Amerikan Babylon

Button your lip. Don’t let the shield slip.

Take a fresh grip on your bullet proof mask.

And if they try to break down your disguise with their questions –

You can hide, hide, hide,

Behind paranoid eyes.

You put on our brave face and slip over the road for a jar.

Fixing your grin as you casually lean on the bar,

Laughing too loud at the rest of the world

With the boys in the crowd –

You hide, hide, hide,

Behind petrified eyes.

You believed in their stories of fame, fortune and glory.

Now you’re lost in a haze of alcohol soft middle age

The pie in the sky turned out to be miles too high –

And you hide, hide, hide,

Behind brown and mild eyes.

Pink Floyd

Behind Paranoid Eyes

Before we begin, can I get your attention, students? I can already hear the flatulent disagreements coming from the Churchian crowd, so let me help you:

1. I am not nice, Christians are nice and nice is love and God is love so God is nice and since I am not nice to Churchians, I am bad.

2. God is a Conservative and Republican American and we are to hold up those values no matter what. So if a candidate aligns with us on a single issue such as abortion, then everything else must also be Christian.

3. There is nothing wrong with the World System. We are called to be moral citizens of that system and shine like lights as we act exactly like the world in every way except for the bars and strip clubs, those are obviously bad and god wants us to have all the good and sacrifice just the bad.

4. You, JC, are bad. You fell and drank and fought and sinned and have no moral platform to speak from because your failings are public knowledge while ours remain secret. So as long as people don’t know about our backsliding, bitterness, unforgiveness, porn habit, lying, apathy, complacency and hate filled gossip, we can judge you but you can’t say anything to us. (Cue Nellie Olson from Little House sticking out her tongue).

Ok. Said it for you. You are free to move on now.

This morning as I sat down to peruse social media before I began my day I literally sat in shocked, impotent silence. I browsed through the feeds as all of the Amerikan Christians began their days all over the country.

There were the obligatory cat videos, the Trump is God’s choice memes, the inspirational scriptures splattered across pretty pictures as if a gum drop fairy exploded, leaving it’s day-glo primary colors as grim evidence of the carnage. You could take your pick of millionaire preachers peddling encouraging garbage to a sugar addicted audience. I scrolled through Christian posts that touted kicking out all illegal immigrants, building walls, church defense seminars, love for guns and shooting your enemy, anti healthcare, anti poor and pro corporate memes and many that equated being Amerikan with being Christian.

Another day in Laodicea.

Happy people going to work, cleaning their houses, raising their children and thanking God for another day of peace and prosperity here in the Land of Promise.

And as I looked, I couldn’t help but juxtapose.

Last week I posted a picture and story of one of the orphans in Kenya that was crying because the other kids ate his banana. There was no other food to give him for the day. 172 Christians saw it, scrolled past and went and grabbed a processed snack from the pantry to buttress their already fat stomachs. Not one person commented, not one person gave. Hell, it didn’t even get a sad face emoji. I guess they are mad at me so forget hungry babies, they’ll show me, alright.

I have up to 25 girls between 8-13 waiting for a home to be finished in Honduras. A place where they will be safe from traffickers or in many cases, safe from their own family that prostitutes them every single night. As I lay me down to sleep…

Last night within one hour of the town where I currently am, I discovered up to six girls engaged in prostitution. One looked like a consenting adult but it’s hard to tell when they are strung out on drugs. The others were young which means that they are victims of human trafficking, stolen from their family and fed drugs and tortured in order to keep them docile for the oil field guys that care more about their own release than they do that they are paying to rape someone’s daughter.

Thank God it’s not my daughter. Thank God it’s not my family. Thank God that I am free to put on my Hillsongs CD and surround myself with Christian decorations in my warm and comfortable home.

I know, It is just so hard to care about some place that you have never personally seen when you live in the middle of the Amerikan Babylon and are dazzled by the neon lights and hazy glow of the television god.

Awhile ago in a small town where I had lived, I noticed an engraving on the facade of an old building near the downtown. Up near the very top it reads ‘Salvation Army 1905’. At one time the Army was here, playing their music out on the streets and preaching the Gospel message to all who came within shouting distance. That building is now an Eagles club where locals drown their sorrows in booze and place their hope in pull tabs. As for the Salvation Army, it is now a thrift store downtown.

Has sin decreased to the point that we no longer need that sort of Gospel or have we simply backslid as a church to the point that we no longer care?

When did the golden calf god that you made in your own image somehow take priority over the scriptures? When did the command to go into all the world change to “go into the world to make money right here at home”?

I have been in travail for the church planted in the country where my old flesh was born. So many do not know the truth here, so many. And whose fault is that if not ours? What excuse will we offer for our apathy and complacency to God? We stand on the brink of judgment and still we will not budge. All it would take is for China to dump their reserves of the US dollar in exchange for the Euro and we would be plunged into a depression to rival 1929, if not an all out economic collapse and yet here we are, eating and drinking without a care in the world beyond our own homes.

Rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing. I have a job, praise ye the Lord, I don’t need to know how to pray. My family is safe in our Churchian cocoon, surrounded by niceness, the World System has been good to me!

What exactly will it take to awaken the church from its slumber and for us to once again be stirred by the things that once stirred us long ago and far away from where we are now?

