Tag: progressive

Conservative Evangelicals, What Are You Afraid Of?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

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!”

 

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.


 

 

No, Progressive Christian, You’re Not Insane

Since the birth of Jesus upon the earth, those who choose His ways have been deemed by society as the freaks–the misguided–the losers–the libtards–the snowflakes. At points along the way, Jesus Himself was labeled as insane. Apparently, when you shake your fist at the forces of imperialism, greed, religiosity, and self-righteousness while bringing forth a cosmic movement of extravagant inclusion, equality, generosity, and grace, you’re going to get some dirt kicked in your face. Perhaps, even nailed upon a politically conspired cross constructed under sheets stained of religion. 

Yup, you’re going get the shit beaten out of you–emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually. In fact, there’s a sure sense that if you aren’t being spun around like a breakdancer on crack for your resistance towards the conservative Evangelical Death Star, are you really even alive?

No doubt, it’s enough to cause even the bravest amongst us to shrink back and curl up in the fetal position of our discouragement. It seems like the forces of evil are taking the hill. The gaslighting is working. The Tweet storms hold their traction. What is up is down, and what is clear is clouded. The people of Light, the people of Love, the people of divine affirmation, the people of true equality, the people of humanity, the people of science, the people of generosity, the people of justice, the people of compassion, the people of Grace–we are the insane ones. 

Indeed, the patients are running the hospital. 

In moments like these it’s easy to wonder, “maybe I have lost my mind.” Maybe this life of solidarity with the least-of-these and fighting the forces of political and religious evil just isn’t worth it. The gravity of giving up weighs heavy, and conformity and surrender seem to be the only way out. Life could be so much easier if the blinds were closed, my eyes were turned away, and my heart was numbed. What difference does it make anyway?     

Yet, off in the distance a relentless voice is heard rising from the ashes, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Make straight a path for justice to roll down like a mighty stream. Bind up the broken hearted. Declare the divine affirmation of all. Push aside all bigotry and hate. Pave every street with human equality. Line the sidewalks with social justice. Build statues of the least-of-these. Light every corner, crossing, and alley with the mind of Christ, that all truth and goodness might be revealed and seen.   

This is the voice upon your life.  

Take heart. 

No, you’re not insane.    

For if you gaze upon the horizon of much of American Christianity and it all makes you want to vomit, you’re not insane. 

If you have a growing suspicion that much of right-wing conservative Christianity is a diabolical, evil scheme that has little to do with Jesus and everything to do with power and privilege, you’re not insane. 

If you tire of a false gospel that puts conditions on love, fosters hypocrisy, inflames self-righteousness, and personifies God as an unpredictable monster, you’re not insane. 

If you’ve discerned that much of Christianity has raped and twisted God into a frequently-temperamental divine drunk storming out of a bar, you’re not insane. 

If you question a faith that features a hell of eternal torment designed for the divine torture of people who don’t return God’s love in all the conservative Evangelically prescribed ways, you’re not insane.

If something checks in your spirit about turning off your brain, subscribing to a 6,000 year old earth, requiring your wife’s submission, and joining a group of people who appear to excel at talking amongst themselves and judging the world, all while calling it faithfulness to Jesus, you’re not insane. 

If you’re super close to blowing yet another brain gasket the next time someone quotes Scripture at you in hopes of turning you into their spiritual project, you’re not insane. 

If your head is spinning and your heart is confounded at the sure reality that scores of conservative Christians boastfully claim loyalty to the ways of Jesus, yet still vehemently support an anti-Christ president, you’re not insane. 

If you’re fed up with feeling spiritually obligated to prequalify people for love, condemn the LGBTQ community, discriminate against minorities, embrace sexism, weaponize the Bible, and turn Jesus into the hood ornament of your world bulldozer as you seek the dominance and supremacy of your faith in all of society, you’re not insane.

If you see much of the same evils that plague conservative Christianity to also be rampant within progressive Christian circles, you’re not insane. 

If you feel like ditching the whole “Christian” label all together, you’re not insane. 

If you feel like the true spiritual path of your life is to simply find your own way with the Spirit’s guidance alone, you’re not insane.

If you tire of the racism that is fostered primarily by white male Christians, you’re not insane. 

If you want to vomit every time a white person says they are “color blind” but then wants to rub your face in “black on black” crime, you’re not insane. 

If you want to punch white Christians in the throat who want to declare “all lives matter” yet send their gay children to the curb, keep immigrants in cages, criminalize and dehumanize black people, celebrate the stripping of benefits for Transgender people, and hope to erase the LGBTQ community from the planet, you’re not insane. 

If it strikes you as ironic that some white people who want to help black people gain true equality, don’t see other white voices who are trying to help too as equal and equally valued, you’re not insane.

