous, and the wealthy, admonishing them to check their attitudes and write the checks that flip the tables of classism and privilege. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the poor, not the privileged.

When Jesus dines with “sinners,” He strips them of the label and tattoos their forehead with “friend.” When a woman is caught in adultery, He steps in and across to “Jackie-Chan” the religious haters and thrust a force field over her, disarming bigoted stones. Nobody rants against faith-phonies and legalism-pushers like Jesus. Nobody spits out religious to-do steps, sin-management, and “you must invite Him into your heart” like Jesus does. One religious lung-biscuit after another, He vomits faith-conservatism out of His mouth. The religiously condemned and oppressed are His people. The condemners and the oppressors, not so much. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the condemned, not the condemner.

When Jesus gathers His disciples for one last huddle, He tasks them with making “learners” of Him throughout the world. Yes, “learners,” not “lorders.” Learners who are free to think, free to doubt, free to question, and free to believe or disbelieve. Their learners–learners who can be learners of Him within all faiths, for He is All and in all. Those who want to use Him for political purposes, for gaining power over people, or for demanding their flavor of faith upon the masses, He resists and disowns, as they are far from being in tune with His message and mission. To any who wish to lord, colonize, or bulldoze their faith into hearts and society, He spreads donkey dung upon their self-serving path and dies on a cross so everyone will know the difference between Him and them. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the learner, not the lorder. 

When in the face of a capitalistic society, Jesus tells the controversial story of a boss who pays some workers exactly what he promised for the amount of time they worked. At the same time, he hires other workers to work less time, but pays them the same as those who worked longer. Of course, the original workers were furious, surely claiming that the boss was being “unfair” and socialistic. Jesus highlights the story to uplift the value of grace. The boss didn’t withhold blessings from the first workers, he simply graced the others. By capitalistic standards, it wasn’t fair. In the mind of Jesus, it was better than fair, it was grace. When it comes to anything, from “an eye for an eye” to “selling all your possessions,” Jesus doesn’t side with “fairness.” He doesn’t side with a “fairness” that rigs systems towards the benefit of the “haves” over the “have-nots.” Jesus sides with grace. And to those who withhold it, they receive His deep disdain. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the gracious, not the fair.

When confronted by a group of the religious who insisted that God favored them and were the center of His approval, heart, and blessings, He told them about a shepherd who had a 100 sheep, but left 99 of them to rescue one that got away. But not just got away; shoved out. The one who saw his escape as his only path of survival. The one that had been condemned, marginalized, thrown to the curb, and branded as an outsider. The one “loss” that was deemed by the 99 as the cost of being a “free” herd of sheep. So, Jesus turns over their religious calculations through a simple story to show that God actually sides with the one, not the 99. 

The one gun victim, not the 99 gun owners. The one transgender child, not the 99 MAGA bullies. The one gay teenager, not the 99 religious bigots. The one searching for the whole truth, not the 99 book banners and racist history erasers. The one raped woman, not the 99 political careers. The one falsely convicted, not the 99 hooded courtrooms. The one who can’t breathe, not the 99 cops who refuse restraint. The one medically vulnerable, not the 99 anti-maskers. The one following Jesus out of church, not the 99 in church who don’t follow Jesus at all. Over and over again, Jesus sides with the one, not the 99.

 

Everywhere Jesus is, He’s taking a side.

For the cross is the divine line drawn across the cosmos that makes absolutely clear that God does, indeed, take sides.

 

Christian, which side are you on? 

.

 

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!”

 

Dear World, President Trump Is Not Us, Not Even Close

You read the papers, watch the news, see the tweets, and survey the online reporting—it’s all too easy to conclude that we have elected nothing less than insanity for our President, and we have become an insane people. For so long, an imperialistic arrogance has plagued the political and religious halls of our country. And now, gasoline has been poured upon the flames of our greed by the privileged power-hungry imposter of patriotism we call our President, scorching our entire nation, from sea to shining sea, with every perverted puff from the nostrils of this orange-haired dragon.

We don’t blame you for harboring serious disdain and concern for our country and its current leadership—in fact, we share it. Yet, it is our deepest hope that you will gaze beyond the political circus show that imprisons our nation and discover there are many of us who join in your disgust, tenfold. We are the resistance that is putting hand to plow in hopes of moving our country to become a nation of renewed decency, true freedom, cultural diversity, religious pluralism, social compassion, global humility, diplomatic maturity, and human equality. In fact, know this and know this for sure, Trump is not us, not even close—his character, values, attitudes, and loyalties are nothing like the marrow that fills our hearts and compels our souls.

Instead, we are a people who love creation and desire to protect our environment for generations to come, even to the curbing of economic prosperity. Our unwillingness to compromise the health of our planet for political and financial gain, we believe, is a critical value necessary for the future of all living things. Unfortunately, our President and his political allies are willing to rape our environment for personal, financial, and economic gain. To that end, he and his administration have censored climate change websites, downsized two national monuments for the purpose of oil and gas exploration, cut funding to climate and clean energy programs, and withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris Climate Change agreement. With an insatiable appetite for economic prosperity and a blatant disregard for scientific fact regarding the environmental demise of our planet, President Trump is not us, not even close.