A few years ago I had the option of buying a schoolhouse that sat directly between two Indian reservations. For 5,000 dollars we could train natives to preach, we could train young people for missions for no charge. We could set up a church where no others existed and feed the hungry, clothe the naked and preach the good news to a forgotten, sin-sick and desperate people. For over two years we told of the need and not one person ever stood up to help, not one.

In Houston we reached out to street kids, ministered at AIDS hospices, delivered food to the poverty pantry and stood for the truth in the midst of a seeker sensitive stronghold. And regardless of all that we did, when we came under a brutal attack from the enemy, we looked around and no one stood with us.

Everywhere that I go and in every nation that has believers who write to me, the need is overwhelming, the potential is there and yet no one seems to care. And I don’t get it, my friends, I just don’t get it.

What is this madness that causes us to ignore the obvious, present need and yet buy some television preacher multiple homes on both coasts or a Rolls Royce?

What are the blinders that have fallen over our eyes that cause us to sleep while our house burns all around us? Why do we never mobilize and give God no rest until the nation we have been assigned to is one that He blesses once again?

Why did Hudson Taylor opt to give up everything to take the Gospel to mainland China and yet in our age, we never mounted a meaningful effort to save Russia when the opportunity presented itself? What did he have that we don’t?

What drove the Salvation Army in the early years that we don’t have now? What would cause them to take over city after city and we can’t even witness to our own neighbor?

Perhaps the real question should be, what caused that wonderful evangelistic army to become a ministry of thrift stores that had no problem flying its banners above a halftime show where some secular tart sang songs- not of the old ship of Zion and how God can still save you from an eternal hell but instead it was songs of worldly passions and lusts?

God help us.

Why have we stopped caring?

Is there no balm in Gilead any more? Is there no righteousness left that can stop our assimilation into this Amerikan Babylon? I do not know what exit off the highway led us to this ghetto called Laodicea but I watch as opportunity after opportunity slips away both here and abroad and I have to admit, it gets hard to hope that we will ever see our way clear of this place.

But hope I must and hope you must. Because we were born into the Kingdom for a time such as this. This darkness is the time that we were born for, right now.

If the church is asleep, we are here to awaken the Elect inside of it.

If the nation is slipping down a slope towards wrath, we are here to stop it.

In order to see that happen you are going to have to put down the Kool-Aid they have been giving you, the one laced with tares, and think clearly for yourself.

These days of the forgotten first love and Laodicean worship are the days we were chosen for, before the foundation of the earth.

The darkness is not happening to us- we are called to happen to that darkness.

But we must do something and do it now. Now is the time to shake yourself from your slumber and take back the ground that the enemy is squatting on. You must act now, church. You must act now for the sex trafficked, for Natives on the reservation, for the squatters that are forgotten and for the AIDS victim and the dispossessed in your own back yard, for the single mom and the Meth addict. You must act now or forever hold your peace.

And you will hold your peace with no peace in your heart because you loved your own comfort and security more than you loved God. You have given up nothing for the pearl you display and that is exactly the value that you place on it. You sit in your comfortable home while young girls are sold online in or near your town. You overfeed your doughy flesh while a baby cries for a single banana. You hide behind jaded eyes while a fake Christian holds up the evangelical buzzwords in our highest office, never even considering what medicine you are swallowing or what your hypocrisy has done to our testimony towards the last few generations.

We fiddle while Rome burns.

You must go, it is a command! And if you can not go yourself, by God, send someone else in your stead!

Do not be a part of the Amerikan Babylon but rather be the one who tears it apart, brick by corrupted brick.

-JC Smith


Going to the Gentiles

I go to the Gentiles…

What does that mean? Simply this, I no longer feel compelled to try and teach, train or change the established church. Someone told me a long time ago that it is easier to give birth than to raise the dead and they were right, of course.

It is easier to see someone awakened and then to give them the Word fresh than it is to convince people that think they know something to change. Now process this; most of the folks that cannot accept truth hold onto their traditional world views, it has nothing to do with whether a teaching is scriptural or not.

Example: I have been raised in an environment where A has been taught. You are teaching X. X doesn’t gel with A and I don’t want to be wrong in what I’ve always believed. Therefore even though X is scripturally correct, I choose to keep believing A, even though it’s not scriptural, not anointed and God does not show up to confirm it. At the same time, even though what you are saying is scripturally correct, is anointed and God does show up to confirm it, I choose to reject it because it’s not what I want to hear. Good luck with that.

This is the exact stance the Pharisees took with Christ and then with the 1st Church. Selah.

The Establishment Church’s methods, doctrine, outreach and worship have all failed. There have been no revivals, only experiments in modern communication and human curiosity. If you can get your “revival” to make press, people will assume it’s real. Good job, Adonijah. People may say, but I went to Toronto, Smithton, Brownsville, Lakeland and God did such-and-such. Perhaps. God has changed me before in a bar, is that him condoning the entire bar scene?

At any rate.

No matter how much I have tried to work with Establishment churches and their attendant Churchians over the last 26 years, it almost always ends the same. You love your religion, (the worship of God in his absence) you prefer your politics, worldview, culture and your comfortable life. Worse still, Establishment Churchians refuse to learn anything outside of their box or to admit they might be wrong.

I go to the Gentiles.