If it pisses you off that some Christians care more about their convenience than wearing a mask for the protection of others, you’re not insane.

If your neck veins pop out in rage because it’s becoming all too clear, even for Christians who declare loyalty to Jesus, that money is more important than people, you’re not insane.

If you want to denounce your pride and affection for “America” because of the unjust, bigoted, racist, and white supremacy-ladened sewer we have become, you’re not insane.

If you want to scream, “F*ck it all” at the top of your lungs as you pound the chest of your despair, you’re not insane.

No, you’re not insane. 

You’re not a heathen. You’re not a heretic, nor a snowflake.

No, you are Jesus.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

We Are Trump, All Of Us

My disdain for him is equal to, if not greater than yours. So much of what he stands for, I simply detest. Not a day goes by where I don’t find his actions and attitudes unbecoming of a human being, let alone the President of the United States of America.

Yet, when I search to connect the dots that led to his rise in power. When I dissect the pathway of disease that has led to his infection. When I retrace the erosion that allows such a lapse of discernment, I must be willing to look into the mirror.  

To be sure, conservative Evangelicalism and the safe harbor it affords to countless evils, has led the way in opening wide the gates to Trump’s rule and reign. This is obvious and well documented.

Yet, perhaps what we fail to see, is that in some way, great or small, we are all the incubator from which “Trump” has been birthed into the world—yes, progressives included.

We say that we detest his gross inappropriate sexual immorality, yet we sexualize our young children with provocative attire, seductive poses for social media, and the competitive message that beauty is centered upon one’s outward appearance.

We say his lying is of pathological origins fit for the Antichrist, yet we internally exonerate the daily fibs and exaggerations we tell that are deemed necessary to get ahead in life, or at least, take hold of our share. Somehow, in our minds, those are innocent, not unlike the little-white-untruths we insist are developmentally healthy for our children to explore.

We say that we are “progressive” and therefore nothing like him, yet we roam social media waiting to devour our own at first sight of their departure from our own personal ideology of progressive conformity.

We say that he has foolishly walled himself off from wise counsel and only gathers those around him whose loyalty is blind and without ethics, yet we huddle in our exclusive progressive tribes centered on much the same tenets, positioning and using the people around us for our benefit and “progressive” aspirations.   

We say that the way he undermines his competition and enemies with vicious tweets and callous decisions is of the devil himself, yet when another walks into our own territory of influence, we guard our platforms at all cost, willing to send to the curb anyone who dares to get in the way of our spotlight and progressive empire building.

We say we are a people for the “common good,” yet we can’t find enough in common or good with each other to pause from our repeated self-destruction long enough to come together and unite our votes for the defeat of blatant tyranny.

We say his vacations are a rape of the American taxpayer, yet we refuse to muster the short amount of time and energy it takes to get up off the couch, educate our brains, and vote.

                                                                                                                           

Every time we make beauty something that can be accomplished through powder, poses, and privilege, we are Trump.

Every time we place promotion, progress, or personal gain above truth, we are Trump.

Every time we subscribe to a legalism that affords us the exclusive right to judge, condemn, and marginalize, we are Trump.

Every time we position and use people in our lives for the fulfillment of personal aspirations, we are Trump.

Every time we sabotage and demonize those who would share in our spotlight or thwart our empire building, we are Trump.

Every time we eat our own and render people as disposable, we are Trump.

Every time we turn platforms into pedestals, we are Trump.

Every time we choose ignorance, complacency, and comfort over integrity, responsibility, activism, and the welfare of humanity, we are Trump.

We can bend, twist, and hide behind our excuses, but the cold hard truth is this… in some way, great or small, we are Trump—all of us. Not because we are simply imperfect humans like him, but because we all have been bewitched by a self-centered American spirit that has turned the very best and most sacred things of life into commodities of personal gratification. People, power, platforms, church, politics, and even Jesus: nothing has been exempt from being fashioned into a flag to wrap around our own selfish pursuits.

As hard as it may be to hear, Trump is a product of ourselves, we are not immune to culpability—all of us.

Therefore, it’s high time we stop pointing to the many obvious reasons why Trump is a thing, and start looking to ourselves as an integral part of the problem and likely the only part of the solution. Not simply because we believe to have better ideas, theologies, views, or values, but because at the end of the day, we are better humans.

For our most important vote will not be in the 2020 ballot box, but in our daily choice to actually live against the very things we say we are against.

Until we do, there will always be a Trump.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

Check out Chris Kratzer’s new book getting rave reviews… Leatherbound Terrorism.