Instead, we are a people who believe violence doesn’t solve problems nor create solutions, and the military-industrial complex of which President Eisenhower warned and President Kennedy resisted has now become a rampant driving force within our government and right-wing religious circles, resulting in the unnecessary brutal destruction of many through war, oppression, and injustice. We reject the public possession of assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons, and if necessary, allowing only for those firearms that require a separate human action to reload. We believe that the safety of our fellow human being, especially children, takes the highest priority over any political and financial allegiances to the NRA or such entities that profit from weapons or the idolization of their use. We declare with boldness and accuracy that our undeniable national gun problem cannot be solved with more guns, especially in the hands of school teachers. We recognize the importance of our Second Amendment rights, but understand James Madison’s intention to allow “the people” as a whole (a well-regulated state militia) to bear arms, not every individual. Unfortunately, our president and his political allies believe violence and its threat are the quickest and surest way to gain and protect power and privilege. To that end, he and his administration have approved a $400 billion budget that sharply increases military spending at the expense of the federal deficit and important programs that protect and serve our society, particularly the underprivileged and less fortunate. With a willingness and desire to cut or significantly reduce spending for the National Endowment for the Arts, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Housing and Urban Development, NASA, EPA, Meals on Wheels, SNAP,  USDA, Education, and Health and Human Services, Trump and his supporters show their depraved lack of human compassion for the most vulnerable among us and an addiction to power for the privileged. With a clear willingness to abandon human life for the sake of protecting and prospering white male right-wing domination, President Trump is not us, not even close.

Instead, we are a people who believe God created all of humanity equal in dignity, worth, and value as we fiercely reject all forms of racism, discrimination, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and every type of inherent demonization. Our country has long been purposed on being a sanctuary of refuge for the refugee, opportunity for the immigrant, and equal hope and dignity for the minority and the most vulnerable among us. To that end, we believe in meaningful protection from those who would enter our country for the purpose of inflicting harm. Yet, we also refuse to conclude that our desire for safety prevents nor restricts us from affording human compassion, patience, appropriate leniency, and a realistic and accessible pathway to citizenship for any and all of those who desire to call our country home. We believe that the complexity of immigration and its surrounding issues should lead, not to the creation of bigger walls and callous systems, but to the rise of a greater people whose hearts are convinced that a country that does not joyfully, graciously, and passionately extend its freedoms to all is not a free country after all. For the protection of privilege is the enemy of true liberty. Thus, we vehemently oppose the discrimination of any people group based on skin color, nationality, gender identification, social economic status, or sexual orientation. We are a country purposed on the life, liberty, and equality of all people, not just white, male, heterosexual, right-wing conservative Christians. Sadly, our President and his political and religious allies now seek to curtail the sounds of true freedom and equality from being heard and realized by those who would threaten their power and privilege. To that end, he has labeled black people as being lazy, quick to commit crimes, and unpatriotic while referring to those friendly to white supremacy as being “fine people”—all while enjoying the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan. He has referred to Mexican immigrants as criminals and “rapists,” called for a complete shutdown of Muslims from entering the United States, and claimed that 15,000 immigrants from Haiti “all have AIDS” and that 40,000 Nigerians, once seeing the United States, would never “go back to their huts” in Africa. Trump once referred to a Hispanic Miss Universe as “Miss Housekeeping” and mocked Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.” He has frozen a series of LGBTQ-friendly healthcare rules, tried to reinstate a ban on transgender people in the military, argued that anti-gay discrimination is legal, and nominated multiple candidates to the courts and other public offices who have anti-LGBTQ records. With a long and continued record of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia that clearly displays his desire to protect and prosper white, male, heterosexual power and privilege seemingly at any cost, President Trump is not us, not even close.

Instead, we are a people who believe that all religions are to be extended equal rights and protections. Regardless of ones faith, we believe no religion should be granted preference in the public square or afforded special privileges. By constitutional design, we are not a Christian nation nor do we have a state religion—period, full stop. Accordingly, with great enthusiasm and vigor, we fundamentally value, respect, and appreciate people of all religions and defend their rights to exercise their faith peacefully and to be given equal status and treatment alongside all others. Yet, conservative Evangelical Christianity has long been striving to prosper a right-wing, male, heterosexual, white-privileged, conservative brand of Christianity and to attain its dominance in all of society, even to the exclusion, discrimination, demonization, and marginalization of other religions. With a willingness to spiritually justify sin, hypocrisy, duplicity, greed, racism, bullying, violence, war, and discrimination, conservative Evangelicalism sees President Trump as an irresistible pathway to the nationalization of their religion of white power and privilege. To that end, President Trump has enthusiastically opened his presidency and his policies to the influence and partnership of right-wing conservative Evangelical Christianity. Sadly, to the privileged, the emergence of true equality always feels like war. Thus, Trump and his side-chick of conservative Evangelical Christianity have bit the apple of spiritual and political greed in hopes of subduing the greatest threat to their elitism and imperialism—true equality for all. With an overwhelming lust for dominance in all things and a diabolical partnership with the evils of conservative Evangelicalism in order to spiritually justify it, Trump is not us, not even close.