Undoubtedly I will get accused of ‘not walking in love’. What is meant by that is not that I don’t love and pray and cry over the AIDS victim, the outcast, the homosexual, the tweaker, the raped, beaten, abused, rejected or the poor. What is meant is that I don’t deal with Churchians like Mr. Rogers.

You say, but I love the Lord, you should walk in love and be nice! Friend, Jesus said that if you love him, you do what he says. If you love, you do. Do what? Sell all you have and give it to the poor. Go into all the world and preach the Gospel, Leave all and follow him, take up your cross…

So do you even love God?
Jesus said to Peter, Peter, do you have an agape love for me?
Peter answered, Lord, I have a phileo love for you.
Jesus said feed my sheep (do something)
Jesus asked again, Peter do you have an agape love for me?
Peter said, Lord you know by practical demonstration that I love you like family, like a brother.
Jesus said take care of my lambs (do something).
Jesus asked him a third time, Peter, do you even have a phileo love for me? I know you’ve denied twice having agape love for me, I know you’ve said you have brotherly love for me but do you even have that?

The difference between sheep and goat is not what they believe in their heart, it’s not their sing-along worship experience, the difference between sheep and goat is their actions.

I don’t “love” Churchians? Fair enough. I’m good with that.

As for me, I will find those that need God, are hungry for his Word and want to change. I will leave the camp and their mess behind and find God on his terms.

Food for thought: if a revival of religion presupposes declension (if you know you need revival it’s because you know you have backslidden into a bad condition) and you are not experiencing revival yet you staunchly choose to defend what you do, think, preach and practice, what does that tell you?

For those hungry for his Word, desperate for revival, tired of business as usual, fed up with the fake, obsessed with the Lamb being given the reward of his suffering, willing to lose all and go into all the world, desirous of true worship (caring for widows and orphans and not compromising with the World System) keep plugged in right here and with the blog.

I’m not sure if exactly where he is leading, I just know the cloud is moving and I am compelled to follow it.

As always, much real love. I’m here if you need anything by email, messenger or phone/text.

Semper Reformanda!

Worship: Singing Your Lies.


This is not a simple thing, getting simple.

Much of what we do is rooted in our identity as 21st century beings and it is very difficult to shed those thought processes. I have come to feel that the trappings of the zeitgeist can only really be seen when they are held up in contrast to an earlier age. Juxtaposing 21st century Churchianity to a much earlier time has revealed some fundamental issues that I would never have been able to see clearly before I set out on this adventure.

I have discovered that before we can even begin to gather our twelves baskets full of remnants, we have to deal with ourselves and the repercussions of our adhesion to the spirit of the age. This has proven to be so deep and far reaching that we have barely even been able to start this emulation. To deconstruct must come first; who are we and how did we get here?

Stripping away everything from the stage is the first step in this. All of our actions, props and lights that add depth to the stage and by extension, the “performances”, have to be removed so that we can clearly see what we really have before us. It is a raw thing, to be sure. We are so used to hiding in various aspects of our Sunday performance, not wanting to have to deal with the reality that is all around us. We seem to sing, dance, use our multimedia, preach and pray in an almost sterile environment, the preacher being removed from the people and fully insulated in the bubble of “the show”.

When you take away all of this, you are left with what remains; the people and their issues and you.

I discovered something just here at this point. When I removed the whirl of the service progression and deconstructed it down to its most basic elements, everyone was left without something to hide behind. For some, it was music. In the McChurch, you play five songs or more and you have a predictable response. Some dance, some sing, some lift their hands, some don’t budge and just stare straight ahead. When you strip that time away and pose to the people the simple issue of what worship is, they quickly get uncomfortable and even distressed. I think that we have substituted real worship for this thing that we do, this sing-along that allows you to act spiritual without doing anything spiritual.

Let me explain.

Matthew 15:7-9 reads: “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

Fair enough, Jesus. So, some folks sing and profess something with their mouth while their heart is elsewhere, I get it. So, let’s stress that the people really must mean every line from the songs that WE chose for them to sing, regardless of where they are or what is happening to them. That may close the issue for good (and has) if it weren’t for the next line, the last bit here that throws everything off: “worship in vain, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men”.

Have we done that? The Boomers, who have set the stage here for us in regards to McChurch, love worship. In fact, they demand a satisfying worship experience and to not have one is heresy of the first order. Gen-X could not be more different in this. What we long for is realness, period. I don’t want to go through the motions and follow a pattern that you created for me just so that I can fit in. What I long for is a depth of experience that I have not found in the McChurch pattern. A segment of this generation is also totally burned out on the whole performance aspect of “worship ministry” in general. We have been to so many shows over the course of our lives and coming into the church, we see one more show. And we don’t want our spiritual church service to simply stoop down to the level of filling a missing area of our lives.

That idea is very Boomer; no concerts now that you are a Churchian- we will fill that void with a Jesus concert-lite. No cool festivals- Jesuspalooza is the answer. Can’t watch that cool movie- substitute Christian cinema. The Boomers did this with everything from stupid Christian shirts that played on worldly themes (Lord’s Gym, Jesus: that’s my final answer!) to bumper stickers to mega churches that more resemble malls than places of worship (get a brew at Higher Grounds while you shop at our bookstore). I was, and am, just as guilty as everyone else of subscribing to the Boomers need for customization, substitution and convenience. God help us.