In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris chases the evils of conservative Evangelicalism out of the shadows and gives powerful voice to the cries of the religiously oppressed. Confronting issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, religious greed, hypocrisy, nationalism, white supremacy, privilege, and the weaponizing of the Bible, Leatherbound Terrorism pulls no punches. Endorsed by best selling authors Steve McVey and Baxter Kruger, Leatherbound Terrorism will challenge you, inspire you, and most certainly cause you to rethink your faith and life.

I’m Sorry Church, My Hope Is Gone

I’m done.

It doesn’t matter what flavor—conservative, progressive, or something in between.

I wish it were different, I wish it wasn’t true.

I’m taking the card out of the deck.

Not playing, not going to be played any longer.

This is where I exit.

My need for you has healed, my trust in you has been educated, my respect for you has opened its eyes.

I’m sorry church, my hope in you is gone. And I’m thinking, this time, it’s gone for good.

It’s not that I ever worshipped you or let you take the place of Jesus. Stupid me, I just believed that “church” could truly be a place or a people where loving well is the highest value and exercised commodity. Yet, as inclusive, loving, and accepting as even the most beautiful ecclesial wrapping paper may appear, underneath, there is always a lurking spirit of Empire building at the heart, overshadowing all the good people. Slice it, dice it, cut it wide open—at the core, I’m sorry, I’ve tasted and seen, and it isn’t good.

I deeply wish my experiences proved otherwise, I wish I could come to another conclusion. I’ve tried—even after all we have been through, I’ve held out hope. But I can’t turn off what plays out right in front of me over and over again. What we have in so much of American Christianity is beyond simple human error, imperfection, or oversight, but a callous lust for personal gain and all the blatant disregard for people and integrity that comes with it.

Who has the fanciest facilities, the latest technology, the most inspiring worship, the best sermons, the slickest branding, the most followers, the highest attendance, the greatest programs, the fastest growth, the largest book sales, the most podcast downloads, the most speaking engagements, the coolest look, the best theology, the purest doctrine, the strongest scholarship, the most attended events, the highest influence.  

                                                                                                                           

Church is big business—progressive or conservative.

Sadly, its darkened fruits dangle clearly in the wind, for those who have ears to hear and eyes to see.

We have become experts at gathering in exclusive tribes with shared creeds as the inside handshake. Cool pastors lunch tables where few are ever allowed or invited. Ideological forts where conformity is the bridge to the door and the key to enter in. Celebrity leaders dressed in the latest fashions with polished appearances and presentations to impress and entice the masses. Little pink spiritual houses for you and me, as far as the eye can see.

No real place for the misfit or the in between. The prophet, the questioner, or the one lagging behind. No bigger tables, just bigger egos wrapped in inclusive spirituality and sprinkled with unconditional love glitter. Looks so good on the outside, but tastes of death in the middle. There is always something more at stake, a deeper lure underneath, than loving simply to love, and that being enough–period, end of sentence and sum of aspiration.

Perhaps it really is true, there is nothing new underneath the sun. All is meaningless, especially what church has become, conservative or progressive.  

Good men, women, and children rarely win, even within, of all things… church. Instead, to survive and stay the course, your hands must become callous, your heart quickly attuned to self, your ears oblivious to honesty, and your mind unshakably focused on more, better, and further. These are often the drugs one must take, the humanity within that must be turned off, and the integrity that must be subdued to survive and participate.  

“But not my church” is the pre-prescribed opioid that keeps things from ever getting better. Surely, not that blogger, not that pastor, not that speaker, not that author, not the group, not that leader, not the person in the mirror.

The bar my family attends for food and drink, the cubicles in which I work to live and breathe, the nature in which I roam, the secular in which I live, all are far more spiritual, holy, and pure, at least for me.  

I’ve cursed you, spit at you, praised you, believed in you, and died a thousand deaths for you. But now, as I follow Jesus towards the anew He is creating of me, I must leave you as I acknowledge the lamp going out deep inside of me, not because darkness has won the day, but because Dawn has come and awakened my entire being.

Today, I resign from being a guinea pig in the emotional and spiritual slaughter house of gaslighting Empire Christianity.

It’s all yours—take it, have it. 

I’m done. Never coming back. Never looking back. 

I’m sorry church, my hope is gone, because my life is finally beginning. 

I’m breathing for the first time, and with all due respect and love, it’s oh so good.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris Kratzer’s new book getting rave reviews… Leatherbound Terrorism.

In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris chases the evils of conservative Evangelicalism out of the shadows and gives powerful voice to the cries of the religiously oppressed. Confronting issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, religious greed, hypocrisy, nationalism, white supremacy, privilege, and the weaponizing of the Bible, Leatherbound Terrorism pulls no punches. Endorsed by best selling authors Steve McVey and Baxter Kruger, Leatherbound Terrorism will challenge you, inspire you, and most certainly cause you to rethink your faith and life.