Instead, we are a people who strongly believe that women are equal to men and therefore should be granted the same rights, opportunities, dignity, and rewards—especially where men have enjoyed unfair advantage, double-standards, and preferential treatment. We believe women are not lesser vessels, inferior human beings, sexual objects created to serve the pleasure of men, nor designed to take a submissive role in any arena of life—especially at home, in society, or at the work place. Rather, women are fully capable human beings equally empowered by the divine. Unfortunately, President Trump has long exploited and abused women for personal gratification and gain. He has suggested that sexual assault in the military is simply what happens when men and women work together, stated women are inherently manipulative, credited women’s professional success to their looks, declared that childrearing is women’s work, told a woman she was disgusting for pumping breast milk, referred to a woman as a “piece of ass,” and bragged about grabbing women’s pussies. With a disgusting unapologetically sexist, predatory, demeaning, discriminating, and exploitive view of women, Trump is not us, not even close.

Instead, we are a people who firmly believe that those with special needs represent nothing less than the beauty and divine diversity of creation. In fact, we hold that all people have limitations and inabilities of various kinds, some are just more apparent than others. Therefore, we abhor any sentiments that ridicule, belittle, or devalue people with disabilities, and commit ourselves to stand in solidarity. Sadly, President Trump has publicly mocked people with special needs, exhibiting a pubescent callousness becoming of none other than the devil himself. In fact, he and his political allies are proposing legislation that will dismantle the Americans with Disabilities Act, leaving people with disabilities gravely exposed while making those who violate the ADA virtually consequence-free. With a brutishness towards human diversity and a blatant disregard for those with disabilities, President Trump is not us, not even close.

Instead, we are a people who believe economic prosperity and its benefits should not be limited to the privileged nor should our societal systems create a playing field that fast-tracks the elite and stymies the rest towards receiving the equal blessings of good fortune, hard work, and financial well-being. We aggressively refuse to settle for a hypocritical economic system that postures a greedy socialism for the top and a callous capitalism for the bottom. Unfortunately, president Trump and his allies will seemingly stop at nothing to stack the deck towards the financial benefit of white male privilege. To that end, Trump has created an economic advisory team that is devoid of women, minorities, working people, and the middle class. It is indeed, a “suicide squad” for the prospering of an elitist economy with dark money infiltrating our government and politics like never before. With an unprecedented level of financial greed and arrogance, and a willingness to spend more taxpayer money in one month on personal trips than former President Obama did in one year, President Trump is not us, not even close.

Instead, we are a people who believe that truthfulness and moral integrity are foundational for leadership, especially when endorsed by the religious. Though no person is perfect or devoid of flaws in character, we believe a humble repenting spirit is required for leadership that is characterized by trust, noble influence, and divine authentication. In that way, America has long valued presidential leadership that is, at the very least, marked by basic decency, relational maturity, and human respect. To that end, we vehemently stand against any justification, especially spiritual, that turns a blind eye towards leadership characterized by infidelity, deception, avarice, immorality, discrimination, bullying, dishonesty, and illegal pursuits—no matter how politically or financially advantageous it may be to do so. Sadly, Trump and his political and religious allies are largely devoid of nobility, moral and spiritual integrity, human decency, and the hallmarks of true leadership. Instead, their seemingly insatiable appetites for power and privilege have created a narcissistic political climate nothing shy of the lawless, nefarious, and greedy culture of the Wild West where virtually anything goes and anything can be said that benefits their agenda. The sheer frequency, spontaneity, and arrogance of our President’s lies have no precedent in American politics. In fact, with Trump, the Father of Lies has met his match as our entire country has been waterboarded by the constant flood of his falsehoods and a supporting religious right who have lost their capacity for moral discernment. So much, that they will quickly gas-light the crap out of those who would expose their evils. With an unapologetic willingness to engage in numerous acts of marital unfaithfulness, bully his disagreers, lie to the American people, and leverage every opportunity to enflame his narcissism, even to dire expense of our nation, Trump is not us, not even close.

Instead, we are a people who love creation, reject violence, and value true human equality.

We are a people who uphold religious pluralism, see women as equal, and defend the vulnerable.

We are a people that joyfully extend liberty to all, denounce personal, religious, and national greed, and abhor corrupt arrogant carnal narcissistic leadership.

Dear world, this is the America we believe in, this is the people we are.

President Trump is not us, not even close.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

Dear Conservative Evangelical Christian, Answer Me This

I have to admit, I’m growing increasingly confused with nearly every moment. Not just confused—alarmed, if I’m honest.