Real worship does not happen in a sing-along. In fact, real worship has nothing to do with singing at all. When the church in the first century heard the word “worship”, their thoughts went straight to the outward elements of sacrifice and the multi-layered facets of Judaism. To worship was equated with sacrifice. To us, we gloss this over with the term “sacrifice of praise” and then demand that everyone assume that we we are doing is right and God ordained.

So what is true worship, in spirit and in truth?

Rom 12:1-2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Jas 1:27  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

When Paul calls presenting your bodies a living sacrifice, your reasonable service, the word rendered service there is the Greek word “latreia”- worship. When James talks about “pure religion and undefiled”, that word rendered religion there is the Greek word “thrēskeia”- worshipping.

Now, let’s get our heads around this. So, Jesus said that people were praising God with their mouths while their hearts were far from him and that they taught for doctrine the commandments of men. Paul and James go on to clarify by saying that dying to self and presenting your life to God in consecration is your reasonable act of worship and that pure worship and undefiled before God is to care for widows and orphans. How has that devolved into a sing along set to the snappy tunes of contemporary music while your life is not presented as a reasonable sacrifice and the only person that you really care about is yourself? I mean, people will actually get angry if you don’t have sing-along time because you are taking away their time to worship… an incredibly selfish statement that is only perceived in its true inglorious state when juxtaposed against the word of God stripped of all the double talk and false references.

Where does singing come in? The Bible does reference it, telling us to make a joyful noise and to sing and lift our hands. So you obviously can’t throw the baby our with the bathwater, right?

A few years ago we had what has come to be called “Fire Church”. It was a little event at one of our member’s farm with just a small group of us present and a visiting minister from out of town. Basically, we all sat around a fire and began to talk about God and spirituality and the differences between Gen-X/Y and the Boomers. For some reason, the conversation took place primarily between myself and the other preacher (curiouser and curiouser). What we experienced was the most spiritual church service that any of us had been a part of in years and in some cases, ever. At the end of the night, the Spirit of God hung thickly around that fire and the other preacher declared that we should sing. He began singing a song that was perfectly in line with the night’s impromptu teaching: They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love. It was a deeply spiritual moment as all sung together these words that seemed like they were written just after our conversation, you could hardly breathe due to the presence of God that was there. And the song, sung in unity, actually added to the night’s revelation. We all walked away from that night knowing that something had occurred in the spirit that was transformational and powerful.

Juxtapose this with the McChurch service: begin with three songs, uptempo. The Worship leader must talk and cheerlead the people into getting excited. Then, after accomplishing this, we get serious. So begins the “worship set” of two to three slower songs meant to make the people contemplative. After this, we take your money, give announcements and get to the sermon.

I am sorry, I can’t do it. I am past the point of no return, that area that exists in the pilot’s vocabulary that denotes the area where you can no longer turn around, there simply isn’t enough gas, so you either make your destination or you crash. I am there.

The issue is that we have faked it for so long that we don’t know what it means to be real. When we ask ourselves what worship would look like if you took away all of the societal pressures and contraptions, all of the norms and patterns that we have learned from McChurch, you are left with a big, stinking hole that you don’t know how to fill. I mean, if you listened to country, pop, rock, punk, contemporary, is that what we should make our worship services into? If it is accepted by the status quo as “normal”, does that make it right?

What is “normal” to God?

We have found it best to allow the Worship Leader to be led by God in regards to what to sing and when. That it should be Spirit-led and in harmony with the revelation, teaching, preaching, Word from God. That it should be simple and valued for the words that are said and not the style that it is in. It doesn’t have a “place” in the order of service as singing is only one small aspect of what true worship is. We should be presenting our bodies as living sacrifices first, dying to self and allowing God to free us from our demands of individuality, consecrating ourselves to God and His service. We should be engaging in Social Gospel activities, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for widows and orphans, first. Then, properly laying upon the altar, we should sing songs in unity and sing to Him and for Him alone

All things beautiful…

American Pentecost

All of this began in the spring of 1991 in New Mexico. At the time I had been doing street ministry full time for just a few months and honestly didn’t know a thing about how things worked.

I had been praying for direction because what I was doing wasn’t really working. I was walking the streets in the town where I was living for up to eight hours a day, praying for encounters and witnessing to everyone that I met. But something was not right. I couldn’t tell you what it was, I just felt like I was meant to be somewhere other than where I was. I had walked around all day in the projects and barrio and had not won anyone to the Lord that day and I came home to the trailer that I lived in tired, thirsty and dejected.

Late that night I was watching…

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I packed what was most precious to me and left the rest behind. A few small tokens, some letters from my kids from the last Father’s Day, a day I saw two of them only briefly. I took my Boston Red Sox coffee mug, my Irish blessing plaque, my ceramic sign that read in Gaelic “a hundred thousand welcomes”. That and clothes, this small lot is all that I took with me that day as I closed the door and walked away from 19 years of accumulation, familiarity and safety.

-My life. Oh me, ‘tis all.

I had been the victim of a cruel blindside tackle months before, the obvious damage immediate but the visceral afterbirth unaccounted for. I lost the only person that I had ever loved, one soul in the tens of thousands I had met, just one in the hundreds or thousands that I knew personally. I was unaware of the danger, struggling mightily with her daily soft betrayals and so I never saw the killing joke for what it was; her betrayals that drove me to drink wouldn’t kill me, it was her leaving that probably would.