 

We Are The Unerasable : Jesus Is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer

At times, there is silence for a reason as some things are best said by being left unsaid.

That there is no mention of Jesus’ sexual orientation in Scripture is perhaps reflective of a profound, cosmic reality that ones gender nor orientation are a prerequisite for determining that which is of the Divine. The person of Jesus and the Kingdom He brings make gender beautifully irrelevant and the spectrum of creative possibilities wonderfully endless. To be human is to be human, regardless of orientation or gender. In fact, to the dismay of much of western Christianity, Jesus wasn’t purposed on being imaged into a caucasian, American, heterosexual, Republican, gun-owning, blue-eyed, conservative male with flowing locks of brown hair. Rather, He is the surest example of what it truly looks like to simply be fully human and fully rested in the Divine—beyond all that is gender and orientation.

Was or is Jesus gay in terms of sexual orientation or behavior? I don’t believe so. Was He transgender, queer, or questioning of any aspect of His sexuality? I suspect not—but it certainly doesn’t matter. For being LGBTQ is about so much more than mere sexual orientation or gender identification. It’s about being a beautifully created soul adorned with eternal extravagance, imaged in the splendor of the Creator. A soul who bears the arduous task of navigating their unique, human experience through the minefields of a brutally inhumane world that would quickly ransack those who break religious molds—clawing to strip them of their divine value, identity, purpose and worth. Beyond the gravity of sexuality and orientation, this is the deeper, ultimate essence of the plight intrinsic to being LGBTQ. For theirs is the courageous, pain-ladened journey to be fully human and fully alive while sweating beads of blood in determination to find ones way and hold onto ones inherent dignity and God-delighting in a spiritually nefarious, different-condemning, and different-killing world.

In this way, Jesus was surely gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer.

For in the face of being ostracized and derided by His own Nazareth family of bigots determined to misunderstand Him, Jesus is the gay man and the lesbian woman who live in the constant, gruesome torment of coming out, being known, and fully living their God-designed personhood—a kind of hell on earth of daily accusation and rejection God never weaved into the tapestry of what anyone should endure.

Or crying over Jerusalem, begging for His heart to be understood and His people to receive Him, Jesus is the parent who lies awake deep into the night, tirelessly fighting in solidarity for the defense, worth, dignity and affirmation of the LGBTQ child with which God has blessed them. The very child the religious deem a disgrace. Yet, Jesus, not just the parent, but also too the LGBTQ child born innocent by the Spirit’s authoring, pursued by the cunning Herods of our world whose sure desire is to seek out and kill them.

There, praying in the garden of Gethsemane, begging for divine reprieve, Jesus is the queer teenager, trembling in terror as she cuts her arms and threads the noose, convinced that giving up is the only way out, and the only sure resolve to the pain that is before her.

In the outer courts, confronted by the religious through the evil venom of their creed—backed into a corner, a pointed finger pushing at His chest questioning His true identity, Jesus is the transgender person whose truth is too truthful for the world to hear or see.

Then, from the confines of Pilate’s Praetorium where flogged beyond recognition, to a savage, religiously-conspired cross where nailed, pierced and left to die of internal suffocation, Jesus is the Orlando night club, He is Londonn Moore, He is Ally Steinfeld, He is Matthew Shepard, and every LGBTQ person ever murdered in body, mind or spirit—crucified to death by religion, ignorance, and hate, and even good people who remain silent and unengaged.

In all these ways, Jesus is surely LGBTQ—not just lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, but One of us all for whom religion has demonized, illegitimized, and crucified in hate.

For Jesus didn’t die just for humanity, He died as humanity—all of it. Transgender, black, white, gay, straight, rich, poor, conservative, progressive—the haters, the lovers, the lifted high, the beaten low, the Christians, the Muslims—every type, color, creed, and flavor.

The Kingdom of Jesus comes to enable the odd to get even, to be seen as even, and to live in a world where all is even—beautifully different, but entirely equal.

Try as you may, you can’t erase what God has written into eternity—Jesus is all and in all.

We are the unerasable.

For everywhere there is religious oppression, everywhere there is bigotry, discrimination, or injustice—where there is the branding with labels or the withholding of Grace, Jesus is there in Person and as the person being deprived of that which has been given to them freely and irrevocably from the goodness of His Name.

In this way, if you can’t handle the notion of Jesus being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, then you aren’t fully understanding the essence of Jesus being you.