I’m no spiritual giant, but it’s been my longtime understanding that the Christian faith is to be centered on the person of Jesus. At least, that’s the divine plot God seems to have written and the Name many have boastfully placed on the marquee. Yet, when I survey the Scriptures and listen to His mind within me, I’m sadly left with no alternative but to be filled with disappointment and disillusionment. For the epic story of Jesus and His love that I had hoped would fill my senses with every scene you project into my seeing has become a horror show of conservative Evangelical Christian evil.

Perhaps, I’ve completely lost my mind and have fallen away from the Spirit—that’s certainly not beyond possibility. Perhaps, that prayer cloth I discarded along with the accountability partner that came with it, has put a divine jinx on my capacity to discern the spiritual. It’s probably all in my mind and a carnal figment of my imagination. Yet, I can’t seem to ignore the sure duplicity and sheer insanity of what your faith understanding seems to be wielding upon the earth with ever increasing fashion.

I want to give you the benefit of the doubt and even come to my senses if need be. So, please conservative Evangelical Christian, answer me this—I’m ready, and I’m listening.

Where does Jesus ever put the Bible (which hadn’t even been written yet) above Himself or even in equal standing, and where does He say it’s the perfect Word of God and admonish His followers to worship their own interpretations of it?  In fact, on several occasions, I’ve noticed that Jesus reinterprets the Scriptures and turns over the table on their traditional meaning. I don’t have a problem suggesting that the Bible was inspired by God as long as we admit that divine inspiration doesn’t automatically equate to human accuracy. Perhaps, that’s why Christian scholars can’t even agree to this day on how we arrived at the canonization of the Bible let alone what books should be included. And not just that, but with over 30,000 different denominations, we can’t even put all of our bumpers in the same parking lot in regards to something as central as the essence of salvation. Yet, you want me to believe that your Bible, your version, and even your interpretation is the infallible inerrant perfect Word of God. I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but I can’t deny how that leaves me suspiciously wondering, if it’s all so perfect, why would Jesus summon His Spirit (not you, me, or the Bible) to be humanity’s ultimate guide in all truth?  I’m trying to see Jesus in all this song and dance with the Bible, but if I’m honest, I just can’t—at least not the Jesus who lives within me.

Please conservative Evangelical Christian, answer me this.

Where does Jesus ever utilize a weapon in an act of aggression or defense, or even so much as hint that there could be an occasion where his followers would be righteous and justified in doing so? I’m not suggesting that a person who owns a gun for mere sport, hunting, or nonviolent pleasure is unfaithful to the Master. I’m not even suggesting that a person who possesses a gun for self-defense is necessarily a bad person. But, the more I experience the heart of Jesus the more I become convinced, if you’re going to own a gun which is purposed primarily on killing, and harbor the willingness to use it against another human being, you’re going to have to leave the person, example, and teachings of Jesus out of it and step outside of His ways to justify it. Stock up on all the weapons you want, rationalize a love of guns any way that helps you sleep at night, and insist on your Second Amendment rights even to the mass murder of children. However, with all due love and respect, you can stop trying to convince me that God blesses your endeavors and Jesus supports your armament and willingness to do violence—He doesn’t, at least not the Jesus who lives within me.

The fact that the NRA and conservative Evangelicalism have become two peas in a diabolical pod. The truth that many conservative Evangelicals propose that the solution to our gun problem is more guns. The reality that churches who claim to worship Jesus are now opening gun ranges. The daunting awareness that a majority of conservative Evangelical Christians are not willing to pick up their cross and lay down their love affair with guns when the safety of innocent people is undeniably in the balance. All of this tells me everything I need to know—Jesus has surely left the building. Go ahead, keep on trying to convince me there is some ominous “new world order” that is trying to disarm Americans for the purpose of conquest. In the meanwhile, I’ll be resting assured that if there is any influence in the world that is trying to strip us of our lust for power, privilege, violence, and the guns that are symptomatic of such, that influencer is Jesus who, for the joy set before Him, chose a cross instead of an AR-15, Glock, or any other weapon. And yes, that’s in the Bible—perhaps you should read it.

Please conservative Evangelical Christian, answer me this.

Where does Jesus ever display, condone, or dismiss any of the sin-ladened and anti-Christ attributes of President Trump? Most assuredly, no one is perfect and God uses imperfect people for great purposes. Yet, isn’t there a difference between being imperfect and being an unapologetically pussy-grabbing, adulterous, racist, sexist, xenophobic, mental illness mocking, greedy, lying, vulgar, belligerent, and bullying President? In conservative Evangelical churches across our country, imperfect people are being used appropriately to do great ministry. Yet, I suspect, President Trump couldn’t even qualify to serve in your nursery or youth ministry, let alone deserve the continued support and praise as the President of the Unites States from those who would claim to be Christian. Surely, you don’t want a man who brags about grabbing women’s pussies to be changing diapers or going on camping trips, do you? Yet, many conservative Evangelicals Christians, still to this day, can’t help but to worship this President and declare His divine anointing—all while throwing a temper tantrum over an Olympic ice skater who is simply gay. I’m not trying to be crass or push any buttons, but what is this insanity that we are becoming? In fact, I have this growing suspicion that if PresidentTrump ever turned his back on conservative Evangelicalism or got in the way of their greedy ambitions, all of a sudden, his nefarious character would become oh-so important and problematic. Until then, you’ll keep trying to convince me that sleeping with enemy and becoming his side-chick is really sitting at the table with Jesus and washing His feet. So, please don’t be surprised when I cry, “bullshit!” I mean no disrespect, but this isn’t about Jesus, faithfulness, and Godly living—that’s the problem, isn’t it?