Immediately afterwards and for the time being, it was her indifference to my love, those feelings that raged within me like the anarchic results of a child beating at a mud puddle with a stick; not caring who gets soaked in the process. I was bewildered by the depths and force of her anger at my being. None of it made sense, the 180 degree shift from forever to hatred.

I left the empty house not because I wanted to but because I had to. I could not take a roommate to offset the costs because then I couldn’t have my kids. I couldn’t maintain it alone with the costs of child support. She had taken our only vehicle and then convinced me to sign it over so that she could junk it and get a newer one when in fact, she just used it as collateral and left me without transportation. So I could find no work in our town and could not go to another town to work. It was a jam like I’d never been in before, literally no way out. So I left her everything and walked away from my life and the last place I knew with her and my kids.

I was drinking from a broken heart. One that was exacerbated by having been betrayed and cheated on by everyone that I had been with. Her betrayal stung the worst though, she had been the only person that I had trusted in a life full of trauma. The irony was that she used the drinking as a reason for keeping herself and my kids away when it was her betrayals and distance that caused it in the first place.

And irony just smiled…

The events had triggered a massive CPTSD episode, something I had only recently been professionally diagnosed with, the results of witnessing way too much over the course of my life. She refused to speak with me, preferring to stay away and watch the fallout. The results were massive and terrible. Having no coping mechanisms, I alternated between trying to explain my love and lashing out with cutting remarks that eviscerated her.

I drank, I fought, I could not find God to help because I frankly hated him for betraying me so. I was in a maelstrom that I could not comprehend and I could find no help. Suicide was a daily option, there was no reason to go on without her and my kids and our intertwined lives. For the majority of our 19 years, we were inseparable. The kids had been mostly homeschooled and were constant companions. Now the house sat empty, the windows unblinking as they mocked me with the cavernous hole left inside.

Dramatic? It does not give any justice to the depths of the hell that I felt.

Holiday after holiday passed, each insulting me with reminders of my life. I saw my family; those that I was closest to in the world, walking through the days like ghosts, busily going about the routines and traditions that I had gotten so used to. At times I could almost touch them, I could see my kids on the floor and smell my little girl’s hair. All the while there remained the staccato drumbeat of accusation against God.

-Hadn’t I eschewed treating ministry like a business?

-Hadn’t I at times attempted to pray things in because I was convinced that the world should know that there was a God that answered prayers?

-Hadn’t I preached exactly what I thought that he had wanted me to?

-Hadn’t I rejected the corporate world system, seeing the dangers it presented as it slouched its way to Gomorrah?

-Didn’t she see it and know it too?

-How had he left us when we needed him the most?

-How was he watching me now with sardonic enjoyment as I was unraveled before the world and heaven?

But there were no answers for me. Heaven was apparently slyly yawning as I broke. I accrued mistake after mistake, struggling through days and weeks and months of accumulating trauma. I had never hurt so badly in my life, I’d never felt loss this sharply. It was as if my chest had been torn open like a window for all the world to see.

I cried. Sometimes for days on end. Then I cried harder knowing that she would only equate that with masculine weakness rather than as the result of a broken heart of love.

And still, everyday, the pain alternates between the slow dull ache of loss and the sharp panicked pain of need.

I have found God again or rather, he’s found me. Heaven offers no ready answers other than trust and sovereignty. I had been right in my actions that I thought were serving the Kingdom, I know that now. I see the world system and it’s materialism in a stark new light. I see the results of the temptation of the eye and the fall of Eve more clearly now. I hear a voice behind me saying ‘brokenness’ and ‘revival’. I am sober and praying and preaching once again.

I am different.

And yet this is Christmas and the ghosts are back.

Perhaps they’ve never left and never will.


The God of Serious Men?


‘If I had my way, I’d fire you. You aren’t the God of serious men, you’re the God of little girls that wish upon a star’.

Thus began my prayer time today.

No reflective pause at the start, no praising Him for this or that thing, no coming before him in the mighty and incomparable name of Jesus. Just this single honest thought that was as true of a thing in my heart as I could think of.

Before you get your religious panties all scrunched up, I’ve always been this way with God, from the first day that religion brightened my doorstep. If I were to venture a guess I would say that it was due to my slight problem with authority; that’s always
been a bit of an Achilles’ heel in my life. I don’t give a rip what title you carry, I am only concerned with the authenticity of your leadership. I will not submit to nor will I follow a title, I follow leaders and if none worthy present themselves, I follow no one. I will however sit outside of your Golden Calf God Crystal Cathedral Family Fun Worship Center, Inc and pelt you with rocks and garbage.

I know, I know, you don’t even have to say it. You really want me to be more humble and take on the nature of a servant so that I will willingly fall in line and align myself with the vision items and teachings of your husband/brother/wife/cousin/pastor/tv preacher with cute hair and tight jeans, whoever, that couldn’t find God if he sat on their forehead and rode them like a hobby horse in the kid’s area at a midget rodeo.

Hence the crux of my dilemma.

See, ministry is easy. Small towns, big towns, small churches, big malls- all the same. All that you have to do is present the right image and feed the people a line. If other people think you are something, most will.