To be you or to be LGBTQ is essentially one in the same—it’s what it means for all of us to simply be human, created in the likeness, image, and favor of our Maker, living in a religious world that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy all that His hands have made, with special sights on that which the religious deem inferior or against the grain.

Run your fingers through the strands of an LGBTQ soul, then through mine, or that of any other, and soon you will declare the only declaration that can be truthfully rendered—that none are better, only different. For the sooner we see Jesus in and as the people around us, the sooner the lenses of God’s affirming view become the windows through which we see ourselves and all humanity.

If Jesus isn’t LGBTQ, then Jesus isn’t you, and if Jesus isn’t you, then the incarnation is a fake, and your resurrection a certain uncertainty.

No one chooses to be LGBTQ, but in Christ Jesus, God has chosen to be—not just One of them, but He even does the unthinkable and dares to be One of you.

Yes, that’s right.

Jesus is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. ‘

Jesus is me, and Jesus is even…

You.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

 

Check out Chris Kratzer’s new book getting rave reviews, Leatherbound Terrorism…

There is no greater evil being wielded upon the planet than Conservative Evangelicalism, and Chris Kratzer’s life and ministry journey are undeniable proof. In Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris tells of his 21 years as a conservative Evangelical pastor and the radical change of heart and mind that led him to walk away from it all. With a new sense of faith centered on Jesus and His pure Gospel of Grace, in Leatherbound Terrorism, Chris chases the evils of conservative Evangelicalism out of the shadows and gives powerful voice to the cries of the religiously oppressed. Confronting issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, religious greed, hypocrisy, nationalism, white supremacy, privilege, and the weaponizing of the Bible, Leatherbound Terrorism pulls no punches. Endorsed by best selling authors Steve McVey and Baxter Kruger, Leatherbound Terrorism will challenge you, inspire you, and most certainly cause you to rethink your faith and life.

If This Is What It Means To Be A Progressive, I’m Out

I am deeply proud and honored that there are many who would call me “progressive” and include me in their fellowship.

Those that know my heart and are familiar with my writings understand me to be an outspoken voice standing in fierce solidarity with those bullied, marginalized, discriminated against, and condemned by significant segments of conservative Christianity and privileged society as a whole. I have been highly critical of conservative Evangelicalism and a passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community.

Having been, years ago, an anti-LGBTQ, racist, conservative, Evangelical pastor myself, the radical change of mind and heart I experienced in regard to these and many other issues came solely from revelations of divine Truth. I have no skin in the game, only that first and foremost, as a lover of the Gospel of God’s pure Grace through Jesus Christ, I am also fervently convinced that all humanity is beautifully and wonderfully made, affirmed, and euphorically delighted in by our Creator. Grace is the great equalizer—none of us better, only different—all of us, divine.

As a Grace-guy, I find myself resisting and even cringing at both conservative and progressive entities whose seemingly chief desire is to assimilate me into their ideological Borg—discerning my value and worth and their interest and affiliation with me based primarily on my willingness to conform to their scrolls of codes and creeds, blindly echoing their every sentiment to the exclusion of my own.

Grace makes me a free thinker, believer, soul, and human being. I fit in no box, nor can any label affixed upon me, perfectly stick. I am unique, beautifully complicated, and wholly divine—Grace has made me so. I will protect the sacred diversity that is me and seek out a unity and community that is founded on a love, not of what we share, but on so much of what we don’t.

Thankfully, among “progressives,” I often find such a place. So many of us are beautifully inclusive and humbly hospitable to those who harbor differing beliefs. We fully understand what it’s like to be a toy on Misfit Island and to be on the receiving end of condemnation’s fiery darts. With boldness and bravery, our ethos stands for so much of what Jesus extended His arms. To be sure, I am a proud “progressive.”

Yet, at times, it seems there are nuances among certain segments of the “progressive” movement that solicit in me concern and even a desire to create some distance. With an unsettled spirit, I wonder if there will come a day when these questionable observations are found to be truly indicative of where things are going and what will be required to be a real-deal “progressive,” knowing that if this is who I must become in order to carry the banner—then sadly, I’m going to have to bow out.

For example, if I have to become a Smug, Pretentious, Elitist—respectfully, I’m out.

Is there a good bit of ignorance within our culture today? You bet. Are there people who are determined to misunderstand even the clearest of common sense and truth? Yes, and amen. Are there those who blatantly refuse to examine important issues from perspectives outside their own? Absolutely. Are there conservative Christians I want to punch in throat? Damn straight I do.

However, is everyone who disagrees with me a stupid, ignorant, uneducated redneck? Absolutely not. Am I somehow better than them because I have come to believe certain things and adopt certain views? Never, no way.