See, the Bible, guns, and politics—everything seems to have become a weapon to you for emotionally, spiritually, and physically stealing, killing, and destroying all that you perceive to be an enemy that you might nationalize, militarize, and globalize your faith ideology. Not because Jesus is telling you to do so, but because you’re addicted to white, male, heterosexual power and privilege—the opioids of the Evil One.

I want to believe that your greatest desire is Jesus and knowing His heart for humanity. I want to believe that you care about children and the safety of innocent people. I want to believe that moral character, sacrifice, decency, and goodness are important to you and foundational to your faith system. But, every time you have an opportunity to take up your cross and show me, it seems as if you are more interested in taking up, protecting, and prospering white, male, heterosexual, right-wing conservative power and privilege.

I know your heart is good and filled with honorable intention. I know you want me to believe it’s all about God, the Bible, and Christian faithfulness. Yet, how am I to conclude, with even just a small measure of confidence, that Jesus is your Lord and the King of your faith system when it seems there are so many things of Satan that you worship before Him?

Please conservative Evangelical Christian, answer me this.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

Conservative Christian, Stop Sending Your Thoughts And Prayers

You want to know why so much of modern conservative Christianity makes people want to vomit?

You want to know why so many people believe that conservative Christianity is largely a religion of the self-righteous and privileged?

You want to know why God surely cringes with a divine face palm nearly every time conservative Christians flap their gums?

Why? Because, at times, we stay stupid ignorant stuff—especially when what is needed most is either our complete silence or the taking of swift meaningful action.

We are so biased, pretentious, greedy, and dripping with double standards that we have become nose-blind to our own religious stench. It’s as if Jesus is so far removed from our faith that we can’t even summon a smidgen of His likeness when it counts.

Tragically, just days ago, 26 beautiful humans were brutally murdered while gathering for worship and prayer in their church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Once again, a semiautomatic rifle was used to accomplish mass murder as they had been before in Orlando, Aurora, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, and San Bernardino—starting to see a pattern?

In fact, it was an Evangelically elected President Trump who in February signed a bill into law in order to roll back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun—all to the praise and high-fives of many conservative gun-loving Christians. All of this, while a blatant bloody stockpile of evidence is ever-growing in its clear declaration that we have a monumental gun problem in America, largely at the feet of conservative Christians who worship their firearms far more than the Jesus of their faith.

In fact, in response to this most recent hellacious mass murder of a gathering of good people praying, seeking, and desiring the favor and blessings of God, the callous reaction of many conservative Christians to this tragedy was to send their “thoughts and prayers,” quickly deflect the issues of gun violence, and tell the American people that we should be more prepared and vigilant as potential victims of shootings—which I am sure would have made all the difference for 5-year-old Brooke Ward who was murdered within a matter of seconds upon the entrance of Devin Kelley into her sanctuary with trigger pulled.

Are you kidding me? Thoughts and Prayers? What the hell do you think these people were doing in that church?

Tell me this isn’t the sum of your faith. Tell me these aren’t your best ideas as to how to manifest the heart and will of a nonviolent Jesus in the midst of a growing list of countless murderous tragedies empowered by a lust for guns, privilege, and the insisting upon of your rights, even to the present and future deaths of countless lives.

Truly and obviously, with hollow sentiments like that, it appears your prayers have become a spiritual veil to an empty faith devoid of a love that leads to action.

No wonder why so many clear-thinking Jesus-loving people are crying, “Bullshit!”

If you can’t meaningfully restrict your gun rights for the sake of the lives of your fellow human beings, one thing is most certainly clear—you apparently don’t know Jesus, nor worship Him as Lord. Your guns, your rights, and your privilege have become your master, and the needless blood of countless mass shooting victims is dripping down your evil cowardly hands—that’s the truth.

So, stop sending your thoughts and prayers, the world knows that when push comes to shove, you don’t truly give a crap. In fact, it appears that nothing is more important than the furthering of your white male heterosexual conservative Evangelical Machine. You could leverage the turning of the tides in a violent gun-worshipping America, but you don’t, and sadly, it seems that you won’t. We can read between the lines, and we have become wise to your spiritual sleight of hand—your privilege is more important than people, period.

Until we see you leading the way towards real meaningful gun control. Until we see you encouraging your fellow conservative Christians to support and call for significant gun restrictions. Until we see you stand up and walk away from kneeling at the throne of the NRA. Don’t be surprised when all your spiritual bloviating, grandstanding, and parading of Jesus is met with the middle finger of many in America—myself included.