Make ’em laugh
Make ’em cry
Make ’em dance in the aisles
Make ’em pay
Make ’em stay
Make ’em feel okay
Not now John
We’ve got to get on with the film show
Hollywood waits at the end of the rainbow
Who cares what it’s about
As long as the kids go?
Not now John we’ve
Got to get on with the show
~Pink Floyd

See? Pink gets it. The original Pink, not the chick singing now. It’s all about the manipulation of the teeming masses, that’s it and that’s all. I’ve met big time preachers, gads of them. I’ve watched them show up to venues, sorry, churches, and have the staff put up their 30 foot banners on the outside – their huge faces letting everyone know the show was in town. Ive seen their riders before they get there, guaranteeing the amount of their pay and demanding rental cars, new cell phones pre-programmed with important local numbers, what kinds of foods they will and won’t eat at restaurants (they will NOT go to private homes to eat), and what they would like to see in their fruit and gift baskets in their room.

And man, they can put on a show! The crowds come, the place is full, the warm-up band is killing it, the offerings are fine as can be. They preach a message designed to do whatever the pastor has on his agenda and everyone is happy.

Except maybe God, who knows with him?

Of course there’s also myself but I’m never happy anyway. Walk away, he’s a downer, nothing to see here…

When I met Jesus it was during a suicide attempt, my second by the time I was 19. When I met him for myself, wet, bleeding and naked on a bathroom floor – I was sure I had finally found the answer. I’ve not had a normal life, not at all. I had seen and done more by the time I was 15 than 90% of adults have by the enId of their life. It’s been a merry little trauma train ever since, one situation after another. And in all of this, two things stand out as being absolute:

1. I am looking for the God of Elijah.

2. I am not content with your Ba’al.

And Ba’al he is, even if you just call him “Lord”.

Ba’al he remains, even if you sing songs at him on Sunday mornings, songs that touch the heart of Jehovah about as much as “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison would.

See, kids, you can’t play a player and I can smell your fake about six miles away. I know you trust in your Churchian haircuts and cardigans like they are armor but they aren’t. They are billboards, declaring to the world that you are ravening wolves in a Ned Flanders mask.

And this is what I ran into upon my introduction to “the church” (yessss, amen… cue goosebumps…). Not a place where love abides and the glory of God fills the place, nope. I ran into tombs and mausoleums erected to an idea of a dead God who no longer really acted anymore (unless you have a rider and 30 foot big-face banner), a God that was on vacation but left us all a nice note. Granted, the tomb was decorated like a Victoria’s Secret store, and socially engineered to make people feel comfortable yet still conveying the idea that we are hip, down with emerging trends and technology.

I actually saw a church sign once in Minnesota that struck me as perfectly apropos: it had a black background and big bulbous green letters declared, “Sick?? We’re just like you!”

How comforting. If they point to the answer.

See, I’m weird. I came into this thing expecting God to be who the Word said he was and for the church to be anything other than what it is.

So I am constantly placing myself in the wonderful position of being alone, mostly broke, eschewing big invites to big places and needing to see God show up. I can’t sit back, content with the status quo and pretend. I would rather die than place hope in a false God that can’t provide, heal, save, deliver. I can’t quote your sermon zingers that are written from your bondage in Egypt or Babylon. I can’t sing your lies about God’s greatness when we are all taken away captive by a world system that we are enslaved to. Sorry. Pass.

I have to leave your camp because it stinks like a refugee camp in Africa in the heat of mid-summer. I can’t be content with the promise of Heaven and golden streets that I will walk down when I die; my uncle Bob who was “saved” on his deathbed by repeating the Sinner’s Prayer and asking Jesus into his heart- meeting me wearing white robes with tiny bird wings and telling me about the wonders of heaven that he has enjoyed. It’s a lie and the place you call heaven is a myth generated by men that didn’t know God but wanted to give out false hope.

No, count me out of your easy believing, shallow sermons from some fool that talks about a God they don’t know. I choose to be alone, looking for a God that can supply when no one knows my needs. I choose to wait for the right bus rather than to jump onto the one that everyone takes to the mall, church, give it a name.

I had a vision once at the beginning of my ministry because I am awesome. In the vision there was this huge pointy mountain and corkscrewing its way around the mountain was a road. As I looked, crowds started coming up that road, four abreast. They all were in lock-step with one another and dressed identically. As they rounded the first bend and disappeared behind the back side of the mountain, I waited and watched for them to come back into view. When they finally did, about a third were left. By the end of the second bend, none came out from behind the mountain. I was wondering about this in the vision when I heard someone tell me to look up; that’s when I saw a few men and women scrambling up the side, fighting to reach the top. Up there were some folks I recognized: Wesley, Bohler, Calvin, Knox, Augustine, Spurgeon, Allen, Branham, Coe.

Let the reader understand the vision.

Call me whatever you like. Level your charges against me, accusing me of non-conformity with an immovable object, all day. I’m glad.

At the end of the day, for all of your talk and posturing you probably couldn’t pray in a pair of shoelaces if you needed them and your leaning on the breasts of the world system and feeding your flesh its milk, lovingly stroking it and calling it “God” are a joke. It’s easy to conform to the world system and give God the credit for your car, house, credit cards, wardrobe. But you are slaves to it and God doesn’t want your false worship, he wants our obedience.

We are nothing more than the most moral representatives of a satanic world system and that is it.

And that is all.