I find nothing “progressive” about holding onto ones beliefs so tightly that we become an ideologically constipated, self-righteous jerk in the process—creating exclusive clubs of like-minded people who conveniently house a double-standard of tolerance.

We can’t expect those with whom we disagree to truly listen and consider our message from the high tower of a self-aggrandized, ego-ladened enlightenment or closed-knit, hifalutin communities. When Jesus was given all power and authority—the sum of all enlightenment and progress, His first action wasn’t to smugly declare how astute and empowered He is and how juvenile and impotent are all others. No, his first action was to humbly serve, and that—washing feet, even of those who would deny, disagree, and betray Him and His cause.

There are serious levels of ignorance, evil, and systematic deception that must be boldly and aggressively corrected in our culture, but only a default attitude of humility and true inclusiveness will create the needed posture.

If I have to become an Impulsive, Ill-informed Alarmist—respectfully, I’m out.

We have serious problems in this world, many stemming from conservative, religious circles—particularly Christian. There are real people dying, being abused, discriminated against, marginalized, and even taking their own lives at the hands of religiously-driven hate. For our cities, states, country, and people everywhere, these are terrible realities and constant threats that must cause us alarm and solicit our assertive action.

Yet, in my mind, this urgency is all the more reason I must resolve that my words be credible, and my positions and actions be accurately informed. In the heat of battle, it’s easy to cast aside restraint and settle for unfortunate instances of misguided collateral damage in the wake of our rage. This is almost unavoidable in our social media-driven culture where the truth, is at times, hard to ascertain.

However, if my default position has to become one where I swing at every pitch that comes across the plate, swallow every “breaking news” report, buy into every Facebook post—crying foul and screaming “fire” with every perceived action of the enemy, then with all due respect, I’m out.

Grace teaches me to never bury my head in the sand nor ever believe that silence is always a virtue. Indeed, sometimes the sky is truly falling and someone needs to shout it from the rooftops, even taking up arms for the fight. Many times I have been that very person, saying the tough things that need to be said, and risking much in doing so.

But Grace also teaches me not to strike at everything that moves. If I have to take a default position where any piece of information that casts a negative shadow upon those with whom I disagree is automatically assumed to be true in whole or part, out of lust for more of that which can further justify my positions and my plight, then with all due respect, I’m out.

I get it, for so many of us, myself included, our radar screens are set on high alert, and rightly so. These are dangerous times and there are sure amounts of defensiveness needed to be taken, paranoia to be had, rage to be expressed, and rants to be written. Nothing reddened the face and swelled the neck veins of Jesus more than religiously-spirited, bigoted and discriminating people who withheld Grace and sowed seeds of injustice and violence.

But that doesn’t change my responsibility to see good where I can see good, give the benefit of the doubt where I can grant it, cast off fear where it’s safe to do so, wait for the facts where waiting is what’s needed, proclaim innocence where there is innocence, and render benign that is which is benign—especially where in doing so corrects my perceptions and even disarms my rage.

If I am going to be taken advantage of, abused, or discarded, I’d personally rather it be while living a life from a default posture of believing in the best than a life imprisoned by always assuming the worst. Never is there a more important time to believe in hope and love then when we are tempted to conclude that worshiping fear would be better.  And never is there a more poignant way to spit in the face of our enemies then when we are still yet determined to believe in the good when our enemies would have us to be consumed by the bad.

If I have to become a Pro-Choice Militant—respectfully, I’m out.

There is perhaps no more complex issue of debate in all of our culture today than abortion.

I understand the fragile and polarizing nuances of this issue and continue to vigorously study them out from the perspectives of both sides—biblically, scientifically, and psychologically. I totally respect all people of all viewpoints who know where they stand regarding this sensitive topic, and do so boldly.

Yet, if being a “progressive” means that I can’t settle, at least for a season, in an area of grey and have serious inhibitions about prematurely pitching tent in any one camp regarding such a multi-layered and important issue, then with all due respect, I’m out—lest I find myself succumbing to an all new form of fundamentalism masked in “progressive” veneer, where I’ve simply jumped from the narrow-minded ovens of conservative, Evangelical Christianity into a whole new kind of legalistically-spirited frying pan.

On one side, I can’t silence the voices nor bleach the images of real mothers crying in my office wishing they had never been granted the choice to abort their child—for them, the guilt and regret is life destroying. Nor, on the other side, can I silence the pain of real mothers who have been raped or forced into ultimate situations of life and death, and fathom the retraction, in those moments, of their right to chose.

In the same way that love, is love, is love, at times I wonder if maybe also—life, is life, is life. Right now, it’s all fading to grey, and if that can’t be o.k., with all due respect, I’m out. For if it’s not the issue of abortion today, it will be another complicated issue tomorrow of which, for a season, I may be uncertain or undecided.