The world doesn’t need your thoughts and prayers, we need your repentance and authentic desire to actually follow the ways of Jesus when it matters most, and perhaps when it costs you the greatest.

Until then, the corrupted fruit dangling off your tree will be met with our fierce dismissal and denouncement. For we have tasted and seen that your twisted diabolical conservative Evangelical faith understanding is not good, not good at all—in fact, it’s evil.

Conservative Christian, stop sending your thoughts and prayers—start repenting and surrendering your worship of guns before more blood is tragically spilled.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

Trump : What You Get In A Nation Bewitched By The False Evangelical Gospel

I’m not sure if presidential candidate, Donald Trump believes in Jesus or any version of the Gospel. Yet, I do know, much of his fan base subscribes to the Evangelical tenets of faith. If they didn’t, their inner alarms would be bellowing and their conscience sweating at the blaring reality that is, Donald Trump. Instead, countless Evangelical creed holders are resonating with euphoric praise.

Let’s just throw out a few adjectives and see if they stick. Bigot, racist, misogynist, xenophobe, sexist—not to mention, rude, arrogant, greedy, and inhumane—stick, stick, stick. These aren’t misguided, presumptuous labels, these are real-deal realities, right from the Donald’s lips.

“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”
“All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”
“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.”
“I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
“The point is, you can never be too greedy.”
“I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist.”
“I’m not sure I have ever asked God’s forgiveness. I don’t bring God into that picture….When I go to church and when I drink my little wine and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of forgiveness.”
“The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.”
“The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yamakas every day.”
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
“Did you read about Starbucks? No more ‘Merry Christmas’ at Starbucks. No more. Maybe we should boycott Starbucks.”
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.”
“Show me someone without an ego, and I’ll show you a loser.”
“My motto is: Always get even. When somebody screws you, screw them back in spades.”
.

Everyone deserves a fair shake, but somewhere along the way, you have to put two eyeballs on what’s in front of you. The truth is, Donald Trump and his political phenomenon are a product of the false Evangelical gospel. The family secrets of American, fundamentalist Christianity are increasingly becoming exposed. In Donald Trump, we have a megaphone of what their Gospel looks like in human, political form.

In Donald Trump, we see a clear manifestation of the Evangelical gospel of prosperity. In the mind of much of modern Christianity, the cause of Christ is to make one “great” in concert with your individual pursuit to do “great things” for Jesus. The slogan of their adorned training ground, Liberty University, “making champions for Christ.” As an Evangelical Christian, you are “set apart,” which subtly translates, “superior to all others.” Just attend a typical contemporary, Evangelical worship service along with their mega-pastor and state of the art facility. Your eyes will be confronted with an Evangelical Christianity that has become mesmerized by fame, fortune, and power—this, their foundational understanding of what it looks like to be “blessed.” Hook them, addict them to the endless, spiritual quest that with Jesus at your side, you can become “great again,” the very best, over all the rest. Two story houses, a dog named “spot,” and satellite tv in every room. Little pink houses for you and me; not to mention, a name-engraved Bible positioned on every coffee table for all eyes to see.  Evangelical faith finds its fruition in personal and material prosperity. This is the American, self-improvement Gospel, branded for your consuming pleasure by all things Evangelical. The Jesus of the cross—washing feet, serving enemies, lifting those who have been brought low, is no where to be found. Just ask the black community, transgenders, and homosexuals.

In Donald Trump, we are confronted with the evangelical Gospel of God-sanctioned war and violence.  With eyes on a literal, one-sided, rookie reading of the Old Testament, believing God decreed it, Evangelicals give little pause to the idea of using violence and war to further their values and religion. It’s part of the process, a little collateral damage here and there, “all for the greater good” they sing in unified, Hitler-like choruses. Evil needs to be destroyed, and all that they deem to be an enemy, is surely evil simply by them saying so. Block it, box it, wall it all off. Who knows better the battles our militaristic God would have us fight? We are Christians soldiers, onward we will go—claiming territory for Jesus, with assimilation as our goal. Join us, or be conjoined to one of our Patriot missiles. All, while hiding the true conspiracy of the 21st century, that underneath their spiritual veil and all their spiritual wizardry, is really just an insatiable greed for wealth and control.

In Donald Trump, the Evangelical gospel of sexism, white privilege, and male superiority find new heights of fruition. I mean really, didn’t you know that Jesus was a paper-white man, with Paul Mitchell, glossy-brown locks of flowing hair? Men belong up here, and women, a bit lower down there—cooking, cleaning, ironing their “9 to 5” man’s clothes. Their so damn emotional, those rib-birthed helpmates, why can’t they just shut-up and be satisfied with simply being a “penis home.” Besides, that’s the way God set it up, put it into complementarian order. Women are just a means to an end— puppets for male pleasure and control.

The white man, dominate and pure, God’s preferred way to move and breathe in our multicultural world. Surely, we have the inside scoop, we’ve cracked the divinity code to all things God, Jesus, and spiritual truth. Whatever line we have to sign or candidate we have to support, in order to keep our guns, camouflage-Jesus, and societal leverage—we’ll look the other away and bury our heads, if that’s what it takes to do so.