Open your mouth up wide…
*makes airplane noises*
That’s good, now chew…

God has purposefully given me some awesome ideas the last few years. I mean, groundbreaking, paradigm shifting, non-conformist plans of awesome snowflake uniqueness that no one cared about.

Hey, churchy people! I have a request for two orphanages in Kenya for babies whose parents were just slaughtered by rebels. Give to this so we can help them!

*cue crickets*

Hmmm… strange…

Okay, how about a totally unique outreach to France, a country where 95% of the people have never seen a Bible? I’m talking a Gen-X outreach using very little resources but using off-the-grid, organic, self sufficient permaculture and sustainability to plant using an idea that they can readily identify with? Did I mention that none of the mission agencies send people to France because it’s too dark?

*cue more crickets, some sticking out their tongues at me*

Hmmm… curiouser and curiouser…

Okay. Here’s the marching orders- there’s a place in Cleveland called Slavic Village. Ground zero for the housing market crash. Good people are being overrun by drug dealers and gangs while corporate capitalist vulture pigs are buying up properties on the cheap and practicing gentrification while pushing out families and the poor. I’ve been given a four bedroom house there and a building to launch a ministry training center, if you could just partner with… us… as… we…

*Cue more crickets, some mooning me while whistling Chris Tomlin worship songs…

Hmmm… Okay, I’m starting to get annoyed.

Okay, you guys must care about this. We have a request on the table from a group working with the government of Honduras. They need us to raise 25 k to build a home for 25 little girls between the ages of 9-13 who are being used as prostitutes every night. Rich businessmen are paying low prices to sexually abuse these babies and I can’t sleep at night because I know that as I sit here, that piece of trash is ravaging that little body and ruining that baby girl. But we can change all that if you just give.

*Cue crickets interspersed with the sound of tonight’s episode of The Voice…


What if I promise you that no matter the amount that you give with your tax deductible gift, God will return it to you a hundred fold? New houses, new cars, you can finally rest knowing there is money in the bank. Divorce your husband for not making enough money, it’s fine, Ba’al understands your pain!

*Cue cash register sounds as the milk and money flows.

Those are all real life scenarios and real life responses, crickets not actually being crickets.

And I sit here looking for God, The God of wonders, sovereign and supernatural. I have paid a heavy price for my search, believe me. I’ve also seen some incredible things; provision, AIDS healed, other healings beyond counting, satanists unable to open their mouths, ministry across the globe, providence at the last minute, countless lives changed and decisions made, watching God show up when I was on the road, numerous things, too numerous for this post.

Yet I still haven’t found the God of Elijah. I’m still looking for him, waiting as an object of ridicule as I choose to find Him rather than compromise and give him credit for the things I’ve gained. My heart has been broken a thousand times, I’ve lost people that I loved, I’ve been left and vilified when I couldn’t take the emotional trauma anymore. I’ve been slandered, rejected, ostracized, marginalized. I’ve fallen into drink, betrayed and destroyed by people that I loved and disappointed in a system that I hated.

Yet I’m still here.

The God I’m waiting for keeps his Word, him alone on the throne, the hearts of men and women in his hands, the fate of nations determined by his whim. This God can provide for me according to Matthew 6, not a resume, contacts or job market. This God can open prison doors, can cause you to walk on water or even part them before you. This God can be trusted with your very life, no matter the circumstances. This God is worthy of all of my love and all of my service because I know him.

If you prefer your Ba’al Golden Calf God, the one that promises much but delivers only the world system as a substitute, you go ahead and keep him. That God is a pathetic joke that the world openly mocks because he is nothing but the Venus DeMilo, all teats with no arms. Yet you placate your weak conscience by going to church with the family on Sunday listening to snake oil sales pitches from someone that knows God isn’t showing up. Then you continue in your mess because God stopped keeping score.

You’ve lost your first love, you’ve rejected the Holy Ghost, you have cast off the truth you knew because it all proved too hard.

Well, baby, it looks like the thing you longed to change ended up changing you. Now you’re a shell without hope, mortgaging your birthright for a temporary meal, worse than Esau because you know what you were called to and who you sold out in your adultery with the world and it’s system.

I’m calling on my Generation to wake up, cast off the mess they’ve sold you and leave the camp. I’m calling on you to leave the world system and all it’s pretty baubles and determine to find God, no matter the cost. I’m calling on you to get fed up with the status quo and reject the world, be crucified to it rather than compromise and court it’s favor.

I’m calling you to outright rebellion and revolution lest our entire generation is lost.

Wake up. Get up. Head into the unknown looking for a God that has assured us that he is bigger than anyone has yet seen. Now is our moment to walk in the Kingdom and change this world.

Can you do that?

If not, sleep on, take your rest. There is a city that you will never see the inside of called the New Jerusalem and a global reformation about to get underway, a foundation shifting revival coming that you will see but never be a part of.




Feed others not yourself, Tubby McChurchian.


No, this is not a warning to those engaged in the character assassination of others while deeply embedded in the sin of gluttony that comes from too much fried chicken. I wouldn’t lower myself to that. Who am I kidding, I totally would. But I’m not. Right now.

This is about our excess and selfishness and greed in the American church and some ideas to help you combat that.