If I have to become an Ideological Slave—respectfully, I’m out.

Having traveled around the block a few times, I have determined that I’m just not going to be owned by anyone or anything. I’m not going to be dragged around like a dog on a leash by the ideological expectations of others, no matter how noble.

If being a “progressive” means I have to surgically hate all the right people, disagree with all the right things, and oppose all the right viewpoints—carefully making sure to color within all the “progressive” lines, then with all due respect, I’m out.

If it means, for the sole purpose of keeping informed by their posts populating my timeline, I can’t “like” the Facebook page of a person or entity with whom I or another disagrees without being threatened the loss of “progressive” support, friendship, or association—respectfully, I’m out.

Spiritually speaking, God’s revelation throughout history and over the span of our individual lives is a progressive one—God is continually revealing more and more truth through our awakening to more and more Truth. This requires me to be open and never leaning upon my own understandings to the exclusion of my willingness to consider things anew.

I’m a human being on a journey for crying out loud—not a “progressive” project where the primary goal is to conform and carbonite me into a set of beliefs, positions, and behaviors. That is regressive, not progressive—an act of the Empire, not the Rebellion.

There is a complexity to each of us on our paths to encounter God, ourselves, and the world—seeking to arrive at the Truth of it all. If being a “progressive” does not allow for people to be where they are at, wander along this path of enlightenment, and still find, at some level, inclusive community among us at all points along the way, then with all due respect, I’m out.

If the fruits of being a “progressive” is in the creating of peasants, cloned to simply serve an Empire under a spiffy new name, I’m out.

If I have to become a Hyper-Offended Watchdog—respectfully, I’m out.

I have no reservation nor restraint in declaring from the mountain tops that nothing is more offensive to the person and cause of Jesus Christ than conservative, Evangelical Christianity and the violent, discriminatory, bigoted actions and attitudes of many of its adherents.

In the same way, as a communicator and writer, I firmly believe nothing is perhaps more important than the words and terms we use, requiring our educated carefulness and intentionality while giving priority to how our vocabulary is received and internalized by the most vulnerable and marginalized among us. The common phrase, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me” is a sure lie from the pits of hell and a convenient copout for the privileged. Words carry with them the power of life and death, and far too many, with intention or not, use them in ways that hurt, abuse, destroy, belittle, demean, and demonize the very people and things God loves and affirms so dearly. This is a severe, epidemic in our culture and world as a whole, and many are dying from the mere weaponizing of words.

Yet, if my default posture when navigating what can be a very ignorant, discriminating, hateful, and careless world, must become one devoid of common sense while focusing every creative fiber of my mental being in the seeking out and connecting of discriminatory, racist, privileged, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, and condemning dots where there are none in reality or intent to connect, then respectfully, I’m out.

There is far more than enough in our world for which to take necessary and appropriate offense without having to fabricate or make much out of what is truly benign or all together nonexistent.

I know I will always be a Grace-guy and most certainly a “progressive” in heart who passionately wants to be a contributing member of this important movement, but if these are the kinds of things I must become to keep the keys to the kingdom, then with all due respect, I’m out.

Grace is brave, be brave.

If You Were Truly Conservative, You Wouldn’t Be Anti-Gay

You’ve stared down the aisle of homosexuality, perhaps taken a few steps of examination. It didn’t take long for the reality to overwhelm. The issues are complicated with lots of moving parts. From terms like LGBTQ to issues of biology, from political creeds to long held theology. You’re trying, you really are.

With an inner heartbeat pulsing toward love, if only to be free, yet chained to prescribed understandings of an ancient text, lines drawn by the God of your faith upbringing. At best, you’re now straddling a fence. Who’s right, who’s wrong? Bending and twisting, juxtaposing Grace and truth— two chopsticks in hand, insisting that one must be the fork and the other the spoon. Perhaps, the tension is too much, you’ve insisted on landing—the road most traveled, the familiar path. Determined, that as far as God is loving, He is also condemning of all things LGBTQ. One big mess of sin, a grotesque abomination, some foreign reality to God’s rendering that requires transformation. Not just a fork, not just spoon, but a knife, declaring gay doom.

Where you are is where you are, not going to debate that.

But on top of it all, the icing on the cake, you’ve boxed up all your concrete conclusions, wrapped them in black and white paper, and packaged it all as being “conservative.” The genetic codes of your believism, your safe and sure home base. Declaring the inside scoop to a sacred text, years of ecclesial tradition. Self-proclaimed protectors of Christian values, the clear and plain teachings, not to mention… God-inspiration. This is America, the Jesus-sanctioned nation. “Oh-o-say can you see…”

Keep on singing, why stop there. Not just defining what’s in some “conservative” box, claiming it as your own. But labeling all those outside it, throwing shade from your man-made throne.