In Donald Trump, the Evangelical gospel of Biblical inerrancy rises to its idolatry. You can’t control people, bully your way, when spiritual assertions are really errantly “grey”—open for debate, mystery, and uncertainty. So emerges, the Evangelical addiction to inerrancy, the drug of choice for lazy, spoon-fed Christians seeking to justify their self-righteousness and bigotry. A scripture here, and church service there, name-drop “Jesus” a bit, we’ll lift you onto the mantle of “Christian leadership.” You’re one of us, as long as your proof-texting to form our mold, to claim Jesus as the spokesmodel for the “right”—the Bible is so easy, so back and white.   To think, feel, and consider outside the box, independent thoughts from what is orthodox—heretics, God-haters, false prophets, all of them. For the Bible, perfect and without error, is God’s roadmap to the American-Jesus life, and a nation above all others.  Who are you to question the American dream, it’s all so spiritual, and God delivered. Mexicans (the new Jews) not included.

In Donald Trump, the Evangelical gospel of faith-justified hate and discrimination finds its wings and weaponization. It’s all so convenient, what could be arguable with a spiritual mandate for hate and discrimination? The clear teachings of the Bible, generations of family values and tradition, it’s all so bullet proof, if only it could be legislated. Homosexuals are abominations, transgenders; deserving of death, women; second class citizens, and minorities; just another inconvenience we have to put up with. If something isn’t done with all these lessor, pungent souls, we’ll all be looking down the barrel of God’s punishment as He removes His hand of blessing and favor upon America, the Jesus-sanctioned nation—”making disciples of people just like us since 1776.”

Donald Trump is the cunning kid in the sandbox our parents warned us about and for which psychiatrist calibrate their tests, and Evangelical Christianity, the steroid that is feeding his barbaric, disproportionate, pathological growth. Blinded to the reality that this guy is eating every alphabet letter in God’s seven-deadly-sins soup. Look away, there’s nothing to see here, it’s all a part of divine prophecy.

Never give a narcissistic, ego-driven child the keys to the family station wagon, let alone, an entire nation. Let’s just say, it won’t be good. Just ask Nazi Germany.

Bewitched by the Evangelical drug of “make it great for Jesus” and “be all you can be,” we are so addicted to our own spiritual arrogance, supremacy, and self-righteousness, we don’t care who deals it to us, as long as we get another fix.

What you call, “telling like it is” is the allure that lipstick brings when underneath it’s disguising a pig.

There is only one job on planet earth where, during the interview process, you can vomit this level of vitriol and still be a candidate—the job of American, Evangelical-elected president.

If it walks like a Donald, it probably is a Donald.

You know your Gospel is false, when these are the lengths you will go to and Donald Trump, the person to which you will tip your hat, in order to keep it alive.

One thing you can know for sure, the Donald ain’t no Jesus, and Evangelical Christianity is no Gospel.

Guns, Jesus, and Me

From time to time, I am honored with the request to write about certain subjects. This is one of those instances.

Many of my readers know I am a LGBT affirming pastor and write extensively and boldly on the issue.

Yet, I have found within myself more apprehension to communicate my thoughts on the topic of “guns” than with perhaps any other subject I have written on thus far. The emotional angst and passion of views towards this topic seems uniquely, politically charged, and at times, more toxic, polarized, and widespread than what I have witnessed among the most controversial issues of human sexuality.

Given this climate, I want to be absolutely clear from the start. I am not a progressive, conservative, or liberal in the sense of some simplistic, political label one might try to tag upon me. I am a human being trying to see God, my life, and the world through the lens of Jesus. Loved by the Father, made whole and complete in Christ. Grace upon Grace. That’s who I am.

As did Jesus, I vehemently resist becoming a political pawn used by any side for the demonizing of opposing viewpoints and the people involved. Let it be loudly heard, this writing serves no purpose, political or otherwise, in minimizing the perspectives or personhood of anyone, particularly those who would disagree with my conclusions.

Rather, I write, first and foremost as one, loving and standing with all people, all created in the image of God, seeking the way of Grace for my life. Not that I agree, support or promote every action, belief, or viewpoint of another. Hardly. But that I stand with all, mutual sojourners on this complex journey of life, deeply grateful that God stands with me, right in the midst of all my “me-ness” with pride, acceptance, and steadfast belief in me… fearfully and wonderfully made by His hands. Promising over my every moment, “never will I leave you nor forsake you.”

I will do no less for any other.

So to all my friends with guns and varying viewpoints regarding such, there is no distance, condemnation, nor disbelief in you. Not from me. We are all humans… together. Beloved by the Father of Lights, His Grace being sufficient for all of us. None are better, only different.

With that said…

In my faith, I find Jesus to be the sole window through which I see God, my life, and the world. Everything begins and ends with Jesus. He is the lens through which I must see, understand, and interpret all things.

God is love. Jesus is Grace. This is the sum of all that I believe to be true and life directing.