See, In the churches where I have served, we have had food pantries. We have given out the food to people from the community who needed help but tried to limit it to church members who were struggling. This is due, in part, to professional pantry vultures that actually schedule their lives around when various charities are giving away stuff. We always want to help when help is needed but we also want to be sure to adhere to the biblical idea of “if you don’t attend here, we can’t help you”.

editors note: yes, that was all sarcasm.

Now, one week we decided that we must meet the needs of the poor, wherever they are but we didn’t think Jesus would wait around in a big building and have the poor come to Him. So, we decided to take the food to them, the voiceless, lonely lurkers out there who may very well be convinced that no one cares anymore. Now, we had a pretty sizable population of illegal immigrants there, they mostly worked in the cheese factories, it being Wisconsin. They also happen to be both the poorest section of the community and also the most unreached. So, we had a little hand-out printed up in Spanish, then loaded up an SUV and headed out.

Along the way, we stopped at a new tattoo parlor in town and I introduced myself to the owner. Turns out he was an ex-punk, ex-Skinhead like me and around the same age. I explained that I was a Pastor and had come to see him and to tell him to either repent or perish. I joke, I kid.

Actually, I explained that I was a Pastor and then showed him my sleeves (for you squares out there, sleeves are full arms done in tattoos, I didn’t show him my shirt sleeves, that would be strange.) he was of course really taken back by this and told me that he had never met a Pastor with tattoos. He noticed some of the tats that I have right away, like the Exploited screaming skull and the Doc Martins.

Soon, we had a great conversation going on in which he told me how he used to be a Catholic and really didn’t have a problem with the church, just church people. I told him that I agreed with him and felt the same way. In fact, I told him about how Jesus dealt with the religious leaders of His day and how he had told them that whores and tax collectors would go into the Kingdom before them. Anyway, I offered to come and hang out with him and he seemed to really want me to, which was cool. He may not know it yet, but God is finding him.

Then we were off to find some poor folks. We would go to places where we knew that someone was struggling. We knocked on the door, introduced ourselves (if they spoke English) or handed them the Spanish hand-out if we had to. We explained that we couldn’t eat ourselves without them having enough and that Jesus cares about them even if Christians don’t.

At one place, there was a young Mexican girl who answered the door. The front room was very, very cold (this is Wisconsin in January). She let us know that she couldn’t find work and had three small kids. She didn’t heat the front room and just heated the bedroom with an electric heater. She was out of diapers and food and very far from home. Can you imagine what that must be like? I then asked her if she needed potatoes and she was very excited, then I noticed two small potatoes wrapped in Saran-Wrap on top of the fridge, they were only eating small bits at a time.

I ran to the store and bought some diapers and we gave her food and asked if she needed blankets. This was repeated over and over that afternoon. I told the person with me that if that were us, to have someone come and offer the things that we needed so badly, when it seemed that no one cared- that would be a miracle in my book.

There is all of this desperation, all of this need, right outside our doors. And how will we face God? I have the answer for it and it is quite simple; we will face Him exactly like the Rich man from Luke chapter 16, who fared sumptuously and those outside his gates got the scraps.

We give God the extra and keep the bulk for ourselves, so self-satisfied that if we give anything at all, that is more than most people do. But you are not called to be slightly better givers than most people, you are called to live a life of consecration and giving all that you have to meet the needs of those that Christ called “blessed”.

Isn’t that amazing? When you or I call someone or something blessed, we do so with the full (mis)understanding of Jewish covenant that Jesus railed against. The notion that to be rich is to be blessed while to be poor is the markings of God’s displeasure or even His curse is from the Old Covenant. When Jesus detailed who the blessed truly were, He named off the poor, the hated, the sorrowful, the persecuted. And it is to these same people that the sheep were applauded for serving and the goats were rejected for overlooking. Which one are you?

Someone once said that “if a child dies from hunger while a Christian sits full, that person is guilty of murder” and I can see where they are coming from. We have separated ourselves from the hurting and the poor by so many degrees of separation that it no longer affects us as it should. We do this, like the rich man with his walls and gates, to protect us from the inconvenience of giving. And like him, the dogs have more mercy than we do so many times. And in a world where we spend more on dog food than missions, the irony of this is overwhelming.

What would it look like if we practiced real community? What if our first job in the church was remembering the poor and way down at the bottom of that list were new buildings and padded pews? What if we set ourselves to the practice of seeking and saving the lost, regardless of where they fall on the income scale? What if we stopped planting so many churches in Suburbia and began reclaiming the abandoned and dilapidated areas of our communities. And from there, we walk and meet needs and provide services to those who cannot repay us?

I will tell you, we would begin to look like the church.

What if we stopped all the singles programs, recovery groups and movie nights geared towards keeping a lethargic church interested and began instead to use the wisdom and skills found in our membership to train people how to balance checkbooks, fix an engine, clean a home, apply for school? What if we made it our business to save the lost and completely eradicate poverty all around us?

What is stopping us from being the church right now? What stops us from having less so that others can have more? Why do we recoil at the idea of emptying our barns of all that we have stored up and instead, emptying them onto those who have nothing so that they have enough? Friend, we must go into all the world, that is a command. But don’t go empty-handed, take your wooden trophies that the world has bestowed on you for being such a productive member of it with you as you go. Real Christianity is not about having more and more for yourself, it is about giving more and more to others in the name of your Lord who gave all for you.

After all, charity is nothing more than giving back what you yourself have stolen.