The hymns of your condemnation. You’ve made it all so loud and clear. To you, I’m a slippery slope pastor. The rest of us, lost and wayward Christians. Heretical to the nines. We’re all just one of them, those liberals, bending to the sway of culture, watering down, sponging in a bath of perversion. Gently tickling, feathering the ears of all that would listen. To make it feel so good, to feel so easy. Living in the grey, postmodern relativism, all with the agenda, to do Satan’s bidding. Looking down your nose, patting me on the back, hoping one day I’ll graduate from this gay-affirmation. Sometimes with words, other times with silence, you say I’ve sold out a sovereign God, joined a long list of false prophets, blinded by culture’s coercion. I’m just another one of those misguided progressives, who simply can’t handle truth.

Well I don’t know who you think you are, but in my humble opinion, you’re way off base. Quite frankly, not even on the planet. You have no idea, not a clue, the journey I have taken, and that of many others.

So, I sure hope you have your adult diapers on, because here comes the truth. My gay-affirmation didn’t come from smoking some kind of progressive liberality, it actually came from the incense of my deep seeded conservatism.

I love Jesus, the Bible, and truth just as much as any other. It’s out of an ardent, soul stirring quest to get this right, that I have come to this LBGTQ-affirming conclusion.

I’m determined, to conserve the singular essence of God who is love, nothing more, nothing less. While you take your liberalities, dancing far outside the box, making Him into a schizophrenic, condemning monster of multiple personalties. I’m holding fast, staying close and true to His clear delight and hand in all creation. While you take your liberalities, twisting, bending, fabricating God into a human-hating, sin-focused old man, sitting at the edge of heaven’s seat, licking his chops for the moment to show the unrepentant the back of His eternal hand.

I’m determined, to conserve the seriousness of the Bible, its sacredness and divinity. While you take your liberalities, raping it, reducing it into a text that should be understood, in all things, only literally. As if God gave you the Bible as a whore of words with which you can simply have your way. Making it all seem so black and white, so you can control, manipulate, label and sway. Adding words, translations, and meanings, stripping them from their context. Treating the Bible like a three-ring circus, parts that seem to light your enemies on fire, gaining the height of your attention, even the rise of your entertainment.

I refuse to play these religious games, to have my faith spoon fed, joining in lines of religious herds, feeding from the trough of self-righteousness.

I’m determined, to conserve the person of Jesus, the only Word of God, who for the joy set before Him, the entirety of humanity, endured it all. His Gospel of Grace, His message of peace. The goodness, value, acceptance and pleasure He takes in all that He has created. The very One who declared our leather-bound Bibles aren’t our salvation, often reinterpreting long held beliefs, always to the displeasure of the religious.

I’m not going to stand aside while you play eternity games with people’s lives. While you hijack the Gospel with your no-gospel Gospel, and pimp it as life. Making “church” into a club of like-minded people whose greatest spiritual gift is to talk amongst themselves and judge the world. Turning Christianity into a moral play, and you, the holders of the script. Scaling the heights of true liberality, truth twisting, backsliding, all while you’re pointing fingers. Puffed up with arrogance, you call it “conservative,” lifting yourselves as the keepers of all that is God’s intention and will.

Well, I’m not buying it, and countless others are beginning to see behind the curtain. You aren’t a conservative Christian, you are a convenient Christian. Anything to keep power, privilege, and authority— the trinity of your ambition.

Creationism, racism, nationalism, fundamentalism. Homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny, all bare the stench of your true liberality, moving so far away from the heart of God, Jesus, and the faith diary of His people. It’s all so convenient.

You are about as truly conservative as crayons taste like their colors. Spiritual shape-shifters, blending into, and making fit, anything that furthers your agenda— the one thing your brand of “conservatism” is good at accomplishing, the conserving of your own religious, self-righteous bigotry. A condemnation in your heart, seated deeper than any scripture.

For if you were truly conservative, you wouldn’t be anti-gay.

You’d stay so close to His nature, His heart, the person of His son Jesus. The thought of moving even just one step from His expanse, the incomprehensible essence of His ways. Seeing His image, his hand in all creation. The science, the biology, the complexity of it all. It would all be enough to give you pause. To stand in one place, on one thing alone… love.

From there, you could not be budged, you could not be moved.

Convinced that God is in all, and that God is good.

He is greater, His love higher, and his affirmation, universe reaching.

Everything His hands have made.

For if you were truly conservative, you wouldn’t be anti-gay.

You’d be like Jesus, and Jesus alone.

Believing in love… all the way.

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