If I am to believe in Jesus, I must believe in Jesus… all the way.

If I am to believe in Grace, I must believe in Grace… all the way.

Either Jesus presents me with the best way to live, to understand God, and to see the world, or He does not. Either the Kingdom Jesus manifests is the best way to do life or it is not. There is no in between.

I find in Jesus, no model for violence. Not even a loop hole, nor an extenuating circumstance. That Jesus declared, “I do not come to bring peace, but a sword” is not a physical assertion condoning violence, but a spiritual articulation of the power Grace wields to renovate our lives and the world. When Jesus turns over the tables in the temple, this is not an act of violence harming humans. Not a chance. Not even close.

There is no example, blueprint, or receipt to be found that shows Jesus purchased nor promoted for us any tenet for violence in our Christ-following or Kingdom-bringing. None.

Wiggle, squirm, do “the dance” as I may. There is no other example that Jesus gives me other than the way of… non-violence.

In fact, for Jesus, the cross is the weapon of choice against all that evil can bring. Not a gun, but a cross.

There is no greater violence than Jesus experienced. Dying for humanity as humanity. In His death, the height of human violence is displayed and in Him contained. Yet in His death, the greater height of Jesus’ non-violent response is proclaimed. Knowingly, willingly, yielding His life in the midst of those would take it.

From a distance, it seems the way of violence is winning…

Jesus speaking against Peter cutting off a soldier’s ear… fail… the path to the cross continues.

Jesus, flogged to the point of unrecognizable appearance… fail… He’s losing the battle.

Jesus, hands and feet nailed to the cross. His sides pierced, suffocated by his own weight and fluid… fail… He’s dying.

Jesus proclaiming forgiveness over all humanity… fail… His breaths still stop breathing.

Jesus, do something, get down from there, defend yourself, open up a can, let ’em have it. You’re losing.

At the cross, it seems that the way of violence wins, overpowers, and claims victory.

But with further review, all the violence in the universe could not overcome the nonviolent power of Jesus Christ.

In His death and resurrection, all of life is made whole. Death is stripped of its sting. The power of sin obliterated. The way of surrender, the way of a servant, the way of Grace forever lifted. A path, a walk, a Name above all names. The banners of peace and non-violence are revealed as forever superior, rising far above all other anthems.

As a recipient of the sum of all human violence, Jesus chose the way of non-violence, the cross, destroying the power of evil within the black hole of Grace. The way of violence is exposed as the loser, swallowed up in love, and powerless to solve anything.

The final scoreboard at cross.  Violence-0  Nonviolence-1.

Grace wins. Love prevails.

In fact, one Bible writer, inspired by this revelation, declared the cross to be the power of God for salvation. ( 1 Cor. 1:18)

“Salvation” (Sozo in Greek) literally means “wholeness” with God, self, and the world. All together known as “peace.” The cross, wrapped in the Gospel, is the power of God to bring all dimensions of peace out of and into a physically, emotionally, and spiritually violent world.

Nonviolence and the Gospel are inseparable. If you remove non-violence from the cross, there is no Jesus on the cross. If you remove the cross, there is no Gospel.

To echo this example forever into our living, Jesus did not say, “take up your guns and follow me.” He said, “take up your cross…”

Sounding into the depths of the human experience, the megaphone of Jesus’ death declares, “don’t bring a gun to a cross fight.”

And here’s the kicker, every battle is a cross fight. The thief in the night, the terrorist on the streets, the gossip in the office. Cross fight, cross fight, cross fight. Grace, forgiveness, non-violence, surrender, even suffering… weapons of divine reckoning. The power of God unto peace and the destruction of all that is evil.

Perhaps, in the laying down of our guns and the choosing of a non-violent way, right in the very face of it, we discover an ultimate sacrifice of praise. To lay down all that is a weapon, to stand in defiance of violence. To boldly say, “In Jesus, is truly the way. I believe it all the way. Even to my own cross.” This is the most powerful force in the universe, disarming evil completely and rendering its systems, religions, and ideologies as powerless in the end.

Until then, the cycle continues.

For violence has never brought peace, just the illusion of it. It may subdue it for a moment, but evil always grows back. And that, increasingly.

How all of this translates into every aspect of our world and living, I am not fully sure. What this means for us as a nation, as a society, I am not fully sure. It is for freedom Christ set us free.

But the question isn’t just, “could we?” but “should we?” Even deeper than that, “Did He?” and “Would He?”

All for which I am certain, is only what this means for me.

In the laying down of my guns, and even my life, I find true life… as Jesus taught I would.

Just imagine, a world unwilling to be provoked by violence into violence.

A world, defiantly determined to never become the evil done against it.

A world, that sees in Jesus, the only way to overpower evil; in all our ways, nonviolence.

Even to the point of our own cross, boldly displaying. Shining light into the darkness.

The enemy, bowing down in awe, disarmed at the soul, confronted with the end of their influence.

All, on earth, as it is in heaven.

Grace wins.

Grace wins.

Thank God almighty.

Grace wins.

© 2022 Chris Kratzer

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